Film Lists

Five Films We Unashamedly Love

There are a lot of films out there that are just bad, films with little to no redeeming qualities about them. But, like a lot of things, what makes a film bad can come down to a person’s opinion. Yes, there are plenty of films that are commercial flops or failed to do well at the box office, but it is still possible for people to enjoy them. But we’re fed up of hearing the phrase ‘so bad, it’s good’ when it comes to films, or calling them guilty pleasures. Let’s embrace these gems and love them despite all their obvious faults! Here are five films we love, despite the fact the general consensus suggests we should not.

Doom (2005)

A box office bomb, garnering negative reviews and a score of eighteen percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Doom was not considered to be a good film by Hollywood. However, if you can look past the lack of character development and some oh so terrible lines of dialogue – “Ladies, we’re under a Level 5 quarantine so I’m gonna have to strip search you girls.” – what remains is a fairly fun action film. 

Both Karl Urban and Dwayne Johnson play off each other so well, with Johnson superbly chewing the scenery any time he is on screen. Johnson’s line of “I’m not supposed to die” comedically highlights his tendency to be the good guy in films, whilst Urban and Rosamund Pike play convincing siblings, bickering but also pulling together when things get tough. 

The monsters are scary enough and there are lots of nods to the video game that inspired the film, including the BFG (no, not the giant). If people were not sure that this was a video game adaptation then the first person shooter scene would certainly remind them. Appearing toward the end of the film when Urban’s character is looking for his sister, it really does capture the feel of the games. Lastly you cannot talk about this film without mentioning Clint Mansell’s outstanding score, and his reworking of Nine Inch Nails’ “You Know What You Are?” The music really helps cement this film as a good bit of action fun. – Helen Balls

READ MORE: Stagefright (1987) – Film Review

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

“Why are they putting seatbelts in theatres this Summer?” asked the poster for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which some rather uncharitable wags answered by claiming it was to stop the audience from leaving.

The lowest grossing of all the Star Trek movies featuring the original TV cast, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has also been one of the most critically lambasted. The film was hit at the box office by having to go up against Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Ghostbusters II, Lethal Weapon 2, and Licence to Kill.

It has also suffered by falling between the popular Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Yet Star Trek V is probably the film which manages to capture the spirit of classic Star Trek perhaps better than any of the others, serving up a heady mixture of character-based moments and humour, as well as theology, a genre-mashing Space Western setting, and lots of action, including a patented Shatner fist fight.

All of this is immense fun, and carried out with a real lightness of touch where required, but the film is also not afraid to veer into far darker territory at times. We also get a superb score from Jerry Goldsmith, and Kirk gets his most archetypal Kirk moment of all time by facing off with an all-powerful being and asking them what God needs with a starship.

Pull yourself up a seat round the campfire, toast yourself a marshmelon, and enjoy this knockabout romp. – Lee Thacker

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Mortal Kombat (1995)

Take the plot of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, sprinkle in a liberal helping of 90’s metal, top with a generous layer of only the finest video game cheese and you have a recipe for one of the worst and best video game adaptations ever made – Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat

Starring the incomparable Christopher Lambert as the sarcastic thunder god Raiden and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as evil soul-eating sorcerer Shang Tsung, this is one of my all time favourite cheesy movies.  Blending a thumping soundtrack with some genuinely impressive fight scenes, it tells the story of the Mortal Kombat tournament, where chosen fighters must defend Earth from the evil forces of “Outland” by beating the crap out of anyone and everyone.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This movie is dumb. It’s gloriously, superbly, amazingly dumb.  And I love everything about it.  It wastes zero time in getting right to the gratuitous violence.  The New Line Cinema logo spins on screen accompanied by the scream of “MORTAL KOMBAT!” before the now-famous dragon logo from the game erupts into flames, and then Shang Tsung brutally bitchslaps some poor kid into submission, curb-stomps his spine in half and proclaims “You will be next”.  

While the new film might have been more accurate in its description of the gloriously over the top fatalities from the games, it’s got little of the charm and humour of the original.  Mortal Kombat 1995 vs 2021? My money’s on this one every time.  – Shaun Dewhirst

READ MORE: Session 9 (2001) – Blu-ray Review

The 13th Warrior (1999)

Based upon the Michael Crichton novel The Eaters of the Dead, The 13th Warrior tells the story of Ahmad ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas), a poet in the court of Baghdad who’s sent north to be the ambassador to the Volga Vikings after he’s caught having an affair with a nobleman’s wife.

Whilst staying with the Vikings, a message comes from a neighbouring kingdom, speaking of ancient creatures that have awoken and started killing everyone. The Volga agree to send thirteen warriors to help them, but when their wise woman tells them the thirteenth warrior cannot be a Norseman, Ahmad finds himself swept up in the mission.

Helmed by Die Hard and Predator director John McTiernan, 13th Warrior is a historical action adventure with some horror elements thrown, in that never quite takes itself too seriously and, as such, can be forgiven for a lot of its flaws and ridiculous moments. Whilst Banderas is incredibly miscast (a Spanish actor playing a real world man from Middle-Eastern history), you can tell that he is really trying in the role, and it’s his relationship with his dirty and gruff new Viking comrades that’s a real joy to watch.

The film also manages to pack in a ton of action, with some small skirmishes and quite large battles across its run time, managing to juggle building tension and fights really well. Much like McTiernan’s other action films, it might not be the most serious and realistic, but it has a certain charm that means I will always be happy to watch it whenever I find it playing. – Amy Walker

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Hudson Hawk (1991)

Hudson Hawk turned thirty back in May 2021. When it came out it was a huge critical and commercial failure, but have you actually watched it? It is genius and totally deserves the cult classic branding it has today. From Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello bursting into song and dance when doing their heists, Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard being villainous and even more over the top than Chris Tucker was in The Fifth Element, to a Vatican Secret Society before Dan Brown tried to make them spooky and cool, this film has it all.

Yes, the plot is crazy and outlandish.  Yes, it has Andie McDowall doing dolphin impressions.  Yes, it has double crossing CIA agents all named after chocolate bars.  But it also has wacky Clockpunk technology, a subgenre of Steampunk (which in itself is a derivative of Cyberpunk) we had not even heard of before reading the Wikipedia entry for this film.

Hudson Hawk earned multiple nominations for the Razzies and won three, including Worst Picture, but honestly does not deserve the flak it got. Willis is at his comic best, the cast all bounce off each other perfectly and it will have you laughing, smiling and singing along as you watch it. Will Hudson ever get that cappuccino he so desperately desires? You will have to ‘Swing on a Star’ and give this film a watch to find out. – Helen Balls

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