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! —Alex Vo
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
Adjusted Score: 27532%
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.
Young Gloria seeks help from the police when cartel hit men kidnap her friend from a nightclub in Mexico. She... [More]
Adjusted Score: 46475%
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.
Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who's ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans... [More]
Adjusted Score: 36497%
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.
Vietnam War veteran John Rambo tries to find some semblance of peace by raising horses on a ranch in Arizona.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 30321%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Nick is an ex-con who's adjusting to a new job, a new wife and some semblance of normalcy in rural... [More]
Adjusted Score: 40106%
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.
Hunter and collector Frank Walsh expects a big payday after bagging a priceless white jaguar for a zoo. But the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 40655%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting -- or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
John Shaft Jr. may be an FBI cyber security expert, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely... [More]
Adjusted Score: 36823%
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 a woman's striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 50621%
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.
Authorities take Secret Service agent Mike Banning into custody for the failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull. After... [More]
Adjusted Score: 52497%
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.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces launch a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. Six... [More]
Adjusted Score: 46172%
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 1879 Rio and his teenage sister go on the run across the American Southwest to escape from their violent... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62184%
Critics Consensus: 21 Bridges covers its beat competently enough, but given its impressive cast, this cop thriller should be more arresting than it is.
After uncovering a massive conspiracy, an embattled NYPD detective joins a citywide manhunt for two young cop killers. As the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56408%
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.
A rookie policewoman in New Orleans inadvertently captures the shooting death of a young drug dealer on her body cam.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89797%
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.
Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67180%
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.
A crime syndicate places a hit on a billionaire's daughter, making her the target of an elite assassin squad. A... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79488%
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.
Nels Coxman's quiet life as a snowplow driver comes crashing down when his beloved son dies under mysterious circumstances. His... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78251%
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.
Former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90511%
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.
Defeated by Master Ip, martial arts expert Cheung Tin Chi tries to lead a normal life in Hong Kong until... [More]
Adjusted Score: 111652%
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.
After gunning down a member of the High Table -- the shadowy international assassin's guild -- legendary hit man John... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99871%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed and inventively choreographed, Shadow is a thrilling and visually sumptuous wuxia epic that finds director Zhang Yimou near peak form.
To finally achieve victory over a rival kingdom, a brilliant general devises an intricate plan involving his wife, a look-alike... [More]
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