Nothing hits quite like great action. That raw, racing adrenaline thrusts you into the seat of heroes or villains, who’ve made the wild world their giddy plaything. Whether it’s tire-squealing car chases, dizzying combat, nerve-shredding escapes, heart-racing explosions, or stunt sequences so audacious they’re absolutely mind-melting, we thrill-seekers can’t get enough. So, plot your next adventure with this selection that boasts homicidal cyborgs, chomping creatures, spies, samurais, nice guys, and one plucky explorer.
Here are the 10 best action movies now streaming on Hulu.
1. The Terminator
The 1980s were the era of AHNOLD. Yet Austrian bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger achieved his mightiest flex when he stepped into the titular role of a merciless killer cyborg from a frightful future. In 1984 Los Angeles, waitress Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is on the run from this manly machine. He has been sent from 2029 to prevent the birth of her son, who is destined to lead the rebellion against tyrannical robots. Schwarzenegger awed audiences not only with his hulking form and suitably stiff performance, but also with the sheer star power that would launch a franchise and a decades-long action hero career. Meanwhile, director James Cameron made a sci-fi classic with laser cannons, careening chase scenes, sprays of bullets, and (once) cutting-edge graphics that put audiences in the POV of the Terminator’s cold, calculating stare.
How to watch: The Terminator is streaming on Hulu.
Craving an action-packed creature-feature? Then, you’ll want to snap up this pulse-pounding gator tale from horror auteur Alexandre Aja. Set on the coast of Florida, Crawl follows a father and daughter in a frightening fight for survival. It’s bad enough that a Category 5 hurricane is barreling toward their family home while tough-love dad (Barry Pepper) is trapped below in a crawl space. Making matters more menacing, the home is invaded by a congregation of hungry alligators. College swim star Haley (Kaya Scodelario) will have to put her skills to the ultimate test. Not only must she outlast the relentless waters that flood their home level by level, but also she has to drag her injured dad to out of the jaws of death to safety. Studded with jump scares, close-calls, grisly attacks, and great escapes, Crawl will have the whole family at the edge of their seats and hollering.
How to watch: Crawl is streaming on Hulu.
3. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
If you’re searching for something action-packed that’ll be lighthearted fun for the whole family, look no further. This live-action re-imagining of the cartoon show Dora The Explorer is sure to satisfy. Raised in the jungle with her explorer parents, 16-year-old Dora Marquez (a bubbly Isabela Merced) doesn’t quite fit in at her Los Angeles high school, where carrying a purple backpack full of climbing gear and weapons isn’t appreciated. But when she and her new friends find their way back to the wild, Dora has home court advantage. Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy watching this quirky crew race through treacherous terrain, best comical foes, solve perilous puzzles, and rediscover the wonder of adventures in nature. The cherry on top of all this action is the supreme silliness that director James Bobin sprinkles in with meta jokes, side-splitting pratfalls, and cutesy callbacks to its animated origins.
How to watch: Dora and the Lost City of Gold is streaming on Hulu.
4. Misson: Impossible — Ghost Protocol
When a devastating bombing at the Kremlin is blamed on the Impossible Missions Force, secret agent Ethan Hunt and his highly skilled crew of spies are wrongfully labeled as terrorists. Disavowed and disgraced, they must clear their names while on the run from foes and former friends. With his signature smile and unfailing commitment to stellar stunts, Tom Cruise swings into action with the aid of Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner. Though best known for helming animated adventures like The Incredibles, director Brad Bird wowed critics by creating a cavalcade of awesome action set pieces, that includes hard-hitting hand-to-hand combat, chase scenes, and Cruise spectacularly scaling the world’s tallest skyscraper.
How to watch: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is streaming on Hulu.
5. Train to Busan
Critics screamed in terror and elation over Yeon Sang-ho’s riveting zombie movie. This international hit begins with a seemingly average day in South Korea. A train to Busan is calmly boarded by a gaggle of strangers, which includes a pair of bickering elderly sisters, a cheery high school baseball team, a pregnant woman, her burly husband (Ma Dong-seok), a workaholic dad (Gong Yoo), his little girl (Kim Soo-ahn)…and a zombie-bit victim who is about to become a flesh-craving fiend. Once they’re one their way, there’s no easy escape from the mounting terror or the growing undead horde that will stop at nothing to maim, munch, and murder. With jaw-dropping practical effects, masterfully suspenseful sequences, and a charismatic cast of characters, this is one thrill ride you won’t want to miss. But be warned, you may never look at an escalator the same way again.
How to watch: Train to Busan is streaming on Hulu.
Before Deadpool, before Logan, there was Kick-Ass, an R-rated superhero movie that dared to team saving the day with raunchy sex jokes, blood-splashing violence, and a barrage of curse words, including 115 reported employments of the f-bomb. Inspired by Mark Millar’s comics and directed by Matthew Vaughn, this 2010 hit follows plucky high schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who decides he doesn’t need superpowers to be a masked avenger. However, to take down a cruel crime boss (Mark Strong), he will need to a team-up with the mysterious Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and a fearsome father-daughter team of vigilantes, the badass Big Daddy (a mustachioed Nicolas Cage) and the sailor-mouthed Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). Packing as many laughs as outrageous hits, this superhero comedy certainly does kick ass.
How to watch: Kick-Ass is streaming on Hulu.
7. 13 Assassins
Japanese director Takashi Miike had previously won international acclaim for his eye-popping and twisted thrillers, Audition and Ichi The Killer. In this celebrated 2010 offering, the distinctive director created a period piece with punch, reimagining Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 samurai drama of the same name. Set in Japan’s feudal era, this martial arts stunner centers on a motley band of warriors (including Kōji Yakusho, Hiroki Matsukata, and Takayuki Yamada), who will do whatever it takes to assassinate the malevolent Lord Naritsugu (Gorō Inagaki). In a time when computer graphics ruled action, critics cheered the verve and practical effects that Miike brought to his remake. With a grand scale, moody cinematography, and an ensemble that pitches themselves fully into every fray, 13 Assassins is more than action-packed, it’s enthralling cinema.
How to watch: 13 Assassins is streaming on Hulu.
8. Hell or High Water
The Western is smartly modernized in this 2016 David Mackenzie drama. Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as a pair of bank-robbing brothers. When the family farm risks foreclosure from a ruthless bank chain, these gun-packing cowboys saddle up for a string of robberies to even the scales. They may be desperate, but they’re no dummies. So, it’s up to a sharp and storied cop (Jeff Bridges with a thick mustache and ten-gallon hat) to stop them. Hell or High Water is studded with gunplay, heists, escapes, and even explosions. However, what makes this action movie a standout is the gripping story, confident pace, and hard-hitting performances from its triad of leading men. Little wonder this film earned four Academy Award nominations, including nods for Best Supporting actor for Bridges and Best Motion Picture of the Year.
How to watch: Hell or High Water is streaming on Hulu.
9. The Nice Guys
Long before he was writing/directing daring action movies like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, Shane Black made his mark on Hollywood by penning the seminal buddy-cop comedy Lethal Weapon. This 2016 action-comedy is a thrilling throwback to his roots, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as a mismatched duo determined to solve a twisted mystery. In 1970s Los Angeles, Holland March (Gosling) is a washed-up private eye that’s got more bruises than bank. Jackson Healy (Crowe) is a rugged enforcer, who has got a soft spot for dames in trouble. So, despite their differences, they’ll team up track down a mysterious missing girl. Along the way, they cross paths with wild turns, bursts of violence, sultry bombshells, barrages of mayhem, and explosively outrageous humor.
How to watch: The Nice Guys is streaming on Hulu.
This high-concept thriller from 1995 was not a box office hit. It was not critically heralded. So why does it deserve a spot on this list? Because Virtuosity is a savage and satisfying guilty pleasure. Lawnmower Man director Brett Leonard teamed with A-lister Denzel Washington and rising star Russell Crowe for a cat-and-mouse game about a killer unlike the world (wide web) had ever seen. SID 6.7 (Crowe) is a sophisticated and psychopathic computer program built from the psychological files of the world’s most infamous serial killers. He’s intended to train cops in the safety of virtual reality. But once this homicidal A.I. inevitably escapes into the real world, it’s up to Washington’s disgraced cop to save the day. Collateral damage be damned.
How to watch: Virtuosity is streaming on Hulu.