Sometimes all you want from a movie is to drift away from your problems and immerse yourself in a film that cost $60 million to make, with about one percent of that going to developing a story and the rest going toward controlled explosions, blood squibs, and fake -- but extremely realistic! -- sweat. That movie was Netflix's action extravaganza Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth as a mercenary who goes to a foreign country on a mission and shoots his way out after being double-crossed.
But now that you've seen it, what can you watch on Netflix that will deliver similar thrills? We got a list that will scratch that itch. From other big-name actors with big guns to Asian action films that let the punching do the talking, there are enough bullets flying, bones snapping, and bad guys getting what they deserve to tide you over until Extraction 2 comes out.
If you enjoyed Extraction because you love the idea of a Hollywood hunk who played a superhero starring in a straight action film, then check out Deadpool in this Michael Bay film. The plot may be dumb -- Ryan Reynolds stars as a billionaire who forms a vigilante squad that takes out terrorists governments are too afraid or weak to take on -- but the action is legit. The opening sequence features stupefying white-knuckle driving and several unnecessary explosions, which is exactly what you're looking for. It's lighter in tone than Extraction, but things still go boom.
You want big stars decked out in military gear going into foreign countries and scrapping with the locals? Triple Frontier may not have grabbed Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, and Will Smith, who were in talks to join the film in its early stages, but it did get Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal. They play a group of former Delta Force soldiers who team up to pick the massive pockets of a South American drug lord, and as usual with South American drug lords, things get very shooty. Despite all the star power, there's an underrated cast member: the massive pile of cash that the team hoists away and becomes a centerpiece of the action. You think Hemsworth saving a kid has high stakes? What if it was millions in cash instead? (No offense, kids.)
With absolutely zero apologies to Michael Bay, Steven Soderbergh is by far the best director on this list. Soderbergh dipped his toe into action flicks with Haywire, a 2011 movie starring MMA star Gina Carano in her first major role. Carano plays a black ops operative who gets betrayed by her handlers and must work her way through a conspiracy, punching people in the face along the way. The action is a mixed bag -- the first fight sees Carano kicking the crap out of Channing Tatum in visceral, stripped-down hand-to-hand combat, while another gets Soderbergh's stylized treatment that's more pretty to look at -- but Carano is impressive to watch in her own stunts. Man, she can throw a punch. In addition to Tatum, the film also boasts Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, and Antonio Banderas.
If you liked Extraction because of the one-man-against-the-world vibe, sit shotgun in Wheelman, a car-centric action crime thriller about a driver for a bank heist operation that goes sideways. The centerpiece here is star Frank Grillo, who channels every gritty '80s action star in a powerhouse performance, which is vital because almost the entirety of the movie is just Grillo driving in the car by himself trying to figure out how a simple robbery could get so f--cked. There's no massive action scenes with rocket launchers and exploding fruit stands in developing countries, but Wheelman injects adrenaline straight into your arm with a mounting intensity that never takes its foot off the gas, and it's only accentuated by the Bullitt-style hums and revs of the Wheelman's BMW E46. Massively underrated. It's like a Safdie Brothers film inside of a car.
Bruh, if you want more movies like Extraction but haven't explored the world of Asian action movies, then have a seat and take the pacifier out of your mouth. Movies like Triple Threat make Extraction look like Romper Room. Like Extraction, the plot follows mercenaries hired to protect someone, but instead of one muscly dude, the team is made of three of today's biggest action stars who combined can throw four dozen punches before you can even cock your arm back: Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Tiger Chen. Plot is a secondary concern in these movies (as are OSHA rules), with shooting, punching, impaling, bone-breaking, neck-snapping, and blood-spurting much more important.
Once you've gotten a taste of Triple Threat, move on to 2018's superior The Night Comes for Us, from acclaimed Indonesian action director Timo Tjahjanto. Though far from the military mindedness of Extraction, it also features a man who must protect a young child from bad guys after he turns his back on the crime syndicate he works for. Blah, blah, blah, plot, whatever. You're watching for the insanely choreographed violent-with-a-capital-V action scenes, including my favorite which takes place inside a meat processing facility and features broken cow bones used as weapons. It's even more impressive than it sounds. Hemsworth wouldn't last three seconds with these guys. Anything from Tjahjanto is action gold; another of his films, Headshot, is also on Netflix.
While more into spycraft than the run-and-gun "duh, shoot something" Extraction, 2011's Salt does feature another A-lister in some heavy action sequences. In a role originally written for Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie plays a CIA agent who is mistaken for a Russian spy, sending her on the run from the very same agency she worked for. Jolie kicks some butt in the role and wears more wigs than Hemsworth, but just know that in this cat-and-mouse thriller, you're going to get about 2000 percent more plot in Salt than the simple pleasures of Extraction.
We return to Southeast Asia for one more pick, this time to the Philippines for a rock-solid tale of revenge... and punching and shooting. Maria stars Cristine Reyes as a former assassin who ditched the life to raise a family, only to have her family slaughtered as payback for a job in which she wouldn't kill innocent people. You'll come for the action but get roped into the emotion as you'll want to watch Maria slaughter every single one of these goons responsible for killing her husband and daughter. As a bonus, there are several fight scenes featuring badass females kicking the crap out of muscleheads and each other. Director Pedring Lopez is one to keep an eye on in Asian action scene; some of his camerawork is fantastic.