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

Features
by Drew Taylor
September 5, 2013 2:11 PM
15 Comments
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"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: 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.

"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.

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. 


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15 Comments

  • Ryan O. | September 7, 2013 12:10 AMReply

    I feel since Diesel was the one who helped get the new "Riddick" up and running, another unnecessary sequel that should have been mentioned - for at least following a similar path to the big screen - is "Escape From L.A." Kurt Russell had wanted to return to play Snake, and that helped get the sequel made, and though it is kind of fun, it did not need to be made.

  • rotch | September 6, 2013 11:12 AMReply

    Five words: An American Werewolf in Paris

  • cljohnston108 | September 6, 2013 8:18 AMReply

    Just because you weren't waiting for a new 'Riddick' movie doesn't mean that nobody else was.

  • Northern Star | September 5, 2013 10:19 PMReply

    If no-one else will, then I'll stand up for 'The Godfather Part III'... is it as good as it's two matchless predecessors, absolutely not, but is it unnecessary, I would say again absolutely not! It gives Michael Corleone's story a proper (if tragic) conclusion, and it shows that despite gaining the highest in both wealth and power, that crime does NOT pay in the end... and it's invariably the innocent that will pay the ultimate price for the sins of others! Paramount didn't give Coppola and Puzo the time or the release date they wanted to make the film as good they could, and they treated Robert Duvall like dirt, meaning Tom Hagen was missing from the final film when he was originally to be one of the two most important characters in it... and THAT'S why it wasn't as good as it could or indeed should have been, but despite those flaws, it's still a very good and worthy film, more so in comparison to the junk the studios put out nowadays!

  • MitstaTMason | September 6, 2013 12:04 AM

    I think Part III was so unnecessary because we didn't really need to see some explicit loss of family for Michael. He finished Part II having murdered his brother, losing the love of his wife, and seeing his moral compass entirely fade away. In Part I, he was grappling with good and evil, which he presumably lost the battle to when he had his brother-in-law killed. Throughout the second film, we constantly see his descension into evil until he is completely consumed and becomes a psychopath. We also get the beautifully horrific vision of the American Dream with Vito's rise to power. Considering the Catholic symbolism of the entire series, with the distinction of good and evil, the third film just seemed like overkill to explicitly beat us over the head with all of the moral messages and symbolism implicitly conveyed in the first two. It stuck a trivial exclamation point on the intelligently placed period ending the first two films.

  • Josh | September 5, 2013 6:00 PMReply

    Leonard Part 6

  • Sean | September 5, 2013 4:11 PMReply

    If its unnecessary, I would take that it's not worth watching. Seems pointless to mention that.

  • J.K | September 5, 2013 3:48 PMReply

    the whole ten yards.

  • TC Kirkham | September 5, 2013 3:29 PMReply

    You forgot one of the WORST sequels of all time - how could you do this article and NOT mention one of the most terrifying titles of all time - "Grease 2"...AAHHHHHHHHHHH!

  • jean vigo | September 5, 2013 2:59 PMReply

    What about every 'mumblecore' film after "Funny Ha Ha?" Would they all count as sequels, or would they be part of some deft exercise in an ongoing episodic in which the directors and actors (sometimes) rotate?
    Imagine splicing them all together into one giant epic. You could walk in and out of the 30 hours without having missed anything critical to understanding the recycling proceedings, imho.

  • Sean | September 5, 2013 4:09 PM

    That's like saying the French New Wave is a franchise or series instead of a movement/sun genre.

  • Ignacio | September 5, 2013 2:24 PMReply

    ''marginally enjoyable'', that just made my day. Anaconda is the first feature I saw by myself in the movies, i was...8? or something. creepy. Great 90s exploitation, Owen Wilson is in it! that's a plus for ANY movie.

  • fadoka30 | September 5, 2013 2:21 PMReply

    Hilarious feature.

  • DUC | September 6, 2013 11:37 AM

    @JSHR
    Hellboy 2 was good. Nuada was an awesome villain.

  • Jshr | September 6, 2013 4:27 AM

    More unnecessary examples: Boondock Saints 2, Green Street Holigans 2, Saw II-III-IV-V-VI-3D, Schumacher's Batman series, Jurassic Park II-III, American Pie 2-3-4-5-6, Hellboy II, Blade II-III, a dozen of Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Piranha, Predator, Alien, Scary Movie series.
    Not sure to add Resident Evil series as unnecessary sequels, because the 1st movie is also unnecessary :)

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