The selection of movies on Amazon Prime Video can be daunting, especially when it comes to the highly variable action genre. Here are 10 reliably entertaining action movies that you can stream on Amazon Prime Video.
The ambition and planning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are vindicated in the pioneering superhero team-up The Avengers. This movie brings together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye for the first time to take on an apocalyptic threat from the villain Loki. Writer-director Joss Whedon proves that comic book-style crossover events can work just as well on the big screen as they do on the page.
The third movie in the original Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum, gets a bit bogged down in series continuity. But it also provides a satisfying resolution for world-weary spy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), who is eager to put his life of espionage behind him. Bourne seeks out the people responsible for his conditioning, working to expose the secrets of the dangerous government program and bring closure to his own personal trauma.
After Michael Bay’s increasingly bloated and bombastic Transformers movies, the spin-off Bumblebee is a refreshing change of pace. It tells a light and fun 1980s-set coming-of-age story about a teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld) who comes across the titular transforming alien robot. She eventually has to rescue him from nefarious government agents and prevent the evil robot Decepticons from taking over Earth.
Director Ang Lee combines the long tradition of wuxia, the Chinese historical martial arts epics, with his experience in American indie dramas to create Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s an action-filled saga that’s as rich in emotion and character development as it is in elegant fight scenes. The Oscar-winning film stars Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Ziyi in an 18th-century story about political intrigue and unrequited love.
Sylvester Stallone gathers an all-star lineup of action heroes for The Expendables. Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, and Terry Crews play the members of a team of mercenaries hired to take out a ruthless dictator. With appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Steve Austin, and more, The Expendables is an over-the-top celebration of old-school macho action.
Hong Kong action master John Woo reached the height of his Hollywood career with the gloriously silly thriller Face/Off. A criminal mastermind (Nicolas Cage) and an FBI agent (John Travolta) switch faces as part of a ludicrous plan for the authorities to discover the location of a bomb. Cage and Travolta constantly one-up each other with their unhinged performances, and Woo stages multiple stylish, exciting action sequences.
None of the Die Hard sequels come close to living up to the 1988 original, but the fourth installment Live Free or Die Hard has its strengths. There’s a fun buddy-cop dynamic between star Bruce Willis as the apparently unkillable John McClane and Justin Long as an awkward hacker McClane teams up with to stop a cyber-terrorist (Timothy Olyphant). Director Len Wiseman stages some impressive action sequences, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes a strong addition to the series as McClane’s equally snarky daughter.
The Mission: Impossible series may be the most consistent action franchise in Hollywood, and the fourth installment, Ghost Protocol, is the series’ high point. Directed by Brad Bird, Ghost Protocol sends super-spy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) on a mission to stop a Russian terrorist (Michael Nyqvist) from launching a nuclear attack. It introduces new agents played by Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton, and features the series’ most impressive stunt, with Cruise climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
Very loosely based on a Stephen King novel, The Running Man is, in many ways, a precursor to the absurdity of reality TV. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a police officer framed for a shooting at a riot who is forced to become a contestant on a game show that pits convicted criminals against “stalkers” fighting for their freedom. The dystopian action movie features colorful characters and silly one-liners as well as a great performance from Family Feud‘s Richard Dawson as the show’s sadistic host.
The third movie in the rebooted Star Trek film series, Star Trek Beyond is the loosest and liveliest of the trilogy, with a self-contained plot that recalls the standalone episodes of the original TV series. Fast & Furious series veteran Justin Lin directs the action-packed movie that sees the crew of the Enterprise crash-land on an alien planet and face an enemy determined to destroy the United Federation of Planets.