The Best Action Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now

If you're looking for explosions, you found the right list.

Robocop
'Robocop' | Orion Pictures
'Robocop' | Orion Pictures

The thrilling search for the ideal action movie to watch on a Friday night can often lead to an un-thrilling period of scrolling past titles you have no intention of ever watching. How did Steven Seagal even make so many movies? If you're digging through the seemingly bottomless action section of Amazon Prime, we're here to help you with this list of some of the best titles available right now. Some of these are fairly straightforward, meat-and-potatoes adventure movies. Some are a little more eccentric. All of them are worth checking out.

ALSO READ: Our curated guide to the Best Sci-Fi Movies on Amazon Prime and the Best Action Movies of 2021

final score
Saban Films

Final Score (2018)

In the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, where he plays the hulking alien creature Drax, Dave Bautista projects an endearing combination of toughness and sensitivity. It's a quality that extends to the former pro wrestler's gruff but self-aware public persona, and it can also be found in this enjoyable VOD potboiler that should just be called "Die Hard in a soccer stadium." As ex-military hero Michael Knox, Bautista gets to fire a gun, beat up bad guys, and, in one gleefully ludicrous sequence, ride a motorcycle on the roof of the building without anyone in the crowd noticing. The plot is needlessly dense—the main villain (Ray Stevenson) is searching the arena for his brother, a political dissident who faked his death, got facial reconstruction surgery, grew a beard, and now looks like Pierce Brosnan—but the low-budget action is effective and Bautista is charismatic. Compared to other recent Die Hard knock-offs, Final Score has a scrappy, walk-through-glass charm that John McClane could appreciate.
Watch it now on Amazon

First Love (2019)

Leaping from heart-tugging romance to stomach-churning bloodshed, Takashi Miike's crime lark First Love never settles down. That type of stylistic hyperactivity, a reluctance to find a lane and stay in it, can be irritating if improperly executed, but Miike, a prolific filmmaker with over 100 genre-spanning movies under his belt, is a master of controlled chaos. The relationship between despondent young boxer Leo (Kubota) and haunted young prostitute Monica (Konishi) provides a structural backbone for the narrative, which ricochets across Tokyo as Yakuzas, Triads, cops, and underlings scheme away the night. Guns get pulled, swords get drawn, and, in one particularly kinetic moment, the movie switches to brightly colored animation, perhaps to cover for an effect the production couldn't afford. Who knows? First Love's restless energy keeps you swooning even as the bodies pile up.
Watch it now on Amazon

highlander
Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment

Highlander (1986)

Is Highlander a little ridiculous and cheesy? Yes, of course—that's part of the appeal. Following Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) as he battles other immortal warriors across time, attempting to chop off their heads so that "there can only be one," the movie's story is a bizarre hodgepodge of fantasy tropes, science-fiction flourishes, and historical goofiness. But the movie's visual style, a fog-heavy MTV-era bounty of bold choices courtesy of Australian filmmaker Russell Mulcahy, is the real selling point, along with the performances from Lambert and Sean Connery as his mentor. If your movie is going to be over the top, this is certainly one memorable way to do it.
Watch it now on Amazon

The Lost City of Z (2017)

Director James Gray's account of explorer Percy Fawcett's lush and perilous journey through the Amazon is the rare film to capture and channel nature's bewitching power. Charlie Hunnam, rousing and physical, stars as Percy, a turn-of-the-20th-century military man who embarks to South America to map Bolivia and cleanse his family name of scandal. Months of starvation, illness, piranha-infested waters, and encounters with natives end with the near-discovery of a hidden, advanced civilization. Gray makes room for court scenes, WWI battles, tender family drama, and a musical score that can stand alone. But in the end, the verdant unknown of Amazonia has its way with Fawcett and our senses, reflecting a profound component of human nature.
Watch it now on Amazon

Tom Cruise
Paramount Pictures

Mission: Impossible (1996)

The Mission: Impossible franchise is on its seventh installment, set to be released in 2022, but it's important to remember where it all began, because that first movie freakin' rules. Even though Ethan Hunt's stunts have gotten more ludicrous over time, Brian De Palma's original remake of the 1960s television series is still just as thrilling. Starting with a brilliant misdirect where Tom Cruise's Ethan watches as his whole crew is killed in an IMF sting, the secret agent goes on the run, eventually teaming up with Vanessa Redgrave's slippery arms dealer Max. You know the set-pieces that make this thing churn—the exploding fish tank, the drop into Langley, the train chase—all just immaculately staged as you remember.
Watch it now on Amazon

Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear (2013)

Scott Adkins is a name you need to know. A trained martial artist and regular Jean-Claude Van Damme adversary, Adkins is the kind of charismatic fighter who would be huge if it were 1991, but delivers the goods in VOD genre movies and small blockbuster roles (see: The Bourne Ultimatum). Ninja 2 is his current masterpiece, a revenge movie where every scene is an excuse to fight. Fists, swords, barbed-wire flails—you name it, Ninja 2 has it. And unlike JCVD, Adkins makes the down moments not just bearable but believable. He's a talent who can act with punches and words.
Watch it now on Amazon

Arnold Shwarzenegger
Twentieth Century Fox

Predator (1987)

There's something otherworldly about Arnold Schwarzenegger. With his enormous physique, unwavering confidence, and off-putting charm, he often seems less than human. So it makes sense that his most worthy opponent came from outer space. In Predator, Schwarzenegger's Dutch leads a six-man team into the fictional country of Val Verde to rescue hostages, and they quickly find themselves facing off against an invisibility cloak-wearing alien with a scary mouth. Director John McTiernan, the great unsung hero of action cinema, films the macho showdown with a clear-eyed, tactile approach that keeps even the more ridiculous elements grounded in mud, sweat, and celebratory cigar smoke.
Watch it now on Amazon

Robocop (1987)

Great science-fiction novels often have an air of irony; as great as new technology might seem to be, we're all pretty much screwed thanks to the unchangeable aspects of human nature. Paul Verhoeven tapped right into that spirit with Robocop, awash with bleak comedy and gooey ultra-violence. The film combines vicious parody of the corporate world with glimmers of hope for a safer future under the watchful eye of technology. With Peter Weller adding soul to the film's robotic enforcer, and some of the most memorably vulgar lines in all of filmed sci-fi, Robocop blows holes in pretenders.
Watch it now on Amazon

 

Saving Private Ryan
Paramount Pictures

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Steven Spielberg's World War II movie solidified itself as an American classic 15 minutes into its runtime, after a grave, pungent staging of the invasion of Normandy Beach. The rest of the film lives up to the sequence, with Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and an unimaginable list of big-name actors playing out a universal band of brothers. When a life is worth saving, backstory matters, and Spielberg's direction does as much to enrich the lives of his men as it does to enact the terrors of war.
Watch it now on Amazon

Taken (2009)

Taken was supposed to be forgettable. Half a year went by between its French and US release because executives couldn't decide if director Pierre Morel and producer Luc Besson's geri-action movie even deserved a theatrical release. Eventually, it landed on our shores -- and with high impact. Liam Neeson's grizzled charisma, peerless karate-chopping skills, and one of the most iconic mission statements in recent memory ("I have a very particular set of skills...") turned the daddy-rescue pic into an instant cult classic, providing a career rebirth for the longtime character actor and legions of lesser knockoffs (many starring Neeson himself).
Watch it now on Amazon

Terminator
Orion Pictures

The Terminator (1984)

James Cameron's first major film as director is a lean, brutal vision of machines run amok, dressed up with the complications of time travel. Cameron probably would have had a great story without the bizarre charisma of Arnold Schwarzenegger or the heavy-metal insanity of Stan Winston's robot effects, but with all those elements in place, The Terminator is a "lightning in a bottle" moment that demonstrated just what Cameron could do.
Watch it now on Amazon

13 Assassins (2010)

Takashi Miike's remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 film of the same name stays faithful to the timeless story: A veteran samurai, Shinzaemon (Kōji Yakusho), is secretly hired to assassinate the Shogun's lunatic half-brother Lord Naritsugu (Goro Inagaki) before he can attain a higher office. In classic commando-mission fashion, Shinzaemon and his recruited team plan their strategy, build their tools, train, and execute. Miike's payoff is sensational, longer and bloodier than in the original, which still makes for crowd-pleasing entertainment.
Watch it now on Amazon

without remorse
Amazon Studios

Without Remorse (2021)

Stefano Sollima, who co-created Amazon's unnerving drug trade drama ZeroZeroZero, knows how to squeeze tension out of a scene where a soldier moves through a dimly lit space with a gun. The broad strokes of the brutally efficient Tom Clancy adaptation Without Remorse—the killing off of a wife character with little screen time, the alliance shifting of potential allies and enemies within the deep state, the mowing down of attackers during a late-night raid gone wrong—were already tired clichés when the author was covering them with techno-babble and right-wing politics and rolling them into his bestsellers. The pleasure here, which might look like a strange word to use in describing such an often nasty movie, is in the way Sollima carefully stages each sequence and the way Michael B. Jordan, playing Clancy's rouge Navy SEAL John Kelly, leans into each cold-blooded act of retaliation. Working together, they make each punch land.
Watch it now on Amazon

You Were Never Really Here (2018)

You've seen hitman movies, but you've never seen Lynne Ramsay's hitman movie. The Scottish director, who many first discovered with 2002's elliptical nightlife odyssey Morvern Callar, can take a John Wick-ian premise and invest it with new meaning by reframing it from an askew angle. This crime story, adapted from a novella by Bored to Death writer Jonathan Ames, is about an ex-soldier named Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) who finds himself tasked with recovering a kidnapped girl amidst a sinister political conspiracy involving human trafficking. What makes it so special? Between Phoenix's muted performance, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's string-drenched score, and Ramsay's expressive jump-cuts, every image crackles with energy, style, and possibility. It's a death-obsessed movie vibrating with life.
Watch it now on Amazon

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