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.
James Cameron has helmed some of the biggest blockbusters in cinema history, but The Abyss remains one of his underappreciated films. It combines Cameron’s talent for staging large-scale action with his lifelong fascination with undersea life. Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn star as members of an expedition to rescue a damaged submarine, who discover powerful, possibly alien creatures in the depths of the ocean. Cameron utilizes cutting-edge special effects to tell a story about the wonders of existence.
On the surface, Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto sounds like an inaccessible cinematic experiment, set in the 16th-century Yucatan (in what would later be Mexico) with dialogue entirely in the ancient Mayan language. But Gibson puts together a thrilling action movie in this unfamiliar setting, telling a recognizable story about a desperate man racing to save his family. That man is fighting against members of a literally cutthroat rival tribe, running through the thick, unexplored jungle, but the emotional and narrative stakes remain universal and timeless.
Based on the long-running comic book series by Mike Mignola, Hellboy features an actual demon as an operative of a secret government agency. Played by Ron Perlman, the title character works alongside other paranormal beings as part of a task force to stop rogue supernatural threats. In Guillermo del Toro’s film, Hellboy and his allies take on the resurrected sorcerer Rasputin. Del Toro combines his own macabre imagination with big-budget superhero action and Mignola’s distinctive character designs.
The multi-faceted movie/TV franchise about immortal warriors began with the original Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert as a 16th-century Scottish clansman now living in 1985 New York City. Lambert’s Connor MacLeod fights other immortals in a battle to be the last one standing and win the mysterious “prize.”
The fight scenes combine old-fashioned swordplay with sci-fi effects, and the action takes place across centuries. Sean Connery hams it up as Connor’s mentor, Clancy Brown makes for a menacing villain, and the soundtrack of Queen songs gives the story a suitably epic feel.
It may not be the best movie from Liam Neeson’s late-career action-star period, but Honest Thief is a solid thriller with a reliably compelling performance from Neeson. Neeson plays Tom Dolan, a notorious bank robber, who plans to go legit for the sake of his new girlfriend Annie (Kate Walsh). But the FBI agents who take his case decide to eliminate him and take his money, so he has to clear his name while protecting Annie. There are some exciting chases and tense confrontations, and Neeson brings gravitas to the B-movie concept.
Jean-Claude Van Damme shows another side of his personality in the self-aware action drama JCVD. As the title implies, Van Damme plays a version of himself, an action star whose glory days are behind him. The movie’s version of Van Damme is out of work and stuck in a custody battle with his ex-wife.
But when he inadvertently stumbles into the middle of a hostage situation at a bank, he gets the chance to prove himself as a real-life hero. The movie combines a meditation on celebrity and Van Damme’s own onscreen persona with a satisfying, well-crafted thriller.
Amazon original movie Jolt stars Kate Beckinsale as a woman with an unusual affliction: She has intermittent explosive disorder, which causes her to essentially Hulk out when she gets angry, leaving paths of destruction in her wake. She controls her condition via a custom rig that delivers electric shocks, but when the first man in years she’s allowed herself to get close to is killed, she goes on a rampage against the criminals responsible.
The movie has a playful tone and plenty of absurd action sequences, and Beckinsale is a delight as the misanthropic protagonist.
What began as a goofy mock trailer in the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez project Grindhouse came to life when Rodriguez made Machete into its own feature film. Danny Trejo stars as the title character, a former Mexican federal officer now working odd jobs in Texas, who finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy to assassinate a United States senator. Machete takes on the entire system, making his way through enemies with style and humor. Rodriguez mimics vintage exploitation movies while putting his own modern spin on the genre.
The Magnificent Seven
Inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s martial arts classic The Seven Samurai, John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven is an iconic and influential touchstone of the Western genre. Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen lead the cast as two of the seven world-weary, desperate gunslingers hired to defend a small Mexican village terrorized by bandits. It’s an archetypal story of determined but outmatched underdogs facing off against a ruthless enemy, culminating in a brutal battle for control of the town.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is at his 1980s action-hero height in Predator, which features Schwarzenegger’s military commander Dutch facing off against a human-hunting alien. Fellow action stars Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura play additional members of Dutch’s team, who are dispatched to a Central American jungle to rescue a kidnapped diplomat, only to encounter the deadly title character.
Director John McTiernan delivers intense, sustained action, leading up to a brutal final confrontation between Dutch and the ruthless killer from outer space.