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: 26497%
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: A woman finds herself in big trouble when a cartel leader forces her to do his dirty work to save... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke


Gemini Man (2019)

Adjusted Score: 43266%
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 assassin who becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

Adjusted Score: 34947%
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: War veteran John Rambo tries to find some semblance of peace by raising horses on a ranch in Arizona. But... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Grunberg


Into the Ashes (2019)

Adjusted Score: 30155%
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: 37656%
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 sails to America with a priceless white jaguar and a dangerous political assassin. When the... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Powell


Shaft (2019)

Adjusted Score: 39457%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting -- or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
Synopsis: When his best friend dies under mysterious circumstances, an FBI cyber security expert joins forces with his father -- the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story


Anna (2019)

Adjusted Score: 36106%
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: 47873%
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: Wrongfully accused of trying to kill the president, framed Secret Service agent Mike Banning must evade the FBI and his... [More]
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh


Midway (2019)

Adjusted Score: 50706%
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 June 4, 1942, the Japanese navy plans a strike against American ships in the Pacific. For the next three... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich


The Kid (2019)

Adjusted Score: 44660%
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: On the run in the American Southwest, a boy encounters the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid and the legendary lawman... [More]
Directed By: Vincent D'Onofrio


21 Bridges (2019)

Adjusted Score: 59946%
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 conspiracy, an embattled NYPD detective joins a citywide manhunt for two cop killers. When the search intensifies,... [More]
Directed By: Brian Kirk


Black and Blue (2019)

Adjusted Score: 55494%
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 captures corrupt cops murdering a drug dealer on her body cam. Now, she finds... [More]
Directed By: Deon Taylor

Adjusted Score: 85780%
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: Hulking lawman Luke Hobbs teams up with lawless operative Deckard Shaw to battle a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch


Triple Threat (2019)

Adjusted Score: 66904%
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: 77747%
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: 76885%
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: Five friends reunite to take down a South American drug lord in the notorious Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil border zone,... [More]
Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Adjusted Score: 90198%
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: 107424%
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: Stripped of the High Table's protective services, legendary hit man John Wick must fight his way through the streets of... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski


Shadow (2018)

Adjusted Score: 98942%
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

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