The six best bone-crunching action flicks of the 2010s streaming in NZ

The last decade was a truly spectacular one for the action genre and delivered many bona fide modern classics.

There were marvellous mainstream achievements like Mad Max: Fury Road and the recent Mission: Impossible sequels, but the 2010s also gifted us loads of new genre favourites of the more cult, violent, direct-to-video variety.

As New Zealand endures the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown, many Kiwis are getting into binge-watching. But what should you watch? Newshub is here to help.

We're bringing you streaming guides with advice on what to watch and where to watch it.

In this edition, I've put together the six best bone-crunching action movies of the 2010s that are available to legally stream in Aotearoa.

The Raid 2: Berandal.
Photo credit: XYZ Films

The Raid 2

Let's start with the very best. Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans set the new high bar for this type of modern action cinema with his Indonesian action films The Raid and The Raid 2. They're both absolutely superb, with a giddy combination of just the right choreography, visual effects and editing to add up to a supreme gratification. Most people rate the original film the best and it's one-building setting definitely makes it tighter. But the more ambitious sequel ups the ante with its set pieces to such an insane, jaw-dropping level, it achieves the highest pinnacle yet achieved for modern bone-crunching action movies.
Where to stream: Google / Quickflix 


Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films


Are you a Scott Adkins fan? If you're reading this and the answer is no, you soon will be. He's something akin to the '00s and '10s equivalent of what Jean-Claude Van Damme was to the '80s - but he's also wholly unique. A hugely gifted British martial artist and actor, he's the West's greatest B-action hero of modern times with a huge, well-deserved cult following. In Avengement he's a bulky, cockney thug and it serves as basically the best pub fight movie ever, but is also packed with sweet as prison brawling too.
Where to stream: Netflix



John Wick.
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

John Wick

Keanu Reeves deserves a lot of love. Not only for The Matrix, Point Break and Speed, but it was he who got Chad Stahelski and David Leitch involved with this little assassin movie he was working on. So all thanks and praise to Keanu for the exceptional result, which fuses The Raid-style action flair with purely American sensibilities, a stronger emphasis on gun-fu and an awesome neon aesthetic. I really love its fetishistic focus on headshots, which is just bloody glorious. The sequels get increasingly bogged down in silly lore and lack the slower start of the 2014 original, which makes its hardcore action all the more impactful.
Where to stream: Netflix


Ninja II Shadow of a Tear.
Photo credit: Millennium Films

Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear

The ninja sub-genre was one of the wackier and sillier to come out of the '80s, a decade filled with over-the-top, cartoonish action movies. Scott Adkins and his frequent filmmaking collaborator Isaac Florentine paid tribute to the sub-genre with two ninja flicks in more recent times, both of which are surprisingly kick arse and somehow very sincere without getting too ridiculous. Shadow of a Tear rules particularly hard and may just be the best Western ninja film ever made. This is a much better showcase of Scott Adkins' skill as a martial artist than Avengement, too - although arguably the best examples of his physicality are the Undisputed films.
Where to stream: Apple / Google / Quickflix 


Brawl in Cell Block 99.
Photo credit: XYZ Films

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Every film on this list has a high level of brutality, but this is the most wince-inducing with its intense and graphic displays of violence. Bloodshed aside, though, a warning: Vince Vaughn is the lead star and a lot of people are allergic to him. I've never hated him, despite how common that is, and was surprised at just how fearsome and intimidating he is in this. He's a physical beast and the occasionally stomach-turning viciousness he dishes out has to be seen to be believed. It's filmmaker S Craig Zahler's follow-up to Bone Tomahawk, which is also well worth a watch.
Where to stream: Netflix


Universal Soldier 6: Day of Reckoning.
Photo credit: Magnet Releasing

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

This exceedingly trippy, dark and violent 2012 film is far, far better than the sixth film in the Universal Soldier franchise deserves to be. Filmmaker John Hyams was clearly influenced by Gaspar Noé and gives this thing a haunting, disturbing look and feel as well as delivering all the delightful action treats. Among the many great set pieces is an amazing fight between MMA star Andrei Arlovski and Scott Adkins, as well as plenty of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren business. Toward the end of film there's an extended one-shot sequence that's just sublime. Highly recommended.
Where to stream: Quickflix / Google / Apple