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The Best Action Movies of 2012

Updated June 14, 2019 1.7k votes 208 voters 12.9k views35 items

List RulesMovies must have been released in 2012.

The best action movies of 2012 kept audiences on their toes, brought impressive special effects and included some of the best action stars of this generation. These 2012 action movies rose above all others and along with the best comedy movies of 2012, made for some of the best movies of the year.

In line with the best action movies of 2011, many of the top 2012 action movies were based on superhero comics. "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" each received praise from critics and fans alike as they earned over a billion dollars in combined box office revenue. Those three, along with "The Hunger Games," were among the top five highest grossing movies of the year.

But not all of the best 2012 action movies involved superheroes though many others did use familiar stories. 2012 featured a number of successful sequels back for another go around. Films like "The Expendables 2," The Bourne Legacy" and "Taken 2" all reintroduced some of our favorite action stars and characters in new adventures. The same goes for remakes with films like "Total Recall," "21 Jump Street" and "Dredd" each providing updated versions of old favorite action movies.

So whether you're a fan of the time-traveling thriller "Looper" or highly anticipating the new Bond film "Skyfall," if you're a fan of action movies, chances are some of your favorites from 2012 are right here. Tell us which you enjoy best by voting for those you love, re-ranking the list your way or adding any not listed all below.
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  • 1
    The Expendables 2
    124
    35

    The Expendables 2

    Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham

    Released2012

    Directed bySimon West

    The Expendables 2 is a 2012 American action film directed by Simon West, and the sequel to the... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    The Dark Knight Rises
    157
    39

    The Dark Knight Rises

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine

    Released2012

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    The Avengers
    150
    66

    The Avengers

    Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans

    Released2012

    Directed byJoss Whedon

    Marvel's The Avengers is a 2012 American superhero film directed by Joss Whedon, based on the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Dredd
    77
    36

    Dredd

    Lena Headey, Karl Urban

    Released2012

    Directed byPete Travis

    Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written and produced... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Looper
    58
    42

    Looper

    Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

    Released2012

    Directed byRian Johnson

    Looper is a 2012 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Rian Johnson. In... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
    65
    48

    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Alan Tudyk

    Released2012

    Directed byTimur Bekmambetov

    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a 2012 American dark fantasy action horror film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
    63
    43

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

    Rachel McAdams, Robert Downey Jr.

    Released2011

    Directed byGuy Ritchie

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a 2011 British-American action mystery film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Lockout
    42
    29

    Lockout

    Maggie Grace, Guy Pearce

    Released2012

    Directed byJames Mather, Stephen St. Leger

    Lockout is a 2012 French science fiction action film directed by James Mather and Stephen... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Resident Evil: Retribution
    34
    34

    Resident Evil: Retribution

    Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter

    Released2012

    Directed byPaul W. S. Anderson

    Resident Evil: Retribution is a 2012 American-Canadian-German science fiction action horror... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    The Bourne Legacy
    40
    33

    The Bourne Legacy

    Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

    Released2012

    Directed byTony Gilroy

    The Bourne Legacy is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Tony Gilroy, and is the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
    73
    55

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson

    Released2014

    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

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  • 12
    Django Unchained
    39
    31

    Django Unchained

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

    Released2012

    Directed byQuentin Tarantino

    Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film directed by Quentin Tarantino.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Skyfall
    103
    73

    Skyfall

    Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2012

    Directed bySam Mendes

    Skyfall is the twenty-third James Bond film produced by Eon Productions. It features Daniel... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Total Recall
    40
    47

    Total Recall

    Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel

    Released2012

    Directed byLen Wiseman

    Total Recall is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Len Wiseman. It is the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Red Dawn
    21
    31

    Red Dawn

    Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutchersonm

    Released2012

    Directed byDan Bradley

    Red Dawn is a 2012 American film directed by Dan Bradley. The screenplay by Carl Ellsworth and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
    30
    36

    Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

    Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba

    Released2011

    Directed byMark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

    Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a 2011 American superhero film directed by Mark Neveldine... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    The Amazing Spider-Man
    50
    50

    The Amazing Spider-Man

    Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone

    Released2012

    Directed byMarc Webb

    The Amazing Spider-Man is a 2012 American superhero film directed by Marc Webb, based on the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Snow White and the Huntsman
    43
    52

    Snow White and the Huntsman

    Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart

    Released2012

    Directed byRupert Sanders

    Snow White and the Huntsman is a 2012 American dark fantasy action film based on the German... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Jack Reacher
    13
    11

    Jack Reacher

    Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall

    Released2012

    Directed byChristopher McQuarrie

    Jack Reacher is a 2012 American thriller film. It is an adaptation of Lee Child's 2005 novel... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    The Raid: Redemption
    32
    43

    The Raid: Redemption

    Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim

    Released2011

    Directed byGareth Evans

    The Raid: Redemption is a 2011 Indonesian martial arts action film directed by Gareth Evans. A... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Men in Black 3
    17
    24

    Men in Black 3

    Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber

    Released2012

    Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld

    Men in Black 3 is a 2012 American 3D comic science fiction-action film directed by Barry... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Underworld: Awakening
    9
    13

    Underworld: Awakening

    Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman

    Released2012

    Directed byMåns Mårlind, Björn Stein

    Underworld: Awakening is a 2012 American 3D action horror film directed by Måns Mårlind and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 23
    Taken 2
    30
    48

    Taken 2

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2012

    Directed byOlivier Megaton

    Taken 2 is a 2012 action drama thriller film written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Premium Rush
    7
    12

    Premium Rush

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Chung

    Released2012

    Directed byDavid Koepp

    Premium Rush is a 2012 American action-thriller film directed by David Koepp and written by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Safe
    7
    20

    Safe

    Jason Statham, Anson Mount

    Released2012

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

    Safe is a 2012 American action crime thriller film directed by Boaz Yakin. Luke Wright (Jason... more on Wikipedia