The Top 9 Worst Dystopian Future Action Films

Recently, I wrote about the top ten best dystopian visions for the future given to us by Hollywood.  Which, if you think about it, is sort of a weird thing - how do you have a "good" vision of an awful apocalypse?  Well, in this list of the best, I simply interpreted it as the most innovative, visually stunning, or fascinating dystopian as it relates to the story.

Here then, is the flip side.  The dystopian visions that failed to launch, that failed to inspire wonder, or a sense of unease.  Dystopian views of the future that are downright boring or silly.  And after much research, deliberation, and far too much time spent in front of the television watching old movies, here is what I believe to the the definitive tops worst list! 

of 09

Planet of the Apes

While groundbreaking at the time, and shocking to audiences when the final scene revealed the broken Statue of Liberty, this is one of those film's that has fared badly with the passage of time.  Looking at the film with modern eyes, the poor make-up and costumes just seem silly, and it's hard to take the film seriously.  An artifact of its era, this is a film that has unfortunately, grown into one of the more goofy dystopian futures throughout Hollywood's history.

of 09

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead.

AMC's The Walking Dead is simply not frightening.  It's a zombie apocalypse that seems almost easy to survive within...after all, the zombies shamble, they don't run, and it seems rather easy to kill them.  How many times have Rick and company been surrounded by dozens of the beasties only to kill all of them without breaking much of a sweat.  This is like the apocalypse as realized on a sitcom television show.  (Click here for the top ten changes needed on the Walking Dead.)

of 09

Waterworld (1995)


Mad Max has provided one hell of an interesting post-apocalyptic playground for viewers to explore:  There are warlords, barter cities, Thunderdomes, wastelands.  Water world attempted to be sort of like Mad Max, but on water...and there's only so much you can do on water.  You can have a floating village, and you can have boats...and that seems to be the extent of this world.  Booooring!

of 09

Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth.

In this sci-fi future apocalypse, an alien race is terraforming the planet Earth (that's what aliens always do, they always terraform!) and the remaining humans live as prehistoric cavemen.  The humans end up using an "intelligence machine" (I'm not making this up) and becoming "smart" and instantly re-gain the former intelligence held when they were apart of a civilization.  And, of course, they have to fight the aliens for control of the planet.  While the life in this apocalyptic scenario is incredibly bleak, it is problematically portrayed because this is perhaps the worst film ever made!  Let me repeat that:  This is a horrible film.  Do not watch this film under any circumstances!  It's not even bad in that "so bad it's good" sort of way.  It's only bad in that it gives you a migraine.

of 09

Book of Eli

The Book of Eli takes its lead from the Mad Max franchise.  Eli, played by Denzel Washington is a loner that moves throughout the apocalypse, and also just happens to have the fighting moves of a ninja.  He ends up in a conflict with the dictatorial leader of a small town and well...bodies end up piling up.  It's a fine film, but it seems to be taking all of its cues from Mad Max.

of 09

The Postman

In The Postman, Kevin Costner wanders a post-apocalyptic America - albeit one with many different communities that are unconnected - and ends up finding the jacket of a postal carrier.  Representing an icon of bygone era, he begins a mail route and starts connecting these once isolated communities.  Of course, one such community is managed by a psychopathic dictator who threatens the other more peaceful communities.  The film is a long slow slod through scenes - read the book instead.  At least, this is one film on the list where life at least seems manageable, in that there are communities  that have banded together and managed to survive.  It's not so much that the world has been destroyed as much as been sent back to the Wild West, which seems almost manageable.

of 09

The Purge

It's a future where everyone celebrates an annual purge where all violence is accepted and normal people go crazy turning into violent killers, before resuming their normal identities the day after.  It's also a franchise that has been a bit of a hit, turning out a number of films.  It's also, a franchise that I don't quite understand.  It simply looks like the present day to me, as if little work was gone into trying to create a dystopian future.  And why does everyone go crazy?  Sigh...this is one of those films that I'll remain confused about.

of 09


While visually stunning, Oblivion is ultimately a let down because, it's an entirely empty film.  Tom Cruise's character is alone on an empty world.  The only "bad guys" are these droids that run about.  While there's a bit of an ending that shakes things up, for most of the film's run it's just Tom on an empty desolate planet.  Not a receipt for excitement.

of 09

Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games.

I must be the only person on planet Earth that doesn't like the Hunger Games franchise.  I've been dragged to each of the films so it's not like I haven't seen them and don't know what I'm talking about.  But for myself, the world shown within just seems tiny and lacking in scope.  It's telling when they're in one of the country's districts and the entire population seems to be present at what is essentially a town hall.  Is this supposed to be a massive district with millions of people or a local neighborhood gathering?  There are monsters in this world, but no explanation of where they came from.  There are soldiers and armies, but few visuals of them fighting.  I just don't get it.