As people who like to spend large amounts of money to stare at giant screens for two hours whilst trying to forget that life is ultimately one long, drawn-out exercise in crushing disappointment (breathe), we sure do complain about movies a lot. Don’t worry: I’m included in this category, because I spend approximately four days a week complaining about the pictures that refuse to play by the expectations I’ve conjured up in my mind during the time leading up to release day (I’m talking to you, Prometheus).
One of the biggest things we like to complain about is sequels, because we all know sequels are disgusting, and that they’re just asking for trouble from the very moment that they decided to exist. For the most part, sequels generate a strange kind of conflict in the hearts of those who like movies, though. On one hand, it’s like, “Yes! I can’t wait to see how Darth Vader became Darth Vader!” But it’s also like, “Filling in Vader’s backstory will totally ruin the mystery of his entire character. Stop, George.” See? Conflict.
So, despite the fact that we all complain about how bad those new Star Wars movies were, and how Indiana Jones should have been left to ride off into the sunset for good back in 1989, one simple fact remains: we all wanted to see sequels to those movies. C’mon. We did. Admit it. In retrospect, we hate them, of course, but let’s face it, when we hear that the majority of sequels are getting made, we try to pretend it’s going to be OK. If that isn’t the case, then we can usually – at the least – understand why Hollywood might want to make a sequel – artistic integrity aside, it’s a business.
What brings us to the movies I’ve assembled for the following list. These are the movie sequels that nobody wanted… not because people were scared that continuing the story would ruin the originals or anything, but because… well, they either sucked or the idea of a sequel was so unnecessary that not one single person on Earth had even pondered the thought of them getting made without laughing. Seriously… why did anybody take the time to get these bizarre and obscure sequels into production? There weren’t even fanbases for these things!
10. (War Games: The Dead Code (2008
WarGames is one of those movies that you occasionally hear mentioned when somebody talks about “movies from the ’80s about computers” (or glimpse late at night on some obscure TV channel you’re flicking through), though it’s safe to say that it’s not considered to be a real classic. I’d be shocked to hear if anybody’s favourite movie was WarGames, is what I’m saying. If it is, I apologise. I’m sure you have your reasons. Anyway, the point I’m making is that WarGames didn’t need a sequel, nor did it deserve one. There were no grounds.
You know what’s coming, of course: WarGames: The Dead Code, a follow-up that comes a whopping 25 years after the original flick, which concerned Matthew Broderick and a plot about how he almost starts a nuclear war using his computer. “Why did they get this sequel going?” you’re probably wondering, to which I can only stare blankly into a corner and avoid answering. I don’t know. The plot for the sequel, which stars Matt Lanter, mostly involves running away from terrorists in Montreal. It’s about as much fun to watch as a nuclear war, that’s for sure.
9. (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010
This is probably the only movie on this list that you won’t find in a bargain bin right now, and that’s partly due to the fact that it was made fairly recently, but also because it happened to cost $70 million dollars. Would you spend $70 million dollars on something totally unnecessary that you knew people didn’t really care about seeing? If your name’s Oliver Stone, then the answer is probably yes. If you said yes and your name is something else, what’s wrong with you? Still, this movie made double its money back, which confuses matters somewhat.
I still stand firm on the point that this didn’t need to exist and that people only went to see it because… well, we always do, don’t we? Wall Street was a moderate hit in its day, and featured great performances from Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen (the latter of which is swapped out for Shia LaBeouf in the sequel), and maybe there was sort of a chance for it to be good ’cause of the financial crisis and all, but no, Money Never Sleeps never manages to justify its being alive. Who knew that Gordon Gekko’s return could be so freakin’ boring?
8. (The Sandlot 2 (2005
The tagline for The Sandlot 2 is “relive the magic of the original Sandlot.” That’s misleading enough to warrant a lawsuit. The Sandlot 2 wants to have something to do with the original movie, of course, but it can’t, because everyone who was in that surprisingly enjoyable kids’ classic is old and ugly now, so, hey, just settle for all these new kids that you don’t know or care about and stop your complaining. That’s to say, this “sequel” scores an indisputable home run in the “insult to the original” department.
One of the those movies that pretends to be a sequel but is actually just a remake, Sandlot 2 has been conjured up purely as a last minute money-making scheme or something. It would have been far easier (and less criminal) to have just, like, robbed a bank or something. All of the moments from the first film are just rehashed here, but with kids who are unlikeable and can’t act to save their souls. And let me assure you: lots and lots of souls were lost in the making of Sandlot 2. Look at the end credits to see just how many.
7. (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011
The original Ghost Rider movie features one of renowed madman actor Nicolas Cage’s most downright insane performances. Unless you can watch the movie in an ironic sort of detachment (recommended mode of viewing for all Nicolas Cage movies post-Adaptation), you’re gonna have a bad time. Audiences and critics didn’t like Ghost Rider, is what I’m saying, because it’s relatively hellish unless you’re staring at it having downed eight or nine beers beforehand. Still, it made, like, $100 million at the box office, because that’s the money that Marvel movies make.
You’d suspect, then, that the folks over that particular movie studio would have felt as though they’d dodged a bullet. “The movie was so bad, but people went to see it anyway. We made back our budget and everything! Now let’s move on from this and never speak of it again.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the generic dialogue slice that did the rounds at the Marvel office in the aftermath, because another Ghost Rider got made, with Nicolas Cage reprising his role as bad boy Johnny Flame or Johnny Fire or whatever his name is, hamming it up on galatic levels.
The sequel made its money back again, though. Nobody is sure why, though, because nobody likes Ghost Rider. A true anomaly if there ever was one.
6. (Basic Instict 2: Risk Addiction (2006
Basic Instict 2. Yeah, this exists. And would you believe it if I told you that it actually stars Sharon Stone in the central role? Please do. I’m telling the truth. Presumably the product of her own ego and the fact that she needed to make a quick buck fast, Stone leapt upon the chance to gift all those Basic Instinct fans who have been hammering for a sequel the follow-up they deserved. Or, at least, it would be nice to imagine that’s what happened. Risk Addiction actually happened, I think, because Sharon Stone wanted to play “middle-aged” sexy.
It must be pretty tough if you used to be the sexiest woman in Hollywood, after all, which can be Stone’s only real reason for getting back into character as crime novelist and suspected serial killer Catherine Trammell. The plot has her on the run from Scotland Yard after a horrific masturbation-induced car accident (you read that right) gets her into some serious trouble. There’s a character in this called Dr. Michael Glass. I don’t know why that’s funny. It probably isn’t. And yet… that’s the most interesting thing about the whole movie. Go figure.
5. (Hollow Man 2 (2005
The original Hollow Man movie isn’t exactly terrible, but it feels like something of a missed opportunity, given its intriguing plot and the fact that it was directed by Paul Verhoeven. Nowadays, it remains mostly forgotten, because that’s what happens when you make a movie with Kevin Bacon (even the fact that he’s invisible for most of the movie didn’t help). Somewhere, though, back in 2005, somebody started thinking about Hollow Man, and not because they were writing a list about bad movie; they were thinking about making a bonafide sequel.
Which translates as: straight-to-DVD. Yes, six long years after the orignal, director Claudio Fäh (we shan’t talk about the name) got behind the camera and started directing a sequel to Hollow Man. Gone is the slight campiness that makes the original movie sort of fun, and the script – which calls for multiple invisible men who fight each other (one played by Christian Slater) – is embarrassingly bad. The fact that it could potentially have movie-goers questioning their own sanity (“Wait… was Hollow Man good enough to deserve a sequel?”) is, I think, incredibly dangerous.
4. (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr. (2009
Somewhere, at some time, an actual human person typed “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.” onto the front page of their finished screenplay and handed it over to somebody else. Then this was made out of that script, with no hint or irony or being ashamed lingering in the air. Why? How? The fact that the public weren’t even interested in a sequel to the semi-popular Jim Carrey franchise says it all, to be perfectly frank. But taking out Carrey entirely and setting the plot around the character’s 14-year-old, Pet-obsessed son… that’s seriously low.
Any fans of the original, OK-ish movies will recognise some of its classic tropes at work here: there’s a bit where the line “Aaaaalll righty then” is said, which proves about as fun to hear again as a punch in the ear, surprisingly The plot is, as you’d expect, ludicrous, though not in an endearing way or anything: Ace Jr.’s mother gets incarcerated and – teaming up with his grandfather – he sets out to, like, stop that from happening. Look, you don’t need me to insult your intelligence by telling you it’s bad. You don’t need to read about it, even. Look at the title, for God’s sake. Have some respect for yourself, won’t you?
3. (The Sting II (1983
The Sting, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, is a classic. It deserves a bit more attention than it already does, to be totally fair, which is why you should absolutely think about checking it out if you’re at all interested in watching the great movies. It’s not about a giant wasp, unfortunately, but it’s almost as good as that: two grifters team up to pull the ultimate con, and it has a great ragtime soundtrack, a hilarious script, and a super-clever plot that won’t fail to impress you. The Sting II has none of these things (well, the soundtrack).
To be fair, it’s not even a proper continuation. Gone are the stars that made the original so great, and then – for some reason – the plot both relates directly in not at all to the previous movie. It’s like a spiritual successor, except the characters have sort of the same names (don’t ask), though they act nothing like their counterparts in the predecessor. It’s a total mind[expletive], basically, and one which you should never, ever put yourself through. Seriously. I don’t care how bad a person you are, nobody deserves to absorb this into their brain.
2. (S. Darko (2009
S. Darko is the kind of straight-to-DVD, piece of [expletive] sequel that doesn’t even try to acknowledge that its predecessor is actually something that people like. The only human beings capable of liking S. Darko are the ones that are still into Donnie Darko right this second with about as passion as they did when it came out. You know the types. Weird obsessives. Crazies. Those who like to claim it’s based on a true story or something. And I think it’s those guys who this thing was ultimately aimed towards, because there’s seriously no justification for it to exist otherwise.
Based around a bizarre, nonsense story about Donnie’s little sister, Sam (Daveigh Chase reprising her role from the original movie, poor thing) as she succumbs to a series of visions and… ah, it doesn’t matter. The movie’s just pretending to have something to do with Donnie Darko, which should be obvious if you’ve seen the original flick, given that it makes no sense as to why any sort of follow-up could ever happen. Point is, this is junk of the junkiest order. Use it as a coaster or set it on fire in your garden when you’re drunk. Just don’t watch it.
1. (Son of the Mask (2005
Son of the Mask could have only existed by way of a dying child’s last wish and a foundation that specialises in making those wishes come true: “I haven’t got long to go… my favourite movie isThe Mask with Jim Carrey… make it happen, Hollywood.” What did Hollywood come back with, then? “Well, we can’t get Jim Carrey, Katie, because he’s too darn expensive, but we do have somebody else in mind… do you know who Alan Cumming is?” Alas, Katie did not (she passed away the moment she Googled him).
Anyway, I hope that embellished little tale served its purpose, which was to question how or whyThe Mask got a sequel at a time when nobody was talking about The Mask anymore, and during a period where nobody thought there should ever be a sequel. I mean, this sequel came 11 years after the original, starred none of the original cast (except for that weird doctor guy for, like, a minute), and hinged on a plot that had absolutely nothing with its predecessor. It’s a fully-fledged abomination in every sense. Proof that nobody asked for it? It lost $20 million at the box office.
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