The Best Action Movies of 2019 So Far

Three months into 2019, eight terrifically entertaining action movies -- and half of them are Netflix Originals!

Best Action First Quarter

Great action movies will never fail to lift the spirits in ways most other genres can’t do as efficiently. The best ones offer an eye-catching, adrenaline-building, smile-inducing display of physical skill, impressive stunts, and sharp craftsmanship, but often even a mix of those elements is enough to make a film soar.

This year’s only a quarter of the way through, but we’ve already seen more than a few movies that fit the bill in delivering sequences, scenes, and/or fights that thrill and excite in equal measure. That’s not surprising as there are so many talented filmmakers and fighters happy to entertain us, but we’d be lying if we said we expected half of them to be Netflix Original movies. Because, seriously?

Keep reading for a look at the eight best action movies of the year so far.


Buffalo Boys

Two brothers fighting evil land barons feels like a familiar enough setup for an action movie — well, some variation of that anyway — but there’s something special about this scrappy little Indonesian western. It’s a period piece set in the 1860s and delivers an honest to gosh western through that Southeast Asian lens complete with gun play, horse play, and… sword play? Sure, why not. The landscape is attractive and brought to life through sharp cinematography, and while the tone is wobbly at times the film’s action helps lift it above the fray.

[Currently available on streaming]


Close

Noomi Rapace might not seem like a typical action star, but her latest collaboration with Netflix sees her kicking all kinds of ass anyway. Two thrilling sequences stand as highlights here including a fight with Rapace’s hands tied behind her back. It’s an intense sequence crafted without the benefit of a stunt double, and the brutality is tangible. Director Vicky Jewson also delivers an underwater fight with large fish swarming and a “smart” home invasion in a house secured with computerized defenses, and while the film is small overall scenes like these ensure the action outsizes the rest.

[My review; currently available on Netflix]


Furie

A riff on Taken starring Veronica Ngo as a mother intent on finding the bastards who abducted her daughter? Yes please. Director Le-Van Kiet and Ngo make for a terrific action team alongside fight choreographer Kefi Abrikh (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, 2018) and action director Yannick Ben (Ghost in the Shell, 2017). The fights and stunts are crisply shot and exciting, the mother/daughter drama hits as hard as Ngo’s kicks and punches, and the damn thing is inexplicably lit like a giallo. It’s a blast.

[My review; comes to Blu-ray/DVD on June 25th]


Iceman

Movies about someone seeking violent revenge for the loss of loved ones are fairly ubiquitous across the decades, but this unassuming and gorgeously filmed entry from Germany distinguishes itself almost immediately. It unfolds 5000 years ago as a Neolithic man hunts the three ravagers who killed his family, and in recognition both that their language is a dead one and that the emotional beats of the narrative are universal — there are no subtitles. It’s a thrilling experience with brutal clashes, stunts set against nature, and even a “sniper” sequence involving bows and arrows.

[Currently available on streaming]


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