The 10 Best Action Movies Of 2019, Ranked
Who doesn't love a good action movie? We all do, right? A well-done action sequence can make a good movie great, and a mediocre movie at least worth watching. Action movies are one of the major reasons that we like to go to the theater in the first place. Sometimes, to fully appreciate great action, it need to be experienced on the big screen.
The year 2019 was a pretty good one for action movies, although not all the best examples came from the big screen. Nonetheless, Hollywood brought us some fantastic action movies this year, and here are the favorites.
One important note on this list, the definition of "action movie" is far from settled. Lots of movies have action sequences in them, but not every movie with action is an action movie. I've done my best to stick to films where the action is more than simply there, but where the action sequences themselves are largely meant to be "the point," though, of course, that's a moving target as well. As such, you won't find your favorite comic book movie or space battle movie on this list. While some of them have great action, they're not quite the same thing as "action movies." When you look at this list, you'll see what I mean.
10. Angel Has Fallen
The Has Fallen series feels like it's getting a little long in the tooth. I'm not sure anybody was expecting we'd get a second one of these, much less a third. And yet, here we are in 2019, with Angel Has Fallen. The movie brings back Gerard Butler as the Secret Service agent who's got John McClane's luck of always being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This time, he's suspected of attempting to kill the President of the Unites Stares, so instead of going after the bad guy, he's on the run himself.
Angel Has Fallen is clearly the third go-round here, and so while we've seen a lot of this before, it doesn't mean that the action we get here isn't worthy of note. The plot is pretty run of the mill, so the action is basically the only reason to bother if we're being honest. And there are some great sequences here worth enjoying and it's mostly, if not entirely, done with practical effects, which is nice to see in this day and age.
9. Cold Pursuit
Ever since Liam Neeson brought his "particular set of skills" to the big screen in Taken he launched a second career for himself, and several other older actors, as the elder statesmen of the action movie. Cold Pursuit sees Neeson as a mild mannered man who gets pushed over the edge when his son dies under mysterious circumstances. Determined to punish those responsible, he takes the fight to them himself.
8. Triple Frontier
Triple Frontier is one of the better action movies we saw in 2019 that nobody ever had the chance to enjoy on the big screen outside of limited engagements. It was a film released exclusively on Netflix, but even on the smaller screen, it's worth checking out. It has an amazing cast that includes Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal, and while the film may not break much new ground, it succeeds at everything it tries to do, including putting forth some solid action sequences.
7. 6 Underground
Like Roland Emmerich, if Michael Bay has a new movie out, then it's something that you need to see, and one should not let the fact that all the action takes place on a small screen detract from that fact. The newest movie on the list, 6 Underground, just came out on Netflix this month, and it sees Ryan Reynolds as a billionaire determined to make the world a better place by putting together an elite team of mercenaries and killing a whole bunch of (very bad) dudes.
6. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
If the day ever comes when a Fast & Furious movie comes out and doesn't make a list like this, something has gone terribly wrong. While the first franchise spinoff, Hobbs and Shaw, is a significantly different movie than the main franchise's installments, it still brings top notch action, and has the incomparable action director David Leitch making sure that that action works.
5. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
And then, sometimes, you want your action in the form of giant monsters beating the crap out of each other. 2014's Godzilla was a generally well received movie, but if the film had any faults, it's that the giant monster action was a bit lacking. Godzilla: King of the Monsters clearly heard that critique, because a lack of action is not a problem here. In addition to Godzilla we got a bunch of new Titans in the sequel, and they all get to beat the hell out of each other.
4. Terminator: Dark Fate
How in the hell did 2019 become the year we got a good Godzilla movie and a good Terminator movie, and nobody cared about either one? Although, to be fair, it's not like the Terminator franchise didn't have several bites at that apple in the past and basically failed every single time.
However, Terminator: Dark Fate was the Terminator movie everybody had been waiting for. Arnold was back. Linda Hamilton was back. They both got to kick ass. And Mackenzie Davis is welcome to join Vanessa Kirby in the female action movie I've started to create in my head. This was the first Terminator movie in a long time to feel like a worthy part of the franchise. If you missed it, go fix that.
3. Alita: Battle Angel
Man, somehow, this list has become really depressing all of a sudden. Alita: Battle Angel wasn't a sequel nobody cared about, but it was a long gestating dream project for James Cameron that finally became a real thing thanks to Robert Rodriguez... that also not enough people saw. I was utterly shocked at how much I enjoyed Alita: Battle Angel. It's too bad the chances of an Alita sequel being made seem slim, for now.
No offense to Roland Emmerich's Midway, but if you are going to see a war movie this year, 1917 is the one you shouldn't miss. The upcoming WWI adventure from director Sam Mendes is chock full of action. It's also been shot in one long take, which makes the grueling action sequences even more astounding.
1. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Was... was there really any chance in hell it was anything else? If a John Wick movie ever comes out and it's not at the top of a list like this, it's either a really good sign for action cinema, or a really bad sign for John Wick. Keanu Reeves returned for a third installment of the killer franchise with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, and he hasn't lost a step yet.
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