2023 has proven to be an extraordinary year for the film industry, showcasing remarkable offerings across various genres. While horror and animation have astounded audiences with their sensational releases, it is the action genre that has truly reigned supreme. Featuring an array of cinematic triumphs, from the highly anticipated blockbusters like “John Wick: Chapter 4” and “Fast X,” to the hidden treasures such as “The Killer” and “Blood and Gold,” here are the absolute best action movies of 2023 before July. Prepare to be captivated by an adrenaline-fueled journey through these unforgettable cinematic
’80s action movies are on another level. The plots are ridiculous and nonsensical, the action is over-the-top, and the performances are simply awesome, even if they may be bonkers. 2023’s Plane delivered all of this and more, making it feel like an authentic ’80s action epic. Gerard Butler and Mike Colter were fantastic as Captain Brodie Torrence and criminal Louis Gaspare, respectively. The action is exhilarating and, of course, pretty nuts at points. Releasing early January, Plane kicked off a great year for action movies, and we couldn’t think of a better movie to do so.
9 Creed III
Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut, Creed III is one of the best and most stylized films in the Rocky/Creed franchise. It tells a personal story, with deeply compelling characters and arcs. The movie’s villain is terrifying and unpredictable, but perhaps what makes Creed III shine above the rest, is the movie’s action.
Michael B. Jordan has always expressed his love for anime, and for his directorial debut, the actor and director brought much of what he adored so much about the genre, into this boxing movie. The fight scenes are stylized, fast-paced, and over-the-top, much like anime. We see slow-mo’s, zoom-in’s on characters’ eyes, and perhaps the best moment is when Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed gets sucker punched in the stomach, and time slows down, as the camera cuts to seeing Adonis’ sweat fly off his back. It’s visceral, over-the-top, and simply awesome.
8 Guy Richie’s The Covenant
Guy Richie is one of the best directors of our time. He delivered the ever-so excellent Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. All without mentioning the brilliant Sherlock Holmes movies, starring Robert Downey Jr. His latest movie sees Richie attempt a war film, with The Covenant. This war movie based on a true story was a pleasant surprise, as Guy Richie hasn’t been in his best form as of late. What with Operation Fortune releasing this year as well.
The Covenant is a gripping war flick, anchored by sensational performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim. The action is exhilarating, brutal, and masterfully directed by Richie. As a result, The Covenant is one of the biggest and best surprises of the year.
7 Fast X
If a Fast and Furious movie is one of the year’s headlining movies, of course, it’s going to end up on a best action movies list of the year. Fast X offers everything we love about the Fast and Furious franchise. Over-the-top action, street races, and, of course, (input Vin Diesel voice here), “family”.
However, what sets Fast X apart from the rest of the films in the franchise is the fantastic performance from Jason Momoa, making for the best villain in the franchise.
6 The Killer
Fans of the John Wick movies will certainly get a kick out of The Killer. The Killer boasts a compelling story somewhat reminiscent of Taken, as well as some incredible action scenes. The action is beautifully shot and perfectly edited, making the fight scenes flow fluidly and allowing the audience to witness every gunshot, knife slash, and punch. Easily the best scene is the long take hallway fight scene that should go among the year’s best action sequences. Starring one of the most underrated action stars of all time, Jang Hyuk, The Killer deserves a greater and wider audience.
5 Polite Society
Polite Society is a ton of fun. It’s a charming tale centered around a wanna-be martial artist and stuntperson, who thinks her sister’s fiancé and mother-in-law to be, are not who they let on. The action is phenomenal, the costume design is stunning, and the performances are effortlessly sweet. Polite Society draws a lot of similarities between a few Edgar Wright movies, like Scott Pilgrim and Hot Fuzz, in terms of its fast editing, humor, and style.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing Nazis getting their asses handed to them. It was satisfying in the Indiana Jones franchise, and it was equally satisfying in Inglourious Basterds. But nowhere has it been more rewarding than in 2023’s Sisu. This movie is wild. Nazis get mines thrown at them, knives impaled in their skull, and one even gets strapped to a bomb and dropped out of a plane. It’s brutal, compelling, and all-around awesome. Sisu is an action movie not to miss.
3 Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is one of the best movies of the year, period. It offers up an energy very similar to that of the Pirate of the Caribbean movies, and results in a hilarious, and whimsical adventure. The cast was perfect, with the likes of Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, and Regé-Jean Page, who all give incredible performances with fantastic chemistry. On top of that, the movie’s action was sensational, and even has an Avengers moment that sees all our heroes fight the antagonist in an exhilarating long take.
Sam Hargraves Extraction is one of the best Netflix original action movies, and when a sequel was quickly green lit, we couldn’t wait. Now, three years later with Extraction 2, we were not disappointed. Of course, the action is stunning, with a nearly 30-minute long take that sees Chris Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake take out an army of prisoners and guards in a prison riot, a barrage of cars in an epic car chase, and finally, a helicopter on a thrilling fight sequence on a train, all in one take.
The story is far more interesting than the first, and this sequel sets up many spin-offs and sequels that we can’t wait to see.
1 John Wick: Chapter 4
What else but the flawless John Wick: Chapter 4 to top the list. The fight scenes are mesmerizing. From the hilariously long stair shootout, John killing bad guys while weaving through traffic, a badass nunchuck fight, and, of course, a perfect Dragon’s Breath shotgun sequence, shot like a top-down video game. Keanu is at his best, but it’s the rest of the cast that elevates this sequel. Donnie Yen delivers his best ever performance, Bill Skarsgård is terrifying, yet dapper as the antagonist, Scott Adkins was phenomenal, and Ian McShane, the late Lance Reddick, and Lawrence Fishbourne, once again deliver standout performances.
It’s going to take a lot to beat out John Wick: Chapter 4 as the best action movie of the year.