Entertainment
216 voters

The Best Action Movies of 2012

Updated June 14, 2019 1.5k votes 216 voters 13.2k 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.
...more
  • The Dark Knight Rises1
    158
    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

    More The Dark Knight Rises 

    'The Dark Knight Rises' Is Anti-Revolutionary Corporate Propaganda#106 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • The Avengers2
    150
    37

    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

    More The Avengers 

    Here’s Why It’s Time To Stop Making Fun Of Hawkeye#12 of 166 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made

  • Dredd3
    77
    37

    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

    More Dredd 

    #12 of 112 Movies That Need Sequels#29 of 93 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

  • The Expendables 24
    66
    37

    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

    More The Expendables 2 

    #216 of 261 The Best Ensemble Movies#21 of 41 The Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

  • Looper5
    59
    43

    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

    More Looper 

    #29 of 123 The Best Assassin Movies#6 of 54 The Best Time Loop Movies

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows6
    64
    42

    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

    More Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 

    #237 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks#51 of 95 Great Period Movies Set in the 19th Century

  • Lockout7
    41
    32

    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

    More Lockout 

    #12 of 20 20 Bad Action Movies That Are Actually Good#84 of 114 The Best Prison Movies

  • The Bourne Legacy8
    42
    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

    More The Bourne Legacy 

    The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked#14 of 89 The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives

  • 21 Jump Street9
    44
    40

    21 Jump Street

    Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum

    Released2012

    Directed byPhil Lord, Chris Miller

    21 Jump Street is a 2012 American action comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher...  more

    More 21 Jump Street 

    #262 of 913 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#102 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • Django Unchained10
    41
    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

    More Django Unchained 

    #15 of 91 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories#75 of 400 The Best Western Movies Ever Made

  • Skyfall11
    104
    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

    More Skyfall 

    #187 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies#275 of 450 The Best Movies For Guys

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 112
    73
    54

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson

    Released2014

    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a 2014 American dystopian science fiction adventure...  more

    More The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 

    #202 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#49 of 200 The Best Teen Romance Movies

  • Total Recall13
    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

    More Total Recall 

    #94 of 105 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time#112 of 134 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

  • The Grey14
    31
    42

    The Grey

    Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney

    Released2011

    Directed byJoe Carnahan

    The Grey is a 2011 American survival thriller co-written, produced and directed by Joe...  more

    More The Grey 

    #32 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made#4 of 37 The Best Snowy Thriller Movies, Ranked

  • Jack Reacher15
    13
    4

    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

    More Jack Reacher 

    All the Jack Reacher Books, Ranked Best to Worst#8 of 42 The All-Time Best Tom Cruise Movies

  • Red Dawn16
    21
    30

    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

    More Red Dawn 

    #89 of 99 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time#9 of 14 14 Remakes That Completely Missed The Point Of The Original

  • Snow White and the Huntsman17
    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

    More Snow White and the Huntsman 

    #114 of 126 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time#428 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • The Amazing Spider-Man18
    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

    More The Amazing Spider-Man 

    #391 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made#84 of 97 The Worst Superhero Movies Ever Made

  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter19
    38
    49

    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
  • The Raid: Redemption20
    33
    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

    More The Raid: Redemption 

    #183 of 338 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History#10 of 21 'Die Hard' Ripoffs, Ranked By How Hard They Die

  • The Man with the Iron Fists21
    5
    6

    The Man with the Iron Fists

    Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe

    Released2012

    Directed byRZA

    The Man with the Iron Fists is a 2012 American martial arts film directed by RZA and written...  more

    More The Man with the Iron Fists 

    #107 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies#56 of 100 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Action Movies

  • Men in Black 322
    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

    More Men in Black 3 

    #93 of 186 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made#23 of 136 The Best Third Films In A Movie Series

  • Resident Evil: Retribution23
    20
    35

    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

    More Resident Evil: Retribution 

    The Best Characters in the Resident Evil Franchise, Ranked#27 of 144 The Best Zombie Movies Of All Time

  • Taken 224
    31
    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

    More Taken 2 

    #122 of 154 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made#34 of 101 The Best Kidnapping & Hostage Movies Of All Time, Ranked

  • Underworld: Awakening25
    8
    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
    Amazon buy button