5. The Hangover, part II. Sequels sometimes use the follow-up to branch beyond the original – try something new, build on the characters. Others work very hard to not deviate from the formula. This sequel goes to jaw-dropping lengths to repeat every single successful gag from the original; from the absurd “once-in-a-lifetime” premise, through every gag, right up to the whole reason they can’t remember the night in the first place. Whether it was crassness or laziness on the part of the filmmakers, it’s an almost open contempt for its audience.
4. Robocop 2. Director Paul Verhoven came to the US and exploded in to American consciousness with Robocop – a movie that managed to celebrate and satirize violent American movies at the same time – and with equal effectiveness. The sequel looks cheap in every way – cheaply shot, cheaply acted. Strangely, it’s written by an accomplished writer and directed by the director of The Empire Strikes Back – yet everything about it seems like a cheaply, quickly (and badly) made TV movie.
3. Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. I accept the role Dirty Dancing plays in women’s lives. It seems to be to women what The Road Warrior is to men. It touches something very deep, very primal – something that nobody puts in a corner. And you wonder, how did there come to be a sequel? And why is it set in Cuba? Well, there were these filmmakers, see, and they wrote a serious, intellectual script about two Cuban teenagers living in the days leading up to the communist revolution. And then along came a studio who said, “Teenagers, eh? In the late 50’s? That gives us the opposite of an idea…!” Listen to a painful yet funny account of what happened here.
2. Troll 2. Really, this should be at a tie for first – this is by far the worst film on the list and, in fact, widely considered one of the worst movies ever made. Chances are good that you’re thinking, “Troll 2? Never heard of it. I’ve never even heard of Troll 1.” But this is just one of the many shining facets of staggering ineptitude that is the giant Troll 2 failure diamond. Because, you see, there is no Troll 1. Troll 2 is a sequel to a movie called Goblins. So why not called the sequel something like ‘Goblins 2: The Trolls’?” Because Troll 2 doesn’t have any trolls in it either. It’s also about Goblins.
Are you starting to get a sense of the depth of failure involved here? You see, it’s not only considered one of the worst movies ever made, it manages to fail at the act of being a sequel itself!
So why is it not number 1? For the simple reason that it’s missing the real component that separates a bad movie from a bad sequel. And when it comes to worst sequels, in the end, there can be only one…
1. Highlander 2: The Quickening. What does this do that Troll 2 doesn’t? It totally and completely betrays its fan base. Aside from having one of the worst titles of all time, it actually destroys fans’ affection for the original. The original – the story of immortal warriors battling through the centuries – was a huge cult hit. It’s an odd film (chief oddity: the two leads are a Frenchman playing a Scotsman, and a Scotsman playing Spaniard. Wha?), but ingenious and ravenously adored by fans. The sequel is a muddled junkheap – a dead character returns with no explanation, the “ancient warrior” component turns in to something about aliens… it’s a mess and it actually manages to dismantle the original; something very few sequels can lay claim to.
Coming soon: The Contentious – the 10 sequels that people are most divided on.