The Most Underrated Action Movies of the 2010s, Ranked
We kind of forgot about them, but these movies certainly deserve another chance.
10. "Edge of Tomorrow" (2014)
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt teaming up to fight aliens? Yes, please. In "Edge of Tomorrow," Cruise's character, Major William Cage, finds himself caught in a time loop, reliving the same brutal combat against an alien race, the Mimics. But here's the twist – each repeated day gifts Cage with more battle prowess, with the assistance of war hero Rita Vrataski (played by Blunt).
Every morning Cage wakes up, doomed to repeat the same day, leading to an intense, adrenaline-pumping experience each time. Imagine a mix of Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers, but with an original spin.
9. "Dredd" (2012)
Not to be confused with Stallone's 1995 version, Karl Urban's take on the iconic comic book character Judge Dredd is a visceral dive into a dystopian future.
Mega-City One, a violent metropolis sprawling the U.S. East Coast, is home to crime, grime, and the Judges – law enforcers, juries, and executioners rolled into one. Urban's stone-faced Dredd and his psychic rookie partner, Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), are tasked to handle a crime in a 200-story slum controlled by the ruthless drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).
Amidst the dark hallways and confined spaces of the Peach Trees block, viewers are treated to intense gunfights and slow-motion sequences amplified by the effects of the Slo-Mo drug.
In Bong Joon-ho's English language debut, the world has frozen over, and the last remnants of humanity inhabit a perpetually moving train. Divided by class, the impoverished are crammed into the tail end, plotting rebellion against the privileged living in luxury at the front.
The combat is grim, gritty, and visceral, painting a bleak yet mesmerizing picture of humanity's last stand. It's action with a chilling (pun entirely intended) edge of societal commentary.
7. "The Grey" (2011)
Liam Neeson and a pack of merciless wolves – it's as intense as it sounds. Neeson plays Ottway, a marksman tasked with protecting oil rig workers from wolf attacks. After their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, Ottway and the survivors must fend off a relentless pack of wolves stalking them through the icy terrain.
It's Neeson as you love him – tough, resilient, but also deeply human. While it might not have raked in the big bucks at the box office, the raw survival elements and the unyielding tension make "The Grey" a hidden gem.
6. "Attack the Block" (2011)
Alien invasions and British teen gangsters aren't your typical mix, but in "Attack the Block," it's a recipe for thrilling entertainment.
When meteors fall on South London, a teenage gang led by Moses (John Boyega in his breakout role) encounters alien creatures. What follows is a heart-pounding chase through a council estate, where the teens defend their block from the extraterrestrial invaders.
With a tight script, impressive creature effects, and Boyega leading the charge with charm and intensity, the film is a wild mix of close encounters and narrow escapes.
5. "John Carter" (2012)
A name that might stir memories of a box office flop, but let's strip away the preconceived notions for a moment. "John Carter" tells the story of a Civil War vet transported to Mars (known to its inhabitants as Barsoom). Here, Carter, portrayed by Taylor Kitsch, becomes embroiled in an alien conflict amidst a vast, visually stunning landscape.
On Mars, with its reduced gravity, Carter has enhanced strength and leaping abilities, adding a fun, superhero-like twist. He encounters different Martian species, including the towering, four-armed Tharks and the human-like red Martians. Our hero finds himself in the middle of a war that could determine the fate of the planet.
There's a princess, there are epic battles, and there are strange, otherworldly beasts.
4. "A Lonely Place to Die" (2011)
Nestled amidst the breathtaking but unforgiving Scottish Highlands, this thriller delivers action with a side of vertigo. A group of mountaineers, led by Alison (Melissa George), discovers a Serbian girl buried alive in the wilderness. Their rescue mission quickly spirals into a deadly game of cat and mouse as they are pursued by kidnappers across perilous terrain.
It's not just about the physical action – which is gripping, to say the least – but the psychological terror of being hunted in a landscape as deadly as the pursuers.
3. "Safe House" (2012)
Ryan Reynolds as a young CIA agent, tasked with guarding a fugitive (none other than Denzel Washington), combines tension and star power in equal measure. When their safe house is attacked, agent Matt Weston (Reynolds) finds himself on the run with Tobin Frost (Washington), a dangerous and masterful manipulator.
The chase through Cape Town, South Africa, offers a picturesque backdrop to the relentless action and suspense. Every corner turned, every close call, is another page in the evolving dynamic between the rookie agent and the rogue veteran.
2. "Haywire" (2011)
Former MMA fighter Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a highly trained operative who's been double-crossed by her own organization. As she unravels the conspiracy, viewers are treated to tightly choreographed fight scenes that put Carano's combat skills front and center. Each punch and kick lands with an authenticity often missing in action films.
As Mallory weaves through Dublin's cobbled streets and Barcelona's urban vistas, the international backdrop adds an exotic touch to her revenge mission.
1. "Olympus Has Fallen" (2013)
Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent who becomes America's only hope when the White House is overtaken? Classic action gold. Mike Banning (Butler) finds himself trapped inside the White House during a terrorist attack. With the president (Aaron Eckhart) held hostage, Banning becomes a one-man army, taking on the invaders.
It's a throwback to the intense action dramas of the '90s, offering suspense, patriotism, and Gerard Butler in a race against time. It's the kind of popcorn flick that deserves a second watch and a bit more love.