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10 Sci-Fi Action Movies to Watch if You Miss Thrill Rides

The first person film Hardcore Henry is definitely like a thrill ride.
The first person film Hardcore Henry is definitely like a thrill ride.
Photo: STX

We can’t go to theme parks right now. That means no funnel cakes, no turkey legs, no churros, and definitely no roller coasters. What wouldn’t any one of us give to scream our head off on a roller coaster right now? Well, it turns out, you may have one or two in your movie collection.

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Since I am desperately missing thrill rides, and maybe you are too, I figured I’d give you a list of genre films that are kind of like rides themselves. We’re talking non-stop action. Beginning to end mayhem. Wall-to-wall carnage. You get the idea. Films that will do their best to duplicate that rush of adrenaline you get on an exciting thrill ride.


Tom Hardy as Mad Max.
Tom Hardy as Mad Max.
Image: Warner Bros.
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Mad Max: Fury Road

Basically, this is the beginning, middle, and end of the list, right? The bulk of the movie is an epic chase scene filled with the kind of stunts and actions fans can only dream of. It’s relentless but also smart and poignant. But, alas, you clicked, we should probably give you a few more to put on your watchlist.

Aliens

Most people think the original Ridley Scott-directed Alien is a better film and I’m not going to argue that. Alien is pretty intense and propulsive but it takes a good long while to get there. That’s not the case with James Cameron’s sequel. It gets started quickly and does not let up for a second.

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Oh George Clooney is in this?
Oh George Clooney is in this?
Photo: Warner Bros.

Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity isn’t an action movie in the traditional sense. But holy shit does it keep you glued to the edge of your seat with its unyielding intensity and set pieces. And you can watch it in 3D? Even better.

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Dead Alive

Three words: Sumatran rat-monkey. When that little bastard gets his hands on Vera, all hell breaks loose in a quiet New Zealand town, resulting in one of the grossest, most fun horror movies imaginable. “I kick arse for the lord” indeed.

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Wait, is this dude jumping out of a plane with guns? Yes. Yes he is.
Wait, is this dude jumping out of a plane with guns? Yes. Yes he is.
Photo: STX

Hardcore Henry

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why doesn’t someone make an entire movie like a first-person shooter?” you haven’t seen Hardcore Henry. That’s exactly what it is. It’s as non-stop and wild as the games it’s based on.

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The Crank Films

Was I really going to ignore the fact that there’s a series of movies where Jason Statham has to keep his adrenaline cranked up or he will die and not include them on this list?

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Illustration for article titled 10 Sci-Fi Action Movies to Watch if You Miss Thrill Rides

The John Wick Films

When a former deadly assassin goes on a revenge-filled rampage, it turns the entire profession against him. And his problems become our delight as John Wick fights his way through life with guns, knives, fists, cars, basically anything you can think of.

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Dredd

So, The Raid films aren’t sci-fi. Which means I can’t put them on this list, even though they’re perfect. Thankfully though, there is a pretty damned good sci-fi movie that uses the idea of The Raid (good guys fight a building filled with bad guys) and that movie is Dredd. And it’s great.

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One day we’ll see these two on-screen together again. One day.
One day we’ll see these two on-screen together again. One day.
Photo: Warner Bros.

Edge of Tomorrow

Time travel films are great for that roller coaster feel because they’re usually so exciting and repetitive. That certainly goes for Edge of Tomorrow, in which Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt try to save the world with time travel and big ass mech suits.

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Avatar

Bear with me here. Avatar may not seem like it qualifies but if you watch it again, you’ll probably understand. The film starts so unassumingly. Like a little seedling. And it grows and grows and becomes so huge and epic it’s kind of breathtaking. Just like a great thrill ride.

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Being sci-fi certainly hamstrings this list a bit. There are so many straight action movies that could quality here from all over the world. Tell us your favorites in the comments.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

The Terminator. Starts with machines driving over skulls. Keeps going. I think that I am alone in preferring it to T2 but I think that it is perfect, right B movie that punched above its weight class.