My bottom-10 least favourite sequels

The-Lion-King-2-Simba-PrideAlright, now that I’ve discussed my favourite movie sequels and sequels which weren’t bad but could have been better, it’s finally time to look at some sequels that just didn’t cut it for me. I actually found this list slightly difficult to compile because of my lack of hatred for sequels that seems to be built into most people.

You’ll find a lot of the key sins I outlined with sequels in a previous blog repeated on this list. Some of these entries may not actually be bad movies in and of themselves but they’re just nowhere near as good as the original film, to the point where I think they missed the point of the original. Interestingly, I decided to spare any comic book movies from the actual list, though you can bet your ass that some of them made the honourable mentions list.

Speaking of which, here are some more (dis)honourable mentions: Captain America: Winter Soldier, Return of Jafar, Iron Man 3, Dark Knight Rises, Thunderball, The Legend of the Drunken Master and every Land Before Time sequel.

Let’s get on with this mess…

GIJoe210. G.I. Joe: Retaliation

In the sequel to G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, the Joes continue to operate without knowing that Zartan has been masquerading as the president of the United States this whole time. Eventually, they are set up in an ambush that leaves most of the unit dead, Storm Shadow frees Cobra Commander from his imprisonment and the remaining Joes have to go under the radar in order to have their revenge.

This movie was a big motivator for these recent sequel lists, so finally I decided to talk about it. This is one of those instances where I thought the movie itself wasn’t necessarily bad – the real problem is that it doesn’t actually feel like a sequel to the first G.I. Joe movie which I happened to like very much. There’s no Ripcord, Scarlett, Baroness or General Hawk. Heck, even Brendan Fraser didn’t want to make a frivolous cameo like he did with the first movie. Duke comes back but gets killed off during the first 20 minutes, after which you’re expected to cheer on The Rock and company.

Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow do come back and, consequently, their storyline was much more interesting than the main one. I would even go so far as to say it somewhat redeems the movie. The problem is that I don’t care about the rest of the protagonists and this is really why the movie falls flat. It does resolve a lot of things from the first movie, which I’m grateful for, but its main story is honestly a little weak.

REafterlife9. Resident Evil: Afterlife

In the fourth instalment of the Resident Evil movie series, Alice goes after Umbrella’s leader Albert Wesker with an army of clones in an effort to shut them down permanently. After having her psychic powers removed from her by Wesker and blowing up his plane, Alice continues for her search for Claire Redfield and the survivors of the desert caravan from the previous movie. After she only finds Claire, who has amnesia, she heads for Los Angeles and ends up trying to help a group of survivors there, barricaded in a prison.

I’m a fan of the Resident Evil film series and though I feel none of the sequels have ever managed to surpass the original, I have enjoyed most of them. In a similar fashion, Afterlife may not be a bad movie on its own merits – but it’s easily the thinnest entry of the series from the plot’s point-of-view. To put it bluntly, nothing of consequence really happens in this movie, beyond introducing Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker (properly this time) to the film series. Afterlife was clearly intended to be a spectacle and in that it’s definitely very entertaining with crazy stunt sequences.

However, the film’s support cast is the most expendable seen in any of the RE films, introduced during the film’s second act and all of them killed off before the third act. The fifth movie luckily brought the story back into focus but Afterlife still stands as a particularly meaningless entry in the series.

MissiontoMoscow8. Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow

In the seventh instalment of the Police Academy films, Commandant Lassard and the remainder of the original Police Academy crew (Tackleberry, Callahan, Jones and Harris) are requested to assist in the take down of a Russian mobster and all travel to the former Soviet Union. Lassard is immediately separated from the group while the rest of the troop take to the investigation, helped along by a rookie nobody by the name of Kyle Connors.

Mission to Moscow is unquestionably the weakest of the Police Academy films and the problem in my opinion is two-fold. For one, this movie commits the cardinal sin of setting its story in a foreign country for no other reason than the fact that it was now actually possible to film in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. The film tries to milk comedy from the fish out of water scenarios that the PA crew find themselves in, but it comes off more condescending than funny. Add to this the fact that the film’s story really doesn’t need to be set in Russia. Another thing that betrays the film’s attempts at being timely is a non-too-subtle reference to a recent Russian-made video-game of great repute.

However, the setting could be excused if the film was at least consistently funny. However, many of the main cast of the previous instalments are now gone. As a result, the remaining members just aren’t able to squeeze enough silly comedy into the story. Harris really loses out with no Proctor to push around, Lassard is just all over the place and even Tackleberry is surprisingly uninteresting here. The new male lead (with the absence of Nick Lassard) was possibly the least charismatic of them all, which further weakens the film’s entertainment value. However, Mission to Moscow does have some funny moments and I feel the movie does pick up about half-way through – but it’s still nowhere near as good as the other instalments of the series.

Harry Potter 67. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In the sixth movie of the Harry Potter series, Harry tries to uncover a plot by Draco Malfoy. Snape goes over to the dark side and we learn a lot about Voldemort’s past that was previously hidden. Also, things get a little crazy with a “liquid luck” potion that makes Harry act stoned. And the movie probably ends on the most depressing final note of the series (spoiler: with the possible exception of Dobby’s death at the end of Deathly Hallows Part 1).

I really enjoyed the majority of the Harry Potter series, the fourth one being my personal favourite. However, especially with some of the latter Potters I started to feel like the story was getting dragged out just a smidge. The Order of the Phoenix at least had a great villain which redeemed it to some extent and Deathly Hallows Part 1 at least tugged on a lot of heart-strings even if the story barely got started in that one. However, The Half-Blood Prince was just a terrible entry in the series. It’s dark, drawn out and almost nothing of consequence happens for about 90% of the film, where Harry is just trying to piece together the puzzle of Voldemort’s return.

The one part of the movie that could have had some impact was also unfortunately spoiled for me months in advance, though one could ask was the finale really so worth-while if it can be spoiled in three words (spoiler: Snape kills Dumbledore). Even The Prisoner of Azkaban, my second least favourite film from the series, at least had a cool plot device and a clever narrative though it was hampered by a lack of a central villain.

TempleofDoom6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones drops off from a plane with a kid sidekick and a screaming show-room dancer. He winds up in a village where all the children have been captured by Thuggee cultists. Indy follows the trail of clues and finds out that the cultists are forcing the children to work in the mines in order to discover the magical Sankara stones.

People may hate The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for some inexplicable reason, but the Temple of Doom is unquestionably the dumbest movie in the Indiana Jones series. With its borderline racist depictions of Indians and the Chinese (in the form of short round), starring a completely useless female lead and more low-brow comedy than all the other Indiana Jones movies combined, there really is no excuse for this movie. It wouldn’t be that bad, but the unnecessary instances of gore and violence which actually required the creation of a new age-rating in the States (PG-13) just highlights what a meat-headed entry in the series this is.

When one of the key moments of the film is a scene where people eat insects, live snakes and chilled monkey brains, you know you’ve hit crazy-town. That said, the movie of course has a lot of iconic moments, my favourites being the ceremony and the mine-cart scenes. And sure, Short Round can be pretty hilarious in a few places. However, over-all, it’s just a really dumb sequel to what was a fun but also an awe-inspiring movie.

quantum_of_solace5. Quantum of Solace

In the follow-up to Casino Royale, Bond tries to track down the organisation which led to the death of his one-true love in the first movie. He finds a scheme to control the water supply of an entire South American country and Bond teams up with a vengeful female protagonist (Olga Kyralenko) to take down the bad guys.

There’s quite a few James Bond “sequels” which have failed to follow-up successfully to their predecessors (Thunderball) but what makes Quantum of Solace particularly bad in this regard is that it’s a direct-sequel to one of the best James Bond movies ever made. Casino Royale had a cool villain, an interesting setting, a relatable supporting cast and an awesome finale. Guess what’s missing from Quantum of Solace? The villains are lame, the support cast from the first movie is mostly dead and the finale is honestly a little mediocre. And if you want to see a good Bond-film set in South America, I recommend either Moonraker or, better yet, Licence to Kill.

Quantum of Solace does have some really cool moments, especially with its action-scenes. The plot isn’t a total waste either, but it just honestly falls flat because of the uninteresting villains that surround it.

Police_Story_24. Police Story 2

In the follow-up to the first movie, officer Ka-Kui Chan becomes harassed by the cronies of the crime boss he tried to put away in the previous film. A fight ensues which causes a lot of collateral damage and Ka-Kui becomes suspended from the police force. However, when a shopping mall gets bombed and its owners seem hesitant to co-operate with the investigation, Ka-Kui is reinstated in the hopes that he can help crack the case.

I have a really uneven relationship with the first two films of Jackie Chan’s Police Story series but at least the first film’s plot was somewhat interesting and even got a little dark towards the end. Police Story 2 leans much more on comedy and even features several new characters who are introduced simply to provide comic relief for the story. My biggest gripe with the film is that this time there really isn’t a whole lot to the story of the black-mailers who blow up the shopping mall, they’re just a bunch of guys out to get rich.

Of course, Police Story 2 does feature some head-spinning stunts and it’s definitely entertaining, but compared to all other instalments of this film series, the plot is seriously lacklustre and uninteresting.

SWepisode23. Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

Set some years after Episode 1, former-Queen, now senator Amidala is the target of a failed assassination attempt. Obi-Wan and, his apprentice, the now teen-aged Anakin are called in to investigate the assassination. When Obi-Wan has to take his investigation off-world, Padme and Anakin decide to hide-out on Naboo and a romance begins to form. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan discovers a clone army being built on the planet of Kamino, seemingly for the Republic and he goes head-to-head with the bounty hunter Jango Fett before uncovering a conspiracy on another planet.

As mentioned on my Star Wars films list, this is my least favourite entry in the Star Wars series. Its biggest problems have to do with it being a middle part of a trilogy, lacking a good final conclusion, which is really just build-up for Episode 3. Secondly, the film’s romance storyline is painfully weak, partly due to Hayden Christensen’s terrible acting but also because people familiar with the later movies already know where it’s going to end up. Therefore, there is no suspense and the build-up is just painfully drawn out.

The movie definitely has its redeeming qualities, from C-3PO’s first off-world adventure to the Gladiator pit scene, from Yoda’s lightsabre fight to Anakin’s dark revenge scene for the death of his mother. However, I always found this the least interesting Star Wars movie visually with Kamino being the only interesting new world seen in this film. The unfortunate fact is that without its immediate two films, the story of the Attack of the Clones is completely meaningless.

Mulan_22. Mulan 2

In Mulan 2, the woman who saved China is asked to take three princesses to meeting with a prince to settle peace through marriage. Mulan takes Shang and her old brothers-in-arms along. Of course, the trio falls in love with the princesses and worst of all, Mulan’s former guardian spirit Mushu begins sabotaging Mulan and Shang’s relationship out of fear of losing his job.

Mulan is one of my all-time favourite Disney films and I also feel it was Disney’s way of redeeming themselves after the insultingly terrible and cheesy Pocahontas from a few years earlier. I’m generally not a fan of the Disney direct-to-video sequels, but Mulan 2 is especially insulting because it took the characters I grew to love so much and turned them all in to f***ing morons.

The story-line is clichéd but I could have forgiven it, were it not for all the cheesy song segments and, frankly, shoehorned romance. Oh yeah, and Mushu is the evil mastermind of this film. I was always really put off by the idea that Mushu would turn on Mulan (though he believes he’s doing her a favour) out of sheer self-preservation (in my view, seriously ignoring Mushu’s own character development from the first film). By the end, the conflict has completely dissipated and you don’t even care what’s going to happen to the characters.

That’s a bad sign when you’re hopefully at least trying to make the audience care.

MKA1. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

In this god-forsaken sequel to the groundbreaking original, Shao Kahn and the forces of Outworld invade Earth despite Liu Kang’s victory in the Mortal Kombat tournament. Raiden believes that Shao Kahn is using Kitana’s resurrected mother Sindel to open the gateways between Earthrealm and Outworld. The heroes have seven days to stop Kahn’s invasion or the two realms will become fused. Kang’s companions go look for others to help with the fight, while Liu has to learn the art of the animality to stand a chance against his new foe.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is one of the biggest kicks in the teeth that a sequel has ever committed. Featuring almost none of the same cast of the first film, a director who hasn’t directed since, an over-bloated cast, bad wire works, over-abundant CGI and a plot-twist so convoluted that you’ll be hard pressed to even care when it all comes down.

One could say that at least MK: Annihilation is so terrible you can laugh at it. However, this movie might have indirectly played a part in the MK franchise’s dip in popularity towards the end of the 90s. And let’s face it, it’s just an absolutely shitty movie. Good intentions or not, it fails on even the most basic levels as a fantasy-martial arts film. The fact that it actually gets a few things from the MK mythos right is slim consolation for such a hacky and badly produced movie.

Shame on you New Line Cinema! Shame on you…