The 10 Worst Action Movie Posters Ever Made
It turns out, you actually can’t solve everything with explosions.
10. The Spy Who Loved Me
The classic Bond films normally had pretty busy posters, traditionally featuring something along the lines of 007 surrounded by half-naked women while shooting an octopus in the face from an exploding crop duster. But even viewed in context, the poster for The Spy Who Loved Me is just a mess. A wildly psychedelic mish-mash of submarines, jet skis, legs, and primary colors, it’s as though they had 10 different ideas for a poster and just hurled them all in together. Then threw up on it.
9. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
The sequel to the 2008 movie Journey to the Center of the Earth had a bunch of crazy posters, most of which featured Dwayne Johnson running from a big iguana. The dumbest of all, though, was this sleepy-looking shot of Michael Caine in safari gear, being chased by a giant chickadee as he rides a bumblebee. It’s terrible, clearly, but we can live with it if it becomes the official explanation of what Alfred got up to after he quit being Bruce Wayne’s butler.
8. Superman III
Although, admittedly, this movie was hardly the most action-packed of the Christopher Reeve Superman films, there was a cool bit where he had to stop a tornado, and a sweet scene with Superman fighting “Evil Superman” (you could tell he was evil because he had a 5 o’clock shadow). Do we get to see any of that on the poster? Of course not! Instead, we get a cosmically bored-looking Superman flying over the Grand Canyon, with Richard Pryor as his damsel in distress. Somehow, this poster is still better than the entirety of Superman IV.
In his debut film role, Arnold Schwarzenegger played Hercules, transported to New York City. The movie was so bad that the producers clearly decided to tell the potential audience nothing whatsoever about the film, for fear of scaring them away. Instead, they went with a picture of an awkwardly-posed Schwarzenegger grasping at the air while his hands glow inexplicably. Even Arnie’s muscles – his most recognizable feature at this point in his career – look weird and disfigured, as if the artist only sort-of knew where to put them all. At least no one ever drew an unrecognizable picture of Arnie for a poster ever again – oh, wait. Never mind.
6. Yor: The Hunter From The Future
Going in the exact opposite direction from Hercules, the poster for Yor: The Hunter From The Future tells you everything it possibly can about the movie. It features an ax-waving caveman with a babe wrapped around his leg as he screams at some passing UFOs from atop an impossible rock formation, as pterodactyls circle beneath him and volcanoes explode in the background. The only mystery left to a potential audience is how this never ended up being the cover art for a Megadeth album.
5. Showdown In Little Tokyo
At first, the poster for Showdown In Little Tokyo looks okay (as so-so action flicks go, at least) – it’s got Dolph Lundgren doing yoga while wearing bullet straps (what do you wear while doing stretching?) and Brandon Lee behind him throwing some karate moves, so that’s all good. But…why the hell are they exploding out of a giant tattooed man’s crotch? Is that a plot point? Do they have to fight an enormous, inked schlong in the final act? Because…you know, we’re okay with that, we just want to be sure.
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
It seems like just because this movie takes place in San Francisco, the studio felt the need to throw in every gay stereotype they could think of. We have a rainbow in the center of the poster, we have a couple of the Village People in the background (motorcycle cop and cowboy), a dude wearing a studded leather dog collar… Why didn’t they just go the whole hog and have Spock wear a pair of shiny gold boots with a Cuban heel? …oh.
Victory is an ’80s movie about World War II POWs who are going up against the Nazis in a soccer game. The movie is silly fun, but the poster is just plain bizarre. There’s no indication at all that this is a WWII movie or a sports film – no uniforms, no tanks, no guns, hell, there’s not even a soccer ball on the poster. If you were to guess what the movie was about, you’d probably assume that it’s about multicultural conjoined triplets who finally achieve victory in finding that three-armed sweater they’ve been searching for all their lives.
And this poster demonstrates why the creatures from Alien burst out of people’s chests – because no one, no one wants to see something like this. “Gynecologist Visit From Hell” is apparently the plot of this movie, and while we’re sure there’s a small group of die-hard fans of that genre, we are definitely not among them. The only upside of this poster is that, as bad as it is, at least the angle isn’t reversed.
1. Equalizer 2000
The poster for the ’80s Mad Max rip-off Equalizer 2000 is easily the most ridiculous action movie poster ever made. Without a hint of irony, the gleaming, shirtless hero of the film sports the most absurd weapon ever, a six-barreled monstrosity that must weigh at least 80 pounds, yet somehow sits comfortably in one leather-gloved hand. For good measure, they also throw in burning cars and leather-clad gang-bangers, but by far the stupidest part of this poster is the most confusing, idiotic tagline ever conceived for a film: “The final war is over. The battle’s just begun.” Yeah…we’re going to go ponder the meaning of that one while beating our heads against the inside of a toilet.