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The Best Action Movies of 2012

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No. 5. Skyfall

Sam Mendes takes James Bond to a whole new level with Skyfall, a dark and very personal Bond flick that ends with a massive and memorable shootout. There are a few parts that don’t make sense (wait, so the bad guy’s plan was to get caught so he could simply burst into a courtroom to shoot M later on?), but Skyfall gets better on each repeated viewing.

No. 4. Django Unchained

Just when you think you’ve seen the best that Quentin Tarantino has to offer, the quirky filmmaker comes along and gives audiences his most accessible movie yet – an ultraviolent and ultra-entertaining western that not only features the director’s trademark dialogue but also some superbly done, and superbly satisfying, action sequences.

No. 3. The Dark Knight Rises

The movie is not without its flaws. And some glaring plot holes. And yet, thanks to an epic, insanely loud score by Hans Zimmer and a story that taps into some of the best Batman arcs of all time, The Dark Knight Rises is still a massively entertaining action movie that works on many levels.

No. 2. The Raid: Redemption

I’m not entirely certain (actually, I am) that any man could survive the amount of beatings, shootings and stabbings the protagonist in The Raid: Redemption is subjected to, but… oh well. One of the most brutal action movies in recent memory, this movie is a non-stop, slick and violent thriller that delivers on all fronts. Who cares that it is in another language?

No. 1. The Avengers

I remained a skeptic long after most other moviegoers were going silly over anticipation for The Avengers, the massive production that represented the culmination of several “smaller” prequels and years of patience. Joss Whedon defied expectations with a large, loud and thoroughly entertaining action film that somehow managed to bring the likes of Tony Stark together with a Scandinavian god and a green mutated monster. It may not be the deepest of films, but The Avengers is the most entertaining action movie of 2012.

BONUS: Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty isn’t technically an action movie, as much of the film is devoted to talking, analysis and other procedural things. But beyond the overall tense nature of the film, the detailed raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound is one of the most heart-pounding and exciting action sequences of the year – even though you know exactly what is going to happen (spoiler: he dies).

See our full list of the best action movies of 2012.

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By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, Movies
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