Why you should care
It’s on Amazon for 10 bucks.
Entertainment was pretty great in 2002. We had singer Jennifer Lopez, footballer David Beckham, pop girl group Las Ketchup, young Brad Pitt. But perhaps it ought to be remembered for a big flop, headlined by familiar blockbuster stars Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) might be the worst movie ever made, according to critics.
100 percent of the experts on Rotten Tomatoes rated Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever as “rotten.”
That’s right: 115 out of 115 critics — let’s be honest, a pretty huge sample size — would take back the 90 minutes stolen from them, rating the film a green splat rather than a well-rounded tomato. Critics, when asked to rate it out of 10, gave it a measly 2.6, and general audiences gave it an even lower 2.2. “Sometimes it’s surprising how stupid moviemakers think we are,” John Wilson, founder of the Razzie Awards, which celebrates the worst movies every year, says. Representatives of Ballistic’s director, Wych Kaosayananda, did not respond to a request for comment.
Lucky for Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, it has some company in the zero-percent club. There’s Orgy of the Dead, Return to the Blue Lagoon and National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers. But these other movies have far fewer critics weighing in, so the criticism of Ballistic has more oomph … more than any of its explosions. Full reviews skewered it more specifically: for plot holes, trying unsuccessfully to be like The Matrix, incoherent writing, clichéd tropes and difficult-to-follow storytelling. “It was one bad surprise after another,” critic Nell Minow says, looking back. Personally, we couldn’t hold it together every time the intense background music started up in a fight scene.
Today we live in a kind of golden age for cult movies, where ironic love of cinematic failures from the past can bring people to late-night movie screenings and yield book deals years later to rehash the disastrous experience on set. Bad-movies aficionado Emer Prevost, who runs the YouTube channel “Reaction & Review,” says that Ballistic won’t cut it, though, as a cult movie. It takes a special kind of bad to also be entertaining. “I took the DVD down to a local shop the next day. They said they could give me 60 cents for it. I said, ‘Good. Take it,’” Prevost says.
Of course, Ballistic probably won’t get to keep its place in bad movie history forever. Every year, the Razzies choose new terrible movies. Look back through time and the epitome of worst movie has changed as consistently as Ballistic’s characters’ motivations. Tastes differ on what’s not just bad but horrendous: Some say The Room is the worst; others, Plan 9 From Outer Space. And in all fairness, not everyone despises it. Critic Michelle Alexandria says, “I don’t watch action films for story or even acting. A good action film only has to deliver on the action for me.” So maybe make that 115 out of 116 critics. Ballistic: Alexandria vs. Critics.