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20 Worst Movie Sequels of All Time

July 23, 2018
14 min read

Hollywood invented the concept of sequels, prequels and franchises for two purposes – to cater to the demands of the audiences for similar kind of films and to make loads of money using the same formula over and over again. However of late the trend is leaning more towards the latter and the only victim here are the audiences. The studio heads are making millions of dollars selling their substandard products under the guise of respectable franchises to film distributors worldwide. The majority of the movie going public doesn’t even seem to mind the dangerous trend of making money with cheap spin offs which also explains the global box office success of many such films which are not even worthy of one time watch. Here is a list of top worst movie sequels of all time.

20. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

The fact that ‘Speed 2’ was nominated for eight Razzie awards speaks a lot about the film. The one question that always bugs the fans of the two film series is that how on earth did the makers got it so wrong in the sequel. Both the films were helmed by the same director Jan de Bont, and Sandra Bullock – the star attraction – reprised her role in the sequel too but it still failed to match up to the adrenaline rush of the originator. May be the makers got too complacent or rather too comfortable in their shoes. For better or for worse it will always be remembered as one of the worst sequels of all time.

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19. Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Poltergeist (1982) had the ahead of time vision and Midas touch of Spielberg sprinkled all over it. The sequel of which Spielberg steered cleared of understandably suffered due to lack of his presence and guidance. The first installment could boast of the unique ability to make us both laugh and scream at the same time and the now redundant visual effects were in sync with the mood of the film but the sequel was made just for one purpose – to rake in the moolah. And it clearly showed in the end product which was neither scary nor engaging but a futile exercise in the hope recreating its former glory.

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18. The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)

Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Carrie into a major motion picture in 1976 was a watershed in the horror genre. It worked mainly because of the element of anticipation and the inherent scope for fright in the story. Despite being a B movie it took the initiative to question many prevalent social, moral and religious conventions. Over the years it has acquired cult status among the new generation of audiences. When an unexpected sequel came out of nowhere after a gap of 23 years after the original, it raised many an eyebrows to say the least. Thankfully the supposed sequel was so trashy that the fans of the earlier version almost vehemently deny its existence. Don’t watch it if you don’t want to ruin the memory of the first one.

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17. The Hills Have Eyes II (1985)

It doesn’t happen very often that a filmmaker of merit – that too in the horror genre – ruins his own reputation by remaking a cheaper and laughable version of his own work. It is usually the birth right of some wannabe wide eyed young directors who pay a tribute to their inspirations. The filmmaker in discussion here is Wes Craven and we are talking about his now cult classic The Hills Have Eyes (1977). There were references of missile testing, cold war and an abnormally born baby which made the narrative believable and worth investing time on. The sequel however simply feeds on the popularity of the first one and doesn’t even try to be different. It definitely has all the qualities to make it to the list of ‘Movies that are so bad that they are good’. Wes Craven however went to make many more career defining films but the audiences never really recovered from the blandness of this badly executed sequel.

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16. Grease 2 (1982)

It was a much anticipated sequel to the John Travolta starrer worldwide hit Grease (1978). Adding to the excitement was sexy starlet Michelle Pfeiffer who was poised for super stardom in Hollywood. However the only problem was that director Patricia Birch failed to infuse a story line that the youth could connect with. It also didn’t help that the film had a very dated and jaded feel to it. The biggest flaw of Grease 2 was that despite being a musical the score was utterly forgettable and dance movies uninspiring. Also Maxwell Caulfield was no match for John Travolta – neither in style nor in physical attributes.

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15. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

This one had all the potential to be in the same bracket as the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ but ended up looking like a bad episode of ‘Billions’. Reason – The failure of Oliver Stone, the director, to give credit where it’s due. He overlooked the many opportunities hidden in the first part and failed to capitalize on the selling points. Rather he turned his film into a conflicting drama which is neither invigorating nor satisfying. This film should be a lesson in what not to do while making a sequel of a worthy film.

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14. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

William Friedkin’s ‘The Exorcist’ (1973) was noted for both its visual effects and uncompromising tale of good vs. evil; making it one of the few horror films to break the glass ceiling. The young girl who was possessed in the first one grows up to be a beautiful 16 year old still battling with the frailties of her mind. What works against the film is the half baked execution and haphazard narration. The film sets out to achieve too many things and ends up eating more than it could swallow or deliver. It had the scale and imagination but lacked the chilling effect of the far superior predecessor.

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13. The Hangover Part II (2011)

When the insanely funny first installment came out in 2009 it redefined the term bromance and wolf pack. There was so much to appreciate and laugh about – a hooker, a baby, a tiger, Las Vegas and of course Mike Tyson. It was pure time pass comedy and everybody had a jolly good time at the movies. It made superstars out of Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. The sequel had all the prerequisites from the first one and perhaps more including a bigger budget but somehow things didn’t work out as it was supposed to. Reason – poor direction and seemingly reluctant actors reprising their roles just for the sake of stardom. The only saving grace was its box office collection. The second part was followed by two more installments and to say that they were not up to the mark would be an understatement.

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12. Son of the Mask (2001)

‘The Mask’ connected with the audiences because there was a human story behind all that goofiness and razzmatazz. There was a sense of urgency to Jim Carrey’s madness in the original but Jamie Kennedy’s trying too hard to be Jim Carrey act in the sequel was at best juvenile. The first one made superstars out of its lead pair while the second one was both a commercial and critical failure. Comedy is no joke after all.

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11. RoboCop 2 (1990)

‘RoboCop 2’ came out three years after its groundbreaking sci-fi forerunner took Hollywood and half of the world by storm. Its use of cutting edge technology changed the face of cinema and the way it looks. However it was not all metal and noise that contributed to its success – behind all that computerized images and fast paced electronics gadgets on display, was a human story about fall and resurrection. The sequel turned out to be a complete disaster owing to its video game like heartless approach to storytelling. The critical and relative commercial failure of ‘RoboCop 2’ proved that technology can never replace a good script and clever direction.

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10. The Ring 2 (2005)

The Ring which came out in 2002 created frenzy among diehard horror fans. It was a remake of the Japanese psychological horror flick Ringu/Ring (1998). The film was noted for its moody, atmospheric and somewhat melancholic version of horror with some really jumps up your seat scares along the way. The success of the film sets off a new trend of ‘J-horror’ remakes in Hollywood. Everybody expected a sequel and we got one in 2005. Even the director (Hideo Nakata) of the original Japanese inspiration was roped in but unfortunately something got lost in the making of the sequel. ‘The Ring 2’ lacked the avant-garde quality of the first part and the uninspired direction made sure that it was at best a watchable film.

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9. Evan Almighty (2007)

This is the second film in the list which is the sequel of a Jim Carrey starrer. Got the point yet? It is not only difficult but almost impossible to imagine anyone else in a role that has the stamp of Jim Carrey all over it. Here Steve Carell tries hard to save the day and don’t get me wrong – Steve is a very good actor, as long a she is playing himself – but he is no match for the physical comedy that Jim Carrey displays in most of his films. The sad part is ‘Evan Almighty’ fails to even raise the minimum amount of laughs to qualify as a full-fledged entertainer, forget about bringing something new to the genre of high-concept comedy.

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8. XXX: State of the Union (2005)

The mere mention of the name of any film of the ‘XXX’ series is enough to give headaches to a genuine film buff but in the spirit of fair play let’s appreciate those films for what they stands for i.e. wholesome entertainment. Going by that criterion the first one in the series of three films stands out the most. Not that it is a sensible film by any means but at least it had the audacity to be honest in admitting its limitations and playing to its strengths. The sequel however took itself too seriously owing to the overcompensation at the box office of the predecessor and thus losses the plot.

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7. Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)

When the first ‘Basic Instinct’ came out in 1992 it seduced the audience with its enigmatic lead, Sharon Stone, and her sizzling-sexual-tension-filled chemistry with Michael Douglas. Designed as a taut erotic thriller it delivered what it promised but when the R rated sequel came out after a long gap of 14 years the steam was no longer there. Surely the sleaze factor had gone up manifolds but with basically nothing exciting to offer it ended up merely as a cheap imitation of its glorified predecessor.

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6. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003)

Yet another sequel or rather a prequel of a Jim Carrey starrer. We all remember ‘Dumb and Dumber’ as an unstoppable joy ride which boasted of pure, intentional laughs out loud moments. There was method to the madness in the story line and a coherent script to put two and two together. The aforementioned film however lacks any logic or novelty to tickle your funny bones. It took leaving your brains at home comedy to another level. Even Eric Christian Olsen’s commendable act as the younger version of Jim Carrey’s Lloyd couldn’t save the film from becoming a catastrophic disaster.

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5. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

It is nothing short of cinematic blunder to replace the original cast of a hugely popular franchise and gamble money on a bunch of virtually nobodies. The nonexistent story line and the amateurish acting only add to the misery and the film comes crashing down on its own fate. It just had to stick to the tried and tested formula of making an adrenaline pumping speed flick but its failure to do so only exposed the inability and the imbecility of the entire cast and crew. The Fast and the Furious movies cannot be considered good cinema by any standards but ‘Tokyo Drift’ touches new heights of low.

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4. Taken 2 (2012)

What makes an enjoyable action thriller? To begin with there should be plenty of ‘action’ going on. The first one had everything – a high profile kidnapping, high speed chase sequences, man to man combats, unexpected twists and turns, raw bile emotions, edge of the seat moments and an unforgettable Liam Neeson. ‘Taken’ (2008) was no breath of fresh air but at least it was a sincere, old school run of the mill thriller designed to please the lowest rung of audiences, who comprises the majority by the way. The sequel fails to match up even to the over rated mediocrity of the first one. All we get is a clumsily put together action sequences with the help of apt cinematography and a self consolidating story line.

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3. Jaws 2 (1978):

Alright let’s get it out in the open. Whoever thought out the idea of sharks taking revenge deserves an award in itself. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is considered to be one of the best popcorn entertainers of all time. It left audiences gasping for breath with its edge of the seat tale of chase, blood and survival. The sequel gets everything wrong right from the word go. The excitement was no longer there and the main reason for it can be ascribed to the absence of the golden touch of Spielberg. ‘Jaws 2’ literally drowns in its own cesspool of mediocrity and cheap thrills.

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2. The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The first installment of the trilogy was a game changer in its own right. It became a worldwide sensation with its state-of-the-art visual effects and a Dystopian sci-fi tale – the film had since become a mainstay of 21st century pop culture. However the second and the third installments that came out within a gap of six months in 2003 ruined a perfectly sculpted movie with over the top action sequences and hardly intelligible story lines. To put it in coarse words: ‘The Matrix’ went from a film that required multiple viewings to understand it properly to a film that hardly made any sense any more. Although the box office collections tell a different story, one cannot ignore the fact that every classic doesn’t deserve a sequel.

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1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

When you go to watch a Michael Bay movie, you go in with certain preconceived notions – expecting a mindless joyride worth spending your hard earned money on. Transformers (2007), the first one in the franchise, surprisingly exceeded all expectations and had an unmistakable charm about it. Like every sequel discussed above ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ also had to go through the unfair and inevitable comparison to its much celebrated predecessor. And as we all finally came to know it fell short in almost every department as it upped the crass value by focusing more on quantity of the transformers than quality.

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