50 Worst Action Movies of All Time

December 20, 2017 by John Harrington

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Action movies historically have not relied on strong acting, subtle plot development, period costumes, or memorable songs to keep their audiences engaged. Action films usually lean on a riveting plot, a charismatic hero, a despised villain, and plenty of action. That’s why good action films such as “Die Hard” with Bruce Willis or the early “Rocky” movies with Sylvester Stallone commanded such large audiences.

Many action movies are released in the summer because studios know that’s the time of year audiences are most receptive to escapist films. Long after their release, many of these films remain among the most-watched movies of all time, as evidenced by the huge following for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series.

Click here to see the 50 worst action movies of all time.

Action movies don’t get much respect from critics, so it’s not surprising that critics’ reviews diverge from the opinion of moviegoers. Critics disliked the Rambo series starring Sylvester Stallone, but the movies have been box office gold, pulling in $691.7 million, adjusted for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.

Because action movies are difficult to film, they are often expensive productions, with many films depending on computer-generated imagery to create convincing action. Action scenes rely on a director’s understanding of spatial relationships – between the actors themselves and between the actors and the scenery – and on how long a scene should last.

Of course, a bad action movie can be cringeworthy, perhaps more so than any other genre, if the plot isn’t believable, the special effects are lacking, or the characters are miscast.

To determine the worst action movies of all time, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 10,000 total user ratings between IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews, and be classified as an action film by IMDb.

Items included on this list were selected based exclusively on this methodology. This article includes affiliate links, and 24/7 Wall St. may get a share of the revenue from sales.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

50. Whiteout
> Year released: 2009
> Director: Dominic Sena
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

49. The Last Airbender
> Year released: 2010
> Director: M. Night Shyamalan
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

48. Blankman
> Year released: 1994
> Director: Mike Binder
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier, Robin Givens

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

47. Fantastic Four
> Year released: 2015
> Director: Josh Trank
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan

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Source: Courtesy of XLrator Media

46. The Human Race
> Year released: 2013
> Director: Paul Hough
> Secondary genre: Horror
> Top actors: Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee, Trista Robinson

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

45. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
> Year released: 2015
> Director: Andy Fickman
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Eduardo Verástegui

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Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

44. The Pyramid
> Year released: 2014
> Director: Grégory Levasseur
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

43. Stroker Ace
> Year released: 1983
> Director: Hal Needham
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jim Nabors

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

42. Dragonball: Evolution
> Year released: 2009
> Director: James Wong
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Yun-Fat Chow

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

41. Howard the Duck
> Year released: 1986
> Director: Willard Huyck
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

40. The Mod Squad
> Year released: 1999
> Director: Scott Silver
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Claire Danes, Omar Epps, Giovanni Ribisi

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Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

39. The Prince
> Year released: 2014
> Director: Brian A. Miller
> Secondary genre: Thriller
> Top actors: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, John Cusack

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

38. Supergirl
> Year released: 1984
> Director: Jeannot Szwarc
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O’Toole

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

37. Species II
> Year released: 1998
> Director: Peter Medak
> Secondary genre: Horror
> Top actors: Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger

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Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

36. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
> Year released: 2009
> Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

35. On Deadly Ground
> Year released: 1994
> Director: Steven Seagal
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Steven Seagal, Michael Caine, Joan Chen

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

34. Cannonball Run II
> Year released: 1984
> Director: Hal Needham
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Frank Sinatra

Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

33. RoboCop 3
> Year released: 1993
> Director: Fred Dekker
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen, Mario Machado

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

32. Speed 2: Cruise Control
> Year released: 1997
> Director: Jan de Bont
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

31. No Holds Barred
> Year released: 1989
> Director: Thomas J. Wright
> Secondary genre: Sport
> Top actors: Hulk Hogan, Joan Severance, Kurt Fuller

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

30. A Sound of Thunder
> Year released: 2005
> Director: Peter Hyams
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Edward Burns, Ben Kingsley, Catherine McCormack

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Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

29. Universal Soldier: The Return
> Year released: 1999
> Director: Mic Rodgers
> Secondary genre: Sci-Fi
> Top actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bill Goldberg, Heidi Schanz

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

28. McHale’s Navy
> Year released: 1997
> Director: Bryan Spicer
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Tom Arnold, Dean Stockwell, Ernest Borgnine

Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

27. The Legend of Hercules
> Year released: 2014
> Director: Renny Harlin
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

26. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
> Year released: 1987
> Director: Sidney J. Furie
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

25. Double Dragon
> Year released: 1994
> Director: James Yukich
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Robert Patrick, Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf

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Source: Courtesy of Freestyle Releasing

24. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
> Year released: 2007
> Director: Uwe Boll
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

23. Dungeons & Dragons
> Year released: 2000
> Director: Courtney Solomon
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Justin Whalin, Jeremy Irons, Zoe McLellan

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

22. Wing Commander
> Year released: 1999
> Director: Chris Roberts
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, Saffron Burrows

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

21. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
> Year released: 1997
> Director: John R. Leonetti
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, James Remar

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

20. Vice
> Year released: 2015
> Director: Brian A. Miller
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Thomas Jane, Bruce Willis, Ambyr Childers

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

19. Street Fighter
> Year released: 1994
> Director: Steven E. de Souza
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

18. Catwoman
> Year released: 2004
> Director: Pitof
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

17. The Avengers
> Year released: 1998
> Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery

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Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

16. Barb Wire
> Year released: 1996
> Director: David Hogan
> Secondary genre: Sci-Fi
> Top actors: Pamela Anderson, Amir AboulEla, Adriana Alexander

Source: Courtesy of Boll KG Productions

15. BloodRayne
> Year released: 2005
> Director: Uwe Boll
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Kristanna Loken, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Rodriguez

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Source: Courtesy of After Dark Films

14. Echelon Conspiracy
> Year released: 2009
> Director: Greg Marcks
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Shane West, Edward Burns, Ving Rhames

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

13. Mr. Nanny
> Year released: 1993
> Director: Michael Gottlieb
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Hulk Hogan, Sherman Hemsley, Afa Anoai

Source: Courtesy of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

12. King Kong Lives
> Year released: 1986
> Director: John Guillermin
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Brian Kerwin, Linda Hamilton, Peter Elliott

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Source: Courtesy of Shout! Factory

11. Captain America
> Year released: 1990
> Director: Albert Pyun
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Matt Salinger, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

10. Fair Game
> Year released: 1995
> Director: Andrew Sipes
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: William Baldwin, Cindy Crawford, Steven Berkoff

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

9. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
> Year released: 1992
> Director: Roger Spottiswoode
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Sylvester Stallone, Estelle Getty, JoBeth Williams

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

8. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
> Year released: 2002
> Director: Wych Kaosayananda
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, Talisa Soto

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

7. The Adventures of Pluto Nash
> Year released: 2002
> Director: Ron Underwood
> Secondary genre: Comedy
> Top actors: Eddie Murphy, Jay Mohr, Randy Quaid

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Source: Courtesy of Freestyle Releasing

6. Left Behind
> Year released: 2014
> Director: Vic Armstrong
> Secondary genre: Drama
> Top actors: Nicolas Cage, Lea Thompson, Cassi Thomson

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

5. Rollerball
> Year released: 2002
> Director: John McTiernan
> Secondary genre: Sci-Fi
> Top actors: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. Steel
> Year released: 1997
> Director: Kenneth Johnson
> Secondary genre: Crime
> Top actors: Shaquille O’Neal, Annabeth Gish, Judd Nelson

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. Battlefield Earth
> Year released: 2000
> Director: Roger Christian
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: John Travolta, Forest Whitaker, Barry Pepper

Source: Courtesy of Lions Gate Films

2. Alone in the Dark
> Year released: 2005
> Director: Uwe Boll
> Secondary genre: Horror
> Top actors: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff

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Source: Courtesy of Artisan Entertainment

1. House of the Dead
> Year released: 2003
> Director: Uwe Boll
> Secondary genre: Adventure
> Top actors: Jonathan Cherry, Tyron Leitso, Clint Howard