Netflix may be chock-full of first-rate Originals shows like House Of Cards and Daredevil and plenty of massive blockbuster movie titles, but what about the hidden gems? If you missed out on these adventure flicks when they were first released, now’s your chance.
Gizmodo’s weekly Netflix movie night is presented by the new HP Spectre x360. Any way you bend it, the Spectre x360 delivers. With four modes, lightning-fast performance, and impressive battery life, this convertible PC has the best of all worlds and the shortcomings of none.
And, yes, all of these movies are available on Netflix Australia. Enjoy!
True Grit, the 2010 remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic, is an adventure film at its most essential. It’s a Western filmed in the modern era, with Jeff Bridges playing hard-drinking and hard-fighting US Marshal Rooster Cogburn, and an appearance from Matt Damon as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, but it’s Hailee Steinfeld’s Mattie Ross that steals the show.
Watching True Grit is rollicking good fun, but it’s not a fun movie. It’s hard and harsh and real; one to settle down with and pay attention to and think about. It’s also a great training manual if you’re planning some good ol’-fashioned revenge. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: After drifter Tom Chaney murders her father, 14-year-old Mattie Ross hires alcoholic U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn to help her exact revenge.
IMDb: A drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father’s murderer in Indian territory.
Battle Royale. Oh boy. This is a tough watch. This is where The Hunger Games began. What happens when you force an entire class of 14-year olds onto an abandoned island, tell them they have to kill each other to survive, and give them a completely random and ridiculous bunch of weapons?
Make no mistake, Battle Royale is a brutal and bloody movie. It’s also almost two hours long and really drags on in parts, so this is a film to watch after you’ve put the kids to bed. If you’re keen on a bit of gore, though, settle down with a beer and a bowl of chips and enjoy. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: The Japanese government introduces a system whereby randomly chosen schoolchildren are taken to an island and forced to fight each other to the death.
IMDb: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.
Ong Bak sees Ting (Tony Jaa) leave his village and travel to the big smoke after a sacred statue is stolen. Unfortunately, to get it back he has to fight through a veritable horde of underworld bad guys. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were in his shoes?
The martial arts expertise in this film is amazing. The quality of the fight choreography is top notch, and it’s a proper spiritual successor to the last couple of decades of Jackie Chan and Jet Li and Bruce Lee’s amazing fighting ancestry. Plus, Ong Bak teaches you a valuable life lesson: never steal an elephant from Tony Jaa. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: When a sacred statuette is stolen from a Thai village, a young kick-boxer follows the trail of clues to Bangkok to reclaim the pilfered treasure.
IMDb: When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it.
National Treasure is a great film. Look, it’s not an especially smart film, I’ll admit that — the plot revolves around Nicolas Cage stealing the Declaration of Independence for some reason. (And yes, Nic Cage is playing himself in this movie. He’s just that good.)
But smart or no, National Treasure is just seriously good popcorn-chewing fun. It’s light-hearted, it’s kid-friendly, and it’s a better Indiana Jones film than Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull ever was. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Modern treasure hunters search for a chest of riches rumored to have been stashed away by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
IMDb: A historian races to find the legendary Templar Treasure before a team of mercenaries.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon entirely skipped under my radar when it was released in 2000. It won an Oscar, but Ang Lee’s epic flick wasn’t nearly as widely praised as its Western equivalents. That doesn’t mean it’s not amazing, though.
Wo hu cang long, its Chinese name, is a cinematic masterpiece. Yuen Woo Ping’s flying, wire-fighting choreography is top notch — he’s the brains behind The Matrix and Kill Bill — and the scenery of ancient China is absolutely stunning. It’s well worth your time. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A young woman in ancient China longs for an adventurous life rather than a dull arranged marriage in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning martial arts epic
IMDb: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.
The Princess Bride is, by far, the most amazing adventure of any film in this list. It’s one of the most adventurous films ever. Its casting is nearly perfect, it has a beautiful story, and it’s just damn funny.
Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin are perfect in their roles, but everyone’s favourite should be giant companion Fezzik, played inimitably by wrestler Andre The Giant. Princess Bride came out in 1987, but this satirical and sarcastic adventure fairy-tale is timeless. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: This cult classic comedy-romance follows a peasant farmhand as he battles bumbling outlaws and an evil prince to win the hand of his one true love.
IMDb: While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.
Firefly is Joss Whedon’s The English Patient. It’s his Shawshank Redemption. It’s his National Treasure. A rag-tag band of outlaws live in a beaten-up Firefly-class spaceship in a wild west universe set 500 years in the future, and they get up to a whole lot of fun.
Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk are absolutely in their element as Captain Malcolm Reynolds and Hoban “Wash” Washburne; see them before they got big and famous. It’s irreverent, it’s silly, it’s honest, it’s clearly made on a shoestring budget, but you can’t help but love Firefly. Watch the movie Serenity after for added fun. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Set almost 500 years in the future, this short-lived but much-loved series follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of the spaceship Serenity.
IMDb: Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them.
Where The Wild Things Are was just added to Netflix last week — it’s madcap director Spike Jonze’s reimagining of the Maurice Sendak children’s classic. If you want your kid to grow up to be a hipster, show them this movie.
It’s a thoughtful and entirely adult film dressed up as a children’s book, though — this definitely isn’t your standard Disney fare. It’s an incredible journey and it’s incredibly shot, with beautiful scenery and surprisingly good CGI for its time. Sit down and give this one some of your time to see if it grows on you. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Max imagines running away from his mom and sailing to a far-off land where large talking beasts crown him as their king.
IMDb: Yearning for escape and adventure, a young boy runs away from home and sails to an island filled with creatures that take him in as their king.
Did you ever read a Tintin book? The Adventures Of Tintin is based on the characters and the world of Belgian cartoonist Herge’s seminal stories, taking inspiration from a few of his most well-known and loved graphic novels.
Tintin, his dog Snowy and Captain Haddock go on a round-the-world adventure to uncover the secrets of a sunken ship and a long-forgotten treasure. If you can handle the uncanny valley, there’s some amazingly lifelike and realistic CGI to enjoy alongside the family-friendly storyline. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: This 3-D motion capture adapts Georges Remi’s classic comic strip about the adventures of fearless young journalist Tintin and his trusty dog, Snowy.
IMDb: Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor.
Django Unchained is what happens when you give Quentin Tarantino a Western movie script and tell him to have a bit of fun. The unlikely combo of Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz makes for an amazing team; there are also some genuinely brilliant appearances from both Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.
The storyline is a classic tale of rescue and revenge; it’s also almost a carbon copy of the literary epic poem Nibelungenlied rather unironically and straight-facedly explained by Christoph Waltz’s Dr King Schultz within the film. And, like any Tarantino flick, it has some amazing and sensuous food scenes within. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Accompanied by a German bounty hunter, a freed slave named Django travels across America to free his wife from a sadistic plantation owner.
IMDb: With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
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