Today’s Hollywood sets release dates before one word of a script is written and loves to hear the word “sequel.” Rarely does Hollywood let more than five years pass these days if they intend to make a second, third or fourth film. Therefore, I tried to put a list together of sequels that didn’t work more than 10 years after the previous installment was released. I tried to stay away from unwatchable straight-to-DVD fare such as The Wicker Tree, War Games: The Dead Code and Slapshot 2 (even though I got suckered into watching all three). In case you were wondering, Caddyshack II and Dumb and Dumberer didn’t make the cut because they were made less than 10 years after the original. There were a bunch to choose from, but these are the 10 that stood out to me . . .
The Odd Couple II (30 years after The Odd Couple) – Writer Neil Simon attempted to capitalize on the success of Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men by reuniting Oscar and Felix almost 30 years after the classic original. Perhaps Roger Ebert said it best when he wrote in his review, “it seemed to the producers that the combination of Simon, Lemmon, Matthau and the words “odd couple” were a sufficient guarantee of success. The difference between a creative executive and a contract-signer lies precisely in the ability to see, in a case like this, that they were not.” The road trip that ensues is just not funny and makes for the worst Jack Lemmon/ Walter Matthau film of all time.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (23 years after Wall Street) – Admittedly, I was sucked into the idea that the financial crises is perfect time for Gordon Gecko to come back into the world. I even got a little excited when trailer showed Gecko checking out of jail and being handed his giant cell phone from the 80’s. I never entertained the idea that twenty-three years later, one of the greatest movie villains of all-time had simply lost his luster. As a stand-alone film the movie isn’t terrible, but the character (and the audience) deserves better. Like not having to pay for a sequel . . .
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (19 years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – Aside from being just plain terrible, Crystal Skull was a punch in the face because we thought it would be impossible for Spielberg and Lucas to let us down after having 18 years to come up with Indy’s next adventure. Ford proved he was up for the challenge, but he was no match for a “are you fucking kidding me” plot that had us wondering if Indy should have rode off into the sunset after The Last Crusade.
The Blues Brothers 2000 (18 years after The Blues Brothers) – It would be difficult not to have this one at the top of the list if I were ranking these in order. I’m not even willing to give the film credit for its “high-energy blues” performances. Aykroyd would have been better served making a concert film at The House of Blues instead of putting on the black suit and sunglasses and telling us “The Blues Are Back.” The “Blues” died with John Belushi, and Aykroyd would have honored his memory by not making this piece of shit.
Basic Instinct 2 (14 years after Basic Instinct) – This one was about 12 years too late. A sequel starring Michael Douglas in the early 90’s might have been able to capitalize on the star power of Sharon Stone and the popularity of erotic thrillers. I think it’s safe to say releasing a sequel in 2006 was a terrible idea. The picture evolved into a parody of the original and became more about how good Sharon Stone could look 48 and how ridiculous she could look in the sex scenes . . . And that’s before you take into account an unbearable plot involving a new psychiatrist and a seduced by Stone’s terrible acting job.
Land of the Dead (20 years after Day of the Dead) – Not a direct sequel, but a continuance of George Romero’s dead series. Romero is the godfather of zombie flicks, but Land of the Dead proved his style is no longer conducive with modern cinema (something Diary of the Dead also proved to a greater degree). The film features a few decent scenes (and Dennis Hopper), but for the most part, it is on par with the 2,000 zombie flicks that have gone straight to DVD over the last 10 years. Maybe I was spoiled by Danny Boyle’s 28 Days later and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. Spare me the social commentary . . . I want fast zombies and to be entertained . . .
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (17 years after Dirty Dancing) – The studio was completely misguided when it assumed Dirty Dancing was a franchise. The genre was made for the late 80’s and chemistry between the leads and ridiculous quotes made this a cult favorite. Rule of thumb: cult favorites rarely churn out good sequels. It was smart not to include Patrick Swayze (even though he shows up as a dance instruction) or Jennifer Grey’s characters, but it would have been smarter not to call this Dirty Dancing.
The Boondock Saints: All Saint’s Day (10 years after The Boondock Saints) – It’s hard to find somebody who purchased the original in the $5 dollar bin and wasn’t extremely disappointed with this one. Who would have ever thought the MacManus Brothers could be so . . . boring? An ultra-thin plot and ridiculous action scenes made us forget how awesome it was when the brothers reeked havoc on the world. The film reminds me of a crappy version of the original.
The Godfather III (16 years after The Godfather II) – It would have been impossible for any follow-up to The Godfather II to please audiences, but it’s almost as if The Godfather III goes out of its way to do so. Coppola (who has made a lot of bad movies since) miscalculated when he figured audiences would be even remotely interested in seeing an aging Michael Corleone trying to legitimize his business dealings. We are interested in the man who had his own brother killed, not the one trying to help the church. Corleone is no saint.
Son Of The Mask (11 years after The Mask) – I know Jim Carrey has made a lot of terrible film choices over the last few years, but he was the reason The Mask grossed $351 million dollars worldwide on a $23 million dollar budget in 1994. The green mask was simply a tool for Carrey to tell jokes, do funny faces and endless impressions. Carrey was The Mask, not vice-versa. Here is a crazy fact: Son of the Mask apparently cost $84 million dollars to make. Probably one of the biggest missteps ever for New Line Cinema. The rest of the details are not worth getting in to.
A Few That Worked For Me . . .
Tron: Legacy (28 years after Tron) – Some fans were disappointed, but I’m not sure what else you can ask for (maybe more Light Cycle action?).
The Color of Money (25 years after The Hustler) – Paul Newman slips right back into Fast Eddie Felson’s shoes . . . it doesn’t hurt to have Tom Cruise and Martin Scorsese along for the ride.
Rambo (19 years after Rambo III) – Stallone does waste time passing the torch to a young protégé. Instead, Stallone makes a violent, balls-out action film that actually has us wanting a little more.
Rocky Balboa (16 years after Rocky V) – You can thank nostalgia for giving us a fitting end to the Rocky saga. Who didn’t get the chills during the training montage? If you just said “I didn’t,” here it is again . . .