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: 26.246%
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: 39.547%
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: 34.013%
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)
26%

#16
Adjusted Score: 23.561%
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)
39%

#15
Adjusted Score: 39.812%
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: 38.01%
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)
35%

#13
Adjusted Score: 37.291%
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: 46.68%
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: 47.727%
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)
47%

#10
Adjusted Score: 48.051%
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: 58.153%
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)
51%

#8
Adjusted Score: 54.388%
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: 82.073%
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: 69.526%
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: 76.68%
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)
70%

#4
Adjusted Score: 75.296%
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: 89.765%
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: 104.264%
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: 97.674%
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

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