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This explosive new action thriller is the only Netflix original movie that matters right now

Published Apr 4th, 2024 3:07PM EDT
Wages of Fear on Netflix
Image: Reda Laaroussi/Netflix

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In a desert filled with threats at every turn, from armed bandits to minefields, a crew of French mercenaries is tasked with transporting a stash of nitroglycerin to an oil well in order to blow it up. That’s the gist of the new pulse-pounding Netflix thriller Wages of Fear, a remake of the 1953 French classic of the same name in which the mercenaries are offered $1 million to do the thankless job of hauling unstable chemicals across a very unstable landscape.

The film is worth singling out for its performance in the US alone, where it’s achieved a less-than-ideal distinction for the streaming giant: Wages of Fear is the streamer’s only original feature film in the US daily Top 10 list as of this writing, with the lineup currently filled with such third-party titles as Ben Affleck’s The Accountant and 2017’s Baby Driver (starring Ansel Elgort).

This movie made its way onto my own watchlist, because some of the most action-packed Netflix fare that I’ve particularly enjoyed includes French films and TV shows along the lines of titles like Furies, Lupin, Ganglands, and AKA. The latter, in fact, stars Alban Lenoir, who can also be seen in Wages of Fear as Alex, a demolitions expert freed from prison in order to join the mission of traversing the desert. All of which is to say, I feel like France is crushing it right now with these kinds of gritty action releases.

Wages of Fear on Netflix
Alban Lenoir in “Wages of Fear” on Netflix. Image source: Reda Laaroussi/Netflix

In Wages of Fear, a mercenary with a criminal past named Franck Gastambide is tapped to put out a constantly burning fire at a desert oil well that’s just exploded. Per Netflix, “The only way to stop it — and prevent a bigger, more devastating explosion that’ll decimate a nearby refugee camp — is to deliberately blow it up with more than 200 pounds of nitroglycerin. And, with hundreds of innocent lives at stake, Fred only has 24 hours before it’s too late. “

I mentioned above that Wages of Fear is one of the biggest Netflix movies in the US right now, where it’s currently #9 on the daily Top 10. It’s also one of the biggest Netflix movies currently on a worldwide basis. According to the latest weekly Netflix global Top 10, the movie was the #1 non-English Netflix film in the world for the seven-day period that ended on March 31.

Wages of Fear racked up 11 million views over that period, underscoring once again that action-packed thrill rides never really go out of style — no matter what country they hail from.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.