The Best Action Movies of 2019

What is the state of the action movie in 2019? You could say they’ve never been stronger: They generate all the hype and they break all the records – we just call them superhero movies these days. But for this guide to the best action movies of 2019, we stick with a more pure strain of action filmmaking, whose lineage you can trace back to the ’80s and early ’90s heyday. It’s a world of tough guys (Shaft) and tougher women (Anna), of martial artists (Shadow), vigilantes (Miss Bala), and assassins (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum). In deciding what qualifies as an “action movie,” we not only left those newfangled superhero movies to mingle with their own crowd, but the same went for genre hybrids like Alita: Battle Angel, which will go into the best sci-fi movies of 2019 list, launching next week. Otherwise, the action movie needed only to cross a 20-review threshold to be included in this guide, which ranks the best alongside the worst.

And now with more high-adrenaline pleasures like Gemini Man, Angel Has Fallen, Rambo: Last Blood hitting theaters, take a look back with a blast from the recent past with the best (and worst!) action movies of 2019 so far!

Updated 11/25: 21 Bridges

Best Movies of 2019 | Best Horror Movies of 2019
Best Comedies of 2019 | Best Sci-Fi Movies of 2019
Best Action Movies of 2019


Miss Bala (2019)

Adjusted Score: 27479%
Critics Consensus: Miss Bala suggests Gina Rodriguez has a future as an action hero; unfortunately, it also demonstrates how hard it is to balance set pieces against a compelling story.
Synopsis: Young Gloria seeks help from the police when cartel hit men kidnap her friend from a nightclub in Mexico. She... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke


Gemini Man (2019)

Adjusted Score: 46313%
Critics Consensus: Gemini Man's impressive visuals are supported by some strong performances, but this sci-fi thriller is fatally undermined by a frustratingly subpar story.
Synopsis: Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who's ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

Adjusted Score: 36449%
Critics Consensus: Like the sequels that preceded it, Rambo: Last Blood is content to indulge in bloody violence at the expense of its main character's once-poignant story.
Synopsis: Vietnam War veteran John Rambo tries to find some semblance of peace by raising horses on a ranch in Arizona.... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Grunberg


Into the Ashes (2019)

Adjusted Score: 30324%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nick is an ex-con who's adjusting to a new job, a new wife and some semblance of normalcy in rural... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Harvey


Primal (2019)

Adjusted Score: 38044%
Critics Consensus: Chiefly of interest to Nicolas Cage completists and hardcore B-movie fans, this action thriller suffers from an unfortunate lack of Primal energy.
Synopsis: Hunter and collector Frank Walsh expects a big payday after bagging a priceless white jaguar for a zoo. But the... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Powell


Shaft (2019)

Adjusted Score: 40604%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting -- or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
Synopsis: John Shaft Jr. may be an FBI cyber security expert, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story


Anna (2019)

Adjusted Score: 36765%
Critics Consensus: Anna finds writer-director Luc Besson squarely in his wheelhouse, but fans of this variety of stylized action have seen it all done before -- and better.
Synopsis: Beneath a woman's striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson


Angel Has Fallen (2019)

Adjusted Score: 49576%
Critics Consensus: Cut from the same rough cloth as its predecessors, Angel Has Fallen rounds out a mostly forgettable action trilogy in fittingly mediocre fashion.
Synopsis: Authorities take Secret Service agent Mike Banning into custody for the failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull. After... [More]
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh


Midway (2019)

Adjusted Score: 51318%
Critics Consensus: Midway revisits a well-known story with modern special effects and a more balanced point of view, but its screenplay isn't quite ready for battle.
Synopsis: On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces launch a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. Six... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich


The Kid (2019)

Adjusted Score: 45044%
Critics Consensus: Well-framed, well-cast, and well-intentioned, The Kid still largely fails to set itself apart from the multitude of other westerns covering similar territory.
Synopsis: In 1879 Rio and his teenage sister go on the run across the American Southwest to escape from their violent... [More]
Directed By: Vincent D'Onofrio


21 Bridges (2019)

Adjusted Score: 61200%
Critics Consensus: 21 Bridges covers its beat competently enough, but given its impressive cast, this cop thriller should be more arresting than it is.
Synopsis: After uncovering a massive conspiracy, an embattled NYPD detective joins a citywide manhunt for two young cop killers. As the... [More]
Directed By: Brian Kirk


Black and Blue (2019)

Adjusted Score: 56354%
Critics Consensus: Black and Blue is elevated by Naomie Harris' central performance, even if the end result suffers from a simplistic treatment of topical themes.
Synopsis: A rookie policewoman in New Orleans inadvertently captures the shooting death of a young drug dealer on her body cam.... [More]
Directed By: Deon Taylor

Adjusted Score: 88700%
Critics Consensus: Hobbs & Shaw doesn't rev as high as the franchise's best installments, but gets decent mileage out of its well-matched stars and over-the-top action sequences.
Synopsis: Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch


Triple Threat (2019)

Adjusted Score: 67184%
Critics Consensus: Triple Threat might have made better use of its attention-getting cast, but action fans should still find the end results entertaining enough to rate a rental.
Synopsis: A crime syndicate places a hit on a billionaire's daughter, making her the target of an elite assassin squad. A... [More]
Directed By: Jesse V. Johnson


Cold Pursuit (2019)

Adjusted Score: 79377%
Critics Consensus: Cold Pursuit delivers the action audiences expect from a Liam Neeson thriller -- along with humor and a sophisticated streak that make this an uncommonly effective remake.
Synopsis: Nels Coxman's quiet life as a snowplow driver comes crashing down when his beloved son dies under mysterious circumstances. His... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland


Triple Frontier (2019)

Adjusted Score: 78133%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding cast and ambitious story help Triple Frontier overcome an uneven narrative -- and elevate the end result above a crowded field of grim and gritty heist thrillers.
Synopsis: Former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the... [More]
Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Adjusted Score: 90515%
Critics Consensus: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy marks a departure from previous entries in the franchise -- but its thrilling action set pieces remain every bit as satisfying.
Synopsis: Defeated by Master Ip, martial arts expert Cheung Tin Chi tries to lead a normal life in Hong Kong until... [More]
Directed By: Yuen Wo Ping

Adjusted Score: 110497%
Critics Consensus: John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum reloads for another hard-hitting round of the brilliantly choreographed, over-the-top action that fans of the franchise demand.
Synopsis: After gunning down a member of the High Table -- the shadowy international assassin's guild -- legendary hit man John... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski


Shadow (2018)

Adjusted Score: 99884%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed and inventively choreographed, Shadow is a thrilling and visually sumptuous wuxia epic that finds director Zhang Yimou near peak form.
Synopsis: To finally achieve victory over a rival kingdom, a brilliant general devises an intricate plan involving his wife, a look-alike... [More]
Directed By: Yimou Zhang

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

ABC Family The Witch critic resources biography boxoffice composers screenings Mindy Kaling 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 20th Century Fox olympics superhero twilight AMC Kids & Family wonder woman italian worst TCA Winter 2020 Comics on TV batman latino Discovery Channel talk show rotten A&E comic books Tomatazos black worst movies Chernobyl Funimation romantic comedy Fall TV fresh Song of Ice and Fire christmas movies Hear Us Out canceled TV shows golden globes streaming movies universal monsters Comic-Con@Home 2021 NBC cults Television Academy richard e. Grant critics Disney+ Disney Plus Mary Tyler Moore TLC trophy genre target scene in color TCA Awards WarnerMedia 2021 Red Carpet dc Classic Film spain Sony Pictures Pixar superman RT History period drama heist movie war legend Showtime book adaptation Comedy kids Thanksgiving free movies Tokyo Olympics Superheroes cancelled First Look Certified Fresh Christmas Academy Awards robots Tags: Comedy king arthur kong Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sundance Now MSNBC scary movies dramedy crime thriller mutant dark 2016 suspense telelvision Box Office Paramount Food Network PlayStation Polls and Games Syfy ghosts Horror zombie ratings french Television Critics Association posters comiccon docudrama Reality Competition The Arrangement vs. South by Southwest Film Festival Heroines anime cartoon CW Seed 21st Century Fox dreamworks ITV Best and Worst remakes sports TNT reviews DGA BET Awards Quiz 79th Golden Globes Awards ABC Family Marathons binge VICE The Walt Disney Company green book series saw stand-up comedy Set visit Music Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Cannes Disney Plus broadcast BBC America Stephen King all-time mockumentary black comedy movies festival Masterpiece Video Games Holiday CMT Turner Classic Movies LGBTQ scene in color Travel Channel cancelled television comedies Acorn TV nfl jurassic park TV movies LGBT MGM monster movies justice league Comic Book romance game of thrones franchise spanish stoner MCU aapi children's TV fast and furious halloween SundanceTV emmy awards 93rd Oscars toy story parents Holidays Hallmark Focus Features target Baby Yoda Best Actor X-Men Freeform Lucasfilm IFC cancelled TV series Musicals Awards BBC Hulu Prime Video serial killer films golden globe awards joker Nominations Instagram Live psycho GoT political drama comic Character Guide spider-man breaking bad DirecTV 2018 dragons spinoff Country Toys TCA 2017 FX toronto Pop TV Rocketman comic book movies sequels Universal Pictures travel Neflix rotten movies we love HBO Max spanish language Photos Nat Geo Pet Sematary new star wars movies Election Ghostbusters Marvel Netflix live event best spider-verse independent marvel cinematic universe Winter TV politics Hallmark Christmas movies Apple TV Plus SXSW indiana jones Mudbound Star Wars AMC Plus adaptation streaming TV Land cats renewed TV shows Interview television BET police drama boxing asian-american mob Turner San Diego Comic-Con technology CNN Tubi thriller PaleyFest BBC One TruTV Arrowverse strong female leads slasher IFC Films know your critic Paramount Plus debate Marvel Studios criterion Marvel Television indie quibi dceu Action SXSW 2022 Amazon WGN Lifetime Christmas movies japanese NYCC comic book movie discovery summer TV preview USA Network Musical theme song miniseries Native Creative Arts Emmys obituary ESPN Summer Alien venice Universal Netflix Christmas movies anthology hispanic TBS Legendary Shondaland sequel Biopics Geeked Week E! CBS ViacomCBS hist DC Comics godzilla die hard hollywood Pride Month transformers Elton John rt labs critics edition Captain marvel Podcast halloween tv women BAFTA 94th Oscars Pacific Islander TV One name the review mission: impossible basketball Fantasy doctor who adenture Paramount Pictures science fiction HBO American Society of Cinematographers YouTube Adult Swim chucky Mary poppins a nightmare on elm street finale The Walking Dead werewolf classics 99% First Reviews dogs king kong zero dark thirty YA Women's History Month 2019 Comedy Central Wes Anderson south america 1990s scene in color series medical drama crime Spectrum Originals Disney streaming service gangster dexter Teen Anna Paquin Logo Best Picture Cosplay casting art house festivals cancelled TV shows Superheroe cooking Sony RT21 interviews Pop Black History Month zombies Columbia Pictures Image Comics OWN blockbuster FXX news foreign cops Film Festival marvel comics action-comedy slashers 72 Emmy Awards scene in color film series 90s teaser Warner Bros. TV renewals El Rey vampires Martial Arts nature summer TV 73rd Emmy Awards natural history summer preview witnail Britbox Drama Peacock psychological thriller Infographic jamie lee curtis VOD rom-coms Avengers Rom-Com DC Universe cars Sci-Fi Sundance international space video on demand rt labs archives facebook PBS FX on Hulu Trailer supernatural TIFF 2015 Western 007 Spike tv talk blockbusters Vudu Reality Mary Poppins Returns Valentine's Day leaderboard reboot documentaries laika OneApp revenge GLAAD mcc Nickelodeon Disney Channel Best Actress IMDb TV Animation elevated horror History video screen actors guild Opinion Esquire documentary TV streamig Trophy Talk Rocky australia stop motion Calendar Film Exclusive Video rt archives E3 Sundance TV deadpool comics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina SDCC Oscars concert Oscar Bravo hidden camera based on movie The Academy sopranos Grammys james bond Tumblr Mystery Watching Series trailers USA ID satire GIFs Spring TV animated Winners Amazon Prime obi wan popular TCM Extras See It Skip It true crime Fox Searchlight historical drama lord of the rings Ellie Kemper 24 frames docuseries Apple VH1 45 razzies child's play new zealand The Purge TCA NBA Amazon Prime Video book crossover disaster Premiere Dates japan Walt Disney Pictures Amazon Studios Binge Guide Trivia Disney diversity 4/20 game show Endgame adventure 2020 YouTube Premium 2017 Pirates what to watch Paramount Network sitcom new york Black Mirror A24 kaiju movie scary live action singing competition biopic harry potter YouTube Red pirates of the caribbean feel good Fargo crime drama Epix Writers Guild of America prank football Indigenous Super Bowl Lionsgate sag awards Lifetime blaxploitation young adult Sneak Peek royal family Cartoon Network unscripted HFPA Best Director Broadway Ovation National Geographic high school canceled cinemax ABC Signature directors Brie Larson Star Wars Celebration DC streaming service Awards Tour scorecard Tarantino MTV New York Comic Con Star Trek CBS All Access HBO Go Crackle social media The CW Dark Horse Comics Countdown Crunchyroll Apple TV+ President spy thriller award winner Rock versus Emmys Starz 71st Emmy Awards hispanic heritage month Shudder Emmy Nominations Fox News aliens nbcuniversal APB Year in Review Schedule FOX