5 best Netflix action movies you should watch on Memorial Day

Two women walk through snow in The Mother.

Netflix has some of the best movies on television. The so-called king of streamers has an impressive library of original and acquired content that makes it the go-to choice for many viewers at home. As it so happens, Memorial Day 2024 is upon us, making it the ideal time to catch up on their favorite original efforts.

Those looking for serialized content will find plenty of shows on Netflix to watch over Memorial Day weekend. However, those wanting to spend a more explosive and memorable afternoon need only check out one of Netflix’s many action movies. The streamer has plenty of action vehicles featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Big-budget spectacles and smaller-scale character dramas are among the great action movies to watch this Memorial Day, so buckle up and enjoy these thrilling escapades.

Extraction (2020)

Tyler Rake walks toward the camera in Extraction.
Netflix / Netflix

Chris Hemsworth is currently starring in Furiosa, delivering one of his strongest performances thus far in George Miller’s action extravaganza. However, those seeking another worthy action thriller starring Hemsworth should look no further than Sam Hargrave’s Extraction. The film follows Tyler Rake, an Australian black ops mercenary, on a mission to save an Indian drug lord’s kidnapped son.

Extraction features a thrilling, compelling, and action-packed story that will surely keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Benefitting from Hemsworth’s cool and confident turn as Rake and several exhilarating action sequences, the film rises to become one of Netflix’s best and most impressive original efforts. The sequel, aptly titled Extraction 2, is just as good, meaning viewers can treat themselves a perfect double feature for Memorial Day.

Extraction is available to stream on Netflix.

Sand Castle (2017)

Henry Cavill as Captain Syverson looking ahead with a determined expression in Sand Castle.

Sand Castle is one of Henry Cavill’s best movies; it’s also one of his most unfairly overlooked. The film stars Nicholas Hoult as Private Matt Ocre, an inexperienced American who must join a team meant to fix a water pumping station in a damaged Iraqi village. Cavill plays Captain Syverson, the leader of a Special Forces Unit who has become jaded due to his prolonged experiences on the battlefield.

Joined by an impressive supporting cast, including current fan-favorite Glen Powell, Hoult and Cavill do a great job in Sand Castle, a solid entry in the ever-expanding war genre. The plot is surprisingly nuanced, and the action sequences are harrowing and unexpectedly immersive. Sand Castle falls short of exploring all the nuances of its plot, but it remains a worthwhile and insightful film that’s sure to satisfy fans of both the action and war genres.

Sand Castle is available to stream on Netflix.

Triple Frontier (2019)

Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck stand next to each other as soldiers in Triple Frontier.

J. C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier stars Oscar winner Ben Affleck opposite Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, and Garrett Hedlund. The film follows a group of former U.S. Army Delta Officers who reunite after years to plan an ambitious heist of a South American crime lord. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go as planned, testing their abilities and loyalties as they’re forced to adapt.

What Triple Frontier lacks in focus, it more than makes up in ambition and grit. The cast is outstanding, led by a commanding Affleck in one of his most severe performances. Chandor’s direction is also a highlight, with the director opting for a realistic, yet refreshingly stylish approach that further elevates the narrative. Tripple Frontier is tight and surprisingly rewatchable, making it a perfect choice for both newcomers looking for quality entertainment and those already captured by the film’s gruff appeal.

Tripple Frontier is available to stream on Netflix.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

Two woman hold guns in Gunpowder Milkshake.
Image via Netflix

Few modern action films are more underrated than 2021’s Gunpowder Milkshake. The ever-reliable Karen Gillan stars as Sam, a hit woman who must go on the run from both her former bosses and a ruthless criminal. Along the way, she must care for the 8-year-old daughter of one of her victims while reuniting with her long-lost mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey), and her equally kickass friends.

Gunpowder Milkshake features a familiar story, so those looking for an impressive narrative will be somewhat disappointed. However, the cast is the main draw here. Joining Gillan and Headey are Academy Award recipients Angela Bassett and Michelle Yeoh, plus the always enjoyable Carla Gugino and a scene-stealing Paul Giamatti. Stylized action set  pieces and elegant choreography further elevate this underrated gem of badassery, one of the best action movies on Netflix that more people should be aware of.

Gunpowder Milkshake is available to stream on Netflix.

The Mother (2023)

Jennifer Lopez as The Mother standing in a snowy forest looking to her left in The Mother.

Love her or hate her, no one can deny Jennifer Lopez (Atlas) is an engaging performer, especially when she finds the right vehicle for her particular abilities. The Mother is one such movie. J. Lo stars as the titular character, a former U.S. Army operative and skilled assassin who must come out of hiding to protect the daughter she gave up years ago from a horde of violent criminals.

The Mother is another entry in the increasingly popular man-against-the-world action sub-genre; but in this case, it’s woman-against-the-world. Lopez does a remarkable job shouldering the plot, which pretty much lives and dies with her, and requires her to be believable as a tough-as-nails killer and a vulnerable woman learning how to be a mother. Luckily, Lopez is up for the challenge, even if the screenplay lets her down somewhat. Still, her performance is more than enough to turn The Mother into an enjoyable action romp that’s perfect for an afternoon at home.

The Mother is available to stream on Netflix.