John Wick: Chapter 2
Keanu Reeves' career renaissance began with John Wick, and it continued with John Wick: Chapter 2. This time, John was blackmailed into fulfilling a debt and killing a key underworld figure. The resulting chaos was another action masterpiece. Now, we can't wait for the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 3!
Hugh Jackman's titular hero is not the biggest badass of Logan. That honor belongs to Dafne Keen's Laura/X-23, who steals every scene with her ferocity. Regardless, Logan was a moving and fitting send-off for Jackman and his fellow X-Men star, Patrick Stewart, after 17 years with the franchise.
99 Luftballons couldn’t hold Charlize Theron down in this intense Cold War action thriller. Atomic Blonde was based on the little known graphic novel, The Coldest City, and it gave Theron her Liam Neeson moment. This was absolutely badass on every level.
The Hitman's Bodyguard
Pairing up Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson made The Hitman's Bodyguard seem more like a farce than a worthy action movie. But this turned out to be a comedy with some absolutely brutal R-rated action. It was an unexpected gem in a year full of terrific action films.
The name "Baby Driver" may fool you into thinking that Edgar Wright's film is for a younger crowd. Despite the somewhat unusual title, this was a refreshingly inventive action movie that simply spoke to us. Having a killer soundtrack didn't hurt at all.
The Fate of the Furious
It's pretty weird that a Point Break ripoff has become one of the most successful action franchises of all time. The Fast and the Furious films just don't slow down, and The Fate of the Furious once again upped the ante for vehicular action. This is why Vin Diesel is still one of our top action stars.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The secret of Marvel's success is that their superhero action flicks borrow from several other genres as well. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was another rollicking good time, but the father-and-son dynamic between Ego, Peter Quill, and even Yondu made it shine. Gamora and Nebula's reconciliation was also very effective, and this movie had enough heart that it could satisfyingly end with the tears of a raccoon.
Conventional wisdom previously held that female superheroes couldn’t hold their own at the box office. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman proved that was incorrect, and may have paved the way for more superheroines on the big screen. The "No Man’s Land" sequence is the standout action sequence here: this is a Wonder Woman we can believe in.
Taika Waititi's first superhero movie is by far the most comedic installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: Ragnarok is also a pretty great action film, with the Thor vs. Hulk battle we've been waiting years to see. The movie's signature sense of humor can be overpowering, but this was still top notch Marvel.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Kingsman: The Secret Service was such a refreshing surprise that there was almost no way that Matthew Vaughn could recapture the same magic with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. And yet what other movie would give Elton John a role as himself and a few key action scenes of his own? Only this one, and that's far from the film's only pleasure.