Special Report

The 30 Worst Spy Films of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

30. Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 6.2/10 (68,771 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 50% (1,948 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 37% (109 reviews)
> Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Ben Miller, Olga Kurylenko, Emma Thompson

As a James Bond parody and homage to star Rowan Atkinson’s legendary character of Mr. Bean, the first “Johnny English” film was decidedly average but at least elicited a few chuckles. By the time this one, the third film in the franchise, was released in 2008, whatever goodwill remained had been thoroughly depleted. Atkinson once again stars as an MI7 agent (retired by now) who’s called back into action after all of the agency’s undercover operatives are outed in a cyberattack. The film actually fared fairly well in the U.K., but in the U.S. its release was more or less like beating a dead horse.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

29. American Ultra (2015)
> IMDb user rating: 6.1/10 (88,450 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 45% (20,056 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 43% (178 reviews)
> Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo

The idea of a stoner (Jesse Eisenberg) who discovers that he’s actually a sleeper agent for a secret government program on the run for his life is actually a pretty funny one, and “American Ultra” has some genuinely chuckle-worthy moments (like when he wonders aloud why he never questioned why he has no memory of his life before he moved to a small town in West Virginia), but the consensus was that “American Ultra” was a major missed opportunity.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Studios

28. Johnny English Reborn (2011)
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (125,101 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 45% (38,708 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 38% (92 reviews)
> Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Roger Barclay

There are more than a couple sequels and three-quels on this list, and here once again is Johnny English. In the film, English (Atkinson) is called back into action to investigate a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier. If you absolutely love spy spoofs and Mr. Bean, or happen to be British (the film topped the U.K. box office but didn’t fare nearly as well in the U.S.), you might find this film amusing, but if not you’ll probably find it middling at best.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

27. This Means War (2012)
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (181,135 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 56% (89,802 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 26% (183 reviews)
> Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Til Schweiger

In “This Means War,” two CIA agents (played by Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) who are best friends discover that they’re both dating the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). What could have been a “Spy vs. Spy”-style madcap romantic comedy instead lacked much in the way of humor, the action scenes were tedious, and it came across as clumsy, mean-spirited, and unsure of exactly what type of film it wanted to be.

Source: Courtesy of Relativity Media

26. The November Man (2014)
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (65,865 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 46% (20,075 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 36% (132 reviews)
> Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich

We’d usually be game for any action spy thriller starring Pierce Brosnan, but sadly “The November Man” just doesn’t live up to expectations. The premise is all there: Brosnan stars as a retired CIA agent who’s called back into service in order to retrieve a Russian agent (his former lover) who has incriminating evidence on a corrupt Russian leader. After the mission fails, Brosnan goes rogue. Sadly, it’s poorly paced and full of plot holes, and left reviewers with a decidedly “late night on cable TV” vibe.

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