Special Report

The 30 Worst Spy Films of All Time

Source: Courtesy of MGM/UA Entertainment Company

25. A View to a Kill (1985)
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (92,519 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 40% (73,967 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 38% (60 reviews)
> Starring: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones

In Roger Moore’s final appearance as Agent 007 (in a film that takes its name from an Ian Fleming short story but is entirely original), Bond faces off against a villain who’s bent on destroying California’s Silicon Valley. Even with none other than Christopher Walken portraying the psychopathic product of a Nazi genetic experiment, the film fails due to poor writing and direction, generic action sequences, gratuitous violence, and the fact that Moore was 57 (too old to portray Bond, even by his own admission) at the time of filming.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

24. Criminal (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (63,031 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 47% (20,623 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 30% (138 reviews)
> Starring: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman

“Criminal” is an appropriately generic name for what was widely considered to be a generic action thriller. Kevin Costner stars as a sociopathic convict who’s implanted with the memories of a dead CIA agent in order to complete an assignment in which he has to stop a hacker from stealing nuclear codes. Even though the film also stars Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, and Gal Gadot, it was panned and bombed at the box office, with one reviewer commenting, “We can but pray that scientists invent a procedure to remove the memory of ever watching this film in the first place.” Oof.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

23. Cats & Dogs (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 5.1/10 (58,193 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 32% (444,491 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 54% (117 reviews)
> Starring: Alec Baldwin, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins

The first installment in a spy-comedy franchise that somehow spawned three films, 2001’s “Cats & Dogs” has a plot that’s far more complicated than it needs to be, but is essentially about a high-tech, covert war between cats – who plan to sabotage a vaccination that would end all human dog allergies – and the dogs who are attempting to foil their scheme. Critics praised the high concept, special effects, and wittiness of the script, but agreed that the effects take precedence over the story, and that there’s not much here for anyone over eight years old to enjoy.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

22. XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 5.2/10 (88,902 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 37% (25,289 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 45% (150 reviews)
> Starring: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu

The third film in another series we can’t believe got three green lights, ” XXX: Return of Xander Cage” sees the title character (Vin Diesel, perfectly in his element as a daredevil field agent) uncovering a high-level conspiracy while racing against time to find a device that controls every military satellite. It’s fairly nonsensical and lacking much of a plot, and critics agreed that only die-hard fans of the series, and people who enjoy action for action’s sake, would enjoy it.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

21. Agent Cody Banks (2003)
> IMDb user rating: 5.1/10 (34,035 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 32% (418,361 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 38% (104 reviews)
> Starring: Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Andrew Francis, Angie Harmon

A vehicle for child star Frankie Muniz, who at the time was still riding high from the success of his sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Agent Cody Banks” stars Muniz as the 15-year-old title character, who must balance his usual life as a teenager with being a James Bond-style superspy who must save the world from an evil mastermind, father of a classmate (Hillary Duff).. Young audiences might appreciate it, but critics deemed it a bland and uninspired ripoff of countless spy films.

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