(Photo by Universal/Everett Collection.)

The Best Action Movies of 2021, Ranked by Tomatometer

Along with horror films like A Quiet Place Part II, action movies have been instrumental in demonstrating signs of vital life at the 2021 box office. Nobody made an unlikely commercial action hero out of Bob Odenkirk as theaters were re-opening, and afterwards, massive blockbusters like F9, Black Widow, and Godzilla vs. Kong drew huge crowds that approached pre-pandemic levels. On streaming, we’ve seen attention-grabbing hits like Hulu’s Boss Level, two Zack Snyder jams (Army of the Dead and his mythical director’s cut of Justice League), and Netflix’s Gunpowder Milkshake.

And now we’ve collected every Fresh and Certified Fresh action movie from the year. We’ll be updating this list as more come out, so check back often to discover the latest of the best action movies of 2021, ranked by Tomatometer! (And don’t forget to check out our ongoing guides to the best horror movies of 2021, and the best movies of 2021.)

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 65473%
Critics Consensus: Though it runs dangerously close to being a pure sugar rush with no substance, Gunpowder Milkshake is a brutal blast that will absorb audiences into its neon-infused universe.
Synopsis: Sam (Karen Gillan) was only 12 years old when her mother Scarlet (Lena Headey), an elite assassin, was forced to... [More]
Directed By: Navot Papushado

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 66525%
Critics Consensus: Maggie Q's still waiting for the action movie that really deserves her -- but until then, The Protégé hits just hard enough to satisfy.
Synopsis: Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) and trained in the family business, Anna (Maggie... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 73418%
Critics Consensus: A squarely traditional '90s-style action thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead is elevated by Taylor Sheridan's propulsive direction.
Synopsis: A smoke jumper and a traumatized boy fight for their lives as two relentless assassins pursue them through a raging... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Sheridan

#15

Jungle Cruise (2021)
62%

#15
Adjusted Score: 80475%
Critics Consensus: Its craft isn't quite as sturdy as some of the classic adventures it's indebted to, but Jungle Cruise remains a fun, family-friendly voyage.
Synopsis: Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE, a rollicking... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#14

Wrath of Man (2021)
66%

#14
Adjusted Score: 79860%
Critics Consensus: Wrestling just enough stakes out of its thin plot, Wrath of Man sees Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham reunite for a fun, action-packed ride.
Synopsis: Mysterious and wild-eyed, a new security guard for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#13

Army Of The Dead (2021)
67%

#13
Adjusted Score: 82557%
Critics Consensus: An ambitious, over-the-top zombie heist mashup, Army of the Dead brings Zack Snyder back to his genre roots with a suitably gory splash.
Synopsis: From filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Zack Snyder's Justice League), ARMY OF THE DEAD takes place following a zombie outbreak that... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#12

Space Sweepers (2021)
69%

#12
Adjusted Score: 69630%
Critics Consensus: As a story, Space Sweepers isn't as adventurous as its star-navigating protagonists -- but relatable characters and impressive effects keep it from drifting out of orbit.
Synopsis: After snatching a crashed space shuttle in the latest debris chase, Spaceship Victory's crew members find a 7-year-old girl inside.... [More]
Directed By: Jo Sung-hee

#11

Sentinelle (2021)
70%

#11
Adjusted Score: 43892%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Transferred home after a traumatizing combat mission, a highly trained French soldier uses her lethal skills to hunt down the... [More]
Directed By: Julien Leclercq

#10
Adjusted Score: 88935%
Critics Consensus: Zack Snyder's Justice League lives up to its title with a sprawling cut that expands to fit the director's vision -- and should satisfy the fans who willed it into existence.
Synopsis: In ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman's (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#9

Boss Level (2021)
74%

#9
Adjusted Score: 78079%
Critics Consensus: Boss Level powers up the increasingly crowded time-loop genre with a gleefully over-the-top sci-fi action thriller that revels in its own excess.
Synopsis: Trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder, former special forces agent Roy Pulver (Frank... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 97964%
Critics Consensus: Delivering squarely on its title, Godzilla vs. Kong swats away character development and human drama to deliver all the spectacle you'd expect from giant monsters slugging it out.
Synopsis: Legends collide in "Godzilla vs. Kong" as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 83728%
Critics Consensus: Part creature feature, part war movie, and part social commentary, Shadow in the Cloud doesn't always blend its ingredients evenly -- but it's frequently pulpy fun.
Synopsis: In the throes of World War II, Captain Maude Garrett (CHLOË GRACE MORETZ) joins the all-male crew of a B-17... [More]
Directed By: Roseanne Liang

#6

Black Widow (2021)
79%

#6
Adjusted Score: 105146%
Critics Consensus: Black Widow's deeper themes are drowned out in all the action, but it remains a solidly entertaining standalone adventure that's rounded out by a stellar supporting cast.
Synopsis: Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her... [More]
Directed By: Cate Shortland

#5

Nobody (2021)
83%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99031%
Critics Consensus: Nobody doesn't break any new ground for the genre, but this viscerally violent thriller smashes, shatters, and destroys plenty of other things -- all while proving Bob Odenkirk has what it takes to be an action star.
Synopsis: Emmy winner Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, The Post, Nebraska) stars as Hutch Mansell, an underestimated and overlooked dad and... [More]
Directed By: Ilya Naishuller

#4

Bajocero (2021)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 43641%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a prisoner transfer van is attacked, the officer in charge must fight those inside and outside while dealing with... [More]
Directed By: Lluís Quílez

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 110394%
Critics Consensus: Enlivened by writer-director James Gunn's singularly skewed vision, The Suicide Squad marks a funny, fast-paced rebound that plays to the source material's violent, anarchic strengths.
Synopsis: Welcome to hell--a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 103026%
Critics Consensus: A darkly humorous revenge thriller with satisfying depth and a dash of savory quirk, Riders of Justice makes another compelling case for Mads Mikkelsen as an all-purpose leading man.
Synopsis: RIDERS OF JUSTICE follows recently-deployed Markus (Mads Mikkelsen), who is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#1

The Paper Tigers (2020)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100824%
Critics Consensus: The Paper Tigers blends action, comedy, and heart to produce a fresh martial arts movie with plenty of throwback charm.
Synopsis: Three martial artists--notorious in their prime as "the three tigers"--have grown into middle-aged men one kick from a pulled muscle.... [More]
Directed By: Quoc Bao Tran

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