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.
Pop quiz, hot shot: What do you get if you combine “Speed” with Network”? This Mumbai-set action thriller is what. The wild ride follows Arjun (Kartik Aaryan), a once popular and trusted newscaster now relegated to a humdrum current affairs radio program. When a mysterious person phones in threatening to detonate a bomb on the city’s major bridge, the apathetic Arjun assumes he’s a prank caller. He soon discovers the threats are very real.
Directed by Ram Madhvani and based on Kim Byung-woo’s South Korean feature, “The Terror Live,” this movie operates as a morality tale. The ambitious Arjun, despite the volatility of the terrorist, sees this crisis as an opportunity to regain his prime time slot. His cutthroat boss Ankita (Amruta Subhash), who gives Faye Dunaway’s “Network” character a run for her money, is deliciously villainous. I adored despising her Machiavellian thirst for higher ratings. The characters have contemplative moments, yet “Dhamaka” never slows. It’s full ahead.
I love when a noted character actor like Shea Whigham (“Boardwalk Empire,” “True Detective”) finally gets a leading role. In the director Michele Civetta’s “The Gateway,” he takes center stage as Parker Jode, a troubled but dedicated social worker. Parker is a complex tragic character. His mother died young. His abusive jazz trumpeting father (Bruce Dern) absconded to France. And his once-promising career came to nothing. Parker self-medicates by routinely snorting cocaine and chugging mini bottles of Jameson whiskey.
Nevertheless, he puts tireless effort into abuse victims like Dahlia (Olivia Munn), a single mother working at a casino while she cares for her young daughter, Ashley (Taegen Burns). They come under threat when her estranged husband, Mike (Zach Avery), returns from prison. Mike plunges the pair into a dangerous drug ring by stashing heroin in Ashley’s backpack. Parker tries to protect Dahlia and her daughter from Russian mobsters and local underworld goons. Through the gun smoke, visceral relationships emerge that imbue this gritty neo-noir with real heart.
Amid the haphazard bank robberies and other nefarious rackets perpetrated by a marauding teenage gang, tenderness springs. Nacho (Marcos Ruiz), a bullied teen introvert, begins his endless summer working at an arcade and returning home to his strict parents. One day, he crosses paths with an outlaw couple: the sexually liberated Tere (Begoña Vargas) and her apparent boyfriend, the menacing Zarco (Chechu Salgado). They invite this babe in the woods into their tight-nit criminal gang. Nacho ditches his glasses, begins drinking and taking drugs, rebels against his father and falls in love with Tere.
The director Daniel Monzón’s riveting, turbulent film, adapted from a Javier Cercas novel, pulses with youthful energy. The cinematographer Carles Gusi captures thumping neon-lit disco dance floors and vibrant, intoxicating red light districts. The action flick’s biggest set piece, a treacherous bank robbery involving a car chase through claustrophobic cobblestone streets, is a highlight in a film filled with senseless killing, young love and midlife regret.
The camera tilts from an alley’s unforgiving pavement to a rooftop. Two suit-clad Russian men, one carrying a suitcase, leap down to the asphalt. It’s a deal gone bad, and they’ve stolen from the wrong person. In the fictional Amber City, Ray Barren (Robert Miano) an implacable casino owner and underboss, controls the cops, and he wants his case back. Barren enlists the former military extraction specialist Marcus Lombardi (Omid Zader), a good-hearted but effective goon who hopes this will be his last job, to recover his property. When Lombardi’s sister is kidnapped by Russians, however, he’s out to save more than money.
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“Overrun,” a self-conscious action flick from the director Josh Tessier, plays with genre conventions to fashion a comedic tale of revenge and redemption. Lombardi battles a bevy of cartoonish assassins, seemingly inspired by the Jason Bourne universe, in enjoyable hand-to-hand fight scenes, featuring fluid editing and open compositions. Playing a Russian mob boss, Bruce Dern, who didn’t bother adopting an accent for the part, is especially charged. I cherish action movies that are well-crafted, but do not take themselves too seriously. “Overrun” accomplishes both feats without breaking a sweat.
Heist movies are all about the team. In the director Jaume Balagueró’s “The Vault,” a gang of weathered underwater scavengers aim to recover a bounty of gold. Not from the ocean floor. They already accomplished that feat. But the Spanish government seized their prize: three gold coins engraved with coordinates leading to Sir Frances Drake’s ancient riches. It’s all locked away in an unbreakable safe in Madrid.
To break into the safe, Walter (Liam Cunningham), an Irish master scavenger, assembles a special team: a computer whiz named Klaus (Axel Stein); James (Sam Riley), a former MI-6 agent; the logistical expert Simon (Luis Tosar); a high-spirited con artist named Lorraine (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey); and Thom (Freddie Highmore), a genius student from Cambridge looking for some adventure.
The sextet form an endearing partnership. The nerdy Thom falls for the shy Lorraine. The brawny James begins to trust Thom too. The heist, occurring while the World Cup takes place, merges sporting thrills with high-pressure acrobatics. It plays out in elevator shafts and air ducts akin to “Mission Impossible.” And the cracking of a safe that’s bigger than a building brings a level of brainy pleasure I haven’t felt since “National Treasure.”