5 Action Spy Movies That Are Not James Bond or Mission Impossible

5 Action Spy Movies That Are Not James Bond or Mission Impossible
Image credit: Legion-Media, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Say “action spy” and watch everyone think about James Bond and Ethan Hunt. This just won’t do: here are five amazing action spy movies that stand proudly on their own.

5. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Jason Bourne has no memories of his past. All he knows is that he possesses phenomenal skills when it comes to murdering people and doing dirty work — and he wants to learn who shaped him into a top-tier superagent. The fact that the people behind his past are actively trying to kill him doesn’t help Bourne’s investigation.

The third and best movie in the Jason Bourne franchise proved to the entire world that James Bond was not the only one capable of doing nasty things in style. If anything, Matt Damon’s outing showed exactly why Agent 007 is now old-fashioned.

4. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

With all the James Bond and Ethan Hunt adventures, it’s easy to forget that we have superspies at home, too — read, in the real world. Zero Dark Thirty fixes this oversight by following the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and the man behind the 9/11 attack that shook the world to the core.

Zero Dark Thirty perfectly combines historical elements and action-packed drama to reveal one simple truth: spy work is dirty work despite what Hollywood says. Tortures, bombings, kidnappings, and murders — all for the great and noble goal.

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3. Jack Reacher ( 2012)

“Everywhere I go, I see his face” is the phrase you can’t hold back as you’re searching for new action spy movies. Tom Cruise is the embodiment of this genre, and you’ll find him way beyond the famous Mission: Impossible franchise. The Jack Reacher movies, for instance, are a world-class example of his standalone work.

After a trained military sniper who killed several random people on the street is found, he demands the police find Jack Reacher — a former military investigator. Amid fruitless attempts to find him, Reacher reveals himself and takes the case.

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2. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Stepping away from the serious and increasingly dramatic action spy movies, Kingsman: The Secret Service provides a more comedic but still action-packed and captivating take on the genre. Matthew Vaughn doesn’t disappoint when it comes to action sequences and great humor, and he didn’t fail us this time, either.

As an all-powerful spy organization recruits a promising street kid to grow him into a full-fledged superagent, the world is on the verge of collapse at the hand of an evil tech genius. But global threats don’t scare a kid who survived the streets of London.

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1. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

You know you’re in for a great time when Guy Ritchie creates an action spy movie set in Europe during the Cold War and invites Henry Cavill to portray a charming con artist turned secret agent. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an adrenaline-pumped, action-fueled delight of a movie with great humor and cinematic shots all around.

The two best agents from the USA and USSR are forced to work together to fight against the Nazi successors who have secured an atomic bomb and are threatening the world with it. Too bad the agents have a history and hate each other’s guts.