It’s easy to let personal disappointment and clouding emotions lead us to respond harshly to bad movies. Whether it tarnishes the name of our favorite franchises, or simply wastes our time, we as an audience pay for our tickets expecting a competently made film, at the very least. By doing a top 10 worst films of the year list, I don’t mean to beat down these films (everyone certainly did plenty of that when they originally came out), but to offer constructive criticism on exactly WHY these films stand out as particularly bad. Criticism is necessary in to properly evaluate a film, and without it, we get the following disappointments bellow.
Number 10- Chappie
I loved District 9, but are we sure that wasn’t a fluke? Neil Blomkamp has been getting by on the critical and commercial success of his original take on the sci-fi genre, but that was 6 years ago. Since then, Elysium came out and was immediately forgotten and he lost his pitch for a reboot to the Alien franchise. But as the first trailers and images began to come out, it looked like Chappie could bring us back to the days when Blomkamp was on top of the science fiction genre. Unfortunately, the film is fairly scattered, with the villains and plot coming straight out of its superior predecessors, Robocop in particular. None of the actors seem to really bring life to their characters, and the appearance by rappers Die Antwoord in particular feels awkward and unnatural. For a film so focused on its protagonist being a living being, Chappie unfortunately stood out as one of the more lifeless and unoriginal films of the year.
Number 9- The Transporter: Refueled
The original Transporter film was by no means a great movie, but it showed off the acting and action talents of Jason Statham and seemed to come out right around the time people really wanted a fun, simple action film. But we’re surrounded by generic action movies now, and the idea of a cool dude in a suit beating up thugs hasn’t been original in a long time. Refueled’s biggest problem then, unsurprisingly, is how little it brings to set itself apart in this crowded genre. New lead Ed Skrein feels like he’s doing a bad Jason Statham impression, Side characters like Ray Stevenson portray tired stereotypes we’ve seen done better in far too many films before, and the story is a typical “man doing a job screwed over” cliché that we saw better in even the worst Transporter films that came out almost a decade ago. All of this could be forgiven if the action was enjoyable, but the tight editing and shots filmed too close up don’t help show the audience what could be well-choreographed fights. No one was asking for another Transporter film, and by the end of Refueled, I doubt Hollywood will make this mistake again.
Number 8- Hitman: Agent 47
A movie based on a Video Game property being bad is unsurprising, to be sure, but to Hitman’s credit, the film does at least begin with a neat twist on the property, placing central character Agent 47 as the villain, an unstoppable killing machine out to murder our lead hero. Then, less than minutes later, the rug is pulled out from under us and the only original thought this movie had goes away, replacing anything original with a D-grade action flick. And while the films problems range from shallow characters, bad editing and a script that somehow manages to be both simple and overly complicated, the biggest sin against Hitman is that its just boring. I’m not mad that this was a bad film, but could enough effort have at least been put in so that it wasn’t as unsurprising?
Number 7- Jurassic World
I expect that I’ll receive a great deal of criticism from this choice, but I’m sorry: Jurassic world, while still being better then 2 or 3, is not a good film. Its characters are too generic and uninteresting, making us invest less in the action. The dinosaurs look worse then ever, which is all the more inexcusable for how well the practical effects from the first film still hold up today. The new Indominus Rex creature was uninspired in its design, as well as completely random and improvised in its set of scene-specific abilities. I can see the appeal of the films final fight scene, pitting the Indominus Rex against the original T-Rex and a raptor, but that’s still only a fun 2 minutes in a 2 hour movie that feels at best uninspired, and at worst like it doesn’t even enjoy being a Jurassic Park film. Yes, the franchise has come back from bad sequels like 2 and 3, and has now moved up into the realm of generic summer blockbusters. But for a franchise that started from a film notable for being as smart as it was action packed, it’s not a stretch to say we deserved better.
Number 6- Terminator Genisys
Can someone go back in time and take out whoevers decision it was to keep making Terminator films? The original was an innovative and original new Sci Fi flick, and Judgment Day remains one of the best sequels ever made, ending in a way that prevents further sequels from being made. But where there’s a will, there’s a way for Hollywood to exploit fanboys for cash, starting with the lackluster Rise of the Machines, the tame and forgettable Salvation, and finally leading us to Genisys. What was presented like an original reboot of the franchise ends up rewriting and insulting on the legacy set by the original 2 films, adding further insult to injury. Even talented actors like Matt Smith, Jason Clarke and Emilia Clarke aren’t able to make such a poorly written script interesting. Paramount tried to show this old dog still had some life in it, but it’s long since been time to Old Yeller this franchise back into its own permanent termination.
Number 5- Pixels
My generation grew up with the fall of Adam Sandler, with bellow average films like Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds and Click showing that whatever magic Sandler had captured in earlier efforts like the Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore had long since gone away. But to take the idea of Pixels, a fun YouTube short that could have made for a fun film, and turn it into a long, unfunny mess is inexcusable. Not a single laugh is to be had here, with jokes ranging from distasteful to unfunny, characters being shallow stereotypes or offensive caricatures, and the actual video game characters the film should be centered on taking a backseat to Sandler’s brand of comedy that stopped being funny for anyone over the age of 12. What’s worse is the rampant sexism inherent throughout the film, with the female lead being called a bitch throughout the film for not falling for Sandler, and a woman literally being used as a trophy in the finale. Pixels wouldn’t have been surprising as another bad video game movie, but somehow Sandler managed to lower the bar even further.
Number 4- Taken 3
I’ll say it: I think Taken was one of the worst decisions Liam Neeson ever made. Sure, it made money and was an enjoyable action flick, but ever since then it seems that’s the only type of movie he’ll star in, when before he would give fantastic performances as everything from Ra’s al Guhl in Batman begins to his Oscar nomination as Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. Taken 3’s tagline warns audiences that “It Ends Here”, but what “it” turns out to be is quality, as Taken 3 takes the now familiar formula of a man out for revenge and sucks all the life out of it. Neeson seems uninterested in the role, as tired by the material as the audience, and even newcomers like Forrest Whitaker cant make a script this forced feel natural, or even so bad it’s funny. Like other films on this list, Taken 3 is another action film that’s sinned by being offensively boring, but with the added negative of frankly feeling forced and unnecessary. Be warned: it is your money and time that end up being taken.
Number 3- Spectre
Remember Casino Royale? Yeah, that was a great reinvention of what James Bond could be, making a realistic angle on the spy film, and featuring a great love story between Daniel Craig and Eva Green. Wouldn’t it be awful if they made a sequel that tried and failed to be both this new serious Bond, but also the cheesy, sexist, silly Bond’s of the past? It be way too long, Bond would have a scene where he sexually assaults a widower on the day of her husband’s funeral, and it would be littered with logic and character problems throughout. Man, that would be a really awful thing to happen to the bond franchise, especially if the previous film would be pretty good too. Oh, wait, all of this did happen; its called Spectre, and it’s the worst thing to happen to the bond franchise since Roger Moore, and hopefully a sign that the people behind the Bond name need to rethink their approach.
Number 2- Jupiter Ascending
I think it’s important that we as a movie going audience try and encourage Hollywood to create more original films…just, not like this. The newest Wachowski siblings’ film is a Phantom-Menace level bad film, sharing most of the same problems like exposition-heavy dialogue, long fight scenes with characters we don’t care about, a bad love story, and an over-reliance on bad CGI. None of the actors are allowed to have fun with their roles, and the 2 hour run time moves at a snails pace, giving ample time to see how unnatural all of the characters and dialogue really feels. Special mention needs to be made of Eddie Redmayne, whose portrayal of villain Balem Abrasax switches constantly between wheezing quiet bad guy and a screaming, overacting drama queen. The Wachowski’s were once known for creating one of the best Science fiction film with the Matrix; it’s ironic then that they are also responsible for the most insultingly bad science fiction film, showing just how far down the bottom of the barrel goes.
Number 1- Fantastic Four
Regardless of who was truly responsible for the final product, with Director Josh Trank and Fox fighting between one another before the films release, everyone is at fault on this one. A rare super hero film that doesn’t want to be a Super Hero film until the last 10 minutes, every story beat feels unnatural, every performance hollow, every action scene a snore and every decision made by writers a mistake. No one comes out of this film unscathed, and even the films short 100-minute runtime has a good 45-50 minutes you could cut. Fox did nothing to hide that it was making this movie only to keep the legal rights of the property, and it comes off exactly like the shallow, soulless corporate cash-grab that many accused it of being. The lack of effort and complete disregard to the fans of this franchise, as well as movies in general, makes Fantastic Four not only the worst film of the year, but among some of the worst of all time.