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The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far

The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far

15. “Why Don’t You Play In Hell?” (2013) 
Sion Sono’s batshit-crazy mash-up “Why Don’t You Play In Hell?” signalled a shift from the heavier fare he’d been making to more genre-inflected territory, and served as a love letter both to both the action movie and to filmmaking in general. The movie sees the collision of a group of action-loving amateur filmmakers called the Fuck Bombers, mobster Boss Muto and his actress daughter Mitsuko, with the former enlisted to make an action movie that immortalizes both Mitsuko and the big gang battle. Both slapsticky and strangely sad, it’s an extraordinary mix of tones that shouldn’t work at all, but does tremendously well —Sono clearly relishes the action sequence, particularly in a demented, blood-soaked final battle. Follow-up “Tokyo Tribe,” a hip-hop musical, arguably has even better action, but it’s also exhausting and queasily misogynistic, so this is definitely our pick.14. “Hero” (2002) / “House Of Flying Daggers” (2004)
We’re breaking our own rules here for a split entry, but who could possibly pick between Zhang Yimou’s gorgeous, extravagant wuxia epics? The two were released just months apart in the U.S. (due, it may not surprise you, to Harvey Weinstein) and make perfect companion pieces. “Hero” is the artsier of the pair to some degree, a narratively tricksy story of a Nameless warrior (Jet Li) relating to his king how he killed three assassins, while “House Of Flying Daggers,” set a few hundred years later, is the more straightforward action movie, with police captains Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro utilizing a blind dancer to lead them to a rebel group. The films have different DOPs (Christopher Doyle shot “Hero”), but both are spectacularly colorful and every-frame-a-picture beautiful, feature some of the most thrilling martial arts sequences put on film and showcase some of Asia’s biggest stars at their best.13. “Casino Royale” (2006) 
His track record in other movies might be troublesome (see, or rather, don’t, “Vertical Limit” and “Green Lantern”), but if you’re looking to bring back Bond, Martin Campbell is your man. Eleven years after revamping 007 with Pierce Brosnan and one of the best films in the series for “Goldeneye,” Campbell repeated the trick with the series’ first Daniel Craig film. “Skyfall” might have been more successful, but “Royale’ is simply the better movie: it has a great villain in Mads Mikkelsen, a great love interest in Eva Green, and is the rare Bond film where the quieter moments are just as memorable as the set pieces. Not that the action’s lacking, though: the opening parkour sequences might still be the high watermark of the Craig era as far as sequences go. It runs out of steam by the time that it gets to Venice for the conclusion, but this is top-tier 007 otherwise. 12. “Apocalypto” (2006)
What do we talk about when we talk about “action”? Generally speaking, in how the word is used in a Hollywood context, it means fights and/or chases. “Apocalypto” is essentially one long chase, interspersed with several fights, all the more remarkable for taking place during the end of the Mayan era, in 16th century Guatemala. As his idyllic life as husband, father, and son of the tribe’s chief is threatened by invading forces, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) must battle his way back to his hidden family through unforgiving jungle and enemies seen and unseen. But the real greatness of Mel Gibson‘s film (and no matter how persona non grata he may be, this film proves his directorial chops even more than his more celebrated movies) is in the kinetic pacing of its foot chases, which become every bit as thrilling as the explosions, gunplay, and car crashes that the genre usually deals in.11. “Gladiator” (2000) 
It’s easy to forget many Oscars and hundreds of millions of dollars later, but “Gladiator” was hella risky on paper: a director who hadn’t had a hit in a decade, a genre, the swords-and-sandals picture, that hadn’t been in fashion since the 1960s, and an untested star best known for playing a chubby grey-haired man twenty years older than him in “The Insider.” But even fifteen years on, Ridley Scott’s film still thrills. Using CGI to bring a vision of Ancient Rome like little that had been seen before, telling a characterful, textured story, and stacking the cast with great actors, from fresh faces like Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix to sozzled veterans like Oliver Reed and Richard Harris, it works on almost every level, not least in the blood-splattered, hugely influential action sequences. It inspired a dozen imitators, but from “Alexander” to “300,” none hold a candle to Maximus.

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John Stark

Only made it thru page one, but this is the worst list i’ve ever seen. All Is Lost? Not an Action movie, much less top 25. What are these movies? Black hat? WOW someone here has terrible taste.


    The patriot (mel gibson), under siege, tombstone, bravehart, gangs of new york, 300, etc etc ALL deservef a place in this list and #1 zhoulda been gladiator


Good List. Although I think I would have included mentioning Heywire which had some fantastic action sequences.

Actual Action Fan

Who the F made this list? No debate over Mad Max being top 1, (or 2 or 3, will not drop further thankfully).

But rest of this lost is sh**. Some are great, (Raid, Good Bad and Ugly, Crank) but no 300 in main list?


    I was looking forward to Fury Road so much, but 30 minutes in thought it was a pile of shit. I stayed because I’d paid for the ticket, but it didn’t improve. Don’t know what people see in it at all.

Mr. Everett

I guess neither The Dark Knight nor The Winter Soldier deserve any consideration. Good list, anyway.


How can you not put troy on this list or kung fu killer smh.


"Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" had 10 Oscar nominations, it won 4.


I’m a big fan of Day of Reckoning and am curious as to where it might have landed if it wasn’t discounted. Care to indulge my interest with a rough guess?

John Stark

It seems like these picks are based on these movies having great action scenes, but many of these movies aren’t complete films. I prefer a well told story with action elements vs. non-stop action that has very little point.


Not a bad list but I think Dredd and Edge of Tomorrow deserve to actually be on the list. And I think Raid 2 deserves either a tie with its originator or a solo spot.

John Stark

Maybe these aren’t straight action movies so you chose to exclude them, but where is: LOTR, Minority Report, SpiderMan 2, The Incredibles, Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Iron Man, Children of Men, 300, Beowulf, Inception, Tron Legacy, Django, The Avengers, Fury and so many more.


How about Rambo? One of the best pure action movies of any century?


‘Blackhat’? Are you serious?

tristan eldritch

Eternal respect for having the balls and taste to put BLACKHAT in there, but DREDD is a pretty serious omission.

Charles Parlapanides

Where is Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE? Or even THE PROPHET. You could argue the later is more a drama. But there is no excuse to leave MAN ON FIRE off this list.


I love this site but this list is suspect at best. The Raid 2 is an improvement in every way over The Raid but it gets mentioned, it should be in the top 5! Agree with the above gotta have Dark Knight, Winter Solider, and maybe The Avengers in there as well. Also where is Edge of Tomorrow? City of God? The Guest? You’re Next? So much missing.


Where on earth is Haywire?

The Guy

It’s funny because a lot of these movies are pretty damn terrible. "Lucy" alone makes this a terrible list.


I like the DGAF nature of this list. Although I’m against lists in principle, I more or less approve.


Are you trolling with Us? This list is awful!


Great list, but I would argue that BOURNE SUPREMACY is by far the better film. It has an emotional heart that ULTIMATUM lacks, and a pure and simple goal, revenge for the girl’s murder, along with the compelling need Bourne has to atone for his sins. The series could honestly have ended there for me. The third film is fun, but it was clearly being written as they went along, and much of the structure of it is copied form the previous film, down to the final car chase where he drives the villain into a tunnel divider. SUPREMACY and EDGE OF TOMORROW are my two favorite action movies of the last decade.


Wait a sec… The first "Raid" over it’s sequel?? Madness. That end fight in the restaurant ALONE casts a shadow over most of this list.


Dredd, Shoot Em’ Up and the Guest belong in the top 10 of this list, as opposed to being omitted completely.

Kenny Ritchie

Depressing that Mad Max: Fury Road came out on top. Most overrated movie of the year. Really wanted to like the movie, but found myself bored a lot of the way through it.


"Old boy" one if the finest action movies


Please stop with the lengthy "honorable mentions" after you do a list. It defeats the purpose and ruins the fun of making a list in the first place.

John Conner

While I was happy to see The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, I find it surprising that The Man from Nowhere did not make the cut for the main list. It is one of the very few movies that I feel can compare to The Raid and Mad Max Fury Road. Good list other than that minor nitpick.


I don’t agree with all of this list, but it’s weird enough to make it interesting, and that’s what I like to see in a list. Also, I loved Vlackhat and I’m glad to see it getting some love, even if I wouldn’t classify it as a straight action movie.


Vlackhat=Blackhat of course.

The Little Lebowski

Only need to see the first page. This list is horrible. Lucy? Blackhat? This stupidity will not stand, man. This is generally a great site, but you’re shooting yourself in the toe with this tripe.


Any compilation of greatest action movies must have the Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy involved. Even Gareth Evans’ raved about it and is one of the most faithful live-action anime adaptations to date. It reinvigorates swordplay and samurai genre and expands on its possibilities.


Can’t argue with the top 3 there. They’d be my exact choices.


The Raid 2 is better than all of these movies put together, even the first one.


The Bourne Supremacy should have been mentioned as well.


"All is Lost" is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.


Unstoppable? Black hat? All is lost? WTF is this list? John Wick on 8th position?!


Wow, this is one hilariously bad list. Oldboy, Children of Men, Hot Fuzz, Running Scared(kills overrated Fast and the Furious films), The Way of the Gun, Narc, Harsh Times, Dog Soldiers(or any of Neil Marshall’s films really), and you put Mad Max number one? Jesus. Yes, that film was better than Battle Royale?) End of Watch, The Guest, Snowpiercer… Bad Boys 2 is better. Oh, and The Raid and The Raid 2 should be number 1 and number 2. Some people are so obsessed with CGI, people who can’t do their own stunts, PG-13 action that is very sanitized. Jet Li did make a pretty good American film with Kiss of the Dragon and that film KILLS most movies on your list. Well done!


While this lis has some great entries, (Mi: Ghost Protocol, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Raid, Mad Max: Fury Road, etc.), and some other are debatable entries. However, I can´t grasp the fact that Lucy and Blackhat made it into the list.


Nice list, but no Expendables movies? Maybe the Stallone movies are a genre all on their own.

Mr. White

Wow! Bad Boys 2! hahaha…. This has to be one of the worst lists of all time.


Honestly, only about 5-10 of these movies deserve to be on here. One of the worst lists I’ve ever seen about movies.


Lucy, Fast Five… And no Time and Tide, Spider-Man 2, Speed Racer, Blade 2 or Miami Vice ? Very bad list, except for Fury Road and Ghost Protocol and some others. Also Blackhat is a masterpiece that will be reassessed in the future.


Talk about a shallow click bait article.

Are these articles put together 15 minutes before your lunch break?

Have you heard of Kathryn Bigelow before? My suggestion is, if your going to put these movies together in a list, educate us on your reasons why.



Marcus Kempton

I would definitely add Tsui Hark’s TIME AND TIDE to this list.


I can accept that some of these movies are on the list for their actions sequences, and the action sequences alone, but how does Captain America: The Winter Soldier not even make it to the honorable mentions??


Bang Rajang, Ninja Assassin, Django Unchained


First Blood

Zach D.

Mostly good, solid choices (the inclusion of ‘Bad Boys II’ is questionable). And you can’t really argue with that Top 3. Still, there are some noteworthy action flicks that are curiously missing: ‘Drive’, ‘300’, ‘V for Vendetta’, and ‘A History of Violence’.

Stanley Kubrick

This list is a joke.


Wow. Just wow. 15 years of movies, and I’d say 3 of these deserve to be in the top 25.


I can’t believe LUCY made the list but TAKEN is in honourable mentions.


Where is A bittersweet life????

Vaughan Johnson

Not only was Gladiator a terribly dull movie, it wasn’t released in the 21st century.


Very strange list indeed.
And where is Dredd?

other song

These hipster newbies gotta stop writing columns. It’s always the same ol crap. Make some list, pepper it with a couple worthy admissions, then cap it off with a ludicrous #1 that likely just came out (and the writer may or may not be paid to dickride)

Mr. Nitpick

Well, the year 2000 actually belongs to the 20th century (think of it, there was no year 0, like there is no day 0 of any month or month 0 of any year), so "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" doesn’t belong on this list. Still, it is a fantastic action movie (forget that: it is a fantastic movie overall).


Vaughan, Gladiator came out in 2000. That was the first year of the 21st century.

Mike Connell

What they needed to do was define what qualifies as an action movie, and what excludes it. Thrillers and action movies overlap a great deal. If an action movie is not thrilling, it’s vapid. So why can’t Munich, the Departed, Stander, or a Death Proof make this list?


Mr. Nitpick, that’s like saying that the year 1900 belongs to the 19th century.


gladiator, memento, snatch, traffic, lord of the rings, borne identity, city of god, hero, minority report, munich, sin city, 300, casino royal, avatar… your list has a lot of c/d movies, i think you might have been going for a ‘so bad it’s good’ sorta thing with fast furious type movies?


Omg thanks for the list, I’ve been debating watching Raid 2 without Raid 1. Also wasn’t planning on watching MadMax until now…


Brilliant list. To the guys that don’t think so. … trying watching these movies first !


Anything else you think deserved a mention?

Romeo Must Die, The One, Terminator 3, The Rundown, The Punisher, National Treasure, Indiana Jones 4, Run All Night, The Equalizer, Non-Stop, White House Down, Safe, Premium Rush, Jack Reacher, Switch, Hanna, Mission Impossible 4, Kick-Ass, The Expendables, Machete, Knight and Day, Salt, Faster, RED, Vengeance, Danny the Dog, Mr & Mrs Smith, The Bourne Identity, Homefront,….

Steve Whalls

This is one of the worst list of action movies I’ve ever seen. A lot of the honourable mentions are waaay better than your picks. Torque? Blackhat? LUCY? Are you high?

Alain Nallana

Totally agree with Mad Max. Blew my mind! Nicholas Hoult’s character did it for me.


i liked blackhat, but i wouldn’t call it an Action Movie. Same for Lucy, All Is Lost. Glad to see 13 Assassins, though, along with the usual suspects.

Did i miss Casino Royale in this list?


No Oldboy? Ever seen that movie? It deserves to be at least in the Top 5!


Anyone consider the Japanese thriller Outrage ? Talk about action and gangsters and plenty of action ! And then there is Beyond Outrage too !

julian gerzanich

this list sucks this critic hasn’t good expertise the americna film slected are god awful the Asian one belong on the list but not in order they are


Just wondering about a couple of movies – Skyfall, District 13 among the few I was wondering left out. Since I haven’t seen 4 of the films listed here, I can’t realise criticise but I was wondering nevertheless. Casino Royale better than Skyfall? Really?


The Dark Knight should have been on here.


If we are being technical, any movie that was released in 2000 is part of the 20th century. However, how can ‘The Incredibles’ not be in the top three… or left off the list completely?!? The action, characters, and poignant themes are as deep (well, better) as the best live action films. It is number one in my book for this century. And where the heck is ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’?!?!? Just kidding on that last one… ;)


Great list. Good mix of Hollywood and euro/asian cinema. People will argue over the numbers, since they are obviously experts. But Taking the list as a whole and not just by number, it’s a pretty good one. Would have Edge of tomorrow knock one of the 25 out though :)


Blackhat and Lucy on a "Best action movies" list? Are you joking? Fast Five?! this is just insulting.


    See my lists of all-time great action movies on my blogger page!See my lists of all-time great action movies on my blogger page!

The "That's A Bad List" Guy

This is a mediocre list. Some good entries but far too many that do not belong or are placed too high.


How about Snowpiecer? Or is that to Sci-Fi?


for anyone who complained LOTR!!

Saw htwe


Saw htwe


Jack Burton

Great list, especially the honorable mentions. You left out a ton, but 25 is pretty cramped. I’d love to see your top 2500. Let’s have have a beer some time and discuss it…actually, make it a six demon bag.


maybe spend more time talking about the actual film? and less time talking about remakes etc. awful

Bruce Nims

Come on guys. Dredd should have been on this list.

chris freeman

oh my fucking god, there is no fucking way mad max is the best of any list the dark knight is a far better action film, fucking memento, and more frankly the fact this movie really has no plot or story and a realized world yes a lot of sand and a fucking flame guitar is definitely a realized world were do they get gas for all this fire and there vehicles were do they get all this chrome spray

Chris Freeman

the hateful eight is a better action flick the avengers


One of the best top-something lists I’ve seen. Well thought out and I like the deliberate and courageous decision to step away from the obvious. Great job guys.

R-G Vigil

Django: unchained. Will Smith?

Don pierro


Don pierro



well I watched the film unstoppable and I have never seen a film as bad in my life..a runaway train where the train driver jumps off and the throttle lever goes over to high speed its self lol..

brian january

See my lists of all-time great action movies on my blogger page!


Watched "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" based upon your review. I will never get that 2 hours back. How can you rate that as "one of the best" action movies? Absolutely atrocious, with little story per se and action scenes that were pretty dull and not particularly engaging.

Truly awful movie and questionable review.

Jimmy C

This list is fucking horrible… whoever made this obviously had never seen an action movie
please delete this entire website for even being a part of this insulting list

Soumit Nath

As a die hard action fan I take this list as an insult. Page 2 and I’m done going through the rest. Some films are good for sure but the rest are simply unimaginable.

Hasani Din

How DOES 300 not make it? How come the matrix is not here? ANd How does Ip man take an honorable mention. I’m filming an action movie this summer and Whoever made this list is getting shot in the opening credits! UN-Believable smh


Wow, horrible list. They might have 5 of them right. All is lost make the list? get real.


Dude, where is Replacement Killers


Eww Mad Max! And there is no Jean Claude Van Damme!


The new mad max movie is almost unwatchable.


I don’t like this list.

K frempong

Add your voice to the conversation…nico��


London to Brighton deserves more mention than some on the list

Luke Action

Sounds right to me, but what about Rambo,The Kingdom(Though that’s kinda a war movie) 2012, 300, Machete and Die Hard 4.0?

Zane oo


Zane oo


Rohan masud

Where is Terminator 2??

Pingback: Homepage

your list is full of shit accept few of them.


Mad Max as number 1? Seriously? If it had been called anything but Mad max I may have said it was an okay car chase movie. As a Mad Max it neither made sense nor was riveting.


Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

Saheed Oladele

I guess this needs an update


They might have 5 of them right


See my lists of all-time great action movies on my blogger page!

    Emily Lorenzen

    yo yo ma man, ma homeslice, homedawg

Mike Hunt

what the fuck does a fast and furious movie doing on this list?blasphemy

John Sim

For me, the best movies are from Marvel studios, and I think that this video will show you:


Mad Max Fury Road as number 1 is a joke. No originality and no Mel Gibson. This whole list is bunk.


Cool down everyone.. This list is based on his personal interest ….


Lucy, what the actual fuck, I don’t think i’ve ever watched such a steaming pile of shit, that is time i’ll never get back, shitty website!!

    Emily Lorenzen

    those are not good swears


this stupid list ever!if u want made a list please make sure what a genre is….if u got lots of stupid,keep it some for later used.

Travis Meadows

Main problem with this list is two things 2014 had John wick and live die repeat. And besides the newest mad Max they are the greatest things to grace the big screen. John wick especially. Mad Max is the only single greatest movie of the 2000s forward besides those two.

Bob John

“21st century” People get triggered for not including action movies from the 90’s. Fucken shitbrains.

Herman Susanto

The Raid 2: Berandal should be 1 of this list

Herman Susanto

Adn what about Dirty Harry?


Good collections


Just finished watching Fast Five. It’s my new Batman and Robin! It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, ever! Shit! Shit! Shit! A proper “colander” movie, so full of plot holes and ridiculous scenarios. The only one of the Fast/furious movies I’ve seen and definitely the last.. All those responsible for making it should be utterly ashamed of themselves.. Especially the director. Lazy , lame-brained bollox.. My shits are Mona Lisa’s compared to this movie..

Duncan Green

Who makes these lists? How on earth can you have Mad Max Fury Road at number one? It was a good file of course but better than Bourne? Better than Crouching Tiger? Never!




The best part of this article is the comments.


Bushido man is underrated in my opinion.Action focused without taking itself top seriously and the set up scenes are as indulgent as the fighting.


Well,i was happy to c ‘POLICE STORY’ up there.nd am overjoyed to c my cherished’MAD MAX’ i thought, ‘PLANET OF THE APES’,’THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM’ wuld be there


Lucy” is one of the best movie in the world


crank is better then Gladiator???? some good movies no usual suspects?? not a lot of time put into this or you have not watched enough movies. I think if you flip your list and start with number one first, nobody will look at the rest of the list after seeing number ONE.

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