Underrated Action Movies Based On Graphic Novels

List Rules
Vote up the action movies that deserve more appreciation.

Do you enjoy over-the-top action movies? Do you enjoy violent graphic novels? Do you enjoy graphic novel adaptations? Then boy, oh, boy do we have something for you. The nature of comic books and graphic novels make them easily adaptable to film and television. A lot of the storyboarding is already done for you! Just get the film rights and go! And there certainly has been no shortage of comic book adaptations in recent years... but how about those films that have gone underappreciated?

We're talking Atomic Blonde. We're talking Wanted. We're talking Snowpiercer. Every film that follows may not be at the cutting edge of cinematic quality, but they definitely are fun to watch if you can get in the right frame of mind. They're based on graphic novels, after all, and though that medium is full of all kinds of masterpieces, the action-based ones that tend to get film adaptations aren't really pushing the boundaries of storytelling. These movies are loud, they're brash, and they're just good fun.


  • 1
    45 VOTES
    The Old Guard
    Photo: Netflix

    There is a pretty simple rule to follow if you're a Hollywood executive looking to make a successful, female-led action film: cast Charlize Theron. If we ignore Æon Flux (which is something we absolutely must do), the South African actor has an undeniable string of commercial and/or critical hits that spans two decades now. The Italian JobHancock. The Huntsman movies. PrometheusMad Max: Fury RoadAtomic BlondeThe Fate of the Furious. 2020's The Old Guard was just the latest in a long line of action films for Theron.

    Based on Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández's comic series of the same name (with a screenplay by Rucka himself), The Old Guard is centered around an immortal band of mercenaries as they go on a revenge mission to keep the true nature of their existence a secret. The Netflix film has a bit of a different aesthetic than your average action film thanks to its director Gina Prince-Bythewood. The Los Angeles-born director is best known for directing dramas like Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees, and her eye for that kind of filmmaking elevates the quieter moments of the film beyond the traditional trappings of the genre.

  • 2
    37 VOTES
    Extraction
    Photo: Netflix

    Chris Hemsworth is one of the biggest movie stars on the face of the planet. And though Extraction is definitely as vicious as (if not more so) some of its big-screen counterparts, it is kind of funny to think of Hemsworth starring in an action movie for a streaming service. Even if that service is Netflix.

    Based on Ande Parks's 2014 graphic novel CiudadExtraction was released on Netflix in 2020 and became the most popular original film in the company's short history. From first-time director Sam Hargrave, the movie is exceedingly ruthless with too many brutal kills to count. The story isn't much to write home about, but Hemsworth's performance, as well as the turns by the mostly unknown supporting cast, make the film a success, if you can stomach the bloody nature of the film's action. If you can get on board with the harrowing and graphic violence, it's a pretty good time.

  • 3
    56 VOTES

    Released in 2010, Red is an action-comedy that somehow only had a budget of $58 million. We bring that up because this cast is absolutely stacked with big names: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Karl Urban. Not enough? Let's bring in beloved actors like Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ernest Borgnine to round out the cast for good measure. It can't be easy to afford all that star power and still have money left over to make a successful action-comedy.

    Based on Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner's limited comic series of the same name, Red follows Willis's Frank Moses as he reunites with his old Black Ops team to take down a hitman. Directed by Robert Schwentke, known at the time for helming Flightplan and The Time Traveler's WifeRed does a fantastic job of balancing laughs from its A-list cast with enough PG-13 thrills to make it a fun time at the movies. It's just a shame adding Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones to the 2013 sequel couldn't re-create the magic

  • 4
    32 VOTES

    Just before the Marvel Cinematic Universe became the hottest thing since sliced bread, three of its stars came together in a comic book movie of a different sort. If you could bring together Chris Evans, Idris Elba, and Zoe Saldana for a movie today, it would be hyped up beyond belief. Instead, this DC Comics-related film came and went without much fanfare, barely making its budget back at the international box office.

    Based on the comic book series of the same name from the British duo Andy Diggle and Jock, this 2010 film plays a lot like The Expendables or The A-Team. It's about a goofy, ragtag team taking on the bad guys, and with an all-star cast, is there anything else you need to know? It's not exactly Citizen Kane, but it isn't trying to be. Sometimes, you just want to have a good, violent time at the multiplex, and The Losers offers that in spades.