Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, And Jim Carrey All Starred In A Bizarre Cannibal Flop

Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey starred together in The Bad Batch which has been almost completely forgotten even though it came out in 2016.

By Mark McKee | Updated

Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey are three of the biggest names in Hollywood. While Momoa saw his career take off just a decade ago with his short but impactful run on Game of Thrones, the other two have been mainstays in the industry for the last thirty years. Even though all three of them typically see their films get large theater runs with heavy marketing and box office hauls, all three were in a 2016 movie that went under the radar, The Bad Batch

The Bad Batch follows a young girl (Suki Waterhouse) as she is banished into a dystopian Texas desert outside of the law in the rapidly deteriorating United States. After falling victim to a group of cannibals led by Jason Momoa, she escapes with the loss of an arm and a leg and finds herself in a laid-back but poor town called Comfort. She eventually finds a young girl outside the town and takes her in, only to discover it is Momoa’s daughter and that her home in Comfort isn’t all that it seems to be. 

Jason Momoa’s counterpart in the film is played by Keanu Reeves, named The Dream. He is a weird, poor man’s Hugh Hefner in a robe with a mustache. His time is mostly spent in a mansion with a large harem of young girls who are making and selling drugs to support the town’s population. 

Upon the girl’s escape from the cannibals, which she does on a skateboard, she is rescued in the desert by a mute hermit, who is played by a bearded Jim Carrey. While he is only in a few scenes and utters not one single word, his performance was one that director Ana Lily Amirpour said was one of the most important of the film because Carrey was the hermit. She recounted how it was two sides to the same coin; whether being that famous or being a homeless man, no one really sees the real you. 

With Jason Momoa leading a cast that includes Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Giovanni Ribisi, and Diego Luna, you could have expected it to be a huge blockbuster. Instead, the movie could only muster a 30% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes and a slightly better 45% from critics. Alissa Wilkinson of Vox says the film squanders its strong start and rich setting on a too-thin plot.

Director Ana Lily Amirpour also wrote the picture and is known for directing A Girl Walks Home at Night and A Little Suicide. She is a huge advocate of practical effects and only needed 28 days to film the entire movie. The film was shot in Slab City, CA, a community of vagabonds who played extras in the film, needing no makeup or costuming.  

The film was Waterhouse’s first big role, and she held her own alongside the powerhouses of Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey. The Bad Batch debuted at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize. It is seen as the third most prestigious prize at the festival after the first place Golden Lion and the second place Grand Jury Prize. 

The film saw a meager theater run after its success at the film festival, releasing in June of 2017. While it was released against other small-budget films like TubelightThe Beguiled, and The Big Sick, big summer blockbusters such as Wonder WomanGuardians of the Galaxy 2, and Transformers: The Last Knight were all dominating the box office weeks after release. The Bad Batch brought in a total of $43,457 on opening weekend and just under $201K worldwide, a massive disappointment on its $6 million budget. 

With the kind of powerhouse actors The Bad Batch took on, there was a reasonable expectation of success. Jason Momoa leading a group of cannibals, Keanu Reeves leading a cult addicted to drugs and partying, Diego Luna as a resident DJ to keep the party going, and Jim Carrey in his first ever silent film role, there is plenty of cinema gold to be mined from the film. Ana Lily Amirpour and Suki Waterhouse proved multiple things at once, you don’t need a big name to go against other big names on screen, and you don’t need a billion-dollar theater run to show that you can let Hollywood A-listers chew up the screen.