The 5 cleverest dumb sci-fi action movies ever

Guns, gore, greys... and genius

Word that John Carpenter’s They Live- a seemingly dumb action movie with a smart satirical sense buried within – is getting remade got us thinking about our favourite sci-fi satires.

SF has always provided filmmakers with the chance to tweak modern’s society’s foibles and humanity in general’s folly. So here are five of the best…

1. Starship Troopers


It might be typical Paul Verhoeven fare – blood, boobs, battle and bugs – but lurking within is a warning parable about fascist society and the danger for overly patriotic nations to turn into war-hungry behemoths. Plus why that cockroach you saw last week looked at you strangely.

2. Idiocracy


Mike Judge’s Office Space follow-up was similarly buried in cinemas, which is a crime against solid comedy. It’s a look at how intelligent folk are outbred by drooling, shag-happy rednecks and a future where standards have dropped to near-Neanderthal levels. It’s not perfect, but it’s pointed and its shabby, death-by-focus-group treatment is just one sign that it’s scarily prescient.

3. Demolition Man


Don’t look at us like that: this otherwise OTT Sylvester Stallone action pic packs a satirical punch. It’s not subtle – a sanitised society where anything truly fun is outlawed is revealed as a sham built on a starving, all-but invisible underclass –but it has plenty to say.

4. The Running Man


Arnie's sole entry in this list, and not exactly his best work. But the main premise - TV becoming increasingly mercenary in order to attract ratings - gets more sharper with each year that passes.

5. Robocop


More from Paul Verhoeven, but it earns its place. Balancing excessive violence with corporate greed, police corruption and - bizarrely - Christian imagery, the heart of a thinking man beats beneath the alloy surface of Robocop. Whilst being surrounded by buckets of blood, of course.

Comments

    • Lindz28

      Dec 4th 2008, 12:12

      I love Demolition Man! Its endlessly watchable. Snipes is great in it and Sandra Bullock is adorable - "You really licked his a*s."

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    • murphy

      Dec 5th 2008, 4:08

      robocop is one of my favourite films of all time and people laugh at me for this because they think it's just a stupid action film but paul verhoven is great at making dumb films with deep messages in them

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    • murphy

      Dec 5th 2008, 4:10

      sorry Verhoeven

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    • thedarkknight

      Mar 24th 2009, 22:56

      I love Demolition Man, it's one of Sly's best. And what's with the Terminator music in the Robocop trailer?

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    • Gorty

      Nov 10th 2010, 23:40

      Demolition Man is like Woody Allen's "Sleeper" but taken seriously.

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