Remember the 2000s? That philistinic decade where you couldn’t pay money to watch
Michael Keaton on the big screen? Well, that was then, this is now, and Keaton’s back with , his American Assassin third theatrical movie of 2017, after and The Founder . In this one, he plays CIA mentor to Spider-Man: Homecoming Dylan O’Brien, teaching him the byzantine way of international espionage and super-secret murdering, which inspires this week’s gallery of 24 Certified Fresh assassin movies from times past. Before the year 2000, even!
(1962, 98%) The Manchurian Candidate
Critics Consensus: A classic blend of satire and political thriller that was uncomfortably prescient in its own time, The Manchurian Candidate remains distressingly relevant today.
(1989, 98%) The Killer
The Killer is another hard-boiled action flick from John Woo featuring eye-popping balletic violence and philosophical underpinnings.
(2007, 93%) The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.
(2012, 93%) Looper
As thought-provoking as it is thrilling, Looper delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.
(2017, 90%) John Wick: Chapter 2
John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should — which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun.
(1990, 88%) La Femme Nikita
A zany out-of-control thriller that gives lead Anne Parillaud a big character arc and plenty of emotional room to work within.
(2004, 86%) Collateral
Driven by director Michael Mann’s trademark visuals and a lean, villainous performance from Tom Cruise, Collateral is a stylish and compelling noir thriller.
(2003, 85%) Kill Bill Vol 1
Kill Bill is admittedly little more than a stylish revenge thriller — albeit one that benefits from a wildly inventive surfeit of style.
(2014, 85%) John Wick
Stylish, thrilling, and giddily kinetic, John Wick serves as a satisfying return to action for Keanu Reeves — and what looks like it could be the first of a franchise.
(2008, 84%) In Bruges
Featuring witty dialogue and deft performances, In Bruges is an effective mix of dark comedy and crime thriller elements.
(2004, 84%) Kill Bill Vol 2
Kill Bill: Volume 2 adds extra plot and dialogue to the action-heavy exploits of its predecessor, while still managing to deliver a suitably hard-hitting sequel.
(2002, 83%) The Bourne Identity
Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers — and then some.
(2000, 82%) Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
An innovative blend of samurai and gangster lifestyles.
(2004, 81%) The Bourne Supremacy
A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.
(2002, 81%) Road to Perdition
Somber, stately, and beautifully mounted, Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition is a well-crafted mob movie that explores the ties between fathers and sons.
(1997, 80%) Grosse Pointe Blank
A high-concept high school reunion movie with an adroitly cast John Cusack and armed with a script of incisive wit.
(2015, 80%) The Assassin
The Assassin‘s thrilling visuals mark a fresh highlight for director Hsiao-hsien Hou, even if its glacial pace may keep some viewers at arm’s length.
(2012, 78%) Killer Joe
Violent, darkly comic, and full of strong performances, Killer Joe proves William Friedkin hasn’t lost his touch, even if the plot may be too lurid for some.
(2011, 76%) Kill List
Kill List is an expertly executed slow-burn crime thriller that thrives on tension before morphing into visceral horror.
(2017, 75%) Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde gets enough mileage out of its stylish action sequences — and ever-magnetic star — to make up for a narrative that’s somewhat less hard-hitting than its protagonist.
(2012, 74%) Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly is a darkly comic, visceral thriller that doubles as a cautionary tale on capitalism, whose message is delivered with sledgehammer force.
(2005, 74%) The Matador
This humorously amoral, oddball comic thriller features strong performances by Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear as a flamboyant, aging hit-man and an out of work suburban businessman, respectively.
(2008, 72%) Wanted
Wanted is stylish, energetic popcorn fare with witty performances from Angelina Jolie (playing an expert assassin), James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman that help to distract from its absurdly over-the-top plot.
(1994, 71%) Leon The Professional
Pivoting on the unusual relationship between seasoned hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice — a breakout turn by young Natalie Portman — Luc Besson’s Léon is a stylish and oddly affecting thriller.