10 Adrenaline-Fueled Action Films on Netflix, Ranked By How Crazy They Get
They're all foreign-language films, but it's time to "overcome the one-inch-tall barrier," as Bong Joon Ho said.
(SPOT.ph) Raise your hands if your brain cells have been pretty much just languishing these past few months. Not stressed out or anything, but just not happy either. We feel you. Here’s one way to hopefully jumpstart your mood: an adrenaline-pumping movie. Netflix has a store of these types of films, a mix of action, thriller, suspense et cetera, but to give it an extra edge, why not check out different countries’ films? We round up 10 you can stream right now from across the globe, then rank them by just how wack things get.
Get crazy by streaming these 10 best foreign-language action movies on Netflix right now:
10. Operações Especiais (2015), Brazil
Gist: Francis (Cléo Pires) is a rookie who joined the police force with the belief that it will give her a better life than her career as a hairdresser. Only she lives in Rio De Janeiro, and she ends up as part of the force dealing with crime, drugs, and corruption in the fictional but somehow familiar to us Pinoys extra-seedy town of São Judas do Livramento.
How crazy does it get? A woman? Climbing the ranks, gaining the respect and trust of colleagues, superiors, and the people she protects as a special operations officer? And the police officers are a bunch of good, honest people? That is hard to believe. Sarcasm aside, this movie does pack one heck of a punch, action-wise.
9. Sentinelle (2021), France
Gist: Klara (Olga Kurylenko) comes home to the relaxing coastal town of Nice after a traumatizing stint serving as an interpreter in Syria. Having experienced some truly harrowing stuff, she suffers from PTSD—which only gets worse after her sister falls victim to a powerful tycoon (the stereotypical Russian bad guy).
How crazy does it get? The revenge trope never gets old. Klara pulls out all the stops in this high-stakes French film to get to the very root of what happened to her sister—and make sure it never happens to her, or anyone else, again. Add in her experiences in war-torn Syria and this movie makes a hard-hitting commentary on very real issues.
8. The Last Mercenary (2021), France
Gist: Jean Claude Van Damme stars as an ex-mercenary on the mission to save his estranged son mistakenly accused of arms and drug trafficking. And yup, the mafia’s hot on their heels, too!
How crazy does it get? Van Damme knows what he’s doing. This action flick packs a steady stream of punches and a self-aware jab every now and then. The Last Mercenary doesn’t try too hard to be a straight and serious action flick, and that soft edge of comedy makes it a fun watch. Especially if you’re a fan of Van Damme.
7. Manhunt (2017), Chinese-Hong Kong
Gist: This mixed-language Chinese-Hong Kong production is set in Japan and is actually based on a game-changing 1976 Japanese chase film—released in China right after the Cultural Revolution. It follows a prosecutor who wakes up in bed with a dead woman and sets off on a wild path to clear his name.
How crazy does it get? John Woo is probably best remembered for Face/Off (1997), that action thriller starring face-switching John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. Manhunt is definitely in line with that same so-much-action-it’s-ridiculous type of vibe, only that this is a chase film, so heck, there’s even more crazy action.
6. How I Became a Superhero (2021), France
Gist: Disillusioned police detective Moreau (Pio Marmai) lives in a world where everyone’s a superhero but when some villain finds a way to surgically extract someone’s powers and turn it into a drug, Moreau has no choice but to become, well, a superhero once again.
How crazy does it get? As far as original premises go—in a world full of reboots and all kinds of “-quels”—this French production is pretty original. Sure, there are some callbacks to Project Power, another superpower-in-a-drug tale, but this one goes a different path. It mixes real-life grit with superhero fantasy. Heck, there are even superhero suits!
5. Furie (2019), Vietnam
Gist: Hai Phuong (Veronica Ngo) is a reformed gangster, estranged from her family and trying to pick up the pieces of her life when her daughter is kidnapped by child traffickers. She races against time, old demons, an ambiguous police officer, her own family, and the traffickers themselves—basically she has zero allies—to get her back before it’s too late.
How crazy does it get? We’re not going to deny the Taken-like storyline. It is what it is—but possibly even more heart attack-inducing. Yup, we said it. Ngo brings on the action in basically every scene, and if you’ve ever watched a martial arts film, then you know you’re in for a whole lot of ass-kicking.
4. Blood Red Sky (2021), Germany
Gist: Forget Snakes on a Plane, how about Vampires on a Plane instead? A mom-and-son duo end up on the way to the U.S. only to have their plane hijacked. The bad guys think they have it all under control, that is until they realize the mom is a literal vampire who will stop at nothing to protect her son.
How crazy does it get? So, she’s a mom and a vampire at the same time. Yeah, imagine those two warring instincts trapped in a hijacked plane. Things get really crazy and fun fast in this horror-action-thriller flick.
3. Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021), South Korea
Gist: This “sidequel” episode to the popular Kingdom series takes us up north, straight to the origins of the resurrection plant and Ashin, the strange figure that popped up at the end of Season 2. We follow Ashin (Jun Ji Hyun) from her childhood as part of an outcast people, through several tragedies that see her at the origins of the plague—and set her on a path of vengeance against the whole of Joseon.
How crazy does it get? Admittedly, this special episode is not a movie but at more than an hour long and a whole story on its own, it sure feels like one! We know there’s a shit-ton of crazy South Korean films, but come on. A period drama set in a Joseon Dynasty plagued by zombies, a mysterious resurrection plant, and at the heart of it all, a mysterious figure portrayed by Jun Ji Hyun. What more can we ask for?
2. The Night Comes For Us (2018), Indonesia
Gist: A merciless assassin has a change of heart after rescuing a young girl from a massacre (that he and his team himself enacted anyways). Cue an epic, extremely gory battle as the former mercenary does everything he can to give the girl a new life, all while trying to escape from his own.
How crazy does it get? A bad guy finally finding something to live for is a pretty common premise—but The Night Comes for Us amps things up by delivering on the action. This Indonesian martial arts flick was an absolute hit, specifically for people who like their blood fake (emphasis on the fake). If you’re looking for extreme action and creative ways to fictionally kill people, then this movie’s for you.
1. The Raid: Redemption (2011), Indonesia
Gist: A rookie officer finds himself on a life-or-death mission when he and his troop raid an apartment block. Their aim? Arrest a crime lord at the very top of the building—which means they have to go through this entire building kicking ass. A task that would be much easier if the lines between good and bad people were a lot clearer than they are.
How crazy does it get? Indonesia knows how to do martial arts movies. The Raid has gained something of a cult following thanks to its insane adrenalin-inducing scenes and hardcore fight sequences. Think about it: this rookie has to go through floor-after-floor with a bunch of different surprises waiting for him. Yup, there are twists to this one. Definitely one to watch if you want to jumpstart your heart.
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this strange new world.