Actions Movies

The 23 Best Action Movies of 2023, Ranked

December 27, 202319 Mins Read

2023 has been a great year for action movies, with both the big and small screens delivering all manner of intense shoot-outs, stunning fight choreography, and, yes, lots and lots of blood. More often than not, the best action movies come down to just how cathartic the protagonist’s quest for revenge is, or how badly they’re willing to punish both themselves and their enemies in order to save the world. Behind the camera, it really just matters who’s directing and who the action choreographers are; the most basic plot can become action brilliance with the right people. And this year we have seen some seriously satisfying vengeance and world-saving being carried out, thanks to a lot of great artists.

So, without much further ado, here are the 23 best action movies that the year has delivered. Usually with two bullets between the eyes. And remember, if your personal favorite is not on here, take it personally and start your plan for retribution right now.

23 Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

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Director Steven Caple Jr. takes the helm of the Transformers franchise with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which drops audiences into the 1990s. The film chronicles the exploits of ex-military electronics expert Noah Diaz and artifact researcher Elena Wallace, who find themselves caught between the Autobots, the Maximals, and the Terrorcons.

Taking Transformers in New Directions

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts boasts even more of the eardrum-splitting explosions and epic robot-on-robot action that the Transformers movies have become known for. The action scenes are like industrial Cubism, and the plot is pretty surprising. By the end of the film, the series has been eagerly taken in a new direction, and it’s one that promises there is a lot more life left in this tale of robots in disguise. Stream on Paramount+ and MGM+.

22 Plane



Release Date
January 13, 2023

Jean-François Richet

1hr 47min

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Releasing in early January, Plane kicked off a great year for action movies, and we couldn’t think of a better movie to do so. Gerard Butler and Mike Colter were fantastic as Captain Brodie Torrence and criminal Louis Gaspare, respectively. Plane finds Butler’s pilot caught in a war zone after he’s forced to land his commercial aircraft during a terrible storm. To survive and save the passengers, he must team-up with an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI. The action is exhilarating and, of course, pretty nuts at points.

Gerard Butler Is Great in an ’80s Throwback

’80s action movies are on another level. The plots are ridiculous and nonsensical, the action is over-the-top, and the performances are simply awesome, even if they may be bonkers. 2023’s Plane delivered all of this and more, making it feel like an authentic ’80s action epic. Butler switches gears as well, playing more of an everyman role opposite Colter’s more typical action hero. This change ensures that Plane constantly surprises, despite its simple ’80s-throwback plot, with Butler lifting this standard action-adventure above the clouds and into action movie greatness. Stream on Starz and rent or by on digital platforms. Check out our interview with Butler and Colter below:

21 AKA

The French action thriller AKA follows a steely undercover special ops agent who finds his morality put to the test when he infiltrates a crime syndicate and unexpectedly bonds with the boss’ young son. Played by Alban Lenoir, the character mean-mugs like you can’t believe throughout the film, and is excellent with a gun in this explosive Netflix film from April.

Simplicity Done Well

AKA does what a lot of great action movies do — it takes the fundamentals and executes them incredibly well. Really, the most important things in an action film are the director, actors, and fight choreographers; the writer and script is often secondary or even tangential when it comes to action quality. AKA combines those three requirements well and takes a simple plot but creates excellent fight scenes from it as our hero wages his one-man war, while also managing to make us care about the main characters. Stream on Netflix.


20 The Roundup: No Way Out

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The Roundup: No Way Out finds Eternals star Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee) back as detective Ma Seok-do. Set seven years after his last roundup in Vietnam, Ma Seok-do joins a new squad to investigate a murder case. Of course, he soon starts digging deeper with his boxing glove-sized hands when he finds out the case involves a synthetic drug and a gang of thugs.

A Funnier and Punch-Tastic Roundup

Truly, nobody throws a punch like the hulking bruiser that is Ma Dong-seok. Brimming with brutal fist fights, The Roundup: No Way Out tells a classic old-school cop story, with the actor displaying fists of fury like you’ve never seen before. Plus, this installment in the franchise has some great comedic moments and lets Ma Dong-seok get a little goofy, which is great to see. The Roundup: Now Way Out is not currently streaming.

19 The Wrath of Becky

The Wrath of Becky

The Wrath of Becky

Release Date
May 25, 2023

Matt Angel

Matt Angel , Nick Morris

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Becky was a surprising delight in 2020, with a soulful performance from Joel McHale, a menacing and nasty antagonist with Kevin James, and a wonderful Lulu Wilson in the titular role. The action-survival film seemed perfect for a sequel, and delivers that in spades with The Wrath of Becky, a very fun revenge thriller that follows the traumatized but nearly psychotic teenage Becky as she seeks revenge for a violent home invasion by neo-Nazis who are plotting a domestic terrorist attack.

Seann William Scott Shines as a Perfect Antagonist

This time, Becky is up against American Pie star Seann William Scott as Darryl Jr., with the comedic actor putting in a far more intimidating performance than audiences are used to, and absolutely nailing it. Of course, Wilson once again excels as the blood and gore-loving Becky, with the sequel bringing the same silliness and excessive brutality that made the first movie so watchable. Stream The Wrath of Becky on Showtime and with Showtime on Prime Video or Hulu, and rent or buy on digital platforms.

18 Gran Turismo

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Gran Turismo is a biographical sports drama that enlarges on the heart underneath a high-octane game and opens the road for an incredibly true story. It follows three underdogs – an ex-race car driver, a working-class gamer, and a motorsport executive – who take up a risky task, betting everything they have on winning.

A Unique Video Game Adaptation

Here is a rarity – a video game adaptation that understands just what makes its source material so amazing and replicates the same on the big screen. Few movies manage to display visuals and portray emotions that make you feel like you’re right there with the characters. What’s genuinely solid is the gamer-to-racer arc of a teenager who never even dreamed of it happening, and paired with those cinematic race scenes, Gran Turismo does justice to the age we live in. Stream on Netflix and rent or buy on digital platforms. Check out our interview with star David Harbour below:

17 One Percenter (1%Er)

Not be confused with the Australian biker movie 1%, One Percenter (1%Er) is a highly technical 2023 film that is all about fighting. When two ruthless yakuza gangs interrupt the shooting of an action flick at an abandoned factory, the action star of the project is not too pleased. But will this on-screen martial artist be able to stand against one hundred yakuza? Thankfully for action movie fans, the answer is a very loud “Yes!”

Tak Sakaguchi Kills It

Led by Tak Sakaguchi in a charismatic performance, One Percenter may take a beat or two to really get going, but once it does, audiences will find all manner of exceptional fight sequences to enjoy. Fight choreographer, stuntman, and martial artist Sakaguchi proves himself to be a bona fide modern-day action superstar in this industrial, claustrophobic fight film. 1%Er is currently not streaming.

16 Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant

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Director Guy Ritchie made two of the best action/crime films of all time with the ever-so-excellent Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. All without mentioning the brilliant Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. His latest movie finds the director attempting a war film with The Covenant. After US Army Sergeant John Kinley is rescued against impossible odds by Afghan interpreter Ahmed he is sent back to the safety of America. But, when he discovers that Ahmed and his family were not given safe passage to America as promised, he heads back into the war zone to repay his debt.

A Surprisingly Great Action-War Film

The Covenant is a gripping war flick anchored by sensational performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim. The action is exhilarating, brutal, and masterfully directed by Ritchie. As a result, The Covenant is one of the biggest and best surprises of the year, and the most acclaimed Ritchie film in two decades. Available to stream on Prime Video and rent or buy on digital platforms. Check out our interview with Gyllenhaal and Salim below:

15 The Killer

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Fans of action movies with a little more existential angst in them (like The American or Le Samourai) will certainly get a kick out of The Killer. The film follows Michael Fassbender as a solitary, cold, methodical assassin, who finds himself battling his employers, and himself, on an international manhunt he insists isn’t personal. Easily, the best scene is the long-take hallway fight scene that is among the year’s best action sequences.

An Ice Cold Killer with Lots of Style

More stylish an action movie than many, The Killer finds both Fincher and Fassbender on top form as they tell this stripped back, sinister, sometimes frosty tale of an obsessive hitman. The action is beautifully shot and perfectly edited, making the fight scenes flow fluidly and allowing the audience to witness every gunshot, knife slash, and punch. But, while the main character and his violent world may seem distant, there is a lot of meaning underneath the ice. Streaming on Netflix.

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Sam Hargraves’ Extraction is one of the best Netflix original action movies, and when a sequel was quickly green-lit, we couldn’t wait. Now, three years later, Extraction 2 did not disappoint. Chris Hemsworth returns as Tyler Rake, a mercenary with nothing to lose. Back from the brink of death, Rake takes on another dangerous mission: saving the imprisoned family of a ruthless gangster. With a simple but emotional story, Hemsworth and Hargrave craft another white-knuckle action thrill ride.

Of course, the action is stunning, with a more than 20-minute long take that sees Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake take out an army of prisoners and guards in a prison riot, a barrage of cars in an epic car chase, and finally, a helicopter on a thrilling fight sequence on a train, all in one take. The story is far more interesting than the first, and this sequel sets up many spin-offs and sequels that we can’t wait to see. Available to stream on Netflix.

13 The Equalizer 3

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2023 seemed like the year for a franchise, for better or worse. So many film series have seen sequels and continuations, and The Equalizer 3 followed suit. One part retirement thriller, one part meditation on justice, the movie centers around former CIA operative Robert McCall trying to live a peaceful life in Southern Italy. However, the new friends he’s made there seem to be under the spell of local crime lords, which only irks him.

A Sweet Reunion, a Violent Finale

Reuniting Denzel Washington with his Man on Fire co-star Dakota Fanning, McCall finds himself doing battle with the Mafia, his fury unleashed. Washington brings his flawless and raw understanding of the character one more time, and the action sequences feel extremely immersive and well-choreographed. Overflowing with the same audacious violence that fans of the franchise have become accustomed to, the movie is pure popcorn entertainment and marks a great finale to a beloved trilogy. Available to rent or buy on digital platforms like YouTube, Prime Video, or AppleTV+. You can watch our interview with the franchise’s director, Antoine Fuqua, below:

12 Creed III

Creed III

Creed III

Release Date
March 3, 2023

1 hour and 56 minutes

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Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut, Creed III, is one of the best and most stylized films in the Rocky/Creed franchise. It tells a personal story with deeply compelling characters and arcs, with Jordan’s Adonis Creed facing a ghost from his past who has returned to challenge the champ. The movie’s villain is terrifying and unpredictable, but perhaps what makes Creed III shine above the rest is the gut-punching action.

An Anime-Inspired Sequel Made Great by Michael B. Jordan

Michael B. Jordan has always expressed his love for anime, and for his directorial debut, the actor and director brought much of what he adored so much about the genre into this boxing movie. The fight scenes are stylized, fast-paced, and over-the-top, much like anime. We see slow-motion, zoom-ins on characters’ eyes, and perhaps the best moment is when Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed gets sucker punched in the stomach, and time slows down as the camera cuts to seeing Adonis’ sweat fly off his back. Boasting magnetic performances from both Jordan and the now-controversial Jonathan Majors, Creed III is visceral, over-the-top, and simply awesome. Available to stream on Prime Video and MGM+. Check out our red carpet interviews for the film below:

11 Polite Society

Polite Society

Polite Society

Release Date
April 28, 2023

Nida Manzoor

Priya Kansara , Ritu Arya , Renu Brindle , Seraphina Beh , Ella Bruccoleri

1hr 43min

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Polite Society is a ton of fun and became a surprise little gem from 2023. It’s a charming tale centered around a wanna-be martial artist and stuntperson who thinks her sister’s fiancé and mother-in-law-to-be are not who they let on. She begins a warped quest to save her sister from an imagined fate.

So Edgar Wright Walks Into a Bollywood Bar…

Blending Bollywood action with British sarcasm, Polite Society features all the beautifully choreographed martial arts heights that your heart could desire, crafting a ludicrously fun, enthralling action tale that feels both completely unique and warmly familiar. And Western audiences will be delighted to know that the film draws a lot of similarities between a few Edgar Wright movies, like Scott Pilgrim and Hot Fuzz, in terms of its fast editing, humor, and style. The action is phenomenal, the costume design is stunning, and the performances are effortlessly sweet. Stream on Prime Video and rent or buy on digital platforms.




Release Date
April 28, 2023

Jorma Tommila , Aksel Hennie , Jack Doolan , Onni Tommila

1hr 31min

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Let’s face it, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing Nazis getting their asses handed to them. It was satisfying in the Indiana Jones franchise, and it was equally satisfying in Inglourious Basterds. But its most satisfying recent incarnation is 2023’s SISU. Set during the last days of World War II, the film follows a solitary prospector who discovers gold but is unlucky enough to come across some angry Nazis as they retreat. Or are the Nazis the unlucky ones?

Over-the-Top Gore Gets Cathartic

SISU is wild. Nazis get mines thrown at them, knives impaled in their skulls, and one even gets strapped to a bomb and dropped out of a plane. The Finnish action movie plays out like an alternate version of John Wick, one in which you simply swap dogs for gold and gangsters and assassins for Nazis. Featuring the kind of gloriously excessive and bloody sequences that revenge movies are made of, SISU is by far one of the most cathartic action movies of 2023, and should absolutely provide satisfaction for even the most experienced fight fan. Available to stream on Starz and rent or buy on digital platforms.

9 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

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While some might not think a superhero movie should count as a traditional action movie, it is hard to argue that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 does not belong on this list, as it has some of the best action in any superhero film this year. The finale of James Gunn’s trilogy finds Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) rallying his team to defend the universe and protect one of their own while reeling from the loss of Gamora.

The Best MCU Movie of the Year

The MCU has had a rough year, but thankfully, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 proves there are still good stories to tell. The passion from James Gunn and the ensemble cast is palpable, which shows in the action sequences. The standout action scene is the long hallway fight on The High Evolutionary’s base. Designed to look like a single take, each member of the Guardians gets their moment to shine and show off their impressive powers. It is the best “team action shot” in a superhero movie since the one-take shot in The Avengers of the heroes battling in New York. Stream on Disney+ and rent or buy on digital platforms.

8 Kill Boksoon

Despite boasting a 100% completion rate, the lead character of Kill Boksoon — a contract killer named Gil Bok-soon — struggles to balance her personal life with her work. As her contract with the top assassination agency MK Ent draws to a close, she decides not to follow through with her final assignment. Instead, she shifts the attention to mending her relationship with her daughter Jae-young.

Stylish Action With an Engrossing Plot

The emotional value of its plot renders Kill Boksoon a compelling journey until the fireworks of its finale. But really, this is among the best South Korean films of the year thanks to its well-choreographed fight scenes with many nods to John Woo and even early Wong Kar-wai. With a keen and stylish directorial sense from Byun Sung-hyun, this well-acted action thriller should hit home for film fans around the world. Stream on Netflix.

7 Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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Despite being a box office bomb, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is one of the best movies of the year, period. It offers an energy very similar to that of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies at their best, and is a hilarious and whimsical adventure. Based on the iconic tabletop role-playing game, the film follows a band of unlikely adventurers who must embark on a quest to retrieve a lost relic.

A Great Cast Builds a Detailed World

The cast was perfect, with the likes of Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, and Regé-Jean Page all giving delightful performances with fantastic chemistry. While audiences largely slept on Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, it proved to be a charming, action-packed, fantasy film throwback, as well as a richly detailed adaptation of the source material. Here’s hoping that a sequel will eventually take flight…no doubt on the wings of Jarnathan. Available to stream on Prime Video and Paramount+, along with MGM+.

6 Kill

Lakshya in Kill from 2023

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Hailing from India, the Hindi-language film Kill made big waves in Indian theaters and at film festivals around the world in 2023. It begins with the sort of simple premise that action movie dreams are made of, following a passenger on a train to New Delhi. When the train becomes a combat battleground, a pair of commandos must face off with an army of invading bandits.

The Most Violent Action Movie of the Year?

Led by the new action hero to watch, Lakshya, Kill uses its single location to perfection, throwing all manner of incredibly well-choreographed and brutal fight sequences at audiences in a dizzying array of action movie splendor. The film gets downright gory in its relentless, bloody action that will even make a seasoned fan wince. Make no mistake, Kill is a near-perfect thriller that will hit you like, well, a train. Lionsgate will be releasing Kill in U.S. theaters in 2024.

5 Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning

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Even with weaker box office returns than expected, there’s likely no end in sight for this franchise, with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) always scaling new heights of madness and majesty. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning follows the team as they try to save the world after an enemy from Hunt’s past joins forces with a powerful rogue AI known as “The Entity.” It’s the usual ‘save the world’ structure which allows the filmmakers to stage a series of excellent action set pieces.

Tom Cruise Continues His Incredible Stunt Work

Director Christopher McQuarrie once again triumphs in showcasing his skill for meticulous storytelling and infusing scenes with exhilarating action. While the seventh film in the series has already cemented its status in featuring one of the greatest stunts in cinematic history, it’s important to note that the narrative and intrigue still hold up very well. Ultimately the film sees Cruise doing what he does best. The Hollywood icon throws himself off of cliffs and into any sort of danger his imagination can muster in the name of cinematic entertainment. Available to rentor buy on digital platforms like AppleTV+, Prime Video, Google Play, and YouTube.

4 Across the Spider-Verse

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The sequel to 2018’s Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse picks up with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) as they swing straight into the madness of the multiverse, meeting a team of Spider-People known as the Spider-Society and handling a new threat in the form of The Spot.

The Best Superhero Movie of the Year

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is not just one of the best action movies of the year, but one of the best movies, period. Building on its predecessor, the film demonstrates the kind of visual spectacle (and spectacular action) that can be achieved with groundbreaking animation and a compelling story. The amount of visual imagination and the perfect synthesis of sound and image make this one of the most downright cinematic films of the year. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is streaming on Netflix and you can rent or buy it on digital platforms.

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