The year 2023 has been an exhilarating ride for action movie enthusiasts, showcasing a blend of both established franchises and fresh, original narratives. These films represent the pinnacle of the action genre.
The past year has been a thrilling one for fans of action cinema, with a variety of movies offering heart-pounding gun battles, extraordinary fight sequences, and an abundance of high-octane scenes. Often, the appeal of these action-packed films lies in the protagonist’s relentless pursuit of vengeance or their extreme measures to save the world, regardless of the personal toll. The success of these movies frequently hinges on the vision of the director and the creativity of the action choreographers, proving that even the simplest storyline can be transformed into a cinematic masterpiece with the right talent behind it. This year, we’ve witnessed some truly gripping tales of revenge and heroism, brought to life by a host of talented individuals.
And now, let’s dive into the list of the top 8 action films of the year, each one packed with adrenaline-fueled excitement. Remember, if your preferred movie didn’t make the cut, it’s time to start plotting your own revenge.
1. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Directed by Steven Caple Jr., the film Transformers: Rise of the Beasts introduces a new angle to the iconic Transformers franchise, with a plot situated in the reminiscent times of the 1990s. This cinematic journey charts the escapades of former military electronics expert Noah Diaz and antiquities researcher Elena Wallace, as they become embroiled in a turbulent saga featuring the Autobots, the Maximals, and the Terrorcons.
Taking Transformers in New Directions
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts elevates the franchise’s reputation for explosive action and intense robot battles. The film’s action sequences are a modern-day twist on industrial Cubism, and the storyline offers some unexpected turns. By the conclusion, the series embarks on an exciting new path, promising a renewed vitality in the ongoing saga of these iconic robots. Available for streaming on Paramount+ and MGM+.
Kicking off the year, Plane set the stage for an outstanding year in action cinema, with Mike Colter and Gerard Butler delivering standout performances as Captain Brodie Torrence and criminal Louis Gaspare, respectively. The film centers on Butler’s character, a pilot who must land his commercial plane in a war zone during a severe storm. In a bid to survive and protect his passengers, he allies with a criminal being transported by the FBI. The film is a rollercoaster of thrilling action sequences.
Gerard Butler Shines in a Classic Throwback
Plane harkens back to the era of ’80s action films, known for their outlandish plots, over-the-top action, and memorable performances. The movie encapsulates all these elements, creating a nostalgic yet fresh experience. Butler’s portrayal of an everyman contrasts with Colter’s archetypical action hero, adding layers of surprise to the film’s straightforward plot. This change elevates Plane, making it a standout in modern action cinema. Stream it on Starz and other digital platforms.
3. The Roundup: No Way Out
In The Roundup: No Way Out, Ma Dong-seok, also known as Don Lee, returns as detective Ma Seok-do. Set seven years after his last case in Vietnam, Ma joins a new team to investigate a murder, only to uncover a complex web involving synthetic drugs and a gang of thugs.
A Humorous, Hard-Hitting Sequel
The Roundup: No Way Out excels in delivering hard-hitting action, with Ma Dong-seok showcasing his signature powerhouse performance. The film combines intense fight scenes with well-timed comedic elements, allowing the actor to demonstrate his range. This installment in the franchise brings a delightful blend of humor and action, making it a must-watch for fans. Currently, the film is not available for streaming.
4. The Wrath of Becky
Following the unexpected hit of Becky in 2020, The Wrath of Becky emerges as an engaging revenge thriller. The film continues the journey of Becky, a teenager traumatized by a violent home invasion, as she seeks vengeance against a group of neo-Nazis planning a terrorist attack.
Seann William Scott as a Formidable Foe
This sequel introduces Seann William Scott as Darryl Jr., delivering a performance that’s a departure from his usual comedic roles. Lulu Wilson returns as the fierce and determined Becky, contributing to the film’s blend of humor and excessive violence. The Wrath of Becky is available for streaming on Showtime, Prime Video, Hulu, and other digital platforms.
5. Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo stands out as a biographical sports drama that goes beyond the excitement of its video game roots to tell an inspiring true story. It follows the journeys of three individuals – a former race car driver, a working-class gamer, and a motorsport executive – as they take on a high-stakes challenge.
A Video Game Adaptation Done Right
Gran Turismo excels as a rare example of a video game adaptation that captures the essence of its source material. The film immerses viewers in its world, with a compelling story arc and visually stunning racing scenes. It is a testament to the power of dreams and the thrilling world of motorsports. Available on Netflix and other digital platforms.
6. One Percenter (1%Er)
One Percenter (1%Er) is a 2023 action film that delves into the world of martial arts and gang conflicts. The story unfolds in an abandoned factory, where the filming of an action movie is disrupted by two rival yakuza gangs, putting the film’s action star in a tough spot against a hundred adversaries.
Tak Sakaguchi Dominates the Screen
Led by the charismatic Tak Sakaguchi, One Percenter gradually builds momentum, culminating in a series of exceptional fight scenes. Sakaguchi, a skilled fight choreographer, stuntman, and martial artist, solidifies his status as a modern action icon in this intense and confined setting. Currently, 1%Er is not available for streaming.
7. Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant
Guy Ritchie, known for his classic action/crime films like Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, ventures into the war genre with The Covenant. The film revolves around US Army Sergeant John Kinley, who returns to a war zone to help an Afghan interpreter and his family after they are denied safe passage to America.
A War Film That Surpasses Expectations
The Covenant, featuring remarkable performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim, stands out as a gripping war movie. Ritchie’s direction ensures that the action is both thrilling and brutal, making the film a surprising highlight of the year. Available for streaming on Prime Video and other digital platforms.
8. Extraction 2
Following the success of Netflix’s original Extraction, the sequel Extraction 2 brings back Chris Hemsworth as mercenary Tyler Rake. Resurrected from near-death, Rake embarks on a perilous mission to rescue a gangster’s family. The sequel blends a straightforward yet emotionally charged narrative with high-stakes action.
A Sequel That Elevates the Original
Extraction 2 impresses with its breathtaking action sequences, including a continuous 20-minute scene featuring prison riots, car chases, and a dramatic train fight. The film not only surpasses its predecessor in terms of story but also sets the stage for potential spin-offs and sequels. Available for streaming on Netflix.