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15 Best Action Movies On Max Right Now, Ranked

November 21, 202311 Mins Read


  • The best action movies on Max offer a curated selection of high-octane thrills and excitement from filmmakers like James Cameron and Akira Kurosawa.
  • These movies feature gritty, grounded stories as well as wild superhero adventures, showcasing thrilling car chases, hard-hitting fight scenes, and wild stunts.
  • With a stellar lineup of actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Denzel Washington, and Jackie Chan, Max’s collection of action movies is worth checking out for subscribers who enjoy the genre.

The best action movies on Max, HBO’s streaming service, offer a curated selection of high-octane and big-budget thrills and excitement for subscribers. Max (formerly known as HBO Max) continues to fight for dominance in the streaming world with its Max original series and upcoming franchises, including multiple DCU projects. However, while those flashy titles might get most of the attention, the extensive library of existing movies already available on Max is worth checking out, especially for subscribers who enjoy action movies.

The best action movies on Max right now feature a wonderful variety of titles from across multiple decades. They feature work from filmmakers like James Cameron and Akira Kurosawa and include gritty and grounded stories as well as wild superhero adventures. They also include some of the biggest names in the genre, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Denzel Washington to Jackie Chan. Thrilling car chases, hard-hitting fight scenes, and wild stunts are all showcased in Max’s offering of great action movies subscribers can watch right now.

15 Ronin (1998)

Robert De Niro with a machine gun in Ronin

Robert De Niro’s best performances don’t include many full-blown action movies, but Ronin remains one of the best entries in the legendary actor’s filmography. De Niro stars as an operative who is recruited along with a team of mercenaries to retrieve a mysterious package from some dangerous people. The purpose behind the mission is not overly important as the movie instead focuses on the characters, the intrigue, and the amazing action set pieces that include some of the best movie car chases of all time. De Niro is also joined by a stellar supporting cast that includes Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard, and Sean Bean.


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14 Blade (1998)

While the superhero genre meshes with the action genre in most cases, Blade is one of the franchises that is more action movie than superhero movie. Wesley Snipes steps into the role of Blade, a half-human half-vampire who uses his training and extensive weaponry to fight vampires hiding among humanity. Snipes makes for the ideal hero who is a man of view worlds. The R-rated comic book story features some terrific fight sequences and supernatural battles that make it stand out as an action movie, with many audience members in the 1990s not being aware it was even based on a comic.

13 Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes image

There was a lot of doubt that the Planet of the Apes franchise could be rebooted, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprise hit that made it exciting to return to this story. However, 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes surprised even more by delivering a thrilling, thoughtful, and stunning action movie sequel that topped the original. The movie follows Andy Serkis’ Caesar as he attempts to maintain an uneasy peace between the ape community and the remaining humans. The motion-capture for the ape characters remains impressive while Matt Reeves constructs wild and beautiful sequences.

12 Man On Fire (2004)

Denzel Washington as John W. Creasy fires a gun at off-screen cartel members in Man on Fire

Man on Fire

Release Date
April 23, 2004

Tony Scott

146 minutes

One of several collaborations between Denzel Washington and Tony Scott, Man on Fire was a modest success and received mixed reviews when it was first released, only to gradually be admired as an action masterpiece that’s now one of the best action movies on Max. Washington plays Creasy, a man hired to be a bodyguard for a young girl living with her family in Mexico. When the girl is taken, he goes on a relentless quest to punish those responsible. Washington makes for a terrific anti-hero as this broken man with nothing to lose. It is a surprisingly beautiful and poetic revenge story shot wonderfully by Scott.

11 Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Colin Firth as Harry holding an umbrella like a weapon in Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The spy movie subgenre has made for some of the most successful action movies, and Kingsman is one of the most celebrated modern takes on the world of espionage starting with 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service — a throwback to older James Bond movies while also being a wild R-rated satire of the genre. Taron Egerton found his breakout role as a young street kid who is recruited by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) to become part of a top-secret spy organization. Director Matthew Vaughn employs his chaotic and vivid action style, while Firth makes for an unexpected action hero. This collaboration leads to some hugely entertaining sequences, including the infamous church brawl.

10 Police Story (1985)

Jackie Chan holding a gun in Police Story

Long before he was a star in the U.S., Jackie Chan was a bonafide action legend in his home nation of China. Police Story sees Chan as a good cop who finds his name slandered when a drug lord frames him for the murder of another police officer. The stunts in Police Story are some of the wildest of Chan’s career, and he suffered life-threatening injuries during the production. His dedication to his craft shows through on screen, and the film is a brilliant mix of action, suspense, and comedy. The movie’s success helped spawn a franchise for Chan with seven Police Story movies to date.

9 V For Vendetta (2006)

V For Vendetta

Release Date
March 17, 2006

James McTeigue

John Hurt , Hugo Weaving , Stephen Fry , Stephen Rea , Natalie Portman

132 minutes

V For Vendetta is another comic book adaptation, though like the best action movies on Max based on graphic novels, doesn’t feel like a superhero story. Set in a dystopian future in which England is ruled by a fascist government, Natalie Portman plays a young woman who is drawn into a plot to take down those in power orchestrated by a mysterious vigilante known only as V. The movie is a thoughtful political allegory, an intense revenge story, and a violent superhero tale. V makes for a charming and intriguing anti-hero while Portman’s powerful performance grounds the story amid the inventive action sequences.

8 The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Jason Bourne chased through Tangiers in The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum

Release Date
August 3, 2007

Paul Greengrass

Scott Glenn , David Strathairn , Edgar Ramirez , Paddy Considine , Matt Damon , Julia Stiles

115 minutes

Matt Damon is another actor who emerged as an unexpected action hero with his role as Jason Bourne. While the franchise seemed to falter outside of the original trilogy, the first three movies remain a near-perfect action franchise with the third entry being a particularly impressive movie. 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum picks up with Bourne on the run from his former handlers. The visceral and intense action sequences remain the best part of these movies, with some incredible hand-to-hand fight scenes as well as a stunning climactic car chase in New York City. It also features what could have been a perfect conclusion for this character.

7 Predator (1987)

The Predator roars a war cry in Predator

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the biggest icons of the action movie genre and Predator remains one of his most beloved hits. Schwarzenegger stars as Dutch, the leader of an elite group of commandos who venture into the jungles on a rescue mission only to find themselves hunted by an alien who kills for sport. While the horror and sci-fi elements are exciting, Predator is also a wildly intense action movie with the jungle compound sequence worth watching on its own. However, it is the introduction of the Predator, one of the most iconic movie monsters that takes the movie to another level and helped create a franchise that continues today.

6 The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Toshiro Mifune holds a pole in The Hidden Fortress

Director Akira Kurosawa has made many classic films and The Hidden Fortress is generally considered one of his best works. The story follows a pair of peasants who are tricked into escorting a princess and her general into enemy territory. Set during the feudal era of Japanese history, the film contains elements of historical fiction as well as some of the best action of the 1950s. Kurosawa’s brilliant directing shines through the simple plot, and the film is carried by the tense relationship between the characters. Though it is action-packed, The Hidden Fortress also contains a fair amount of political commentary as well.

5 Aliens (1986)


Release Date
July 18, 1986

Sigourney Weaver , Michael Biehn , Carrie Henn , Paul Reiser , Lance Henriksen , Bill Paxton , William Hope , Jenette Goldstein

137 minutes

James Cameron is one of the most successful action directors of all time, and with many of his hits among the best action movies on Max. While following up on Ridley Scott’s brilliant sci-fi horror movie Alien was a daunting task, Cameron wisely took the franchise in a completely new direction and made it his own. Aliens is a sci-fi action movie that finds Signoruney Weaver back as Ripley as she joins a group of marines on a mission to eradicate a colony of xenomorphs. The movie is a pulse-pounding and exciting action ride from beginning to end. Weaver earned a rare Oscar nomination in an action-hero role, while Aliens remains one of the best sequels ever made.

4 The Dark Knight (2008)

Joker holding up a playing card in Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight

Release Date
July 18, 2008

Nestor Carbonell , Morgan Freeman , Ritchie Coster , Cillian Murphy , Chin Han , Gary Oldman , Eric Roberts , William Fichtner , Aaron Eckhart , Maggie Gyllenhaal , Christian Bale , David Dastmalchian , Michael Caine , Anthony Michael Hall , Heath Ledger

152 Minutes

The second movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight follows the Caped Crusader as he battles a homicidal maniac, The Joker, who threatens to burn Gotham City to the ground. Eschewing the silliness of most comic book movies, The Dark Knight is as gritty as any other action film. As for performances, they are often the best part of the film and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker is one of the greatest in film history. The action sequences are on an epic scale, from the opening heist sequence to the armored truck chase sequence. It cemented Nolan as one of the most exciting filmmakers of his generation.

3 The Terminator (1984)

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 Wearing Sunglasses and Speaking with Himself in the Mirror in The Terminator


Release Date
October 26, 1984

107 minutes

The Terminator was the movie that helped to establish James Cameron’s career in Hollywood with the bold and visionary sci-fi action story. The movie also made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star with his role as a deadly cyborg sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the woman who will eventually give birth to the man who will save humanity from the robot uprising. The compelling premise and an iconic action movie villain make for a terrific display of Cameron’s maverick filmmaking style that is still impressive even on this smaller scale compared to his other movies. The Terminator would launch Cameron’s career and spawn one of the most popular action movie franchises.

2 Seven Samurai (1954)

The warriors preparing to fight in The Seven Samurai.

Seven Samurai

Release Date
April 26, 1954

Akira Kurosawa

Toshiro Mifune


Another samurai movie from Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai is not only regarded as perhaps the greatest samurai movie, but one of the most influential action movies of all time. The movie follows a group of masterless samurai who band together to protect a small village from ruthless bandits. Kurosawa’s filmmaking style has influenced countless movies, with Star Wars being one of the most famous examples. Seven Samurai has directly inspired countless remakes and homages that range from American Western movies like The Magnificent Seven to sci-fi epics like Zack Snyder’s upcoming Rebel Moon.

1 The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix is another hugely influential action movie as it changed the genre forever when it was first released. Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, an aimless hacker who is exposed to the truth that the world he lives in is not reality. The big sci-fi ideas make the mythology of The Matrix fascinating to explore. However, the Wachowskis also deliver a brilliant action movie with martial arts fight sequences, thrilling shootouts, and endless sequences that bend the laws of reality. While the rest of the franchise can be debated, The Matrix remains one of the greatest action movies of all time and easily among the best on Max.

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