Trigger Warning (2024): 10 Similar Action Movies You Must See

Trigger Warning‘ is an action thriller that marked Jessica Alba’s breakout role in a stunt-heavy experience. Directed by Mouly Surya, the story follows Parker (Alba), a highly skilled Special Forces commando who inherits her father’s bar, Maria’s, after his mysterious death. Returning to her hometown, she encounters conflicts with the locals, ranging from corrupt politicians (Anthony Michael Hall) to arms dealers who infiltrate her bar.

Utilizing her military training and help from some friends, Parker confronts the dangers of protecting her father’s legacy in a gritty pursuit of justice. The Netflix film blends intense combat sequences with a compelling storyline, delivering an exhilarating experience. For viewers who like the blend of conspiracy thrillers and high-octane action, here are 10 films like ‘Trigger Warning’ that you can watch.

10. The Punisher (2004)

Based on the Marvel Comics antihero series, ‘Punisher,’ originally created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru, this Jonathan Hensleigh directorial features Thomas Jane as Frank Castle. A former FBI agent, Castle adapts the persona of the eponymous vigilante after his family is brutally murdered by the local crime boss Howard Saint (John Travolta). The ex-agent methodically begins to attack Saint’s criminal empire using his military training and a relentless thirst for vengeance.

The pursuit of justice in ‘The Punisher’ parallels the revenge plot in the Netflix project. Like ‘Trigger Warning, the Marvel adaptation features another protagonist with a military background who battles a powerful criminal organization involved in their family’s death. Additionally, both films uncover deeper layers of corruption as their leads convert their traumas of personal loss into a force against lawlessness.

9. Mean Streets (1973)

The beginning of the many successful collaborations between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, ‘Mean Streets‘ stars Harvey Keitel as Charlie Cappa, a young Italian-American man who is torn between his devout Catholic faith and the temptations of New York City’s criminal underworld. As he tries to climb the ranks of the local mafia, Charlie must also deal with his reckless and self-destructive friend, John “Johnny Boy” Civello (De Niro).

An indie version of Scorsese’s typical crime epics, the acclaimed drama explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the moral dilemmas faced by those living a life of criminality. Like ‘Trigger Warning,’ ‘Mean Streets’ delves into the personal struggles of its protagonists as they navigate dangerous environments and confront violent enemies. With a bar playing a crucial role in masking the shadiness of the locale, both films offer a raw and realistic portrayal of crime and its impact on the lives of their characters.

8. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Before Matt Damon donned the persona of an amnesiac killing machine in the ‘Jason Bourne’ series, Geena Davis had her share of fun as Samantha Caine, a suburban schoolteacher suffering from amnesia, who discovers she is a highly trained government assassin. With the help of a private detective, Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson), Samantha digs deeper into her former life and the threats that come with it. ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ directed by Renny Harlin, carefully plays with its protagonist’s memories to emphasize the themes of identity, rediscovery, and survival.

Inverting the tropes seen in ‘Trigger Warning,’ the story instead begins with its protagonist unaware of her lethal skills, presenting her as an everyday commoner. A classic that was ahead of its time in its heroic portrayal of a female lead, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’ throws overwhelming obstacles in Samantha’s quest to protect loved ones. This slightly alters the vengeful route Parker takes, having already lost her father.

7. The Contractor (2022)

Filmmaker Tarik Saleh’s English-language directorial debut stars Chris Pine as James Harper, a Special Forces sergeant who is involuntarily discharged. Struggling financially, he joins a private contracting organization led by Rusty Jennings (Kiefer Sutherland) and is sent on a dangerous mission that spirals out of control. This leads Harper to uncover a conspiracy and fight for survival against those who betrayed him.

The Contractor‘ examines themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the moral ambiguities of private military work. Like ‘Trigger Warning,’ the modern action drama features a highly skilled special ops member facing off against formidable enemies while navigating a web of deceit. Both films highlight the protagonist’s military expertise and the involvement of personal stakes in their plans to take down the corrupt powers whom they once trusted.

6. A History of Violence (2005)

‘A History of Violence’ is one of David Cronenberg’s rare gems that stayed out of his infamous body horror visuals. Based on the eponymous graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, the film stars Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a small-town diner owner who becomes a local hero after thwarting a violent robbery by showcasing his unexpectedly superior lethal skills. Tom’s acts draw national attention, revealing a dark past that eventually comes back to haunt him and threaten his family’s safety.

Not dissimilar to Jessica Alba’s film, ‘A History of Violence’ follows its protagonists’ struggles with their own history and the bitter world they had left behind. Cronenberg masterfully mixes violence and the deadly consequences of one’s actions. His end product reflects the character-driven narrative of the Netflix feature, culminating in a tale of confrontations that violently shatter moral boundaries.

5. Hard Target (1993)

An auteur of cinematic martial arts fights, John Woo entered the action arena in 1993 with ‘Hard Target.’ The movie stars another legend in the genre, Jean-Claude Van Damme, as Chance Boudreaux, a drifter and former Marine. The story follows Chance as he helps Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler) search for her missing father in New Orleans. The pair uncover a deadly game where homeless veterans are hunted for sport by wealthy businessmen led by Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen).

Written by Chuck Pfarrer, ‘Hard Target’ made audiences fall in love with Woo’s signature style, which includes elaborate action sequences and thrilling standoffs. Like ‘Trigger Warning,’ the 90s actioner revolves around an ex-militant putting violent criminals to their places while frequently discovering disturbing secrets. Both films thrive on their protagonist’s combat prowess and complement it by hardening their road to survival and justice.

4. Homefront (2013)

Homefront‘ captures action superstar Jason Statham — at the absolute peak of his career — as Phil Broker, a former DEA agent who moves to a quiet town with his daughter to escape his violent past. However, peace leaves his side when he clashes with local drug lord Gator Bodine (James Franco) and his girlfriend Sheryl (Winona Ryder). As tensions escalate, Broker resorts to his combat skills and resourcefulness to protect his daughter and dismantle Bodine’s criminal operation.

In its mysterious atmosphere surrounding a small town and its residents, the Gary Fleder directorial — adapted from Chuck Logan’s eponymous novel — rides on the same boat as ‘Trigger Warning.’ Both stories feature a protagonist with a military background who seeks peace, only to come across everything but. Besides the action-oriented confrontations, the themes of familial bonds, confronting past traumas, and restoring justice are central to both narratives.

3. The Drop (2014)

Director Michaël R. Roskam’s crime drama adapts the short story, ‘Animal Rescue,’ written by Dennis Lehane, who also penned the feature’s screenplay. Featuring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini, who passed away shortly before its release, the movie centers on Bob Saginowski (Hardy), a quiet bartender at a neighborhood bar in Brooklyn, which happens to be the money-laundering front for local gangsters. When Bob and his employer, Cousin Marv (Gandolfini), become involved in a robbery gone wrong, they must navigate the dangerous criminal underworld to protect themselves and a stray puppy.

Themes of loyalty, redemption, and the moral complexities of crime are explored in Roskam’s thriller, making it comparable to ‘Trigger Warning.’ Both actioners — primarily revolving around bars — delve into their protagonist’s struggle with violent elements in a community that used to be their peaceful home. The two screenplays similarly uncover hidden aspects of the dark past of their surroundings, featuring strong character development and intense confrontations with criminal factions.

2. First Blood (1982)

Immediately after its arrival, ‘First Blood’ gave Sylvester Stallone his second identity after ‘Rocky,’ sealing his seat among the biggest action stars. Directed by Ted Kotcheff and based on the 1972 novel of the same name by David Morrell, the cult classic spawned the iconic ‘Rambo’ franchise. The story follows John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood ex-Special Forces supersoldier returning from Vietnam. As he drifts into a small town, the veteran is unnecessarily harassed by the local sheriff and his deputies. When the authorities push his senses over the edge, Rambo resorts to his deadly survival and combat skills to evade a massive manhunt in the surrounding wilderness.

‘First Blood’ explores themes of post-war trauma, the alienation of veterans, the brutal realities of violence, and some unhealthy operations run by powerful leaders. The action film is credited to have inspired writers John Brancato, Josh Olson, and Halley Gross to craft ‘Trigger Warning’ in a similar fashion. Like the Netflix film, ‘First Blood’ centers on a highly skilled special agent who faces the scrutiny of corrupt and oppressive forces in a small town. Both films feature over-the-top explosions and gripping hand-to-hand combats while also focusing on the personal struggles of their lead characters.

1. Road House (1989)

Before Jake Gyllenhaal would step in his shoes, Patrick Swayze starred in the original ‘Road House’ as Dalton, a bouncer hired to clean up a roadside bar in a small town stuffed with violence and corruption. As he implements his own brand of discipline, Dalton clashes with Brad Wesley, a powerful local businessman who controls the village through intimidation and fear. The film captures its era’s signature combat moves and gang wars by showcasing Dalton’s martial arts expertise in his struggle to maintain order.

Directed by Rowdy Herrington, ‘Road House’ shares innumerable similarities with ‘Trigger Warning,’ beginning with the personal demons and romantic entanglements of their protagonists. Both movies center on a skilled fighter taking over a troubled bar, triggering violent local criminals to make their moves, and uncovering deeper corruption. As Parker and Dalton use their fighting skills to restore peace, the themes of justice and redemption echo throughout the narratives.

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