Bad Reactions: The Top 10 Action Movie Disappointments

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
April 10th, 2014

For every action movie that really gets adrenaline pumping, there's a flick that falls short of its promised excitement. The following 10 movies featured strong casts, great marketing campaigns and seemingly interesting premises, which just makes their fatal flaws all the more disappointing.


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10. "The Matrix Revolutions"

The third installment in the Wachowski siblings' cyberpunk trilogy had a lot riding on it. The first film was a cult classic, thanks to its reality bending plot and iconic use of bullet time. The second movie, "The Matrix Reloaded," lost some of the subtlety of the first, but fans hoped that the final film in the trilogy would combine the big-budget special effects of the second film with the thought-provoking elements of the first. Unfortunately, "The Matrix Revolutions" was a convoluted finish to the trilogy. With big questions left unanswered, "The Matrix Revolutions" failed to respect its own premise, instead becoming a generic sci-fi action movie with forgettable explosions.


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9. "Miami Vice"

In this 2006 action movie, director Michael Mann attempted to breathe new life into his 1980s TV crime series about undercover Florida cops. Trying to recycle his own original story into a different medium proved a little tricky for Mann. The movie version plays out like a pale imitation of the TV show, drawing unfortunate comparisons to the slicker, smarter series. While Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell turn in strong performances as Tubbs and Crockett, "Miami Vice" has all the style of the show, but not as much substance. Mann could have benefited from going in a new direction.


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8. "Quantum of Solace"

As the second movie to feature Daniel Craig's taciturn, mysterious James Bond, "Quantum of Solace" is a mostly forgettable film that fails to embrace the qualities fans know and love. Shedding the campy humor of the original Bond films, yet losing the sleekness of the "Casino Royale" remake that put Agent 007 back on the map, "Quantum of Solace" is rambling and aimless. Although a decent action movie overall, it makes a poor addition to the Bond legacy.


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7. "Spider-Man 3"

The third movie in any trilogy has the potential to either tie up the series in a satisfying way or fall flat. Sadly, "Spider-Man 3" opts for the second strategy. The movie is overambitious, attempting to cram too many bad guys and too many battles into a single sitting. Even with its long run time, "Spider-Man 3" fails to resolve the many conflicts it throws at its hapless superhero. While trying to end the series with a bang, director Sam Raimi made "Spider-Man 3" a little too flashy and a little too unfocused.


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6. "Alexander"

Historical action movies are always a gamble. Oliver Stone attempted to turn the exploits of a Macedonian warrior into a contemporary action movie and spared no expense in creating an extravagant, action-packed tribute to Alexander the Great. The finished result is just a few minutes shy of three hours long, trying the patience of even the most dedicated filmgoers. Favoring spectacle over character development, "Alexander" is an action movie that asks too much from its viewers.


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5. "A Good Day to Die Hard"

Bruce Willis' John McClane is one of Hollywood's most easily recognizable and quotable action heroes. Although "A Good Day to Die Hard" tries to extend McClane's legacy, it fails to live up to the high expectations set by the previous films. Fans of the original movies found a lot to nitpick, including a disappointing plot about McClane's son. Viewers who weren't already fans of the series didn't really care about the latest reboot. McClane is a sardonic icon of the 1980s, and he just doesn't translate to the 2010s. 


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4. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"

The true power of the "X-Men" franchise derives from its colorful ensemble cast. This film attempts to capitalize on the overwhelming popularity of Hugh Jackman's gruff, muscle-bound Wolverine, with mixed results. The philosophical questions raised by Bryan Singer's "X-Men" films end up abandoned in favor of a less controlled plot. Despite Jackman's compelling screen presence, the movie doesn't do Wolverine justice.



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3. "Godzilla" (1998)

Godzilla movies rely on a certain level of campy appeal. Roland Emmerich's upgrade of the Japanese monster myth keeps the camp factor, but loses the charm. The action movie ignores its source material, instead relying on a hodgepodge of predictable elements from other blockbuster films of the same era. Improbable scenarios, including Godzilla eggs, plus uninspired acting ensure that the radioactive reptile would be better off in a different film.



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2. "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace"

Fans had to wait over 15 years for this continuation of the beloved "Star Wars" franchise. After viewing the 1999 movie, however, fans probably wished they'd waited a little longer. The prequel focuses on young Anakin Skywalker, taking one of cinema's most intimidating and mysterious villains and turning him into an unimpressive little kid. Clumsy action, corny dialogue and CGI aliens, such as the much-maligned Jar Jar Binks, resulted in some very disappointed fans.



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1. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

At an advancing age, Harrison Ford is as charismatic as ever. However, even the most dashing leading man can't go up against his younger self without drawing unflattering comparisons. Despite staying in great physical shape, Ford's age is on full display in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Trying to shoehorn Ford into the very same action scenes he played in his 30s doesn't work for this cheesy adventure flick, and neither does a confusing plot involving aliens.

Some of these movies were sequels struggling to meet the expectations set by an amazing first film, while others just struck the wrong chord with audiences and critics. Whatever the case, these 10 action movies missed the mark.