Recent action movies like The Gray Man and The Woman King have been great inclusions in the genre. However, every action movie is held up to the high standards set down by the franchises that have made the genre a cinematic sensation.
Some franchises that will forever be icons within the action genre are intrigues like The Matrix and adventures like Indiana Jones. However, despite the popularity of hit movie series, there’s only a matter of time before a movie is added to the franchise that fails to live up to the expectations of its predecessors. Some additions to iconic action franchises were terrible movies in comparison to the epic proportion of the rest of the series.
10 The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The Oracle and Neo in Matrix: Revolutions
The Matrix is one of the most talked about franchises in the sci-fi genre, but it’s also one of the most intriguing action movies to date. The Matrix Revolutions was originally intended to conclude the series as the fourth and final film. Released only mere months after The Matrix Reloaded, this sequel had a lot to live up to.
Though some viewers think The Matrix Revolutions doesn’t deserve the hate it gets, most fans of the franchise were extremely disappointed by this continuation. For these viewers, this movie took away the amazement associated with the first three films and was unimpressed by the lack of originality.
9 A Good Day To Die Hard (2013)
Final scene in A Good Day To Die Hard with Bruce Willis
The fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise, Live Free or Die Hard, released twelve years after the original trilogy, renewing the fans’ faith in the series after the controversial third film. However, the 2013 release of A Good Day To Die Hard was a major disappointment and a poor way to end the franchise.
There was a bit of a split among die-hard fans of the series, with some appreciating this new addition to the beloved action franchise. However, most found the movie to be a disgrace to the original’s intrigue and felt this newest and last film focused too heavily on action that it forgot a cohesive plot. While all the other films have been major successes or acceptable additions, this was largely a letdown.
8 Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf look at clues in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Cystal Skull
The Indiana Jones franchise has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the action-adventure genre, leaving those following having to live up to the amazement of one of the best treasure hunt movies of all time. That also means that the sequels of the franchise had to live up to the popularity of the first installment.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull failed to live up to the expectations of the series. At a glance, this movie wasn’t a terrible treasure hunt storyline and had a good dose of unrealistic but exciting action. However, fans of the franchise weren’t letting this one pass with its poor plot development and excessive ridiculousness.
7 Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
Tom Cruise looking shocked in Mission: Impossible 2.
Mission: Impossible is an iconic action franchise, made popular by its unique portrayal of seemingly impossible mission plots. The original 1996 action film was a huge hit in the genre, kick-starting a great franchise that has withstood the evolution of the genre.
However, the series had a hiccup with the release of Mission: Impossible 2. Though Tom Cruise succeeded in expertly portraying the charisma of the main character Ethan Hunt, the plot of this action-packed thriller was incredibly dull, failing to impress fans. The rest of the films aside from the first sequel, on the other hand, have fulfilled and surpassed expectations, especially with the newest and best addition yet, Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018).
6 The Bourne Legacy (2012)
If there’s one action hero that competes with James Bond or Ethan Hunt, it’s Jason Bourne from the Bourne franchise. Beginning with The Bourne Identity, Matt Damon has been praised for his performance as Jason, a man who is saved by a fishing boat from near death and wakes up with complete amnesia but exceptional fighting skills.
The original trilogy quickly became one of the best action franchises of today and is still wildly popular. However, the continuation of the series since then has been controversial among viewers. The Bourne Legacy, the only Bourne film not featuring Matt Damon, fell short of expectations. Despite Jeremy Renner’s great performance as Aaron Cross, the film didn’t have the same adrenaline-inducing feeling the others left.
5 Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
Alien vs Predator Requiem
Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, is one of the best female leads in an action movie of all time. Alien, at over forty years old, is still one of the most successful alien horror movies of all time. While there have been a few controversial movies within this franchise, it still holds up as one of the best action-horror franchises.
The Alien Vs. Predator movie was controversial in the genre, though it did develop a cult following. The follow-up movie, Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, however, was by far the worst inclusion in the series. Though Prometheus (2012) restored fans’ hope in this exceptional franchise, Requiem failed to capture the essence of the beloved originals.
4 Terminator Genisys (2015)
John Connor In Terminator Genisys
Arnold Schwarzenegger made action movie history as the most iconic robot in cinematic history, first appearing in The Terminator (1984). The original Terminator trilogy had resounding success and continues to be an influence on futuristic action movies.
Though Terminator Salvation failed to impress in 2009, it was the 2015 Terminator Genisys that completely missed the bar. This addition to the franchise received scathing reviews, with many critics expressing how the movie trampled on everything the great series was known for. Thankfully, Terminator: Dark Fate revived the franchise with a strong focus on the concepts from the original trilogy.
3 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
paul mccartney dead men tell no tales
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has suffered under some scrutiny, but the original trilogy has become a popular franchise within the action-adventure franchise. However, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides wasn’t as impressive as the plot and exceptional characters following the epic third film.
Following the relatively disappointing On Stranger Tides, which had some saving graces, Dead Men Tell No Tales had a lot of hype that proved fruitless. The plot of ghost pirates becoming undead in the Devil’s Triangle was underdeveloped with little explanation and oddly included Jack Sparrow’s compass as the curse-breaker object, ignoring the canon established in previous films. Though there have been rumors of another installment, Pirates of the Caribbean would have to come back with an epic bang to recover from this ridiculous final chapter.
2 The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor (2008)
Promotional image for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor starring Brendan Fraser.
Though 2017 The Mummy starring Tom Cruise is considered one of the most disappointing action remakes and is also included in the Dark Universe, it has little to do with The Mummy trilogy starring Brendan Fraser. Disregarding that disaster of a “remake,” the third film in The Mummy franchise was a poor comparison to the first two.
Despite critic reviews, The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) are beloved adventure films. The third film, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, however, did not impress dedicated fans of the previous duology. With the exception of Brendan Fraser’s usual stellar performance, the action sequence plot was entirely predictable and disappointing.
1 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Speed 2 Cruise Control
The Speed franchise started out strong with its first installment in 1994. With an all-star cast, including Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Cooper, the “Fast and Furious” style thrill was an instant hit. With the exceptional reception of the first film, this short-lived series had all the makings of a great action franchise.
However, the series crashed and burned with Speed 2: Cruise Control. This sequel could hardly compare to the first, with a feeble plot stacked with ridiculous comedy and unconvincing characters. Speed 2 was such a failure that it ruined this promising franchise when it was just getting started.