140 Essential Action Movies To Watch Now
Welcome to our guide to the most Essential Action Movies! Where everyone enters…and only 140 leave. Which sounds like a lot, but when you’re considering thousands of action movies, it’s only the most thrilling, the most exciting, the most brutal, and the influential who make the cut!
Action is a wide-open genre and term, and we endeavored to include something from every era, style, and movement of action movies. We have the classics (Die Hard, The French Connection), modern fan favorites (Hardcore Henry, John Wick), superhero blockbusters (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and plenty from the macho ’80s (Commando, First Blood). Not to mention some action genre crossovers: sci-fi (Equilibrium), horror (They Live), and, of course, comedy (Beverly Hills Cop).
Internationally, we reach as far as Hong Kong (Police Story, Hard-Boiled), Australia (The Road Warrior), England (Kingsman: The Secret Service), France (La Femme Nikita), Indonesia (The Raid: Redemption), Korea (The Villainess), and beyond.
These are the action movies whose influence can be seen in the films that followed. They spawned franchises, pushed back against time, defined and even expanded the genre. These are the badass movies that make audiences feel cooler from having seen them. In the interest of keeping the Essential Movies as tight and pure as possible, we excluded the genres of war, sports, Western, and samurai. Otherwise, a movie’s Tomatometer score was not a factor, so long as the plot was kicked forward in a hail of bullets, car chases, fist fights, and martial arts wizardry.
Now, it’s time to pound faces and popcorn, with the 140 Essential Action Movies to watch now!
Adjusted Score: 59009%
Critics Consensus: Running Scared struggles to strike a consistent balance between violent action and humor, but the chemistry between its well-matched leads keeps things entertaining.
Ray and Danny (Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal) are two Chicago police detectives hot on the trail of drug kingpin Julio... [More]
Adjusted Score: 42590%
Critics Consensus: Equilibrium is a reheated mishmash of other sci-fi movies.
In a futuristic world, a regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102660%
Critics Consensus: With death-defying action sequences and epic historic sweep, Hero offers everything a martial arts fan could ask for.
In this visually arresting martial arts epic set in ancient China, an unnamed fighter (Jet Li) is being honored for... [More]
Adjusted Score: 40014%
Critics Consensus: Whether Road House is simply bad or so bad it's good depends largely on the audience's fondness for Swayze -- and tolerance for violently cheesy action.
The Double Deuce is the meanest, loudest and rowdiest bar south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and Dalton (Patrick Swayze) has... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93763%
Critics Consensus: As fast, loud, and relentless as the train at the center of the story, Unstoppable is perfect popcorn entertainment -- and director Tony Scott's best movie in years.
When a massive, unmanned locomotive roars out of control, the threat is more ominous than just a derailment. The train... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88935%
Critics Consensus: This is the man that would risk his neck for his brother, man. Can you dig it?
John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is the ultimate in suave black detectives. He first finds himself up against Bumpy (Moses Gunn),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90989%
Critics Consensus: The Villainess offers enough pure kinetic thrills to satisfy genre enthusiasts -- and carve out a bloody niche for itself in modern Korean action cinema.
Honed from childhood to be an elite assassin, Sook-hee embarks on a rampage of violence and revenge to finally earn... [More]
Adjusted Score: 73031%
Critics Consensus: People hate Highlander because it's cheesy, bombastic, and absurd. And people love it for the same reasons.
When the mystical Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) kills a man in a sword fight in a New York City parking... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72292%
Critics Consensus: It lacks the fresh thrills of its predecessor, but Die Hard 2 still works as an over-the-top -- and reasonably taut -- big-budget sequel, with plenty of set pieces to paper over the plot deficiencies.
A year after his heroics in L.A, detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is mixed up in another terrorist plot, this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 52233%
Critics Consensus: National Treasure is no treasure, but it's a fun ride for those who can forgive its highly improbable plot.
Historian and code-breaker Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) has been searching his whole life for a rumored treasure dating back to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56401%
Critics Consensus: Despite some impressive fight scenes, this trimmed-down version of the Thai action pic is an off-putting mix of scant plot, choppy editing, and confusing subtitles and dubbing.
A young fighter (Tony Jaa) travels to Australia to retrieve stolen elephants that were promised originally to the king of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99775%
Critics Consensus: Revenge slices and dices genre tropes, working within an exploitation framework while adding a timely -- yet never less than viscerally thrilling -- feminist spin.
Jen is enjoying a romantic getaway with her wealthy boyfriend -- until his two sleazy friends arrive for an unannounced... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96183%
Critics Consensus: Made on a shoestring budget, El Mariachi's story is not new. However, the movie has so much energy that it's thoroughly enjoyable.
El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) is a traveling guitar player with the modest desire to play music for a living. Looking... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98390%
Critics Consensus: A brilliantly directed feast for the eyes with an epic story to match, A Touch of Zen marks a groundbreaking achievement in the wuxia genre.
Ku Shen Chai (Chun Shih), an unmotivated artist in his early 30s, still lives with his mother, but he is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62714%
Critics Consensus: Though it features some of the most memorable and electrifying aereial footage shot with an expert eye for action, Top Gun offers too little for non-adolescent viewers to chew on when its characters aren't in the air.
The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying... [More]
Adjusted Score: 57657%
Critics Consensus: Con Air won't win any awards for believability - and all involved seem cheerfully aware of it, making some of this blockbuster action outing's biggest flaws fairly easy to forgive.
Just-paroled army ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is headed back to his wife (Monica Potter), but must fly home aboard... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72406%
Critics Consensus: Taut, violent, and suitably self-deprecating, The Expendables 2 gives classic action fans everything they can reasonably expect from a star-studded shoot-'em-up -- for better and for worse.
Mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables team reunite when Mr.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65063%
Critics Consensus: It's difficult to make a persuasive argument for The Mummy as any kind of meaningful cinematic achievement, but it's undeniably fun to watch.
The Mummy is a rousing, suspenseful and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68277%
Critics Consensus: Although this action-romance suffers from weak writing and one too many explosions, the chemistry generated by onscreen couple Pitt and Jolie is palpable enough to make this a thoroughly enjoyable summer action flick.
John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie), a couple in a stagnating marriage, live a deceptively mundane existence. However,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 63502%
Critics Consensus: A kick-ass addition to the cop-buddy film genre.
When a Chinese diplomat's daughter is kidnapped in Los Angeles, he calls in Hong Kong Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67729%
Critics Consensus: The Equalizer is more stylishly violent than meaningful, but with Antoine Fuqua behind the cameras and Denzel Washington dispensing justice, it delivers.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), a man of mysterious origin who believes he has put the past behind him, dedicates himself... [More]
Adjusted Score: 118223%
Critics Consensus: Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.
Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80162%
Critics Consensus: This late-period Harrison Ford actioner is full of palpable, if not entirely seamless, thrills.
After making a speech in Moscow vowing to never negotiate with terrorists, President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) boards Air Force... [More]
Adjusted Score: 46393%
Critics Consensus: This is where it all began for the Muscles from Brussels, but beyond Van Damme's athleticism, Bloodsport is a cliched, virtually plotless exercise in action movie recycling.
U.S. soldier Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) has come to Hong Kong to be accepted into the Kumite, a highly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62510%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade's action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.
A half-mortal, half-immortal is out to avenge his mother's death and rid the world of vampires. The modern-day technologically advanced... [More]
Adjusted Score: 45926%
Critics Consensus: Bad Boys stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have enjoyable chemistry; unfortunately, director Michael Bay too often drowns it out with set pieces and explosions in place of an actual story.
Miami-Dade detectives Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) blow a fuse when $100 million worth of heroin... [More]
Adjusted Score: 63850%
Critics Consensus: Die Hard with a Vengeance benefits from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's barbed interplay, but clatters to a bombastic finish in a vain effort to cover for an overall lack of fresh ideas.
Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is now divorced, alcoholic and jobless after getting fired for his reckless behavior and bad... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67925%
Critics Consensus: The Running Man is winking sci-fi satire with ridiculous clothes and workmanlike direction.
In the year 2019, America is a totalitarian state where the favorite television program is "The Running Man" -- a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70821%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
In Chicago, honor-driven Sgt. Eddie Cusack (Chuck Norris) and his team stake out a drug exchange involving notorious drug czar... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72958%
Critics Consensus: As preposterous and over-the-top as Shoot 'Em Up may be, its humor and non-stop action make for a very enjoyable film.
After saving a newborn infant from assassins, carrot-crunching gunman Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) teams up with a prostitute named DQ... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64694%
Critics Consensus: Crank's assaultive style and gleeful depravity may turn off casual action fans, but audiences seeking a strong dose of adrenaline will be thrilled by Jason Statham's raucous race against mortality.
Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), a hit man wanting to go straight, lets his latest target slip away, then he awakes... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79673%
Critics Consensus: Machete is messy, violent, shallow, and tasteless -- and that's precisely the point of one of the summer's most cartoonishly enjoyable films.
After nearly being killed during a violent fight with a powerful drug lord, a former Mexican Federale known as Machete... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103377%
Critics Consensus: With its hyper-stylized blend of violence, music, and striking imagery, Drive represents a fully realized vision of arthouse action.
Driver is a skilled Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Though he projects an icy exterior,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78095%
Critics Consensus: An eerie, haunting spectacle, Batman succeeds as dark entertainment, even if Jack Nicholson's Joker too often overshadows the title character.
Having witnessed his parents' brutal murder as a child, millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) fights crime in Gotham City... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80815%
Critics Consensus: A well-directed action thriller that makes the most of its confined setting, Under Siege marks a high point for early '90s action -- and its star's spotty filmography.
A heroic loner takes on a group of nuclear terrorists in this seagoing tale. Posing as a rock band, the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70528%
Critics Consensus: The plot is thin and so is character development, but as a thrilling, spectacle-filled summer movie, Independence Day delivers.
In the epic adventure film "Independence Day," strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101576%
Critics Consensus: Steve McQueen is cool as ice in this thrilling police procedural that also happens to contain arguably the greatest movie car chase ever.
Senator Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) is aiming to take down mob boss Pete Ross (Vic Tayback) with the help of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79845%
Critics Consensus: Wanted is stylish, energetic popcorn fare with witty performances from Angelina Jolie (playing an expert assassin), James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman that help to distract from its absurdly over-the-top plot.
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is an office worker whose life is going nowhere. After his estranged father is murdered, he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101440%
Critics Consensus: Superman deftly blends humor and gravitas, taking advantage of the perfectly cast Christopher Reeve to craft a loving, nostalgic tribute to an American pop culture icon.
Just before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sends his infant son Kal-El on a spaceship... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71259%
Critics Consensus: Ronin earns comparisons to The French Connection with strong action, dynamic road chase scenes, and solid performances.
Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) puts together a team of experts that she tasks with stealing a valuable briefcase, the contents of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88265%
Critics Consensus: A politically subversive blend of horror and sci fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.
Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71229%
Critics Consensus: While it can't escape comparisons to the movies it borrows from, Cliffhanger is a tense, action-packed thriller and a showcase for the talents that made Sylvester Stallone a star.
Outdoor thriller in which a former mountain rescuer is pitted against a group of criminals who have lost their $100... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106751%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
When Thor's evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100046%
Critics Consensus: The brilliant minds behind Shaun of the Dead successfully take a shot at the buddy cop genre with Hot Fuzz. The result is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining parody.
As a former London constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) finds if difficult to adapt to his new assignment in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90618%
Critics Consensus: As violent as it is stylish, The Warriors is a thrilling piece of pulp filmmaking.
A turf battle between New York City street gangs that rages from Coney Island to the Bronx. The Warriors are... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69797%
Critics Consensus: A fun movie...if you can accept the excessive gore and wooden acting.
In the distant future, the Earth is at war with a race of giant alien insects. Little is known about... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92093%
Critics Consensus: Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is a bleak, violent descent into the Brazilian underbelly, ripping into the favelas with unstoppable and kinetic force.
Dirty cops and corrupt, powerful politicians threaten Nascimento (Wagner Moura).... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72719%
Critics Consensus: Absurd, over-the-top, and often wildly entertaining, Point Break is here to show you that the human spirit is still alive.
After a string of bizarre bank robberies in Southern California, with the crooks donning masks of various former presidents, a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68479%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sharp-witted, and fueled by enjoyably over-the-top action, The Long Kiss Goodnight makes up in impact what it lacks in consistent aim.
Schoolteacher and single mother Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) lives an average suburban life -- until she begins having strange memories... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95541%
Critics Consensus: Boasting enough intelligence to bolster its darkly violent thrills, The Guest offers another treat for genre fans from director Adam Wingard.
A string of mysterious deaths leads a teenager to become suspicious of a soldier (Dan Stevens) who showed up on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65404%
Critics Consensus: Taken is undeniably fun with slick action, but is largely a brainless exercise.
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), a former government operative, is trying to reconnect with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Then his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70689%
Critics Consensus: A simple-minded but visually exciting experience, full of blood, violence, and ready-made movie quotes.
In 480 B.C. a state of war exists between Persia, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Greece. At the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71901%
Critics Consensus: If it doesn't reach the heights of director James Cameron's and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's previous collaborations, True Lies still packs enough action and humor into its sometimes absurd plot to entertain.
Secretly a spy but thought by his family to be a dull salesman, Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is tracking down... [More]
Adjusted Score: 61801%
Critics Consensus: A better-than-average sci-fi shoot-em-up with a satirical undercurrent, Demolition Man is bolstered by strong performances by Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock.
With innocent victims caught in the crossfire in Los Angeles' intensifying war on crime, both cop John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60174%
Critics Consensus: Hardcore Henry seems poised to reinvent the action flick, but without a story or characters worth caring about, its first-person gimmick quickly loses its thrill.
A man wakes up in a Moscow laboratory to learn that he's been brought back from the dead as a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92134%
Critics Consensus: Blending brilliant physical comedy with thrillingly choreographed set pieces, Police Story makes a persuasive case for Jackie Chan as one of the all-time genre greats.
A kung-fu policeman (Jackie Chan) must protect a female witness (Brigitte Lin) from a Hong Kong drug lord for whom... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76854%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood of the Wolf mixes its genres with little logic, but the end result is wildly entertaining.
In a rural province of France, a mysterious creature is laying waste to the countryside, savagely killing scores of women... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85091%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, subversive, and above all fun, Kingsman: The Secret Service finds director Matthew Vaughn sending up the spy genre with gleeful abandon.
Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton), whose late father secretly worked for a spy organization, lives in a South London housing... [More]
Adjusted Score: 73728%
Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.
In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79846%
Critics Consensus: Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.
Kurt Russell plays hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton, who gets caught in a bizarre conflict within, and underneath, San Francisco's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106400%
Critics Consensus: Atomic Blonde gets enough mileage out of its stylish action sequences -- and ever-magnetic star -- to make up for a narrative that's somewhat less hard-hitting than its protagonist.
Sensual and savage, Lorraine Broughton is the most elite spy in MI6, an agent who's willing to use all of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80316%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining Jackie Chan stunt-fest in which the impressive action sequences overcome the low production value and by-the-numbers plot.
Hong Kong policeman Keung (Jackie Chan) arrives in New York for the wedding of his uncle Bill (Bill Tung), a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84672%
Critics Consensus: A nonstop thrill ride, District B13's dizzying action sequences more than make up for any expository flaws.
In 21st-century Paris, a member (Cyril Raffaelli) of an elite police squad must enter a crime-ridden ghetto to defuse a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86661%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89260%
Critics Consensus: While Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior may be no great shakes as a movie, critics are hailing the emergence of a new star in Tony Jaa, whose athletic performance is drawing comparisons with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li.
In Thailand, the impoverished village of Ban Nong Pradu has its most precious Buddha statue stolen from the temple. Luckily... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95900%
Critics Consensus: Driven by director Michael Mann's trademark visuals and a lean, villainous performance from Tom Cruise, Collateral is a stylish and compelling noir thriller.
A cab driver realizes his current fare is a hit man that has been having him drive around from mark... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93404%
Critics Consensus: Iron Monkey may not have the poetic lyricism of Crouching Tiger, it makes up for it in fun and energy.
In a desperate and unjust land, where government corruption rules the day, only one man has the courage to challenge... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90206%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis, Escape from New York is a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness.
In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88058%
Critics Consensus: Battle Royale is a controversial and violent parable of adolescence, heightening teenage melodrama with life-or-death stakes.
42 9th graders are sent to a deserted island. They are given a map, food, and various weapons. An explosive... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104602%
Critics Consensus: Boasting an entertaining villain and deeper emotional focus, this is a nimble sequel that improves upon the original.
When a failed nuclear fusion experiment results in an explosion that kills his wife, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100007%
Critics Consensus: Takashi Miike's electric remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 period action film is a wild spectacle executed with killer, dizzying panache.
In this remake of a 1963 film based on historical events, Shinzaemon Shimada leads a team of assassins in 19th-century... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67562%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Jeff (Chow Yun-Fat), who works as a nightclub bouncer in Bangkok, saves his friend Sam (Wong Chow-Sang) from a beating... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94124%
Critics Consensus: Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
An art collector appeals to Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. He learns that another archaeologist... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98120%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Hustle blends special effects, martial arts, and the Looney Toons to hilarious effect.
When the hapless Sing (Stephen Chow) and his dim-witted pal, Bone (Feng Xiaogang), try to scam the residents of Pig... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92522%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
A Hong Kong policeman (Leslie Cheung) blames his reformed-gangster brother (Chow Yun-Fat) for the death of their father.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105236%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Robert Downey Jr.'s vibrant charm, Iron Man turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.
A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91145%
Critics Consensus: A bloody thrill ride designed to test the limits of more squeamish viewers, The Night Comes for Us wields a stylishly violent, action-packed punch.
Ito, a gangland enforcer, is caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 126303%
Critics Consensus: Hugh Jackman makes the most of his final outing as Wolverine with a gritty, nuanced performance in a violent but surprisingly thoughtful superhero action film that defies genre conventions.
In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104131%
Critics Consensus: Goldfinger is where James Bond as we know him comes into focus - it features one of 007's most famous lines ("A martini. Shaken, not stirred.") and a wide range of gadgets that would become the series' trademark.
Special agent 007 (Sean Connery) comes face to face with one of the most notorious villains of all time, and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98803%
Critics Consensus: Lean, taut and compellingly gritty, John Carpenter's loose update of Rio Bravo ranks as a cult action classic and one of the filmmaker's best.
When the LAPD kills several members of the South Central gang Street Thunder, the remaining members avenge themselves by way... [More]
Adjusted Score: 129159%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83270%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) has left his homeland of China and relocated to stay with family in Thailand. Chen, who... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102761%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87287%
Critics Consensus: Violent and definitely not for the squeamish, Park Chan-Wook's visceral Oldboy is a strange, powerful tale of revenge.
Dae-Su is an obnoxious drunk bailed from the police station yet again by a friend. However, he's abducted from the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105239%
Critics Consensus: Realistic, fast-paced and uncommonly smart, The French Connection is bolstered by stellar performances by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, not to mention William Friedkin's thrilling production.
New York Detective "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner (Roy Scheider) chase a French heroin smuggler.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92730%
Critics Consensus: Serving up a fresh round of over-the-top thrills while adding unexpected dramatic heft, Furious 7 keeps the franchise moving in more ways than one.
After defeating international terrorist Owen Shaw, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and the rest of the crew... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90850%
Critics Consensus: A zany out-of-control thriller that gives lead Anne Parillaud a big character arc and plenty of emotional room to work within.
Convicted felon Nikita (Anne Parillaud), instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained to be a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98757%
Critics Consensus: Blending hand-to-hand combat with breathtaking stunts and slapstick comedy, Supercop reminds us why Jackie Chan is one of the world's great entertainers.
To infiltrate a drug cartel, police Inspector Chan Ka Kui (Jackie Chan) goes undercover in a Chinese prison. There, he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92885%
Critics Consensus: As tough and taciturn as its no-nonsense hero, Dirty Harry delivers a deceptively layered message without sacrificing an ounce of its solid action impact.
Cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) attempts to track down a psychopathic rooftop killer before a kidnapped girl dies. When he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104770%
Critics Consensus: Gripping, well-acted, funny, and clever, Edge of Tomorrow offers entertaining proof that Tom Cruise is still more than capable of shouldering the weight of a blockbuster action thriller.
When Earth falls under attack from invincible aliens, no military unit in the world is able to beat them. Maj.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93377%
Critics Consensus: Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor -- and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.
Stryker (Brian Cox), a villianous former Army commander, holds the key to Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) past and the future of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102607%
Critics Consensus: Exhilarating and intense, this high-impact chase thriller is a model of taut and efficient formula filmmaking, and it features Harrison Ford at his frantic best.
Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her... [More]
Adjusted Score: 129320%
Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101224%
Critics Consensus: Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people's dreams and steal their secrets from... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81543%
Critics Consensus: Distractingly violent and historically dodgy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart justifies its epic length by delivering enough sweeping action, drama, and romance to match its ambition.
Tells the story of the legendary thirteenth century Scottish hero named William Wallace (Mel Gibson). Wallace rallies the Scottish against... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97985%
Critics Consensus: Thought-provoking and visceral, Steven Spielberg successfully combines high concept ideas and high octane action in this fast and febrile sci-fi thriller.
Based on a story by famed science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, "Minority Report" is an action-detective thriller set in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 128391%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga.
Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86265%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by bombastic violence and impressive special effects, rooted in self-satire and deadpan humor, Dredd 3D does a remarkable job of capturing its source material's gritty spirit.
Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89617%
Critics Consensus: Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers -- and then some.
The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85329%
Critics Consensus: At once beholden to the established conventions of the genre and delightfully subversive of them, Ip Man is one of the most exciting -- and refreshingly character-driven -- martial arts films in years.
The life story of Yip Man, the first person to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96139%
Critics Consensus: John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.
Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87188%
Critics Consensus: With coke fiends, car chases, and Wang Chung galore, To Live and Die in L.A. is perhaps the ultimate '80s action/thriller.
When his longtime partner on the force is killed, reckless U.S. Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William L. Petersen) vows... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108303%
Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.
With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103467%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, fast-paced, and loaded with gripping set pieces, the fourth Mission: Impossible is big-budget popcorn entertainment that really works.
Blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the entire IMF agency are disavowed by... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85284%
Critics Consensus: Sleek, loud, and over the top, Fast Five proudly embraces its brainless action thrills and injects new life into the franchise.
Ever since ex-cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Torretto (Jordana Brewster) broke her brother Dom (Vin Diesel) out of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83899%
Critics Consensus: The most successful installment in a phenomenally successful series, Lethal Weapon helped redefine action movies for the 1980s and 1990s.
Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) becomes reckless and suicidal. When he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70820%
Critics Consensus: For visceral thrills, it can't be beat. Just don't expect The Rock to engage your brain.
FBI chemical warfare expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) is sent on an urgent mission with a former British spy, John... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95690%
Critics Consensus: While over-the-top and gory, Robocop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses ultraviolence to disguise its satire of American culture.
In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 109327%
Critics Consensus: John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should -- which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun.
Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105861%
Critics Consensus: Casino Royale disposes of the silliness and gadgetry that plagued recent James Bond outings, and Daniel Craig delivers what fans and critics have been waiting for: a caustic, haunted, intense reinvention of 007.
After receiving a license to kill, British Secret Service agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) heads to Madagascar, where he uncovers... [More]
Adjusted Score: 122973%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it's gone -- proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills.
Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75016%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Chinese martial arts student Chen Zhen (Jet Li) is studying in Kyoto, Japan, when he learns his mentor has died... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99843%
Critics Consensus: The Killer is another hard-boiled action flick from John Woo featuring eye-popping balletic violence and philosophical underpinnings.
Mob assassin Jeffrey (Chow Yun-Fat) is no ordinary hired gun; the best in his business, he views his chosen profession... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88388%
Critics Consensus: Although its high-energy plot and over-the-top violence may play better with genre aficionados, The Raid 2 definitely delivers more of everything audiences loved about its predecessor.
After surviving a bloody fight with powerful gangsters, rookie Jakarta cop Rama (Iko Uwais) thinks he can resume a normal... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98841%
Critics Consensus: Badass to the max, Enter the Dragon is the ultimate kung-fu movie and fitting (if untimely) Bruce Lee swan song.
Bruce Lee plays a martial-arts expert determined to help capture the narcotics dealer whose gang was responsible for the death... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70187%
Critics Consensus: The ultimate '80s Schwarzenegger movie, replete with a threadbare plot, outsized action, and endless one-liners.
Retired Special Forces soldier John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) lives with daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) in isolation, but his privacy is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87116%
Critics Consensus: Much darker and more sensitive than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure that takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.
Vietnam veteran and drifter John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanders into a small Washington town in search of an old... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106883%
Critics Consensus: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation continues the franchise's thrilling resurgence -- and proves that Tom Cruise remains an action star without equal.
With the IMF now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, a new threat -- called the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104610%
Critics Consensus: With its impressive action sequences, taut economic direction, and relentlessly fast pace, it's clear why The Terminator continues to be an influence on sci-fi and action flicks.
Disguised as a human, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84789%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) takes power and strips rank from Maximus (Russell Crowe), one of the favored generals of his predecessor... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92956%
Critics Consensus: Kill Bill is admittedly little more than a stylish revenge thriller -- albeit one that benefits from a wildly inventive surfeit of style.
A former assassin, known simply as The Bride (Uma Thurman), wakes from a coma four years after her jealous ex-lover... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76800%
Critics Consensus: Pivoting on the unusual relationship between seasoned hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice -- a breakout turn by young Natalie Portman -- Luc Besson's Léon is a stylish and oddly affecting thriller.
Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is only 12 years old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98325%
Critics Consensus: A terrific popcorn thriller, Speed is taut, tense, and energetic, with outstanding performances from Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock.
Los Angeles police officer Jack (Keanu Reeves) angers retired bomb squad member Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) by foiling his attempt... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85388%
Critics Consensus: Jackie Chan sends up some amazing and entertaining fight sequences in The Legend of Drunken Master.
From a land where honor and tradition reign, comes the legend of a martial-arts hero unlike any other -- the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95496%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, thrilling, and giddily kinetic, John Wick serves as a satisfying return to action for Keanu Reeves -- and what looks like it could be the first of a franchise.
Legendary assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) retired from his violent career after marrying the love of his life. Her sudden... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102817%
Critics Consensus: The movie that catapulted Ang Lee into the ranks of upper echelon Hollywood filmmakers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon features a deft mix of amazing martial arts battles, beautiful scenery, and tasteful drama.
In 19th century Qing Dynasty China, a warrior (Chow Yun-Fat) gives his sword, Green Destiny, to his lover (Michelle Yeoh)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82810%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103331%
Critics Consensus: The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87011%
Critics Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a bored construction worker in the year 2084 who dreams of visiting the colonized Mars.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97654%
Critics Consensus: The Road Warrior is everything a bigger-budgeted Mad Max sequel with should be: bigger, faster, louder, but definitely not dumber.
After avenging the death of his wife and young son at the hands of a vicious gang leader, Max (Mel... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92776%
Critics Consensus: Though Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share but a handful of screen minutes together, Heat is an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars -- and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre.
Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93412%
Critics Consensus: No frills and all thrills, The Raid: Redemption is an inventive action film expertly paced and edited for maximum entertainment.
A rookie member of an elite team of commandos, Rama (Iko Uwais) is instructed to hang back while his comrades-in-arms... [More]
Adjusted Score: 124593%
Critics Consensus: Fast, sleek, and fun, Mission: Impossible - Fallout lives up to the "impossible" part of its name by setting yet another high mark for insane set pieces in a franchise full of them.
Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101848%
Critics Consensus: Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.
Dr. Indiana Jones, a renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104590%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96398%
Critics Consensus: Boasting impactful action as well as surprising emotional resonance, Hard Boiled is a powerful thriller that hits hard in more ways than one.
A cop who loses his partner in a shoot-out with gun smugglers goes on a mission to catch them. In... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94970%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98100%
Critics Consensus: T2 features thrilling action sequences and eye-popping visual effects, but what takes this sci-fi/ action landmark to the next level is the depth of the human (and cyborg) characters.
In this sequel set eleven years after "The Terminator," young John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization's victory over... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99804%
Critics Consensus: Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.
New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas... [More]
Adjusted Score: 114964%
Critics Consensus: With exhilarating action and a surprising amount of narrative heft, Mad Max: Fury Road brings George Miller's post-apocalyptic franchise roaring vigorously back to life.
Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When... [More]