For action fans seeking out new movies on streaming, there are plenty of car chases, explosions and fist fights to sift through. We help by providing some streaming highlights.
Lindy Lewis (Kate Beckinsale) has spent her entire life fighting against the current. Diagnosed as a child with “intermittent explosive disorder,” high levels of cortisol course through her body, leading to advanced strength, endurance, speed and anger. Small annoyances and big grievances trigger her temper for violent outbursts. And in New York City, where she lives, there are plenty of triggers. Thankfully, a therapist named Dr. Ivan Munchin (Stanley Tucci) has developed a vest and pulse trigger that allows her to send electric shocks through the body.
The system keeps her in check. She even meets a nice guy (Jai Courtney) who accepts her condition. But when he’s suddenly murdered by underworld goons, Lindy decides to take revenge. She races against two bumbling detectives. She roundhouse kicks and wildly swings her fists through patronizing men. And does so with an assured, cynical wit. Tanya Wexler’s “Jolt” is a slick, madcap B-movie filled with big stars, elaborate fights, and silly one-liners.
The screenwriter-director Guillaume Pierret’s lean, high-octane thriller is a kind of French-language “Fast & the Furious.” Lino (Alban Lenoir) did time after a jewelry heist went wrong, taking the fall for his younger brother, Quentin (Rod Paradot). An expert behind the wheel, Lino drives speedy cars with balletic precision. His unique skills bring him to the attention of Detective Charas (Ramzy Bedia), who leads a roadster police unit working to shut down the drug runners who crisscross the country.
“Lost Bullet” doesn’t center itself around cartoonish driving stunts. Instead, it relies on the grounded speed, and the more resourceful thrills cars inherently offer. Charas’s squad succeed by working as a team in their vehicles: They dip, duck and dodge with great velocity past the bad guys.
But Lino’s bid for redemption is upended when the corrupt members of his team assassinate Charas, the one man who believed in him, and pin the murder on Lino. The only way he can clear his name is by finding a bullet lodged in a missing car, making for an intense joy ride of a movie.
I can’t pass up a film featuring Mickey Rourke, even in his advanced years. He’s one of those actors who’s able to leverage his publicly documented turmoil to inform his screen presence, adding an extra layer of real pathos to his performances. That ingrained poignancy often makes his villainous turns all the more conflicted. In the director Christian Sesma’s “Take Back,” Rourke plays Jack, the psychologically wounded head of a human trafficking ring still pining for the one who got away.
That one is Zara (Gillian White). She’s a sharp lawyer defending farmers against big corporations. With a supportive husband (Michael Jai White) and a steadfast stepdaughter (Priscilla Walker), Zara is a lethal kickboxing aficionado. She puts those skills to work defending a woman in a convenience store, making her an overnight sensation, and bringing her to the renewed attention of Jack.
Sesma fashions “Take Back” in the mold of “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” wherein Zara’s ideal suburban existence shatters, forcing her to confront her past. It’s a thrilling movie filled with big karate chops and swift kicks, and an enlivening performance from Rourke that recalls his still-present talent for playing heels.
‘Time to Hunt’
Jun-seok (Lee Je-hoon) has one dream: He wants to retire far away from the dystopian streets of South Korea to the tranquil beaches of Kenting, Taiwan. When he was incarcerated for a heist, he entered with the assurance of a golden parachute. Now released from jail, the money he stole three years ago is worthless. Rising inflation has plunged the country into crime, high poverty and rampant gambling. Jun-seok decides to bring together his old crew of childhood friends for one last job: to rob their local casino.
But Jun-seok’s crew get more than they bargained for when a ruthless bounty hunter (Park Hae-soo) arrives to murder them. Rapid gunfights ensue. Cars streak through the city’s rust-colored haze. Gruesome deaths, like the bloody execution of a hostage, take place.
The South Korean writer-director Yoon Sung-hyun’s “Time to Hunt,” however, isn’t just a meticulous heist flick. It concerns income inequality and is a story of the have-nots fighting for their worth. The film perfectly balances tension-filled action with socially conscious themes for a sensational piece of thought-provoking cinema.
I don’t often recommend double-features: But the aforementioned “Time to Hunt” and the director Adrian Teh’s Malaysian fighting film “Wira” would make a great pairing. They both equally blend savage action with brutal social commentary.
With a script by Anwari Ashraf, “Wira” follows Hassan (Hairul Azreen), a prodigal son returning to his dead-end village to help his stubborn father (Hilal Azman) and headstrong brawling sister (Fify Azmi). Returning from a seven-year stint in the army, Hassan finds his family in debt to Raja (Dain Said), a local meth-dealing mob boss. Years ago, the corrupt Raja squeezed the town into poverty, pushing its native residents into a crime-riddled high-rise. Hassan also once worked for Raja, fighting for bloodthirsty attendees in the drug lord’s gladiatorial boxing ring. Hassan must team with Zain to battle Raja if they want a better future.
Resembling “John Wick,” “Wira” features full-shots (by the cinematographer Yong Choon Lin) and minimum cuts (by the editor Lee Pai Seang) for fluid hand-to-hand sequences. The film’s high point comes in a slashing, careening tussle wherein Hassan takes on a horde of Raja’s goons on his own.