What a time to be alive (and considering the past year, I think we all appreciate that at a new level). With a new crop of movies defining 2021, there’s always someone to point out the indie darlings and award contenders. The prestige TV shows that should be a movie, but aren’t. But what about the action movies? Those high-octane thrill rides that are as much about the boom-boom (not that boom-boom) as they are about the plot? Don’t sleep on a good action movie because if you do, you’ll miss some of 2021’s best features. I mean, the Fast and the Furious gang goes to space this year. Space!
Zack Snyder made zombies come to live and fully redeemed a notoriously bad movie by making it longer and finally comprehensible. He officially released the Snyder cut and all the bros celebrated. Even better: a ton of these films can be streamed from home, if you’re still feeling a bit sketch about heading back to theaters this soon.
The tl;dr version of all of this is that 2021 is rife with action movies worth your while, and even if you’re not big on the shootouts and the explosions, you simply can’t miss the films below.
The HBO Max and Warner Bros. decision to release their films in theaters and on streaming may be controversial, but it means that we got Mortal Kombat at our fingertips, right from the comfort of our dang couch. The reboot, based on the classic video game, will take us inside the most infamous and dangerous martial arts competition, making you scream out in nostalgia, “FINISH HIM!”
One last run for Scarlett before she officially abdicates the role of Black Widow. The ill-fated superhero finally got her own long-awaited standalone movie, taking us back to her home where we meet a slew of new characters that will likely pop up throughout Phase Four. Also… Florence Pugh in the MCU? Yes please, right now.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
It’s like The Justice League, but comprehensible. And significantly longer.
The Ice Road
It’s literally like someone fictionalized Ice Road Truckers into a slightly more dramatic film. Ice road trucking is insane already, but when you put Liam Neeson at the wheel, my God.
Fast & Furious 9
Vin Diesel’s done it again. The ninth installment of the high-speed-franchise-turned practically superhero movie will follow Dominic Toretto et al, as they face off with Dominic’s brother, Jakob, played by John Cena. Oh, did we forget to mention he’s an assassin?
The Tomorrow War
One of the newest introductions to this year’s canon, Chris Pratt stars in The Tomorrow War with Yvonne Strahovski. Set in 2051 (or at least partly?), the objective of the action time-travel thriller is simple: find a way to support a crisis 30 years in the future, as humans lose a battle to an alien species.
Army of the Dead
Every movie should star Dave Bautista and Tig Notaro. Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead is wonderful for a few reasons: it’s easily accessible on Netflix, it has zombie babies, and it’s an offshoot of a beloved franchise that sees zombie apocalypse survivors wade into the zombie-ridden Las Vegas for a heist like none we’ve ever seen before. It’s bonkers, and it’s completely worth the watch.
No Time to Die (October 8)
It’s not even out yet, but hell, we’ve been excited about it for so long that we’re putting it on the list. Daniel Craig’s final Bond film has been in the works for eons and slated to premiere at least two or three times before getting pushed back, but we’ll finally see the 25th installment drop later this year.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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