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The 11 best action movies on Amazon Prime that will blow you away

From The Tomorrow War to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, these are the best action films to stream on Amazon Prime

Chow Yun-fat in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Sony Pictures Releasing

There’s a reason action movies are so popular. The best action movies can thrill you with a dazzling combination of car chases, fight scenes, and special effects. The best action movies can also, and this is important, be wonderfully dumb. Indeed, the plot of an action movie is typically fairly unimportant, as long as the set pieces that get you from sequence to sequence are compelling enough.

If you’re looking for some great action, you don’t need to look much further than these, which are some of the best action movies on Amazon Prime. Whether your goal is to find something gritty and realistic or something completely silly but joyous nonetheless, Prime has plenty of great movies to choose from.

For more great action movies, you can check out the best action movies on Netflix or the best action movies on Hulu.

Violent Night (2022)

Violent Night
Action, Comedy, Thriller
David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D'Angelo
Directed by
Tommy Wirkola
Watch on Amazon

There are people who love heartwarming Christmas movies. Then there are those who appreciate a good spin on the season. Violent Night incorporates Christmas as the backdrop of the traditional action genre as Santa Claus defends a house from murderous criminals who look to rob the residence of everything they’ve got. David Harbour of Stranger Things fame plays Saint Nick. He uses an offbeat sense of humor and masculinity to make this version of Santa into a believable action hero. Anyone who wants something a bit different this holiday season should enjoy Violent Night!

Ambulance (2022)

Thriller, Action
Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González
Directed by
Michael Bay
Watch on Amazon
Michael Bay is not a director for everyone, but Ambulance is proof that he still knows how to satisfy. Telling the story of two adopted brothers who take part in a heist gone wrong and are then forced to hijack an ambulance to flee, Ambulance is coked and manic in the best possible ways. Featuring a truly off-the-wall Jake Gyllenhaal performance, the movie is at its best when it decides to abandon logic altogether in service of its next great action set piece. In addition to being one of the best action movies in recent memory, Ambulance is also a great movie about the city of Los Angeles, featuring plenty of real-world geography as it winds its way toward a conclusion.
Ambulance - Official Trailer [HD]

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Adventure, Drama, Action, Romance
Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi
Directed by
Ang Lee
Watch on Amazon
One of the most masterful martial arts movies ever made, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon crossed over in the US in a major way. Telling the interweaving stories of three characters as they battle with one another and attempt to find both happiness and freedom, Crouching Tiger brought the wuxia style of fighting to a much wider audience. Featuring an outstanding central performance from Michelle Yeoh, as well as plenty of stunning vistas and choreography, Crouching Tiger remains one of the very best fighting movies ever made.

The Northman (2022)

The Northman
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang
Directed by
Robert Eggers
Watch on Amazon
Robert Eggers has proven himself a master of both surreality and horror, but The Northman shows us exactly what he can do with action. Set in the 9th century in a world dominated by Vikings, The Northman is based on the same story that Hamlet is based on. It tells the story of the son of a king who finds his father has been betrayed and escapes, vowing to one day seek revenge. Alexander Skarsgård gives a committed, ferocious performance in the central role, and he’s surrounded by wonderful performances from Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Anya Taylor-Joy.
THE NORTHMAN - Official Trailer - In Theaters April 22

The Tomorrow War (2021)

The Tomorrow War
Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons
Directed by
Chris McKay
Watch on Amazon
A newer Amazon original release that delivers all of the over-the-top action and explosions it promises, The Tomorrow War is a whole lot of fun but might not be a great choice if you’re looking for something thought-provoking. The movie follows a group of time travelers from 2051 arrives in the present, and proceed to recruit whoever is able and willing to fight a war against an alien species that is smarter, faster, stronger, and scarier than any other threat to humans. The Tomorrow War isn’t a smart movie, exactly, but it’s tons of fun.

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
Action, Adventure
Gordon Liu Chia-Hui, Lo Lieh, John Cheung Ng-Long
Directed by
Liu Chia-Liang
Watch on Amazon
When the Manchu government destroys his school, ravages his town, and kills his father, San Te (Chia-Hui Liu) travels to a Shaolin temple to learn the ways of Shaolin Kung Fu and be at peace. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin tears through plot at an incredible pace, and manages to get to the kung fu training in in just 30 minutes of runtime. After finally getting to the temple, he is — after some resistance — admitted as a monk for training. The rest of the film is focused solely on kung fu and the 35 chambers one must pass to become a master, training the wrists, shoulders, legs, eyes, mind, and so forth all one chamber at a time. Besides its naturalistic feeling and fantastic story, this film has some classically styled fight scenes that are timeless, cementing it in place as one of the best kung fu movies ever.

Stagecoach (1939)

Western, Adventure
John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
Directed by
John Ford
Watch on Amazon
Stagecoach is, by most classical definitions, a Western, but it’s also one of the best action movies of the early decades in Hollywood. Most of the movie’s plot follows a rag-tag group of passengers who are trying to make their way across the western expanse in the 1880s, even as they ward off Apache warriors. The movie’s politics are pretty distasteful, but the action itself holds up remarkably well. Stagecoach is the model of many major modern action movies, and it’s also great on its own terms.

Face/Off (1997)

Action, Crime, Science Fiction, Thriller
John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen
Directed by
John Woo
Watch on Amazon
Definitely the silliest movie on this list, and also maybe the best, Face/Off features a wonderful combination of virtuoso direction and over the top performances. The film follows an FBI agent and a master criminal who wind up, for wildly convoluted reasons, swapping faces, and have to live as one another. It’s a great opportunity for Nicholas Cage and John Travolta to flex their muscles, but the real star of Face/Off is director John Woo, who stages thrilling action set piece after thrilling action set piece for our amusement.
Face/Off (1997) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Highlander (1986)

Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, Clancy Brown
Directed by
Russell Mulcahy
Watch on Amazon
A combination of high fantasy and grounded action is what ultimately made Highlander such an overwhelming triumph. The film tells the story of a pair of detectives who find themselves caught in the middle of a centuries old battle between eternal beings, and what allowed Highlander to become a fairly successful franchise is the way it made its more fantastical elements feel approachable to a broad audience. This is decades before Lord of the Rings, but even in the 1980s, Highlander was already making fantasy cool.
Highlander (1986) Official Trailer | Throwback Trailer

Allied (2016)

Action, Drama, War, Romance, Thriller
Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris
Directed by
Robert Zemeckis
Watch on Amazon
A throwback to the kinds of spy thrillers that were popular decades ago, Allied is a remarkably sturdy entry into that particular genre. The film tells the story of a pair of operatives during World War II who eventually fall for one another and decide to leave their life of deception behind. When one partner begins to suspect that the other is spying on them, though, things get dark pretty quickly. There are a couple of great action sequences in Allied, but the movie really sings because of its ability to sustain a highly tense atmosphere.
Allied Official Trailer (2016) - Paramount Pictures

The Wave (2019)

The Wave
Science Fiction
Justin Long, Tommy Flanagan, Katia Winter
Directed by
Gille Klabin
Watch on Amazon
When you look at Justin Long, you probably don’t think of him as the ideal leading man for an action movie. Even so, The Wave makes a compelling case for Long as an action comedy star. The movie follows his character as he’s dosed with a powerful and mysterious hallucinogen and begins experiencing intense hallucinations that he can’t totally explain. The Wave is fairly trippy, but its confident visual style helps it pull off even some of the more outlandish things that our central character sees as he’s riding the wave of his high.
THE WAVE Official Trailer (NEW 2020) Justin Long, Sci-Fi Movie HD
Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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