We live in an era of sequels and reboots, but some follow-ups are so bad or misjudged, they soil the memory of the fantastic original.
As Michael J. Fox’s ‘Teen Wolf’ celebrates its 30th anniversary, we expose cinema’s most heinous efforts to plunder quick money by adding to a franchise (hint: it includes 1987’s rubbish ‘Teen Wolf Too’).
‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.’
This is so fundamentally wrong, it’s difficult to quantify. Yes it was made by the Cartoon Network, but Josh Flitter’s effort as Ace’s son demonstrates just how startling Jim Carrey’s performance is. To pull off a character of such extremes is a comedic feat which cannot be underestimated.
Flitter – and we feel bad slagging off a child here – looks more like a kid getting ready for Halloween, parroting his favourite movie in his bedroom.
What’s more, you’d get a youngster who acted like that tested, right?
‘Son of the Mask’
Released 11 years after Jim Carrey’s frenetic comedy, the sequel features Bob Hoskins and Alan Cumming in one of their more ignominious jobs.
Jamie Kennedy plays a man who finds the original mask and conceives a baby while still wearing it (ewwww), thus bestowing the powers of Norse god Loki on his son.
There’s a bunch of baby-doing-crazy-stuff stuff and a very soppy ending. We prefer Loki when he looks like Tom Hiddleston.
‘Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights’
Poor Romola Garai. She’s a great, charismatic British actress trying to emulate what was essentially lightning in a bottle. Surprise surprise, neither she nor co-star Diego Luna pull it off despite their best efforts.
Released in 2004, 17 years after the original, it was doomed from the start.
‘Teen Wolf Too’
1985’s original is a cult classic, actually shot before Michael J. Fox rocketed to fame in ‘Back to the Future’, but released after he became a star.
Here, a youthful Jason Bateman plays Fox’s cousin, who is also a lycanthrope. Cue essentially a play-by-play repeat of the first movie, only with boxing instead of basketball and a more rubbish actor playing his best mate Stiles.
‘Highlander II: The Quickening’
The first ‘Highlander’ is an absurd but fun sci-fi-action movie about an immortal Scotsman called Connor (played with a Gallic twang by Frenchman Christopher Lambert) who hooks up with a Spaniard – full name Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez – played by definitive Scot Sean Connery, to defeat a big bad.
This second movie is, frankly, gibberish. There’s a whole plot about the ozone layer (big news item in 1991) and turns out Connor and Ramirez were aliens all along. Or something. Even more impenetrable than Lambert’s accent.
‘American Psycho II: All American Girl’
Finally – Mila Kunis and William Shatner, together on the big screen at last!
Directed by Morgan Freeman (a different one), this totally vomits on Bret Easton Ellis’s satirical original, instead focusing on a sociopathic female college student (Kunis) who is obsessed by Shatner’s professor (yuck) and kills anyone who gets in her way.
It clearly wasn’t intended to be connected to ‘American Psycho’ whatsoever, but was most likely a rote slasher script reworked to include a spurious related scene at the beginning. Not one of Kunis’s proudest moments.
‘Trail of the Pink Panther’
Possibly the ultimate cash-in, in the sense that its star was actually dead throughout the entire production (and had been for 18 months before shooting even started).
This 1982 comedy used archive footage of Peter Sellers from previous Pink Panther deleted scenes, as well as utilising a double who was shot from behind. Bringing back David Niven from the first film, the filmmakers were instructed to pay $1million to Sellers’ widow for diminishing his reputation.
Which kind of tells you what sort of film it is.
John Travolta is a magnificent dancer, of that there is no doubt.
But it’s still difficult to suppress a giggle when you see him boogie in this anodyne ‘Saturday Night Fever’ sequel, written and directed by Sylvester Stallone and released in 1983.
Maybe it’s the bandanna, maybe it’s the 80s wardrobe and choreography. Either way, Tony Manero lost his mojo.
‘Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’
‘The Blair Witch Project’ was an innovative horror film which became one of the most successful indies in history, revived the found footage genre and revolutionised online marketing techniques.
The second one did none of these things. In fact, it was a generic, mainstream movie hurriedly ushered into production even though the original creative team said they weren’t ready to do a sequel.
To be fair to the director Joe Berlinger, he’s since gone on to become an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker best known for the ‘Paradise Lost’ series.
Didn’t ‘Donnie Darko’ just scream sequel? No, we didn’t think so either.
This 2009 follow-up to the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring 2001 cult hit focuses on Donnie’s younger sister Samantha (Daveigh Chase) and involves more portentous time travel stuff and meteorites.
Unfortunately, where the first film was intriguingly opaque and original, this is just…nonsense. Not surprisingly, Richard Kelly, director of the first ‘Darko’ didn’t even read the script.