Summertime is the perfect time to catch a little of the ol’ violence on screens big and small, and while some of these releases are more drama or comedy than action, they all pack a punch.
1. Million Dollar Baby (2004) - Hilary Swank famously packed on nineteen pounds of muscle training with bodybuilding champion Grant L. Roberts in order to believably play boxer Maggie Fitzgerald. The effort netted her an Academy Award for Best Actress, and the movie became only the second boxing film to win Best Picture. The first was Rocky (1976). The screenplay was adapted from F.X. Toole’s book of short stories, Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner. The author, whose real name was Jerry Boyd, learned his stories were going to be made into a movie starring Clint Eastwood shortly before his death. Million Dollar Baby releases on Netflix June 1.
2. Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) - It was probably inevitable that Netflix would be releasing a DMX movie in the wake of the actor/rapper’s death last April, and what better way to celebrate the man’s talents than this collaboration with Jet Li. For fans of MMA, the movie also offers up UFC legends Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture in an underground fight sequence. Fun fact, Cradle 2 the Grave was originally developed as a remake of the 1931 Fritz Lang classic M. The DMX movie will be released June 1st on Netflix.
3. F9 (2021) - Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and his crew rides yet again in this latest installment of the Fast and the Furious. What can be said about this franchise that hasn’t already been said? It’s a real you-either-hate-it-or-love-it sort of situation, and if you haven’t figured out which camp you’re in by now you can always check it out in theaters June 25th to find out.
4. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) - All the principal players from the original 2017 action comedy are back for more, including stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek. The sequel will mark the seventh time Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek have worked together, and the first time Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman will star in a movie together. Ryan Reynolds, who gets slapped around a lot in the movie, said, “For the record, it was Salma who didn’t pull the punches. Not even once. I can still feel the sharp sting of her tiny hand working its way into my soft Hollywood cheekbones. May God have mercy on her soul.’’ The movie will hit theaters June 16.
5. Ninja Assassin (2009) - If you’re in the mood for a straight ahead martial arts movie, it would be hard to find a more on-the-nose selection than Ninja Assassin. The Wachowski sisters of The Matrix fame created the movie as a star vehicle for Korean pop star Rain, who had made his feature debut in Speed Racer. Rain committed to six months of martial arts training to prepare for the role, and the action sequences were done without wire work. Ninja Assassin will be released on Netflix June 1st.