After a four-year absence from the big screen, John Wick has returned. Everyone's favorite modern-day action hero is here to kick butt once more, with John Wick: Chapter 4 finally landing in theaters worldwide (read our John Wick: Chapter 4 review while you're here).
Ever since the first John Wick film arrived in 2014 – read our guide on how to watch the John Wick movies in order if you haven't seen them yet – audiences have been wowed by the epic gun-fu series. Keanu Reeves' relatable protagonist – well, relatable if you ignore his hitman skillset – plus the John Wick universe's world-building and scintillating stunts have turned this action franchise into one of the biggest around. And, with a fifth movie and numerous spin-offs, including a Peacock TV show called The Continental, in the works, there'll be plenty more to enjoy in the future.
While we wait for those films and TV series to arrive, you'll need to get your John Wick-style action fix elsewhere, and we're here to help. Below, we've compiled a list of 12 similarly epic action movies. We also reveal where you can stream them, so you can immediately start watching. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in!
If there's one film that influenced the John Wick franchise more than most, it's The Raid. The 2011 Gareth Evans-directed Indonesian movie's fingerprints are all over the John Wick films, with the latter's crowd-pleasing choreography and fight-a-minute set-pieces owing much to the jaw-dropping sequences seen in The Raid and its sequels.
Starring Iko Uwais as rookie cop Rama, The Raid – known as The Raid: Redemption in international territories – tells the story of an elite squad tasked with infiltrating a high-rise building run by ruthless crime lord Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy). A simple plot, then, but the same cannot be said of The Raid's spectacularly intricate and frenetic action scenes. Once the action begins, it's unrelenting and violent, with Rama pushed to the limit as he fights his way to the top of Riyadi's multistory empire. This expertly paced, gory, and hugely entertaining spectacle cemented Evans' place as one of the best directors around.
Available to stream on Netflix, Sky, and Now TV in the UK. Available to rent or buy from Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, and the Microsoft Store in the US. Available to stream on Stan in Australia.
As the creative mind behind the John Wick series, it isn't surprising to see writer Derek Kolstad's most recent action thriller, Nobody, attempt to recreate that franchise's success. And, for the most part, it did.
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) stars as Hutch Mansell, a mild-mannered family man who, after his home is robbed and his family threatened, returns to his dangerous old life, putting him in the crosshairs of Alexei Serebryakov's Russian crime lord Yulian Kuznetsov.
Nobody doesn't break new ground, but it's an enjoyable film nonetheless. Odenkirk is a man transformed as Mansell, doling out brutal punishment and proving he has the capacity to be a compelling action star. Like John Wick and The Raid, it's absurdly violent in an entertaining way but takes itself less seriously than its peers. One to enjoy if you're looking for a bit of comedy with your action.
Available to watch on Sky and Now TV in the UK, HBO Max in the US and Netflix in Australia.
Before John Wick and company arrived on the scene, another film series had cornered the action genre market: Taken.
The franchise, which turned Liam Neeson (Star Wars) into an action star sensation, is a riveting watch, although it starts to get very same-y in its sequels. Unsurprisingly, the critical and commercial reception fell sharply with each new movie, but the Taken series is still undeniably fun, providing you disengage your brain for a couple of hours.
The first movie – 2008's Taken – is the best of the lot. It introduced audiences to Bryan Mills (Neeson), an ex-CIA officer who embarks on a one-man mission to rescue his daughter and her best friend from Albanian human traffickers. It's well made, features some great action sequences, and, in Neeson, has a captivating and relatable hero who'll stop at nothing to save those he loves.
All three Taken films are streamable on Disney Plus in the UK and Australia. US audiences can catch them on Starz.
An action thriller that mixes James Bond, Jason Bourne and John Wick, Atomic Blonde is a stylish and at-times bruising flick that packs a pleasing punch.
Based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) plays Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 spy tasked with recovering a list of double agents that's being smuggled into the West on the eve of the Berlin Wall's collapse. James McAvoy and John Goodman are among its major supporting stars.
Atomic Blonde borrows plenty of action and espionage thriller elements from 007, Bourne and Wick and packages them in a rather interesting way. Like Nobody, it doesn't wholly reinvent the genre's well-worn formula. But a commanding, badass performance from Theron, coupled with satisfying close-quarters combat, makes Atomic Blonde well worth watching.
UK viewers can stream Atomic Blonde on Lionsgate Plus, which is available as an additional channel on Prime Video. US audiences can rent or buy it via Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, Redbox, DirectTV, or the Microsoft Store. Australians can stream Atomic Blonde on Prime Video, Foxtel Now or Binge.
Adding the Mission: Impossible films to this list might seem like a stretch. After all, it's primarily a spy series, even if it's jam-packed with action.
The franchise's increasingly wow-inducing set pieces, though, make it worthy of inclusion. You only need to look at the lengths leading man Tom Cruise goes to in order to ensure each film is bigger, better and more death-defying than the last. Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa in Mission Impossible 4 or hanging off the side of a plane that's taking off in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is proof of that. You can read more about our thoughts on this series, including its daring action sequences, in our Mission: Impossible movies ranked article.
John Wick fans wanting even grander, large-scale set pieces than those on offer in Lionsgate's hit film franchise, then, need look no further than Cruise's money-spinning baby.
Every Mission: Impossible movie is available to stream on Paramount Plus in the UK and US. Australians can stream the first four movies in the Mission: Impossible franchise on Stan, Binge, Foxtel Now and Paramount Plus.
Who doesn't want to see Oscar-winner Denzel Washington deliver beatdowns as a vigilante? Nobody, that's who. Pleasingly, we were all treated t that in The Equalizer, in which Washington takes on the role of marine-turned-DIA operative Robert McCall, who returns to action to protect a teenage prostitute from the Russian mafia.
The Equalizer was criticized for its so-so story and occasionally ultraviolent moments. However, it more than makes up for those issues with its terrific casting, direction (Antoine Fuqua helms this one) soundtrack, and action. With plenty of gun-fu inspired set-pieces, The Equalizer deserves a place on our list.
The Equalizer 1 and 2 are streamable on Netflix UK. In the US, viewers can stream it on Starz. In Australia, The Equalizer 1 can be streamed Netflix, and The Equalizer 2 can be streamed on Binge, Foxtel Now or Prime Video.
Many of the entries on this list have large-scale action sequences that take place in open settings. The Brad Pitt-starring Bullet Train decides to go against the grain, choosing instead to pack all of its hand-to-hand and gun combat in the tightest space possible: a moving train.
Based on the novel of the same name, Bullet Train stars Pitt as Ladybug, an American operative tasked with recovering a briefcase full of cash on board a (yep, you guessed it) bullet train. How original.
Again, it's a very simple premise for a movie, but who comes into films of this ilk expecting to be wowed by their stories? Anyway, it doesn't take long for this David Leitch-directed flick to get into the thick of its action, with Bullet Train blending its hard-hitting conflicts with plenty of the witty humor Leitch is renowned for. With a killer cast (literally) including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Logan Lerman, and Karen Fukuhara, this is one you can't afford to miss.
UK audiences can watch on Sky and Now TV, while US viewers can stream it on Netflix. Australian audiences can watch it on Prime Video, Binge or Foxtel Now.
Quentin Tarantino's fourth – and arguably finest – movie, Kill Bill Volume 1 is a masterclass in scintillating stunt work that pays homage to various movie subgenres and the theatrical experience.
Uma Thurman plays The Bride, an unnamed individual who swears vengeance on a team of assassins and their leader Bill (David Carradine) after they try to murder her. The Bride's revenge-filled mission takes her to Tokyo, where she engages in many bloody battles with the yakuza.
With an array of stylishly assembled martial arts sequences, lots of gratuitous violence (what else would you expect from a Tarantino flick?), and a surprise ending that sets up its sequel – unsurprisingly called Kill Bill Volume 2 – Kill Bill Volume 1 is a stunningly good action film. That said, Thurman's involvement in a car crash on the movie's set takes some of the shine off this Tarantino film. If you're interested, you can see where both Kill Bill movies placed in our Quentin Tarantino movies ranked guide.
Kill Bill Volume 1 can be rented or bought on the Sky and Chilli stores in the UK. Unfortunately, it's currently unavailable to stream in the US and Australia.
The Bourne Identity
Before the Daniel Craig James Bond movie era reinvented 007 as a gritty, somewhat traumatized spy, the Jason Bourne franchise delivered a more realistic and kinetically-charged examination of the spycraft genre.
Starring Matt Damon as the titular operative, the Bourne series began with 2002's The Bourne Identity. Here, we were introduced to Jason Bourne, a man suffering from psychogenic amnesia who attempts to rediscover his identity and past amidst a covert conspiracy at the heart of the CIA.
The film franchise, which adapted Robert Ludlum's fan-favorite book series, was as thrilling and suspenseful as it was complex. That complexity didn't prevent The Bourne Identity and its sequels from providing plenty of top-tier action, though, especially from a close-quarters perspective. We'll never get tired of seeing Damon's Bourne take down two adversaries with nothing but a pen or his inventive escape from the American Embassy in Zurich. It's still a blood-pumping film that's as tense as they come – and follow-ups The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum are equally exciting to watch.
All three movies are available on Sky and Now TV in the UK. The first two Bourne films are streamable on HBO Max in the US, while the three Damon-starring films are coming to Netflix on April 1. Australians can watch the Bourne films on Stan.
This sci-fi action movie drew plenty of interest ahead of its 2015 release due to how it was shot. The Ilya Naishuller-directed flick was filmed entirely on GoPro cameras, which were attached to a face-mounted mask – dubbed the Adventure Mask. This provided an unusual first-person view that put viewers in the shoes of Hardcore Henry's protagonist.
Hardcore Henry's inventive filmmaking style makes it unique in the action genre space, especially as audience members are inadvertently the person doling out its hyperviolent punishment. Its flimsy story and unappealing characters, however, might not be to everyone's taste, which might detract from the overall experience. Still, it's worth streaming if you're looking for something original from an action movie.
Available to rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, Rakuten TV, and YouTube in the UK. In the US, Hardcore Henry is on Netflix. It's available to rent on Google Play, Apple TV or Amazon in Australia.
The Night Comes for Us
Like The Raid, we had to include this Indonesian action thriller here. A Netflix Original film, The Night Comes for Us is a bloodbath of a thrill ride, with writer-director Timo Tjahjanto delivering a truly electric cavalcade of carnage in his fourth feature-length film.
A Six Seas Triad called Ito (Joe Taslim) turns his back on his former life in order to protect an orphan girl named Reina. Enraged at Ito's betrayal, his former employer sends waves of thugs to murder Ito and Reina, leading the pair to go on the run and fight for their survival.
The Night Comes for Us reunites Taslim and fellow star of The Raid Iko Uwais, so you know you're going to have a good time with this one. With numerous stunning physical feats, blood-gushing violence, and a compelling narrative with redemption at its heart, The Night Comes for Us is as absorbing and gleefully vicious as we'd hoped.
The Night Comes for Us is available on Netflix in the US, the UK and Australia.
The film that turned Keanu Reeves into a bonafide movie star, The Matrix was a necessary inclusion on our list.
And with good reason. The revolutionary sci-fi movie series, which started with 1999's The Matrix, redefined what audiences could expect from action-heavy motion pictures. You only need to watch those eye-popping slow-mo 'bullet time' sequences once to understand how ground-breaking The Matrix was, even if the three movies that followed – including 2021's The Matrix Resurrections – failed to live up to expectations.
The Matrix saw Reeves plays Thomas Anderson, a seemingly ordinary computer programmer who has his eyes opened to the fact that a) humanity has been unknowingly trapped inside the Matrix, a simulated reality that intelligent machines created to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source, and b) he's Neo, aka the Chosen One who'll rescue humanity. Laurence Fishburne, Carrie Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving are among its other all-star cast members.
The Wachowskis-directed film quadrilogy can be confusing at times. But, if you switch off your brain and go with the flow, you'll revel in the extraordinary action scenes, elaborately constructed universe, and for-its-time beautiful special effects. The most influential movie of its generation, this certainly is.
All four Matrix movies can be streamed on Sky and Now TV in the UK and HBO Max in the US. In Australia, the first three films in The Matrix series can be streamed on Stan, Binge and Foxtel Now, while The Matrix Resurrections can be watched on Netflix, Binge and Foxtel Now.