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


Miss Bala (2019)

Adjusted Score: 26.314%
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


Gemini Man (2019)

Adjusted Score: 39.467%
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

Adjusted Score: 33.923%
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


Into the Ashes (2019)

Adjusted Score: 24.801%
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


Primal (2019)

Adjusted Score: 39.526%
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


Shaft (2019)

Adjusted Score: 36.003%
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


Anna (2019)

Adjusted Score: 38.297%
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


Angel Has Fallen (2019)

Adjusted Score: 46.564%
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


Midway (2019)

Adjusted Score: 48.938%
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


The Kid (2019)

Adjusted Score: 45.968%
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


21 Bridges (2019)

Adjusted Score: 55.906%
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:


Black and Blue (2019)

Adjusted Score: 55.429%
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

Adjusted Score: 82.095%
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


Triple Threat (2019)

Adjusted Score: 68.525%
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.
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


Cold Pursuit (2019)

Adjusted Score: 77.562%
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


Triple Frontier (2019)

Adjusted Score: 77.053%
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

Adjusted Score: 89.772%
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

Adjusted Score: 105.14%
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


Shadow (2019)

Adjusted Score: 98.527%
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

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