This gripping neo-noir action film was written by Derek Kolstad and was the directorial debut of Chad Stahelski. It has since been donned as John Wick: Chapter 1 (2014) as it is the first installment of the series of films.
It stars, at the head, Keanu Reeves, and then Michael Nygist, Alfie Allen, along with Adrianne Palicki, amongst others. My favorite films similar to this are Jason Borne, Taken, and Polar.
John Wick is a perfect film for action buffs, and the neo-noir style adds a great bit of spice to a rather simple plot. Keanu Reeves offers a commendable performance as a man who begins the search for those who broke into his home, took his car, and killed Daisy, the puppy given to him, by his recently deceased wife.
The film grossed a noteworthy $88.8 million, against a budget of $20–$30 million. The film received a majority of positive reviews and was overall well received, especially from viewers.
It was mainly praised for its stellar action sequences, seamless direction, immaculate visual style, and overall pacing. With all this said, let us look at 25 similar films, which will also have you on the edge of your seat.
1. John Wick: Chapter 2
John Wick: Chapter 2 (also known as John Wick 2) is the sequel to the original film. The sequel came out in 2017 and followed the same neo-noir styling of the first, this time though with some aspects of a thriller to it.
The film stars Keanu Reeves in the lead role once more, and it follows the hitman’s journey as he is forced to go on the run after a bounty is placed on his head. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane.
The film shares the same director, Chad Stahelski, and writer, Derek Kolstad, of the first film; which, as we know, often helps to keep a sequel succinct with the original film. The film’s production started in October of 2015, so quite soon after the release of the first one.
The film had a production budget of $40 million, so a sizable amount more than its predecessor, and it managed to gross an incredible worldwide box office of $171.5 million.
2. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum or simply John Wick 3 was made in 2019 and kept in tune with the previous two films. It stuck with the same styling, and once again, the follow-up film was directed by the now noted Chad Stahelski. The writer at the helm was still Derek Kolstad; however, others were brought on board to help with the script, although the plot was based on Kolstad’s story.
This film is the third installment in the franchise and is certain to delight fans of the previous two films. With more action and even higher stakes, things are really getting heated up. Reeves pulls off a stupendous performance once more and is accompanied by Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, and Lance Reddick.
In this film, John is on the run once more as now a mass of assassins are after him, as once again, a bounty has been put out for his murder. The movie is acclaimed for its remarkable choreography and incredible action sequences.
The film was made on a budget of a whopping $75 million and grossed more than both the previous films combined, with an outstanding $327.3 million.
3. The Mechanic
The Mechanic is a remake of the original 1972 film of the same name. This film came out in 2011 and is also of the action thriller genre. It follows Jason Statham, who plays Arthur Bishop, a professional assassin whose trademark is making his hits seem accidental or suicidal.
Statham takes the lead and is accompanied by Ben Foster. In the director’s chair, we have Simon West (a well-known director of these types of films). Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino wrote the story.
The film was met with mixed reviews, and although critics found Statham and Foster’s performances to be up to standard, some were disappointed by the film’s “mind-numbing violence” as well as it has fallen into the trap of going for action-thriller clichés.
The budget for the film was a fairly decent $40 million, but unfortunately, the film didn’t perform exceptionally well and only raked in $76.3 million at the end of the day.
4. Mechanic Resurrection
The sequel to The Mechanic, Mechanic Resurrection, came out in 2016, a sizeable five years after the original remake. This film continues on with the hitman theme, and we follow Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop once more.
This time, Arthur is living in Brazil and has gone undercover. He is forced back into action after an old nemesis of his, kidnaps the woman he loves. To rescue her, he has to kill off several individuals, all the while making them look like accidents. However, not all goes according to plan.
The film is directed by Dennis Gansel this time, and the writers of this project are Phillip Shelby and Tony Mosher. The film’s budget was the same as the first, sitting at $40 million, however in a streak of luck, it managed to rake in an incredible $125.8 million. This is despite its getting unfavorable reception from critics.
5. Angel Has Fallen
This is the third film in the series and came out in 2019, to fairly poor critical acclaim, with critics calling it “forgettable”. However, if you are an action thriller fan who enjoys great action sequences and the thought of whether our hero is going to triumph, then you will likely enjoy this.
The story follows Mike Banning, a United States Secret Service agent who is battling against time to prove that he is not responsible for the drone attack on the president.
Like the second installment, the film is directed by a different director than the first film, and this time Ric Roman Waugh is in the chair. He leads a team of stellar actors such as Gerard Butler (who takes the lead), Morgan Freeman, Lance Reddick, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
The film was made on a budget of $40–$80 million (the exact figures are not clear), and it managed to make a sizeable $146.7 million.
Bright is an interesting addition to this list as it is an action, but also has strong urban fantasy elements in the mix. The film, by Netflix, came out in 2017. It does, however, pack sufficient action for those who are fans of John Wick.
The film has an alternate present setting where humans and mythical creatures co-exist on Earth. The story follows Daryl Ward (played by Will Smith), a human LAPD police officer.
He has an orc partner, Nick Jakoby (played by Joel Edgerton), and together they battle racism and corruption amidst the force. Things get interesting, though, when an elf girl and a magic wand are thrown into the mix.
The film has David Ayer in the role of director, and he, with his team, had a massive budget of approximately $90 million to work with. This seemingly paid off, because although it received bad reviews, within its first three days, it had been streamed in America eleven million times.
7. Jack Reacher
This 2012 action thriller was both written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. The story has its roots based on Lee Child’s 2005 novel called One Shot. The film is much like John Wick in that we follow a man who is hunting down who’s done it.
The film starts with the seemingly random killing of five people, and immediately all evidence points to an ex-military sniper. When he is brought in, he asks for Jack Reacher, an ex-army investigator, to be called to help unearth who is really behind everything.
Tom Cruise fills the boots of Jack Reacher and reportedly did all his own stunts in the film. Accompanying him are Rosamund Pike, David Ovelowo, Richard Jenkins, and Jai Courtney. When the reviews came in, they were mixed, but the film performed well at the box office; earning $218.3 million off a budget of $60 million.
8. Edge Of Tomorrow
This 2014 science fiction action makes our list, as it has some spectacular action sequences, and the concept of a time loop is put to great use in this film. Although the bad guys are not human in this film, their alien counterparts are definitely substantial enough.
The film is directed by Dough Liman, who also took the reins of both The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. It stars a well-seasoned cast of Tom Cruise (as our protagonist) and Emily Blunt alongside him.
The film takes place in the future, where an alien species has invaded the vast majority of Europe. We follow Major William Cage (Cruise), who is actually a public relations officer and is limited in his combat skills. When he enters into battle, he soon discovers that he is stuck in a time loop where he, with the help of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Blunt), must figure out how to save the world.
This film had an immense budget of $178 million and thankfully pulled in an incredible $370.5 million at the box office.
9. Jason Bourne
Jason is the lead character of the film and all the other films in the series. Matt Daemon plays the role of Bourne in this action-packed and high-paced production. Jason is being hunted down by the CIA, who has sent hit squads after him. He is both on the run and trying to uncover hidden truths as he tries to evade his pursuers.
If you enjoyed the intensity of John Wick and Reeves’ performance, then Daemon will not let you down in this film directed by Paul Greengrass, who Daemon was thrilled to work with, and their combined efforts show in this perfectly paced and well-acted action film.
Along with Daemon, the film stars Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, and Vincent Cassel. The film received rather mixed reviews. However, they must have done something right as from a $120 million budget, they were able to make a massive $415.5 million.
10. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Although an older film, released back in 2005, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a classic hitman film. It wonderfully blends comedy and action with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the lead roles. Now, although John Wick has little in terms of comic elements, the action, and fighting sequences in this film are up to standard.
The film, directed by Doug Liman, and which was written by Simon Kinberg, is about an upper-middle-class married couple who are surprised to learn that they are both assassins who work for competing agencies. The whole crux of the film pivots on their ultimately getting assigned to take each other out (no pun intended).
The film squared fairly with the critics, but that didn’t stop it from making a sky-high $487.3 million off of a budget of $110 million. It is also one of those films which have managed to stand the test of time in this particular genre.
11. Gemini Man
This 2019 action thriller is just that, pure action and the thrill of wondering how your hero is going to fair, in this case, against a younger cloned version of himself. A retired hitman, Henry Brogan, is resolved to have a quiet life in a small fishing town, but his ex-employers feel otherwise.
Having been directed by Ang Lee and with Will Smith in the lead, this film is sure to entice those who enjoy exemplary and well-crafted action sequences, as we experienced in John Wick. The biggest thing to keep in mind, though, is that action is probably all one really walks away with after this film.
Along for the ride, in this film that managed to score a meager $173.5 million on a rather large $138 million budget, are Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong, and Clive Owen.
12. The Equalizer
The Equalizer has Denzel Washington giving a remarkable performance in the role of a former U.S. marine, who becomes a DIA intelligence officer. He is forced back into action as he tries to protect a teenage prostitute, equally well portrayed by Chloë Grace Moretz, who is threatened by the Russian mafia.
Although not his fight, like in John Wick, Washington’s character, Robert McCall makes it his business to ensure that justice is served, especially when things start to heat up. Leading the team is director Antoine Fuqua, who reprises his role as director in the second film as well.
The exact figures of the production budget aren’t clear, but they were approximately $55–$73 million. Although most critics felt that the film delivered good value for money, it only managed to gross $192.3 million (which does seem like a lot but compared to others on this list, it is not that spectacular).
A 2010 action-comedy that, like John Wick, gives you more than you would expect from such a film. The humor is clever, and the action sequences are worthy of applause. The film follows Frank Moses, a former black-ops agent, who seeks to reunite his now aging team to help him catch an assassin who has sworn to kill him.
The film is directed by Robert Schwentke and stars Bruce Willis as Frank. He is accompanied by big names such as John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Karl Urban, and Mary-Louise Parker.
The film was nominated for a Golden Globe and garnered good responses from critics and viewers alike, particularly for its wonderful wit and first-class styling. It was made on a budget of $60 million and managed to garner a fair $199 million.
14. Atomic Blonde
If you are looking for a bit more girl power, then this is the film for you. The 2017 action thriller compares to John Wick for good reasons. The film was directed by David Leitch in his first solo directorial credit. He also co-directed John Wick, but was not credited for this.
The movie is set in 1989 and follows a spy tasked with finding a list of double agents who are to be smuggled into the West just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Lorraine Broughton, the protagonist, is played by Charlize Theron, who also acted as a co-producer.
Other cast members include the likes of James McAvoy, Til Schweiger, John Goodman, and Sofia Boutella. Together they helped create a film that managed to turn a $30 million budget into $100 million at the box office.
Wanted is a 2008 action thriller that definitely added some flair and spice to the genre, and it paved the way for further experimentation in the future. This film, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, follows Wesley Gibson, who works as an account manager. Near the film’s start, he discovers that he is the son of a professional assassin and decides to join the same secret society his father belonged to.
James McAvoy stars as Wesley in this action-packed and immaculately shot film, along with the highly talented Angelina Jolie. Along with these two is the legendary Morgan Freeman and others such as Terence Stamp, and Thomas Kretschmann.
This film, which bent the rules of what is expected from an action thriller, was made on a budget of $75 million and was well-received; its $342.5 million box office being testament to that.
16. G. I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra
If you are interested in a film with cool gadgets, lots of explosions and funny one-liners, then this is one for you. There is also plenty of action, and the idea of revenge and justice are certainly prevalent.
This film is specifically a military science fiction action, so if you want something a bit more realistic, then this one isn’t for you. We follow two American soldiers, Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) and Duke (Channing Tatum), who have joined an elite force, known as the G.I. Joe Team, following an attack by a group called M.A.R.S.
The film received mixed reviews, and the critics were not terribly impressed, although action lovers certainly flocked to see it. Directed by Stephen Sommers, it had a hefty budget of $175 million and made a staggering $302.5 million.
If you liked John Wick, then Polar (2019) certainly has to be on your watch list. This film is just as, if not more, stylized and offers a visual bonanza for its viewers, and we haven’t even mentioned the performances.
Polar is another Netflix film that, despite what critics may say, is worth a watch. It is also a neo-noir action thriller, and it certainly hits every right note. The film was directed by Jonas Åkerlund and written by Jayson Rothwell. It was based on a 2013 graphic novel by Victor Santos, and the visual elements certainly shine through.
The story follows Mads Mikkelsen as Duncan Vizla, an aging assassin almost at the point of retirement. However, as often happens in such stories, he becomes the target of his soon-to-be ex-employer.
Another great film to come out of 2008 is one that has been dubbed as the turning point in Liam Neeson’s career and which cemented him as one of the top action thriller actors of all time. This film also has the premise of something precious being taken and then revenge and redemption being sought.
The film was directed by Pierre Morel and starred Liam Neeson in the lead as Bryan Mills, who is a former CIA operative who has to track down his teenage daughter and her best friend, who has been abducted.
The other cast members include Maggie Grace, Katie Cassidy, Famke Janssen, and Leland Orser, among others. The movie received mixed reviews with critics; however, if the box office is any indicator, this film was an absolute hit. From a meager $25 million budget, it went on to accumulate earnings of $226.8 million.
19. Casino Royale
This 2006 film has Daniel Craig in the starring role of James Bond. Unlike John Wick, James is not in retirement and is very much in the thick of things, having just received his 007 status.
The film takes place at the commencement of Bond’s career as Agent 007. Bond enters into a high-stakes poker game to help bring down the terrorist financier, Le Chiffre. While on his mission, James falls in love with Vesper Lynd, a representative of the treasury. All is thrown off-kilter when the games truly begin, and he is left with a poor hand.
Martin Campbell directs this action-packed and suspenseful film, and under his direction are Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Giancarlo Giannini, and Judi Dench. All in all, they managed to pull off a spectacular reboot of the franchise and took a film with a budget of $150 million, to a remarkable $616.5 million.
20. The Transporter
This is the first installment in the Transporter franchise and follows Jason Statham as Frank Martin, an expert driver and a mercenary “transporter”. He delivers anything to anywhere at the right price. Like in John Wick, we are faced with a man who has a hard exterior, yet there is indeed a heart and a conscience behind that.
This is a French film, but in the English language, by director Corey Yuen and Louis Leterrier. The cast consists of Statham, Shu Qi, François Berléand, Matt Schulze, and Ric Young and others.
The film is commended for its great hand-to-hand combat sequences and overall action components. There are plenty of explosions and car chases to have you fully satisfied.
The film was made on a rather small $20.5 million, but also only made a conservative $43.9 million at the box office.
21. Run All Night
This lesser-known 2015 Liam Neeson film, also follows the life of an ex-hitman. In this case, he is on the run with his adult son after being forced to kill a mobster boss’s son. Although it sounds like a simple plot, one of the key points critics picked was that the film is somewhat convoluted.
So this is more than just your average action-packed movie. And with Jaume Collet-Serra as director and a cast comprising of Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, and Ed Harris, it’s not surprising that you have to put your thinking cap on.
On a $50–$61 million budget, the film performed quite poorly at the box office as it only managed to scrape in a measly $71.6 million. However, do not let this deter you, especially if you like an action film with plenty of meat.
Another great film with a female protagonist is Salt, which interestingly enough was initially written with a male lead, and production had Tom Cruise in mind for the role. It was later adapted, and Angelina Jolie was signed.
This is a 2010 action thriller film directed by Philip Noyce and follows Evelyn Salt, who has been accused of being a sleeper agent for the Russians. She is forced to go on the run, all the while trying to clear her name of the accusation.
Along with Jolie are Live Schreiber, August Diehl, and Daniel Olbrychski. The film received mainly positive reviews, especially for Jolie’s performance and the striking action sequences. The writing was put under scrutiny, though.
In the end, this film, with a budget of $110 million, managed to make a decent return of $293.5 million at the box office.
Directed by Xavier Gens, this film was based on a video game series of the same name. It came out in 2007, and Timothy Olyphant plays the role of Agent 47, who is a professional hitman, who was engineered by a group known as “The Organization”.
Agent 47 finds himself being hunted down by both Interpol as well as Russian intelligence. Joining Olyphant are Olga Kurylenko and Dougray Scott. Again this is a film about a hitman who is still actively working and is caught up in this mysterious world.
Fans of the game series are certain to be fulfilled by the action scenes in the film and the exhilarating tension that is built up. Although critics did not quite fancy the film, it did well with audiences and managed to gross $101.3 million against a small budget of $24 million.
24. The Marksman
The Marksman is a newer film on this list and came out in 2021. It is also an action thriller like John Wick, and there are definitely plot parallels, although not exactly the same sort of story.
Instead of personal revenge, we follow a ranch owner and former marine, Jim Hanson, who has got himself caught up with the life of a young boy fleeing from a Mexican drug cartel. The film is directed by Robert Lorenz and stars Liam Neeson, along with Katheryn Winnick, Teresa Ruiz, and Juan Pablo Raba.
The film is well written, performed, and executed. It gives you just what you would expect from a film with Liam Neeson and a little more. Unfortunately, not many seemed to have taken to it as it only managed to pull in $22.7 million at the box office, while having had a budget of roughly $30 million.