3 underrated Netflix movies you should watch this weekend (May 3-5)

A boy rides a horse in The King.

The first two weekends of May have been the unofficial start of the summer moviegoing season since 1996, when the Bill Paxton-Helen Hunt film Twister, um, twisted its way into theaters nationwide. This year is no different, as the action comedy The Fall Guy, starring Barbenheimer actors Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, crashes onto the big screen.

Early word says it’s a good movie to watch, but sometimes you just don’t feel like going out and sitting in a room with a bunch of strangers. For those who prefer to stay inside, Netflix is usually the go-to option to watch some quality movies. This weekend, we’ve lined up three movies that are worth your time. One is a medieval action movie starring Willy Wonka, another is a great ’90s action-thriller, and the last one is a drama starring Liam Neeson.

Need more recommendations? Read our guides to the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on HBO

The King (2021)

A soldier stands on a battlefield in The King.

The King is a victim of unfortunate timing. Had it been released now instead of 2019, it would be appointment viewing for many Netflix subscribers and must-see event in theaters. That’s largely due to Timothée Chalamet, whose star has risen to meteoric heights thanks to the back-to-back successes of Wonka and Dune: Part Two. As magnetic as he was in those films, he’s even better in The King as Hal, the moody young heir to the English throne, who must navigate the treacherous, war-hungry climate of early 15th century England and France to assume the crown. He must also trust his loyal aides, particularly Falstaff (Joel Edgerton) and Sir William Gascoigne (Sean Harris), and battle the inept French Dauphin (a campy and fun Robert Pattinson) to protect his kingdom and prove his worth.

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Henriad plays, The King isn’t your typical staid costume drama. It’s dirty and bloody, and its action scenes are so visceral, you can feel the cold of the mud Hal and his soldiers have to sludge through and hear the clash of swords as they rattle against solders’ battered armor. In other words, this movie is thrilling to watch, and it’s helped not only by a brooding, magnetic Chalamet but also by a fine, tense action score by Nicholas Britell.

The King is streaming on Netflix.

Leon: The Professional (1994)

The Professional (5/8) Movie CLIP - Everyone! (1994) HD

Some actors chew the scenery, but Gary Oldman goes even further — he consumes it. From 1986’s punk drama Sid and Nancy to the currently streaming Apple TV+ show Slow Horses, the English actor has a hunger for showy dialogue and larger-than-life characters. Both are present in Leon: The Professional, a 1994 action movie most famous for introducing Natalie Portman to the world. She plays Matilda, a recently orphaned pre-teen who befriends a quiet, child-like hitman, Leon (Jean Reno). Together, they take on the corrupt cops, headed by Oldman’s psychotic Norman Stansfield, who killed Matilda’s family.

Expertly directed by Luc Besson, The Professional still holds up, even if its close central relationship between a grown man and a young girl is dubious at best. Even at a young age, Portman showed the acting chops that would snag her an Oscar for Black Swan, but for me, it’s Oldman who steals the show. When he bellows “Everrrrryone!” to an underling, it’s simultaneously funny and scary — you just don’t know what you’re going to get from this guy, and that’s why he’s such a threat.

Leon: The Professional is streaming on Netflix.

Made in Italy (2020)

Two men look to their side in Made in Italy.

A pandemic-era movie that’s largely been forgotten about, Made in Italy is the ideal movie to stream on the weekend: It’s transportive, light, and it goes down pretty easy. This is not great cinema, and it’s often shamelessly formulaic, but hey, if the formula works, why knock it? Made in Italy stars action movie star Liam Neeson and Sam Richardson as an estranged father and son who must live in the same house, a run-down villa in Italy, so they can fix it up enough to sell it.

It’s no surprise what happens next: father and son grow closer, son finds romance with a beautiful local woman, and the father finds new meaning in life. What makes Made in Italy more special than your average Lifetime movie is the beautiful cinematography, which really highlights the luminous Italian countryside setting, and the fact that Neeson and Richardson are actually father and son, which adds an edge and air of authenticity to their deep, often terse conversations. It’s not hard to imagine the actors having these talks before offscreen, and it adds a certain amount of depth to Made in Italy‘s superficial pleasures.

Made in Italy is streaming on Netflix.