10 Most Anticipated Action Movies of 2017

Vin Diesel in xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

xXx: Return of Xander Cage | Maple Cage Productions

Chances are, whenever you head to your local theater and look for an action thrill ride, it comes with a generous helping of superheroes, sci-fi, or fantasy elements. From a business perspective, that makes a lot of sense, since those genres have global appeal that ensures a film will perform as well overseas as it does in North America.

However, while plenty of genre-specific action movies will be hitting theaters in 2017, sometimes you may be in the mood for some good old testosterone-driven mayhem without all the complications that those other genres bring along with them. That’s the focus today. We’re looking at the biggest straight-up action movies arriving near you in the coming months. Let’s get started!

1. xXx: Return of Xander Cage (January 20)

Fans were understandably bummed when Vin Diesel bailed on the xXx series after the 2002 blockbuster was released. Although Ice Cube led the underperforming 2005 sequel xXx: State of the Union, this release (as its title implies) sees Diesel reprise his role as extreme sports junkie Xander Cage. Of course, it’s not the only role he’s reprising this year (stay tuned).

2. John Wick: Chapter 2 (February 10)

Keanu Reeves has a pretty strong track record when it comes to action films. Even after headlining classics like Speed and The Matrix, Reeves surprised the world with just how badass he was in the original John Wick. So, of course, fans are eager to see the character back in action. Even better, the film will feature an on-screen reunion between Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.

3. Free Fire (March 17)

One of the more obscure titles on this list, this insane thrill ride from director Ben Wheatley features an incredible ensemble cast with Oscar winner Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Jack Reynor. Essentially, this tongue-in-cheek release chronicles a single gunfight over its 90 minute runtime, promising lots of fun along the way.

4. The Fate of the Furious (April 14)

You probably knew this was coming. The ongoing saga of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew/”family” has evolved into one of the most successful franchises today. After Furious 7 earned more than $1 billion worldwide, hopes are high that this one — which adds Charlize Theron as the villain — will deliver on the promise of seeing Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) team up to stop the rogue Toretto.

5. Dunkirk (July 21)

At this point, we’d watch just about anything that Christopher Nolan had anything to do with. Luckily for us, he’s choosing to take on this ambitious World War II epic. With a cast that includes Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance, we have a strong feeling that Nolan will deliver yet another wholly original film that proves why he is among the most respected filmmakers of his generation.

6. Baby Driver (August 11)

Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World | Universal Pictures

Between his Cornetto trilogy (started by Shaun of the Dead) and the mad genius of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright has yet to fail on delivering a standout film. So this one — which centers on a getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who gets into hot water with some bank robbers — is most definitely on our radar.

7. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (August 18)

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool | Fox

After Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds is probably more popular than he’s ever been. So this film, from director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) — which stars Reynolds as a bodyguard who teams up with a hit man (Samuel L. Jackson) to take down a dictator (Gary Oldman) — sounds like it could be exactly the right film to keep Reynolds’ momentum going strong until Deadpool 2.

8. The Commuter (October 13)

Liam Neeson in Taken

Liam Neeson in Taken | Fox

Even though Liam Neeson’s action films aren’t always gold, we can’t help but be optimistic about the inherent promise of our favorite aging action star taking on a bunch of thugs. This one sees him play an insurance salesman caught up in a criminal conspiracy and reunites Neeson with director Jaume Collet-Serra, who he worked with on Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night.

9. Geostorm (October 20)

Jeff Goldblum and Liam Hemsworth in Independence Day Resurgence

Jeff Goldblum and Liam Hemsworth in Independence Day: Resurgence | Fox

Dean Devlin is mostly known as the longtime producer of director Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi films Stargate, Independence Day, and Godzilla. This time around, Devlin takes the director’s chair. Geostorm centers on a satellite designer who tries to save the world from a storm created by climate-controlling satellites. With a cast featuring Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris, and Andy Garcia, we’re hopeful it will be a fun ride.

10. The Six Billion Dollar Man (December 22)

Mark Wahlberg in The Departed

Mark Wahlberg in The Departed | Warner Bros.

Based on the 1970s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, this film stars Mark Wahlberg as Colonel Steve Austin, whose imbued with superhuman abilities thanks to ground-breaking technology. One of several films coming out based on classic TV shows, this one will likely be a solid box office hit, given Wahlberg’s track record in the action genre.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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