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Best Action Movies on HBO Max Right Now (October 2023)

October 20, 202316 Mins Read

Sometimes the house is just too quiet. What it needs is a good shootout, or maybe an explosion. A cool quip couldn’t hurt either. There are days when — for whatever reason — you just need a great action film before you hit the sack. Luckily, HBO Max has a ton of great action movies to offer. In fact, the titles below really just represent the tip of the action iceberg (particularly when it comes to fans of Samurai films or animated Batman movies). But if you are jonesing for a night of loud rock ‘em sock ‘em cinema, this is a great place to start your search.

In the mood for something a bit quieter? Check out our list of best comedies, dramas, or family movies on the platform, or browse our list of the best movies on HBO across all genres.

Editor’s note: This list was updated October 2023 to include Spy.


The 43 Best Movies on Max Right Now

There’s a little something for everyone.

The Batman (2022)

Robert Pattinson in The Batman

Run Time: 2 hr 56 min | Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano

After a mild portrayal in Justice League, Batman gets a new breath of life from director Matt Reeves. This time beneath the cowl of the caped crusader is a brooding, angsty Robert Pattinson. A detective’s story through-and-through, The Batman might have a staggering runtime but where it makes up for a lot of plot comes standout performances by Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, and Jeffrey Wright. From the thrilling batmobile chase to the unfolding mystery set out by The Riddler, there is something for everyone in this revival of the dark knight. With a sequel announced, it’s time to rewatch The Batman, because why not? – Therese Lacson

Watch on HBO

Spy (2015)

Spy’ (2015) (1)

Run Time: 2 hr | Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Statham

A packed ensemble cast that includes the likes of Rose Byrne, Jude Law, and Jason Statham support Melissa McCarthy’s deskbound CIA agent Susan Cooper, who, after a series of mission failures, ends up undercover herself, fighting a global threat. A satirical twist on the James Bond franchise, Spy is equal parts action-packed and funny, with McCarthy turning in a show-stopping central performance. An over-the-top narrative that thrives by not taking itself too seriously, writer and director Paul Feig finds the perfect balance of genuine tension and lightheartedness alongside cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman. Camp fun from start to finish, Spy is a wonderful satire of a well-worn genre. – Jake Hodges

Watch on HBO

The Meg (2018)

Jason Statham in The Meg (2018)
Image Via Warner Bros.

Run Time: 1 hr 53 min | Genre: Action, Horror | Director: Jon Turteltaub

Cast: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson

Very loosely based on the Steve Alten novel, The Meg combines the creature feature of Jaws with the everyman action-thriller format that Jason Statham (The Transporter) is known for. The story centers around a group of ocean researchers exploring the Mariana Trench in an underwater facility who accidentally discover a giant prehistoric megalodon in the deepest part of the ocean. They bring in Statham’s character, Jonas Taylor, a famous retired rescue diver, to help retrieve their missing scientists from the bottom of the ocean, and the race begins between Jonas’ dive and the huge hungry shark. The movie never takes itself too seriously, and that light, playful vibe is the perfect fit for this deep-sea action flick.

Watch on HBO

Shazam: Fury of the Gods (2023)

The cast of Shazam Fury of the Gods
Image via Warner Bros

Run Time: 2 hr 10 min | Genre: Action, Comedy | Director: David F. Sandberg

Cast: Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Asher Angel

Zachary Levi (Chuck) returns as the magical superhero Shazam — and this time, he’s bringing the whole family. Shazam: Fury of the Gods is a sequel to the 2019 hit film that brought a welcome amount of levity to the DC Extended Universe, so the studio had to kick it up a notch for round two. The movie is as epic as the Greek mythology the heroes and villains draw their strength from, focusing this time on the Daughters of Atlas, played by Helen Mirren (The Fate of the Furious) and Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels), who will stop at nothing to take back The Wizard’s power and take their revenge on the Shazamily.

Watch on HBO

Lucy (2014)

Scarlett Johansson pointing gun in Lucy
Image via Universal

Run Time: 1 hr 40 min | Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik

Written and directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), Lucy is an action-packed science-fiction adventure starring Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) in the titular role. Giving the film a global feel, Lucy was filmed in Taipei, Paris, and New York City. With a premise not too different from the plot of Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, Lucy follows a young woman who ends up taking a drug that allows her to access previously unused parts of her brain, resulting in kickass psychokinetic abilities. Although Lucy’s story is flimsy, the action sequences, visual aesthetic, and performances make the less than two-hour film entertaining and enjoyable to watch. – Yael Tygiel

Watch on HBO

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Rita and Ron facing each other in Edge of Tomorrow
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Run Time: 1 hr 53 min | Director: Doug Liman

Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

Edge of Tomorrow is directed by Doug Liman and based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill. Following a soldier with limited combat experience, played by action icon Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick), Edge of Tomorrow cleverly explores a time loop situation with a fresh and playful approach. Co-starring Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Edge of Tomorrow is an ambitious narrative set in a future where an alien race has occupied a majority of Europe. Praised for the utilitarian design of its action suits, gritty aesthetic, and charming humor to balance the sci-fi thriller tone, Edge of Tomorrow is a well-executed action movie. – Yael Tygiel

Watch on HBO

Black Adam (2022)

Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam aka Black Adam in 'Black Adam'
Image Via Warner Bros.

Run Time: 2 hrs 5 min | Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Sarah Shahi, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo

Dwayne Johnson (Moana) stars in Black Adam, based on the DC Comic, along with a star-powered cast of diverse talent, including Sarah Shahi (Sex/Life), Aldis Hodge (Leverage: Redemption), Noah Centineo (The Recruit), and Pierce Brosnan. Black Adam explores the legend of a powerful anti-hero who is released from his tomb to unleash his own unique form of justice. Taking place adjacent to the already established Shazam universe, Black Adam brings in a group of modern-day heroes called The Justice Society. Through gorgeous visuals, director Jaume Collet-Serra reflects Michael Bay’s passion for action with Zack Snyder’s stylistic aesthetic. – Yael Tygiel

Watch on HBO

Se7en (1995)

Brad Pitt as a detective in Seven
Image via New Line Cinema

Run Time: 2 hr 7 min | Director: David Fincher

Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow

Se7en is a haunting detective story goes way beyond “whodunnit.” Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are investigating a series of heinous murders in which each killing is done in the vein of one of the seven deadly sins. The film is brutal and gory. I would expect nothing less from David Fincher. – Alyse Wax

Watch on HBO

Assassination Nation (2018)

Image via Neon

Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Director: Sam Levinson

Cast: Odessa Young, Abra, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef

From the man behind Euphoria, Sam Levinson writes and directs the unparallelled film Assassination Nation, which explores themes of privacy, identity, and societal mayhem. Assassination Nation is the story of four teenage girls doing what they must to survive after chaos stemming from a data hack reveals the secrets of everyone in their small town and spreads like a virus. Levinson’s fascination with unique and attractive young women continues, as his cast of stars includes Odessa Young (The Staircase) and Suki Waterhouse (The White Princess), and his passion for traumatic exploits build with Purge-like escalation. An underrated action film, Assassination Nation is a movie that haunts viewers even after the credits conclude. – Yael Tygiel

Watch on HBO

Constantine (2005)

Keanu Reeves as John Constantine holding a cigarette and looking intently in the movie Constantine.

Run Time: 2 hr 1 min | Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia Labeouf, Tilda Swinton

Christopher Nolan didn’t invent the first “dark and gritty” DC comic book adaptation; 2005’s Constantine got there first. The film was somewhat lost within the rise of the superhero genre and unfortunately never became the sort of franchise that Warner Brothers intended it to be despite Keanu Reeves doing an excellent job as the titular private eye. Reeves’ steely demeanor brings Alan Moore’s classic pages to life. Weird, gothic, and surprisingly violent, Constantine is one of the few comic book movies where the word “scary” actually applies (it was also rated R). While a subsequent television adaptation and animated film attempted to revive the character, we’re still waiting on a new cinematic version of John Constantine who would be able to top Reeves’ performance. – Liam Gaughan

Watch on HBO

Miss Congeniality (2000)

Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality

Run Time: 1 hr 49 min | Director: Donald Petrie

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen

She’s in a dress, she has gel in my hair, she hasn’t slept all night, she’s starved, and she’s armed – don’t mess with her! Miss Congeniality is one of the best action comedies of all time. Featuring an iconic performance by Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart (or Gracie Lou Freebush), the movie follows a rough-around-the-edges F.B.I agent as she goes undercover at a beauty pageant to stop a bombing. As heartfelt as it is hilarious, romantic as it is action-packed, Miss Congeniality is a delightful fish-out-of-water tale that’s enjoyable all year round – no need to wait until the perfect date of April 25th. – Taylor Gates

Watch on HBO

Wonder Woman (2017)

Image via Warner Bros.

Run Time: 2 hr 21 min | Director: Patty Jenkins

Cast: ​​Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

The 10th highest-grossing movie on 2017 and holding a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, Wonder Woman was both a commercial and critical success. The film follows Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), aka Wonder Woman, an Amazonian warrior who was raised on the island of Themyscira. After an American pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crashes onto the island, German soldiers invade, leading the Amazonians to suffer heavy losses. Learning of the war raging on outside her home, Diana goes with Steve to London to help end it. On this journey, Diana discovers her power, destiny, and true love. – Taylor Gates

Watch on HBO

San Andreas (2015)

Dwayne Johnson's Ray and Carla Gugino's Emma Hold Hands in San Andreas 2015
Image via Warner Bros. 

Run Time: 1 hr 54 min | Director: Brad Peyton

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario

Action and destruction wreak havoc in San Andreas, a film inspired by the terrifying reality of California earthquakes. Dwayne Johnson stars as a helicopter pilot in the adventure movie that marks his first collaboration with director Brad Peyton (Rampage). Both Johnson and Peyton’s obvious experience with high-stakes catastrophe movies is revealed by their comfort and ease when soaring through death-defying stunts and explosive sequences. San Andreas isn’t just toppled buildings – the movie allows Johnson to show his often overlooked sensitive side as he plays a father attempting to rescue his daughter (Alexandra Daddario) following the massive disaster. – Yael Tygiel

Watch on HBO

The Bourne Identity (2022)

Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity
Image via Universal Pictures

Run Time: 1 hr 59 min | Director: Doug Liman

Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Clive Owen

The debut film of a series that has still never been topped, The Bourne Identity is a prime example of gritty and grounded action that never misses a beat. Unexpected and endlessly exciting, each scene is constructed to provide maximum engagement with a grounded sensibility. There are wild car chases, well-choreographed hand-to-hand combat, nail-biting escape scenes, and tense shootouts. It eschews typical eccentricities to be more grounded and realistic, firmly embedding itself as one of the more gripping action films of its kind. It is a film that also delves into the loneliness and isolation of its characters, creating a deeper emotional investment in the more heightening action moments. Grounding this is a youthful Matt Damon, who gives it his all and then some, drawing us into the life of a ruthless killer trying to figure out who he is once his mind has been erased. It makes for an experience that is always worth revisiting for those looking for a classic action flick. – Chase Hutchinson

Watch on HBO Max

Dune (2021)

Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet, is getting ready for fight in Dune
Image via Warner Bros

Run Time: 2 hr 35 min | Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa

A science-fiction epic whose scope is matched only by its sense of space in its battles, Dune has some of the most exciting action sequences that are as vibrant as they are vicious. Key amongst these is every scene with Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho, a charismatic yet skilled fighter who dives into every new challenge with a fearlessness and strength that is unmatched. One climactic scene in a confined hallway where he must take on impossible odds will forever stand out, making incredible use of Momoa’s immense presence and power. As he cuts through enemy after enemy, you can’t help but just watch in awe of his dedication to the performance. There is no one that could have done it like Momoa, and the scene itself is so well-choreographed that it all becomes a deadly dance. By the time it all concludes, it makes for one of the more moving and mesmerizing moments in a film that is full of them. – Chase Hutchinson

Watch on HBO Max

Chungking Express (1994)

Image via Jet Tone Production

Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Director: Wong Kar-wai

Cast: Brigitte Lin Chin-Hsia, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Leung, Faye Wong

Chungking Express is one of Wong Kar-wai’s many dark and beautiful stories of love and loss. Although it plays like an homage to 1960s mafia and samurai films, Chungking Express explores the loneliness of its characters. Told in two distinct acts, the film opens with the adventures of He Qiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a lovesick police officer yearning for an enigmatic drug dealer (Brigitte Lin); the second half features future In the Mood For Love star Tony Leung as another heartbroken police officer who shares his musings on life with a friendly snack seller (Faye Wong). Funny, poignant, and surprisingly action-packed, Chungking Express is one of Wong’s best. –Liam Gaughan

Watch on HBO Max

The Last Duel (2021)

Jodie Comer in 'The Last Duel'
Image via 20th Century Studios

Run Time: 2 hr 32 min | Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, Alex Lawther

Nearly 25 years after they won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon returned to write another script together. Considering that they chose to tell a story that deals with sensitive sexual assault issues, they were wise to bring on Nicole Holofcener as a female voice among the writers. The Last Duel tells the amazing true story of the last combat trial in Medieval France. The story is told from three different characters’ perspectives. After Sir Jean de Carrouges’ (Damon) wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) is raped by his best friend Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), Carrouges takes the matter before the King (Alex Lawther). – Liam Gaughan

Watch on HBO

F9: The Fast Saga (2021)

Vin Diesel and John Cena in F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
Image via NBCUniversal

Run Time: 2 hr 23 min | Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson

The ninth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise continues to expand on the out-of-this-world action that has put this franchise into a different stratosphere. There is something so great about Fast and Furious and how unhinged the series has become over time, yet it is still very much great. This time around, Dom (Vin Diesel) and the crew must take on an international terrorist who turns out to be Dom and Mia’s (Jordana Brewster) estranged brother (John Cena). If there is one thing you can expect from any Fast and Furious film, they will say the world family and the action will be anything but regular, and F9 continues that. It’s just non-stop from start to finish and proves that maybe the films have moved away from the original concept, but that doesn’t mean that the movie doesn’t remain entertaining from start to finish. With only two installments left in the show, there are no questions that the films will be over the top and deliver action sequences as we have never seen before. – Arianne Binette

Watch on HBO

The Suicide Squad (2021)

the team in the suicide squad

Run Time: 2 hr 12 min | Director: James Gunn

Cast: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena

Bringing a much-needed injection of humor into the DCEU, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad takes the secret squad of villains, Task Force X, to the island of Corto Maltese. Under the orders of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) this band of misfits and criminals is tasked with preventing an anti-American regime from gaining control over Project Starfish – an alien with mind-control abilities. As always, Margot Robbie kicks ass as Harley Quinn, while newcomers Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) all bring a brilliant mix of humor, heart, and badassery to the movie. Gunn has become well known for mixing heartfelt moments in with bizarre and/or graphic action sequences, and The Suicide Squad is no different. It’s a wild and fun ride, no matter what level of DC Comics fandom you may be. (And did I mention that Sylvester Stallone is the voice of a himbo King Shark who is both adorable and deadly?) — Brynna Arens

Watch on HBO

Mortal Kombat (2021)

Mortal Kombat Dragon
Image via Warner Bros.

Run Time: 1 hr 50 min | Director: Simon McQuoid

Cast: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Hiroyuki Sanada

When it comes to films that try to take on adapting video games to the big screen, it is usually a mixed bag about what you are going to get. When it comes to the newest Mortal Kombat, it is thankfully on the more positive side of adaptations. Bolstered by a killer opening sequence and some rather well-choreographed action sprinkled throughout, it is a lot of set-up for more to come though it still packs quite a lot in this first entry. It introduces a few new characters here and there while also making sure the notable figures from the games get plenty of time to smash around in a splashy spectacle of action. It also ratchets up the gore and violence that its source material was similarly known for, ensuring there is plenty to love in this largely faithful adaptation that offers a hint of more to come. — Chase Hutchinson

Watch on HBO

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