image image

Cinema

From Pitch Perfect 3 to The Happytime Murders, the worst films of 2018 released in Hong Kong

  • While there have been many highs in Western and Asian cinema this year, there have also been some memorable lows
  • We look at the 25 most painful releases of the year
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 8:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 2:27pm

We watched them all so you didn’t have to.

25. Pitch Perfect 3

The curse of the third-parter strikes again, bringing this previously pleasant franchise about an all-female a cappella group to a close on a resoundingly duff note. It had a bigger budget than the previous outings but none of the charm. Read the full review

24. The Commuter

Ten years after kidnap thriller Taken turned Liam Neeson into a geri-action star, the Irishman is still creaking, groaning and wheezing across our screens. Read the full review

23. Girls vs Gangsters

For all its childish behaviour and unconvincing plot turns, Barbara Wong Chun-chun’s China-set Girls (2014) was at least a watchable friendship comedy spiced up by its protagonists’ constant relationship struggles. The same can’t be said of this clueless sequel. Read the full review

22. Truth or Dare

Although it’s short on shocks, this run-of-the-mill teen horror at least makes viewers ponder how the heroine is going to make it to the end alive. Sadly, the screenwriters of Truth or Dare don’t seem to have figured this out themselves, as they present a hastily concocted conclusion that leaves audiences feeling ripped off. Read the full review

21. Loving Pablo

Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar was a vicious mass murderer, but this biopic about him can’t bring itself to say that. In fact, Loving Pablo is so confused about its subject that it ends up not saying anything at all about him. Read the full review

20. Forever Young

Despite an all-star Chinese cast, writer-director Li Fangfang’s ode to Tsinghua University graduates is a lumbering and sluggish ordeal that yields little reward for audiences. Read the full review

19. Unlocked

Below par on every front, this hapless spy thriller merrily chugs along from one cliché to the next, piling unbelievable scenes on top of each other. Read the full review

18. Last Winter, We Parted

Fuminori Nakamura’s 2014 novel was deemed unfilmable because of its intricate web of literary tricks and devices. Director Tomoyuki Takimoto proves these allegations to be true, delivering a film adaptation that is both laughably preposterous and head-thumpingly dull. Read the full review

17. The Crucifixion

The concept of a demon jumping from body to body, possessing different characters over the course of the film, is an original and intriguing one, but The Crucifixion creates little tension or atmosphere. Read the full review

16. Bel Canto

From opera star Renée Fleming’s poorly synced singing to Julianne Moore’s own third-act histrionics, one can only presume the Oscar-winning actress assumed nobody was watching her half-hearted efforts. Read the full review

15. Call Boy

Shot with all the panache of a chintzy ’90s whisky commercial, Call Boy is endlessly tiresome rather than erotically titillating, despite the abundance of skin on display throughout. Read the full review

14. Billionaire Boys Club

Billionaire Boys Club is not helped by the way that Kevin Spacey’s character spends much of the film leering at young men, a performance so close to his alleged actions in real life that it makes for a horribly uncomfortable watch. Read the full review

13. Net I Die

This horror film’s primary failing is that the murderous ghost at its core is easily its most sympathetic character. Elsewhere, the interchangeable cast of scantily-clad victims pretty much all deserve what is coming to them. Read the full review

12. Peppermint

Why did Jennifer Garner choose to make this crude and nauseating revenge-murder film? In Peppermint, the actress spends most of her time using military-grade weaponry to shoot people in the face. Read the full review

11. Thirty Years of Adonis

The line between soft-core porn and pompous art-house cinema grows ever finer in Thirty Years of Adonis. Intended as a philosophical statement about the meaninglessness of life, it instead comes across as a badly misjudged piece of sensationalist filmmaking. Read the full review

10. The Hurricane Heist

Director Rob Cohen is best known for kick-starting both the Fast and the Furious and xXx franchises, and is no stranger to a high-concept action thriller. But this natural disaster/bank heist mash-up stretches the bounds of plausibility, even by his own outrageous standards. Read the full review

9. Psychic Kusuo

The manga and anime version, now in its second season, are both hilarious. But the film disappoints with its poor pacing, and the cast’s overacting is just painful to watch. Read the full review

8. Slumber

The fun of watching this inept supernatural thriller comes from wondering just how much worse it can get. The answer is, unfortunately, a lot, as it moves effortlessly from clumsy, to ridiculous, to risible. Read the full review

7. Escape Plan 2

Chinese star Huang Xiaoming struggles with his English dialogue, resulting in a stilted, uncharismatic performance, while Dave Bautista appears to be killing time until his next Marvel pay cheque arrives. Even Sylvester Stallone delivers the bare minimum. Read the full review

6. Day of the Dead: Bloodline

This cheap and woefully constructed remake bears only a passing resemblance to its predecessor. Day of the Dead: Bloodline is dead on arrival, with no hope of reanimation. Read the full review

5. Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Treasure Island

Nobita’s Treasure Island falls embarrassingly flat. While viewers don’t watch anime for its logic, there are so many blatant plot holes here that probably only those aged six or under can watch this film without being distracted. Read the full review

4. Iceman: The Time Traveler

There are badly scripted movies, and then there is Iceman: The Time Traveler, a film so lacking in coherence, common sense and the most basic character arcs it’s an insult to the paying public. Read the full review

3. Patrick

This torturous film stumbles through a series of pitifully contrived clichés, utterly devoid of comedy or romance. Only Patrick the pug manages to raise a solitary smile in an otherwise criminally unfunny ordeal. Read the full review

2. Staycation

It is a testament to television personality Johnson Lee Sze-chit’s waning skills as a comedian that his film feels more excruciating than dental surgery without anaesthetic. Read the full review

1. The Happytime Murders

People are strange, as Jim Morrison once sang, but it must have taken someone particularly perverse to come up with The Happytime Murders, an execrable adult sex comedy that features oversexed muppet-like characters interacting with human actors. Read the full review

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook