Like any other decades, there are countless bad and worst movies that have been released over the last 10 years from 2010 to 2019. And as we are about to wrap up the year of 2019, I have handpicked and compiled a list of 20 Worst Movies of the 2010s based in alphabetical order.
1. After Earth (2013)
The once-acclaimed M. Night Shyamalan already had a string of bad-to-worse movies in his filmography, namely Lady in the Water (2006) and The Happening (2008). Then came After Earth, which on paper, looks like a much-needed comeback to help revive his flagging career as a director. The post-apocalyptic adventure movie boasts a huge budget (US$130 million, to be exact) and it stars Will Smith in the lead role. And yet, M. Night Shyamalan botches nearly everything with his plodding direction, a 100-minute running time that feels like an eternity (read: the pace is painfully slow to a near standstill) and most of the CG effects do not exactly justify its hefty budget. He also successfully did the impossible by making the normally-charismatic Will Smith into a shockingly dull protagonist. Then, there’s Jaden Smith — yes, Will’s real-life son — whose limited acting ability is glaringly obvious as he spends most of the time looking either confused or frustrated.
2. A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
How things have changed. The Die Hard franchise used to be great action movies, particularly the first three instalments during the 80s and 90s. Even the somewhat half-baked Die Hard 4.0 (or Live Free or Die Hard in the stateside) had its own few moments. But A Good Day to Die Hard a.k.a. Die Hard 5 unexpectedly hit an all-time low, thanks to John Moore’s (2008’s Max Payne) inept direction. His creative decision of introducing shaky-cam for the first time in a Die Hard movie is ill-advised, making everything looks like an incomprehensible mess. It doesn’t help either with the chaotically-staged action sequences and a disinterested Bruce Willis looking as if he’s reprising his once-iconic John McClane role just for a quick paycheck.
3) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)
It’s hard to believe this is actually directed by Ang Lee. The same filmmaker who won two-time Best Director awards at the Oscars for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012). The acclaimed Taiwanese director’s expensive experiment on shooting a movie at then-unheard-of 120 frames-per-second format should have been a cinematic game-changer. But it didn’t work out as he originally envisioned in the first place. The higher resolution made everything looks like a big-budget home video while Lee’s penchant of shooting his actors in lots of closeup shots look… visually unappealing. However, that’s not the only creative mistake he made here. I guess he’s too preoccupied with the technology that he forgot to tell a good, let alone a decent story. The movie also happens to be a tedious slog, coupled with an erratic pace and Joe Alwyn’s disappointingly wooden performance as the titular Billy Lynn.
4) Cats (2019)
On paper, the big-screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical of the same name seems like a huge hit-in-the-making. It has an Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech (2010) calling the shots and an all-star ensemble featuring the likes of Judi Dench, Idris Elba and Ian McKellen. While it has a few good songs in it, Cats is a pure nightmare. A nightmare of how creepy the CG-assisted humanoid cats look like on the big screen. It’s like watching a bad horror movie while Lee Hall and Tom Hooper’s barebone script is both silly and preposterous.
5) Cop Out (2010)
Oh, look! Here’s another blunder of a movie starring Bruce Willis… again. And this time, it’s an action comedy directed by Kevin Smith who tries hard to recapture the essence of the buddy-cop genre made famous by 48 Hrs. (1982) and Lethal Weapon (1987). But Cop Out is neither funny nor thrilling, with the former’s numerous profanity-laden jokes hardly generate worthwhile laughs. Forget about the limp action sequences either and so do the insipid pairing of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Here, Willis looks bored all the time while Tracy Morgan is just plain annoying.
6) Cosmopolis (2012)
Looking for a movie that truly tests your patience? Well, here’s one for you titled Cosmopolis. Based on Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name, the movie is best described as an urban road movie where it follows 28-year-old billionaire Eric Packer’s (Robert Pattinson) on a long journey in his limo while stumbling upon different characters along the way. Despite David Cronenberg calling the shots here, his signature clinical direction doesn’t fit the movie’s heavily-verbose approach. It’s obvious that a talky movie is clearly out of his league while Robert Pattinson’s personality-free wooden performance doesn’t help the matter either.
7) Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic Fiasco is more like it. Josh Trank’s decision of turning Marvel’s First Family into an unexpectedly dark and gritty superhero movie is clearly a bad idea from the get-go. Sure, the movie does get off to a promising start where all four actors (Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell) actually deliver decent performances. But it doesn’t take long before Trank’s sluggish direction rears its ugly head, coupled with surprisingly minimal yet uninspired action sequences and dated special effects seriously wrecked the entire movie.
8) Fifty Shades trilogy (2015-2018)
No copious amount of sex and nudity can save these limp erotica, even though all three movies somehow managed to gross over US$1.3 billion in the global box-office. And yet, the Fifty Shades trilogy is mostly ruined by bland performances (Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan), atrocious dialogues and flaccid directions from both Sam Taylor-Johnson (2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey) and James Foley (2017’s Fifty Shades Darker and 2018’s Fifty Shades Freed).
9) Green Lantern (2011)
Long before Warner Bros. had its own cinematic universe based on DC comic books, they made this forgettable big-budget fiasco called Green Lantern. The studio made a huge gamble, investing as high as US$200 million budget for an effects-heavy superhero blockbuster starring Ryan Reynolds in the title role. Well, it crashed and burned with Reynolds’ largely goofy performance feels awkwardly misplaced while director Martin Campbell (2006’s Casino Royale) clearly isn’t comfortable to helm a superhero genre. The movie suffers from long-winded expositions, the pace is inconsistent and the special effects look surprisingly cheap and cartoonish.
10) Lincoln (2012)
Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for Best Actor for playing the title role. But I hardly enjoyed his subdued acting performance as Abraham Lincoln. Blame it on Tony Kushner’s clunky script while Steven Spielberg’s surprisingly minimalist direction made this otherwise potentially interesting historical drama disappointingly static. It even made the movie’s 150-minute running time equivalent of watching the paint dry. An ambitious movie like Lincoln clearly deserved better, even though the movie still — unbelievably — managed to make a huge sum of money (over US$275 million against a US$65 million budget) and even scored a total of 12 Academy Awards nominations.
11) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
God, I’m glad this franchise is over. Director Paul W.S. Anderson hits an all-time low here, complete with incomprehensible editing and epilepsy-inducing camerawork. While I applaud the level of commitment that the then-41 years old Milla Jovovich able to pull off a physically-demanding performance as Alice, Anderson’s overall uninspired direction and his equally generic screenplay fails to give her a proper sendoff.
12) Rise of the Legend (2014)
Roy Chow’s gritty re-imagining of the legendary martial-arts master Wong Fei-Hung in Rise of the Legend is supposed to be an ambitious epic revival. But just like his previous two movies (2009’s Murderer and 2012’s Nightfall), Chow continues to repeat his same old mistake here. And that is piling up with heavy expositions after expositions to the point he feels the need of overexplaining the story as literal as possible. This also made its 131-minutes running time feels unnecessarily long-winded while Corey Yuen’s action choreography is inconsistent.
13) Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
In what could have been a potential revisionist makeover, first-time feature director Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman turns out to be a huge disappointment instead. His sense of pacing is off and his jittery camerawork made most of the action sequences look like a mess. The cast fares even worse, particularly Kristen Stewart’s terribly miscast role of — believe it or not — Snow White.
14) The Counselor (2013)
With an all-star cast (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt) and acclaimed author Cormac McCarthy of No Country for Old Men and The Road penning his first movie screenplay, what could possibly go wrong in Ridley Scott’s The Counselor? Apparently, a few of them. Scott’s unusually restrained direction made McCarthy’s verbose screenplay a chore to sit through. Maybe it would have worked better as a novel than a shooting script. McCarthy clearly doesn’t possess the same storytelling skill, say someone better like David Mamet or Quentin Tarantino when comes to writing a dialogue-heavy screenplay for films.
15) The Last Airbender (2010)
Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan did the impossible here by turning the otherwise beloved Nickelodeon’s animated television series of Avatar: The Last Airbender into a shockingly tedious live-action adaptation. No doubt the movie deserves credit for its lavish production design and seamless special effects. But Shyamalan’s exposition-heavy screenplay diluted whatever potential the movie aims to be. The cast, in the meantime, is another crushing disappointment with Noah Ringer looks terribly miscast as the lead young protagonist, Aang.
16) The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
Everything old is new again in The Legend of Tarzan or at least that’s what Warner Bros. was originally hoping for. The studio risked a lot of money (US$180 million budget) for reviving the long-forgotten Tarzan story to the big screen and the decision of putting David Yates in charge seems like a good move. Besides, this is the same director who helped the studio made big money over the last four Harry Potter movies. But everything in this movie feels strangely anticlimactic and curiously lacking a sense of epic grandeur. Even the cast is mostly wasted here, with Alexander Skarsgard’s otherwise well-sculpted muscular physique can’t mask the fact his performance lacks the necessary heart and soul while Christoph Waltz’s would-be potential antagonist looks as if he’s sleepwalking throughout his role.
17) The Predator (2018)
Shane Black and his co-writer Fred Dekker thought it would be a good idea to turn a Predator movie into an unexpected jokey sci-fi actioner. I guess Black must have thought if it worked for Iron Man 3 (which it did successfully both critically and financially, even though I’m among the minorities who disliked his mostly subversive direction), why not The Predator? Too bad he fails to revive the flagging Predator franchise, with uncomfortably juvenile jokes and dialogues that feel they should belong to a different movie altogether. Not even the ample amounts of gore and graphic violence made The Predator at least qualified as a guilty-pleasure entertainment.
18) The Tourist (2010)
The Tourist has Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in it. Not to mention the movie plays like Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief-like lightweight caper vibe, coupled with Florian Heckel von Donnersmarck of 2006’s Oscar-winning The Lives of Others served as the director here. And yet, the movie bores me with its tepid screenplay that quickly nosedives after a promising setup while Depp and Jolie’s onscreen chemistry fails to sizzle. Don’t get me started with Florian Heckel von Donnersmarck’s flat direction as if he has no idea how to pull off a good caper film.
19) The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2 (2011-2012)
Never mind the fact that The Twilight Saga movies made a whole lot of money in the global box-office. The final three movies (Eclipse, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and 2) truly gave the vampire genre a bad name. Not even the calibre of David Slade of 2005’s Hard Candy and veteran Bill Condon of 1998’s Gods and Monsters and 2004’s Kinsey could help to turn things around. Instead, what we have here is a trio of sequels filled with exposition-heavy screenplays, uninspired directions, laboured pacings and equally bad actings all around.
20) Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
At first glance, Michael Bay’s decision of shooting 98% of Transformers: The Last Knight with IMAX cameras sounds promising enough. But Bay ruined nearly everything with his epilepsy-inducing camerawork (you can imagine how painful it was to watch this on IMAX 3D) and a giant turd of a so-called worldbuilding plot that combines the Arthurian legend and the Nazi era.