We’ve seen some surprising movies in our time, especially when it comes to those that should have been decent but ended up terrible — like these 8 Geek Movies We’d Like To Obliterate From Existence, for example. Luckily, every now and then, such flicks come along that go the opposite direction. They’re so good, even though they have every right not to be. Our favorites:
7. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)
This one snuck out onto DVD in 2007 and featured a stupid looking cover that appeared as if it were crapped from the butt of an eighth grade Introduction to Photoshop class. But you can’t judge books — or in this case, movies — by their covers. Genuinely creepy in parts, the film has a wonderful sense of humor, a likable main character, and awesome old-school creature effects. (No CGI here.) It’s now an unsung favorite of ours.
6. Starship Troopers (1997)
This isn’t the last time you’ll see Paul Verhoeven turn up on our list. His Starship Troopers looked like the hammiest movie ever made judging by the trailer. The “actors” — which included Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards — shouted their lines as if they were doing a high school play with no sound equipment. However, when you actually watched the thing, you figured out it was a masterful companion piece to Verhoeven’s RoboCop where the frequent bouts of silliness and over-the-top acting somehow complemented the graphic violence for a hilarious and sometimes exhilarating experience.
5. RoboCop (1987)
While we’re on Verhoeven, we might as well include this one. The original RoboCop — judging by trailer only — looked pretty tongue-in-cheek, even to my eight-year-old self. I remember thinking, “They can’t be serious,” when I first saw the trailer at that young age. My dad took me to see it anyway, and after Murphy’s crucifixion scene, I realized that this was not the movie I signed up for — it was 100 times more awesome.
4. Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (2006)
By the time this one rolled around, the slasher genre had been done to death. The only thing this was going to do differently: make it a documentary-style slasher where we follow killer-in-training Leslie Vernon as he prepares for his slaughter night. The movie is goofy and genuinely funny before switching gears into a legitimate horror movie in the final act. Writer-director Scott Glosserman (and co-writer David J. Stieve) balance it perfectly for one of the subgenre’s true masterpieces.
3. The Wrestler (2008)
A washed-up Mickey Rourke, who hadn’t been heard from in years (at least not in anything significant), stars as an equally washed-up professional wrestler. While hindsight may make it seem like an obviously good choice, at the time it took a genius like Darren Aronofsky to grasp the true potential.
2. Rambo (2008)
You can’t watch Rambo II and Rambo III and seriously tell me you thought this fourth and final entry in the series had a prayer of being any good. But as it turned out, it was probably the best in the series and one of our all-time favorite action movies.
1. Ninja Assassin (2009)
We were certainly not expecting much when we watched this one. It was a modern day ninja movie with an unproven lead star, whose only real claim to fame was as a singer in his native South Korea — not exactly what you envision when you think “action hero.” But with director James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) at the helm and a screenplay by Matthew Sand and the legendary J. Michael Straczynski, it grew some legs. Throw in some excellent fight choreography and non-stop graphic violence, and we ended up stumbling upon one of our favorite movies of the decade.
Which surprising movies have you underestimated? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!