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 Comedies of 2019 | Best Sci-Fi Movies of 2019
Best Action Movies of 2019
Adjusted Score: 27474%
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.
Adjusted Score: 46227%
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.
Adjusted Score: 36440%
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.
Adjusted Score: 38042%
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.
Adjusted Score: 40597%
Critics Consensus: Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting — or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.
Adjusted Score: 36761%
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.
Adjusted Score: 49564%
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.
Adjusted Score: 52175%
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.
Adjusted Score: 45042%
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.
Adjusted Score: 61126%
Critics Consensus: 21 Bridges covers its beat competently enough, but given its impressive cast, this cop thriller should be more arresting than it is.
Adjusted Score: 56282%
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.
Adjusted Score: 88682%
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.
Adjusted Score: 67182%
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.
Adjusted Score: 79300%
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.
Adjusted Score: 78125%
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.
Adjusted Score: 90513%
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.
Adjusted Score: 110475%
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.
Adjusted Score: 99877%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed and inventively choreographed, Shadow is a thrilling and visually sumptuous wuxia epic that finds director Zhang Yimou near peak form.