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18 Movies Like "Bullet Train" That'll Get Your Heart Pumping

Check out innovative action flicks from throughout film history.

Bullet Train is hardly Citizen Kane but it's undeniably a fun time at the movies. The 2022 action-comedy, boasting a star-studded cast including Brad Pitt, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Michael Shannon, follows a bunch of eclectic assassins all fighting over a mysterious case as they ride one of Japan's high-speed bullet trains. Filled with almost as many jokes as it has explosions, Bullet Train is a rollicking new entry into the pantheon of pulpy action flicks.

If you like Bullet Train and want to keep riding that vibe, check out one of the many films that will scratch the same itch. Some of them are pure dumb fun. Others are actually in the same realm as the all-time classic film canon—albeit if Citizen Kane had sick fight scenes and stuff blew up.

Read on for 18 movies like Bullet Train that will get your heart pumping. All aboard!

RELATED: 23 Movies Like Interstellar That Will Also Bend Your Brain.

1. John Wick

It's hard to overstate just how important John Wick, from stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski, is to action cinema. It was the start of a career resurgence for Keanu Reeves, who plays the title character. Once the most legendary and feared hitman in a secret society of hired killers, John Wick has left the business behind. However, when some punks (who don't know who they're dealing with) kill his dog, he comes out of retirement to get revenge.

Featuring long takes of choreographed gunplay and martial arts that eschew the once-popular shaky-cam style of fight cinematography that obscured the action behind lots of cuts, John Wick is a new action classic. The 2014 movie was not expected to be a big deal when it came out but ended up being a genre-defining surprise hit that has already spawned three sequels, the most recent being last year's John Wick: Chapter 4, and a TV series.

2. Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club, but we've got to break that edict in order to recommend David Fincher's 1999 thriller. Edward Norton stars as a dissatisfied, white-collar Gen X office worker who meets a rebellious, anti-capitalist anarchist named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). The two become friends, establishing an underground fight club where others like them can throw blows just to feel something, but a larger conspiracy looms and Tyler might not be all he appears.

Fight Club is less of a straightforward action movie than the name would imply—it's more focused on the psychological aspects than the physical fisticuffs—but it's a hugely influential (and entertaining) film.

3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The great James Cameron directs the second Terminator movie, reimagining Arnold Schwarzenegger's once-terrifying cyborg killer as a beefy guardian, sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her son from an even more advanced robot assassin, The T-1000, played by Robert Patrick.

1991's Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a near-perfect action movie, filled with thrilling moments and sequences that have been understandably imitated to varying degrees of success in the years and decades since. How can you watch Arnold reload a shotgun with one hand while riding a motorcycle and not say "hell yeah?"

4. Nobody

The success of John Wick spawned many imitators, some of which are better than others. Nobody, a 2021 movie starring Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk in an against-type role as retired assassin Hutch Mansell, is probably the best of them, full of dark humor and impressive stunts. When a gang of unwitting thieves rob Hutch's house, frightening his wife, son, and young daughter, he sets out to get revenge, in the process getting the Russian mob involved. (Whoops.) A knockout (literally and figuratively) fight that takes place on a bus is by far the highlight of Nobody, and it's one of the better fight scenes of the decade so far.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

What director George Miller pulled off with 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing short of a miracle. The fourth installment in the Mad Max franchise (never mind if you haven't seen the first three; the continuity is basically non-existent), Fury Road is an insane, feature-length chase through the postapocalyptic desert.

Tom Hardy stars as the taciturn title character who joins forces with Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa as they attempt to escape from the grotesque warlord Immortan Joe's (Hugh Keays-Byrne) forces. Featuring unbelievable car stunts and jaw-dropping production design, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the rare action movies to be nominated for Best Picture. And no disrespect to Spotlight, but it should've won.

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6. The Quick and the Dead

A criminally under-watched film from Spider-Man and Evil Dead director Sam Raimi, The Quick and the Dead from 1995 is a pulpy, stylish Western about a quick-draw competition in the Wild West. Sharon Stone leads a cast that's full of stars, including two who were just about to become huge deals: Russell Crowe and a young Leonardo DiCaprio. The three play gunslingers who are facing off in an attempt to get a shot at the powerful, corrupt outlaw who runs the town and organizes the competition, played by Gene Hackman. Full of suspense, wit, and a ton of kooky Dutch angles, The Quick and the Dead deserves a shot.

7. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

One of the last big movies to open in theaters before the COVID-19 pandemic through the rest of the movie release calendar out of whack, 2020's Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is Margot Robbie's second outing as the Joker's lovably insane ex-girlfriend. A scrappy, silly, take on the often overly somber DC Extended Universe, Birds of Prey pairs Harley with three other heroines, the Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) as they battle a Gotham City crime lord, Ewan McGregor's Black Mask. It's quietly one of the better superhero movies out there, with a clear aesthetic and a sense of humor that's backed up by some truly impressive action setpieces.

8. The Beekeeper

January is always a rough time for new movies, but the biggest one to come out of the first month of 2024 was this Jason Statham-led actioner. Like John Wick and Nobody, The Beekeeper is about a professional killer who comes out of retirement to get revenge.

In this case, Statham plays a humble beekeeper who is actually a former member of a secret clandestine agency, also called the Beekeepers. When his lovely landlord dies by her own hand after she loses everything in a phishing scam, Statham does what Statham does best (kick some butt) to bring down the criminals who wronged her—and those criminals have connections in very high places.

9. Unstoppable

Sure, Bullet Train is good, but did it boast the tagline "a missile the size of the Chrysler Building?" 2010's Unstoppable, the last film from the great action director Tony Scott, stars Chris Pine and Denzel Washington as two engineers who are the only chance at stopping a runaway freight train that's filled with explosive chemicals and on track to derail in a populated area, causing a massive disaster. Loosely based on a real-life incident, Unstoppable is a high-octane thrill ride.

10. Duel

Steven Spielberg's feature film debut, which he made when he was just 24 years old, is basically Jaws on dry land. When a traveling salesman (Dennis Weaver) makes the mistake of passing an unhinged, unseen trucker while driving through the southern California desert, the trucker makes it his mission to repay the slight by driving him down. Duel, from 1971, is a gripping, suspenseful movie that moves at high speed as the trucker's gnarly Peterbilk attempts to run over the little sedan over and over again.

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11. Air Force One

Harrison Ford plays the President of the United States in this 1997 action thriller classic, as he must single-handedly take back Air Force One from the terrorists (led by Gary Oldman) who have hijacked it. Glenn Close co-stars as the loyal vice president on the ground monitoring the situation. It's Die Hard in a plane, with POTUS in the John McClane role. What's not to love?

12. Sisu

2022's Sisu is another movie that features a John Wick-esque premise. That's not an issue at all, because 1) that premise is very good, and 2) Sisu rules. When a Nazi death squad in the waning days of WWII tries to take a massive haul of gold from an unassuming old miner in Finland, they soon learn that he is actually a legendary and terrifying former commando—and he'll have his revenge. This Finnish flick keeps finding new, innovative ways to kill Nazis, and it's a fist-pumping good time.

13. Edge of Tomorrow

Any number of Tom Cruise movies could go on this list (Mission: Impossible — Fallout, for instance, is a modern action classic). We're going to go with 2014's Edge of Tomorrow, an adaptation of a Japanese novel with the incredibly metal name of All You Need Is Kill. Cruise plays a smarmy military PR person who is sent to the front lines in humanity's losing battle against alien invaders. However, when one of the aliens bleeds on him, he gains the ability to "re-start" the day each time he dies. Along with Emily Blunt as a badass soldier who used to have this same power but lost it, he must fight the aliens again and again and again, getting a little bit better each time. It never gets old.

14. Ambulance

Michael Bay's latest film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as adopted brothers who, after a bank robbery goes bad, hijack an ambulance and careen through the streets of Los Angeles in an attempt to escape the authorities, taking a paramedic (Eiza González) and an injured cop as hostages in the process. 2022's Ambulance is the director at some of his Michael Bay-iest, featuring gratuitous gunfire, huge vehicular stunts, and legitimately impressive drone cinematography. Gyllenhaal particularly delivers a hall-of-fame unhinged performance.

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15. The Ice Road

One of the better original action movies hiding in Netflix's vast library, 2021's The Ice Road stars Liam Neeson as a truck driver who, along with three others, accepts an incredibly dangerous job to drive explosives across frozen ice in the hopes of freeing a group of trapped miners. He'll have to brave not only the elements but the other drivers, who are all competing for the reward money, and the owners of the mine, who don't necessarily have their employees' best interests at heart.

16. Shin Kamen Rider

An absolutely befuddling (in a good way) action movie from 2023, Shin Kamen Rider is a film adaptation of the long-running Japanese sci-fi manga and TV show about a motorcycle-riding mutant cyborg who fights back against the evil terrorist organization that created him. It stuffs what feels like 50 years' worth of story into a breakneck two-hour movie in such an overwhelming way that the onslaught of action and plot feels like a feature, not a bug.

If you're in the mood for something gonzo, Shin Kamen Rider should be your movie pick. There's really nothing else quite like it.

17. Prey

Having already hunted Arnold Schwarzenegger and fought against the Xenomorphs from the Alien movies, the next thing for the Predator franchise to do was go back in time. In 2022's Prey, Amber Midthunder stars as a Comanche woman in the early 1700s who finds herself fighting a member of the Predator species who has come to earth to hunt dangerous game. While the Predator has all of the usual alien technology, Midthunder's Naru doesn't have the benefit of a big gun or explosives, forcing her to use her wits and her cunning to survive.

Prey is such a good premise that the second after you finish it, you'll start thinking of other historical periods that could be improved by adding a Predator. Predator vs. gladiators, Predator vs. ninjas, Predator vs. pirates… the possibilities are endless.

18. The General

Typically, when the average modern moviegoer is looking for a film that will have them on the edge of their seat, they tend not to consider titles from the Silent Era. And yet, The General, a 1926 film by the legendary Buster Keaton, is both an incredible action movie and a delightful comedy despite not having a single spoken word.

Set during the Civil War, The General follows Keaton's character as he attempts to chase after the soldiers who have stolen his train—with his beloved still inside. There is scene after scene of Keaton comically leaping from train to train or narrowly avoiding death in ways that become impressive when you remember that, in 1926, the way they filmed all of this was by having Keaton actually do those dangerous stunts with a real moving train.

James Grebey
James has been an entertainment journalist for more than a decade, writing and editing for outlets like Vulture, Inverse, Polygon, TIME, The Daily Beast, SPIN Magazine, Fatherly, and more. Read more
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