The Ultimate Flops: Exploring the Worst Car Movies

July 2, 2019Fun Facts and Lists
Steven Rogers

Apart from sharing Captain America's name, our freelance writer Steven is also a big fan of moving, history, and geography.

There’s something about bad films, especially about the worst car movies of all time. People tend to go back to many of them. Why? Well, some are guilty pleasures, some can be genuinely funny, and some are so bad that they go full circle and become kinda good (no, not Disney Star Wars, never).

In our search for the worst car movies of all time, we delved deep into the shallow pits of the blockbusters (or wannabes,) prequels, sequels, and stand-alones, all competing for the place at the very bottom of the line. What they all have in common is a lack of ideas, a lack of enthusiasm by anyone involved, and a lack of a good vibe.

Terminator 3 – The Rise of the Machines

In the life of every franchise comes the time when it should end, but it doesn’t. Then folks behind it run out of ideas, and things begin to move downward. And this was that point for the Terminator series.

It’s been ten years since T-1000 and T-800 were melted in the molten steel and Judgment Day was averted. In the meantime, Sarah Connor died of cancer, and her son John is living without technology, wandering around Los Angeles, trying to escape nightmares by using drugs. As you might have guessed, that’s when Skynet strikes again, in the form of T-X, a liquid-metal shape-shifting cyborg. Sounds very familiar?

This one can turn its arm into a plasma launcher and can control other machines, so it doesn’t need to know how to start a car without jumper cables. To borrow the phrase from the movie, it’s a Terminator for Terminators (yeah, bad, but not nearly as bad as those things from Dark Fate). Its mission is not to kill John (even Skynet can’t locate him) but those who would be his future top lieutenants. It succeeds with all but one – Kate Brewster, daughter of the supervisor of Skynet’s development, John’s ex-classmate and future wife.

When T-X corners the pair, we finally see the old face, as T-800 comes to their rescue and the chase begins, as humans try to stay alive and reach Kate’s father and prevent him from activating Skynet.

Cast And Such

Since James Cameron declined to get involved with the movie, the director’s staff was given to Jonathan Mostow. And, due to the different circumstances, almost the entire cast debuted in the Terminator franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned as T-800, and Earl Boen once again took the role of Dr. Silberman, albeit in just one scene. Linda Hamilton refused to take part in the movie because Sarah Connor would die anyway, and Edward Furlong was not cast (reportedly because of substance abuse). In the end, Nick Stahl was chosen to play John, and the main cast was completed by Claire Danes (Kate) and Kristanna Loken (T-X).

Why It Is Bad

The film has one half-decent chase scene, probably more as a metaphor for driving in Los Angeles, with numerous vehicles disregarding traffic regulations. And a final couple of minutes are fine. But, unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing new story-wise (except nullifying everything our heroes have done in the first two).

There are somewhat starched attempts at Arnie’s one-liners and deja vu in terms of villain. All the same, Robert Patrick (playing an emotionless killing machine) managed to pull the T-1000 off while displaying at least some sense of wonder at what he was doing. As for Kristanna Loken, while she has undisputed qualities, quality acting isn’t one of them, so playing an emotionless killing machine suited her just fine.

So, while it’s not as awful and physically painful as Dark Fate, so we’re trying to forget that it exists, Terminator 3 was the beginning of the end of a franchise that marked the childhood of all the ’80s and ’90s kids.

Fast & Furious – Tokyo Drift

This franchise has long prided itself on the (mostly) fun adventures of Brian O’Conner, Dominic Toretto, and their friends and family (see what I did there?) while street racing, evading numerous types of pursuits, and coming out better in the end. Well, Tokyo Drift has little to none of it.

The Plot in a Nutshell

To evade going to jail because of his involvement in a race between a classic and a modern car which ended in a crash, Sean (Lucas Black) leaves the US and goes to Japan to live with his father, a Navy officer. Once in Tokyo, Sean meets and befriends Twinkie (Bow Wow), a military brat well-versed in the city’s drift races. So Sean begins to race, loses to a local champion Takashi (the guy connected to the Yakuza, if you had any doubts about that), and finally has to learn to drift in order to, well, win the race, avenge friends, defeat the bad guys, and get out of the trouble with criminals.

What’s Wrong?

Well, maybe it’s not about what’s wrong, but what’s missing. Yes, there are cars that would easily merit luxury transport, even some of the most expensive cars in the world (albeit driven in a way that would leave anyone far, far away from the best car insurance for young drivers (or an average one)). But there’s no fast & furious vibe from the early years, and that does it for the film. And the storyline doesn’t offer much.

But the soundtrack may be your cup of tea. Listen for yourself.

YouTube video

The  Transporter

Yet another franchise issue on the list, The Transporter follows the adventures of Frank Martin, a commando turned specialized courier of highly sensitive goods, be they alive or inanimate. He goes by the professional name Transporter, has very strict rules of doing business, and is as badass as one can get.

This is the surest sign someone is going down. And by someone, we mean scores of them. Simultaneously.

What’s the Deal? (Pun Intended)

So, Frank Martin (Jason Statham) lives in scenic southern France and earns for a living by bringing stuff from Point A to Point B. He operates under three rules (never change the deal, no names, and never open the package,) and the plot is constructed around one of those rules being broken (the first one by the bad guys and the third one by Frank himself). What follows is a mix of chases on the European roads, though US routes get their share in the second installment, road rage, and a couple of fights.

These movies won’t teach beginners to drive, showcase examples of cars for off-road driving, or give any advice on how to register a car. What they will do is provide fun for an hour or two (as long as you don’t turn your brain on too much) and alleviate some of the driving stress you may be feeling when behind the wheel.

Statham’s Co-Stars

We’re talking about cars, of course. In the first movie, Frank drives a mint BMW E38 753i, a four-wheel gem of its day. When it gets blown up, its place is taken by the Mercedes W140. Sequels feature Audi A8 in different versions (armored, for example) and Lamborghini Roadster, to mention only those driven by our hero.

Ensuing TV show (with Chris Vance as Frank) stuck with Audi A8, but showrunners had much less compassion for vehicles. While movies kept them whole, explosions and crashes were a staple of the show.

Of course, each vehicle got some fine add-ons. For what would any decent driver do without a good friend with a custom car shop?

YouTube video

Or Is It Among the Best Movies With Cars?

So far, The Transporter has three main films, a two-season TV show, a spin-off movie, and a reboot (which tanked, as reboots usually do). In those hours, it provided easy fun, several interesting characters, good-looking women, and powerful pitch-black cars. It goes without saying that nearly every female in the franchise will end up in Frank’s bed at some point or other.

So, having all that, you may consider the adventures of Frank Martin to be among the best car movies of all time. A flick that will inspire you to order your very own Audi A8 and hire a USA auto transport company to get it to you in its enclosed trailer. Or is it the absolute trash, one to make you realize the benefits of living without a car and going to a remote area in a trusted RV?

Only you can answer that question.

Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Fallen

Once upon a time, Transformers was an animated series accompanying a toy line. And it was good and fun. Optimus Prime, his noble Autobots and their robotic and human allies fought treacherous villains, Decepticons, and their allies. And then it was decided to make a live-action film. And then another. And then three more. And then a prequel. And then one more. And another is announced for the next year. Yes, that’s a whole lotta Transformers movies. Here you’ll be reading about the second one.

The Plot

Thousands of years ago, the erstwhile Autobots, called the Primes, were draining stars for energy, with the understanding that they won’t do that to the stars that sustain life. Well, one of them wouldn’t put up with that, tried to harvest our Sun, and was put in prison for that. He is the Fallen, the forefather of all Decepticons.

Back to the present, governments are debating whether or not to expel the Autobots from Earth, and Sam Witwicky is all set to go to college. With him go his parents (to embarrass him, of course) and his Autobot friend Bumblebee, an iconic yellow Chevy Camaro. Once in the dorm room and free of his parents, Sam is about to get laid (not entirely willingly, though) when everything goes horribly wrong.

First, his girlfriend walks in on him lying under a hot coed and walks away disgusted. Mere seconds later, hot coed turns out to be a Decepticon spy, wanting to capture Sam so Decepticon leader Megatron can extract useful knowledge from him.

From there, it’s all a chase between humans and robots across the world with many fights, with Optimus Prime being killed and then resurrected, and Sam’s girlfriend endlessly rubbing in his nose his almost-infidelity while still staying with him through all that happens. Oh, and Sam gets kinda killed but then revived. And they defeat the Fallen. And everything’s great (until the next movie, that is).

What’s Wrong?

Where to begin… Should it be the (non-existent) acting prowess of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox? Alex Kurtzman’s expert writing of nonsense? Michael Bay? Or all of it combined?

Let’s stay with the director. Bay took a beloved cartoon TV series and turned it into a franchise of CGI-filled blockbusters. So far, so good, right? For his effort on The Revenge of the Fallen, he won a Golden Raspberry Award for the worst director of the year in 2009 and was nominated for a 2009 Sexist Pig Award by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. That one, though, he didn’t win.

Bonus fact: Bay was once again nominated for the Sexist Pig Award in 2011 but again failed to win it.

All in all, the RotF is quite bad in almost all departments. What it has is a good show of cars for city driving, race cars, trucks, and construction vehicles – yes, Constructicons are in the movie, and their first appearance is probably the best part of it.


Couple of Honorary Bad Movie Mentions

All of the above have their plus sides and at least some nostalgic allure to them. The following, while equally bad (if not worse,) don’t have even that. So, let’s see some of the true heroes of our story.

Herbie: Fully Loaded

In this 2005 classic featuring Lindsay Lohan, a sentient VW Beetle called Herbie is sent to a scrapyard after losing a race. There, it is miraculously saved by a college grad who’s looking for a car as her graduation present and goes on to win races again all the way up to NASCAR. Now, is that an original plot or what?

Days of Thunder

Released in 1990, Days of Thunder should have been Top Gun with cars. To give you a taste of the originality, it was supposed to be called Top Run, and it has Tom Cruise in the lead role of Cole Trickle, a young and not-so-successful racer who wants to try himself in the NASCAR series, even though he fails to win less demanding races. Do you think he won in the end? No spoilers here.


In the category of bad Fast&Furious copycats, Redline deserves a very high ranking for its badness (if that isn’t a word, it sure as hell should be). In essence, it’s a non-story about street racers and filthy rich people betting on their races. It has a lot of overpowered cars and even more disregard for anything remotely related to physics. And that’s it.

That’s the List – Maybe It’s Motivating

Motivating for what, we hear you ask. Well, maybe you decide to buy some of the featured models after watching them overcome all challenges. Or perhaps you and your SO are having a long-distance Valentine’s Day and have decided to watch bad films. This, in turn, can lead to the decision to choose a moving company and move in together in some of the best US cities to drive in. Furthermore, if that company is shipping cars in the USA and transporting cars from state to state, you can even get any of the popular import cars and have it delivered to your doorstep. See, the possibilities are endless.

Open Carrier Auto Transport

Read More

Enclosed Auto Transport

Read More

There’s No Better Car Shipping Company Than USA Auto Transport

Whenever you need a trustworthy and legitimate partner for your relocation or proper car shipping advice from experienced professionals, don’t hesitate to contact us. We at USA Auto Transport offer not only door-to-door auto transport and terminal-to-terminal car shipping on both enclosed auto transport and open trailers but also first-class moving services.

It’s all in our auto transport reviews – top service and clear-cut car shipping costs. No hidden fees, no surprises, no moving scams. So, if you wish to avoid driving anxiety and never think about what to do with a totaled car while heading for the next chapter of your life, USA Auto Transport is just a call away.


Get a Quote

    check mark
    Download as PDF

    Moving Checklist

    Get a Free Estimate 855.675.3451