It’s almost the weekend, and that means you should book in another Gizmodo movie night. This week, pick out your favourite silenced pistol, sheath your matching butterfly knives and take a trip to Jack Rabbit Slims for that $5 milkshake — these are the best cult action movies streaming around Australia right now.
We’ve re-jigged our existing Netflix Movie Night series, and brought in Australia’s other popular subscription video on demand services — Stan and Presto — to give you a broader selection of movies and TV shows to enjoy. On all three services, you can watch from your tablet or smartphone, on your PC or laptop, through your Smart TV, or through a media streaming dongle like the Google Chromecast, although specifics can vary.
Not what you’re after? Check out some other Gizmodo Movie Night suggestions:
John Wick is a good ol’ fashioned rollercoaster ride of revenge. It doesn’t pretend to be especially high-brow, it doesn’t pretend to be an art film. It’s just a guy — a guy that happens to be an incredibly capable and deadly assassin — taking revenge on the people that have wronged him. In an incredibly bloody fashion. One of Keanu Reeves’ best movies, it draws heavily from anime and martial arts films. It also teaches you to never shoot the dog. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him with New York City as his bullet-riddled playground.
The Raid is another martial arts masterpiece — in fact, it’s one of the best action movies in decades; but it got a relatively limited release outside of its Indonesian home market. A straightforward cops versus robbers piece, it pits Jakarta’s elite SWAT team against a crime lord in a slum apartment block. Showcasing the Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat, it is incredibly well shot and choreographed — you’ll get up and want to exercise after seeing it. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums lies an impenetrable multi-level safe house for the world’s most dangerous killers and gangsters. An elite swat team is tasked with raiding the safe house and taking down the notorious drug lord that runs it.
Robocop — the original 1987 film, not the 2014 remake — now has cult status because people just don’t remember it. Don’t get me wrong, though, it’s a cult movie now but was one of the most critically acclaimed films of its release year. In a Detroit filled with crime — hey, life imitates art — a policeman, brutally murdered and literally shot to pieces by criminals, is reanimated through the power of science to exact revenge upon the people that wronged him. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: WARNING: FEATURES HIGH IMPACT VIOLENCE. Corporate scientists turn a dead Detroit policeman (Peter Weller) into a cyborg crime-fighter.
Death Proof is part of a double feature from cult film royalty Quentin Tarantino, alongside its equally watchable sibling Planet Terror (which I also suggest you hunt down and watch with extreme prejudice). It’s so worth watching; it’s a great example of the action-exploitation genre, with a psychopathic Kurt Russell hunting down and killing women inside his “death-proof” movie stunt car. Until he tarries with his latest, not-so-willing victims. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: For DJ, Jungle Julia, dusk offers an opportunity to unwind with two of her friends. Tracking their moves is Stuntman Mike, a rebel who leers from behind the wheel of his car. As the girls settle into their beers, Mike’s weapon revs just feet away.
The Expendables is one of the best movies ever made. There, I said it. It has more ’80s and ’90s action movie heroes than it knows what to do with, and together they form the Expendables, a group of contract mercenaries that occasionally go all A-Team and help the vulnerable when they’re in need. It also features a brilliant, almost caricature, bad guy in island dictator General Garza, and its simple storyline belies how fun it actually is to watch. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: When the mysterious Mr Church offers Barney a job no one else would take The Expendables embark on what appears to be a routine mission; overthrow a murderous dictator of a small island nation to end the death and destruction inflicted on its people.
Drive Angry is the best action film in a fleet of excellent action films that Hollywood’s best actor, the One True God, Nicolas Cage, has made. To convince you to watch it, I need only share this short synopsis with you: John Milton is an undead criminal who has broken out of Hell to kill Jonah King, a cult leader who tricked Milton’s daughter into joining his followers in the wake of Milton’s own death. How awesome does that sound!? Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A criminal escapes hell to pursue the cult that killed his daughter and abducted her baby, racing to save the infant before the group sacrifices her.
The Terminator was a big film when it came out, but doesn’t have anywhere near as many fans as Terminator 2 or even the later, lesser films in the Terminator franchise. And I think that’s a bad thing, because the original film is one of the best in the series, has some sci-fi themes far advanced for its 1984 release, and features a hulked-out body-building world champion Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular bad guy. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: In the post-apocalyptic future, tyrannical machines teleport a cyborg to 1984 to a kill a woman whose unborn son is destined to lead the human rebels.
Crank is a ridiculous movie. There is no denying that, and I’m not going to tell you otherwise. What it is is a rollicking good time, an action-packed adrenaline rollercoaster that will keep your butt gripped to its seat and your eyes open. Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios is a one-dimensional bad guy, injected with a heart-stopping drug that is only counteracted by pure adrenaline. It’s like Speed, but with Jason Statham as the bus. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A hit man who has been poisoned learns that he can elude death if he keeps his adrenaline pumping as he races through the streets of Los Angeles.
Death Race is another Statham masterpiece, a remake (almost a prequel, really) of the 1975 film Death Race 2000. In a future America torn apart by crime, with private mega-prisons run for profit, being captured and incarcerated is not only a death sentence, but a license to print money. The Death Race is a pay-per-view rolling gladiator contest, and Jason Statham’s Jensen Ames is its unwilling — and framed — participant. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: An ex-con turned speedway champion is framed for a grisly murder and forced to compete in a grueling three-day race against his fellow inmates.
Hellboy is actually a genuinely fun and interesting film from the cinematic genius of Guillermo del Toro, starring the one and only Ron Perlman as the demonic beast himself. There’s Naizs, Rasputin, supernatural crime fighters, and a plot to resurrect a long-dead entity trapped in space to destroy the planet and create a paradise. Not enough people saw Hellboy in the cinema, and it’s your responsibility to change that right now on streaming. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: This fast-paced action flick tells the dark story of Hellboy, a charismatic demon who’s put on Earth by the Nazis to terrorize the rest of the world.
Sucker Punch has some problematic undertones — it’s set in asylum where traumatised young women are held against their will — but the fantasy world that it creates is incredible. We’re talking giant mecha-samurai in feudal Japan, steam-punk World War I German bunkers, and an Orc-infested castle guarded by a dragon, guys. It didn’t do well at the cinema, but now enjoys a strong cult following on Blu-ray and streaming. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: A young woman incarcerated in a psychiatric institution against her will creates a fantastical world within her imagination to help her and four other inmates escape from a frightening fate.
Only God Forgives is a weird movie, if I’m honest with you. It’s from the same director as Drive — and it also stars Ryan Gosling — and it’s a drug-fueled trip through the gritty, dirty streets of Bangkok with a whole bunch of Muay Thai. It’s a revenge flick, one about rough and corrupt police, and about family; you might come away from it confused, but you might also love it. It polarised cinema audiences, and it’s worth watching at least once. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: A player in Bangkok’s underworld faces the ultimate showdown when his brother is killed and his mother orders him to bring her the murderer’s head. Ryan Gosling & Kristin Scott Thomas star.
Judge Dredd — the Sylvester Stallone one, not the Karl Urban one — flopped when it was released into cinemas, but enjoys a small and fervent following that can appreciate its strong undertones of dystopia, and a future where life is expendable. In a Mega-City overcrowded with human filth, Judge Dredd is a law-keeper — until he is framed for murder in a plot to overthrow the city’s government and rule its people. Dredd won’t let that happen. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: In a dystopian future time, Judge Dredd is the most resolute and feared law enforcer of them all. But in a sinister plot to overthrow the government, Dredd is framed for murder.
Big Trouble In Little China sees an All-American trucker gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown. 80’s hair, Kurt Russell, ancient Chinese wizards; there’s not too much about Big Trouble in Little China that you can’t help but love. This is the cult movie you’re looking for. I first watched this very late at night; when I woke up, I genuinely thought it was all a very weird dream. You’ll probably think exactly the same, even if you’re sober. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: A truck driver is plunged into a strange netherworld after his friend’s fiancee is kidnapped by mysterious forces in San Francisco’s Chinatown district.
The Evil Dead is a cult masterpiece. Bruce Campbell’s Ash is a mild-mannered university student, off on a spring break getaway with friends to a remote cabin — until they find an ancient book of the dead that really ruins their day. Evil demons and spirits and other really weird stuff ensues. It’s one of the best cult horror flicks around. Trust me, you need to watch Evil Dead — it’s good enough that it’s getting its own TV series spin-off on Stan. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: Witless college students travel to a remote cabin in the mountains for the weekend; little do they know what they would unleash. One by one they get possessed by the Evil in the woods.
Disclosure: Stan is a 50/50 joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the company which publishes Gizmodo Australia, is also owned by Fairfax.