10 Underrated Action Movies of the 2010s

Thanks to the MCU taking the industry by storm, action-oriented superhero films have dominated cinemas for most of the 2010s. While some action franchises, such as Fast and Furious and Mission Impossiblehave managed to stay viable, a slew of smaller action films have gone unnoticed by popular audiences.

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Some action films are captivating, while others put viewers to sleep. There is plenty of action flicks between these two types that never received their deserved recognition. There are many underrated action films from the 2010s that you should give another shot, ranging from low-budget, gritty action pictures to blockbuster thrills.


‘Widows’ (2018)

When a heist goes horribly wrong, and four men are killed, their grieving women have to take matters into their own hands and try to pull off what their late husbands couldn’t. Audience reaction was divided, with some accusing it of “political correctness,” resulting in a disappointing box office haul for a picture with a fascinating story and a brilliant cast.

The way director Steve McQueen juggles seriousness with entertainment value to such eager and provocative ends is why fans should give Widowsanother opportunity. The film tackles complicated issues like sexism, police brutality, and interracial marriage and still brilliantly delivers on car chases and gunfights.

‘The Nice Guys’ (2016)

The Nice Guys is a black comedic buddy cop film noir directed by Shane Black. The film follows Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), two mismatched private investigators in 1970s Los Angeles, who investigate a missing girl and the strange death of a porn star.

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Even though the interplay between Crowe and Gosling is amusing, and the film is replete with wittily hilarious yet meaningful moments, it’s a shame that The Nice Guys flopped at the box office. Moreover, who doesn’t want to watch Ryan Gosling in an action film? Gosling mines his numerous gifts and becomes a fireball in The Nice Guyswith explosive timing and riotous gestures.

‘The Grey’ (2011)

The Grey follows a group of oil workers on their way home in a flight that crosses a storm and crashes. Only seven oil workers are alive and are led by a skilled huntsman (Liam Neeson), but a pack of savage wolves is pursuing them.

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The Grey avoids pompous clichés, brings the viewers to unexpected places, and refuses to accept easy answers. Furthermore, it delves into the dark recesses of the masculine psyche, uncovering more emotional frailty than is typically found in Hollywood’s macho image. In addition, Liam Neeson’s fantastic performance and thrilling action are the more reasons to visit this title.

‘Hanna’ (2011)

Hanna follows a teen girl named Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), taught by her father (Eric Bana) to be the ideal assassin. Then, for unknown reasons, a mystery CIA operative (Cate Blanchett) wants to eliminate both of them.

From its adrenaline-pumping early minutes to its muffled blast of a climax, the film is an exuberantly constructed chase thriller that vibrates with intensity. Furthermore, Saoirse Ronan shines as the titular character: an intelligent, physically fit, and a deadly young lady with whom fans may not be familiar. Also, Director Joe Wright’s tremendous directorial flexibility is demonstrated in the picture, having made period pieces and drama films before this.

‘The Guest’ (2014)

The Guest follows a family visited by a strange man named David (Dan Stevens), claiming to be a friend of their deceased US soldier son. However, as people start getting slain in the town, the family’s new guest’s identity is questioned.

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It may be too hard for mainstream audiences to appreciate as a pure thriller. Adam Wingard mixes the grim reality of violence with a slick and entertaining approach in The Guest, making it a bizarre mix of horror and action. Additionally, Dan Stevens does a fantastic job portraying a broken and violent man who leaves audiences guessing about his true nature the entire time.

‘Atomic Blonde’ (2017)

Atomic Blonde takes place in Berlin in 1989, near the end of the Cold War. The film follows an MI6 agent (Charlize Theron) who is dispatched to take down a spy ring that murdered an agent she loved. She later collaborates with Berlin station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to eliminate this imminent menace to the West’s fragile peace.

For a first time director, David Leitch manages to distinguish Atomic Blonde from movies like John Wick. The move is dirtier, nastier, and more replete with betrayals and espionage. Moreover, with an incredibly breathtaking one-take fight scene that holds the audience in awe, Theron is an impressive force to be reckoned with.

’21 Bridges’ (2019)

To stop a band of cop murderers, the late Chadwick Boseman played an NYPD detective who closes down all bridges and tunnels leading into and off of Manhattan Island. Later, he is joined by Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller), a colleague who discloses a large and surprising scheme.

With its timely themes of police brutality and racism and a predictable plot, 21 Bridges was sure to divide audiences. Even so, viewers won’t be bored with the tough banter, stylish bird’s-eye view of the city, terrific action scenes, a good detective tale, and Boseman and Miller’s inexhaustible charisma.

‘Upgrade’ (2018)

Upgrade is a Blumhouse sci-fi action film about technophobe mechanic Gray Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), who is dealing with the murder of his wife Asha following a mugging that left her dead and him paralyzed. Then, a mystery millionaire inventor visits him and offers him an experimental spinal operation.

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Upgrade‘s sheer intensity and the strength of its concept are more than enough to transform this vengeance film into something new and entertaining. The film also features distinctive, legible battles, a captivating retro-apocalyptic appearance, and a plot that appears straightforward at first but gradually unravels. Not to mention Marshall-Green’s outstanding performance, elevating the film to new heights.

‘Welcome to the Punch’ (2013)

James McAvoy portrays emotional detective Max Lewinsky, who has a long-running feud with the ruthless criminal Jake Sternwood (Mark Strong). When Sternwood is forced to return to London, detective Lewinsky is given one more chance to apprehend the guy he’s been seeking for years.

Welcome To The Punch is exhilaratingly cinematic, gorgeously crafted, smarter, and funnier than fans would anticipate. It’s a phenomenal show for Eran Creevy and his crew throughout most of its runtime. Moreover, the cast’s acting is excellent, particularly the leading men, McAvoy and Strong, who each constructed their distinct personas. Thus, thriller-action aficionados should not miss this bold, ambitious, action-packed British thriller.

’13 Assassins’ (2010)

13 Assassins was directed by Takashi Miike (Blade of the Immortal) and tell the story of jaded samurai Shinzaemon (Koji Yakusho), who is tasked with creating a gang of twelve warriors to defeat a formidable warlord. The movie is rated R because of its buckets of blood and unflinching violence.

Few filmmakers are as bold as Takashi Miike in contrasting cruelty and beauty. 13 Assassins is a classic samurai film with outstanding style and panache, ranking among the best in the genre. Several good performances from the fantastic cast support a lot of terrific action and philosophy the film wants to deliver. Additionally, the final fight, which takes up the last third of the movie, is something samurai movie fans should see.

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