Continuing the Movie Franchise: 15 of the Worst Movie Sequels Ever Caught on the Big Screen
What is a sequel? According to the dictionary, it's a fictional or a sometimes true event that is a continuation of a past story. In the movie industry, it's Hollywood's excuse to make another movie on a successful film that could span an even more successful follow-up. Usually, the case with sequels is that they often try way too hard to outdo the original film instead of telling a proper story on its own merit. There are even rare instances where sometimes Part II's efforts even surpasses Part I's beginnings. Look at the gold standard (The Godfather: Part II) and the simply silly (Star Wars Episode I-III). The gold standard is hard to find, but once it is found it's wonderful to watch unfold.
Here are a list of fifteen movie sequels that are simply the worst of the worst based on five different categories that range from bad plots, poor execution and simply unnecessary. Read on to find out where your favorite or least favorite sequel ranks on the list. See if you agree or think another one needs to be added to the list.
My Girl 2 (1994)- The original My Girl Anna Chlumsky's young Vada dealing with the death of her mother, the addition of a stepmother (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the death of her best friend/childhood love Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin). The sequel followed an older Vada doing a school assignment on her late mother and went to California to examine her past. In California, she meets a boy (Austin O'Brien) who she didn't get along with, but she started to see him in a different light as the search went on. Sadly, this movie just didn't work right anymore. The charm that the youthful original had went away and was replaced with teenage exploration. It just didn't ring true anymore. It also didn't help that Chlumsky didn't have the same chemistry that she did with Culkin. Girl's sequel was an admirable effort, but it was nothing to make audiences forget about the first one.
Ocean's Twelve (2004)- Three years prior, George Clooney and his merry band of thieves made the ultimate heist of three casinos vault. In the sequels, the consequences of that crime led them to fixing their mistakes and paying off what they owe to the casino owner (Andy Garcia) that they robbed. Unfortunately, this follow-up film basically led the four star cast on a wild goose chase through the globe that gave the audience more of a headache than anything else. The addition of too many cast members (Catherine Zeta-Jones among them) pushed many of them to the backburner (Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac etc). The filmmakers seemed to agree and allowed the gang to wrap up on a higher note with Ocean's Thirteen in 2007.
Spider-man 3 (2007)- After two high flying films, this movie had the makings to wrap this comic franchise perfectly. Instead, the film quandered the opportunity by throwing in one too many villains and a Peter Parker split personality that just didn't belong in the movie. Star Tobey Maguire didn't look comfortable anymore in Spidey's suit. That explained why the franchise is being rebooted next year with a different lead (Andrew Garfield) and a new love interest (Emma Stone). Hopefully, this movie will give the franchise the shot in the arm it needs to survive further.
Took Too Long To Make
The Color of Money (1986)- Paul Newman's Fast Eddie Felson was such a memorable character in The Hustle that it came as a shock that Newman would risk recreating him decades later. Director Martin Scorsese helmed this lighter weight sequel that focused more on the surrogate father/son relationship between Newman and Tom Cruise's arrogant younger pool shark. Newman won an Oscar for his performance that showcase Eddie as an older but not necessarily wiser hustler, which was the only reason to watch this otherwise forgettable sequel.
The Godfather: Part III (1990)- Director Francis Ford Coppola's first two films were near mobster masterpieces based on the Mario Puzo books. The final installment? Not so much. The gap between the second and third film was too long (16 years) and suffered from some cast changes. Robert Duvall's absence was a glaring mistake that took away from the first two film's moral integrity that it could never recover. The other issue was the recasting of Winona Ryder with Coppola's daughter Sofia as Michael's daughter Marry. Her lack of acting experience made her portrayal of Mary simply awkward with the rest of the cast. It also didn't help that she was put in a creepy incest plot with her cousin (Andy Garcia). What a tragic end to a great film series.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)- It took nineteen years for this fourth film to get made, and it was too long. The action was too special effects based and Harrison Ford didn't look like the same Indy he once was. Skull made some pointed jokes about Ford's age and revisited a romance with former love interest Karen Allen. The addition of a son (Shia La Beouf) was okay, but seemed a little shuffled in with the rest of the plot as an after-thought. This sequel would've been better served if it was made in the 90s instead of in 2008 where the action was a little more organic than it is now.
Should've Never Happened
Staying Alive (1983)- John Travolta's Tony trying to make a career as a professional dancer. He gets a part in a Broadway show and begins a relationship with a tempermental star (Finola Hughes) that could make or break his new career. The movie was helmed by Actor/Director Sylvester Stallone and was filled with a lot of flashy style to make up for a lackluster plot. It also didn't help that Disco was pretty much irrelevant by the 1980s. Alive was an idea that should've simply remained buried and not on the big screen.
Caddyshack II (1988)- Two words: Not funny. The original had all the humor and big named stars with it. The sequel only had Chevy Chase making a cameo appearance that couldn't save a halfbaked snobs/slobs country club battle. Skip this film entirely and watch the first one immediately.
Weekend at Bernie's II (1993)- The best way to sum up the plot is that Bernie is still dead after all this time and is not a rotting corpse. His former employees (Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman) are still causing trouble with the dead Mr. Lomax. That's basically all the movie was about. Another island getaway and some silly mayhem ensue. Just plain skip worthy.
The Next Karate Kid (1994)- Pat Morita was an iconic mentor in the first three films, which makes it a shame that he had to slum it in this pointless sequel. The plot followed Morita as he mentored a troubled girl (Hilary Swank) who learned the art of karate from Mr. Miyagi. He helped her confront her fears and become a young woman that everyone could see in a different light. Unfortunately, it's been done before in three other films, so it left nothing to the imagination that Swank's character would conquer her demons. Only rent if you're a big Hilary Swank fan and could forgive her misguided film choices.
Saw IV-VII (2007-2010)- Honestly, the franchise shouldn't have continued after the death of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) in Saw III. Once he died, that should've been it. Okay, IV told audiences why Jigsaw became such a brutal killer with a sick twist of humor in his games. After Jigsaw's replacement was revealed, that was the final nail in the franchise's coffin. By the time the seventh, and hopefully final, film was released, it barely made a wimper with the audience. It's a shame because the first two films were downright disturbing.
Final Destination 5 (2011)- Let's boil down the plot of this movie in one sentence: People cheat a tragic death and it bites back in violent spades. Each person involved in the original incident who survived have to look for ways that they might die again in order to surive. That premise has followed this series since the first film and it hasn't changed. If you want to watch a good one, watch the first and third films because they perfect the formula to the letter. Other than that, the rest can be ignored just like this one.
Potential Ideas, Poor Execution
The Sting II (1983)- A sequel without all the original cast members simply is doomed to fail from the start. Jackie Gleason replacing Paul Newman? Gleason was a larger than actor, but not even he could replace Newman's blue eyed smart aleck conman. Gleason and Mac Davis couldn't replicate the Paul Newman/Robert Redford chemistry, which caused the final nail in this sequel's coffin. It also didn't help that the film was shot like it was television movie than an actual film made it look cheaper than it wanted to be. Sting II was more the Hollywood's big screen version of the regrettable Scarlett miniseries than anything else.
2010 (1984)- A promising idea that had Roy Scheider looking to find what happened to the Discovery crew from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film featured a younger Helen Mirren, pre-Oscar fame, as a Soviet Astronaut working with Scheider's character. It had a decent plot by itself, but it failed upon comparison to the original film which suffered without being under helm of Director Stanley Kubrick. It's a shame because it had plot that was never fully utilized.
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)- Speed on the high seas? A promising idea that seemed more like plot re-heating than an actual movie sequel. Sandra Bullock was trapped on a cruise ship with her new lawman boyfriend (Jason Patric) and a madman (Willen Dafoe) controlling everything. It was hard to take this film seriously without Keanu Reeves and Dafoe delivering the campiest of performances that was hard not to laugh at. Skip this and rent the first Speed instead.
In the end, a movie sequel is simply meant to be a continuation of the story. Not all of them are good ideas (Rocky V or Rambo) that need to be shared with the rest of the moviegoing world, unless for a purpose. Star/Director Stallone looked to revive his uneven career which either has some highs or some major lows. Instead of going the sequel route, Hollywood should turn to prequels to retell a once popular story. It worked for X-Men: First Class and Casino Royale. Both films revived their flagging franchises than any limp sequel ever could. Let's hope that Hollywood doesn't ruin a good thing by going through a prequel blitz. Release them sparring to keep public interest before retiring. That's not hard to ask, unless you're looking for another The Godfather: Part II. In that case, it's not going to happen.