My Top 6 Underrated Sci-fi Movies

Serenity Movie PosterHere are the Green Porch’s favorite sci-fi movies that haven’t seen the love they deserve. Why, you may ask, would I bother blathering on about such a trifle? Hey, everyone else is yammering about Tim Tebow and Ron Paul, so why can’t I give some props to a few movies that deserve more attention? (Sheesh, get off your high speeder).

Anywho, you may not have seen them, but I’ll give you some reasons as to why you should. So let’s get on with…

The Green Porch’s Top 6 Underrated Sci-fi Films

6.) Underworld: This movie franchise has actually survived to make two sequels, so I suppose it has done okay for itself. But I still think it hasn’t gotten due attention. First off, I’ll deal with the obvious. It has what’s her butt in it. Well, not so much her butt,… you know, Kate Frecklebale… or Beckinsale. It has a bunch of other dudes, and then my favorite vampire, Bill Nighy! (Okay, now that you’ve looked him up, we can move on).

The movie deals with vampires and werewolves in a way that not only doesn’t make me want to wretch theatrical chunks, but the backstory is interesting. The style and action totally rock even by today’s standards, and this movie was made in 2003. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only Vamp film that feels sci-fi rather than paranormal romance or just horror/camp.

5.) Demolition Man: Sure, this movie is terribly cheesy and pits Sylvester Stallone against Wesley Snipes. But ultimately the film is about fighting back against the man and his dystopian utopia (and who doesn’t love that?). The concept is actually profound, and gets really interesting when the pigeon-holed Denis Leary shows up as the leader of the underground. Sandra Bullock is always awesome. And this movie contains some of the all-time best sci-fi quote-ables such as, “Thank you for rendering me unconscious,” “You’re gonna regret this the rest of your life… both seconds of it,” “Wait a minute, this is the future. Where are all the phaser guns?” The exchange of bodily fluids, do you know what that leads to? Yeah, I do! Kids, smoking, a desire to raid the fridge.”

Plus there is a machine that keeps fining everyone whenever they swear… I guess you gotta be there. Anyway, all of these things add up to make Demolition Man the perfect movie to resurrect with a group of close friends. Pull this one out for your next movie night and split your ribs.

4.) Soldier: This is probably the most obscure on my list. The only big name actor was Kurt Russell (well… and Jason Scott Lee). This movie shows its age (made in 1998), but I just can’t let it go. I still wrestle with its poignant portrayal of weaponized humans/designer warriors. This movie was not the first or last to deal with the consequences of pushing a warrior class to the edge, but I still think it is the best. Jason Borne is awesome eye-candy, but Soldier focuses on what Borne could have become sans revenge. The film provides a provocative view on what it means to be human by showing Russell’s character as a blank slate now that there is no one to fight. (Of course someone shows up eventually.)

3.) Serenity: This movie is such a cult classic that in one sense it seems ridiculous to even mention it. If you are a Browncoat then the placement of this movie on the list is essential to taking this list seriously. If you are not, then you don’t care. But Serenity was a high budget movie that made millions of dollars… just not in profits (it almost broke even). There is no better space western, and maybe no better space opera either. Only satan himself could have kept this movie at bay. (Or some hollywood conspiracy involving satan).

2.) Pitch Black: This one is pretty obscure, again for reasons unsure. Vin Diesel and Radha Mitchell (Yeah, you know. Radha. The girl… that was in the thing…) both turn in great performances. The nature of the movie doesn’t show its age (2000) acutely because it pivots on suspense and character interplay rather than special effects. While this movie is not mind-bending, it provides one of the simplest and coolest concepts for suspense/horror/sci-fi that I’ve seen in a movie.

Maybe people thought it was too much like a cheap knockoff of Aliens 2 (nothing is worse than being a knockoff of a sequel of a great movie). But it ain’t so. This movie has very little to do with the aliens. It is about humans and our innate fear of the dark. Chillingly groovy. (And it features the character of Riddick, which was a major plus for me while probably just confusing the general public.) Maybe I just love me some anti-hero. Man, I can’t wait for another Riddick movie.

 1.) Gattaca: This movie is one of the best ever made, and yet somehow it listed at the box office. Powerful, gripping performances by three very talented and well known actors/actress (Jude Law, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman) still didn’t make this movie a hit. Maybe because this film was too good and too advanced for its time. Released in 1997, it plays just as good today.

Tense and emotional, this movie thrilled me and reduced me to both cheers and tears. The message is immutable. This will forever be one of the few movies that sticks with me. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out.[divider]

There you have it. If you’re gonna make a day out of it, pop some popcorn and send me an email. I’m coming over.

About David Mark Brown

Writer. Novelist. Redneck. Granola. Raised on a Texas cattle ranch and schooled at the U of Montana (Berkeley of the Rockies), I am the world’s most self-proclaimed redneck granola and author of optimistic-dystopian dieselpunk, sci-fi thrillers and young adult literature.

Comments

  1. Stephen Burt says:

    Demolition Man – Stallone, Bullock, Snipes, sea shells, and Taco Bell. It is a classic 90s flick. I wonder if I smuggled food from Taco Bell into the theater when I first saw it.

    Here are a couple that I would add to the list:

    CUBE – Is it sci-fi or horror? I think it is a little of both and one heck of a movie considering its total lack of budget. Imagine being trapped inside a rubik’s cube. Be sure to check out the commentary track after you have watched the movie.

    Silent Running – Preserving plant life on a ship taken to the extreme.

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