Top 10 Action Movies of 2011

2011's action films were a mixed bag of tricks and treats for movie audiences and genre fans. A few of the more anticipated releases failed to impress, yet there were enough films released in theaters to make it a decent year for action fans.

Here are my picks for the best action films of 2011. Please feel free to disagree.

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'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'

© Paramount Pictures
Starring: Jeremy Renner Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

did so and still earned the title of the Best Action Film of 2011. A two-hour white knuckle roller coaster ride that doesn't neglect plot for action scenes, this fourth film of the blockbuster franchise proves A) there is indeed still life in the series and B) Tom Cruise still has what it takes to be an action star.

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Hanna. © Focus Features
Starring: Eric Bana Cate Blanchett Saoirse Ronan Directed by Joe Wright Atonement Hanna Hanna MPAA Hanna

is the dark fairy tale/action film Wright wanted to deliver to audiences.

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Thor. © Paramount Pictures

Kenneth Branagh, an actor and filmmaker not known for working in the action genre, helmed this big screen introduction of the hammer-wielding god, Thor, and not only pulled off a film that satisfied comic book fans but also made an entertaining action comedy for those of us not into comics. As I said in my review, this is a superhero film "that's fun and that never takes itself too terribly serious while still treating the source material with respect."

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'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. © Warner Bros Pictures
Starring: Emma Watson Rupert Grint Ralph Fiennes Harry Potter series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Deathly Hallows Part 1 Deathly Hallows Part 2 J.K. Rowling's

kid wizard series. The heart-stopping fight scenes have you holding on tight to your armrests, and Warner Bros and director David Yates see the series off with a finale that exceeds expectations.

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Drive. © FilmDistrict
Starring: Ryan Gosling Carey Mulligan Drive Like fairy tales

Refn doesn't believe there's a set-in-stone limit as to how much violence a filmmaker can include before they've gone too far. "It’s just about how you do it," explained Winding Refn. "But, you must understand that violence is only a tool. If it’s used badly, it will be horrible. If it’s used correctly, it can be very interesting. But, essentially, it’s just a tool."

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Warrior. © Lionsgate Films
Starring: Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Mixed Martial Arts Warrior Warrior

is the best film ever made about the sport. The scenes in the ring will have you flinching in pain along with the combatants on screen.

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'Attack the Block'

Attack the Block
Attack the Block. © Screen Gems

Starring:alien film vision from other invasion moviesAttack the Block

is funny yet Cornish doesn't shy away from showing off guts and gore. Overall, it's a low-budget sci-fi that outdoes its big studio counterparts.

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'X-Men: First Class'

X-Men First Class
X-Men First Class. © 20th Century Fox

Starring: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, and January Jones

Although the film had some diehard fans up in arms for playing a little loose with the origin story, X-Men: First Class did manage to revive a franchise after a very disappointing X-Men:The last stand. By going back to the 1960s to serve up an origin story, X-Men: First Class provided audiences unfamiliar with the comics the basics of how our favorite mutants got to be the characters we've loved or hated in the three X-Men movies.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, this X-Men featured some terrific CG action scenes as well as practical stunt work.

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'Source Code'

Source Code
Source Code. © Summit Entertainment
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal Michelle Monaghan Source Code Source Code

isn't just for action fans but instead crosses over to draw him sci-fi and romance fans.

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'Super 8'

Super 8
Super 8. © Paramount Pictures
Starring: Super 8 Steven Spielberg's

world of the 1970s, with first-rate alien effects and top-notch acting by a mostly unknown cast of youngsters. Everything director J.J. Abrams wanted to accomplish with this homage to Spielberg, he did - creating a film that's just plain fun to watch.

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The Top Action Films at the Box Office in 2011

The best performing action films at the box office for 2011 were:

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon, 3) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 4) Fast Five, 5) Thor, 6) Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 7) Captain America, 8) X-Men: First Class, 9) , and 10) Green Lantern