IMDb ratings have been the center of some controversies recently, especially because of groups of “fans” that took it upon themselves to storm the ratings of films like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and the Ghostbusters remake to make them lower. The ratings have always been an inexact tool to say the least, though, as they express a popular rather than critical evaluation of a film.
Well, I raided some IMDb titles with ratings higher than 7.0 and selected 10 awful films among them. From one of Michael Bay’s earliest over-the-top mindless action capers, war epics way overestimated by the patriotic crowd, and wobbly starters of unbearable franchise, here’s a list of films who deserve a worse rep than they get:
10. Crank (Neveldine/Taylor, 2006)
While Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s breakout hit isn’t devoid of qualities, it’s far from deserving its generous IMDb rating. It’s a crazy stampede of an action film, sure, with some interestingly kitsch ideas for the genre, but not nearly enough to carry even its swift 88-minute runtime. Jason Statham is a somewhat charismatic lead as Chev Chelios, the professional assassin injected with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.
What follows from this “high concept” (I guess…) premise is the showcase of the writer/directors’ will to repeatedly “go there” – from very public sex scenes to insane action sequences, “Crank” wants to be, as a film, a thrill ride comparable to the surreal one its lead character is forcibly on.
It never exactly succeeds in that endeavour, as it forcibly stumbled from set piece to set piece without so much as a connective tissue one could call a plot. “Crank” is not ridiculous enough to support itself as kitschy fun, and not serious enough to supplant that status.
9. The Rock (Michael Bay, 1996)
There’s an exaggerated love for “The Rock,” mostly because of nostalgia, but maybe also because it is Michael Bay’s most bearable movie to date; however, that doesn’t mean that it escapes the director’s worse vices. Nicolas Cage stars as Stanley Goodspeed (yes, that’s his name), a biochemist partnered by the FBI with an ex-con played by Sean Connery, of all people, to stop a former general (Ed Harris) from blowing up the whole of San Francisco.
As with any Michael Bay film, “The Rock” is cluelessly directed – every scene is designed to carry maximum impact, and every action sequence seems straight out of a commercial. The screenplay by David Weisberg, Douglas Cook and Mark Rosner gets too much credit for doing the bare minimum, and the acting is overdramatic all around, which could be fun if you get on the exact wavelength in which they were conceived. Plus, as it is routine for action flicks, the female characters are either absent or inconsequential.
8. The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017)
Rarely has the musical genre seen anything as average and boring as “The Greatest Showman.” Normally, musicals are either critically acclaimed (“Moulin Rouge!”, “Chicago”) or universally despised (“Into the Woods”), but “The Greatest Showman” is just an empty spectacle of great music, good choreography, bland (and dishonest) characters, a predictable moral lesson, and mediocre camera work.
And yet, the film charmed audiences, who not only gave it a 7.7 rating on IMDb, but led it to gross over $400 million at the box office. Hugh Jackman is a vanilla version of egomaniacal businessman P.T. Barnum, the creator of show business, who in reality was also a exploitative, cruel prick.
Here, he’s just a dreamer who “gives a shot” to all kinds of misfits in his new show, the first circus of all time. Cue to stunning musical numbers and people like Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya showing off their moves in pretty choreographies. “The Greatest Showman” leaves a sweet aftertaste that’s as fleeting as the veracity of its plot.
7. Underworld (Len Wiseman, 2003)
I’d chalk this one up to early 2000’s nostalgia, because there’s no other reason why the original “Underworld” would have this high a rating. Sure, it’s not a dismal piece of filmmaking, but 7.0 out of 10? Len Wiseman is a competent enough director to not let his own wobbly mythology get in the way of some kitsch-like fun, but “Underworld” takes itself way to seriously to have its own deficiencies completely ignored.
While she has proven to be a great actress with the right part (see “Love & Friendship”), Kate Beckinsale is completely out of place here, and it’s kind of tragic that this is the film most people will remember her by. The success of the franchise, which released a new chapter as recently as 2016, and the fact that every single film after this one is worse than the original, does nothing to absolve it of its faults – a nonsensical plot and questionable production value among them.
6. The Bucket List (Rob Reiner, 2007)
While it is certainly a tantalizing proposition to see Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson sharing the scene in a comedy/drama by Rob Reiner, “The Bucket List” is far from being as good as the sum of its parts. The legendary actors play two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and embark on a road trip to fulfill a wish list of adventures before they die – and as their journey progresses, antics and heartbreak ensue.
Justin Zackham’s script is true to the screenwriter’s roots – before “The Bucket List,” he authored juvenile comedy “Going Greek,” and has since done the equally bland “The Big Wedding” and “One Chance.” Nicholson and Freeman have fun on screen, which is enough to entertain for the 97 minutes of the film, as director Reiner mainly stays out of the way. The result is a forgettable film, considerably inferior to the one that everyone involved deserved.