8 hated sequels that should be given a second chance

  • 8 hated sequels that should be given a second chance

Some sequels are inexcusable in their awfulness, for example, Speed 2: Cruise Control and Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.

But some sequels fail to live up to the lofty expectations of the original(s) and therefore are unfairly consigned to a life of disgrace.

Here is our list of much-maligned sequels that should be given a second hearing...

8. The Godfather Part III

In 1990, Francis Ford Coppola finally got around to completing his much-hyped Godfather trilogy - a staggering 18 years after the first Godfather film and 16 years after the sequel - and the anticipation had grown so much that nothing short of the greatest film in history would have been a fitting concluding chapter.

Al Pacino delivers a great performance as the ageing Don Michael Corleone, who is attempting to legitimise the New York crime business while having to deal with the next generation of hungry, violent gangsters keen to make their mark in the mob underworld.

Most of the negative press received by The Godfather Part III is aimed at the performance of Sofia Coppola, daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola, who played Michael's daughter Mary, who was drafted in as a last-minute replacement after Winona Ryder dropped out of the role, citing exhaustion.

Nominated for seven Oscars (possibly due to reputation rather than quality) and winning none - the third Godfather falls well short of the first two - which are two of cinema's finest - but it is still a well-told story and, had it not being a part of the Corleone world, would be a mob movie regarded among the likes of Donny Brasco, Casino and The Untouchables.

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7. The Exorcist III

William Peter Blatty, the chap who wrote the original Exorcist novel and its screenplay adaptation, had no intentions of writing a third Exorcist movie, especially after the disappointing Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Instead, he knocked together a novel called Legion, about a series of murders that have the hallmarks of a deceased serial killer (based on the Zodiac Killer).

Legion was turned into a film, but studio bosses demanded that, as it was from Blatty's novel, the name be changed to tie this new project into his most famous work.

Against Blatty's wishes, the studio imposed changes on his effort, including threatening to bring in a new director if he didn't crowbar in a last-minute exorcism sequence for the climax (at a cost of $4m), in order to justify adding it to the Exorcist franchise.

But taken on its own merits (and away from its status as another Exorcist sequel), the tense tale of a detective tracking down a gruesome (potentially supernatural) serial killer is a great thriller, plus it also boasts possibly the best jump scare ever. This one:

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6. Alien 3

Another threequel that had the unenviable task of following up an iconic pair of movies that came before it: Alien was a masterpiece of slow-building terror while Aliens took the idea and turned it into one of the greatest action films of the 20th century.

While developing the third film, the project was plagued with issues - directors and screenwriters came and went, the script saw many rewrites, some scenes were shot without a script at all, and $7m of sets were built - never to be used.

An aspiring director named David Fincher was then drafted in to ready the ship, and the script that he had to work with began the film with the deaths of Aliens' Newt, Hicks and Bishop - leaving Ripley as the only character to make it to the third film and crash-landing on a prison planet with an Alien stowaway that wreaks havoc amongst the inmates.

Fincher did what he could with the fiasco, and while it is near-impossible to remove from its predecessors, the film would have been a fine sci-fi movie (of course not to the standard of the first Alien) as a standalone.

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5. Hannibal

Coming ten years after the release of the chilling horror phenomenon The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal was up against it from the start, as both director Jonathan Demme and lead actress Jodie Foster refused to return.

Fresh from the success of Gladiator, legendary director Ridley Scott signed on to direct, and Foster was replaced as Clarice Starling by Julianne Moore, with Gary Oldman and Ray Liotta also signing on to appear.

In the decade between the films, many Hannibal Lecter parodies had diminished the character's chilling impact, and it could be argued that Foster's departure turned the fans off the sequel before filming had even begun.

Scott kept faithful to Thomas Harris' novel (and sequel to Silence of the Lambs) and rather than retreading the story of the original, he able to put his own spin on a new Hannibal Lecter tale, bringing audiences a startling, gory and grotesque thriller.

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4. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Bill S Preston Esq. and Ted 'Theodore' Logan's tale of a history project saved by a time-travelling phone booth was a massive hit and cultural phenomenon back in 1989.

Of course, this meant that a sequel was due, and with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, alongside George Carlin's character Rufus all returning, everything was set.

Instead of seeing the Wyld Stalyns zipping off to different eras and meeting more historically significant folks, writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon swapped it with doppelganger killer robots and our heroes in a face-off with Death.

Livelier and funnier than the first film, its more complicated storyline was disliked by some, but the film was considered a worthy successor by many, however over the course of time, it has (unfairly) fallen out of favour.

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3. Die Hard With a Vengeance

It's a fact that Die Hard is one of the greatest action films of all time, and it's also a fact that the many sequels have been disappointment after disappointment, but the third film is unfairly lumped into this fan hate.

Die Hard 2 saw the action cut and pasted from a skyscraper to an airport, as replacement director Renny Harlin brought us a run-of-the-mill retread of the first film, but with less of the charm and a forgettable villain.

But John McTiernan returned for Die Hard with a Vengeance, and using a script planned for a Lethal Weapon sequel, brought in Samuel L. Jackson to play McClane's reluctant partner.

With a formidable villain in Jeremy Irons as Hans' estranged brother Simon Peter Gruber, and the Samuel L. Jackson providing the series' best partner for McClane - Die Hard with a Vengeance stands out as the best and most enjoyable Die Hard sequel.

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2. Predator 2

Returning in 1990, the Predator left the jungle and went to a near-future dystopian Los Angeles ravaged by gangs, and Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Bill Paxton replaced the muscle-bound Special Forces troops.

Glover plays an LAPD officer investigating rival Jamaican and Colombian drug cartels in the middle of an LA heatwave, who is baffled by a series of violent, bloody murders that sees opposing gang members skinned and hung up in public.

It was a much different take on the Predator tale, switching from jungle action with big guns to sweaty, dark tension - while fans were expecting a repeat of Arnie, muscles and shooting, what they got was a well-delivered performance from Danny Glover and were disappointed with the alternative take on the invisible extraterrestrial hunter.

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1. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Legendary horror director John Carpenter refused to return for the sequel to Halloween, stating: "I had made that film once and I really didn't want to do it again", so relatively unknown and inexperienced director Rick Rosenthal was drafted in for the sequel.

Halloween II was a pale imitation of the first, and Carpenter was begged to return, but he stated that he'd only come back if the third film wasn't a direct follow-up to the second, dispensing with masked slashed Michael Myers.

Carpenter had always planned on doing an anthology of unrelated horror tales based around Halloween, and for the third movie, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Carpenter's story revolved around an insane toymaker who kills as many people as possible with ancient Celtic rituals and Halloween masks.

Audiences were disappointed by the new direction and dramatic lack of Michael Myers, and the film was (at the time) the lowest-grossing Halloween film.

Michael Myers was restored for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, leaving Season of the Witch as an out-of-place instalment among the Myers-focused films; despite that, it has become a cult classic and should be regarded as an intense and dramatic standalone horror.

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Comments

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey is defo better than the first one. Death was brilliant!