39 Of The Best 90s Action Movies You MUST Watch - Endless Popcorn

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What Are The Best 90s Action Movies

The 1990s were a heyday for action movies. From heart-pounding thrillers to energetic martial arts flicks, there was something for everyone at the local cinema. These films defined an entire genre and set a new standard for what could be accomplished on the big screen. 

In addition to unforgettable action sequences, the best ’90s action movies also featured complex storylines and intriguing characters. These films were truly groundbreaking, and they continue to entertain audiences today. Without further ado here are our picks for the best action movies to come out during the 1990s.

1.  Total Recall

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Total Recall Movie Description

In the future, when Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) visits Rekall, he is hoping to have a new memory implanted that will take him to the colonized Martian planet.

However, something goes wrong in the procedure and he realizes that his whole life is a false memory. The people who implanted it now want him dead. With danger looming, Quaid must find a way to escape and uncover the truth about his past.

2.  Point Break

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Point Break Movie Description

After a series of bizarre bank robberies in Southern California, federal agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) infiltrates the suspected gang. But the gang of robbers isn’t your ordinary group of thieves.

The group comprises mostly of surfers, led by the charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). They’re addicted to getting a rush from thievery. However, Utah’s duty becomes complicated when he falls in love with Tyler (Lori Petty)–a female surfer who is close to the group.

3.  Batman Returns

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Batman Returns Movie Description

The Penguin (Danny DeVito), a madman who lives in the sewers, joins forces with a wicked businessman in order to get rid of The Batman (Michael Keaton).

Not long after, the businessman’s assistant turns into Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), and ultimately teams up with Penguin and the businessman to destroy Batman. However, things go awry when she unexpectedly starts to catch feelings for The Bat.

4.  Speed

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Speed Movie Description

Jack (Keanu Reeves), a police officer in Los Angeles, angers retired bomb squad member Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) by foiling his attempt at taking hostages.

Payne prepared a bus with a bomb that would explode if it dropped below 50 miles per hour in retaliation. Jack and his partner Harry (Jeff Daniels) attempted to save the passengers on the bus before the bomb goes off, while also trying to figure out how Payne was monitoring them.

5.  GoldenEye

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GoldenEye Movie Description

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) must defeat his former ally, Agent 006 (Sean Bean), who has taken over a powerful satellite system with the intent to destroy the Earth.

006 is also partnered with Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a dangerous assassin, so Bond must be vigilant of her as well.

6.  Clear and Present Danger

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Clear and Present Danger Movie Description

Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) has been diagnosed with cancer, leading to CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) becoming the acting deputy director of the agency. Shortly after, a friend of the president was killed.

Jack looked into the death and found multiple connections between the man and drug dealers. In retaliation, CIA agent John Clark (Willem Dafoe) was sent to Colombia to kill drug kingpins. Jack must now find out what happened and who is responsible for all these deaths.

7.  The Matrix

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The Matrix Movie Description

Neo (Keanu Reeves) is a computer hacker who has come across a phrase countless times which raises his curiosity. He continues coming across something known as the Matrix. He believes that the mysterious man Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), also known as the most dangerous man alive can help him answer these questions.

When Neo is met by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who takes him to Morpheus in the underworld. They combine their efforts to combat a powerful evil army of agents. As Neo gets closer to the truth, he discovers that there may be worse consequences than losing his life.

8.  The Fifth Element

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The Fifth Element Movie Description

In the future, Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) falls into Korben Dallas’s (Bruce Willis) cab. When this happens, she inevitably places the world’s fate in his hands.

He must help her find the other four elements that will stop a Great Evil from destroying humanity. With time running out, Dallas enlists Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) and Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) to beat Zorg (Gary Oldman) and save everyone on Earth.

9.  Starship Troopers

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Starship Troopers Movie Description

The Earth is currently at war with an alien race of giant insects. A great deal is unknown about these Bugs, except that they are dedicated to the destruction of all human life.

A Mobile Infantry travels to far-off alien planets in order to wage war on the Bugs. They were ruthless foes with only one objective in mind: the preservation of their species at any cost.

10.  Bad Boys

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Bad Boys Movie Description

Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), two Miami-Dade detectives, are trying to track down a missing $100 million worth of heroin.

They believe that someone inside the department stole it, and Internal Affairs has given them five days to find it before they shut down the narcotics division.

Marcus is forced to pretend to be Mike in order to gain the trust of a call girl who might have information about the drugs. The two must now race against the clock to solve the case before it’s too late.

11.  Independence Day

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Independence Day Movie Description

As the ships descended upon Earth and began to demolish its cities, pandemonium ensued. Earth’s weapons were powerless against the aliens, and all hope seemed lost.

However, a small group of people refused to give up. They formulated a plan to save humanity and fight tooth and nail to see it through. Will they succeed? Or will the human race be extinguished?

12.  Mission: Impossible

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Mission: Impossible Movie Description

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), a government agent for the United States, is given a covert assignment with his mentor Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). Unfortunately, during their mission, Phelps is killed and Ethan becomes the primary suspect in the murder.

Now on the run from law enforcement, Hunt enlists the help of Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), a skilled hacker, and Franz Krieger (Jean Reno), a pilot, to break into a highly guarded CIA building. His goal is to retrieve a confidential computer file that will clear his name of any wrongdoing.

13.  Ronin

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Ronin Movie Description

An elite team is formed and tasked with stealing a mysterious briefcase. The team consists of Sam, an ex-intelligence officer, Vincent (Jean Reno), Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard), and a few others.

As they get started on the mission, Deirdre (Natascha McElhone), their leader, watches everyone closely for any signs of treachery. Unfortunately, not all of the team members can be trusted. So not only must they complete the mission, but they also have to keep a close eye on one another.

14.  Hard Boiled

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Hard Boiled Movie Description

After his partner is killed in a shootout with gun smugglers, a cop sets out to catch the criminals.

To get closer to the ringleaders, he teams up with an undercover cop and uses every means necessary to find them.

15.  The Fugitive

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The Fugitive Movie Description

Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), wrongly accused of murdering his wife, escapes from the law in order to find her killer and clear his name. A team of U.S. marshals, led by Deputy Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), is in hot pursuit of Richard.

The Deputy will not stop until he has captured Richard. As the chase ensues, Richard gradually discovers the secrets behind his wife’s murder and races against time to expose the killer before it is too late.

16.  Face/Off

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Face/Off Movie Description

FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) is determined to catch terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), so he tracks him down to Los Angeles. However, the plane carrying both men crashes, and Troy is badly injured–possibly even dead.

To get information from Troy’s brother about an impending bomb, Archer undergoes surgery to have his face replaced with that of the unconscious man. But as he tries to put his plan into action, Troy wakes up from his coma and demands that the surgeon gives him Archer’s face instead.

17.  Hard Target

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Hard Target Movie Description

Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a sailor and martial artist who has been hired to protect Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler) as she attempts to find her father.

They soon discover a terrible secret – the wealthy have created a sport of hunting down homeless people. If the homeless survive, they win $10,000. Chance discovers that one of their victims was Natasha’s father, leading him to hunt down and stop these hunters.

18.  Terminator 2: Judgment Day

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day Movie Description

Sarah Connor and her son John (Edward Furlong) continue to fight for their survival after the first terminator attack. 11 years after the first attack, a new shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick) arrives, and Sarah must help protect John from it.

However, they are not alone. A reconditioned T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) arrives to help protect young John Connor.

19.  True Lies

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True Lies Movie Description

Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a secret agent who must track down nuclear missiles in the possession of Islamic jihadist Aziz (Art Malik).

Harry’s mission becomes increasingly more complicated when he realizes his neglected wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), is planning on having an affair with Simon (Bill Paxton), a car salesman who claims he’s a spy. When Aziz kidnaps Harry and Helen, the secret agent must save the world and patch up his marriage at the same time.

20.  Rush Hour

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Rush Hour Movie Description

In the film Rush Hour, a Chinese diplomat’s daughter is kidnapped. The case has been turned over to Hong Kong Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) by the FBI. The FBI, however, does not want him, so they send him to the LAPD instead.

While there, James Carter (Chris Tucker) is assigned to watch over Lee. Despite their mutual dislike for one another, they decide to work together to solve this problem since neither the FBI nor the Police has any interest in helping them.

21.  Die Hard with a Vengeance

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Die Hard with a Vengeance Movie Description

In New York, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is called in to tackle a perplexing terrorist. To stop the terrorist and save the city, he must work with Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson).

If he wants any chance of saving the day, McClane must remain one step ahead of the deadly scheme.

22.  The Rock

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The Rock Movie Description

FBI chemical warfare expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) joins forces with former British spy John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery) to prevent General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris) from carrying out his plan of launching his chemical weapons on Alcatraz Island into the city of San Francisco.

In exchange for not going through with his deadly scheme, Hummel demands $100 million in war reparations to be paid to the families who lost loved ones during past covert military operations. When their SEAL team is unexpectedly killed off, Stanley and John are left to face the remaining soldiers on their own.

23.  Lethal Weapon 3

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Lethal Weapon 3 Movie Description

Sergeant Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) is working with veteran police detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and his tough partner Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) on an important internal affairs case only days before Murtaugh’s retirement.

With the help of shifty informant Leo Getz, they start to close in on a black-market weapons operation that involves corrupt cop Jack Travis (Stuart Wilson), who is also an arms dealer.

24.  Predator 2

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Predator 2 Movie Description

With the public and his superiors demanding answers, police officer Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) is under pressure to solve a series of murders.

While Harrigan suspects one of the warring gangs or drug cartels is behind it, FBI Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) knows better: their killer is a fearsome extraterrestrial with keen hunting abilities, including superior night vision and invisibility.

25.  Nikita

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Nikita Movie Description

Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is given a new identity and trained to be a secret police assassin, instead of going to jail.

She leads a lonely life controlled by the government, but things begin to change when she falls in love with a man who knows nothing of her mysterious life.

26.  Léon: The Professional

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Léon: The Professional Movie Description

Mathilda (Natalie Portman) has had a tough life, growing up with a druggie father and a mother who neglects her. Her neighbor Léon (Jean Reno) is a professional assassin, working for the mobster Tony (Danny Aiello).

When a series of unfortunate events leads to the death of Mathilda’s family, she joins Léon on his assignments, learning how to be an assassin and seeking revenge.

27.  Three Kings

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Three Kings Movie Description

After the end of the Gulf War, four soldiers decided to steal Saddam Hussein’s secret stash of gold.

However, after Sergeant Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) is captured and tortured, the remaining three have to formulate a plan to rescue him. But, some of them still have their eyes set on the gold.

28.  Blade

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Blade Movie Description

Half-human, half-immortal Blade (Wesley Snipes) seeks to avenge his mother’s death by exterminating all vampires – particularly the high-tech bloodsuckers who killed her.

These modern vampires require Blade’s blood type to summon an evil god, which they plan to use to execute humanity.

29.  Heat

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Heat Movie Description

HEAT is a crime thriller about master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and the attempts of Lieutenant Hanna (Al Pacino) to track him down.

While McCauley plans one final big heist before retiring, Hanna deals with the infidelity of his wife and the mental health of his stepdaughter. The two men come to respect each other, even as they try to thwart each other’s plans.

30.  Con Air

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Con Air Movie Description

Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage), an Army ranger who has just been paroled, is flying home to his wife when he ends up on a prison transport flight with some of the most dangerous criminals alive.

Cyrus Grissom (John Malkovich) hatches an escape plan mid-flight, and Poe must work with U.S. Marshall Vince Larkin (John Cusack) to try and stop him.

31.  Men in Black

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Men in Black Movie Description

The Men in Black, Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) and Jay (Will Smith), work for a top-secret government agency that handles any situation involving alien encounters.

However, they soon face danger when they continue to investigate some unregistered encounters. They learn that an intergalactic terrorist is targeting two ambassadors from different galaxies, who are currently residing on Earth in New York City.

32.  The Legend of Drunken Master

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The Legend of Drunken Master Movie Description

The legend of the Drunken Master is one that stands above all others in a land where honor and tradition are highly prized.

He is a martial artist like no other, who can turn just one drink into utter destruction and embarrassment for his foes. His technique is quick, relentless… and unbelievably funny.

33.  Demolition Man

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Demolition Man Movie Description

When John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is finally thawed 36 years after his frozen incarceration, he discovers that Los Angeles is now a utopia called San Angeles.

However, with the violent criminal Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) on the loose, Spartan must team up with future cop Lenina (Sandra Bullock) to apprehend the killer.

34.  Judge Dredd

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Judge Dredd Movie Description

Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) is a man who stands between order and chaos in the crime-riddled future. He is the only thing that stands between the criminals and the innocent people. If necessary, he will kill criminals on the spot.

However, when maniacal ex-Judge Rico (Armand Assante) frames Dredd for murder, his enemies soon find out that nothing can stop him from dispensing justice.

35.  The Crow

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The Crow Movie Description

On the night before his wedding, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are tragically killed by members of a violent inner-city gang.

One year later to the day, Eric rises from the grave and takes on the persona of the Crow, a supernatural avenger. Eric sets out to find and kill the thugs who are responsible for the crimes, eventually leading him to confront head gangster Top Dollar (Michael Wincott).

36.  Enemy of the State

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Enemy of the State Movie Description

A corrupt government official, Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) , kills a congressman to ensure a piece of legislation passes. Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith), a labor lawyer, is framed for the assassination.

With the help of Edward Lyle (Gene Hackman), a retired intelligence agent, they must clear Robert’s name and bring down Thomas.

37.  Cliffhanger

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Cliffhanger Movie Description

An ex-mountain rescuer comes across a group of criminals who have lost their $100 million stash during a plane crash in the Rocky Mountains.

After being persuaded to help rescue them, he soon realizes that they are violent robbers who need his help to locate their stolen money. The former mountain rescuer must now use all of his skills to outwit the criminals and keep them from getting their hands on the missing money.

38.  Entrapment

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Entrapment Movie Description

Insurance investigator Virginia “Gin” Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones) decides to go undercover to investigate accomplished thief Robert “Mac” MacDougal (Sean Connery).

Gin suspects that Mac is responsible for stealing a Rembrandt painting. Mac confronts Gin about her real intentions and she claims she is a thief. To prove it, she proposes a new target that could net them $8 billion.

39.  Desperado

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Desperado Movie Description

Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) dives into the dark border underworld when he follows a trail of blood to Mexican drug lord Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida).

With the help of his best friend and a beautiful bookstore owner, Mariachi tracks Bucho and takes on his army of desperados, leaving a trail of blood himself.

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