Even casual fans of action films are aware of films like John Wick or the last 37 superhero movies - but what about the truly underrated action movies in the 2010s? Most people have already seen a handful of The Fast and the Furious adventures, so maybe it's time to branch out a little and dig into relatively recent high-octane action films you might have missed upon first release.
Are you more into foreign films full of high-flying martial arts fisticuffs like 13 Assassins, or are you more a fan of cerebral thrillers like The Grey? Maybe you like to pair your action with comedy, as in The Nice Guys, or maybe you're enthralled with unique technical achievements like Victoria's single take or Hardcore Henry's first-person perspective.
No matter which particular vein of action movie you prefer, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest yet underrated heart-pumping films of the 2010s. Vote up your favorite underrated action films and make sure to check out the ones you haven't. You can thank us later.
Note: Possible spoilers.
The premise of Dredd is simple. Two futuristic cops are on the bottom floor of an apartment complex closed to the outside world. On the top floor is a bad guy they need to capture or take out. Between them are 100 bad guys hell-bent on stopping the cops. Go.
To make it even better, most of the bad guys are hooked on a substance called slo-mo that - you guessed it - gives time the appearance of crawling by. Naturally, the bad guys seem to smoke the stuff right when Judge Dredd busts in the room, creating an unbelievable gory (and kind of beautiful?) action sequence.
8,4601,064Is this action movie a hidden gem?
- Actors: Lena Headey, Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Domhnall Gleeson, Deobia Oparei
- Released: 2012
- Directed by: Pete Travis
Edge of Tomorrow is essentially Groundhog Day if Bill Murray was replaced by Tom Cruise and given a massive mech suit used to blow apart aliens. The action sequences are kinetic and fast-paced, but the real stars of the film are the mind-bending plot and the excellent humor.
The rewinding day storyline provides ample opportunity for hilarious gags while also showcasing a story with surprising depth and heart. Tom Cruise is great, Emily Blunt is great, the aliens are a super cool design, and watching everything blow up over and over is a highly rewatchable blast.
8,0451,551Is this action movie a hidden gem?
- Actors: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Riley
- Released: 2014
- Directed by: Doug Liman
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is based on a spy show from the '60s, so the film keeps the series' post-WWII setting and retains some of the goofy charm.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. might not blow you away with its action sequences, but each scene seems perfectly crafted for engaging fun.
5,6701,682Is this action movie a hidden gem?
- Actors: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris
- Released: 2015
- Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Virtually every movie written by Shane Black is an action-filled blast, but even in Black's repertoire, The Nice Guys stands out. It is ostensibly a buddy cop film, but the pairing of a wildly emotive Ryan Gosling with a subdued, aggressive Russell Crowe is truly inspired.
The action sequences are predictably great, but the film's crowning achievement is its humor. It's hard not to get sucked in by Gosling's frequent high-pitched screams or his sweet relationship with his daughter. One of the film's greatest moments comes during a conversation between Gosling's character (Holland March) and his daughter (Holly March):
Holly March: "Dad, there’s, like, wh*res here and stuff."
Holland March: "Sweetheart, how many times have I told you? Don’t say 'and stuff,' just say, 'Dad, there are wh*res here.'"
3,9321,322Is this action movie a hidden gem?
- Actors: Matt Bomer, Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger
- Released: 2016
- Directed by: Shane Black