There’s no need to pay for a streaming subscription to get your action-movie fix. Free streaming services have plenty of action-packed movies from a variety of eras and subgenres. Here are the best action movies to stream for free.
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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
The excitement of martial arts action combines with the scope of historical drama in director Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning take on the wuxia genre. Set in the 19th century, the movie follows two warriors—who are also star-crossed lovers—as they attempt to recover the sacred sword known as the Green Destiny. Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh play the central warriors, alongside Zhang Ziyi in one of her earliest roles. Lee stages breathtaking, balletic action sequences, bringing romance and grace to every battle.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is streaming for free with ads on Tubi.
Director Joe Wright brings his lush visual style from period literary adaptations to this espionage thriller, starring Saoirse Ronan as the title character. Hanna was raised in isolation by her father (Eric Bana), a former CIA operative now in hiding. She’s trained her whole life to take down her father’s enemies, led by a CIA official played by Cate Blanchett. Ronan projects steely determination and maturity as the teenage hero, and Wright stages bravura action sequences, including a memorable single-take fight in a subway station.
Hanna is streaming for free with ads on Peacock.
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Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy have great chemistry in this action-comedy from director Paul Feig, which delivers on both the action and comedy fronts. Bullock and McCarthy play a pair of mismatched cops teamed up to take down a Boston crime boss. Of course, one is a straitlaced, ultra-competent FBI agent, while the other is a short-tempered, uncouth local cop. They banter and then bond, in familiar but funny buddy-cop fashion. They also hold their own against hordes of bad guys, and Feig stages the action with the same energy as the comedy.
The Heat is streaming for free with ads on IMDb TV and Tubi.
Immortal warriors battle across the centuries in director Russell Mulcahy’s bombastic action fantasy. With its soundtrack full of Queen arena-rock anthems, Highlander sometimes comes across like a two-hour music video, in only the best ways. Christopher Lambert plays one of the last of the eternal combatants, living in modern-day New York City and preparing for a final battle with his longtime enemy. As the lore goes, “there can be only one,” so the two must fight to the death—which can only be achieved via decapitation. It’s an over-the-top epic that launched a franchise full of dense mythology.
Highlander is streaming for free with ads on Dark Matter TV, Peacock, Plex, Shout Factory TV, Tubi, and Vudu.
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Director/co-writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg have such deep affection for even the most ridiculous aspects of American action movies that it’s tough to call Hot Fuzz a parody. Wright applies the tone and style of over-the-top action to a seemingly small-scale story about police officers in a sleepy English village. Pegg’s big-city cop is transferred to a backwater town where he’s teamed with an enthusiastic but clumsy local (played by Nick Frost). The two of them discover a surprisingly vast criminal conspiracy, culminating in a showdown that is both hilarious and action-packed.
Hot Fuzz is streaming for free with ads on Peacock.
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa burst onto the scene with this kinetic showcase for his talents. The plot is rudimentary, starring Jaa as a villager who travels to Bangkok to recover a stolen statue, taking on a variety of thugs and criminals in the process. The simple story provides room for Jaa to practice his dazzling Muay Thai moves, in a form of martial arts that had rarely been highlighted onscreen before this movie. Jaa and director Prachya Pinkaew use slow motion and multiple camera angles to make sure each amazing stunt can be fully appreciated.
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior is streaming for free with ads on Crackle, Plex, Redbox, Tubi, and Vudu, and for free via local libraries on Hoopla and Kanopy.
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The entire predator franchise started with one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best action movies of the 1980s. He plays the leader of a team of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a Central American jungle and rescue a kidnapped government official. What they find in the jungle is a dangerous alien hunter, which has traveled to Earth to stalk and kill humans for sport. The predator itself is an iconic movie monster, and the movie makes it into a formidable opponent for Schwarzenegger. It’s a tense wilderness battle between alien and human.
predator is streaming for free with ads on Tubi.
Being a bike messenger in New York City is dangerous enough without being pursued by a corrupt cop who wants you dead. But that’s just what happens to a messenger played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt when he agrees to deliver a package that turns out to be a key component of a smuggling operation. The fast-paced movie follows him as he races across New York City, dodging new threats at every turn. Director and co-writer David Koepp delivers a nonlinear story full of just as many switchbacks and detours as the frenetic chase scenes.
Premium Rush is streaming for free with ads on Tubi.
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Paul Verhoeven’s vision is part sci-fi action, part social satire, embodied in the cyborg title character, played by Peter Weller. He’s a cop in a hyper-violent future version of Detroit, where control of the local police force has been handed to the obviously sinister corporation Omni Consumer Products. OCP takes fatally injured officer Alex Murphy and resuscitates him in a cybernetic body, making him into an efficient killing machine. Murphy eventually rebels against his corporate overlords and recovers his sense of self, while mowing down criminals in scenes of brutal, visceral action.
RoboCop is streaming for free with ads on Pluto TV and Tubi, and for free via local libraries on Hoopla.
Liam Neeson has become quite the action star in recent years, and he first showed off his “very particular set of skills” in this lean kidnapping thriller. Neeson plays a former CIA agent who falls back on his training when his daughter is abducted by human traffickers while on vacation in Europe. Tasks is famous for Neeson’s menacing monologue as he threatens his daughter’s captors over the phone, and the actor brings gravitas to what could have been a stock part. He also holds his own in numerous fight scenes, showcasing the action moves that he’d carry into his career resurgence.
Tasks is streaming for free with ads on Peacock and Tubi.