The action genre is one of cinema’s great staples. The gunfights, the explosions, the ludicrously choreographed hand-to-hand combat – all of it combines to make one of the film industry’s most dependable staples: the action movie. Over the years, many action movies have become serialized affairs, with the best action movie franchises enduring over a period of years (or even decades).
For the purposes of this list, we’ve stuck to franchises focussing on more traditional action. Action-heavy spy movies have been included, as has light sci-fi, but more high-concept fare has not. We’ve also ruled out a few movies for being too tame in the action department – basically, anything with extreme violence, high-octane set pieces, or multiple gunfights and/or car chases was considered fair game. With that in mind, here are our picks for the 8 best action movie franchises in cinema.
8. The Kingsman Franchise
Perhaps a controversial pick for a list of the best action movie franchises of all time, but hear us out. The Kingsman franchise is currently comprised of only three movies, 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, the 2017 sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and the World War I-set prequel The King’s Man. Though it’s hardly the most prolific action franchise out there, it’s thoroughly consistent in its unique approach to the genre.
Kingsman combines the sleek gadget-heavy action of the spy genre, with all the trappings of a modern superhero movie. Clearly inspired by the likes of James Bond, the Kingsman movies deliver their action in the most tongue-in-cheek way possible, offering up excellent thrills alongside a handful of solid laughs. On top of that, they’re gloriously and disgusting violent.
Each of the Kingsman movies boasts a stellar cast, a solid narrative premise, and dedication to building an exciting and entertaining franchise. As well as well-conceived action and plenty of levity, the Kingsman movies offer a certain unique charm that other franchises often lack. Though it may seem something of a dark horse for this list, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable franchise with heaps of potential.