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Action movies we love to hate

  • Action movies we love to hate

    They’re big. They’re bad. They’re occasionally bloody. They’re the action movies people love to hate, and they’re stinking up a nearby TV or streaming device this very minute. To clarify, these are the movies that people went to see—and continue to watch—in droves, despite abysmal ratings and reviews. Some people tune in because they’re loyal to certain franchises and don’t care what the critics think. Other people watch because they love cheesy action movies. Some viewers are lured in by clever marketing and omnipresent hype. And then there are the folks who just ran out of better things to watch. As a result of these committed viewers, each respective movie is well known and widely seen.

    Stacker is doing its part to celebrate cinema’s guiltiest of pleasures: The cheesy action film. The top 50 action English-language movies that people love to hate are listed, using IMDb ratings as the source. Each movie on the list needed at 75,000 votes to qualify, and in the case of a tie, the movie with more votes ranked higher—which in this case means it was the worst of the batch. It should be noted that only 629 action movies crossed the 75,000 vote threshold, thereby representing a mere 5% of the total 12,084 films in the action genre. Counting down from the best—relatively speaking, that is—to the worst, here are the top 50 action movies we love to hate.

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  • #50. AVP: Alien vs. Predator

    Release year: 2004

    IMDb rating: 5.6

    IMDb votes: 164,592

    It sounds like a match made in action film heaven: Two of cinema’s most terrifying extraterrestrial beings fighting for world domination here on Earth. Alas, the result was a fairly mediocre series of empty spectacles, though “AVP: Alien vs. Predator” does retain a number of loyal fans. It’s thanks to those very same fans that the movie overperformed at the box office, and even yielded a sequel, which may or may not appear later on the list.  

  • #49. Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

    Release year: 2007

    IMDb rating: 5.6

    IMDb votes: 231,570

    Years before 2015’s “Fantastic Four”—more on that in a minute—ruined a beloved comic book franchise, this 2007 installment put its own respective nail in the coffin. Some blame the casting, others blame the bad costumes and special effects. Of course, there’s also the less-than-stellar writing and directing to consider. Thankfully, actor Chris Evans—who tackles the role of Johnny Torch—didn’t let the experience turn him off to playing superheroes for good.


  • #48. Green Lantern

    Release year: 2011

    IMDb rating: 5.6

    IMDb votes: 244,605

    Speaking of actors who starred in subpar superhero movies before redeeming themselves through a later role, 2011’s “Green Lantern” stars Ryan Reynolds as the title character, an all-powerful pilot in possession of an alien ring. The movie was so famously bad upon its release that it temporarily derailed Reynolds’ promising career. It’s then no wonder that he’s never seen the finished product.

  • #47. The Core

    Release year: 2003

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 83,743

    Earth is in the midst of catastrophe and it’s up to a team of scientists to save the day in this 2003 action flick, which stars Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, and Delroy Lindo among others. The planet’s core has stopped spinning, and the scientists must put it back in motion before total annihilation ensues. Despite the dramatic premise, the movie delivers plenty of laughs and a B-movie tonality, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Whether or not the laughs are intentional isn’t exactly clear, but that appears to add to the movie’s campy charm.

  • #46. Spy Kids

    Release year: 2001

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 95,154

    Here’s a movie that was arguably embraced by both critics and fans when it debuted in 2001, but hasn’t necessarily aged well. In the film, the son and daughter to a pair of secret agents must become spies themselves in order to save mom and dad from the clutches of an evil villain named Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). As to why the movie is arguably reviled nowadays, it might have something to do with the string sequels that followed, which possibly drew retroactive attention to the flaws in the original.   

  • #45. Pompeii

    Release year: 2014

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 96,694

    Big-budget disaster movies are commonly skewered by critics and audiences, and 2014’s “Pompeii” was no exception. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson—who’s synonymous with a slew of cheesy action flicks, plenty of which are on this list—the movie takes place during the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. Can a bold gladiator named Milo (Kit Harington) save his beloved Cassia (Emily Browning) from the clutches of a corrupt Roman senator (Kiefer Sutherland) before they all perish in the crumbling city of Pompeii? 

  • #44. Judge Dredd

    Release year: 1995

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 98,927

    Long before Marvel perfected the art of comic book adaptations, Sylvester Stallone played the title role in this 1995 box office bomb. The film takes place in a futuristic society where every respective judge is also a jury and executioner rolled into one—or as Judge Dredd so eloquently puts it: “I am the law!” After Judge Dredd is framed for a crime he didn’t commit, he must prove his innocence or perish in exile. Providing comic relief is actor Rob Schneider.

  • #43. The Bounty Hunter

    Release year: 2010

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 108,114

    Despite an abysmal rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this comedy-action movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler performed surprisingly well at the worldwide box office. Putting a romantic twist on movies like “Midnight Run,” the film sees Butler playing a bounty hunter, whose next target is his ex-wife (Aniston). Soon enough, the bickering pair finds themselves on the run from ruthless killers. An anemic amount of hilarity ensues.  

  • #42. The Scorpion King

    Release year: 2002

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 115,510

    Representing a prequel to both “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns,” 2002’s “The Scorpion King” tells the story of its title character (Dwayne Johnson), a warrior who leads a desert army against an evil king. While the action movie is more or less the quintessence of camp, it did well enough at the box office to yield a number of direct-to-DVD sequels. Meanwhile, the story was loosely inspired by a real-life Scorpion King from the predynastic period of ancient Egypt.

  • #41. Æon Flux

    Release year: 2005

    IMDb rating: 5.5

    IMDb votes: 117,074

    What began as an innovative animated segment on MTV’s “Liquid Television” eventually became this somewhat tame live-action movie in 2005. Actress Charlize Theron tackles the lead role: a mysterious and highly capable assassin who uncovers a major conspiracy while hunting down her latest target. For those who completely felt let down by the film, there is hope yet, in the form of a newly announced live-action series on MTV.