There’s a lot that can make a memorable action movie, be it some classic one-liners, an iconic protagonist (or antagonist) or just a lot of cool looking explosions. Whatever it is that gets your attention, Tubi probably has an action movie that can deliver it.
Air Force One (1997)
Harrison Ford was one of the biggest action stars of the 1990s, right alongside Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of his most popular films from that decade was Air Force One, where he told a bunch of communist terrorists to get off his plane.
Ford plays the U.S. president in the film, who is also a veteran, when a group of terrorists led by Gary Oldman hijack Air Force One. Glenn Close also stars as the vice president, who is tasked with trying to negotiate from the ground, while Ford’s president takes things into his own hands.
Air Force One was directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who knew a thing or two about making action films in contained spaces, having directed Das Boot.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
The movie that every guy had a poster of in their college dorm, The Boondock Saints was almost a rite of passage for anyone old enough to see it in the 2000s.
Writer/director Troy Duffy popped from obscurity with The Boondock Saints, the story of two brothers who decide to take on Boston’s criminal underworld in the name of God. Normand Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery starred as the two brothers, while Willem Dafoe and Billy Connolly had memorable supporting turns.
It’s prevalence may have faded a bit, but The Boondock Saints is still a fun ride.
Death Proof (2007)
Conceived as part of the double feature Grindhouse event film with Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is the filmmakers homage to the B-movies that often played at drive-ins, but of course, done as only Tarantino can.
Death Proof stars Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a psychotic stunt driver who pursues and attempts to kill women with his “death proof” car. Rosario Dawson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Zoë Bell are some of the women in his crosshairs.
Many don’t count Death Proof when it comes to Tarantino’s stated plan to make 10 films and then retire, but he certainly didn’t hold back in his commitment to it, especially the thrilling final chase sequence.
Dirty Harry (1971)
Dirty Harry features one of the most iconic character introductions in film history — the opening shootout on the street where Clint Eastwood asks a punk whether he feels lucky. The rest of the movie has a high bar to clear, but it is able to meet the challenge.
The plot of the movie follows Eastwood’s Harry Callahan as he attempts to track down the Scorpio Killer who has been terrorizing San Francisco, modeled after the Zodiac Killer that was active in San Francisco during that same time period.
Harry Callahan is one of Eastwood’s most iconic characters, alongside The Man With No Name, as multiple Dirty Harry sequels would be made in subsequent years. The original is still right at the top though.
From Russia White Love (1963)
The world’s most iconic spy, James Bond has been played by six actors across as many decades, and Tubi has almost all of the films in the series pre-Daniel Craig (For Your Eyes Only is missing in action).
Sean Connery still is considered by many to be the best James Bond, and From Russia With Love, the second film in the franchise, is one of his best outings as the suave spy.
From Russia With Love introduces many of the things that James Bond has come to be known by — a fun opening sequence, cool gadgets and globe-trotting adventures — while also serving as one of the more taut stories in the long line of films.
For many, like myself, Pierce Brosnan was the first James Bond that we remember, and his debut as the character also happened to be his best film.
GoldenEye features some great action sequences (the tank trip through Moscow a particularly highlight) and a great antagonist in Sean Bean’s 006. Brosnan quickly proved he could pull off both the charm and action required for James Bond.
Definitely aided by the popular N64 video game, but GoldenEye is easily one of the most popular James Bond films among fans.
The Grandmaster (2013)
Ip Man, the legendary martial artist who trained Bruce Lee, has been the subject of many films, but The Grandmaster stands out not only for its incredible fights, but the beauty with which they are shot.
Kar-Wai Wong (In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express) directed The Grandmaster, which was inspired by the life of Ip Man, in particular his relationship with a fellow martial artist.
Just watch the trailer, and if the gorgeous visuals of the movie, in particular its fight scenes, shot by Philippe Le Sourd (who earned an Oscar nomination for his work) don’t entice you to check it out, I’m not sure what would.
The Great Escape (1963)
There are more Hollywood films set during and about World War II than you could ever watch, but one that any movie fan must see is The Great Escape.
Based on the real escape of hundreds of soldiers from a German prisoner-of-war camp, The Great Escape depicts the patience and determination of those who planned the escape, then finally get the chance to enact their plan in a fantastic final act.
The ensemble is the icing on the cake, featuring Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance and James Coburn, among others.
Layer Cake (2004)
Before he donned the tuxedo to play James Bond, Daniel Craig was on the other side of the law in Layer Cake, an action-crime story from Matthew Vaughn.
Craig stars as a cocaine dealer who is planning to head off into an early retirement. However, things get complicated when his boss gives him two dangerous last assignments that could put a wrench in those plans. Joining Craig in the cast is Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Sally Hawkins and Colm Meaney.
Layer Cake was the feature film debut for Vaughn, who would of course go on to direct Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and the Kingsman franchise.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
A western version of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven is a worthy adaptation of the Japanese classic and has earned its own legacy, including getting its own remake with the Denzel Washington-led The Magnificent Seven from a few years ago, though that was less successful.
The original The Magnificent Seven starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Horst Buchholz, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and James Coburn, with the seven titular heroes coming together to protect a small Mexican town from bandits.
If nothing else, The Magnificent Seven score will make you want to ride off into the sunset.
The original epic action stories came from the Greek legends written by Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Hollywood brought an adaptation of the former to life with the Brad Pitt-led Troy.
Pitt stars as the legendary warrior Achilles, who joins the Greek army in attacking the Trojans after Prince Paris steals the wife, Helen, or a Spartan King. Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, Diane Kruger, Brendan Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Sean Bean, Garrett Hedlund and the great Peter O’Toole also star.
Homer may have had a few notes, but Troy holds up as one of the better examples of the sword-and-sandal epics that took off after the success of Gladiator.
Coming out as Ultimate Fighting was ascending in its popularity, Warrior brought the sport to the big screen telling both an incredibly touching family story while also featuring some kick-ass fights inside the octagon.
Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star as estranged brothers on a collision course at an international Ultimate Fighting competition, but they first have to get through multiple other fighters.
Director Gavin O’Connor has become the go-to for the sports movies that can make men shed a tear, but his best may still be Warrior.
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