23% Of Fans Said This Is The Best Netflix Original Action Movie. Are They Right?

Netflix has been making original content since 2012, and action movies have been a huge part of the equation for some time. This makes sense as action films are a mainstay genre that has put meat in seats for decades, be it in a movie theater or at home watching a direct-to-video offering on cable. The point is, it makes every bit of sense for the largest streaming service in the world to make lots of action flicks, ranging from the biggest of the big, like "Red Notice," to tiny underrated gems like "Mosul."

But what is the best of the best when it comes to Netflix's original action movies? We used science — aka a random online survey of movie fans — to find out! Let's go over our findings and discuss the results in a calm, rational manner, shall we?

Survey says...

Coming out on top with 23% of the total vote of 636 United States respondents was "The Old Guard," the 2020 adaptation of the comic books of the same name, starring Charlize Theron. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood's tale of a group of immortal mercenaries was, it would seem, quite the crowd pleaser. Coming in just behind that was another big hit for the streamer from 2020: "Extraction," which starred Chris Hemsworth and was produced by Joe and Anthony Russo of "Avengers" fame. The film, which sees Hemsworth playing a mercenary named Tyler Rake who is tasked with rescuing a kidnapped kid under perilous circumstances, earned a little more than 20% of the vote from those we surveyed.

Rounding out the top three was last year's "Gunpowder Milkshake," starring another MCU veteran, Karen Gillan, who led an all-star, female-led action film that earned a little more than 19% of the vote. Director Navot Papushado's tale of assassins protecting a young girl was apparently fresh in the minds of voters here. Just behind that was 2018's acclaimed "The Night Comes For Us" from director Timo Tjahjanto and serving as a "The Raid" reunion with Joe Taslim and Iko Uwais starring. It earned just over 18% of the vote, and rightfully so, as this tale of an insurrection within a powerful crime family earned a great deal of praise upon its initial release. The final two entries were the ensemble heist/action flick "Triple Frontier" from director J.C. Chandor and starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck with just shy of 12% of the vote, and last but not least, Frank Grillo's criminally underappreciated "Wheelman," with a little over 7% of the vote.

The Old Guard doesn't feel like the best of the bunch

There is an awful lot to be said about pretty much all of the movies on this list, with "Extraction" ranking as one of Netflix's most-viewed movies of all time. For that reason, it's a little surprising that "The Old Guard" managed to top it, but that speaks to the power of a star like Charlize Theron. That said, is it really the best of the bunch? Making that statement is, for my money, a tough pill to swallow. While those who responded to this survey found the action-filled story of these immortal beings compelling, I was personally bored by it and had an incredibly difficult time finishing it. Nothing about it grabbed me and everything about it screamed "comic book movie not good enough for theaters, but good enough for streaming." I certainly don't mean to denigrate what anyone enjoys, but seeing the film the way that I saw it, it's hard to understand why it's listed above some of these other choices when looked at through a more critical lens. There are more original movies on this list. There are movies with better actions scenes on this list. There are movies that look better on this list. 

For one, "The Night Comes For Us" is the best-reviewed movie of the bunch, and it's quite frankly awesome that it earned as much of the vote as it did. It would be hard to expect it to top the list in a random survey, but looking at the critical response, it easily bests "The Old Guard." But critical opinion isn't everything! If it was, "Venom" would have been a flop and people would have actually shown up to watch "Booksmart" in theaters.

Even so, in one man's humble opinion, I found "Extraction" to be a far better pound-for-pound action movie on just about every level, though I truly have nothing against the performances in "The Old Guard." It amounts to a lot of talented people in a movie that doesn't ever quite reach their level. I also think "Wheelman" might be the best of the bunch in some ways as a lean, mean, old-school action thriller, though it kind of slipped under the radar when it was released, which is really a shame. This is something we need to deal with in the streaming age — gems get lost in the flow from time to time. All of this said, I am going to have to go against the consensus on this one and say Netflix has made better action movies than "The Old Guard," several of which were voted for in the survey.