There were a lot of mediocre movies in 2016, most of them during the summer, but here are the 10 that were the worst and/or most disappointing.
- Criminal: Kevin Costner has been trying to get into the “old guy kicking ass” territory that Liam Neeson dominates but every attempt has been terrible and this one is the worst so far. Assembling a mind boggling cast that includes Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Scott Adkins, Gal Gadot and Alice Eve, none of them get to do anything interesting. The movie also wastes it’s potentially goofy “Face/Off” style premise with self serious sap and Costner, even with Reynolds emotions in his brain, is an ulikeable asshole for the entire film. Costner should probably just stick to weird DCEU cameos at this point.
- Contract to Kill: Steven Seagal has had some goofy fun movies in recent years, like playing the villain in the first Machete or the Walker, Texas Rangeresque cheese of True Justice but Contract to Kill is all of his worst recent tendencies taken to their extremes. There’s literally a fight scene in this movie where Seagal doesn’t get up from a chair and most of the movie is long, baffling monologues that sound more like briefings he would give his BFF Putin than actual movie dialogue.
- Ben-Hur: There have been a lot of unnecessary reboots over the last few years but this may be the most unnecessary one ever as Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov puts a bland, overly long spin on the Charlton Heston classic but it’s inferior to it in almost every way. Even with today’s technology, the climactic chariot race lacks the emotion and visceral thrill of the original and the only real advantage this one has is a shorter runtime if you are crunched for movie viewing time.
- X-Men: Apocalypse: Much like The Last Stand, the third entry in the new X-Men prequel trilogy was a mess where the constant decade jumping makes absolutely no sense, the timeline is pretty much incomprehensible and the main villain is more goofy than scary with Oscar Issac buried under Ivan ooze makeup and adopting a bizarre old man voice (LEARRRNNNING!). It was also painfully clear that Jennifer Lawrence is fed up with these movies, as Mystique is in normal guise for 90% of the film and most of the new characters are given half assed or, in the case of miscast Olivia Munn as Psylocke, no back story or explanation.
- Batman: The Killing Joke: This should have been the best DC Animated movie yet based on one of the most classic Batman stories ever but second-rate animation and the bizarre and unnecessary Batgirl prologue make this one of the lesser animated efforts instead. Even Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill back can’t save this one, do yourself a favor and watch Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders instead for some fun animated Bat-action.
- Sausage Party: Just bizarre almost from the get go, Sausage Party feels like an inside joke between Seth Rogen and his friends that none of us are in on and is based around stoner philosophizing about the nature of religion. Besides Danny McBride and Nick Kroll, none of the characters are particularly interesting and some are bizarrely outdated stereotypes and I didn’t really get any laughs from any of it. It also kind of doesn’t have an ending, instead just settling for a baffling meta joke.
- Hard Target 2: I love Scott Adkins, you love Scott Adkins but there’s a lot of pressure when you are proclaiming yourself a sequel to one of the greatest action movies ever and Hard Target 2 fails to deliver. It might as well have called itself a reboot, as nothing from the first movie, besides a few props or visual cues, carries over and it’s just about as generic an action movie as you can get but at least, unlike Criminal, Scott Adkins actually gets to fight in this one.
- Now You See Me 2: I was a fan of about 90% of the first Now You See Me until the unearned and nonsensical twist ending but Now You See Me 2 seems to take the stupidity of that ending run with it. Despite trying to be bigger and better, everything about this movie is worse than the first and it doesn’t even have the common heist movie decency to explain how the Four Horsemen pull off most of their tricks, unlike the first where Morgan Freeman came in and let the FBI know what’s really going on and none of the tricks are that cool or interesting either. Speaking of Freeman, if you thought the twist with Mark Ruffalo in the first made no sense, get ready for more of that here as there’s a secret connection between the two of them that is as stupid as it is inexplicable.
- Gods of Egypt: The fact that the Lionsgate spent over $140 million on this movie is absolutely baffling, as it’s just an insane disaster where Gerard Butler makes Sean Connery’s Ramirez from Highlander look somehow more authentically Egyptian and everything is just a CG mess, like when Geoffrey Rush is in space fighting a giant cloud worm that is the representation of Chaos. The only saving grace is that it could be a fun drunk watch if you have a group of friends but it’s a rough time sober.
- Ratchet & Clank: I feel like this movie’s dad when I say I’m not mad, just disappointed. I’ve loved every Ratchet game since the PS2 and was hugely looking forward to the movie, especially since the game’s voice cast was reprising their role. Unfortunately this movie feels like one those Youtube clips where someone makes a “movie” out of a game’s cutscenes but there are chunks missing because they edited out the hour or so of gameplay in between. The flip side to this is that the game is phenomenal and (spoiler alert for tomorrow’s Top 10) is one of the best games of 2016 so this movie is pretty much pointless.
I’m like the J. Jonah Jameson of Everything Action, writing and editing and constantly demanding pictures of Spider-Man.