20 'Bad' Sci-Fi Movies That Are Actually Good

List Rules
Vote up the sci-fi films that have been mislabled as bad but are totally worth giving another chance.

Science fiction has always been something of a gamble for film studios. While there have been some epic films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, for the most part, the genre is filled with a smattering of good movies, duds, and financial disasters. The biggest problem with sci-fi isn't that the movies aren't amazing; it's that the films tend to garner fan support from a niche community. When that happens, movies that are generally perceived as being bad because of their box office performance aren't bad at all.

These sci-fi films have received generally poor reviews or had a terrible showing at the box office when they first hit theaters. Despite this, they are beloved by fans all across the world. For this list, only films that have a 69% or lower on Rotten Tomatoes are considered. Vote up the films worth a rewatch!


  • 1
    4,581 VOTES

    En route to a prison, the spaceship carrying famed criminal Richard B. Riddick is damaged by a passing comet. The craft is forced to crash on a desert planet, where the crew will attempt repairs. When they land, dangerous alien creatures begin ambushing the survivors, but Riddick and some of the other people on board manage to escape. Riddick joins the remaining survivors as they attempt to escape from the planet while avoiding the dangerous aliens whose only weakness is light. Fortunately for them, Riddick's specialized eyesight allows him to see in the dark, so they might have a fighting chance.

    While Pitch Black wasn't considered a huge success when it came out, the movie - and Riddick especially - was loved by fans. The character was so beloved that he launched a franchise, which saw two films released after this one.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%

    • Actors: Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald
    • Released: 2000
    • Directed by: David Twohy

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  • In the future, all democracies are a thing of the past, and the world has united under a single government. Earth is also in conflict with the Bugs of Klendathu, a world on the opposite side of the Milky Way Galaxy. Johnny Rico and the survivors rally and meet up to take on the Bugs in a special mission to capture the "Brain Bug" to learn as much as they can about their enemy's plans. The film concludes after the mission's success and plays like a propaganda reel seen during WWII.

    The biggest problem with Starship Troopers is that it shares a name with the source material, and that's about it. Fans of the book often dislike this film, but for those who watched it without having read the book, it's a fun and exciting sci-fi film that takes advantage of the CGI that was available at the time. While it barely broke its budget, the film did garner several sequels, though they were direct-to-video releases.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

    • Actors: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris
    • Released: 1997
    • Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

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  • 3
    3,052 VOTES

    Set in a future where all emotion and artistic expression are outlawed, citizens must take a daily injection to suppress their emotions, and enforcement officers work to ensure everyone complies. When enforcement officer John Preston misses one of his doses, his emotions begin to rise to the surface. As he experiences emotions, he questions the morality of a society that works to suppress them, and he attempts to remain undetected for his own safety. Eventually, he becomes involved in a resistance movement, where he employs his expertise in a unique brand of martial arts called gun kata to fight against the system he was once a part of.

    Equilibrium bombed at the box office, only managing to make $5.3 million off its $20 million budget. Outside of its box office performance, the movie is highly regarded among fans and is well known as one of the earliest films to use firearms in martial arts combat.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40%

    • Actors: Christian Bale, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs, Angus Macfadyen, Sean Bean
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Kurt Wimmer

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  • Event Horizon is a sci-fi/horror flick that centers around a crew of astronauts who are sent on a rescue mission after a spaceship bearing the film's title as its name goes missing. The rescue crew soon learns that the Event Horizon was testing an experimental engine designed to open a rift in space-time. When the experiment seemingly works, a malevolent entity from another dimension takes over the ship and the genre shifts from sci-fi to horror.

    The film was a commercial and critical failure, having only made $26.7 million off a $60 million budget. Despite this, the film became a cult classic when it was released on DVD, and has garnered a significant number of fans since.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 27%

    • Actors: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones
    • Released: 1997
    • Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson

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