What’s New to Stream on Netflix for May 2023

Sylvester Stallone! Arnold Schwarzenegger! Dean Martin!
New Netflix May

Crossing the Streams is our series of guides looking at all the offerings hitting the big streaming services each month. This time we’re checking out what’s new to streaming on Netflix in May 2023, including Cliffhanger, a new Arnold Schwarzenegger series, a disaster trilogy, and more!

Netflix Pick of the Month for May 2023

It’s not unusual for older films to get sequels decades later, but a few legacy follow-ups aside, most of them go straight to VOD and DVD. It’s unlikely that will be the fate of the recently announced Cliffhanger 2 as star Sylvester Stallone has signed on to reprise his role. Will he be the hero again, or will it be a hand-off that sees him die along the way? Who knows, but for now at least, it’s more than enough reason to revisit Renny Harlin’s original action/thriller, Cliffhanger (1993).

Stallone stars as Gabe Walker, a mountain ranger still reeling from the guilt of having dropped his best friend’s girlfriend to her death less than a year prior (in a scene beautifully spoofed in 1995’s Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls). He’s shaken out of his stupor, though, when another mountain rescue goes sideways due to the presence of heavily armed thieves looking for their cash prize that crashed somewhere in the mountains. John Lithgow stars as the lead villain, and it’s a delicious turn that closes out his pitch-perfect 90s trilogy of certified wackos that also includes 1991’s Ricochet and 1992’s Raising Cain. Harlin and friends deliver some legit thrills pairing villainous gunplay with high altitude dangers, and the film holds up as a fun 90s banger.

New Netflix Original Films for May 2023

Mother’s Day is May 14th this year, and to celebrate, Netflix is delivering two movies with remarkably similar plots about badass moms. First up, and clearly, the higher profile entry of the two, is Niki Caro’s The Mother (premieres May 12th). Jennifer Lopez stars as an assassin on the run, forced out of hiding when her daughter is targeted by fools. Lopez isn’t exactly an action star, but she’s flirted with the genre enough times (Anaconda, 1997; Enough, 2002) and seems more than capable of bringing the goods. Similarly, while Caro broke out with 2002’s Whale Rider, she showed her action-directing chops with 2020’s unfairly maligned live-action Disney film, Mulan. Here’s hoping their combined talents deliver a solidly entertaining thriller.

While not exactly the same storyline, the Polish thriller Mother’s Day (premieres May 24th) might make for a themed double feature. Nina is an ex-NATO agent whose pushed back into the ways of her past after her son is kidnapped by fools. It’s obviously the less flashy of the two movies, given American audiences’ unfamiliarity with the cast and crew. Still, at nearly thirty minutes shorter, it might be the more entertaining watch? We’ll find out together this month!

One of this year’s more straightforward and entertaining movies is Sisu, the tale of a Finnish man forced to go head-to-head against some Nazis who steal his gold. The film is a blast as he shoots, stabs, and explodes his way through their ranks. Blood & Gold (premieres May 26th) takes a similar tact as a German soldier hoping to walk away from it all finds himself at odds with some SS bastards over a rumored golden treasure. Like Sisu, it looks to be a blend of fun action and black comedy, and we can’t wait to check it out later this month.

Get FUBAR With an Arnold Schwarzenegger Mini Marathon!

Arnold Schwarzenegger was an action icon in the 80s and 90s, and he’s kept busy in the years since with politics, motivational tweets, and a steady run of new work. His latest is a new series called FUBAR which steals a beat from True Lies (1994) and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) in that Schwarzenegger plays a secret agent hiding that fact from his family — only to discover that his daughter is too! Wild stuff. Monica Barbaro plays the daughter, Adam Pally shows up as someone called The Great Dane, and it’s looking like a fun time for all involved.

It’s entirely possible that the new series will leave you nostalgic for Schwarzenegger in his prime, and if that happens, well, Netflix has you covered. Conan the Barbarian (1982) is the film that kicked off the Austrian muscleman’s heavy-hitting move into Hollywood stardom, and it holds up as a grand, muddy adventure. Fun fact, my dad took my sister and I to a double feature back in the early 80s of this and — wait for it — Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. We all loved the alien flick, and then my dad marched us out of the theater once Conan threw the topless witch into the fire…

Schwarzenegger reunited with Twins director Ivan Reitman for a second comedy hit with Kindergarten Cop (1990). He plays a cop who goes undercover as the title role to catch a baddie, and while the action is slight, the laughs are frequent as the big man interacts and reacts to the tiny children around him. Some great female actors here in supporting roles including Linda Hunt, Penelope Ann Miller, and Pamela Reed.

Finally, and unfortunately, the third Schwarzenegger hitting Netflix in May is John McTiernan’s Last Action Hero (1993). I am not a fan — a recent rewatch in 4K didn’t change that! — but while it bombed in theaters, it’s gone on to become a favorite among cool kids with contrarian takes. The meta approach of seeing an action-movie actor exit the screen into the real world has its charms, and there are definitely some fun beats milked from the premise, but so much of it is just so lame, unfunny, and nonsensical. It’s a taste thing, as I like plenty of dumb movies, but this one, despite the talent involved both on screen and off, just falls flat.

The Oldest New Arrival to Netflix for May 2023

There are numerous reasons to criticize Netflix — lack of physical media, their hatred of people watching end credits, Red Notice — but one of the equally valid complaints is that the streamer just doesn’t feature many films released in the 20th century. We get some 90s and a handful of 80s, but things get super dicey from there. This month’s oldest arrival actually delivers three for the price of one as a disaster “trilogy” lands in May.

Airport (1970) kicked off the decade’s love for disaster movies in a big way, as the film earned ten times its budget in theaters. Arthur Hailey’s novel hits the screen with an all-star cast including Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Maureen Stapleton, Gary Collins, and more, and while the “disaster” is just one part of the tale it’s the part that everyone tunes in for. Universal Pictures tried to recapture that magic with Airport 1975 (1974), starring Kennedy, Charlton Heston, Karen Black, Helen Reddy, Linda Blair, and Sid Caesar and succeeded once more at the box office. Airport ’77 (1977) fared equally well (and even earned a couple of Oscar nominations) with a cast including Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, Brenda Vaccaro, Olivia De Havilland, Darren McGavin, Christopher Lee, Gil Gerard, and more.

The Complete Netflix List for May 2023

Release DateTitleNote
5/1Above Suspicion (2019)
Airport (1970)
Airport 1975 (1974)
Airport '77 (1977)
American Gangster (2007)
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
The Cable Guy (1996)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Chicken Run (2000)
Cliffhanger (1993)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
The Croods (2013)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Flight (2012)
For Colored Girls (2010)
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
The Glass Castle (2017)
Home Again (2017)
Hop (2011)
Igor (2008)
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Legends of the Fall (1994)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Léon: The Professional (1994)
Marshall (2017)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Peter Pan (2003)
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Rainbow High: Season 3
Rugrats: Seasons 1-2
The Smurfs: Season 1
Starship Troopers (1997)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
The Tale of Despereaux (2008)
This Is the End (2013)
Traffic (2000)
Vampires (1998)
The Wedding Date (2005)
The Young Victoria (2009)
5/2Love VillageNetflix Series
The TailorNetflix Series
5/3Great British Baking Show: Juniors: Season 7Netflix Series
Jewish MatchmakingNetflix Series
5/4Arctic Dogs (2019)
Larva FamilyNetflix Family
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton StoryNetflix Series
SanctuaryNetflix Series
5/6A Man Called Otto (2022)
5/8Justice League: Seasons 1-2
Justice League Unlimited: Seasons 1-2
Spirit Rangers: Season 2Netflix Family
5/9Documentary Now!: Season 4
Hannah Gadsby: Something SpecialNetflix Comedy
5/10Dance BrothersNetflix Series
Missing: Dead or Alive?Netflix Documentary
Queen CleopatraNetflix Documentary
5/11Royalteen: Princess MargretheNetflix Film
St. Vincent (2014)
Ultraman: Season 3Netflix Anime
5/12Black KnightNetflix Series
Call Me Kate (2023)
The MotherNetflix Film
MulliganNetflix Series
Queer Eye: Season 7Netflix Series
5/13UglyDolls (2019)
5/16Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know MeNetflix Documentary
5/17Faithfully YoursNetflix Film
FanficNetflix Film
La Reina del Sur: Season 3
McGregor ForeverNetflix Documentary
Rhythm + Flow France: Season 2Netflix Series
Working: What We Do All DayNetflix Documentary
5/18Kitti KatzNetflix Family
XO, KittyNetflix Series
Yakitori: Soldiers of MisfortuneNetflix Series
5/19Astérix & Obélix: The Middle KingdomNetflix Film
Kathal - A Jackfruit MysteryNetflix Film
MutedNetflix Series
Selling Sunset: Season 6Netflix Series
Young, Famous & African: Season 2Netflix Series
5/22The Batman: Seasons 1-5
The Boss Baby (2017)
The Creature Cases: Chapter 3Netflix Family
5/23All American: Season 5
MerPeopleNetflix Documentary
Victim/SuspectNetflix Documentary
Wanda Sykes: I'm An EntertainerNetflix Comedy
5/24Hard FeelingsNetflix Film
Mother's DayNetflix Film
The Ultimatum: Queer LoveNetflix Series
5/25FUBARNetflix Series
5/26Barbecue Showdown: Season 2Netflix Series
Blood & GoldNetflix Film
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
Tin & TinaNetflix Film
Turn of the TideNetflix Series
5/30I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson: Season 3Netflix Comedy
5/31Heartland Season 15
Mixed by ErryNetflix Film

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Rob Hunter: Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.