Second to that there are a lot of pretty promising action titles on the way in the spring and summer.
And just to keep things in proportion, we thought now might be a good time to take a look back at some of the most disappointing action films we saw last year as well.
The Transporter Refueled
Hollywood doesn’t seem to have realized that the Bond franchise is pretty unique in its ability to replace an action hero without losing steam. It didn’t really work for the Bourne franchise, it was hinted at and abandoned in Die Hard (specifically A Good Day To Die Hard), and it would never work with Mission Impossible (which is why Tom Cruise is still making these films in his 50s). Yet all this evidence didn’t stop them from trying it out in The Transporter Refueled, and with due respect to new star Ed Skrein (who isn’t terrible), it was a horrendous movie. As one review put it, there just wasn’t much gas left in the tank for this franchise, with the result that the whole thing came across as an excuse for a few high-octane action sequences, branded with a title people would pay for.
Did we really need a third Taken movie? A worldwide gross over $300 million says yes, I suppose, but most viewers would wind up saying no. If the second film was a lazy rehashing of the first, the third seemed to strive to be nothing at all, and we discovered that Liam Neeson holding a gun isn’t quite enough to carry a movie completely devoid of additional substance.
Here’s the good news: this app based on the film is actually a pretty fun game for a movie-themed mobile app. You get to be the Terminator, make use of an awesome arsenal of weaponry, and step into a crisp, satisfying third-person shooter. But here’s the bad news: the game is the best thing to come from Terminator Genisys. This reboot seemed to have everything going for it, including a fresh start and a dynamite cast featuring rising stars Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke. But it wound up feeling jumbled and unnecessary.
This movie never looked good, but it was one of those releases that made you stop and wonder. Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum were starring, arguably at peak popularity, and Eddie Redmayne even had a role fresh off an Oscar win for Best Actor (for his role in The Theory Of Everything). But if you didn’t see this because it looked abysmal, your instincts were correct. Trendy actors do not automatically equal good films.
Hitman: Agent 47
Assassin movies are pretty straightforward, and Hitman: Agent 47 had the built-in fan base of a sprawling and popular game franchise to work with. But as with Terminator Genisys, the games are better than the film. In fact, forget about the action games; even the arcade slot game reviewed here is more enjoyable than watching this movie. Despite just being a themed slot machine, at least that game had a strong sense of atmosphere related to Agent 47. The film, on the other hand, descended into formulaic, generic nonsense completely lacking in character.
Seventh Son might just be the worst action movie to garner a theatrical release in the 21st century. Let’s just leave it at that.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
It’s yet another 2015 action film with a game better than the movie itself! This game was actually shockingly good, as mobile spy gaming experiences go, and I’d highly recommend it whether or not you’ve seen the movie. As for the movie itself, it’s actually not as bad as the other examples on this list. Comparatively, it may as well be Casino Royale. On its own, however, this was a little bit of a letdown. Armie Hammer was due a star turn and Warner Bros. is begging us to embrace Henry Cavill, yet both delivered relatively stiff performances that kept the sleek would-be appeal of the film from really showing through.
Finally, I’ll point to The Gunman as the final disappointment of 2015. Starring Sean Penn as a former hitman pulled back into a life he wants to leave behind, it was a globetrotting spectacle loaded with supporting talent. Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Javier Bardem, and recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance were all involved, and somehow none of them could make this a very interesting movie. Again, talent unfortunately can’t guarantee a good film.
2016 is already a better year for action and we haven’t even entered blockbuster season yet.