20 Best Action Movies on Netflix Canada Right Now
Whether they're serving up suave secret agents or high-flying superheroes, these action flicks are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.
The Equalizer (2014)
A high-budget spin on the low-tech 1980s television series of the same name, The Equalizer stars Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a retired intelligence agent who quickly learns how difficult it is to stay out of the game. After a local sex worker, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), is trafficked by the Russian Mafia, McCall uses his black ops skills to exact vengeance. Washington, at once clinical and charismatic, is in fine form, while New Zealand native Marton Csokas (Kingdom of Heaven) is wonderfully creepy as Nicolai, a ruthless, high-IQ mob enforcer with a mysterious past.
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The Mummy (1999)
In a particularly inspired bit of casting, The Mummy transforms Brendan Fraser—best-known at the time for his comedic work—into an action hero on par with Indiana Jones, complete with choice one-liners (“I only gamble with my life, never my money”). Fans of Universal’s classic horror flicks will find much to love in this 1999 remake, as swashbuckler Rick O’Connell (Fraser) leads librarian Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) and her hapless brother (John Hannah) to Egypt’s City of the Dead. Hilarious, rewatchable and 10 times more exciting than 2017’s joyless reboot.
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Baby Driver (2017)
Baby (Ansel Elgort) isn’t your typical con. Curious name aside, his skills behind the wheel have made him the best getaway driver in the business—if he’s got the proper mixtape to fire him up, that is. After one last job, Baby decides to leave crime behind and devote himself to his love, Debora (Lily James)—but his criminal past threatens to destroy his future in unexpected ways. Want non-stop action, a bangin’ soundtrack and a good amount of soul? Baby Driver should be at the top of your Netflix Canada viewing list.
Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk is the latest unlikely Hollywood action star. As Hutch Mansell, a mild-mannered accountant who finds himself slipping away from his wife and children with each passing day, Odenkirk has midlife misery down pat. But Nobody is no mere “male rage” fantasy: Hutch is actually a former government contract killer who’s been forced to bottle up his “skills”—until he unwittingly incurs the wrath of the Russian Mob. (And yes, Odenkirk can convincingly pull out the big guns.)
Air Force One (1997)
In the formidable list of fictional American presidents, Harrison Ford’s butt-kicking James Marshall surely ranks near the top. While returning to the U.S. after a diplomatic dinner in Moscow, the commander-in-chief’s aircraft is overrun by a group of Kazakh terrorists led by go-to ’90s film baddie Gary Oldman. Unbeknownst to this ruthless band of hijackers, however, Marshall, a veteran of the Vietnam War, has no plans of negotiating. As delivered by Ford, Air Force One’s iconic “Get off my plane!” is still bound to elicit cheers.
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A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Undoubtedly one of the funniest films ever made about the Middle Ages and one of the best action movies on Netflix Canada, A Knight’s Tale follows William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), a destitute squire who steals his late master’s identity to compete in a series of high-stakes jousting tournaments. Soon, he attracts the attention of both a dazzling noblewoman (Shannyn Sossamon) and the cold-blooded knight vying for her love (Rufus Sewell). Classic rock fans have much to look forward to, as A Knight’s Tale—anachronistically, to charming effect—employs hits by the likes of Queen, AC/DC and David Bowie to accompany its hero’s triumphs.
The Siege of Jadotville (2016)
Over the course of five long days in September 1961, 155 Irish Army soldiers stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a UN peacekeeping mission, repelled attacks against the titular mining town by 3,000 Katangese troops and Belgian mercenaries. The aptly-named Siege of Jadotville may sound more like a fact-of-the-matter docudrama than an edge-of-your-seat action movie, but rest assured: this 2016 war picture brings one of history’s forgotten underdog battles to bloody, chaotic life.
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The Old Guard (2020)
As the writer-director behind 2000’s Love & Basketball, Gina Prince-Bythewood might seem like an odd choice to helm a shoot-em-up about ancient warriors, yet The Old Guard is her strongest feature to date. Andy (Charlize Theron) leads a team of immortal mercenaries who’ve been taking on world-saving missions for centuries; their secret identities are compromised, however, when a former CIA operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) learns of their regenerative abilities. Think you’ve seen it all in the superhero genre? The Old Guard says otherwise.
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Armed with nothing but a smartphone and sheer brilliance behind the wheel, a getaway driver (Frank Grillo) must evade trigger-happy motorcyclists over the course of one brutal night. Our hero, it turns out, is the unwitting holder of $230,000 in stolen cash—and two powerful mob bosses want the loot for themselves. Because most of Wheelman takes place—you guessed it—inside of a car, writer-director Jeremy Rush has to rely on layered dialogue, rhythmic editing and slick cinematography to ramp up the suspense. And he succeeds with flying colours.
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The Foreigner (2017)
One of the finest flicks from the ever-growing “senior action hero” genre, Hong Kong martial arts icon Jackie Chan stars as Ngoc Minh Quan, a Chinese restaurant owner in London whose teen daughter is killed in an IRA bombing. When Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a Northern Irish politician and former IRA leader, refuses to help him, Quan unleashes his own guerilla-style campaign against the government for the names of the perpetrators. (Quan, as it turns out, is a former special forces op.) The Foreigner proves two things: Chan and Brosnan are best when playing against type, and no, Chan actually isn’t too old for this.
Peter Parker is definitely a “glass-half-full” kind of guy. Instead of cursing his luck for getting bitten by a genetically-modified spider, he sees it as an opportunity to make a difference, donning the red-and-blue tights to become everyone’s favourite web-slinger. The unabashedly joyful scenes in which Peter (Tobey Maguire) starts exploring his new-found powers make being a superhero look like so. Much. Fun. Fuelled by Sam Raimi’s enthusiastic direction, that sense of fun is tempered with just the right amount of gravitas, with Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin making for a particularly memorable adversary.
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Den of Thieves (2018)
In this sprawling heist flick, Orange is the New Black’s Pablo Schreiber plays the leader of a top-notch gang of criminals, with Gerard Butler as the burly detective dead-set on taking them down. Writer-director Christian Gudegast manages to recreate the moral murk of classic thrillers from the past, while up-and-coming actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. impresses as a getaway driver playing both sides. Den of Thieves may read like a mere Heat remake on paper, but it boasts enough twists and turns to make it one of the best action movies on Netflix Canada.
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21 Bridges (2019)
Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) is a skilled NYPD detective who also has a reputation for being trigger-happy. After two war vets (Taylor Kitsch and Stephan James) steal a shipment of cocaine from a Mob-run restaurant and kill seven cops in the ensuing shootout, Davis is assigned to the case. His solution? Shut down all 21 river crossings on Manhattan Island in order to corner the suspects. One of the last films Boseman made before his death in 2020, 21 Bridges is both a satisfying thriller and an impressive late entry in the actor’s all-too-brief career.
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The Harder They Fall (2021)
This Jay-Z produced action flick features a stacked ensemble cast that includes Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo and the brilliant LaKeith Stanfield. Based on historical figures who loomed large in the American Wild West, The Harder They Fall packs in more explosions and gun battles than a Michael Bay movie—but boasts far superior storytelling. Plus, the soundtrack includes new music from Jay-Z and tracks by Kid Cudi, Lauryn Hill and Seal.
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One of the most-viewed Netflix original movies ever, Extraction follows Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a black-market mercenary sent to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to retrieve the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord. In an action movie world filled with rapid-fire editing, lazy choreography and bad CGI, it’s a sight to behold Extraction’s now-famous 12-minute, single-shot fight scene. (The film’s director, Sam Hargrave, was a stunt coordinator for several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) Add this one to your queue—if you can stomach the endless body count.
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Red Notice (2021)
Some of the most memorable action movies come with a healthy side of humour, and in Red Notice, Ryan Reynolds delivers precisely that. With Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot, the Canadian actor stars as one of three characters at the centre of an art theft ring. Over the course of two snappy hours, the trio play a game of continent-hopping cat-and-mouse, switching roles along the way as a priceless artifact from ancient Egypt slips through one set of sticky fingers and into the next. Plots twist, major cameos pop up out of nowhere and the ending, though satisfying, hints at the possibility of a sequel. Fingers crossed.
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Army of Thieves (2021)
Would any “best of” movie list be complete without a prequel? Obviously not. Enter: Army of Thieves, the prequel to Army of the Dead. The story starts out in the sleepy Berlin suburb of Potsdam where banker-by-day, YouTube-safe-cracking-enthusiast-by-night Sebastian (director Matthias Schweighöfer doing double duty) naively gets himself involved in multiple bank heists that feature double- and triple-crosses. Meanwhile, a zombie plague rages in Nevada, providing an ominous backdrop for what’s to come.
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Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006)
Oh, how marvelously Canadian this darkly funny buddy cop movie is. Non-Canadians might be shocked at the culture clash that can result from the meeting of two police officers (played by Colm Feore and Patrick Huard) from the adjoining Ontario and Quebec. It’s precisely that clash, however, that’s played for well-deserved laughs when the officers are forced to cooperate to solve the murder of a man whose body is found on the exact demarcation between the two provinces. Naturally, hockey plays a major role in the plot, too: several NHL teams are parodied while the narrative pivots around one of the beloved sport’s more unstable fanatics.
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Triple Frontier (2019)
Starring Ben Affleck, Oscar Issac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal, Triple Frontier is one of the most underrated action movies in recent memory. In this high-octane thriller, five former U.S. soldiers struggling to make ends meet set out to steal $75 million from a drug lord’s compound—located in the notorious “triple frontier” border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Their skill sets—and loyalties—are put to the test when the world’s most violent cartel seeks revenge.
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Point Blank (2019)
Not to be confused with the classic 1967 Lee Marvin film, Netflix’s Point Blank tells the tale of an ER nurse (Anthony Mackie) who must team up with a badly-injured criminal (Frank Grillo) in order to save the lives of his kidnapped wife and unborn child. To complicate matters further, they’ve got rival gangs and corrupt cops in hot pursuit!
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