20 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century

Whether in the form of knife stabbing, gunshots, badass combat, or an engaging storyline, all these elements work together to be in best action movies of the 21st century.

Whether in the form of knife stabbing, gunshots, badass combat, killer shots, or an engaging storyline, they all define an action film as being pretty similar to what we are used to seeing from A+ blockbuster cinema, and all these elements work together to produce a movie that is essential in seeing. Here, we have listed out some of the best action movies from the 21st century that every movie lover should watch. Particularly if you’re a big action movie buff, then you have no reason to miss out on these amazing motion pictures, as someone who is really passionate about the genre.

Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2

Kill Bill Volume 1 And 2 - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Kill Bill Volume 1 And 2

“My parents used to watch this all the time in our living room when I was young, and I subconsciously labeled it as one of the random action movies they love. The title says it all yada yada why should I watch a film about a woman obv trying to kill a man named Bill yada yada. But damn. I was wrong again! This is a f**king masterpiece. Tarantino takes revenge movies into a whole other level (just like he did with Western). The pacing is brilliant, the storyline is engaging, the choreography is up to a T, and the violence is made with such fucking style that only Tarantino can manage. I am in love with the charm the exaggeration brings to the screen, and the visceral thrill ride after. Definitely one for the books. This franchise should be filed under a list of movies where you can’t call yourself a true cinephile unless you’ve seen all of them.” – Andi, Letterboxd.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

“It says a lot about modern cinema about how exciting it is to see practical filmmaking.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon mesmerizes with meticulous fight sequences intensified by surreal wirework for an experience that is yet to be replicated as well since its release over 20 years ago. Every actor and performer brings their all in this larger-than-life drama that blurs the lines of possibility.” – Jack Aling, Letterboxd.

Old Boy

Old Boy - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Old Boy

Oldboy is absolutely brimming with style and passion. Sometimes nothing beats a good revenge tale and to me, this is easily one of the best, with an incredible in-your-face look, sleek direction, breakneck pacing, once-in-a-lifetime performances, a pounding score; there’s always something cool, interesting, or emotional going on and that’s what makes Oldboy such a fun movie to watch and think about.” – MitchellBurrows, Letterboxd.

Read more: The 15 Best Thriller Movies of All Time You Must Watch

District 9

District 9
District 9

“I can’t stop being amazed by District 9. Simply put, I love it. Not so simply put, I adore it so much that I would eat more than three cans of cat food just so I can watch five minutes of it. From its brilliant concept and ideas to its mockumentary style at the beginning, to its social/political/military commentary (which I admit is a bit too on the nose but perfectly necessary/digestible), to its amazing special effects that cost less than you would think, to its unexpected heart, to its attention to character development both human and non-human, to its unique setting and wealth in details, to its relentless and blood-soaked violence, to the tingling and uneasy acting of Sharlto Copley, to his complex character arc, all the way up to the way Sharlto Copley says with an Afrikaner accent “F**k man!”. Masterpiece? I don’t know. Classic? Who cares! I love it and that’s what matters.” – Florin Scanlon, Letterboxd.

The Raid 1 & 2

The Raid 1 And 2 - Best Action Movies 21st Century
The Raid 1 And 2

“No one can be ready for The Raid 2. It’s the Aliens to the original film’s Alien. A film so relentlessly exciting and intense that it should come with a health warning. Gareth Evans’ latest chopsocky action flick does what his previous two failed to: provide a complex, dense plot that unveils its mysteries subtly. More akin to The Departed than the first film, it is a thickly-plotted character drama steeped in tension and colourful characters. It just so happens to be that Evans is the best action director working today, so a combination of bonafide brilliant plotting and lethal set-pieces makes this the film of the year.” – Simon Ramshaw, Letterboxd.

John Wick Trilogy

John-Wick-Trilogy - Best Action Movies 21st Century
John-Wick Trilogy

“Like if Damien Chazelle had studied murder in college instead of jazz.” – Sam Van Hallgren, Letterboxd.

“The greatest piece of character-building (and world-building) in John Wick is an expression. A simple one, but an expression all the same. A moment where, after stabbing a security guard upright through the chin/neck with a knife, John Wick ruthlessly stares into the man’s eyes as he dies, the phantasm reverberating from his aura, being sure that he was the last person he’d ever see. It embodies both the reason why the world is so startled by his reappearance, and why he’s infamous in the first place. A lingering specter of the underworld, out for sensation and finality and nothing more. An Action Classic.” – SilentDawn, Letterboxd.

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz is hysterical from start to finish. Playing on classic genre tropes (as most of Wright’s films do), it manages to deliver constant laugh-out-loud banter while building up interesting characters in the process. The amount of quotable lines in this film is ridiculous, and the fact that this script can be so quick-witted yet well-structured seems like an impossible task. This is my style of humor, as it has that ridiculous flavor, but the film never takes any of it too far.” – Austin Burke, Letterboxd.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Madmax Fury Road - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Madmax Fury Road

“George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing less than utterly astonishing. From frame one, Miller paints the cinema screen with a gleefully vibrant vision of chaos and elemental fury. Every performance, every shot, every ingenious switch-up of narrative; It all comes back to George Miller and his prophetic revitalization of cinema. Auguste and Louis Lumière would be both terrified and insanely proud of the stupendous clarity and craft on display, mainly because Fury Road showcases a sense of confidence that hasn’t been seen in cinema in a very long time.” – SilentDawn, Letterboxd.

Fact: Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film in 2015.

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Edge of Tomorrow

“I truly believe the only thing that will ever unite humanity is the invasion and/or attack by a species outside of our world. Growing up, it was one of my biggest fears, extraterrestrials with capabilities unlike our own decimating us. Edge of Tomorrow only amplified those fears. I suppose they’re somewhat irrational, but not improbable.” – Ethxn, Letterboxd.

Read more: 15 Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time You Must Watch

Mission Impossible Franchise

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE Franchise
Mission Impossible Franchise

“Somehow, Mission: Impossible movies aren’t just still good. They’re great. And we’re on the 6th installment. What is this sorcery?” – Marianna Neal, Letterboxd.

X-Men Including Deadpool

X-men franchise
X-Men Franchise including Deadpool

Although the X-Men technically belongs to Marvel, it is a whole different universe without any connection to the larger Marvel Universe. Imagine the Marvel universe without Avengers, Spiderman, or Iron Man. Here you get X-Men, the enhanced individuals with powers they never asked for, and complex personalities that make them engaging to watch.

Some best films from the franchise:

  • X-Men
  • X2
  • X-Men: The First Class
  • X-Men: Days of The Future Past
  • Deadpool 1 & Deadpool 2
  • Logan

Marvel Franchise

Marvel Franchise - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Marvel Franchise

The Marvel Universe has become a major part of many people’s lives during the last decade and a half, becoming the world’s biggest blockbuster movie franchise in the 21st century, and still continues to entertain its audience with its ongoing stories. Although this superhero franchise isn’t perfect, nor does it deserve an “A” grade, it still has its audience interested in it, even if it isn’t for everyone. Nevertheless, what are you here for? The answer is “Action” Well, you’re going to find some pretty cool action in these films.

I’ll scatter over the franchise and pick out some amazing movies:

  • Spider-Man 1
  • Spider-Man 2
  • Iron Man
  • The Avengers
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Black Panther
  • Doctor Strange
  • Thor Ragnarok
  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame

Read more: Marvel Marathon 2022: MCU Movies & Shows In Order

Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun Maverick - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick is arguably one of the best action movies of the 21st century. Staggering sequences that annihilate the senses, multiple moments of white knuckled intensity- the action is breathtakingly beautiful and deranged.  Aside from the absurd action, it’s a movie that is overflowing with heart. An homage to its predecessor but it never feels like it spends too much time dwelling on the past. Cruise is unsurprisingly perfect, but so are all the new faces.” – Joe Aragon, Letterboxd.

Baby Driver

Baby Driver - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Baby Driver

“The fault in our cars” – Olivia, Letterboxd.

Baby Driver is the best mixtape ever assembled. I don’t think a movie has got my adrenaline pumping as much as this movie just did. To say this film was exhilarating would be the understatement of the century. Car chases has now reached magnum opus. There’s no reason to have another car chase in a movie because it will never come close to the car chases in Baby Driver. There’s also some epic shootout sequences. A LOT of blood is shed. Ansel Elgort plays one of the best-skewed heroes ever put on screen. I haven’t rooted this hard for a criminal ever. Jamie Foxx absolutely KILLS it! He plays the slimiest fucker ever and I hated him with every ounce of my being. Lily James stole my heart.” – Evan, Letterboxd.

The Bourne Trilogy

The-Bourne-Trilogy
The Bourne Trilogy

“Truly a marvel of genre filmmaking, a masterwork of kinetic craftsmanship & a fitting conclusion to the Jason Bourne saga, The Bourne Ultimatum is a rare second sequel that works flawlessly by taking a huge leap with its premise to effortlessly surpass the towering expectations set by its much-beloved predecessors, and isn’t just the finest installment of The Bourne Trilogy but is impressive enough to qualify as one of the finest action thrillers ever made.” – CinemaCl🎃wn, Letterboxd.

Train to Busan

Train to Busan
Train to Busan

“Pure insanity at its finest – not even some ropey CGI can bring down the brilliant Train to Busan. The moment the train leaves the station, Train to Busan throws everything at you without respite. The zombies are fast, terrifying, and unpredictable, the carriages getting slowly more claustrophobic and the threat growing ever larger. Every character is expendable and more importantly fleshed out. You understand even the smaller side character’s motives which make many of the impending deaths more impactful – it’s like watching a whole season of Game of Thrones in 2 hours.” – Jack Aling, Letterboxd.

Read more: 15 Best Scary Movies Of All Time

The Dark Knight Trilogy

The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Dark Knight Trilogy

“If you do not like this movie, I do not like you.” – CinemaCl🎃wn, Letterboxd.

“Immediately after watching Batman Begins I decided to throw on The Dark Knight just to watch that opening bank robbery scene, naturally I watched the whole thing. Just like that, I wasted 6 hours watching BATMAN. I remember when I went to see this in theaters with my father, I drank a large coke and around 110 minutes in I had to piss hardcore. I stood up and my father looks over and says “sit down, you don’t want to miss a second of this. He was right obviously, but it was the closest I have ever been to pissing my pants at a movie.” – Wood, Letterboxd.

Daniel Craig’s James Bond

Daniel Craig's James Bond - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Daniel Craig’s James Bond

“The idea of Daniel Craig’s run coming to an end, my favorite Bond of all time, was very bittersweet…Daniel Craig has, I think, made perhaps the best final film in a James Bond actor’s tenure.” – Chris Stuckmann, Lover of film.

The Incredibles

The Incredibles
The Incredibles

The Incredibles features some of the most mature and complex themes of any Pixar films, some of their most developed and memorable characters, and some of the most entertaining sequences of their entire filmography. The story is an engaging satire of suburban life and a thrilling analysis on the importance and relevance of heroes. Furthermore, Jason Lee’s Syndrome is one of the best villains in any superhero film, with a dynamic, multidimensional personality and relatable plans and motivations.” – Zoë Rose Bryant, Letterboxd.

Despite being an animated film, let’s say it’s one of the best action movies in the 21st century.

Read-more: 15 Best Animated Movies For Both Kids & Adults

Collateral

Collateral - Best Action Movies 21st Century
Collateral

Collateral is what happens when mainstream action thriller meets arthouse noir. Michael Mann’s inherent endeavors to stylize everything he touches is simply a blessing, and on top of Oscar-worthy acting from Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise, Collateral is for sure one of the most memorable action thrillers of the 2000s.” – Nick, Letterboxd.

Read more: 10 Best Horror Movies Of 2022

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