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Pop Off: Sequels that simply suck

By Brendon Field
On October 8, 2012

There are certain types of movies that I'm sick of seeing pop up in theatres. Moronic family comedies, moronic teen romance films, but most of all, moronic sequels. Looking at the box office records of the past three years, or even the past three decades, sequels have done incredibly well among mass audiences. What angers me is not only have many of these sequels been terrible, but most of them shouldn't have existed to begin with.
Just to be clear, when I say sequels, I don't mean film series that tell one story over the course of several movies, such as "Star Wars," or "Lord of the Rings." These I don't have a problem with. One movie I do have a problem with is "Taken 2," which debuted this past weekend and raked in $50 million at the box office. I liked the original "Taken," and I'm glad it gave a new spark to Liam Neeson's career. But did anybody walk out of that movie saying, "Wow, I really want to see a second part of that." For the most part, the answer is no. "Taken 2" is one of those movies made for the sole purpose of making money, and history has shown those movies tend to be lazy rehashes of the original.
But on the outrage meter, "Taken 2" doesn't fall nearly as high as some other film series that just refuse to die. Let's take a look at the "Resident Evil" movies. The first one was passable, and it did set itself up for a sequel. It did not set itself up for a six-part series that gets more mundane with every installment. I don't know what annoyed me more, sitting through the boring shooting gallery that was "Resident Evil: Retribution," or watching it beat out the re-release of "Finding Nemo" at the box office. The fifth part of a terrible series out-grossed a Pixar movie, that's a crime against humanity.
Then there's the "Final Destination" series. The first film had a very clever idea. A bunch of people survive a tragic accident that should have killed them, and then start dying one by one. How do we ruin that idea? By doing the same thing four more times but only making the plot more and more contrived. I find it kind of hilarious that people who created the original premise are the same people who turned it into a stupid cliché.
Some series just don't know when to die. I was a big apologist of the "Saw" series, and I will unashamedly say that "Saw II" was one of the best movies of 2005. And while they tried to keep a flowing and interesting story throughout the series, they reached the point where they did not know how to tie it all together. The result was a rushed, poorly thought-out and very disappointing final chapter.
I understand that when people see a movie they love, they want more of it, and I'm like that too. But there are ways to do it right. The best example is the "Die Hard" series. Each movie has an original story and is carefully cast, and it also helps that they don't come out in consecutive years.
There is one thing powering the never-ending sequel train, and that's money. Box office tickets are the only thing keeping every series alive, and all we need to do is stop turning out to see mediocre versions of things we can rent for a fifth of the price. "Paranormal Activity 4" comes out in a few weeks, I urge you to give that one a pass.  

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