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The 25 best action movies to get your adrenaline pumping

15.  Fast Five (2011) 

Action hero: Dom Toretto 

The movie: Sure, Furious 7 landed the $1.5 billion box office haul, but Fast Five is the entry that took four previous movies that were, let's not beat about the bush, a bit scattered and disconnected and made them into a cohesive universe. The decision to locate the famiglia in the hot, humid climes of Rio makes it feel similar to the first flick's gritty street leanings. This time, Dom's gang face a bunch of drug lords, train heists, but nothing prepares Toretto for his biggest challenge yet - Dwayne Johnson's scene-stealing enforcer, Luke Hobbs.  

Most action-packed scene: How long have you got? The movie is one long action-packed scene! Alright, I'm going with the train heist that culminates in an insane cliff dive.  

Watch Fast Five now on Amazon Prime Video

14. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) 

Action heroes: John Wick, the most reluctant but effective hitman in the world.

The film: Forced out of semi-happy retirement by an old debt, John begrudgingly carries out one last job, which rapidly escalates into a frenzied, global jaunt of relentless, kill-or-be-killed action. Maintaining the first film's tight, economical focus on affecting characterisation and laser-hot, precision choreography, John Wick 2 blows things wide open by greatly expanding and exploring the underworld assassin society around John by way of endlessly inventive, ever-escalating, deliciously gruelling set-pieces. 

Most action-packed scene: Almost every fight scene in John Wick 2 would be the stand-out in any other film, but it's tough to beat the giddy, sustained brutality of the extended catacomb battle. A customarily well-prepared John desperately - but professionally - slaughters his way through seemingly endless underground tunnels, the fluid camera tracking and amplifying his every move as attackers and targets pour into the screen from every direction. 

Read more: Assassination John Wick style - 8 movie characters killed by pencils

13. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Action hero: Max Rockatansky, Furiosa

The film: Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson in this reboot of the original, which sees Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa embroiled in a road rage battle. Set in a dystopian desert future, where water and gasoline are scarce, cult leader Joe and his army of War Boys dominate the sand dunes.

Most action-packed scene:  The whole film is one long chase sequence! But watching the fleet of souped-up vehicles head into a fiery sandstorm, possibly nabs the top honour.

Watch Mad Max: Fury Road now at Amazon Prime Video

12. The Raid 2 (2014)

Action hero: Rama Iko Uwais

The film: Jakarta cop Rama is placed undercover in an organised crime group to help bring down the boss. He's quickly embroiled in a full-on gang war, and all-but abandoned by his police handlers, so is forced to resolve the situation himself. With fists. And knives. And hammers. Oh god - the hammers.

Most action-packed scene: There are so many to choose from but the climactic karembit fight between Rama and The Assassin tops the lot. It's brutal. And so beautifully choreographed that you gasp at every swipe and almost feel each savage cut. Absolutely breathtaking.

Watch The Raid 2 now on Amazon Prime Video

11. Predator (1987)

Action hero: Dutch

The film: Arnie leads a Delta Force squad on a deep retrieval mission in the tropical (and fictional) locale of Val Verde, where it turns out every other military team sent in has been brutally slain by a mysterious creature. Soon enough, the entire crew are picked off one-by-one until only their leader remains. A classic that spawned some truly awful spinoffs.

Most action-packed scene: With no one left but Dutch and the Predator, the two hunters duke it out the only way they know how taking off their armor, smearing themselves in mud and fighting dirty.

Watch Predator now on Amazon Prime Video

10. Gladiator (2000)

Action hero: Maximus Decimus Meridius

The film: Russell Crowe's Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Roman army under the ruling of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The two share an unshakable bond, much to the distain of Marcus snivelling son Commodus. In a back-stabbing move, Commodus kills his father and orders the guards to get rid of Maximus and his family. Meridius flees and vows to exact his revenge on the evil Emperor from inside the gladiator ring. Typical Roman stuff.

Most action-packed scene: Maximus earns a spot in the Colosseum fighting alongside Rome's best gladiators in front of the Emperor. Commodus gazes down in glee at the blood bath unfolding before him, but his face quickly drops when Maximus reveals himself to his adoring public. Satisfying stuff.

Watch Gladiator now on Amazon Prime Video

9. 13 Assassins (2010) 

Action hero: Shimada Shinzaemon

The film: Takashi Miike remakes Eiichi Kudos 1963 classic and makes it very much his own. A sadistic Shogun rapes and murders his way through 19th Century Japan before a team of samurai lay a trap for him and his whole army of bodyguards. 

Most action-packed scene: There's really only one action set-piece in the whole film, but it makes up the entire last 45 minutes. Staggeringly violent, endlessly entertaining and perfectly choreographed by Miike at the top of his game - it's the greatest samurai battle on film. 

Watch 13 Assassins now on Amazon Prime Video

 8. John Wick (2014)

Action hero: John Wick

The film: Director Chad Stahelski overcomes first-time jitters in his filmmaking debut, largely due to his experiences as a martial arts stunt co-ordinator. This revenge actioner throws in some dark motivating factors for Keanu Reeves leading man. His vendetta kill mission is the most dazzling work Reeves has accomplished since his first time tackling Neo.

Most action-packed scene: Wick enters a club wherein he punches, kicks, headbutts and shoots anyone who crosses his path. Each strike hits with an eerie precision. 

Watch John Wick now on Amazon Prime Video

7. The Matrix (1999)

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Action hero: Neo

The film: Ignore the ropey sequels. Forget Keanu Reeves' Pinocchio acting. Gloss over the cod philosophy. Whatever else it might be, the Wachowskis original sci-fi is all about the action; glorious, bullet-time, room-spinning, genre-defining action.

Most action-packed scene: Making shooting the shit out of innocent security guards look a bit too cool, Neo (Reeves) and Trinity's (Carrie-Anne Moss) slo-mo PVC assault on the lobby is the stuff of legend.

Watch The Matrix now on Amazon Prime Video

6. First Blood (1982) 

Action hero: John Rambo 

The film: The first Rambo movie is part-action, part-thriller, a far darker movie than its sequels would have you remember. Sly Stallone plays the former Green Beret back from Vietnam, who is targeted by a nasty small-town sheriff. All Rambo wants is to live a normal life, all the cops want is to take him down. Guess who wins? 

Most action-packed scene: Overthrowing the local PD coppers, Rambo escapes into the nearby woods, where the lawmen scatter to try and recapture him. Their attempts fail miserably as he sets up a series of brutal traps to prevent them from finding him.  

Watch First Blood now on Amazon Prime Video

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.