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
Adjusted Score: 26.441%
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.
Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 39.644%
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.
Gemini Man is an innovative action-thriller starring Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin, who is suddenly targeted and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 33.983%
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.
Almost four decades after he drew first blood, Sylvester Stallone is back as one of the greatest action heroes of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25.627%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Nick is an ex-con adjusting to a normal life in rural Alabama with a new job and a new wife.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 36.424%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
When Frank Walsh (Nicolas Cage), a hunter and collector of rare and exotic animals, bags a priceless white jaguar for... [More]
Adjusted Score: 37.051%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting -- or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
"Shaft" is the next chapter in the film franchise featuring the coolest private eye on any New York City block.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 38.407%
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.
Beneath Anna Poliatova's striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 46.746%
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.
When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike... [More]
Adjusted Score: 47.153%
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.
MIDWAY centers on the Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked... [More]
Adjusted Score: 46.034%
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.
In this thrilling Western, a young boy, Rio (Jake Schur), is forced to go on the run across the American... [More]
Adjusted Score: 54.373%
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.
BLACK AND BLUE is a fast-paced action thriller about a rookie cop (Naomie Harris) who inadvertently captures the murder of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82.373%
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.
Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a loyal agent of America's Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Jason... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70.525%
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.
TRIPLE THREAT, the newest feature from Johnson, is an adrenaline fueled and gritty action thriller starring some of the biggest... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77.797%
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.
COLD PURSUIT, an action thriller infused with irreverent humor, stars Liam Neeson as Nels Coxman, a family man whose quiet... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77.153%
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.
A group of former Special Forces operatives (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal) reunite to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89.78%
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.
Legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping draws on a stellar cast (Michelle Yeoh, Dave Bautista, Tony Jaa, and Max Zhang) to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105.424%
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.
In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97.475%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed and inventively choreographed, Shadow is a thrilling and visually sumptuous wuxia epic that finds director Zhang Yimou near peak form.
With SHADOW, director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create... [More]