- Mile 22: For the second year in a row, Mark Wahlberg is the star of the worst movie I saw in 2018. Mile 22 is the latest collaboration between Wahlberg and Peter Berg but it seems like without the shackles of reality that grounded movies like Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, their absolute worst tendencies have been unleashed. Wahlberg is at his absolute most unlikeable as the leader of a CIA black ops team and also spouting what I like to call “CoD Politics” in the movie’s framing device of a post-mission debriefing where he’s just saying empty aphorisms about the power of one man and the failings of governments. The action is horribly shot and lacks any creativity and the plot is by the numbers. The movie’s greatest sin, however, is the complete wasting of the incredible Iko Uwais, who is literally handcuffed for most of the movie, preventing him from engaging in the brutal and amazing martial arts action he’s become known for since The Raid.
- The Predator: Shane Black returning to a franchise he co-starred in and that desperately needed some new ideas seemed like a sure thing but The Predator was steaming mess that will probably kill the franchise once and for all. Despite being written by Shane Black and his frequent collaborator Fred Dekker, the movie lacks any of the wit and humor of previous Black movies like The Nice Guys or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and is more like a 12 year old who just heard the F-word for the first time and starts using it for every other word until it loses all meaning or impact. All the characters sound the same and act the same outside some extremely outdated quirks and the movie has no focus, following and then dropping plots at seemingly random until we get one of the most horrifically edited climaxes in recent history where most people had to look up and discuss online afterward if a main character actually did die as abruptly and stupidly as it seemed.
- The Equalizer 2: The Equalizer was an extremely solid in the “Bad Ass Denzel” genre when it came out and it seemed like The Equalizer 2 would be as well but it was a boring and disappointing follow-up to the first movie. There’s seemingly no urgency to Denzel’s quest to avenge a friend, as he takes constant detours to help people in his neighborhood and dispense life lessons and the person behind everything is so transparent from the beginning that it makes the movie seem like it takes forever as Denzel slowly pieces together the clues. The action and style are also a huge step down from the original, there’s nothing like the ultimate “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions” scene from the first and Robert McCall’s Guy Ritchieesque ability to analyze the entire room before attacking is also barely used as well. The finale tries something different with a battle during a hurricane but it’s barely above what was in The Hurricane Heist.
- Escape Plan 2: The biggest liar of the year, Escape Plan 2 slaps Stallone and Dave Bautista as the headliners of the sequel to the first Escape Plan but they are both, in reality, barely in the movie. Stallone’s Ray Breslin has moved behind the desk and most of the movie is handled by his protege Shu, played by martial arts actor Huang Xiaoming. The move from theatrical to On Demand release is also extremely apparent, as there’s really only one set for most of the movie and it’s a barebones cement pit. The lack of Arnold is also a huge negative against the movie, as the Arnold/Stallone team-up that had been promised for decades was finally realized in the first movie and that buddy cop dynamic is completely gone, as Bautista goes off on his own for 90% of the movie and he and Stallone only have about 1 1/2 scenes together. The movie is also almost entirely build up for the upcoming third movie in the series that I know have pretty much no interest in and ends on one of the most abrupt and unsatisfying endings of the year.
- Hunter Killer: Hunter Killer is like the Doctor Thunder to a Tom Clancy movie’s Dr Pepper. A knock-off of about a half-dozen movies, including Clancy’s Hunt for Red October, the movie puts it’s overly talented cast through a plot where you’ll predict how things end about 10-15 minutes in and doesn’t do anything to distinguish itself or offer any creativity whatsoever, even ripping off scenes from movies that came out the same year like Mission: Impossible Fallout. The only redeeming factors are Toby Stephens as the grumpy SEAL team leader and Gerard Butler’s hilarious attempts to prove he’s just a regular guy to his crew.
- Sicario: Day of the Soldado: Probably the most disappointing movie of the year but better quality than everything else here. It lacked all the interesting morality and tension of the original and turned into a generic action movie where we now we’re supposed to root for two of the most reprehensible characters in recent memory against a Steven Seagalesque conspiracy involving Somali pirates smuggling ISIS terrorists into Mexico so the drug cartels could smuggle them across the border.
- Den of Thieves: All due respect to How Did This Get Made?, who love this movie, but over 2 1/2 hours of dudebros get into each other’s faces and acting like coked-up douchebags is too much for me and it’s illusions of grandeur that it’s the 2010’s version of Heat are ludicrous at best. If this had been a tight 90 minutes though, I would be fully in the “this is awesomely terrible” camp.
- The Cloverfield Paradox: The shine of a surprise Super Bowl drop wore off quickly when The Cloverfield Paradox turned out to be a pretty generic space horror movie that, despite an overly qualified cast, didn’t really do anything new or exciting in the genre and had one of the worst endings of the year with it’s non-sensical and stupid attempt to tie into the previous Cloverfield films. This thing is not worth any of the effort Cloverfield fans put in trying to figure out how everything ties in together.