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The 20 Best Action Movies on Hulu: March 2024

March 4, 20249 Mins Read


Photo: Warner Bros.

This post is updated regularly as movies leave and enter Hulu. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

It’s time to have some fun. Let’s put down all the serious, Oscar-winning dramas, leave the documentaries for another day, and forget about that TV season that everyone tells you that you should be watching. There’s a reason that the most successful genre on the home market has been the same for over a generation now: People love action movies. They allow us to escape reality and enter a world where the good guy (usually) wins the day. These are the best action flicks currently on Hulu, updated monthly.

Year: 1989
Runtime: 2h 20m
Director: James Cameron

James Cameron’s 1989 sci-fi blockbuster is one of the most prominent films never to have been released on Blu-ray in the United States — but that finally changes in March with the 4K release, and it’s finally more readily available on streaming, too. People who love this movie really love this movie, and it’s great to see it finally coming to the fans who have deserved it for so long.

Year: 1988
Runtime: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

Animated action! Anyone who thinks a Japanese anime film from the ‘80s doesn’t deserve a spot on this list simply hasn’t seen Akira, a movie that feels more influential with each film that copies its template. Based on the 1982 manga of the same name and set in the oh-so-distant future of 2019, this story of a biker with telekinetic abilities has influenced dozens of action and sci-fi project. It gets better every time you watch it. (Note: Both the dubbed and subtitled versions are on Hulu.)

Year: 2005
Runtime: 2h 20m
Director: Christopher Nolan

Two films changed the modern blockbuster forever — Iron Man and Christopher Nolan’s first entry in what would become a trilogy starring Christian Bale as one of the most famous superheroes of all time. Batman Begins reshaped the superhero genre as something that could appeal to adults as much, if not more, than teens, and that’s mostly thanks to the craftsmanship brought to these films by Christopher Nolan.

Year: 1997
Runtime: 1h 55m
Director: Simon West

Nicolas Cage leads one of his best ensembles in this hit about a plane full of convicts that gets hijacked. Of course, Cage plays the “good criminal,” a guy sentenced to ten years for defending his pregnant wife. He finds himself the only possible savior on a plane full of real bad guys that includes John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, and Danny Trejo.

Year: 2023
Runtime: 2h 13m
Director: Gareth Edwards

Yes, the script here gets a little clunky and cribs a bit too much from other sci-fi films, but history is going to come around to The Creator for one reason: It looks stunning. It’s not just the blend of tactile cinematography and cutting-edge special effects, it’s the kind of visual language that’s almost always missing from Hollywood blockbusters. Gareth Edwards’ film will find an audience in the future. Get on the bandwagon early.

Year: 2017
Runtime: 1h 47m
Director: Christopher Nolan

The Dark Knight director returned to his homeland to tell one of its most formative war stories in the evacuation of British soldiers from northern France in 1940. Telling a story of land, sea, and air evacuations simultaneously, Dunkirk is a technical marvel, a film that only a filmmaker as ambitious and crazy as Nolan could even consider, much less pull off. Don’t watch this one on your phone. And turn it up loud.

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 39m
Director: Adam Robitel

How did it take so long for Hollywood to make this one? A clever, enjoyable B-movie, this thriller flick takes the concept of an escape room to extremes, and it ended up making over $150 million worldwide, leading to a 2021 sequel. Taylor Russell and Logan Miller lead a group of people who end up having to survive a series of increasingly dangerous escape rooms.

Year: 1995
Runtime: 2h 51m
Director: Michael Mann

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino star in one of the best movies of the ‘90s, a stunning cat-and-mouse game between a career criminal and a workaholic cop. The book release of Heat 2 in 2022 brought a lot of people back to this movie, one that has held up remarkably well over the nearly three decades since it was released. It’s a masterpiece.

Year: 2010
Runtime: 2h 28m
Director: Christopher Nolan

After the crazy success of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan went and made one of the most ambitious blockbusters ever made, cementing himself as one of the most interesting auteurs working in the Hollywood system. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a man who leads a team into other people’s dreams for the purposes of corporate espionage at first. Of course, he brings some personal baggage with him. This movie is a reminder of Nolan’s incredible vision and robust filmmaking. It’s held up wonderfully. One wishes there were more big-budget filmmakers taking these kind of risks.

Year: 2017
Runtime: 1h 59m
Director: Jake Kasdan

This massive blockbuster actually isn’t on streaming services that often, so take this chance while you can on Hulu. Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan star as the avatar versions of four teens who end up transported into a video game. A massive hit when it was released, it’s already produced one sequel, with another in development. It’s a lot of fun.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Year: 2010
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director: James Mangold

James Mangold (Logan) directed this fun action flick that’s basically built on the massive screen charisma of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Reuniting the stars of Vanilla Sky, the film casts Diaz as a woman who gets caught up with a spy on the run from the CIA. It’s been kind of forgotten by history but it’s a decent action choice on a lazy weekend.

Year: 2005
Runtime: 2h 6m
Director: Doug Liman

While the great new TV version kills it over on Prime, watch the original movie that gave the world Brangelina on Hulu. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt star as a seemingly ordinary suburban couple who discover that they both have secret identities as competing assassins. When they get assignments to kill each other, all Hell breaks loose.

Year: 1999
Runtime: 2h 5m
Director: Stephen Sommers

Brendan Fraser has had a career resurgence with his Oscar win for The Whale and his divisive role in Killers of the Flower Moon, so it’s a perfect time to revisit arguably his most popular film. It’s the one that should have kept him a star for decades—a wonderful adventure film that playfully updates the template that includes Indiana Jones and dates back to Errol Flynn. The entire trilogy is on Hulu.

Year: 2005
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director: Prachya Pinkaew

In 2003, action movie fans were looking for the next Jackie Chan or Jet Li and they found a martial arts superstar in Tony Jaa, who had his breakout film in Ong-Bak, the story of a Muay Thai master in a small village in Thailand who ventures to retrieve the stolen head of an ancient statue for his people. The film was a hit, producing two sequels, also both on Hulu.

Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior

Year: 1987
Runtime: 1h 47m
Director: John McTiernan

It’s also on Hulu, but you can probably skip the first sequel (although definitely don’t skip Prey) and just stick to the 1987 original, a lean, mean movie that features one of Ah-nuld’s best ‘80s performances. It’s a survival tale that starts off like a war movie before it throws in one of the universe’s most famous killing machines.

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 40m
Director: Dan Trachtenberg

The director of 10 Cloverfield Lane clearly knows how to make unexpected films in hit franchises and that’s exactly what he delivers in one of the biggest original film hits in the history of Hulu. A prequel to Predator, Prey details what happened when the alien killing machine crossed paths with a Comanche woman (Amber Midthunder) three centuries ago.

Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 23m
Director: Roseanne Liang

Chloe Grace Moretz stars in this clever genre hybrid that starts as a study of sexism on a fighter plane over the Pacific during World War II and then becomes basically an alien movie. Moretz is the first unexpected passenger on the plane; a gremlin who seems to be trying to take it down is a bigger problem. Lean and mean, this is a ridiculous B-movie, but don’t question the logic, just enjoy the ride.

Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 34m
Director: William Eubank

Dumped in theaters just before the pandemic broke the industry forever, this underrated thriller has already developed something of a following on VOD and then HBO Max before now sliding over to Hulu. Kristen Stewart stars as a worker on an underwater drilling facility who discovers something ancient under the water. Half disaster movie and half monster movie, it’s a lot of fun.

Year: 2015
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director: Roar Uthaug

Disaster movies aren’t the exclusive property of American filmmakers! Norway can make ‘em too! This is one of the best disaster movies of the 2010s, the story of an avalanche in Norway that leads to an 80-metre wave that rolls through the region around it, causing havoc.

Year: 2011
Runtime: 2h 8m
Director: Matthew Vaughn

The entire X-Universe was essentially rebooted in Matthew Vaughn’s great superhero film, one that turned the series from the somber tone of the ‘00s flicks to something more playful and fun. James McAvoy took on Professor X and Michael Fassbender stepped into the metal boots of Magneto for this smart prequel with style to spare. It’s held up well as one of the better superhero movies of the 2010s.

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