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

#19

Miss Bala (2019)
22%

#19
Adjusted Score: 26.159%
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

#18

Gemini Man (2019)
26%

#18
Adjusted Score: 39.4%
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

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 32.974%
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

#16

Into the Ashes (2019)
30%

#16
Adjusted Score: 28.143%
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

#15

Primal (2019)
38%

#15
Adjusted Score: 38.829%
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

#14

Shaft (2019)
33%

#14
Adjusted Score: 37.957%
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

#13

Anna (2019)
33%

#13
Adjusted Score: 35.236%
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

#12

Angel Has Fallen (2019)
39%

#12
Adjusted Score: 46.584%
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

#11

Midway (2019)
41%

#11
Adjusted Score: 47.692%
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

#10

The Kid (2019)
44%

#10
Adjusted Score: 45.111%
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

#9

21 Bridges (2019)
53%

#9
Adjusted Score: 58.285%
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:

#8

Black and Blue (2019)
52%

#8
Adjusted Score: 55.409%
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

#7
Adjusted Score: 81.854%
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

#6

Triple Threat (2019)
69%

#6
Adjusted Score: 69.501%
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

#5

Cold Pursuit (2019)
69%

#5
Adjusted Score: 76.584%
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

#4

Triple Frontier (2019)
71%

#4
Adjusted Score: 76.238%
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

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 89.735%
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

#2
Adjusted Score: 105.135%
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

#1

Shadow (2019)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 97.784%
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

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