ByRicky Derisz, writer at
Staff Writer at MP. "Holy cow, Rick! I didn't know hanging out with you was making me smarter!"
Ricky Derisz

With both new hits and returning franchises, 2016 has illustrated that the action genre is still thriving; from old-style, no nonsense shootouts, car chases and explosions, to epic, CGI-fuelled disaster blockbusters — this year has had its share of fast-paced moments to remember.

As this list suggests, action can be found in many forms. While some are popcorn-munching, visual feats of destruction, others are more subtle, below-the-surface encounters. Some even manage to find time to add humor into the mix.

If you're unsure whether this year really did pack a punch, let's take a look at the best of 2016's action movies below:

14. Finest Hours

'Finest Hours' [Credit:
'Finest Hours' [Credit:

Release date: January 29

Based on real-life events, Finest Hours is a historical disaster movie based on the rescue of the SS Pendleton by the United States Coast Guard in 1952.

Although fairly straight-forward in terms of storytelling, the talented cast (including Chris Pine and Casey Affleck) provide enough charisma to drive the narrative forward and bring the story to life.

13. Deadpool

Release date: February 12

Ryan Reynolds second yet completely revamped and re-costumed attempt at portraying antihero Wade Wilson was one of the surprise hits of the year, grossing $782.6 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

With razor sharp wit from Reynolds in the titular role, enough X-Men to satisfy the superhero fix and some hilariously brutal fight scenes, is one of the best action movies of the year.

12. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Release date: March 20

Zack Snyder's third DCEU movie came with high expectations thanks to the billing of two of DC's biggest creations in the leading roles. But despite an impressive box office performance, BvS failed to impress critics.

However, while the plot may be disjointed, the action sequences in themselves are worthy viewing — especially the warehouse sequence involving Ben Affleck's Batman. Plus, what's not to like about Batman and Superman fighting it out on the big screen?

11. Captain America: Civil War

'Captain America: Civil War' [Credit: Disney]
'Captain America: Civil War' [Credit: Disney]

Release date: May 6

The DCEU is still playing catch up to Marvel's multi-billion shared universe. The latest Avengers team-up — including the long-awaited return of Spider-Man and introduction of Black Panther — grossed $1.15 billion worldwide, but with the added bonus of critical acclaim.

Introducing Phase Three of the MCU, the surprisingly dark plot of focused on the internal fragmentation of two opposing superhero teams, fronted by Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. To put it simply, this is the superhero genre at the top of its game, and one of the best action movies Marvel has produced.

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10. The Nice Guys

'The Nice Guys' is one of the films of the year [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'The Nice Guys' is one of the films of the year [Credit: Warner Bros.]

Release date: May 20

Shane Black has produced a masterpiece. The Lethal Weapon writer took all the ingredients of a good buddy cop movie, sprinkled them over the sprightly backdrop of 1977 Los Angeles and added two protagonists with an unlikely, compelling chemistry.

With solid action sequences and a quirky plot with all the hallmarks of Black's quick thinking and nuanced dialogue, The Nice Guys could also be one of the best films of 2016, period.

9. X-Men: Apocalypse

Release date: May 27

Like it or not, the cinema industry is saturated with comic book adaptations thanks to their practically guaranteed box office success. Fox's latest X-Men offering, Apocalypse, was critically panned for a bloated plot and lack of real direction, and is certainly one of the weaker instalments of the franchise.

Dark seems to be the theme with superhero films this year, and is no different. However, for anyone who remotely has an appreciation for the team of mutants, there are enough good points to make worthy viewing (in particular, a Quicksilver slow-mo to remember).

8. Central Intelligence

'Central Intelligence' stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart [Credit: New Line Cinema]
'Central Intelligence' stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart [Credit: New Line Cinema]

Release date: June 17

The action-comedy is a surprise hit, helped in part due to the presence and rapport of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in the leading roles. In a similar set-up to 21 Jump Street, two high school friends join forces after one of them becomes a CIA agent, in a mission to save America from terrorists.

The script could be better, but with some adrenaline filled sequences and great performances from Johnson and Hart, Central Intelligence provides an enjoyable explosion of guilt free action.

7. Jason Bourne

Release date: July 29

Bourne is back! Matt Damon returns in the titular role of the amnesiac ass-kicking assassin for the fifth instalment of the franchise, and a sequel to The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).

Although perhaps not packing the same punch as earlier films in the series, Jason Bourne is still guaranteed fun for those who enjoyed previous instalments, and action fans in general, showcasing some intensive fight scenes and high octane action.

6. Blood Father

Mel Gibson stars in 'Blood Father' [Credit: Why Not Productions]
Mel Gibson stars in 'Blood Father' [Credit: Why Not Productions]

Release date: August 26

Admittedly, the prospect of Mel Gibson in a leading role about an ex-con and alcohol addict tackling a brutal, drug-dealing cartel in order to save his daughter might seem like one to miss.

However, the French thriller, directed by Jean-François Richet, exceeds expectations; Gibson illustrates that he still has enough charisma to carry a film, and the action itself is surprisingly awesome. Unfortunately, Gibson no longer has the box office pull he had for his best action movies (no doubt due to his off-screen controversies) and consequently the film only grossed $1.8 million.

5. Deepwater Horizon

Release date: September 30

Six years ago, the Gulf of Mexico was devastated by the worst oil spill in US history, when an oil rig known as Deepwater Horizon sunk to the murky depths of the ocean after a severe blowout caused insurmountable damage to the structure.

Based on these events, Mark Wahlberg plays the leading role of Mike Williams, a crew member who desperately tries to rescue his colleagues in the midst of the mayhem. As well as being visually striking, the film will no doubt stir up debate about those events, seriously tackling a disaster which resulted in the loss of 11 lives.

4. The Accountant

Anna Kendrick and Ben Affleck in 'The Accountant' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
Anna Kendrick and Ben Affleck in 'The Accountant' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

Release date: October 14

Ben Affleck swaps spandex for spreadsheets in The Accountant, the story of a public accountant who also works for criminal gangs on the side. However when working on a legitimate client, he begins to uncover a potential conspiracy, and his life becomes entangled with murderous criminals.

Although the movie hasn't received overwhelming reviews, the plot provides plenty of thrills and keeps quick pace throughout, while Affleck himself is on fine form as the unlikely protagonist, the autistic Christian "Chris" Wolff.

3. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Release date: October 21

Whether you like Tom Cruise or not, there's no denying that the Hollywood A-lister doesn't take the easy option. In Jack Reacher, he performed his own stunts, even taking the wheel during high-speed car-chase sequences, a choice which paid off in authenticity and excitement.

The sequel, Never Go Back, lacks some of the cutting edge, and consequently doesn't live up to the original. However, die hard action fans will enjoy the old school vibe akin to some of the best action movies of the '80s and '90s. Plus, it's Tom Cruise and action. The two are made for each other.

2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

'Rogue One' has impressive action sequences [Credit: Disney]
'Rogue One' has impressive action sequences [Credit: Disney]

Release date: December 16, 2016

Delving further into the vast Star Wars universe, Rogue One is an anthology spinoff which explores the events leading up the original A New Hope (1977). Although closely linked, Gareth Edwards's movie is more akin to a war movie than a sci-fi, with gritty and unflinching action sequences that could be in contention for best of 2016.

Those who aren't huge fans of Star Wars will find something to enjoy with Rogue One, while those already accustomed to the way of the Jedi will find the movie enhances the original trilogy. It's win win.

1. Assassin's Creed

Michael Fassbender stars in 'Assassin's Creed' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Michael Fassbender stars in 'Assassin's Creed' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Release date: December 21, 2016

The Assassin's Creed video game series is immensely popular, so the adaptation is both drenched with anticipation and pressure to live up to expectations. The movie doesn't directly adapt storylines from the series, but is set within the same universe of ancient secret societies.

Bringing the game to life is an A-list cast including Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Michael K. Williams.


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