If like me you find action movies a little po-faced, action comedies are great at puncturing their pomposity while still delivering a thrilling experience: the mix of wise-cracking dialogue and heart-pumping action never gets old, and some of the best action comedies would work perfectly well as action movies if you took the funny bits out. But why do that when the comedy takes the film to a whole new level?
These three action comedies on Netflix are some of my very favourites in the genre, and there are plenty more where they came from: to go straight to the action comedies section, the code you need is 43040.
These recommendations are based on having a Netflix UK account, but you should find them in other regions too – and if you find that your particular territory doesn’t have them, you can always use one of the best VPNs to make more streaming content available where you are.
Edgar Wright’s passion project is the perfect Friday night flick: it’s fast, it’s stylish and it’s very funny. It’s beautiful to look at thanks to some incredible set-pieces, and there are some genuinely witty visual flourishes that’ll delight cinema fans. And the soundtrack is fantastic too.
There isn’t a great deal to the story – the titular Baby, played by Ansel Elgort, can drive like a demon provided he has the right tunes on his iPod; the police, led by Jon Hamm’s Buddy, are on his tail – but it’s a love letter to action cinema that’s infectiously enthusiastic. It’s the kind of film that makes you laugh at its audacity and grin long after it’s over.
The Other Guys
You know the cops that solve even the toughest crimes, the cops that everybody either wants to be or be with? This isn’t about those guys. This is about the other guys.
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are a pair of crap cops who finally get the chance to step up like the top cops they idolise, and the result is a sharp and funny satire of the buddy cop genre. I thought it had a lot in common with the Airplane! movies, which I think are among the funniest movies ever made: like those films The Other Guys has some wonderfully over-the-top set pieces that often distract you from the equally funny things going on in the background. If you stripped the comedy out this would still work as an interesting cop movie, but it’s the funny stuff and the daft dialogue that makes this a must-see.
Attack The Block
I absolutely love this movie. It’s a bit of everything: an action comedy, a monster movie, a sci-fi film and more, and it features stellar performances by a pre-Star Wars John Boyega, a pre-Dr Who Jodie Whittaker and an excellent ensemble cast. Some critics felt it wasn’t sci-fi or horrific enough, and that’s fair comment, but if you approach it expecting a fun and very British action comedy it’s an absolute hoot.
Attack The Block is about a different kind of alien invasion: it takes place in a single English housing estate, whose residents turn out to be a lot more fierce than the aliens expected. There are some great sight gags, dialogue that’s funny without being forced and some excellently intense action scenes too.
The writing is whip-smart and director Joe Cornish does brilliant things with less money than a Hollywood movie spends on catering, probably. A sequel is on its way and I’m very, very excited.
Like the idea of watching a Netflix movie tonight but don't fancy an action comedy? Then why not check out our top sci-fi picks for January, or our overall best new movie picks for the month, too. We've also got great recommendations for Disney+ movies to watch in January as well.
Want some cool TV show recommendations instead? Then take a look at T3's roundup of sci-fi anime shows.