The power of cinema is ignored when money is given the one-up over everything else that goes into play. A sequel can be many things. It can be a way of satisfying fans of the original, who demand to see more from the world that they loved watching on screen. It can be a means to continue the story of the characters who had been developed in the film that came prior. Or, like many film studios and filmmakers see it, it can be a means to make dough, piggybacking on the success of the “first part”.
Often times this way of thinking leads the people behind the camera to become lazy, and focus more on getting the audience in the theater than giving them a good show. Now which aspect is better is up for debate, but what we can all agree to is the terribleness of movie sequels that don’t really do anything original, different, or fresh. Here is the list of movies that copied the original, and exist with the sole purpose of cranking up box office numbers.
12. Jaws 2 (1978)
This 2 hour film has very little to offer that is different from the first. Lacking Steven Spielberg’s magic behind the camera, the direction of ‘Jaws 2’ was already going south, but it was the lack of originality that left it without anything out-of-the-ordinary or worth mentioning. Sporting a different shark that has the same characteristics as the one in the original, this movie delivers the already exploited plot of ‘Jaws’ in a way that makes it boring and uninteresting. The characters are cardboard cut-outs of the ones in the 1975 film, and the same incidents in the same locations with the same people ensue. Though it was financially successful at the box office, ‘Jaws 2’ was critically panned and labelled as an unnecessary film by most people who saw it in theaters. Sadly, the success of this film led to the release of several other disappointing sequels surrounding this franchise, the fourth being arguably the worst of the lot.
11. Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016)
The first ‘Kindergarten Cop’ isn’t the greatest of films, but it does provide a good time and is quite enjoyable overall. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a pleasantly surprising chemistry with the kids in the film, and the stupid humor is refreshing to many. Releasing 26 years after the original, ‘Kindergarten Cop 2’ has no Arnie, and it has nothing fresh. Stealing from the 1990 film as much as it can, this picture follows the same story of a cop who has to go undercover as a kindergarten teacher, and attempts to shine light on moments portrayed in order to get a laugh out of the audience. Unfortunately, the gags in this picture are immature to a point that even little kids would turn away, and it has all been done before. There’s no charm to ‘Kindergarten Cop 2’, and it feels more like a lazy way to bring in the cash than a full-fledged film. For reasons like the release gap between the two films, this one failed to do well at the box office.
10. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
I will admit that I found the first one funny. ‘Neighbors’ was enjoyable enough to make me appreciate its silly humor, characters, and to a point the story even. Nobody asked for a sequel to this film, but it was pretty popular the year it came out, which helped green-light a follow-up film two years after its release. This endeavor has to do with a sorority moving in next door to a couple (unlike the original, which had a fraternity move in) who can’t handle their annoying and irritating behavior, leading to them calling a couple of friends for help. Being ever-so-slightly different from the 2014 movie, ‘Neighbors 2’ proves itself to be more flawed by having some terrible characters and cringe-worthy gags that try their best to pass on as actual humor. This film completely fails to work, even on the tiniest level, and I found it to be an utter bore.
9. Final Destination 2 (2003)
Now, in order to be fair to this movie, it is important to note that pretty much every flick that found a way to be part of this franchise is a direct rip-off of the original. A disastrous event takes place, few people get out unharmed, and then they witness themselves die in various (usually graphic) ways as fate gets the last laugh. Though all these pictures follow the same ideas executed in the same ways, I do enjoy many of them because of how fun they are. Despite the umpteen flaws that one can point out in the ‘Final Destination’ movies, few are not entertained by at least one film in the series. Maybe it’s because though they all follow the same tired pattern, the infamous death scenes are fresh, and I find them sort of thrilling. That’s not to say any of these pictures are great, or good. They’re entertaining, and the merits end there. Maybe that’s all any of these films set out to be, but that doesn’t excuse their lack of new ideas.
8. Die Hard 2 (1990)
While most movie sequels tend to give off the notion of being serious distinctive films, ‘Die Hard 2’ has no problems with finding humor in the fact that it was basically just a rehashed version of the original. Using the airport as a central location to having John McClane’s wife’s life in peril (on Christmas Eve, I might add), there seems to be nothing new in the continuation of the action classic. What this film does get right is poking fun at its own execution. It’s almost as if ‘Die Hard 2’ is fully aware that it is a plot-for-plot recycled production off of its predecessor, what with lines like “How can the same sh*t happen to the same guy twice?” and “They say lightning never strikes twice… they were wrong!”. All in all, there’s something to be enjoyed about this film despite its short comings, and it just might be the attitude that surrounds the overall atmosphere of the picture that makes it work.
7. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005)
When the original idea isn’t that great to begin with, it’s never smart to pull it off again, at least when it comes to movies with unfunny, unoriginal plots. The first film in this duology, ‘Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo’ is just tiresome slapstick jokes put forth one after the other in what feels like an endless stream of mediocrity. All it was was a cash grab, and luckily enough for it, the film made a profit. Thus came the sequel that no one asked for, and while it did gross more than its $22 million budget, the box office collection was nowhere close to ‘Male Gigolo’. This film presents the same tiring situations with the same annoying characters all over again, and I honestly found it to be a pain to sit through. Add to that a cast and crew that has no sense of what is to be done, and you’ve got a movie that actually managed to be more terrible than its disappointing original.
6. Taken 2 (2012)
I find the first ‘Taken’ to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The tight atmosphere, compelling plot and characters, and immersive action scenes set the stage for a very entertaining film. It would’ve been great if I could say the same about the sequel, but unfortunately, this one gets everything the first film got right helplessly wrong. Following another tale that has to do with a kidnapping, this time, it is our protagonist, Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson who is the victim, and it is his daughter who has to save his life. Pretty much reversing some key elements of the original to repeat the same exact story, ‘Taken 2’ suffers due to its poor execution, with nothing remaining of that tight suspenseful aura that its predecessor had. Thanks to its terrible script and unrelatable characters, the film left audiences thinking how everything could’ve gone so wrong compared to the better-than-decent original.
5. Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
The first ‘Dumb and Dumber’ has been regarded by many people as one of the funniest films of all time. Although personally I’d consider that to be a stretch, I will agree that I find the film extremely entertaining. It gives as it promises, with two dumb leads played with the comic charisma that only Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels can pull off. It had a well-rounded story and a hilarious screenplay, and was a box office mammoth at the time. Two decades later, the studios decided to bring back many of the important players to make a sequel, which ultimately turned out to be a washed-down, confused, and utterly unfunny take on the concepts of the original. Where ‘Dumb and Dumber’ succeeded in utilizing its admittedly stupid humor to bring in the laughs, the sequel fails to deliver. Most of the gags are predictable, making them unfunny, and the story is boring enough to leave you uninterested.
4. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003)
The character of Lara Croft has been synonymous with gamers ever since her introduction in ‘Tomb Raider’, a 1996 game for Sega Return and Playstation. Her popularity pushed studios to base a film around the adventurer and the many exciting episodes of her life. ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ is a film that I enjoy to the extent of it being a guilty pleasure of mine. The unintentionally funny dialogues and over-the-top action sequences make for a film that isn’t a marvel, but never allows for a dull moment. The sequel is more-or-less the same, but it lacks the adrenaline effect of the original. Most of the cast look like they don’t want to be there, and the picture is poorly directed. While a possible guilty pleasure for many, I don’t find many things about this that stand out in comparison to the first. A clear device to milk money off the box office, ‘The Cradle of Life’ wasn’t able to collect as much as the film that came before it.
3. I Spit On Your Grave 2 (2013)
The sequel of a film that is the remake of a film from the late 1970’s (that critic Roger Ebert awarded zero stars to), ‘I Spit On Your Grave 2’ executes the same plot of the remake and its original with only some of the pivotal locations being changed. Following a rape victim’s life after the occurrence of the utterly disastrous event, the film shows us the revenge that she takes upon the men who put her in this sorry position by using her body as a weapon. I find all three films to be incredibly sexist, irritating, and horribly presented. ‘I Spit On Your Grave 2’ doesn’t even take half the risks that the previous film did, which in turn was less ambitious than the original, therefore lacking any sort of value that the other two have. With a mind-numbingly poor script and narrative, the film is more boring than it is anything else, and I really hated having to go through this flat experience the first and so far only time I was witness to its presentation.
2. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
I feel that ‘Home Alone 2’ gets a lot of unnecessary hate despite it being a very flawed and cliched work. There is no doubting whether it copied the original (which I consider to be one of the funniest films of all time) as it most certainly did, following the same plot of a boy whose family leaves him all alone, causing him to have to face two bandits all by himself, an activity that forces him to use his childish intelligence to keep them away. The second part showcases the same plot structure, the only difference in story being that the boy isn’t left alone in his home. There is a bit of originality brought on by the location and some of the traps set against the bandits. Though barely being as good as the first part, I find myself laughing at this picture whenever I see it. There’s something about it that makes it “homely” for me, and it is quite a relaxing as well as funny experience. It is heavily flawed, as I said before, but it is, as far as my thoughts go, a relaxing and fun watch.
1. The Hangover Part II (2011)
The first film in this trilogy is pure genius. All the jokes hit the right spots and the story is more intriguing than what most comedies that came out during its time had to offer. It’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen, and that may partly be the reason as to why the second time around, none of it seemed to work. I mean, the fact that it basically holds the same exact story with no difference in any of the events is pretty disappointing, but additionally this sequel lacked the enthusiasm, energy, and freshness of the original. Relying on generic childish shock humor and recycled material, changing the location alone didn’t offer much of a difference to the fans of the original. The characters are annoying and the story in its entirety is blandly handled. I thought the third part in The Hangover Trilogy, while it tried to change its many approaches was far worse, but I have to give it credit where credit is due. It tried something new, at least.
Read More: Best Movie Sequels of All Time