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In Honor Of 'Riddick:' 10 Of The Most Unnecessary Sequels Ever

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 5, 2013 at 2:11PM

If popcorn cinema in 2013 has been defined by one thing, it's been "Sharknado." But if cinema in 2013 has been defined by two things, it's "Sharknado" and... a glut of unnecessary and unwanted sequels. Think about it: "A Good Day to Die Hard," "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "RED 2," "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters" "Despicable Me 2," "Kick-Ass 2," "Planes," "The Smurfs 2," "Grown Ups 2." These aren't just movies that are creatively unnecessary, they are movies that it's hard to imagine anyone wanting (though in the Sandler movie's case people bizarrely did actually show up, to humanity's shame). Even "Monsters University," arguably the year's best sequel/prequel/spin-off, wasn't one that seemed that creatively in demand—it was better than expected, but hardly essential. This week sees yet another sequel few were clamoring to hit theaters: "Riddick," the third movie in the series started by 2000's "Pitch Black" and continued with 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick.". And it got us thinking about other egregious examples through the years.
15
Basic Instinct 2

"Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction" (2006)
Wait, What? It took almost 15 years and an international co-production that included money from the United States, England, Spain and Germany to get this ill-fated sequel off the ground. While big time directors like David Cronenberg and John McTiernan flirted with the project, it was ultimately directed by Michael Caton-Jones, with most of the action taking place in England for no other reason than last-minute tax incentives (seriously). Serial killer Catherine Tramell is back, and she is once again played by Sharon Stone, who still feels compelled to get naked all of the time despite the fact that she's getting a bit old for this sort of thing—though her breasts do seem significantly younger than she. Tramell is once again suspected of murdering folks (following a riotously staged car chase at the beginning of the movie), so Scotland Yard appoints a psychiatrist (David Morrissey) to evaluate her, because apparently that's how Scotland Yard deals with suspected serial killers. The relationship between Tramell and the psychiatrist obviously becomes sexual, but the tone has changed since the Verhoeven original. Gone is the first movie's arch, sexually explicit take on Hitchcock, instead swapped out for something that's more akin to a campy, late-night Skinemax flick, with atrociously awful dialogue like "Even Oedipus saw his mother coming" and hilariously unsexy moments like a scene where Stone wears an open kimono and walks around a hot tub, exposing her lady nest. There's nothing thrilling or sexy or fun about "Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction." It's developed into a modest cult film, but you have a hard time understanding why. The first film inspired outrage and protests. Nobody mustered the energy to even know this was a movie, let alone be incensed by it.
Is It Worth Watching, Like, At All? There is a certain amount of I-can't-believe-what-I'm-watching fun to be had with 'Basic Instinct 2,' especially if you've been ingesting libations, spirits or medicinal herbs. That being said, you could literally be watching almost anything else (bar 'Speed 2') and be better off for it.

mannequin two

"Mannequin Two: On the Move" (1991)
Wait, What? 1987's "Mannequin" was a cute romantic fantasy about a department store mannequin (Kim Cattrall) who is actually an Egyptian princess who comes to life when the store is closed, and the man (Andrew McCarthy) who falls in love with her. When the movie was over, the book was seemingly closed on the franchise… Or was it? A few years later a sequel was introduced that barely had anything to do with the first movie (even the Wikipedia page cites it as a "semi-sequel"), adding some further elaborate, wholly unnecessary mythological undertones to the "Mannequin" story (complete with a medieval times-set prologue and themes of reincarnation and everlasting life) and replacing virtually the entire cast. It's a sequel that maintains the original's name and one lone cast member—Meshach Taylor from "Designing Women" as the outrageously gay black guy (he's even on the poster with a comic book-style speech bubble). Besides that, the entire movie is different and way, way worse, with the filmmakers somehow insisting that making it more complicated would somehow enrich the experience for those audience members who came to see the sequel to a movie about a mannequin that comes to life. So, yeah, something about a kind of cursed (or charmed) necklace that turns our leading lady into a mannequin (or back again)... the details are a little fuzzy at this point. There's also  road trip component—hence the 'On the Move' subtitle. About the only good thing you can say about the movie is that Kristy Swanson looks really cute (and, for what it's worth, does a good job with a woefully underwritten role). A staple of mid-'90s cable channels, "Mannequin Two: On the Move" doesn't even have nostalgia going for it—the movie might have flashbacks to the middle ages but watching the movie now and you can see that the early '90s were a dark time indeed.
Is It Worth Watching, Like, At All? Not even for Swanson.

Blair Witch 2

"Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" (2000)
Wait, What? Imagine if the hugely successful "Paranormal Activity," for its sequel, abandoned the found-footage conceit and instead decided on a painfully traditional narrative format, with only winky nods to the original film? Because that's the direction they went in for this "Blair Witch Project" follow-up. What makes the decision even more bizarre is the fact that they hired Joe Berlinger, who up until that point had been known for his infinitely creepier and more affecting "Paradise Lost" documentaries about the West Memphis Three case. (This remains his sole narrative feature.) The creepy atmosphere and troubling psychology of the first film was also skirted, along with the original's stylistic trappings, focusing on a group of young people who were inspired to find out the truth following the first film and all meeting an untimely end. The worst adjective you can use to describe this movie is "typical," since the original felt so unique and fresh and new. The rawness and reality achieved by the first movie's aesthetic is wholly undone here; everything feels manufactured and tired. Berlinger later claimed that the studio took the movie away from him in post-production, both re-editing footage and adding new material, although it's hard to believe that there could have been that much of a difference between what he shot and what ended up in the final movie. (The movie was rushed into production following the surprise success of the first film and a more reasonable, measured approach to that success was probably in order.) Maybe that could be the third film: a group of intrepid young filmmakers go in search of the fabled original director's cut of "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2." Now that we'd watch.
Is It Worth Watching, Like, At All? Negative on that one, Goose. It's so bad that it becomes funny but then becomes bad again, and its most criminal sin is one of dullness and dramatic inertia. It fails to deliver on even the most bargain basement promises of the genre; the fact that it was attempting to be highbrow and arty is just absurd.

The Matrix Revolutions Reeves Weaving

So what did we leave off the list that should have been included? If we could have tracked down a copy of "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure," that probably would have made the cut; "The Rage: Carrie 2" and "The Fly II," both painfully inessential horror follow-ups, very nearly made it, as did "Analyze That," and "Meet the Fockers," two supposed comedies that had us wishing for those cyanide capsules they supposedly give the astronauts in case anything goes wrong in space. There's "The Sting II" and "The Godfather, Part III," movies that squandered the prestige and Oscar-winning glitter of their predecessors. And chief among the sequels that were so bad they take some of the gloss off the original are those infernal "Matrix" follow-ups. "Staying Alive," the unnecessary sequel to "Saturday Night Fever," directed by Sylvester Stallone, would have been on the list but the soundtrack is too damn good. And of course, a special ring of hell is reserved for the "Star Wars" prequels, movies whose existence isn't just unnecessary—it's an affront. It's an overflowing category, though. Tell us below which ones you'd have disappear from existence completely if you could. 


This article is related to: Features, Feature, RED 2, Riddick, A Good Day To Die Hard, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University , G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, The Smurfs 2, Kick-Ass 2


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