John’s Top Ten disappointments of 2014

The last twelve months have seen a number of pretty good films being released. I have managed to see about sixty releases and with the law of averages there are bound to be a few that fail to hit the mark. Some of the films noted below are bad, but most are just missed opportunities. There was the potential for greatness with some that failed due to a number of reasons.  That’s why the list is noted as disappointments rather than worst films. Of course there will be many films worse than these but these were the ones that I watched. So, on with the list that is in no particular order.

Need For Speed

need-for-speed-aaron-paulThis movie is the very definition of a missed opportunity. With the current love for all thing Fast & Furious a car race movie with a good cast couldn’t fail to be popular. Unfortunately the story and the script let the film down so much that no matter how spectacular the race sequences were it fell flat due to the banality of the stuff in-between. Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Michael Keaton are all ill-served by this movie. It’s a shame as it could have been something a bit special.

No Good Deed

no-good-deedAny film that has Idris Elba in the lead role can’t be all bad, can it? Unfortunately he is involved in what amounts to a formulaic home invasion movie. There is a distinct lack of tension throughout the film as you know exactly how it is going to play out. Not even a decent performance from Idris can raise this above mediocre. This is a classic example of churning out a film to capitalise on the name above the title.

Dracula Untold

dracula-untold-1A film that showed a reasonable amount of promise in the pre-release publicity. Sure it looked a bit cheesy, but it had echoes of the Underworld series and a good lead actor in the form of Luke Evans. This movie suffered from a change of tact half way through the filming. In the wake of everything becoming a franchise, re-shoots were ordered which would in effect make the movie the lead film in a reboot of the Universal monsters franchise. What it did was to leave the audience with an unsatisfactory ending that directly flew in the face of the legend that the film built up in the first half.

Sharknado 2

sharknado2As if the first film wasn’t bad enough, the inevitable sequel manged to be even worse. All the hallmarks of the first were there. Banal script, wooden acting and poor execution were all present and correct. The special effects were the worst offence of all. At this time it is possible to produce innovative and exciting effects for the screen on a reasonable budget as proven by a number of film makers recently. This film used the poor effects on show as a badge of honour. Pretty much saying ‘We know it’s a bit rubbish but hey, isn’t it fun?’. No it’s not. Roll on number 3.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers-age-of-extinction-mark-wahlbergInitial reports regarding the production of the fourth film were positive. Michael Bay was taking a back seat and Marc Walhberg was on board in the lead role. Then the firs trailer hit with the inclusion of the Dinobots which seemed to confirm the improvement. Alas it was a false hope with the final product being as stupid and incoherent as the previous effort. Sure the effects were good but the action scenes were the usual disappointment where the audience are left scratching their heads wondering what is going on. Of course it took a ton of cash at the box office ensuring that a fifth film is guaranteed.

That Awkward Moment

that-awkward-momentA film that managed to be less than the sum of its parts. Billed a romantic comedy with an adult twist, the film managed to be reasonably offensive on a number of levels, not least to women. Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller are all better than this film suggest. The story of friends abstaining from sex in support of their buddy who has been spectacularly dumped. The film just doesn’t work and it feels like the crude elements have been bolted on to make it more like other recent comedies in the same vein.

I, Frankenstein

frankensteinVery much in the same ballpark as the Dracula movie, this had a certain appeal based on the initial trailers. Once again it was let down by the stupidity of the story line and script. In a world where Gargoyles and Demons are locked in an eternal struggle the key to victory is the monster was the premise. Sounds good but it fails to deliver. The effects were good but badly let down with everything in-between.

Non-Stop

non-stop-2An obvious attempt to cash in on  Liam Neeson’s status as an action star in the wake of the two Taken movies. As usual it is a watered down version of the original inspiration. Neeson is an air marshal trying to find a bomber on a plane before it’s too late. He tries to resolve this by threatening and then shooting several passengers. Then it gets really daft. A film that has some major plot holes that can’t just be ignored by adding an action scene or two.

300: Rise Of An Empire

Eva_Green_300A text-book example of why sequels are usually a bad idea. The first film was a cult success due to it’s over the top, gore filled, fight scenes and unique effects. Basically the sequel is a re-hash of all the elements only done less well. Where in the first there was build up and a bit of story, in this we are thrust directly into the action. we get the full blood and snotters treatment from almost the first frame, in slow motion of course, and it leaves the rest of the film struggling to get to the same level. The standard practice is to make a follow-up bigger and louder and in this case it just doesn’t manage it.

The Expendables 3

The-Expendables-3-CastI’m saving the worst for last. If ever a franchise need killed it is this one. Granted the first two films were watchable but the third installment is just a mess. Terrible scripting, actors who look a bit embarrassed to be there and Stallone basically mumbling throughout made this a dull watch. The fact that it looked like a cash grab on the part of the film makers was confirmed by the action scenes. In order to get the 12A rating, which opens the film up to younger audiences, the action was edited to the point where it failed to flow as it should. With the news that a ‘harder’ cut would be on the DVD release just compounds the crime.

 

 

 

 

 

John McArthur

Editor-in-Chief at Moviescramble. A Fan of all things cinematic with a love of Film Noir, Sci-Fi and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill. He hopes to grow up some day.

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