There’s just nothing that hits quite like great action. That raw, racing adrenaline thrusts you into the place of brave heroes, who’ve made the wild world their playground. Whether it’s tire-squealing car chases, dizzying combat, nerve-shredding escapes, heart-racing explosions, or stunt sequences so audacious they’re absolutely mind melting, we thrill seekers can’t get enough.
So, to plot your next adventure, we’ve scoured Hulu for highlights that brandish hard-R action, wise-cracking superheroes, muscle-bound kidnappers, crossbow-wielding heroes, spell-casting villains, G.I. Joes, and a couple of nice guys.
Here are the 10 best action movies on Hulu streaming now.
1. Escape from Alcatraz
Based on an audacious real-life jailbreak, this 1979 classic action film stars Clint Eastwood as a convict as tough as he is clever. Frank Morris has a long list of offenses and a string of escapes on his record. So as soon as he arrives at a high-security prison, he’s searching for a way out. But the prison’s bars, guards, and regulations aren’t the greatest obstacle. Alcatraz sits on an island far off the shore of San Francisco. Can Frank and his friends (Paul Benjamin, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, and Larry Hankin) make their way to freedom through the freezing waters on a homemade (well, cell-made) raft? Director Don Siegel brings a snarling edge to this tense tale of hardened men, yearning for freedom. *
Credit: Marvel Enterprises/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock
If you’re craving absolutely bonkers humor and brazenly R-rated action, then you’ll want to meet Deadpool. Inspired by Marvel’s manic “merc with a mouth,” this outrageous 2016 action-comedy stars Ryan Reynolds as a superhero whose deadly fighting skills are matched only by his wise-cracking wit, which wounds egos and breaks the fourth wall. He’ll use both to get vengeance against the malicious Ajax (a steely Ed Skrein) and rescue the love of his life (a smirking Morena Baccarin). Directed by Tim Miller, this brash and bold romp boasts balls-to-the-wall action, brutal violence, a banging soundtrack, raunchy one-liners, and an explosive sidekick called Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). But that’s not all. Paying tribute to its iconically irreverent anti-hero, this superhero movie is also studded with kinky sex, creative curse words, chilling horror, and jokes that bring on blushes, gasps, and guffaws.
3. Pain & Gain
Not just a great action movie, this is the best movie that action auteur Michael Bay has ever made. There aren’t giant battling robots or end-of-the-world circumstances. Instead, Bay found enthralling inspiration in a truly bizarre true crime case. This dizzying 2013 thrill ride centers on a trio of muscle-bound meatheads, who saw themselves as cutthroat entrepreneurs. All they had to do was pull off a kidnapping and extortion plot. But when you’re more brawn than brains, things can go from bad to bloody to totally FUBAR very fast.
Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie star as a trio of bodybuilders with crime on their minds. An apoplectic Tony Shalhoub plays their target, a surly sandwich tycoon, while Ed Harris saddles up as the detective hot on their trail. Together, they build barking laughs from this stranger-than-fiction story. But beneath the dark comedy, chase scenes, violence, and mayhem, Bay has bled a robust criticism of American ambition.
4. The Hunger Games
Based on the bestselling dystopian novels from Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games franchise began with this scorching 2012 release, directed by Gary Ross. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, a poverty-stricken teen archer, whose skills are meant for hunting game. But when the tyrannical Capitol demands children compete in a kill-or-be-killed battle royale, her bow and arrow find new targets. Pulled from her humble home, Katniss is pitched into a dazzling realm of glamor, fame, and excess, all leading up to the titular, televised, and terrible Games.
Along the way, she’ll make allies and enemies, wow the judges and audiences with her indomitable spirit, and give hope to a people long oppressed by a cavalier and cruel ruling class. Though violence against children is core to this concept, the PG-13 rated action-adventure skirts blood and blurs blows. So, this selection can work for much of the family. With all four Hunger Games movies currently streaming, you can make it a marathon. May the odds be ever in your favor.
5. The Warriors
“Warriors, come out to play-yay!”
This grungy action-thriller movie from 1979 imagined New York City as a turf marauded by fantastical gangs. There’s the Lizzies, the Orphans, the Boppers, the Rogues, the Electric Eliminators, The Baseball Furies, and many more.
After a summit turned assassination in the Bronx, they’re all gunning for the Warriors, a scrappy Coney Island crew that’s been framed. It’s a 27-mile race to safety, where every corner could boast a threat of cops or criminals on the prowl. Shot on the streets and subways of NYC, Walter Hill’s beloved action film brandishes a seedy authenticity, even if its gangland was scratching at Escape from New York extreme. This makes all the chase scenes and brawls all the more thrilling, feeling like the night from hell rolling out before us could be just a train ride away.
6. 13 Assassins
Japanese director Takashi Miike had previously won international acclaim for his eye-popping and twisted thrillers, Audition and Ichi The Killer. In this celebrated 2010 film, the distinctive director created a period piece with punch, reimagining Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 samurai drama of the same name.
Set in Japan’s feudal era, this martial arts stunner centers on a motley band of warriors (including Kōji Yakusho, Hiroki Matsukata, and Takayuki Yamada), who will do whatever it takes to assassinate the malevolent Lord Naritsugu (Gorō Inagaki). In a time when computer graphics ruled action, critics cheered the verve and practical effects that Miike brought to his remake. With a grand scale, moody cinematography, and an ensemble that pitches themselves fully into every fray, 13 Assassins is more than action-packed, it’s enthralling cinema.
Credit: Ben Rothstein/Marvel/Kobal/Shutterstock
Over a string of X-Men movies, Hugh Jackman sliced and snarled as the ever-healing yet still wounded Wolverine. Then, in 2017, writer-director James Mangold dared to dream where this haunted hero might end up much further down the road.
In Logan, Jackman returns as an older, beaten-down version of the rough-and-tough superhero. He’s covered in scars. His invincibility is fading and he’s flat broke. But when called upon to rescue a young girl (Dafne Keen) from a ruthless band of mercenaries, Logan will rise to play the hero one last time. What he doesn’t see coming is that this kid isn’t some helpless damsel, but a warrior in her own right. Together, they’ll bare their claws in a battle for a brighter tomorrow. Rich with R-rated action, heart-breaking stakes, and sharp social commentary, Logan is a superhero movie that urged audiences to demand more of the genre.
Credit: Misty Mountains/Bloom/Silver/Kobal/Shutterstock
Long before he was writing/directing daring action movies like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, Shane Black made his mark on Hollywood by penning the seminal buddy-cop comedy Lethal Weapon. This 2016 action-comedy film is a thrilling throwback to his roots, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as a mismatched duo determined to solve a twisted mystery.
In 1970s Los Angeles, Holland March (Gosling) is a washed-up private eye that’s got more bruises than bank. Jackson Healy (Crowe) is a rugged enforcer, who has got a soft spot for dames in trouble. So, despite their differences, they’ll team up to track down a mysterious missing girl. Along the way, they cross paths with wild turns, bursts of violence, sultry bombshells, barrages of mayhem, and explosively outrageous humor.
Science-fiction, action, and military muscle come out to play in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a sequel that doesn’t care if you saw the first film.
The Hasbro action figures are brought to life by a star-studded cast, which includes Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson, Adrianne Palicki, and Byung-hun Lee. There’ll be intrigue, bombings, and a bevy of battles, with director Jon M. Chu making the most of every moment. So not only will ninjas battle while suspended down the side of an impossibly steep mountain but also there’s be a punch so powerful that it can bat away bullets. If that’s not enough promise of fun for you, how about the hilarious bonus that is Jonathan Pryce as a villain who gleefully relishes evil overthrows? Okay, how about the Joes have been disavowed, yet need to save America from a Cobra coup?
10. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Want something exciting with a fairytale flourish? Then you’ll cherish this outrageous R-rated film from 2013, which not only offers action and fantasy but also ghoulish horror.
Directed by Dead Snow helmer Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters re-imagines the classic Grimm tale as one about two vengeance-driven siblings, dedicated to eliminating the magical scourge that makes meals out of children. Wearing matching smirks, Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star as the titular brother-sister team. They wield crossbows and firearms with deadly accuracy and gory results. But with a massive coven coming for them, they’ll need killer snares, quirky sidekicks, and some magic of their own. Along with bursts of action, Wirkola unveils a rich treasure trove of creepy witch designs that will have horror fans squealing. So, forget historical accuracy, embrace lunacy, and enjoy a realm where witches rule, trolls drool, and Hansel and Gretel are merciless ass-kickers
*This blurb appeared on a previous Mashable list.