10 live-action movies that look like anime, from The Matrix to Kill Bill

The action genre is a big umbrella with a lot of variety in it, from superhero blockbusters to bullet infernos featuring impossibly ripped men spouting in one layer. Others focus more on martial arts, committed to showing the deadly nature of the human body. While some action films are mostly created to augment the body count, some are emotional projects created to showcase the director’s signature style and skill.


Related: 8 of the worst live-action Western animated adaptations

Anime has become one of the largest mediums of storytelling in the world, hosting tales of all kinds. While action movies have had a huge impact on anime, anime has also had a huge impact on movies. Although some of these films are not anime adaptations, they still recreate the medium’s style, often featuring quirky action sequences or fight scenes framed in a way that pays homage to classic anime.

“The Matrix” (1999)

New shooting
Image via Warner Bros.

One of the best action films of the 90s. matrix He popularized “Bullet Time” as Neo (Keanu Reeves) fights to save the human race from the computer overlords. Learning that life is just a construct created by artificial intelligence to enslave humanity, Neo joins a scattered band of rebels to defeat them.

Wachowskis They go on record saying that matrix Inspired by anime, it’s easy to see how thanks to its colorful visuals and stylistic action sequences. Ghost in a bowl in particular was a huge inspiration for the movie, and they now reside together as two of the best cyberpunk stories of all time.

matrix Available to stream on HBO Max.

“Kung Fu Hustle” (2004)

A man kicks a group of goons down some stairs

Great mix of action and comedy, Kung fu hustle It takes the martial arts movie concept from the old school and takes the action to new heights. when she sings (Stephen Chu), a wannabe gangster, runs into a group of retired martial arts masters, has a change of heart and becomes a fighter for justice instead.

Kung fu hustle It’s famous for its fight scenes, and rightfully so, with Sing and the other characters punching and kicking goons like pinballs. The strength of the martial arts masters in the movie will rival the heroes Dragon ball Zwhere they are depicted as armies of one person who can only lose to another master.

“John Wick” (2014)

Keanu Reeves in John Wick
Image via Lionsgate

Responsible for revitalizing the R-rated action genre after superheroes cornered the market, John Wick It became a franchise recently. After the exploits of the titular killer, when he comes out of retirement, he sees the first movie Wick (Keanu Reeves) Revenge of the foolish killing of his puppy.

Along with films in martial arts and neo-noir genres, directors Chad Stahelski And the David Leach credit the animation as the main inspiration for John Wick. The character feels like a protagonist ripped straight out of an anime, a one-man killing machine bent on killing those who wronged him, and the action scenes are some of the most elegant in the genre.

“Shaolin Soccer” (2001)

A soccer player is kicked upside down in the air
Image via Star Overseas

One of the greatest films about football. Shaolin football Focuses on the game world rather than martial arts chaos. when she sings (Stephen Chu) meets with nothing but failure in his quest to bring the magic of Shaolin Kung Fu to the masses, and instead enters himself and his Shaolin brothers into a soccer tournament, where they can display their abilities for all to see.

Shaolin football is the closest thing to a live-action adaptation of Captain Tsubasa The anime that follows a soccer star and his many adventures in the sport. Zhao is attributed to the origin Tsubasa The manga series is a major inspiration for the film, and it remains one of the most innovative martial arts films out there.

Shaolin football Available to stream on Paramount+.

“Sucker Punch” (2011)

A group of young women walking through the trenches surrounded by soldiers
Image via Warner Bros.

Possibly the most divisive film from modern cinema’s most divisive director, Zack Snyder‘s lollipop punch is a visual treat despite its wayward story. when a small baby doll (Emily BrowningShe was led to an asylum by her abusive stepfather, and quickly began formulating an escape plan with her fellow prisoners.

An original concept from Snyder, lollipop punch It becomes a living anime as the girls battle soldiers, robots, and even a dragon in high-intensity, over-the-top action sequences that showcase Snyder’s knack for visual flair. While the story is a bit of a mess, the movie is still worth watching just to watch these entertaining scenes.

lollipop punch Available to stream on Tubi.

Ninja Assassin (2009)

A man without a shirt covered in blood stands in front of a burning building

fun time Ninja assassin Offers plenty of severed limbs like Raizo (It’s raining), the titular ninja assassin, seeks revenge against his former master for the death of his lover. Joining forces with the agent Europol MICA (Naomi Harris), who are investigating the clan’s operations, work together to bring down the warlord.

Ninja assassin It shares many similarities with many anime series that feature similar plots, while its focus on blood-soaked action will appeal to fans of Ninja scroll. It’s a wonder why Ninja assassin It was never expanded into a franchise as the combination of a spirited hero and brutal fight scenes makes for an entertaining watch.

Ninja assassin Available to stream on Hulu.

“Versus” (2000)

A man points a gun at another man

First appearance from a cult director Ryohei Kitamura (Midnight train), against It follows a diverse group of characters who all cross paths in a remote forest in Japan. Of course, the forest ends up being swallowed up by zombies, so the group of prisoners, the police, and the Yakuza must fight the undead with each other.

against It’s become a cult classic since its release, and for good reason, as its flashy mix of martial arts, zombie action, and pyrotechnics makes for an intriguing combo. Aside from the great action, the movie also features outstanding characters and actors who spout nonsensical lines, which helps further sell the anime vibe.

“Pacific Rim” (2013)

Staff Pacific Rim

Guillermo del Torolove letter to GodzillaAnd the pacific rim He sees giant mechs fighting kaiju in a dystopian future where monsters are infesting. Still reeling from the death of his brother, former mechanic Raleigh Pickett (Charlie Honan) into action as humanity takes one last stand against the creatures.

In typical del Toro fashion, the movie is a visual delight. It’s hard to imagine a better-looking version of this script being adapted for the screen, and it features all the stylistic trappings del Toro appreciates from the anime medium. pacific rim It is very similar to one of the anime which is similar to the animated series, Pacific Rim: Blackeven from production Netflix.

pacific rim Available to stream on HBO Max.

“Battle Royale” (2000)

Girl in a yellow jacket holding a knife

The movie that promoted the death match scenario before Fortnite make it a global sensation, battle royale It follows 42 Japanese high school students as they are forced to kill each other on a deserted island. The movie jumps between several main characters as they each grapple with the reality of their kill-or-be-killed situation.

battle royale It has remained beloved since its release and is one of the most popular cult films worldwide. Based on a novel by Koshun Takamithe film’s concept of schoolchildren killing each other with guns and blades seems to have come to grips with the anime, and fans have been clamoring for an adaptation for decades.

battle royale Available to stream on Tubi.

“Kill Bill: Volume One” (2003)

The Bride encounters a group of armed henchmen

Quentin Tarantino He has always been vocal about cinematic influences in and for each of his films Kill Billinfluenced by Asian cinema. Even martial arts movies battle royaleAnd the Kill Bill It’s inspired by so many projects, and it’s easy to see where anime fits in with that like The Bride (Uma Thurman) carving a blood-stained path through an army of goons in the name of revenge.

The first volume of Kill Bill It even contains a part of the anime, which tells the story of O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) and how she became a crime boss. It was produced by the same studio responsible for Ghost in a bowl It is one of the duo’s best moments.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 Available to stream on Peacock.

Keep reading: 10 Alien Action Movies That Have Had A Huge Impact On Western Pop Culture

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