As every action film fan knows, many Keanu Reeves movies are usually filled with action, martial arts moves, fight scenes and drama. In fact, his worldwide box office history for the character study John Wick series brought in $573, 002, 776. As the most recent tally. It’s a long way from Bill & Ted so it’s fair to say the boy’s done well.
Among his most popular movies is the neo-noir epic John Wick franchise. (we’ll leave Neo & The Matrix aside for the moment).
That’s because whether it’s exacting revenge or an underdog triumphing thriller movies drop you into a world that lives on the edge and captures your attention the whole time. Who doesn’t like to see the ‘little guy’ come out on top over the big baddies? It’s a powerful formula and one that the John Wick movies play into perfectly.
1. Sicario (2015)
Sicario is a movie based on the battle between drug cartels and the government. It stars Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Emily Blunt.
The film features an FBI agent who was recruited by an ‘odd’ government official (yes it’s that shadowy man again). After getting on board, the agent climbed through the ranks to earn a ‘choice’ high-priority assignment.
She then faces the harsh reality of cartel activity on the US-Mexico border. Which causes her to realise that all of her training doesn’t cut it and unconventional techniques are needed to take out the cartel. Cue conflagration.
Notably, this film earned 3 Academy Award nominations in 2016. They included Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing. Not a bad haul.
2. Extraction (2020)
Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth (what doesn’t these days) who plays a mercenary who is hired to rescue the son of a crime lord located in Dhaka.
With the odds stacked against him (surprise, surprise) he struggles and fights his way to try and achieve the daring rescue of the boy.
This modern film won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie Star.
3. The Bourne Identity (2002)
This movie stars Matt Damon in an action-filled underdog thriller.
A man is one night rescued from the sea but has no recollection of who he is at all. However, he soon realises the skills he possesses are certainly out of the ordinary, although he doesn’t know why.
He then goes on a quest to find out who he is and why he is being chased. While trying to stay alive against enemies he doesn’t understand. Featuring the popular lone hero, this is a must-watch for fans of underdog makes good films.
The Bourne Identity earned an Outstanding Achievement in Fight Choreography award.
4. Jack Reacher (2012)
The hero, played by action star Tom Cruise in the lead role, is a highly decorated army investigator (you rarely see Tom without a medal or two if his character is linked to the military). Jack’s only goal is to serve justice no matter the cost (and you can bet the cost is going to be high to all concerned!).
He assists a lawyer in finding the real killer in a case that where his client was blamed. As a fine upstanding member of society, you can bet that Jack Reacher has no problem breaking the law it in order to get his job done. Get ready for some fireworks.
This film was nominated for Best Thriller by the Golden Trailer Awards.
5. Man On Fire (2004)
This film stars Denzel Washington who plays an ex-CIA operative who takes on a bodyguard role. His job is to protect the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Needless to say, as they get to know and inspire each other, they quickly share a bond.
The daughter he is guarding is then kidnapped by a cartel. His rage drives him to take revenge and do anything necessary to rescue her (and we do mean anything, as you’ll see).
Man on Fire was nominated for Best Action and Best Drama by the Golden Trailer Awards.
6. Atomic Blonde (2017)
This movie features a highly trained spy Lorraine Broughton (played by Charlize Theron) who is sent to Berlin for an operation. She is given the not inconsiderable job of retrieving stolen microfilm with the names of many spies (because as we know from movies, all spies’ names are put into a handy list).
Cure hot-pursuits, double-crossing and a high stakes game of cat and mouse.
This film was created by the co-director of the John Wick films, David Leitch. In true John Wick fashion, it’s filled with awesome action choreography.
7. The Equalizer (2014)
This movie focuses on a black ops agent aiming to live a quiet life away from the front line – Mr Anonymous.
However, after seeing unjust things happen to a young girl, he decides to take matters into his own hands. It becomes clear he is a pretty potent weapon thanks to his training and he slowly works his way through all the bad guys who wronged the girl. They of course slowly zero in on who is responsible for decimating their numbers so life starts to get a little hard.
A revenge thriller par excellence with a touch of vigilante thrown in and a fitting finale. With a second action movie in the series released we may yet see further Equalizer films in future.
This film was nominated for the Best Action Golden Trailer Award and the Favorite Thriller Movie People’s Choice Award.
8. Taken (2008)
Taken stars Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace. The father and daughter duo find themselves in an unfortunate situation.
The father, a former government operative, allows his daughter to go to Paris. His concerns about her safety are realised when he finds out she has been kidnapped for human trafficking.
He then travels to Paris to find and save his daughter. He uses his skills and experience in an intense, violent and action-packed attempt at rescuing her.
Taken earned the nomination for Best International Film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
9. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
The female answer to John Wick, this great movie features a woman, The Bride, after she wakes up from a coma after four years. Through flashbacks, we discover she was attacked and left for dead on her wedding day.
As you’d imagine, from a film directed by Tarantino, she goes on a bloody revenge mission hunting down her assailants.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (and believe us, it’s a real cracker!)
10. American Sniper (2014)
Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, was a US Navy Seal sniper. His job was to protect his men on the ground from the dangers surrounding them.
He was one of the most lethal snipers in the military he is deployed on some heavy-duty operations. Told in retrospect it sadly becomes clear that, he served 4 tours in Iran that caused him extreme PTSD and suffering.
Having now returned home, his lifestyle quickly changes and his struggles become too much to handle.
A great example of the Sniper movie genre, American Sniper won Movie of the Year by the AFI Awards.
Movies Like John Wick
All of these revenge or underdog thriller movies are jam-packed with action. Really that’s why they make perfect movie night ideas for any occasion. Lot’s of action and generally a very acceptable outcome. Do you like our revenge movies list?
You certainly shouldn’t be bored or afraid of dozing off during the beset revenge movies as the action comes thick and fast after they get into their stride. So if you love Keanu Reeves type action characters and movies like John Wick to stream and find the best subscription combos for services, then, head on over to our sign up for free on BOB. Get front row seats for the best revenge thrillers like John Wick!