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)
21%

#19
Adjusted Score: 27419%
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

#18

Gemini Man (2019)
26%

#18
Adjusted Score: 45941%
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

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 36293%
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

#16

Into the Ashes (2019)
30%

#16
Adjusted Score: 30313%
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

#15

Primal (2019)
37%

#15
Adjusted Score: 38019%
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

#14

Shaft (2019)
34%

#14
Adjusted Score: 40533%
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

#13

Anna (2019)
34%

#13
Adjusted Score: 36662%
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

#12

Angel Has Fallen (2019)
39%

#12
Adjusted Score: 49474%
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

#11

Midway (2019)
42%

#11
Adjusted Score: 52093%
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

#10

The Kid (2019)
43%

#10
Adjusted Score: 45018%
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

#9

21 Bridges (2019)
54%

#9
Adjusted Score: 61060%
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

#8

Black and Blue (2019)
52%

#8
Adjusted Score: 56237%
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

#7
Adjusted Score: 88516%
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

#6

Triple Threat (2019)
67%

#6
Adjusted Score: 67167%
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

#5

Cold Pursuit (2019)
68%

#5
Adjusted Score: 79210%
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

#4

Triple Frontier (2019)
71%

#4
Adjusted Score: 77993%
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

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 90494%
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

#2
Adjusted Score: 110173%
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

#1

Shadow (2018)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 99758%
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

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