The 14 Best Movies That Blend Sci-Fi and Crime Perfectly

Lawless (not flawless) futures.

Very few sci-fi movies depict idyllic or some kind of utopian futuristic scenarios. After all, a good story needs conflict to keep most people interested and engaged, so by setting a sci-fi story in a world where all problems are solved, you run the risk that the heroes will have no problems to overcome, or any Fight the fight.

While most sci-fi movies will thus feature future worlds with problems that may be reminiscent of those we face today, some excellent movies go a step further. These films imagine a world—whether decades in the future, or just a year or so—that deals with crime as much, if not more, than it does today. As such, they both offer a fascinating and thought-provoking amalgamation of the sci-fi and crime genres.

'Crimes of the Future' (2022)

Updated on January 3rd, 2023, by Hannah Saab:

David Cronenberg's latest film is a strange take on the dystopian genre. It's unclear how far into the future it's set, but it seems like it's still a while away. It was originally about a man who can regenerate his organs and has an exhibit where he has his own Organs harvested in front of a live audience.

As a result, Future Sins doesn't feel like a crime movie at first, but the plot expands after its initial setup into a sprawling narrative full of intrigue, mysterious characters, and shadowy organizations that feel decidedly film noir; a A genre that tends to contain criminal elements. The audience and protagonist are always behind what's actually happening, and there's not always an obvious hero or villain. Future Sins depicts a rotting and dying world that seems to chew and spit out hapless souls at will. If it's meant to evoke the mystique of old-school film noir, but in a dystopian future, that would explain why the word "crime" is in the title.

'Minority Report' (2002)

Available to stream on Hulu.

Rather than depicting a future society ravaged by crime, Minority Report takes an imaginative approach to presenting a future that can be predicted before crime occurs. This leads to arrests before the crime is committed, saving the victim, but ultimately punishing the person who technically did not commit the crime.

The movie then becomes about the morality of the practice and goes through all the new issues If humanity "solves" the problem of crime by inventing a predictive method, then humanity will have to face it. As such, it makes for a unique sci-fi crime movie, and as concerns about internet surveillance have intensified in recent years, themes and story of Minority Report have arguably become more relevant.

'Repo! The Genetic Opera' (2008)

Available to stream on Netflix and Paramount+.

Not only repo! Genetic Opera mixes science fiction with crime elements, and also adds a healthy dose of horror and music. In fact, it's very focused on being a musical where nearly every line of dialogue is sung... though, not surprising considering the word "opera" is in the title.

The plot concerns a dark, futuristic world that is nearly ruled by a violent corporation thanks to the control of all organ transplants in a dystopian setting where organ failure has become an epidemic. They basically run their business the same way gangsters do, violently recovering the organs of clients who fail to pay back in time. Paul Sorvino even plays the head of the company, making the criminal ties even stronger considering he's probably best known for his role as the captain of a crime gang on "Goodfellas."

'Strange Days' (1995)

Available to rent on Apple iTunes.

Released in 1995 and set in 1999, Strange Days was never dramatically futuristic, but its turn-of-the-millennial setting had a definite sci-fi feel to it. The premise also involves disks recording memories and emotions, with Ralph Fiennes playing an ex-cop who gets caught up in a complex conspiracy because such disks contain evidence of a possible crime.

This is another example of film noir influencing sci-fi, and to good effect. The main character could have felt at home in a black and white 1940s or 50s movie about being drawn into a conspiracy beyond his control. While the heavy 1990s aesthetic ends up making "A Strange Day" feel slightly dated, it still captures accepted sci-fi concepts, and director Katherine Bigelow does a great job of keeping the main storyline engaging and fast-paced.

'Chappie' (2015)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Released six years after District 9 - a film director Neil Blomkamp will likely never top - Chappie is a somewhat underrated blend of action, sci-fi, crime and even some comedy, even if it tries to Attempts to concoct this unique type of cocktail have ended with a decidedly messy end product.

Chappie is about a robot cop (no, not that) who gets rid of his programming and Learn about human emotions while being used by a gang of criminals to assist them in their crimes. It's a unique premise that blends crime and sci-fi very well, and has some great scenes, even if it ends up being pretty flawed in some areas.

'Dogora' (1964)

Available to rent on Apple iTunes.

There's no way to put it mildly: Dogora is a weird movie. The giant monster movies of the 1950s and 1960s came after the original Godzilla, and of course Dogora went further than you might think.

Dogora's giant monsters have an incredibly unique design, somewhat reminiscent of deep-sea fish, unlike most monsters in classic monster movies, which are played by actors in rubber suits. Then, unlike the human storylines where the main characters aim to stop or observe monsters, Dogora's main characters spend most of the movie robbing diamonds. Worth a watch for those actively looking for a deep-cut giant monster flick, but probably won't hold much appeal for everyone else.

'Alphaville' (1965)

Available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

Alphaville is an unusual film in Jean-Luc Godard's filmography. Godard usually made films that combined comedy, drama and romance, at least in his early days, (omitted) Fewer experimental years. However, Alphaville is a futuristic detective story.

The plot doesn't even take place on Earth, as the film's setting, Alphaville, is a city on another planet where love and other deep human emotions are forbidden. Detectives (unsurprisingly) uncover a deep, baffling conspiracy and work to get to the bottom of it. Some viewers may also have trouble following the film and what it's trying to say, but its bland tone and unique take on the mystery genre will likely make it engaging and intoxicating for others.

'Face/Off' (1997)

Available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

A gloriously wild movie, with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta going all out for the camera, and John Woo going all out for the camera, Face/Off uses the sci-fi idea of ​​a perfect face transplant (which would allow you to effectively steal someone's identity) and make it into a wild, endlessly fun action movie.

It doesn't have a lot of screaming sci-fi, other than face transplants and a very high-tech prison, but it's enough. Again, the crime elements are toned down, but much of the film does involve the heroes (disguised as villain) break into the villain's criminal gang. First off, it's an action movie, but it's certainly an action movie elevated by those sci-fi and crime elements.

'Dark City' (1998)

Available to rent on Apple iTunes.

The Dark City takes place in such a distant future that it is often unrecognizable compared to our present. Considering the main character has been struggling to remember his past -- trying to survive in a sunless city ruled by telepathic beings who harvest human souls -- he's also having a hard time finding familiarity.

It takes the basics of film noir and pushes them so far into the future that Dark City almost feels like a fantasy film. It's a fine example of taking film noir to the extreme, with a hauntingly surreal atmosphere long after it's over.

'Blade Runner' (1982)

Available to rent on Apple iTunes.

Perhaps the poster child for a detective/film noir storyline transplanted into the future remains 1982's Blade Runner. While it's set in 2019 and tells the story of a futuristic cop tasked with hunting down a group of escaped replicants, watching it in 2022 still feels futuristic.

It's morally gray and visually dark, but the world it creates is a compelling First, the questions it raises about human nature, liberty, and social inequality remain thought-provoking and relevant. It's easy to see why Blade Runner has endured as a classic, and there are few films that blend science fiction with crime like it does.

'Tenet' (2020)

Available to rent on Amazon Video and Google Play Movies.

Director Christopher Nolan's Tenet is one of his most controversial films. Starring John David Washington, the film revolves around a special agent tasked with using time-reversal technology to stop World War III. The Agent (Washington), known only as "The Protagonist", travels across the world and through multiple time periods in order to prevent a powerful organization from altering the course of history.

Tenet is known for his complex (if not overly convoluted) narratives and creative use of time manipulation in action sequences. It also combines crime and sci-fi in a way only Nolan can, maybe not quite as well as he did with Inception, but fans of the genre will no doubt enjoy it anyway.

'Elysium' (2013)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Neil Blomkamp brings a follow-up to the commercially successful (but hugely disappointing) Elysium District 9. The film is set in 2154, and the rich live on a luxurious space station called Elysium, while the rest of the population lives on A devastated earth. It follows Max de Costa (Matt Damon), a factory worker on Earth, as he becomes involved in a plan to destroy the Elysian government and introduce equality between the two worlds.

Of course, Max's dangerous attempt to infiltrate the highly advanced satellite is resisted by Elysian authorities and residents. More elements of the crime are revealed as Max reveals details about each other's lives and how he provided basic care to his hometown community.

'Inception' (2010)

Available to stream on AMC+.

Nolan's Inception is a sci-fi movie that needs no introduction - it's also a heist movie that doesn't steal because it deals with mind and memory. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a thief with the ability to sneak into people's dreams and steal their secrets. Cobb is given the opportunity to clear his criminal record in exchange for performing the seemingly impossible: planting an idea into someone's mind instead of stealing it.

Cobb and his gang must build a "dream within a dream" and pull off a heist that requires careful organization and execution. They must grapple with the dangerous and unpredictable nature of the dream world, as well as an adversary trying to stop them. While this leans more towards the heist than the crime genre, there's a lot of overlap between the two.

'Dredd' (2012)

Available to stream on Hulu.

Based on the comic book character of the same name, Dredd is director Pete Travis' legendary film. Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd, a law enforcement officer living in a bleak future where crime is rampant and the legal system has been replaced by a group of "judges" who are both cops and judges. In the film, Dredd is tasked with taking down a gang led by notorious drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who takes control of the 200-story Peachtree Tower.

Dredd must fight his way through floor by floor with the help of a rookie Judge to find Ma-Ma and bring her to justice. Violent, action-packed, and stunningly styled from start to finish, this is a film that combines elements of dystopia, sci-fi, crime, and action to create an entirely unique viewing experience.

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