5 90s Action Movies That Did Not Age Well

Simultaneously last week and 30 years ago, the 90s were a banner decade for pop culture. The blockbuster movie age truly began with huge budgets and set pieces, only being outdone by the huge stars attached to the films. The 90s was truly the decade of the big action star, and there was no shortage of action films to while away the hours with.

Many of those action movies hold up today. Movies like speed, pointbreak, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day all remain classics of the genre and hold up to scrutiny in the 2020s. However, there are a lot of 90s action films that don’t stand the test of time, from much maligned Star Wars prequels to atrocious special effects.


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One of the most spectacular flops of all time, water world didn’t even hold up at the time of its release. Starring unlikely 90s action man Kevin Costner and prolific 90s bad guy Dennis Hopper, water world takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where the ice caps have melted, and the planet is now almost entirely underwater. Costner stars as The Mariner, a man drawn into the plight of a girl who has a map to the mythical Dryland on her back.

Most known for having the biggest budget of all time for a motion picture up to its release in 1995, it garnered mixed reviews at the time and fares even worse today. Described as “Mad Max but surfing,” the acting is less than impressive. Coupled with a lackluster script, water world is one to miss.

The original Mortal Kombat holds a soft spot in many fans’ hearts for the cheese factor and the decent casting job. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation does not hold such a spot. A sequel to the 1995 film and loosely based on the third game in the franchise, the Outworld emperor has resurrected Queen Sindel from the dead and breaks the tournament rules, waging war on the Earthrealm fighters.

Featuring some original cast, the film unfortunately lost Christopher Lambert as Raiden. This, coupled with seeing Johnny Cage die, negatively affected fan reactions. The poor script, less-than-stellar acting, and Spirit Halloween costuming have made this sequel virtually unwatchable in the present.

The 90s was a time when the internet was just becoming commonplace, and therefore there was a flood of movies released that didn’t understand how the internet worked or what it would become. The Net starring Sandra Bullock was one of those movies. Angela Bennett is a systems analyst for a software company when a co-worker gives her a floppy disk featuring a game with a “backdoor” into a common security program called Gatekeeper, meaning numerous government systems are vulnerable. Those responsible for the conspiracy pursue Angela and ruin her life as she races to expose the truth.

These days audiences understand the internet and computers, in general, more than they did in 1995, making movies of this type as obsolete as the technology featured in them. Partner that with a pretty basic script and clunky tension, and The Net isn’t worth a rewatch.

The Phantom Menace is a prequel to the original Star Wars trilogy and, despite being successful, was not well received at the time of its release. The film takes place 32 years before the events of the original movies and is the first chapter in the story of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are tasked with protecting young Queen Amidala as she attempts to negotiate a peaceful end to an interplanetary trade dispute. At the same time, they come across young Anakin, a slave with a strong Force presence who, Qui-Gon believes is destined to restore balance to the Force.

Not only is The Phantom Menace a dull largely look at trade disputes, but it is also overly long and over-encumbered with truly dull plot points. The film also gave the world Jar Jar Binks, which is a crime all of its own.

Another video game movie, Double Dragon is a baffling adaptation of the popular game. Starring Scott Wolf and Mark Dacascos as brothers Billy and Jimmy, and featuring Alyssa Milano and Robert Patrick, the movie is set in an earthquake-destroyed LA of the future (2007) where crime lord Koga Shuko seeks the second half of the amulet known as the Double Dragon. The adoptive mother of Billy and Jimmy holds the other half of the amulet, and they must prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

A little like a bad and overly long episode of Power Rangers, Double Dragon has a lot of issues. The pacing is poor, the acting is terrible, and the script is clunky. Some special effects remain fun, but overall, this is one to miss in the movie retrospective of the 90s.

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