A little piece of my soul died when I finally ignored my better judgement and watched with increasing dismay as Bruce Willis took the pay cheque and trampled over one of my favourite movie franchises (fully justifying the title in the process) with A Good Day To Die Hard.
A very pale shadow of the classic 1988 original – arguably the greatest action movie ever made – this fifth very bad day for John McClane sees him joined by his son (who’s suddenly come out of the woodwork) to “put a whuppin'” on a cabal of evil Ruskies.
It’s fair to say that none of Die Hard‘s follow-ups has matched that film’s ridiculously high standards, but the laziness and empty-headed cynicism of A Good Day To Die Hard would be incredible if it wasn’t so insulting.
A Good Day To Die Hard (we’re being promised a sixth film in the same way that children are promised a smack for being naughty) is just one of many, many terrible sequels that have soiled the good name of the original film they were so hoping to cash-in on.
In no particular order, here are five that unfortunately came to mind, although I’d love to know what you think are the worst sequels ever made.
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Keanu Reeves has made some very questionable career choices over the years (Johnny Mnemonic, anyone?), but even he had the foresight to give a wide berth to this woeful ‘action’ film that, bizarrely for a film with the word ‘speed’ in it, was largely set on a boat capable of travelling only slightly faster than the milk float used in Father Ted‘s hilarious homage to Speed. Sandra Bullock at least had the stones to admit it was terrible, although to claim anything else would have been unwise.
The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
Never has a title been so accurate. William Friedkin’s 1973 original is still regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever and still has the ability to unnerve 40 years later. The only thing memorable about John Boorman’s follow-up, however, is just how massively ill-judged it is. Not even Richard Burton can save what ended up being an unruly mess of confused and conflicting themes thrown together by a director who recut the film, but found out to his cost that a stinker’s a stinker whichever way you package it.
Son Of The Mask (2005)
Although hardly a work of art, 1994’s The Mask did at least boast star-making turns from Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz and a zany plot that matched its lead’s hyperactive temperament. This afterthought made more than a decade on sees Jamie Kennedy donning the mask while impregnating his wife, with the resulting baby-related ‘comedy’ being more unnerving than anything else. It’s safe to say Kennedy’s no Carrey and this is about as far from “smmmookin’!” as you can get.
Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)
Currently in that special club of films with a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s unlikely this sequel to the cult 1986 original (which itself lost money) is going to win critics over from now until the end of time. As well as having a plot so nuts you’ve got to wonder how on Earth (or the Highlander’s home planet Zeist) it ever got the green light, Christopher Lambert can’t act, Sean Connery (who had his head lopped off in the first film, lest we forget) can’t be bothered and Michael Ironside can’t be controlled. Who wants to live forever? After watching this, not me.
Jaws 4: The Revenge (1987)
We were told that ‘This Time It’s Personal’. Hollywood movies have never tried too hard to strive for authenticity, but dreaming up a storyline in which a great white shark stalks the Brody clan from the United States to the Bahamas in a bloodthirsty attempt at revenge is pushing it. The film co-stars Michael Caine (who at the time would have read the phone book had there been money involved), who had this to say: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!”
Batman And Robin (1997)
Thank god for Christopher Nolan. Before Batman Begins reinvented the comic book movie, director Joel Schumacher was busy burying the Dark Knight under a garish pile of camp costumes, ridiculous plotlines, bad acting and terrible Arnie one-liners with what in effect was one long advert for peddling lunch boxes to kids. Summing it up better than I ever could, comedian Michael J. Nelson wrote in his book Movie Megacheese: “Batman & Robin is not the worst movie ever. No, indeed. It’s the worst thing ever. Yes, it’s the single worst thing that we as human beings have ever produced in recorded history.”
There are lots more awful sequels to choose from, unfortunately? What are yours?
Couldn’t have put it better myself, the only one I would include would be Alien: Resurrection. Good Day to Die Hard was terrible indeed, and it wasn’t even financially successful so I’m amazed they’re moving forward with another movie.
I’d forgotten about Alien: Resurrection. Not good, you’re right. As for Die Hard 5, I’m sorry to report it’s made over $300m on a $90m budget so another one was always a strong possibility in spite of the fact it’s risible.
Yeah and AVP 2 was even worse than Alien Resurrection….just the worst. Prometheus as a prequel/sequel/ttravesty is also up there.
Trying Hard to avoid ‘Good Day to Die…’ I wonder if the Hispanic nanny from the first movie will pop up as the next sequel sidekick?.
Every Resident Evil sequel except the third movie is unwatchable.
Matrix sequels. Shudder.
I don’t even consider AVP and AVP 2 films, let alone sequels! Thanks for the feedback.
These are all great examples. The first one that came to mind for me was the Karate Kid Part 3. It’s a horrible remake of the first one, with Daniel again competing in a tournament against a young upstart. It also has a big action scene that involves saving a … tree. Such a mess!
Not seen it, which isn’t a bad thing by the sounds of it! I gave up after the second one.
All of them are truly awful films with no redeemable qualities! Good choices, dear lord son of the mask 😦
There’s a special place in hell for that film!
Great post! I am not a big fan of sequels either, as they typically do not live up to the original and are truly just an attempt to milk more moolah from a winning formula. I agree with you on all of the films mentioned, with one exception – I have really enjoyed ALL of the Die Hard films (though I was skeptical about the later ones but always pleasantly surprised) and hope to enjoy this latest edition as well, when I get to see it … but maybe I just have a soft spot! Anyway, keep up the informative posts!
Thanks for the feedback! Just for the record, I liked Die Hard 2 and 3 (4 not so much), it’s just that they couldn’t hope to match the original. All I’ll say about the latest one is to prepare yourself for potential disappointment.
I loved The Mask when I was a kid and seeing Son of the Mask felt like a punch in the gut. Nice list.
Cheers. It’s difficult to describe just how bad that film is.
Raging Bull 2 (or whatever the hell they call it this week). Not even out yet, but its the worst kind of sequel. 😦
I hear that. Raging Bull is in my top 10 films so that struck a nerve!
Oh I couldn’t agree more, Son Of The Mask was sooooooo bad! lol
And not in a so bad it’s good way either!
I’ve successfully avoided all these. Time’s too precious and there are so many great films out there to explore. I’m sorry for your experience, and thanks for following my blog, which may help direct you to some great off-the-beaten path films.
Thanks; you’ve got a nice-looking site there; liked the piece on Brady Corbet. Feel free to follow my blog back; I have a section on Great Films You Need to See which you may find interesting.
You’ve missed out The Godfather Part 3!
Ha ha. I only wanted six in there unfortunately; I thought of Godfather 3, but couldn’t leave out the ones I wrote about!
Happy to say I almost saw none of those sequels!
Ha ha. Avoid them like the plague!
Yeah, was not planning on watching them any time soon.