Today we continue the 3-part series on sequels, The Good, The Bad, And The Contentious.
Last time we looked at The Good – some of the very best sequels of all time; the ones that rise above the expectations. Read that list here.
And today? The Bad. Numbers 10—6 of the worst of the bunch.
A reminder about the criteria:
It must be a part 2 – there will be no analysis of Police Academy 7, or Death Wish III (although if you haven’t seen Death Wish III, it is truly hilarious – way funnier than Police Academy’s 3-8).
- It must be examined in relation to the quality of the original. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo may have disappointed you, but it was not a betrayal of the artistic standard set by the original. A high-quality original isn’t a necessity, but the sequel must stand in contrast to it.
10. Die Hard: Die Harder. The original was a beautifully made, beautifully shot, action film – an everyman trapped in a hostage situation surrounded by authorities who won’t listen – that also manages to be about American ideals of heroism and the mythology of the old west. He wins because he simply cannot give up. He cannot quit. He is a die-hard. It’s not, as the tone-deaf title of the sequel implies, that the bad guys in the film will all die, and do so in a manner that is not soft. And even if that is what they meant, it’s still an idiotic title. Are they imagining people exiting the theater saying, “Dude! I thought people died hard in the first film, but they died way harder this time!” The tone-deafness continues from there as it lazily constructs a plot of “same as before only, uh, how about in an airport this time.” It doesn’t make sense, it’s cartoonish, and it’s as dumb as the original is smart.
9. Blues Brothers 2000. Say it ain’t so, Elwood. The original was anarchy and music wrapped in comedy. The sequel – even ignoring the obvious omission of deceased John Belushi – is actually embarrassing, physically embarrassing, to watch. Remember in the original, when Jake “sees the light” in the church? Here’s the moment as imitated and “enhanced” in the sequel.
8. Speed 2: Cruise Control. Okay, so Speed was not high art, but it was a hell of a fun movie, and exciting start to finish: a bus that can’t drop below 50 or a bomb will detonate? Oh, and the overpass ahead is still under construction? Sure, by the time you’ve finished the movie and gotten a drink of water you’ve found 25 flaws in the plot, but still… Then comes the sequel set on… a boat? Movie-goers the world over asked themselves, well, nothing, because they didn’t go to the movie. But a few people asked themselves two questions: “Just how ‘speedy’ is this ferry? Because the ferries I ride seem to be powered by a lawnmower engine. And why doesn’t everyone just jump off the boat?” Here’s scene that manages to make a giant ship crashing in to an entire boardwalk shopping area dull:
7. Caddyshack 2. Of all the “slobs vs snobs” comedies of the late 70’s and early 80’s, Caddyshack reigns supreme. Career highlight-reel performances by Ted Knight, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray. The sequel is like a factory-second knock-off version, with less interesting, less clever versions of everything. Caddyshack 2 is to Caddyshack as strawberry gummy candy is to a fresh strawberry.
6. Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. It’s possible your memory has convinced that this is a good movie, because Crystal Skull is terrible, so you’ve told yourself that “the first 3 were great, they should have stopped there.” Well, it’s not good. Watch it again and you’ll see. And contrasted with the cinematic perfection of the original? Ouch. Even Spielberg has said that he only made the third film to make up for the second. The plot is simultaneously convoluted and boring, Short Round is awful. But is there a bigger indicator of the differences between the two than the lead female characters? Raiders of the Lost Ark is hard-drinking Marion “Until I get my money back, I’m your God damn partner!” Ravenwood. Temple of Doom is shrieking, whining Wilhemina “I sleep in my jewels, and nothing else” Scott. Some movies are too perfect to make sequels to.
Tune in tomorrow for numbers 5-1 of the worst sequels!