The 15 Worst Sequels in Movie History
We’ll say it up front: odds are, you have the perfect movie in mind for our list of worst sequels ever made, and it’s not here. There’s a perfectly good explanation for that: we knew that movie was going to suck, and therefore didn’t waste the two hours of our lives watching something that would so shake our faith in humanity that we’d want to drown kittens by the time the credits rolled. For example, of the 44 movies that received a vote from our staff, "Weekend at Bernie’s 2" was vote-free, as were all of the "Ernest" and "Police Academy" sequels.
We’re perfectly aware that there are lots of movies that are worthy of inclusion, and we hope that you will forgive us for choosing to do something more productive with the time it would have taken to watch them all, like download porn. We’re also confident that you will take time out from downloading porn to tell us, in detail, how nuts we are for not including, say, "Troll II" on our list.
(Warner Bros., 2004)
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This is what happens when your hit television series (ahem, Matthew Perry) or your marriage to your beautiful wife (ahem, Bruce Willis) is no more, and you really need the publicity. Especially when a no-talent ass clown like Ashton Kutcher is stealing your mojo. After teaming up for one of the funniest sleeper hits of 2000, Willis and Perry reunite in this insipid sequel, laced with enough homoerotic gags to make you, well, gag. Whoever thought Bruce Willis in a maid getup was funny should be fired, but the guy who wrote the scene with Willis and Perry in bed needs to be hanged. Don’t people know that those things just aren’t funny anymore? ~Jason Zingale
(20th Century Fox, 2002)
If we were a little too eager for our own good to view "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" objectively, our expectations were appropriately lowered for "Episode II: Attack of the Clones"…and they still let us down. Dreadful acting, a story-less story, and trademark George Lucas soap opera dialogue sink this puppy well before the much-ballyhooed fight scene that takes up almost all of Act III. Pernilla August’s death scene as Anakin Skywalker’s mother is just laughably bad (insert ‘like mother, like son’ joke here), and the romance between Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) is piping cold. Critics were much kinder to "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," but that’s mainly because it had been 22 years at that point since they had seen a decent "Star Wars" movie. ~David Medsker
(Warner Bros., 1987)
Remember the Superman movie in the '80s with Richard Pryor, a killer computer, and the tobacco-laced synthetic kryptonite (don’t smoke, kids) that pitted an evil Superman against a good Clark Kent in a no-holds-barred junkyard battle? (We sure do: "Superman III" just missed the cut for this list.) Well, they made an even worse Superman sequel than that. Yes, Hollywood gave us "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," one of the most pitiful examples of 1980’s cold war drivel ever concocted. In this ditty, Superman is pitted against (you guessed it) Nuclear Man, a menacing figure clad in his black and gold leotard. It’s not just the lame story that makes this movie bad, though; it’s the utter shoddiness of the production. There’s barely a scene where Superman’s wires aren’t visible, black curtains are visible during Supes’ battle on the moon, and there are New York landmarks visible in the fictional city of Metropolis. Granted, the lessons about world peace and nuclear disarmament were honorable ones, but this was the kind of movie that made other countries want to nuke us in the first place. ~Andy Kurtz
(20th Century Fox, 1999)
The world waited 16 agonizing years to see the origins of one of the most famous villains in movie history, and for their troubles they got a jive talking CGI alien, an eight year old that couldn’t act, and a story about midichlorians. Huh? Okay, so George Lucas hadn’t directed anything since the original "Star Wars" (unless you count the video for Paula Abdul’s "Rush, Rush," which we don’t), so we knew that the acting in "The Phantom Menace" would be a little wooden. We didn’t, however, expect it to be petrified. Not even Liam Neeson could escape Lucas’ inability to direct humans to act human. In fact, Neeson talked of quitting the business shortly after filming "Phantom Menace," which infuriated Lucas, since the movie hadn’t been released and the world didn’t yet know that Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn character would get iced by Darth Maul (the sorely underused Ray Park). But the real reason Neeson talked of quitting the business is because he knew he had just made a lousy movie. ~DM
This time…It’s personal. A fitting tagline for the fourth and thankfully final Jaws movie; audiences couldn’t help but take this putrescence personally. Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) is long gone, but why should that stop Hollywood? For those who missed this one, a brief synopsis should suffice. In this ludicrous sequel, wife Ellen Brody, convinced that a shark is out to kill her family and hers alone, sets out on her own shark hunt. After one son is eaten in Amity, Ellen goes down to visit her other son in the Bahamas (will these guys move to Nebraska already?) to keep an eye on him. The shark manages to follow Ellen to the Caribbean (hey, it could happen) and make another attempt on her family’s lives. Fed up and now insane, Ellen takes a boat out with her son and a Jamaican played by Mario Van Peebles to track down the great white. Using sonic charges to lurch it out of the water, they impale the shark on the front mast of the boat. Shark-kebab! ~AK
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You know a "Star Trek" film is bad when even creator Gene Roddenberry describes some of its events as being "apocryphal at best." Coming off the "Trek" universe’s equivalent of the "Star Wars" Trilogy – "The Wrath of Khan," "The Search for Spock" and "The Voyage Home" – the stage was set for a brand new beginning. Instead, what we got was a missed opportunity of grand proportions. The general reason this film is written off as bad can be summed up in four words: "Directed by William Shatner." Honestly, though, the fault isn’t Shatner’s. Poor special effects from the firm Associates & Ferren (ILM was busy working on the "Back to the Future" sequels) are one problem, and lack of budget led to an ending that in no way resembled the one originally written. Worst of all, though, was Paramount’s executive decision to incorporate – that should probably read "shoehorn" – more humor into the movie. That’s right: the suits decided that, since "Star Trek IV" was successful because it was kind of funny, "Star Trek V" should be funny, too. But, you know, when the plot revolves around Spock’s heretofore-unreferenced half-brother, Sybok, on a quest to find God, it’s not supposed to be funny.~Will Harris
(Warner Bros., 2003)
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There are a number of things wrong with the third installment of the Wachowski Brothers’ "Matrix" trilogy, but the most glaring example is the fact that the majority of the movie is precisely the kind of mindless, ultraviolent, stuff-blow’d-up nonsense that the Wachowskis sought to render obsolete with the original "Matrix" (1999). They were supposed to be the thinking man’s action moviemakers, right? Then why does their trilogy end in a senseless hail of bullets from a bunch of guys operating machines that look like armed-to-the-teeth versions of Ellen Ripley’s loader from "Aliens"? (Now, that’s a sequel we can get behind: See the rest of our favorite sequels here.) Killing Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) was actually cool, but blinding Neo (Keanu Reeves), thus working the whole Jesus angle like a traveling preacher selling tap water, was way, way too much. We did love Ian Bliss’ Bane, and his dead perfect impression of Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith, but it was far too little, far too late. ~DM
Dan Aykroyd is a hack. There, we said it. And anyone who disagrees need only to look at this movie for further evidence. Was this sequel supposed to be some kind of sick tribute to John Belushi? Because it’s not. Set aside the amazing soundtrack, and the fact that John Goodman actually does a pretty good job of filling in, and you’re looking at one bad movie, not to mention a horrible sequel. A paper-thin plot has Elwood (Aykroyd), straight out of prison, regroup with his former bandmates and travel cross country to compete in a battle of the bands against Eric Clapton, B.B. King and more. The kicker? A little orphan kid joins the band as part of Elwood’s new mission from God. You all saw how a little kid ruined "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." Just guess how this one turns out. ~JZ
We hate to pile on the guy (okay, we're lying), but Dan Aykroyd’s performance in Caddyshack II is so bad, it overshadows the numerous screw-ups in this miserable film. Aykroyd makes the mistake of trying to replicate Bill Murray’s memorable performance as Carl Spackler in the original film ("It’s in the hole!"). Aykroyd has had a fine film career, usually playing the straight man to more talented comedians like Murray, John Belushi and Eddie Murphy. Here he tries way too hard to be funny, and it’s painful to watch. If this had been his first job in Hollywood, he never would have worked again. The rest of the movie sucks as well. Every guy I know can quote lines from the original, but no one would be caught dead quoting a line from this disaster. ~Gerardo Orlando
One of the reasons Rocky III snuck onto our Best list was because Mr. T filled the bad guy role so well as top contender Clubber Lang. Conversely, one of the reasons Rocky V finds itself prominently featured on our Worst list is because of bad guy Tommy Machine Gunn. Played by former heavyweight boxer Tommy Morrison, Tommy Gunn comes all the way from Oklahoma to Philly seeking Rocky's tutelage. Broke and brain-damaged (from his previous fight with Russian Ivan Drago in IV), Rocky is intrigued by the opportunity to get back into the ring, even if he won't be the one wearing the gloves, and soon starts training the kid. With all of his attention now devoted to Gunn, though, Rock shuns his son Robert (or Rocky Jr., played by real-life son Sage Stalone) and winds up on Adrian's (Talia Shire) shit list. The worst part about V, aside from Morrison's wretched performance, is that there's no big fight to look forward to, just a lame street brawl between Rocky and the traitorous Gunn. Of course, the best part about V used to be that Sylvester Stalone mercifully pulled the plug on the declining Rocky series following its release. Now with news of a new film, Rocky Balboa, starting production, Rocky V may not even go down as the worst film in the Rocky franchise. And that's saying quite a bit. (By the way, check out this Where are they now update on Morrison from HBO Sports.) ~Jamey Codding
Putting aside the fact that immortals – by definition – are impossible to kill, the original "Highlander" was a pretty creative and enjoyable stab at sci-fi fantasy. The sequel? Not so much. The pieces are there – Christopher Lambert as MacLeod and Sean Connery as Ramirez – but the story, set in 2024 and revolving around the restoration of Earth’s depleted ozone layer, is god-awful. You see, after the first film, MacLeod was the only immortal left on Earth and he somehow helped construct an "ozone shield" to protect the planet. We also learn that MacLeod was originally banished from another planet (Zeist) and his old nemesis, General Katana (Michael Ironside), travels to the future to kill him. MacLeod is forced to call upon his old mentor, Ramirez, to help him defeat Katana. Oh, and there’s also some evil corporation on Earth that is profiting from the depleted ozone layer. So, as with any environmental catastrophe-type storyline, there is the requisite hot scientist (in this case, Virginia Madsen) who tries to help our hero. Her looks are just about the only good thing about the film. I actually saw this dreck in the theater and I remember sitting there wondering, how much does Sean Connery regret signing on for this sequel? ~John Paulsen
(Lions Gate, 2002)
One of the worst sequels ever made? Try one of the worst movies ever made, period. Following up on the success of their phenomenon "The Blair Witch Project," directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez put master documentarian Joe Berlinger ("Metallica: Some Kind of Monster") at the helm of its sequel. Good idea, right? After all, the first film, shot like an actual snuff film, had an entire nation of halfwits convinced it was authentic. Why not use a reality-based director to make the sequel? Well, if you saw this ill-conceived, moronic attempt at a cash-in, then you know how it turned out. Berlinger started the movie off promisingly enough with a fake documentary about the effect that the first movie had on the fictional town of Burkittsville, MD, where the Blair Witch supposedly haunted the nearby woods. But then Berlinger jumped the tracks and tried to make a movie, not a documentary; complete with horrible acting and writing. The result was a mishmash of filmmaking styles that not only failed to blend, but undermined each other completely. ~AK
First off, not even the original "Grease" can be considered a good film, but it’s scored enough cheese points throughout the years to be deemed a cult classic. "Grease 2," on the other hand, had one thing going for it: Michelle Pfeiffer. But it didn’t take long to ruin that too, when they put Pfeiffer in a giant Christmas tree costume for one of the musical numbers. It really doesn’t get any tackier than that, but it does get much worse, thanks mostly to the doltish, Al-Gore-like performance by Maxwell Caulfield (a.k.a. Rex Manning from "Empire Records") and the sudden return of Didi Conn. Sorry kids, there’s no Frankie Avalon this time around, but Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) does make an appearance as one of the T-Birds. ~JZ
(20th Century Fox, 1997)
Rather than rant about how "Speed 2" is the most unnecessary sequel in cinematic history, let’s just run a partial transcript from the original pitch meeting. "Okay, so now what vehicle should we have that can’t go under 50 miles per hour? We don’t want to alienate our core audience, so it should be something that starts with the same letter as ‘bus.’ A blimp...? Nah, we’d have families of Hinderburg victims all over our asses; I mean, they say there’s no such thing as bad press, but when you’ve got picketers holding up flaming signs that say, ‘Oh, the humanity,’ I’m sorry, that’s bad press. How about...oh, dude, I got it: a boat! A fucking boat! This is GENIUS! Somebody get Keanu on the phone, and...what? He won’t? Screw him, then. I’ve got pull with Jason Patric, and, lemme tell ya, he’s got twice the box-office pull of your Keanu Reeves, my friend! And I just got word that Bullock’s on board. On board! Get it? It’s about a boat, and she’s on board...? Ha! Which reminds me, we need more comedy this time. Two words: Tim Conway." To sum up, even Willem Defoe couldn’t save this picture. ~WH
(Warner Bros., 1997)
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The mother of all bad sequels, though in retrospect, you can’t really blame them for thinking that this would work. Its predecessor, "Batman Forever" (1995), was bad too, but also perversely enjoyable, as the box office will attest ($183 million). The filmmakers chose not to mess with "success" in making the fourth chapter, and that was their fatal mistake. This meant that one character would be developed entirely by five seconds of security camera footage (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s awful Mr. Freeze), while director Joel Schumacher would instruct yet another good actor to think that overacting implies insanity (Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy). Mr. Freeze enters a social event by freezing everyone at the party ("Cool party," he says, pitifully), then bringing in his henchmen to skate around and cause mayhem. Our question: who didn’t see his henchmen coming? A group of guys dressed in hockey gear is walking toward your party, your party that doesn’t feature any ice. Whether we know of Mr. Freeze’s existence or not, we’re dropping a dime on these thugs in a New York minute. The art direction and special effects were actually top notch. Everything else was complete and utter dogshit. And to think, the script came from the Oscar winning Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind"). Win three more Oscars, and we’ll forgive you, Akiva. Until then, we have three words: Batsuit with nipples. ~DM
"Beverly Hills Cop 3," "Men in Black 2," "Teen Wolf Too," "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle," "Exorcist II: The Heretic," "Look Who’s Talking Too," "Mission: Impossible II," "Another 48 Hours," "Big Top Pee Wee," "Die Hard 2: Die Harder," "National Lampoon’s European Vacation," "Alien vs. Predator," "The Godfather III," "Halloween III: Season of the Witch," "Ocean’s 12," "RoboCop 3," "Hannibal," "Son of the Mask," "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (the only movie to receive votes for both best and worst sequel), "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "The Karate Kid, Part III," "Alien Resurrection," "Rambo III," "Poltergeist III," Rocky IV," "Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time," "xXx: State of the Union."
Have a gripe or a suggestion? Let's hear it. And don't forget to check out our 15 Best Sequels of all time.