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: 26.231%
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: Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke


Gemini Man (2019)

Adjusted Score: 39.494%
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: Gemini Man is an innovative action-thriller starring Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin, who is suddenly targeted and... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

Adjusted Score: 33.967%
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: Almost four decades after he drew first blood, Sylvester Stallone is back as one of the greatest action heroes of... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Grunberg


Into the Ashes (2019)

Adjusted Score: 23.708%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nick is an ex-con adjusting to a normal life in rural Alabama with a new job and a new wife.... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Harvey


Primal (2019)

Adjusted Score: 38.632%
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: When Frank Walsh (Nicolas Cage), a hunter and collector of rare and exotic animals, bags a priceless white jaguar for... [More]
Directed By: Nick Powell


Shaft (2019)

Adjusted Score: 37.999%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting -- or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
Synopsis: "Shaft" is the next chapter in the film franchise featuring the coolest private eye on any New York City block.... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story


Anna (2019)

Adjusted Score: 38.216%
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 Anna Poliatova'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: 46.639%
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: When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike... [More]
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh


Midway (2019)

Adjusted Score: 48.583%
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: MIDWAY centers on the Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich


The Kid (2019)

Adjusted Score: 46.968%
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 this thrilling Western, a young boy, Rio (Jake Schur), is forced to go on the run across the American... [More]
Directed By: Vincent D'Onofrio


21 Bridges (2019)

Adjusted Score: 58.191%
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: 21 BRIDGES follows an embattled NYPD detective (Chadwick Boseman), who is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of... [More]
Directed By:


Black and Blue (2019)

Adjusted Score: 55.367%
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: BLACK AND BLUE is a fast-paced action thriller about a rookie cop (Naomie Harris) who inadvertently captures the murder of... [More]
Directed By: Deon Taylor

Adjusted Score: 81.982%
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: Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a loyal agent of America's Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Jason... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch


Triple Threat (2019)

Adjusted Score: 69.536%
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: TRIPLE THREAT, the newest feature from Johnson, is an adrenaline fueled and gritty action thriller starring some of the biggest... [More]
Directed By: Jesse V. Johnson


Cold Pursuit (2019)

Adjusted Score: 76.639%
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: COLD PURSUIT, an action thriller infused with irreverent humor, stars Liam Neeson as Nels Coxman, a family man whose quiet... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland


Triple Frontier (2019)

Adjusted Score: 77.143%
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: A group of former Special Forces operatives (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal) reunite to... [More]
Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Adjusted Score: 89.776%
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: Legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping draws on a stellar cast (Michelle Yeoh, Dave Bautista, Tony Jaa, and Max Zhang) to... [More]
Directed By: Woo-ping Yuen

Adjusted Score: 105.078%
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: In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski


Shadow (2019)

Adjusted Score: 97.607%
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: With SHADOW, director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

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

Tag Cloud

Mary Tyler Moore National Geographic HBO Go Comedy cops TV OWN Anna Paquin TCA 2017 Ovation Nat Geo Mindy Kaling Freeform Awards APB Toys Arrowverse TruTV Crackle Adult Swim 4/20 jamie lee curtis disaster CW Seed Rocky canceled ABC Family Masterpiece Mystery cancelled TV shows free movies Set visit The Purge Cannes Walt Disney Pictures scary movies sequel DC streaming service TCM toy story Avengers foreign VICE Star Wars cooking Animation Country what to watch X-Men Valentine's Day Infographic dragons Reality Competition cults social media robots ABC YouTube Premium FOX crime drama Turner Classic Movies AMC American Society of Cinematographers RT21 die hard Spike Horror TBS PlayStation versus directors DGA E3 reboot true crime FXX video on demand CBS All Access HBO Max Hallmark Christmas movies 2015 VH1 SXSW Star Trek CBS Binge Guide Rock theme song Netflix Christmas movies adaptation NBC Hulu news Elton John NYCC twilight slashers Year in Review miniseries Peacock GoT A&E finale comics El Rey Netflix Extras casting See It Skip It Red Carpet Martial Arts FX First Look Hallmark Epix richard e. Grant hist Warner Bros. Comics on TV vampires Rocketman TV renewals Hear Us Out Superheroe Premiere Dates Rom-Com A24 BBC America spanish language Video Games Disney+ Disney Plus YA politics Best and Worst Teen video movie 2020 GIFs Creative Arts Emmys Lucasfilm hispanic The Witch RT History San Diego Comic-Con ghosts Certified Fresh Dark Horse Comics Musicals TLC Nominations stand-up comedy golden globes game of thrones indie Mary poppins Grammys spinoff medical drama Paramount television reviews USA ITV FX on Hulu WGN HBO Interview Fox News boxoffice witnail Action Academy Awards Showtime Chernobyl crossover Television Academy crime Esquire Disney Channel Amazon Prime Video festivals sag awards Vudu green book werewolf Schedule The Arrangement Chilling Adventures of Sabrina YouTube Baby Yoda best chucky based on movie Summer Cosplay 24 frames Box Office Food Network justice league CMT Tomatazos The CW 20th Century Fox Pixar BBC One cats DirecTV zombies BET Awards 2019 facebook sitcom Nickelodeon Crunchyroll 45 Awards Tour christmas movies Winter TV Superheroes Tumblr serial killer Marvel Television Podcast Writers Guild of America CNN Tubi critics Funimation Disney Plus Family films award winner Marvel Studios romantic comedy child's play quibi revenge Film Disney streaming service breaking bad children's TV Sundance Now Photos Apple TV Plus Women's History Month Calendar all-time dark ratings police drama History independent series cancelled television political drama Heroines universal monsters USA Network concert Columbia Pictures Fantasy BAFTA Marvel movies IFC dceu TCA book criterion Pirates Spring TV Acorn TV Shondaland Travel Channel thriller halloween comic Watching Series screen actors guild docudrama rotten movies we love E! PBS DC Universe historical drama comedies space Song of Ice and Fire Apple TV+ MSNBC MTV Amazon Pop parents Spectrum Originals Sci-Fi TCA Winter 2020 Pride Month Mudbound Pet Sematary Marathons Stephen King strong female leads OneApp PaleyFest Winners supernatural ESPN WarnerMedia Logo Comic Book 2017 Turner teaser Amazon Prime Sundance LGBT Disney travel zombie natural history cars The Walking Dead mutant Fall TV franchise game show SDCC Trivia binge a nightmare on elm street Classic Film Character Guide Discovery Channel aliens Sneak Peek 007 documentaries renewed TV shows talk show canceled TV shows latino diversity blockbuster doctor who science fiction singing competition Reality Bravo Starz stoner Sundance TV Biopics DC Comics Black History Month TV Land Pop TV indiana jones MCU Film Festival Trophy Talk Ghostbusters YouTube Red anthology romance period drama streaming Christmas spain mission: impossible unscripted animated Western Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt mockumentary zero dark thirty documentary war President Musical screenings Holiday discovery asian-american Super Bowl cancelled Universal psychological thriller joker SundanceTV Amazon Studios IFC Films transformers comiccon nature Captain marvel harry potter Black Mirror cancelled TV series Opinion spy thriller Ellie Kemper cinemax Comedy Central Tarantino biography Holidays dc technology Shudder Thanksgiving 71st Emmy Awards Polls and Games New York Comic Con 2018 dramedy Lifetime tv talk Oscars Mary Poppins Returns Brie Larson BET Syfy Sony Pictures blaxploitation VOD 2016 Drama elevated horror GLAAD sports Countdown kids Lionsgate Lifetime Christmas movies Emmys Election psycho south america Paramount Network LGBTQ Kids & Family dogs 21st Century Fox batman crime thriller Quiz spider-man TIFF anime Britbox Cartoon Network Emmy Nominations TNT Apple satire name the review Music composers Trailer First Reviews Endgame adventure BBC cartoon