Worst Action Movies of the Decade
So unless you live in a cave, you might have noticed the year has changed and we have entered a new decade. Then again, if you live in a cave you probably don’t have internet and aren’t reading this. So since my greedy co-writers–I kid (I do not)–already claimed the rights to do the top 10 best, I got stuck with doing the worst. After having subjected myself to some of the worst movies the Aughts brought, and it wasn’t few enough, I ended up with the movies I think are the top 11 worst action movies of the decade. Why top 11? Because here at AOBG we keep shit no holds barred.
Now I have to exclude DTV movies from the main list because otherwise I’d just end up with a list of 11 different Steven Seagal movies. [Editor’s Note: Harsh, man.] So, instead I decided to make a special mention of the single worst DTV movie of the decade. It’s actually a pretty easy call as one Steven Seagal movie really stood out.
Worst DTV Of The Decade: Attack Force
Originally it was supposed to be about Steven Seagal fighting an invading force of vampire space aliens, but this was deemed to fucking awesome for the distributors so they changed the plot, re-shot a lot of footage with stand-in actors and re-dubbed most of Seagal’s dialogue with an actor that sounds more like Martin Sheen than the Sensei. They didn’t even bother to put Seagal on the poster, it’s just his face photoshopped on to a body double.
#11: Babylon A.D.
Back at the beginning of the decade things looked dark for action cinema, it even looked for a moment like Stallone would end up in DTV hell, Bruce Willis was trying to be a serious ack-tore, Seagal had put on a lot of weight and was heading for the cell next to Sly in DTV hell as well, and Van Damme was already there. Then the gods of action shined a light down on us with the 2000 sci-fi action movie Pitch Black and its bulky bald fuel-named hero Vin Diesel. I thought he was the answer to my prayers, but now, 10 years later, he has yet to deliver a single great follow up movie. Sure there have been some good ones (the extended cut of The Chronicles of Riddick and the last Fast & Furious flick) but Diesel went from the John Connor of action cinema to the Ellis of action faster than you can say “Babylon A.D. sucks”.
Diesel realizes what a bad decision making this movie was.
#10: Battlefield Earth
The basic premises of a movie about a post apocalyptic earth ruled by aliens is not a bad one, but the makers of this movie sure as Hell managed to screw it up big time. The film ends up feeling more like a low-budget sci-fi flick from the 50s than the big budget action flick it was intended to be. John Travolta does his worst and most forced overacting to date, as an alien with dreadlocks and the most impressive codpiece since David Bowie in Labyrinth.
The acting is horrible, the bad script overshadows a potentially good story, and the whole idea that a bunch of cavemen could learn to fly jetfighters after a week in a simulator–just awful. All of this combined attributed to the quality of this film in the worst ways possible.
#9: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Why would they name the movie Ecks vs. Sever? Not only do we have no fucking idea who Ecks and Sever are, but it’s also straight up lying as they don’t actually fight against each other–they team up and fight a common enemy! It would be like naming Die Hard: With a Vengeance Die Hard 3: McClane vs. Zeus.
So where did this movie go wrong? It had a pretty good cast and…that’s it I think. Nothing else works. Ballistic is just a series of incoherent action sequences with no real plot and loud annoying techno soundtrack blasting over all of it. The movie also has some of the worst writing I have ever seen. The characters are so underwritten and uninteresting that I cannot even attempt to care what happens to them. In Die Hard you want John McClane to survive, you want him to get back together with is ex-wife! In this film I couldn’t care less who lived and who died, and that is just not fun to watch.
Making movies based on old Saturday morning cartoons is what Michael Bay was born to do. This is because Transformers has everything I associate with Michael Bay, only multiplied by a thousand. He gets to put explosions in practically every scene (I know this sounds awesome, but it’s not), and more importantly he knows people will be going to see the movie for the robots so he can write the plot and characters as shallow as he wants and nobody will care. Except people who like good movies.
Everything is wrong with this movie: the hero is a wimp that I couldn’t care less about. There is so much unnecessary comic relief and with the possible exception of Bernie Mac, nobody is actually funny. The plot is extremely thin, especially when compared to the movie’s running time of well over 2 fucking hours. Of which about an hour probably could (and should) have been cut. There are so many supporting characters you wouldn’t believe it and almost none of whom drive the plot anywhere. In short, it’s a collection of explosions and comic relief that feels like a teen-sex comedy, yet calls itself an action movie.
Originally written back in 1989 as a Chuck Norris vehicle for Cannon Pictures, it took nearly 15 years before Ticker made its way to the silver screen. By then Chuck Norris had been replaced by meth addict and amateur porn star Tom Sizemore, the shooting schedule set to 12 days and the budget to half a million. Directing genius Albert Pyun solved this economic equation by lifting half of the footage from other movies and inserting it into this movie.
It did not work.
[Author’s Note: In the time that has passed since I wrote this I have learned a couple of thing about the production of Ticker that has changed my views on it. No, not the sucking part, the movie still blows and deserves its spot. I have however learned that its director, Albert Pyun, hates it probably even more than me; also the tale of how 6 days into shooting Nu Image revoked the remaining budget and left Pyun to finish the shoot without money. When finished they then removed the film from him and edited it themselves into the “Seagal action film” they wanted, so all the lifted footage is on their capes, not Pyun’s. Pyun himselfexplained this in the commentary track for the DVD that Nu Image never released because of the heavy criticism towards them. Pyun has since released a drastically different Director’s Cut, that amongst other things revealed that the film was actually set in Chicago, but Nu Image changed it to San Fransisco to fit with the footage they had.]
#6: Highlander: Source
Nearly 15 years after the original Highlander movie, Dimension Films and Mirimax delivered what had previously been thought impossible since 1991: a good Highlander sequel. It was called Highlander: Endgame and it was seemingly a worthy end to a franchise that should never have been. Then, 5 years later, a group of smaller, mostly Lithuanian, production companies came together and gave us the awful Highlander: The Source. The movie manages to fuck up the premise of Highlander far worse than even Highlander II: The Quickening did, and it actually made the thought of watching that one again pleasant in comparison. Yes, it is that bad.
#5: AVP: Alien vs. Predator
When this project finally got out of development Hell, everything sounded wonderful. Guillermo del Toro was set to direct and my boner from Blade II still hadn’t gone flaccid. Then things got ugly, del Toro left to make Hellboy and Paul W.S. Anderson was brought in to write and direct the movie, and it turned out just as bad as it possibly could. It feels like they tried to make it more of a horror movie than an action movie, but fails since we don’t care at all about the paper-thin characters we’re supposed to be rooting for. Character depth, motherfuckers! Look it up. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, the real ‘fuck you’ is that they actually had the nerve to give us just one actual predator-vs-alien fight, and after 10 years of waiting, it’s fucking disappointing. Too dark, too stylistic, and too short.
#4: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Someone once said, “less is more.” I’m not sure who it was, but one thing I’m certain of is that it was not director Michael Bay. Because in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen there is only more, more, more. More explosions, more CGI, more robots, a longer running time, more robot balls, more farts jokes. Heck, there is even more fucking dog fucking than in the first movie. The only thing there is less of is unnecessary annoying supporting characters. But then again, the new ones are twice as annoying as the old ones. And when a movie runs for two and a half fucking hours and they should manage to find a better way to solve situations than teleportation and secret government super lasers.
With all the shit they managed to put in the movie I’m disappointed that Bay did not:
#1: Get Will Smith to do a cameo as the President of America. He could be watching the evil robots come down from the sky and be like “Aw, hell naw!”
#2: When they are in the Smithsonian Museum, they really dropped the ball by not having the Enola Gay turn out to be a homosexual stereotype transformer.
#3: Half Past Dead
Believe it or not, Seagal managed to bounce back after Ticker with his 2001 action movie Exit Wounds. Of course the following year he made Half Past Dead. The movie that forever, or at least until Machete, condemned him to collect dust on the shelf in your local movie store.
Seagal had become so fat when this movie came out that all the action is toned down and he never actually fights anyone himself. It is just bad action sequence after bad action sequence, stupid dialogue and stale plot twists. The best of all is that since they changed the movie’s rating to PG-13 in post-production they had to censor the lyrics in the rap songs that make up the soundtrack. Making “Do your motherfucking thing”, “Do your mother. Thing.” There’s just something wrong with action sequences where the blasting soundtrack encourages incest with censored lyrics.
In 2001 someone said, “You know who would make a great action hero? That lacrosse kid from American Pie.” And for some reason someone else agreed with him. And, as easy as that, the greatest crime against humanity had been performed. Think that’s an overreaction? Well then you clearly have never seen Chris Klein acting. This remake is as bad as it is unnecessary, and littered with so many plot holes that I almost believe the writer suffered from short-term memory loss. To top it all off, it has a 10 minute action scene shot completely in night vision. This movie is so bad LL Cool J [Editor’s Note: to reiterate, LL COOL J!] went on television telling people not to watch it when he was no longer required by contract to promote it. [Editor’s Note: What’s worse is that the director was none other than John McTierrnan. What the fuck happened?]
#1: Alone in the Dark
When it came to picking the number one movie for this list I simply asked my self two questions. Does Alone in the Dark qualify as an action movie? And was it released between January 1st 2000 and December 31st 2009? Hmm, yes… Follow-up question: Is Alone in the Dark quite possibly the worst movie ever made? Not surprisingly, the answer here was also a definitive yes. So fuck this sorry excuse for a movie.
They named us number 1?
Making this film even worse is the fact that the original script was not half bad. But when the producers gave Boll a couple of additional millions he spent it all on special effects. This again meant that much of the script was dropped in favor of a long scroll of text at the beginning in an attempt to establish an overview of the plot. And the fact that the extra money went into special effects is hard to determine, as half the time the action scenes are so dark that you cannot see what’s going on. It contains Christian Slater’s most monotone performance to date (an achievement in itself), Tara Reid turns in a less convincing performance than the surgeon that performed her tit-job, and Stephen Dorff not only chews the scenery, he devours it, vomits it out and then eats the puke. If you are going to watch only one Uwe Boll movie, make it anyone but this, no human should ever have to experience this movie–ever.