Sequels represent the best and worst of Hollywood. The good ones revitalize tired franchises and add new chapters to stories we already love and the bad ones serve no other purpose than to milk a few more cents out of an already dead cow. Good or bad, they’re an inevitability. Hollywood always has been and will always be a business, with sequels being their bread and butter. This list examines both the bread and the butter, or in other words, the follow-ups that put the emphasis on both the former and the latter of the word.
This list is a collaboration between Sailor Monsoon and Kane, with Sailor tackling the good and Kane taking on the ugly. Both of which had to abide by two rules:
1) Only one film per franchise, unless the franchise reboots with a new cast (James Bond, Star Trek, X-Men, Etc.)
2) It has to be an official sequel, so previous adaptations don’t count (this excludes the Silence of the Lambs) nor do “unofficial” sequels (this excludes the Three Colors trilogy, the Cornetto trilogy and the Vengeance trilogy)
This is the 100 Greatest and Worst Sequels of All Time.
100. The Matrix Reloaded (2003) | WORST
Is this a poorly made film? No. Is it a poorly acted film? Not any worse than the previous film. It is generally liked by many, so it begs the question, why is it considered one of the worst sequels ever by so many as well? I believe it all comes down the anticipation and expectations that the original set for this franchise. In 1999, The Matrix blew the cinema industry away and was a game changer for action films. A high concept idea told as simple as possible with amazing and groundbreaking special effects. It set a pretty high bar.
Four years later we get the highly anticipated sequel that capitalized at the box office, but felt like a let down and disappointment to many of the fans. Impressive action sequences that just went on too long at times. Pretentious exposition that slowed the film to halt at times. Lastly, that rave dance party was just ridiculous, and you know it. What could have been a new Star Wars for a new generation, simply became that one great film with a couple of sequels most don’t go back to watch. I’m not saying the sequels are horrible films because they are not. They simply didn’t live up to the hype or standard that the original set.
99. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984) | BEST
Although it eventually became the defacto sub-title for any unnecessary sequel, Electric Boogaloo has more value than just a meme generator. The title might be silly and the film might be ridiculous to millennial eyeballs now, but at the time, this was a sincere attempt at capturing the brand new (at the time) phenomenon known as break dancing. While not as good as Wild Style, Electric Boogaloo is still leagues better than the first Breakin’ and is far more memorable than it’s contemporaries. Including a kicking soundtrack, hot out the oven dance choreography and an energetic and likable cast, Electric Boogaloo has a “kids putting on a show in the barn” kind of energy that’s infectious. If you don’t seriously consider doing the worm or at least a pop ‘n lock robot when it’s over, you have no soul.
98. A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) | WORST
The first Die Hard was a landmark film. Instead of starring a steroid addicted muscle gorilla like every other action movie at the time, it starred a regular ol’ beat cop who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Audiences loved John McClane because of the relatability. He was fallible. He barely survived every encounter and he bled. A lot. He became an instant action icon, which inevitably meant there was going to be more adventures with the wise cracking every-man cop. Unfortunately, each sequel got progressively more and more over the top with McClane feeling less like a regular ol’ beat cop and more like an unstoppable killing machine with A Good Day to Die Hard being the worst example. He’s not a relatable human being anymore, he’s a full blown impervious to pain ala Daffy Duck esque cartoon character now and his latest adventure is so far removed from the first film, it might as well be a James Bond film. The series might be called Die Hard but after this entry, it needs to die now.
97. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1998) | BEST
A rare sequel that doesn’t improve so much as compliment the first one, Hellbound feels like the prologue and epilogue Hellraiser was sorely lacking. For a directorial debut, Hellraiser is an absolutely incredible work of fucked up. Barker took the work of the Marquis de Sade, transported it to the 20th century and then shot it like an old school Hammer film. It’s a depraved cocktail of gothic horror and extreme BDSM served cold as hell. But it’s not without its flaws. The main plot is great, as is the unsettling atmosphere but the lead is severely underwritten and the cenobites are non characters. Hellbound fixes both problems by shifting the focus to Kirsty and fleshing out Pinhead’s story but it loses the edginess and grounded simplicity of the first. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, which is why they work better as one long film instead of two separate entries. Just like the cenobite with the ying yang face, neither entity is interesting once you separate the two.
96. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) | WORST
You mean you didn’t get enough of Rob Schneider as a bumbling male escort the first time around? Well, here he is again in all his frumpy and small glory, but this time he is in Europe! Schneider had to have sold his soul to the devil in order to keep getting not only roles but starring, lead man roles. How else is this possible? But I digress. European Gigolo is the lowest form of toilet humor that even a 12-year-old wouldn’t find funny. It doesn’t even feel like they were trying to be funny. Thankfully this was the end of this dreadful “franchise”.
95. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) | BEST
While it wouldn’t be until the release of Live Free or Die Hard that the franchise jumps the shark straight into cartoon-land, the second entry set the precedent that every sequel would be bigger, badder and more explosive. The film’s subtitle is Die Harder for Chrissakes. And while the 3rd one clearly doesn’t buck the “bigger, badder, more explosive” trend, it at least has the foresight to focus on the human element more than the action packed sequels. Pairing McClane with Sam Jackson is a million dollar idea. The duo have a natural chemistry and the two play off each other well. Their relationship alone would earn the film a spot on this list but in addition to that, the film also boasts a fantastic Jeremy Irons performance and an ingenious heist plot. If only the series had stopped here.
94. Evan Almighty (2007) | WORST
I enjoyed Bruce Almighty and one of the most enjoyable aspects of that film was Steve Carrel. It was the first time I noticed him, and he pretty much stole every scene he was in. It was only natural to have a sequel starring the beloved Carrel. He had stolen the show again in Anchorman and was making everyone awkward laugh on his new hit show The Office. Slam dunk, right? Sadly, this fell flat, and Carrell couldn’t save it. I’m sure some found some decent chuckles, but Evan couldn’t capture the hilarity of the original. Even the special effects were as uninspired as the rest of the film.
93. The Raid 2 (2014) | BEST
Running almost an hour longer than the Raid: Redemption and with a budget 3× larger, the Raid 2 is an audacious sequel that puts most action movies to shame. Doing away with the claustrophobic single location of the previous film, the Raid 2 spreads its action all over the place, with each location change having multiple set pieces, some of which are the best choreographed and directed action scenes ever put to film. Almost non-stop action, the film’s only problem is that it’s too amazing. There’s a reason chefs don’t put all of their best ingredients into one dish, the human palette can only recognize a couple of tastes at a time. Which is exactly this films flaw: there’s just too much badassery on display for the human brain to handle.
92. Repo Chick (2009) | WORST
Outside of documentaries, there isn’t a better example of a film that accurately depicts the punk scene better than Repo Man. With that film, Alex Cox did more than just point his camera at disaffected youths in order to show the world what a punk is, he instead created a film that is punk. A genuine article, Repo Man is a giant middle finger to everything that is Hollywood. It’s fast, loud and doesn’t give a fuck. In other words, it’s the perfect film for the 80’s. 25 years later, Cox got the brilliant idea to make a sequel that would have the same punk rock attitude but have a new target: the 00’s. Shot entirely on a green screen ala Sin City, Repo Chick looks cheap (the “effects” look horrendous), sounds terrible and is almost unwatchable. Repo Chick is the Chris Gaines of movies: it’s an embarrassingly ill advised idea that nobody wanted and everybody pretends didn’t happen.
91. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) | BEST
The Mission Impossible franchise is not dissimilar from the ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ tray found at newsstands and gas stations. Each movie takes something good from the previous entry, while leaving something good behind. Some have tight plots at the cost of memorable stunts, while others are fun but have lame ass villains (seriously, does anyone even remember the bad guy in Ghost Protocol?) Fallout might be the first one in the series to bring everything together. Terrific action, a fantastic villain, 3 (!) amazing stunts and a plot that plays to everyone’s strengths (sorry Renner), Fallout takes the pennies out of the dish and replaces them all with quarters.
How do you feel about the selection so far? Comment down below and let us know how right/wrong we are.