Well, there are few givens in Hollywood. The first and nearly universal given is that a sequel will not be as good as the original. I’m not writing about remakes (that’s a topic for another review), but sequels. There are truly few reasons to do a sequel other than the original made money and the uninspired suits at movie studios can’t pass up a fast buck. Although there are a few notable exceptions (with “The Godfather: Part II” being simply the best sequel ever in American cinema), for the most part you’ll find shells of the original movie in sequels. However, there are bad sequels … and then there are REALLY bad sequels. I’ll get to a bunch of those in this review. I hope you enjoy it.
“Weekend at Bernie’s II” | “Caddyshack II”
“Smokey and the Bandit III” | “Fletch Lives”
“Meet the Fockers” | “The Santa Clause II”
“Force 10 from Navarone”
(Check each individual review for running times, directors, stars, etc.)
IF WE HEAR ‘SEQUEL’ … THEN WE SHOULD RUN AWAY
“Monty Pyton’s” knights in the comedy troupe’s classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” were urged to “run away!” when threatened. We should take a cue from them … when it comes to sequels. Movie sequels usually just stink and there’s no other way to say it. Yes, you can find exceptions that are exceptional films, but those are fewer and further between than stink bomb sequels.
Today I’m writing about seven stinker sequels: “Weekend at Bernie’s II,” “Caddyshack II” (click here for my review), “Smokey and the Bandit Part 3,” “Fletch Lives,” “Meet the Fockers,” “Force 10 from Navarone” and “The Santa Clause 2.” Whew! What a smelly bunch. Not a winner among them (and I’m a big war film fan and you’d think the sequel to “The Guns of Navarone” would be better than the dreck it is).
“Jurassic Park” holds the honor of having both an exceptionally stinky sequel in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” but an absolutely terrific second sequel (“Jurassic Park III” – click here for my review). Now, it may keep its top ranking in this kind-of category with its upcoming third sequel “Jurassic World” (and this one looks really sweet in trailers).
I’m glad I’ve only reviewed one of these stinkers, but I’m still feeling the pain of “Caddyshack II.” So, let’s get into it!
In a film world of horribles, “Caddyshack II” stands pretty tall. Not only does it fail to pick up anywhere near where the original left off, but wastes potentially good talent (comedian Jackie Mason). It is just crummy filmmaking on every level – acting, the direction, cinematography and every technical aspect. The film tries to play the rich off the hoi polloi again, but even a flatulence scene fails to evoke a smile (and I usually enjoy such low-brow humor). Pass this one up at all costs.
Almost as bad and with the additional sin of having a lame extension of the original plot you’ll find “Weekend at Bernie’s II.” Yep, the corpse becomes animated with voodoo (or whatever) and that’s all you have to know to realize how bad this one is – truly, the only thing you can call it is an embarrassment. If you have an appetite for “Bernie,” then enjoy the original again (click here for my review).
On the disappointment trail, there’s one that stands out – “Smokey and the Bandit Part 3.” Not only does it NOT have Burt Reynolds (the real “Bandit”) it has Jerry Reed dressing up like his mentor. However, the biggest disappointment is that the legendary Jackie Gleason, who did such a superlative job in the original, gives such an embarrassing performance (including multiple characters). Sad to see this happen to what could have been a proud Burt franchise.
If you want to see a bad movie that tries too hard to be bad and succeeds, then check out “Fletch Lives.” The original “Fletch” from 1985 (click here for my review) was clever and fresh and benefited from the high-flying comedy of Chevy Chase. Four years later the jokes are stale and rehashed; Chevy isn’t as clever or original; and the biggest embarrassment must have been for director Michael Ritchie, who somehow managed not to do his job at all after his nice turn in the original. Stick with “Fletch” and avoid its sequel at all costs.
Getting a bit better in this group of films’ company isn’t saying much, but “Meet the Fockers” is a step up from the ones I’ve already mentioned. However, its fatal flaw is the stupidity in casting the completely overrated and virtually unwatchable and annoying Barbara Streisand. All the top talent falls flat – even Robert De Niro, who looks as if he’s preoccupied reading scripts for his next project – and only a modest amount of creativity should keep you watching this one.
Just as “Meet the Fockers” falls flat despite promise, so does “The Santa Clause 2.” Tim Allen shows how a decent actor (check him out in a most wonderful turn in “Big Trouble” – click here for my review – with Rene Russo) can go from a high to a nasty low. “Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” is virtually unwatchable and no one should even attempt to watch it.
Finally, I’ll toss out “Force 10 from Navarone.” It is a sequel, but it’s not a sequel. Yes, that’s a silly statement … but it’s true. The original was “The Guns of Navarone” (click here for my review) from 1961 and it won an Oscar (for special effects) and was nominated for six more, including best picture and best director). Slow forward 17 years and you have “Force 10.” Both are from books about commandos by best-selling author Alistair MacLean, but the sequel has only a couple of original characters of the same name. Two words describe it: plain excrement. It has a youthful Harrison Ford (just about the best so-called performance here) and Robert Shaw, but it just stinks. In the original you had Gregory Peck and David Niven in the headliner roles; here you have Shaw an Edward Fox playing the same name characters. Quite a drop-off, in my opinion.
Well, there you have it. Seven horrid sequels. You’ll have your own choices for most terrible, but I’ll say these seven can compete with any bad film.
© Chuck Curry and A Gator in Naples, 2015.
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