2023 has been a sensational year for movies. From critically acclaimed comedies, dramas and horror movies, to the unforgettable Barbenheimer double bill, we, as cinephiles, have been blessed with one of the best years of film in recent memory. But one genre in particular has been killing it (no pun intended) all year round. Whether its John Wick taking out swarms of bad guys, Ethan Hunt cliff diving onto a movie train, or Godzilla returning to the big screen in one of his best outings ever, few years have delivered a heap of excellent action movies like 2023. So with that in mind here are the best action movies of 2023.
15. Fast X
The latest entry into the increasingly ridiculous, but continuously thrilling Fast and Furious franchise, Fast X is simply a ton of fun. Its action is high octane, and its story is as thin as ever, but as always, its films the cast that help Fast X drift its way onto the list.
While the entire cast have great chemistry – despite some shoddy performances – its Jason Mamoa who effortlessly stole the show. His portrayal of the sociopathic villain Dante is easily one of the most intoxicating performances of the year.
Kicking the year off right was the explosive action movie, Plane, starring Gerald Butler and Mike Colter. Its story is simple, and so is its action, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the years most entertaining movies. Gerald Butler and Mike Colter were engaging as the two leads, both selling the action with the physicality and their on screen prowess. For those 80s action movie fans out there, Plane is the film for you.
13. The Equalizer 3
Concluding the beloved Equalizer trilogy, The Equalizer 3 is another visceral and captivating entry into the franchise, that reunites Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is as deadly as ever, nonchalantly butchering waves of the Italian Mafia by plunging revolver’s into their eyes, and breaking their bones in ways that shouldn’t even be possible. While it may not be as great as the first, Washington’s badass performance topped with some awesome action sequences make for a great action movie experience.
12. Kill Boksoon
11. Fist of the Condor
Harkening back to classic martial arts movies like Drunken Master, and Fists of Fury, Fist of the Condor is an underrated modern martial arts movie gem. Starring underapreciated martial artist, Marko Zaror – who many will recognise from this years John Wick: Chapter 4 Fist of the Condor is packed with jaw-dropping fight sequences that see’s the martial artist at his best. The story is familiar and a little silly in places, but what classic martial arts movie isn’t. At least by todays standards. Fist of the Condor is the perfect film for all the martial arts movie fans out there.
10. Silent Night
Legendary action movie filmmaker John Woo, returns after a 20 year hiatus with the relentless festive action movie, Silent Night. In true John Woo style, the action is explosive. From the movies numerous shoot outs, exhilarating car chases, and gnarly brawls, audiences will be hurled into a blood-pumping action movie that once again proves why John Woo is a master when it comes to action filmmaking. Joel Kinnaman delivers an enthralling performance, enhancing the impact and authenticity of the action with his impressive physicality.
Deriving its name from the films lack of dialogue – a gimmick that works surprisingly well – Silent Night is an explosive action movie from one of the leading masters in action filmmaking.
Silent Night is now in cinemas, and will begin streaming on Sky December 23rd.
9. The Killer
Not to be confused with the David Fincher action thriller of the same name – which also released the same year – the Korean action movie The Killer is a criminally underrated action film that demands your attention. The Killer mixes the poetic action of John Wick, with a story very similar to the Liam Neeson thriller, Taken, to deliver one of the best action movie experiences of the year. Jang Hyuk is ferocious as the films lead effortlessly tearing through waves of bad guys in some of the years best action sequences.
Whilst it technically released in 2022 in South Korea, the film later hit American, and European screens in early 2023.
8. Extraction 2
The first Extraction movie starring Chris Hemsworth is one of Netflix’s best action movies, and since it dropped on the platform in 2020, audiences have been clambering for a sequel. Thankfully, in 2023 our wish was answered with its outstanding sequel – aptly named – Extraction 2.
The sequel is bigger, better, and bolder than the first, with Chris Hemsworth turning up his performance and physicality to eleven in the films many action sequences. The almost 30 minute long ‘oner’ is a feast for action movie fans which effortlessly flows from a prison riot, to an explosive car chase before culminating into an epic train sequence. Its a brilliant piece of action cinema, and Sam Hargrave – the films director – has proven himself as one of the best modern day action movie directors around.
Theres nothing more rewarding then seeing Nazi’s getting their arses handed to them. Whether its Indiana Jones punching his way through a plethora of Nazi soldiers, or the Inglorious Bastards gleefully setting a blaze to a theatre full them in the Quentin Tarantino classic. However, no where is it more satisfying than in 2023s Sisu.
Few movies this year top the gloriously gory violence of Sisu, nor does any movie revel in its carnage more than this World War II action epic. Nazi’s get mines thrown at their faces, slaughtered underwater, and get dropped out of the sky strapped to a bomb. Sisu is wild.
6. Polite Society
Oozing with the style and flair of an Edgar Wright film, Polite Society kicks a ton of ass. Not just with its action, but also how the film tackles its heartwarming tale of sisterhood, the importance of never giving up on your childhood dreams, as well as its beautifully poignant representation of South Asian culture.
Deriving a lot from classic martial arts flicks – which is surprisingly important to the narrative – the films action is simply stunning. Its full of effective humour, and the chemistry between the entire cast is deeply infectious.
5. The Three Musketeers Part 1: D’Artangan
As the first of an upcoming trilogy, The Three Musketeers: Part 1: D’Artangan is a jaw-dropping adaptation of the classic novel. Sporting a plethora of expertly crafted one takes, with very fast sword play, audiences will be fully immersed into the films stellar action. But thanks to its cast, D’Artangan similarly excels at being a charming flick, capturing the magic of novel and the Musketeers relationship, and unloading it onto the big screen. D’Artangan is hands down the best Three Musketeers movie ever made. Not forgetting the animated Disnet classic starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.
4. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Despite being a hilarious action-packed fantasy adventure elevated by a fantastic cast, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was criminally one of the most underrated movies of the year. Its packed with gut-busting humour – as one might expect from the writer/director behind Game Night – as well as many thrilling action sequences. Some of the best the year had to offer. Chris Pine, Rege-Jean Page, Justice Smith and Sophia Lillis all gave great performances, but it was Michelle Rodriguez who stole the show with her comedic timing, and action hero presence.
3. Godzilla: Minus One
Smashing its way into the tail end of the year (get it?) is the surprising blockbuster hit everyones talking about, Godzilla: Minus One. This Japanese flick – with an impressive budget below $15 million dollars – is the best Godzilla film… perhaps ever. Seperate from Warner Bros. successful Monsterverse franchise, Godzilla: Minus One sports colossal action, stunning CG – especially considering its budget – and human characters, who, unlike the Warner Bros. Monsterverse, aren’t irritating. Its a spectacle that has to be witnessed on the big screen.
Godzilla Minus One is now in cinemas.
2. Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One
The Mission: Impossible franchise continues its recent streak of outstanding action movies with Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1. The film – much like every entry in the franchise – boasts thrilling action sequences, jaw-dropping stunts, as well as the franchises synonymous blood-pumping score. Hayley Attwell makes a brilliant addition to the cast, enhancing the already brilliant roster of female characters, and Tom Cruise as always impresses with his physicality and stunt work.
1. John Wick Chapter 4
Taking the cake for Coastal House Media’s best action movie of 2023… is John Wick Chapter 4. As the best film in a franchise full of equally phenomenal action movies, John Wick Chapter 4 takes the franchises already stellar action to a whole new level. By throwing in nunchucks, a Dragon Breath shotgun, an endless staircase, and a blind Donnie Yen, John Wick Chapter 4 puts other action movies to shame.
Keanu Reeves is a relentless as ever, with Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne returning to their beloved roles. Action movie legends Donnie Yen, Scott Adkins, Hiroyuki Sanada, Marko Zuror and Shamier Anderson enhance the already rich assassin underworld of John Wick, and Bill Skaarsgard offers a captivating performance as the films antagonist. This nearly 3 hr movie is a breathtaking action extravaganza, with an emotional finale that beautifully caps of this collection of astonishing action movies.
One More Shot: Scott Adkins Returns in This Kick Ass Sequel Seemingly Shot in One Take.
With many immersing and kick ass action sequences, One More Shot is another technically impressive action film from director James Nunn.
Bigger, better, and more kick-ass than the first, One More Shot is another impressive one-take action film full of tension, stakes, and adrenaline fuelled action sequences. Much like the first, One More Shot is another action film shot in one-continuous take. With hidden cuts of course. This one-take style adds a greater level of intensity to the film by immersing audiences deeper into the action, and connecting audiences closer to it’s characters. James Nunn’s work behind the camera is even more precise than his previous effort. Blending excellent camera work, explicit framing, and fluid editing Nunn leave audiences with punchy (no pun intented), smooth, and enthralling action movie experience.
Scott Adkins once again kicks ass as Jake Harris, delivering another exhausting performance as he takes out waves of bad guys with guns, knives, and of course, his infamous high kicks. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast was pretty underwhelming with Alexis Knapp being the worst offender. Likewise, as exciting as it was to have Michael Jai White star alongside Scott Adkins again, he certainly doesn’t get the screen time he definitely deserved. White should have been the main antagonist. Not a high level bodyguard. With that said however, Michael Jai White’s and Scott Adkins’ brawl was a phenomenal piece of action cinema that action movie fans shouldn’t miss.
One More Shot is an action extravaganza with impressive work both on and off camera, and a brilliant early contender for action movie of the year.
After the attack on the black site in Poland, Navy SEAL Jake Harris must escort suspect Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi) to Washington DC for interrogation. However, after the two become trapped at an airport in the US by an army of armed mercanaries, Jake Harris must protect Mansur or else the fate of America would be on his head.
Much like its predecessor One More Shot is a very technically impressive action movie. Whilst James Nunn proved himself as a fantastic action movie director with his previous endeavour, it’s One More Shot that truly cements it. The filmmaker nails the tension, pacing, cinematography and framing of every fight. The airport setting is much more immersing setting compared to the previous one, allowing for much more creative, and tight action sequences.
Complementing Nunn’s excellent direction, was the casts breathtaking physicality. Unsurprisingly Adkins steals the show with his efficiently brutal, and fast paced martial arts which add a level of finesse, and polish to every fight scene. Likewise, Michael Jai White was another standout. His large physique, matched with his fast and incredibly precise combat proves a deadly foe. Despite the amount of times we have seen Adkins and White go toe to toe, the novelty still hasn’t worn off. Both performers are expert in their craft and give every fight between the two their all. While it would’ve benefitted the film if Michael Jai White had a greater role to play, it was still an unrelenting, and exhilarating brawl. Fingers crossed he’s the big bad in the next one.
While many have come to see fist fights, shoot outs, and explosions, One More Shot boast’s a surprisingly developed script that’s much deeper than its predecessor. Writers James Nunn, and Jamie Russell provide a well paced and intriguing story full of heart and tension. The characters are far more developed, and introducing audiences to Mansur’s wife, and unborn child greatly elevated the stakes.
The performances where perhaps the films biggest downfall. Adkins was fantastic, White was incredible, and Waleed Elgadi was captivating. As for the rest, their performances just felt lazy. They brought zero nuance to their characters, and seeing them on screen provoked a thought’s of “Damn, I can’t wait to they get killed off”.
One More Shot’s ending is a little abrupt, and while it does have a sweet resolution, the film sort of just ends. We don’t get to see much of the repocussions of the events that unfolding throughout the movie which raises more questions that answers. However, we guarantee that James Nunn and Jamie Russell are working a script for the final film, undoubtedly titled “One Last Shot”. Fingers crossed.
While it may be a little premature, One More Shot is damn great action film that could easily end up on many “Best Action Movie of the Year” lists by the time December roles around. It’s technically impressive, boasting great camera work, and imagery with many adrenaline fuelled action sequences scattered throughout.
One More Shot is available to purchase on demand January 16th
Check out the trailer below:
The Beekeeper: An Action Movie As Sweet as Honey
Jason Statham kicks a ton of ass in his best film in years.
“I’m a Beekeeper. I protect the hive. Sometimes I use fire to smoke out hornets”.
Full to the brim with ridiculous “Bee” puns – as evident from the above quote – David Ayer’s latest flick The Beekeeper, is a ton of fun. The film is undoubtedly absurd. However, David Ayer gleefully leans into the films absurdities resulting in a far more engaging and entertaining action flick. Its action is exhilarating, and expertly crafted allowing Jason Statham to kick a ton of ass.
The cast was a fantastic surprise, with the likes of Jason Statham, Jeremy Irons, Josh Hutcherson, and Phylicia Rashad headlining the films cast. While Jason Statham’s abysmal American accent may put some audiences off, The Beekeeper surprisingly puts a spotlight on it with a simple line of dialogue within the first 20 minutes. Thankfully, Jason Statham doesn’t do much talking anyway. He just kicks a lot of ass. Which is what you’ve come for anyway.
The Beekeeper is undoubtedly Stathams, and David Ayer’s best film in years. Especially compared atrocities likeThe Meg 2, The Expendables 4 , and 2016s Suicide Squad respectively. It’s fun, silly, and action-packed. If you like John Wick, The Beekeeper will do more than enough to satisfy.
Although ridiculous and full of unnecessary, yet brilliantly executed Bee puns, The Beekeeper’s revenge story is a fairly intriguing, and relatable one. And no, someone doesn’t kill Jason Stathams’ Bee’s. As brilliant as that would have been, The Beekeeper instead focuses on Corporate manipulation, scammers, hackers, and corrupt governmental power. The Beekeeper’s narrative slightly grounds the film, and while its a message, and a narrative that we’ve seen a thousand times before, The Beekeeper does more than enough to make it as engaging, and as impactful as ever. Plus seeing arrogant, trust fund dweebs, and corrupt government officials get their asses handed to them was very satisfying.
From its fluid camera movements, energetic editing style – which thankfully doesn’t cut from the action too much – as well as the fast paced fight choreography, and jaw-dropping physicality from Jason Statham. The action was fast, brutal and efficient. While the action may not go one for 10 minutes at a time, like a John Wick movie, for The Beekeeper it doesn’t have too. Jason Stathams’ character is the deadliest character in this universe – at least as far as we know – so with that, he takes down all his foes with ease and finesse. It’s quick and too the point.
The performances were what you may expect from Jason Statham led action film called The Beekeeper. Their over-the-top, and playing to stereotypes with some truly awful American accents from the British cast. However, these performance make for a far more entertaining watch. Like every movie he has ever appeared in, Jeremy Irons stole the show due to his calm, wise, and straight line delivery. Similarly, Josh Hutcherson played a great part as the main antagonist.
The Beekeeper was an absolute blast and a fantastic 2024 movie to kick your year off with. Sure, its not perfect, but its a ton of fun, with many kick ass action sequences that we are sure will top the best action sequences of 2024 list when December roles around. We hope many sequels are lined up, and if this became a new expansive action movie franchise, we wouldn’t have a problem with it.
The Beekeeper releases in cinema’s January 12th.
Check out the trailer below:
‘Warrior ‘ Cancelled After Three Seasons
Netflix has acquired the rights to ‘Warrior’
Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) has fought his final fight over at MAX, as the beloved martial arts show, Warrior, has been cancelled after just three seasons. However, fans may be happy, and hopeful to learn that streaming giant, Netflix has recently acquired all rights to the three seasons of the show set to start streaming February 2024. Does this mean we could get a fourth season after all? Well as we’ve seen with previous shows like Cobra Kai, one of Netflix’s biggest successes’, if Warrior does become a successful addition to the Netflix catalogue, then a fourth season is all but guaranteed. But only time will tell.
Starting its journey on Cinemax for its first two seasons, before landing an temporary place on MAX for its recent third season, Warrior now finds its third home in four years. Its first season premiered in 2019 on Cinemax through to 2020 before the the network announced the cancellation of all original programming. A year later, in 2021, MAX announced a third season of the show which premiered this summer.
Series creator Jonathon Tropper shared in an exclusive article from Deadline that “Warrior is a show that simply refuses to die. Through platform and regime changes, the writers, producers, cast, crew, and our stunt team continued to make something powerful, relevant, and wildly unique. And now, thanks to Netflix, we’ve been given yet another lease on life, and I’m thrilled for everyone involved that millions more viewers around the world will discover it”.
Based upon the writings of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, Warrior follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy from China, who immigrates to San Francisco and a hatchet man for the most powerful Tong in all of China town.
For now though, Warrior is still available to stream on MAX
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