This article is part of our 2020 return. Follow us and discover the best and most interesting films, shows, performances and more from this very strange year. In this entry, we’re looking for the best action movies of 2020.
While it’s way down the 2020 crime list, it’s been a miserable year for action movies. Some high profile films that most likely deserved a spot on this list have moved by 2021, and many smaller films have not been produced at all. It hasn’t affected all genres, as the plethora of great horror films released in 2020 shows, but action films have taken a real and tangible blow.
What does that mean for a list of the top twenty action films of the year? Well, it means several films have found a spot here that would only have gotten one Honorable Mention in a normal year. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, either, that Netflix landed more spots on the list than its originals would normally secure. So yes, some of them are far from “great” action films, but guess what? They are still the best 2020 has to offer. So read on for the best action movies of 2020!
20. The Beast (Italy)
Italy makes the list for the second year in a row, but while 2019’s Il Primo Re is a brutal piece from the time, it’s more of a contemporary taken-lite. Fabrizio Gifuni plays a military veteran who returned from the war a wounded man, resulting in a separation from his wife and children. When his young daughter is kidnapped, his fatherly instincts return with determined vengeance. Director Ludovico Di Martino delivers a little chase and some mean brawl with a film that is less interested in style, “cool” set pieces or unforgettable battle choreography. Available to stream on Netflix.
19. The outpost
Director Rod Lurie adapted journalist Jake Tapper’s bestseller about US soldiers stationed at one of the most dangerous outposts in Afghanistan, and the result is a compelling action / drama about the longest US war to date. The ensemble is naturally brought to life by character beats (rather than an incessant number of on-screen name introductions), and Lurie finds emotion in the deaths scattered throughout the insurgent onslaught. The low budget leaves viewers hanging out with some ugly digital effects, but the cast (including an amazing Caleb Landry Jones) do a good job so we’ll deal with it anyway. Available to stream on Netflix.
18.Time to hunt (South Korea)
Ten years after the delivery of the award-winning drama Bleak Night (2010), writer / director Yoon Sung-hyun finally returns with a second feature film – and it’s nothing like his first. Its most recent starting gun will come in the near future when a group of young friends are planning and carrying out a robbery to break out of poverty and end up with a merciless killer. It’s overly long and the action is a little too sparse for the duration, but once it hits the run the action is exciting. However, the score and cinematography of the film are even more compelling and make for some attractive action / drama. Available to stream on Netflix.
17. Monster Hunter
Paul WS Anderson is no stranger to making video games fit the big screen, and Monster Hunter (my full review) lands somewhere between his films Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil. It’s a big creature that Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa face off against the big beasts, and it’s fun to be in the slaughter. The movie ends before Act III even starts, and some of the action is processed in a mixer, but it’s a fun change of pace thanks to the carnage and some great CG monsters. Available to rent.
16. Peninsula (South Korea)
2016’s Train to Busan remains the rare genre hybrid that excels as both a horror film and an action film. So it was never fair to expect the sequel to do the same. What Peninsula (my full review) lacks in terror it almost makes up for in its premise that includes a raid during a zombie apocalypse. It gets a little too cute with its protagonists, but the chases and hordes of zombies together make for some fun thrills and CG-based stunts. It’s solid entertainment. Available to rent.