Best Action Movies of 2024, So Far

Big action, small action, bee action, and even some one-take action.
Sixty Minutes

2024 is already one-third over — ridiculous, right? — and it’s been a pretty good year at the movies. We’re four months in, so it’s time to take a look at where we stand when it comes to new action movies. The films below are presented alphabetically meaning they’re not ranked, but they’re all good to great. More will be released as the year goes on, and there are still some I need to catch up on, but for now at least, these are the best action movies that 2024 has to offer.

Now keep reading for a look at the best action movies of 2024, so far.

60 Minutes (Germany)

Octavio is a young MMA fighter, good enough to win, but in with enough morally corrupt people to still be something of a loser. Tonight’s the biggest match of his life, but when he chooses his daughter over a fixed fight, some very bad men come looking to collect. As a big fan of Richard Donner’s 16 Blocks (2006) and films like it, this new German flick is right up my alley. A ticking clock, a protagonist you’re actively rooting for (Emilio Sakraya, who looks like a more lived-in Paul Walker), a great sidekick in Marie Mouroum, and some strong action beats combine in a propulsive action/thriller that keeps your pulse on the move. It’s as straightforward as they come, but that’s not a bad thing as it delivers a solidly good time.

Streaming on Netflix.

The Beekeeper

Adam Clay is a beekeeper, but what the bad guys who cross him don’t know is that Adam Clay is also an ex-Beekeeper. When I say this film’s steadily ridiculous script commits to the bee metaphor like a dog with a bone, you should know that’s still underselling the insane genius of Kurt Wimmer‘s script. What starts as a simple tale of a man getting revenge against people who are scamming the elderly and stealing their life savings becomes an exercise in beautifully nonsensical world-building that will leave you wanting more. Jason Statham has the charisma and fight chops to hold it all together, and director David Ayer delivers action beats and sequences for his most entertaining movie since my beloved Street Kings (2008). Who knew caring about old folks and the environment could be so much fun!

In theaters and on VOD.

Civil War

It’s now-ish, and the United States of America is united no more. As battles are fought in parts of the country, a small band of journalists enter the warzone in search of the story. It should be noted that Alex Garland‘s latest isn’t exactly the action film that the title and marketing might suggest, but that doesn’t mean its action beats don’t pop and that it doesn’t deserve a spot on our list of the best action movies of 2024. Small encounters pepper the film’s first two acts including a tense standoff with a sniper, but all bets are off when our protagonists reach the Capitol. Garland embeds viewers with units laying siege to D.C. and eventually the White House itself, and it’s a thrilling, exhilarating sequence. The visuals crack with excitement, but it’s the film’s sound design that drives home the sounds of war leaving viewers ducking in their seats as explosions and bullets fill the air around them.

In theaters.

Dune: Part Two

Paul Atreides was set to rule as part of a royal family, but instead his choices and circumstances have left him embedded with members of a fierce rebellion. He’s a freedom fighter now, and soon it will be him that they need freedom from. While part one of Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune adaptation left my senses dazzled and my brain bored, part two is an entirely different beast. It’s still as beautifully crafted a blockbuster as you’re likely to find, but here the characters, performances, and story beats take hold ensuring they’re never overshadowed by the film’s status as a blockbuster. The action is heavier here with epic battles and intimate brawls sharing the screen and executed with thrilling choreography, design, and execution. Bring on Dune Messiah! [My full review.]

In theaters and on VOD.

Land of Bad

A military mission unfolds on the ground while a drone pilot halfway around the world provides an eye in the sky, and it’s not long before everyone involved is in a fight involving life, death, and vegan cheese. Director William Eubank‘s latest is a damn good time for fans of tactical action and character thrills without filler. A better world would see him delivering mid-budget genre bangers like this and Underwater (2020) on an annual basis. This isn’t quite Liam Hemsworth‘s Extraction (2020), but he’s definitely got the same chops as his big brother and delivers with a compelling, believably capable character. The film’s action is clean, its explosions are mighty, and Eubanks even finds time for some incredibly slick slow-motion shots along the way. All that and a terrific contribution from Russell Crowe as a guy far removed from the literal fight but still damn feisty.


Mayhem (France)

One young man’s criminal past comes back to haunt him despite his best efforts, and when blackmail turns to murder he’s left with only a single recourse — revenge. Xavier Gens‘ latest doesn’t stretch with its premise as it’s literally about a guy seeking revenge for his wife’s murder, but it’s executed with more style and character than the formula usually attracts. Gens ensures the film’s front half is focused on character and atmosphere to the point that we come to care, even a little, for our protagonist’s situation, and then the back half action hits hard and bloody. The film also looks great throughout, in both its action scenes and quieter moments. Oh, and you’ll want to add this to the list of films with stellar elevator brawls too.

On VOD and streaming on AMC+.

Monkey Man

A young man known only as the Kid spends his time losing matches in an underground fight ring, but it’s all part of his plan to gain access to the people who killed his mother when he was just a child. Director and star Dev Patel had a hell of a time getting this film made, and those issues are evident in much of the final product, but there’s also a stylish, progressive genre film here that shouldn’t be ignored. Even if some of the early action underwhelms, it serves as a setup for a third act that sees Patel unleash well-crafted set-pieces and sequences. A kitchen fight thrills, neon-drenched brawls tickle the senses, and we’re left plenty impressed with what Patel can accomplish with everything working against him. [My full review.]

In theaters and on VOD.

One More Shot

A SEAL team leader lands at an American airport with a terrorist in tow, and while the mission that got them there (2021’s One Shot) is still fresh in his mind he soon realizes the fight isn’t quite over. Director James Nunn‘s pseudo one-take action franchise continues with a sequel that steps up where it counts to deliver a thrilling part two in what feels like an incoming trilogy. The film stumbles some with its down time, but there’s no arguing with the frequent tactical action, the excellent use of a very real-looking location — the whole film unfolds in a regional airport, and it feels tactile and fresh — or some late fight beats with the great Michael Jai White. And yes, of course Scott Adkins continues to shine whether he’s brooding silently or unleashing his hand to hand combat skills in someone’s face. Thankfully, he does so quite a bit here ensuring this a spot on our list of the best action movies of 2024.

On VOD and streaming on Netflix.

Also released in 2024, some of which I’ve seen and some of which I still need to catch: 578 Magnum, Argylle, Badland Hunters, Damsel, Hunt the Wicked, Lights Out, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Road House

Rob Hunter: Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.