In case you’ve been thinking about revisiting some cult action movies, or even seeing them for the first time in case you missed them in their day, you’ll be happy to know that HBO Max has an impressive collection of them.
So, we thought we’d put together a top 10 list of action movies to watch, whether you already have an HBO Max account or are planning to get one. Naturally, the list is much longer than that, but just select the category you want on the aforementioned streaming platform and you’ll see the entire collection, which is by no means slim.
The best action movies you can see on HBO Max this year
Obviously, movies come and go on streaming, and that’s a situation that applies to all the giants that provide such services. So it might not hurt to watch these movies before HBO Max decides to pull them. Because yes, anything is possible.
If you have the patience to poke around carefully, you’ll notice that HBO Max is full of DC superhero movies (thanks to parent company Warner Media), and Wonder Woman seems to be the best of them, as it makes a fantastic introduction to the character played by Gal Gadot. Set during World War I, Wonder Woman presents just enough action to satisfy your appetite, including a spectacular sequence of the main character traversing the no man land zone, i.e. the purgatory between the two sides.
Hugh Jackman stars as Marvel superhero Wolverine and does it excellently, the action integrating seamlessly with the previous X-Men films. Wolverine is also based on one of the most famous stories from the eponymous comics, sending the mutant to Japan to confront figures from his past.
Director James Mangold combines superhero action with a poignant and rather deep journey of the main character. Wolverine battles villains, but also confronts his inner demons, and both elements are compelling, which is where Jackman’s mastery comes in.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The Terminator was, without question, a good movie, but James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the best films in the niche of all time. Through the aforementioned sequel, it enriches and also expands the world of the original film, bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger as the killer cyborg from the future.
The Wachowskis revolutionized the film industry in 1999 when they introduced pop culture to The Matrix, a film that was followed by a few somewhat mediocre sequels and a slew of other productions that tried to emulate the idea.
A confounding science fiction story about a seemingly ordinary guy (character played by Keanu Reeves) who discovers that his entire existence is a lie.
It’s also an interactive action movie that doesn’t give you time to get bored. What’s more, while it may not seem like much now, at the time, The Matrix was notable for the astonishing technology used.
And while we’re on the subject, perhaps the most disappointing sequel to The Matrix is the most recent, from December 2021.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The long-awaited sequel to the original Mad Max trilogy, Mad Max: Fury Road boils down the post-apocalyptic world to its purest elements, essentially functioning as one long sequence of people chasing people for various reasons. Okay, the plot is more complex than that, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to joke.
Tom Hardy plays the grim and taciturn character, replacing Mel Gibson, and Charlize Theron as the Furiosa fighter.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Peter Jackson’s entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels, is absolutely brilliant, but the most action-packed is the second film, The Two Towers. The main characters are split into different groups as they continue their quest to destroy the ring and defeat Lord Sauron.
The MonsterVerse monster movies from Warner Bros. have had a somewhat mixed history. Arguably, the reboot happened with 2014’s Godzilla. The giant lizard’s second attempt at a successful American franchise worked much better than the first, it seems.
Director Gareth Edwards peppers the film with a sense of grandeur, which is a good thing, given the genre and context. The human characters (played by actors like Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen) are interesting enough to keep the intrigue going, and Godzilla really manages to strike fear into viewers.
Before he went the way of cartoons in various sequels, the Vietnam veteran played by the one and only Sylvester Stallone, John Rambo, presented himself as a traumatized and extremely misunderstood man.
In First Blood, Rambo goes to a small town in Washington hoping to see an old friend again, but runs into unforeseen trouble.
Naturally, there are few films that can rival the Rambo series when it comes to fisticuffs scattered left and right.
Adapted from the 1970s television series, Charlie’s Angels managed, in its time, to attract enough attention. Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu play the lead roles as private detectives hired by the mysterious Charlie, who sends them on an absurd, colourful and action-packed adventure.
You could say that this film is also comedy in a way. So whether you prefer action or laughs, chances are this film will give you what you want.
The Bourne Identity
Director Doug Liman and actor Matt Damon have succeeded in establishing a lucrative franchise by the name of The Bourne Identity, no doubt. This is based on Robert Ludlum’s novels, but not entirely, there are some distinct elements.
Damon plays Jason Bourne, a secret agent trying to regain his identity after being shot and left for dead. As he recovers his memories, Bourne is pursued by the secret government agency he used to work for.
By nature of his acting, Matt Damon somehow manages to humanize the film and breathe new life into espionage, while Liman stages thrilling action sequences that influenced a whole generation of subsequent action films.