Top 10 Worst Belated Sequels

by Eric Melin on December 14, 2010

in Top 10s

Sometimes sequels come out a long time after the release of the original film. This weekend, “Tron: Legacy” will come out a full 28 years after Disney’s 1982 groundbreaking digital effects extravaganza “Tron.” Now that computer-generated VFX and virtual realities are commonly accepted in the world of film, this belated sequel must prove it has the goods in the story department as well. Will it live up to 28 years of hype? The odds aren’t good—not every movie franchise can pick up where it left off after so many years away. For every “Terminator 2” and “Aliens,” there’s an “Odd Couple II” or “Texasville” (the 1990 sequel nobody asked for from Peter Bogdanovich for 1971’s “The Last Picture Show.”)

Here are the Top 10 Worst Belated Sequels. If you have a list you’d like to contribute, email me at eric@scene-stealers.com.

star-wars-the-phantom-menace-jar-jar-binks10. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

This one’s tricky, I know because it’s technically a prequel. Who cares? In terms of hype and goodwill towards a movie that hadn’t even come out yet, nothing can touch George Lucas’ re-entry into the world he created so vividly in 1977 and wrapped up in 1983. Hell, my band Ultimate Fakebook was so excited for this movie that we recorded a song called “Far, Far Away” about how badly it needed to be good for the sake of an entire generation’s imaginations. Needless to say, it was a huge letdown. Was it because the movie sat there like a lump of stagnant Jedi poo, or was it because we could never return to the feeling that “Star Wars” gave us when we were kids? Probably a little of both. But without a Han Solo character cracking wise, “The Phantom Menace” was the worst kind of young adult sci-fi adventure out there—a boring one.

x-files-i-want-to-believe9. The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

10 years after “The X-Files: Fight the Future” and right smack dab in the middle of the sensation caused by ABC’s “Lost,” the time was ripe for the triumphant return of Chris Carter’s equal parts brilliant and disappointing TV series to the big screen. It was a pleasure to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson slip into Scully and Mulder one more time and it was also nice to see the new movie so focused on their relationship. What wasn’t so welcome was the lame, undercooked “mystery” at the heart of the movie. While our heroes debated the validity of a psychic and Scully spent time with a young terminal patient, the plot just sort of happened around them. Ever want to see how not to put a suspense thriller together? Watch this movie—it was devoid of both.

exorcist-beginning8. Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

When the studio decided it wasn’t scary or gory enough, this underwhelming prequel was retooled by Renny Harlin, who took over the production after Paul Schrader was fired by the studio. Here’s the rub: Schrader’s version, “Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist,” came out anyway the year after on home video. “The Beginning” purports to tell the backstory of Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow in the original, Stellan Skarsgard here) and the demon he encountered in 1973’s “The Exorcist,” but it’s really just a setup for a rehash of the first film’s memorable moments. Let it be known: Telling the same kind of story in a different setting (Kenya) and suggesting the old film at every turn (including lines from the original) is not a good strategy. Nobody wants to see an undercooked, uninspired version of a movie they already love.

godfather-III-sofia-pacino7. The Godfather Part III (1990)

Nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, the sequel to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 masterpiece “The Godfather Part II” had lush cinematography, an impeccable pedigree, and was set against the epic backdrop of a Papal banking scandal. It also featured an overwrought sense of importance that ultimately didn’t deliver the goods. Sofia Coppola’s strained performance is hard to watch, especially since her character is so key to the story. (On a sidenote, she’s a terrific director, so maybe this movie was the best thing for her at the time.) Andy Garcia doesn’t bring the weight to his role as the scheming new Don of the Corleone family, and George Hamilton is no replacement for Robert Duvall. Not only that, the story just isn’t compelling. Watching Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) atone for his sins for almost three hours just isn’t enough to keep snoozefest afloat.

psycho_II_19836. Psycho II (1983)

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror thriller “Psycho” broke new ground all over the place—in its use of montage in the infamous shower scene, by killing off its star in the first 40 minutes, by pushing the limits of what could be shown (although not really shown) in a movie, and by giving an audience an inside look into the mind of a crazed killer. 23 years later, all “Psycho II” had to offer was Anthony Perkins returning to the iconic role of Norman Bates. Oh, that and director Richard Franklin reminding us all over the place how much better Hitchcock’s version was by parodying scenes and reusing dialogue from the original. Adding gore and nudity was certainly in the spirit of the 80s horror marketplace, but it also just served as a reminder that this was nothing but a cheap knockoff. The sad thing is that Perkins himself didn’t want to reprise the role initially, but after the 1983 film was a box office success, he hitched himself permanently to the Bates bandwagon by actually directing 1986’s even worse “Psycho III” and then starring in 1990’s made-for-Showtime “Psycho IV: The Beginning.”

terminator-3-rise-machines5. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009)

In 2003, James Cameron—the man who himself resurrected “Aliens” seven years after Ridley Scott’s 1979 film—found his movie franchise rudely resurrected 12 years after he closed the book with “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” features some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s worst acting on film (and that’s saying something) and rehash of the “T2” plot with Arnie protecting John Connor yet again. Christian Bale and Sam Worthington jumped in last year to try to make something out of Connor’s post-apocalyptic fight for the future (like “The Road Warrior 4” maybe?), but “Terminator Salvation” was even more trying and more insulting than “Rise.” With a complete lack of any more original ideas and a timeline that is impossible to follow, this franchise is officially spent. Please stop resurrecting it.

wall-street-money-never-sleeps4. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

With this movie, Oliver Stone also proved that money never stopped anyone from making a needless sequel either. The timing was perfect this year for a biting, nasty condemnation of all the Wall Street crooks who pillaged our economy and got this country into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Instead, the sequel to Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street” is another cautionary tale about a young trader sucked into the lies of “reformed” financial criminal Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). What’s worse, he’s about to become family, and after screwing his daughter over for millions, Gekko gets a last-minute change of heart and all is forgiven. Seriously? It isn’t enough to tarnish Douglas’ best-known screen role, but you have to insult our intelligence as well, Stone? For a clear, fascinating moral condemnation of the millionaires who played with our financial futures like Monopoly money, see Charles Ferguson’s exemplary documentary “Inside Job” and leave Gekko well enough alone.

basic_instinct_2_stone3. Basic Instinct 2 (2006)

Well, at least Michael Douglas had the good sense to stay away from his one, which appeared 14 years after the original, and about 8 years after the demise of Sharon Stone’s career. I’ll let J.D. tell you all about it from his original review: “Basic Instinct 2” is excruciating. It is little more than a tawdry sex romp, of the variety that might have been shown only on late-night Cinemax in the 80s. If the astonishingly bad screenplay and laughable acting were to become engaged in some contest to see which of the two was, in fact more ridiculous, it would be a close race for the prize. Stone gets very naked in the film. She also spends the majority of the movie wearing what should be provocative clothing, but is instead… just vulgar. Getting naked on the way up in the original may have helped her career, but the nudity and her embarrassing performance in this film may mark her stalled career’s ultimate decline.

blues-brothers-20002. Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)

If it’s any indication of the state of mind of its creators at the time of release, let me point out again that “Blues Brothers 2000” came out in 1998. Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis, two-thirds of the team responsible for 1980’s blockbuster comedy “The Blues Brothers,” “Blues Brothers 2000” is nothing like its predecessor. A foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, anti-establishment road comedy with tons of great American soul music, “The Blues Brothers” proudly thumbed its nose at the Disco generation. “Blues Brothers 2000” is nothing more than a lame, calculated excuse for Aykroyd (who since founded the successful music club chain House of Blues) to get out his old harmonica, put on the shades one more time, and “get the band back together”—again. Remember everything I’ve been writing about how these movies just rehash the old stuff? Hard to believe: There’s actually another white power group (like the one headed by Henry Gibson in the original) in this movie! Since John Belushi cannot be replaced by one Blues Brother, Aykroyd adds three—count ‘em—three to the mix. And one of ‘em is an adorable little kid! Check out this limp scene where Elwood Blues learns an important lesson from the cute little white kid and delivers a DOA musical lecture to his band. The only thing worse than watching this humorless, self-righteous movie would be seeing the reconstituted Blues Brothers (with Jim Belushi, God help us all) live.

be-cool-tyler-thurman-travolta1. Be Cool (2005)

Make no mistake, readers: We have left the realm of bad movies and entered into outright travesties and crimes against film. In 1995, “Get Shorty” was a breezy, witty Elmore Leonard adaptation starring John Travolta that revolved around the Mob and Hollywood. 10 years later, Travolta reprised his role as mobster Chili Palmer, who’s now breaking into the record industry. To put it simply, “Be Cool” is a soul-crushing experience. There isn’t one moment of truth or an ounce of charm in the entire pained film. It’s meant to be a music biz satire—like “Get Shorty” was a movie biz satire—where Travolta and Uma Thurman discover a hot young talent who’s got “it.” (There’s a catch—she doesn’t—she’s a lame Alicia Keys rip-off played by Christina Milian.) Travolta and Thurman try to help this “artist” out while an all-star cast including Harvey Keitel, Vince Vaughan, James Woods, Cedric the Entertainer, Dwayne Johnson, Andre 3000, and Steven Tyler parade embarrassingly around spouting racist lines and endless clichés. If this is what the music industry was like, I’m glad it’s dead.

The worst insult? Thurman and Travolta pay homage to their “Pulp Fiction” dance while The Black Eyed Peas play an awful, generic, stupid song called “Sexy.” Ugh. It takes a pretty powerful movie to be worse than “Blues Brothers 2000,” and “Be Cool” is that movie. Honestly, I can’t believe human beings actually put this movie together. For the good of mankind, production on all commercial releases of this movie should cease. If aliens discover our time capsule thousands of years into the future and a DVD of “Be Cool” is in it, we can only hope that they don’t have any way to play it.

Only the Dark Lord Satan himself would allow this to happen:

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reed December 14, 2010 at 7:16 am

Two of these movies are unfairly maligned. ;)

Hard to top Star Wars in this category, but BluesBros2000 and Be Cool surely did it.

I hope Tron doesn’t end up on a revised version of this list!

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2 Eric Melin December 14, 2010 at 8:59 am

Let me guess: You liked “T3″ and “X-Files”…

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3 Eric Melin December 14, 2010 at 9:00 am

No wait: “T3″ and Godfather III.”

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4 Reed December 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

Yep, you got it. But I gave up on the X-files because I got sick of them jerking the viewers around every week. I think it was the “violent tree people made of wood just like trees” episode that forced me to wash my hands. I came for aliens and you gave me ents? No thank you.

But here was that other list:
http://www.scene-stealers.com/top-10s/top-10-unfairly-maligned-sequels/

Also, I happened to read this excellent review of the original Psycho the other day so I thought I would share:
http://www.eriklundegaard.com/index.php?itemid=1021

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5 lintly December 14, 2010 at 9:22 am

OK, well, Star Wars Episode 1 was a bad movie but not as bad as say Indiana Jones and the Kindom of the Crystal Skull. Darth Maul alone, makes the movie acceptable, I know Jar Jar Binks is an idiot, but hey, no movie is perfect. The pod race was also a sweet scene. As for Psycho 2, I actually enjoyed that movie, maybe because I was young and dumb and loved scary movies but I did think it was a good flick. As good as Psycho, hell no, but not a horrible belated sequel. Terminator 3 was awesome. Enough said. I have not seen Terminator Salvation but I did here it was horrible.

Hannibal was horrible, Indiana Jones #4 was horrible, Return to Sleepaway Camp was horrible, Lost Boys: The Tribe was horrible, Herbie Fully Loaded was horrible, just to name a few others that should be on this list.

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6 Trey Hock December 14, 2010 at 9:25 am

Eric, This list is awesome. I may shift things around, but your top two are without question. I think what really hurts about some of your choices lower on the list is that they each had potential to be good, or at the very least inoffensive. There’s a spark buried in there. It’s just left to die. Episode I has moments like the final lightsaber duel and even the podrace, but then it also has fart jokes, two headed announcers, and Jar Jar.

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7 Doug December 14, 2010 at 9:29 am

I thought you might put Escape From L.A. on this list.

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8 Trey Hock December 14, 2010 at 9:31 am

Oh and I did see one glaring omission.

If Ep I makes it, then surely you’ve got to include this as well. It’s not like Lucas and Spielberg, regained their taste levels for this sequel.

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9 Will December 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

What about Slap Shot 2? Even though it was direct to video, it still was terrible. The only saving graces were the Hansons and Gary Busey, but basically it was a complete turd-fest. And by the way, Stephen Baldwin is no replacement for Paul Newman.

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10 Eric Melin December 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Will- Anything direct to video I automatically disqualified. This list would have been 100 long!

Doug- Never seen Escape From LA but yeah, I heard it was terrible.

Trey- Crystal Skull and Superman Returns were both modest successes in my eyes, and thus did not make this list!

Lintly- So was Hannibal. That movie is not in the same vein as Silence at all–it is a dark and hilarious Gothic black comedy. Gary Oldman is amazing and Liotta is tops! Love it!

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11 lintly December 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Eric, I have to say: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for standing up for the genius that is Hannibal. Without a doubt one of cinema’s finest absurdist achievements that make soul-flaying drek like Be Cool reek like the potted excrement it surely must be.

When are we going to have that Boondock Saints marathon night you promised me?

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12 Trey Hock December 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I’ll grudgingly concede your point, but since Ep I made more money (both in the top 30 of all time), and Indy 4 got slightly higher critical marks (both below 65 on the freshmeter-top critics), I still say it’s a tie between the two.

Why bring up Superman Returns? Are you trying to start a fight? Superman in a coma? Why not just give us that intermission if you’re gonna pause any story movement for ten minutes. That movie is awful. Only good part is the plane sequence and that ends the first act. The rest is yawnful.

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13 George Hickman December 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Caddyshack II is the single biggest omission I can think of.

With the Rage: Carrie 2 being a very close second.

Both of them could unseat Pscyho II, which is a very fun movie in its own right.

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14 George Hickman December 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I think both Rocky Balboa and Rambo could make it on a list for best belated sequels.

Personally Psycho II would also make that list for me.

And Clerks II might barely squeak in.

I know there are a few others, but I’m blanking at the moment.

How long qualifies as belated? Over five years?

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15 Matt December 14, 2010 at 11:01 pm

How is it that T3 is included both in this list and the unfairly maligned list? Although neither T3 and Terminator: Salvation are as good as T1 & 2, comparatively I would still argue they are better than Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection.

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16 wayne swab December 15, 2010 at 3:38 am

Caddyshack 2 was so creaking horrible, it almost deserves a top 10 of it’s own.
The 2 Jakes was a study in how stupid Hollywood thinks the American people are.
Ghostbusters 2 was criminally bad.
The Karate Kid 2 was painful.
Beverly Hills Cop 2 was bad, but part 3, Come On Man!
Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason takes Manhattan.
Death Wish 3
Hopefully this list will convince the powers that be to cease and desist on making Top Gun 2.

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17 Xavier December 15, 2010 at 6:17 am

I think it is definitely difficult to come up with a best belated sequels list as there was only about 4 or 5 that came up on the podcasts and subsequent thread that were even any good.

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18 Eric Melin December 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

I guess I didn’t really define “belated,” but I would say any period longer than 5 years between movies would make it belated, so Caddyshack II definitely qualifies!

Matt – T3 is on both lists because different people wrote them. The Unfairly Maligned Sequels list wasn’t mine!

George – Never saw either Stallone sequel, and I actually liked Clerks II and was surprised how comfortable it was in its own skin. I feel like Smith still knows those 2 characters better than any other he’s created.

Lintly – I am terrified to go anywhere Boondock Saints II, but then again it might not qualify for this list because the first one was so godawful.

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19 Marisol Perry December 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Caddyshack 2 was so creaking horrible, it almost deserves a top 10 of it’s own. The 2 Jakes was a study in how stupid Hollywood thinks the American people are. Ghostbusters 2 was criminally bad. The Karate Kid 2 was painful. Beverly Hills Cop 2 was bad, but part 3, Come On Man! Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason takes Manhattan. Death Wish 3 Hopefully this list will convince the powers that be to cease and desist on making Top Gun 2.

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20 Latoya Bridges December 22, 2010 at 3:19 am

Eric, I have to say: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for standing up for the genius that is Hannibal. Without a doubt one of cinema’s finest absurdist achievements that make soul-flaying drek like Be Cool reek like the potted excrement it surely must be. When are we going to have that Boondock Saints marathon night you promised me?

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21 jack duhamel December 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm

agreed

- Jack Duhamel

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