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 11/10: Primal, Midway

#18

Miss Bala (2019)
22%

#18
Adjusted Score: 26.458%
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

#17

Gemini Man (2019)
26%

#17
Adjusted Score: 39.689%
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

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 34.008%
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

#15

Into the Ashes (2019)
28%

#15
Adjusted Score: 25.706%
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

#14

Primal (2019)
36%

#14
Adjusted Score: 36.427%
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

#13

Shaft (2019)
32%

#13
Adjusted Score: 37.066%
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

#12

Anna (2019)
36%

#12
Adjusted Score: 38.415%
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

#11

Angel Has Fallen (2019)
39%

#11
Adjusted Score: 46.768%
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

#10

Midway (2019)
43%

#10
Adjusted Score: 48.325%
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

#9

The Kid (2019)
45%

#9
Adjusted Score: 46.039%
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

#8

Black and Blue (2019)
51%

#8
Adjusted Score: 54.386%
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: 82.414%
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)
70%

#6
Adjusted Score: 70.529%
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)
70%

#5
Adjusted Score: 77.824%
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)
72%

#4
Adjusted Score: 77.168%
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: 89.784%
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: 105.475%
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: 97.537%
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

Tag Cloud

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