By the end of this year we’ll have seen four long-awaited movie follow-ups: Predators, Toy Story 3, Tron Legacy, and Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. But they are far from the first overdue sequels cinema’s ever produced: there’s a whole host of delayed part 2s out there, some good, some bad, some utterly appalling, and in celebration of these latecomers, we’ve gathered together the best and the worst of them for your reappraisal. And, no, we aren’t counting Disney straight-to-DVDs (we’re looking at you, Bambi II) or the Star Wars prequels. Because, you know, they’re prequels. Ahem.
Sequel to: Wall Street (1987)
What took so long? Well, there was no cause for the sequel until the financial mega-cock-up of doom began strangling the world’s economy in 2008, at which point wheeling out the king of capitalism, Gordon “Good God that’s a lot of cash” Gekko, began to make a lot of sense.
Does it feel like a real relation? Well yes, and as you might expect here, no. Shia LaBeouf is no Charlie Sheen (as he’ll be the first to admit) and there isn’t quite the same oomph as the first’s tale of double-crossing money men. Gekko doesn’t get as much screentime as he deserves – and the audience demands – but there are occasional flashes of bastardly brilliance to remind you why you loved/hated/worshipped/despised him in the ‘80s.
Worth the wait? We’re going to say yes here. It’s not as good as the first movie, not by any means, but as we never really saw the sequel coming until a few years ago, consider this outing an enjoyable reminder of the brilliance Douglas can occasionally deliver in a traffic-stopping three-piece suit.
What took so long? “Why did it happen at all?” seems to be the more pertinent question, as the sequel is universally regarded as a very bad idea, and something the two comedy legends really should have avoided like the plague. Alas, they didn’t, giving in to writer/director friend Neil Simon’s demands for their reunion 19 years after he initially suggested a sequel back in 1989.
Does it feel like a real relation? In so much as Jack Lemmon’s Felix is as fussy and fastidious as ever, and Walter Matthau’s Jack is just as slobbish and fun-loving… but there the positive similarities end. Unfortunately for them (and for us) times had changed, and the comedy just didn’t stick. We’re talking two laughs in 90 minutes here. Honestly.
Worth the wait? Not in the slightest. Not only was the original such a perfect whole it really didn’t need expanding upon, but there was also the often-rerun TV series that broadcast for 5 years after the film’s initial success – not to mention the eyebrow-raisingly similar Grumpy Old Men series that served the pair well (financially, at least) earlier in the ‘90s. File this one under ‘Let’s pretend it never happened, shall we?’
Sequel to: Predator (1987)
What took so long? Ignoring Predator 2, much like Predators itself does, there’s a good 23 years between the original Arnie-mud-wrestling-with-an-alien adventure and Rodriguez’s follow-up attempt. The delay? AvP and AvP: Requiem – films so bad you almost want to unleash a plasma caster into your own face.
Does it feel like a real relation? Very much so. Okay, Adrien Brody is no Arnie, but there’s the jungle setting, a collection of heavily armed maniacs unwittingly waiting to be skinned and hung from a tree, and, you know, a Predator. No massive leap away from the original by any means – if anything, that may have been one of its biggest problems.
Worth the wait? Not really. In comparison to the AvPs, it’s a bizarrely dreadlocked Citizen Kane, but looking back on the original, it’s no great shakes – not gory enough, inventive enough, or tense enough. Still, not awful. Something they’ll be putting on the back of the DVD, no doubt…
What took so long? Practically speaking, the reason there wasn’t another “Fast Eddie” Felson movie could be down to the fact that the original novel’s sequel hadn’t been written yet: published in 1984, it was swiftly optioned and almost entirely ignored, plot-wise, for Scorsese’s far from typical follow-up to one of the coolest movies cinema’s ever seen. That, and no-one but an on-form Scorsese would have the cojones to follow the 1961 Robert Rossen classic.
Does it feel like a real relation? Scorsese was and is a huge Rossen fan, and there’s plenty of the same fierce energy to enjoy in the sequel (it’s hard not to think of Cruise’s virtuosic romp around a pool hall dancing to Warren Zevon’s ‘Werewolves Of London’), and of course it’s an Oscar-winning return to form for the indefatigable Paul Newman. So in many ways there’s no doubt that you’re in the same world as The Hustler – and yet, and the same time, with the vivid colours and modern soundtrack, in some ways not.
Worth the wait? Definitely. The Hustler remains the superior movie (paraphrasing the original: “It’s the best there is. And even if Scorsese did beat it, it’s still the best”), but The Color Of Money is an excellent, highly enjoyable, immensely rewatchable return to the world of a somewhat weather-worn Fast Eddie – battered, but unbowed, and still damn good with a pool cue.
What took so long? Not to be a downer or anything, but time had to pass after John Belushi’s death in 1982. Also, the cult following of Blues Brothers had to build up for a certain amount of time to justify… what are we saying? There’s no justification for this movie. Sorry Mr. Landis, Mr. Aykroyd, Ms. Franklin – it’s not that it took too long to come about – it’s that it happened at all.
Does it feel like a real relation? Well, in some ways it’s a remake of sorts: same flimsy plot, even more car collisions, guys in Ray-Bans, R&B cameos, shaking tailfeathers – just without the same soul, and without John Belushi… and though we love John Goodman, it still feels a bit wrong to not have Joilet around. The music’s still great, but it’s not enough.
Worth the wait? Oh no, no, no. All it will make you want to do is rewatch the original to double check if it was any good in the first place... If that.
What took so long? A classic example of a sequel wondering around the seventh circle of development hell, Basic Instinct 2 was originally set for a 2002 release before a cacophony of cock-ups occurred. Directors dropped out, Michael Douglas wasn’t interested, Sharon Stone sued for breach of contract… after all it went through, it’s pretty impressive this box-office bomb landed on cinemas at all. Pity that’s as impressive as it gets.
Does it feel like a real relation? In so far as it contains Sharon Stone wearing next to nothing, writhing melodramatically in every inevitable sex scene, and hapless men being caught in her clever web, yes. Then again, it’s utter garbage and features none other than Stan Collymore drowning in a car, so it’s a very peculiar relation at best.
Worth the wait? Good God no. This is brutally bad. If you buy a copy, burn it to appease the Gods’ wrath at your erroneous decision-making skills.
What took so long? A whole host of reasons, including, but not limited to: Spielberg being reticent about a script involving extra-terrestrials, the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles runs on TV, finding a scriptwriter to take on a sequel to something as big as the Indy series, Lucas deciding to concentrate on the Star Wars prequels in the late ‘90s / early ‘00s, reaching agreement on the right Macguffin… the list goes on and on.
Does it feel like a real relation? Yes indeed. It feels very much like an Indiana Jones movie, despite Indy’s bus-pass age and the crowded castlist – it’s still the same old Indy (literally), cracking his whip and punching baddos in the jaw.
Worth the wait? Well… that depends on your point of view. Many adamantly believe that the trilogy should have remained the trilogy (as Empire’s reviewer of Crusade had the foresight to note) whilst others just enjoyed another chance to see the big man whacking dirty commies upside the face. So let’s just call it a “maybe” and leave it there.
What took so long? The original’s megaphone wielder, Chuck Russell, tried his damndest to get Jim Carrey back for another spin as the freaky green-faced monster, even tweaking the DVD’s cut so the reporter character Peggy Brandt didn’t die and could come back too. Jim, of course, said “Ah-no-ho-ho” (or words to that effect) and the rest is horrific box office bomb history.
Does it feel like a real relation? There is zero humour, so in the Jim-Carrey-making-you-wet-your-Y-fronts department, no relation at all. Yes, there’s still a green wooden mask that makes you do ker-razy things, but the rest is so excruciatingly bad (think babies, dogs wearing The Mask, Bob Hoskins as Odin), it defies description.
Worth the wait? No. We never waited. We never wanted to wait. If there was going to be a successful sequel, it would have had to include a certain green-faced zoot-suited madman called Jim Carrey – and without it, it’s just a nutty story involving a baby, a wooden mask and Alan Cummings with a bad hairdo.
What took so long? Sly has had more than his fair shares of ups and downs – for every Rambo, there’s a Get Carter; for every Rocky, an Avenging Angelo. It was after a period of disappointing releases (to put it lightly) in the early 2000s that Stallone began to look back through his career, take a three year hiatus, put his writing hat on, and finally give Rocky fans a farewell they really deserved.
Does it feel like a real relation? Not so much to Rocky V, which has been universally regarded as the least Rocky of all the Rocky films (brain damage, not being able to fight, everything he’s worked for crumbling around him) but definitely to the original Oscar-winning Rocky, with which it shares more than a few plot points – and training montages.
Worth the wait? We might not have realised it during the 16 year gap between V and Balboa, but we were unconsciously waiting for a decent Rocky send off for all that time. Not that Balboa is a masterpiece by any means, but it delivers the emotional and physical punch that V didn’t, and it does it well.
What took so long? Superman III was a clunker. Superman IV, picked up by new producers Cannon and given a miniscule budget, was another clunker. A Super Clunker, if you will. So after disappointing fans, critics and God, it was finally decided to can the Man Of Steel… until superhero movies came back into fashion in the early Noughties, thanks in no small part to Bryan Singer’s X-Men, and Warners kicked things off again. Singer, ditching Marvel’s team to come aboard, cleverly ignored the last two films of Christopher Reeve’s run, and made his movie a sequel to the still-fondly-remembered Superman II.
Does it feel like a real relation? To Superman II, just about. Returns had the budget and the backbone to give us the old-fashioned bells and whistles, stopping-a-jumbo-jet Superman that we know and love. Arguably there was a bit too much moping about for the now-sprogged-up Lois Lane, and it’s questionable how well cast Kate Bosworth was, but Brandon Routh was spot-on for both Supes and Clark Kent.
Worth the wait? Yes. Superman is the man, and he is back. The casting of Routh was excellent, embodying the role in a way that a better known actor might have scuppered.
What took so long? Well, this one is down to a little bit of spite. No offence, Universal, but it’s kind of true. Psycho II only came about after the decision of the original novel’s author, Robert Bloch, to write a follow-up book in 1982, also called Psycho II, which satirised Hollywood slasher films. Hating the book, Universal took umbrage and decided to make their own film version of Psycho II, completely ignoring the contents of the second novel.
Does it feel like a real relation? Bizarrely, it does. Though in its own way it’s incomparable to the Hitchcock classic, it’s not a bad film at all, managing to rid itself of the horror sequel curse and actually be a decent watch – helped in no small part by the return of Anthony Perkins, playing everyone’s favourite cross-dressing serial killer.
Worth the wait? The surprise factor that this isn’t a load of complete toss makes the 23 year wait (that no-one ever waited for) worth the while. Not a five star film by any means, but a very decent effort.
The original: The sequel:
Sequel to: The Godfather Part II (1974)
What took so long?
Despite a dozen script attempts by Paramount to get a sequel off the ground, it took the tanking of 1988’s Tucker: The Man and His Dream, an admirable (if financially unsuccessful) attempt by Coppola to pin down the American Dream to make Part III happen. Coppola’s production company, American Zoetrope, had to look somewhere to keep the company in the black. They turned to The Godfather. Ah. Awkward.
Does it feel like a real relation?
Not really. There’s the noticeable lack of Robert Duvall / Tom Hagen, as well the unfortunate casting of Sofia Coppola, who desperately tries to be both the Garcia love interest and daughter of the Don. It doesn’t quite work. To put it politely.
Worth the wait?
No – after all the hype, and all the critical acclaim for the originals… it just wasn’t. People who’ve watched Part III fall into two camps: outright loathers, who’d rather see every copy burned to ash, or “Hey it’s not that bad” lukewarm defenders. And that’s the most you can say about it: it’s not //that// awful. It’s interesting to note that Coppola calls the movie an ‘Epilogue’ to the original two, rather than a sequel as such, so Part III haters can consider it non-canon. If they want. Maybe.
What took so long? As is too often the case with a long-delayed sequel, it’s financial obligation that made director Tobe Hooper pick up his power tools once more and produce an altogether far more brutal Chainsaw-based bloodbath. The stinkers that forced his hand? 1984’s Lifeforce and 1986’s Invaders From Mars. Remember them, eh?
Does it feel like a real relation? There’s a massacre. And there are indeed chainsaws. Probably around the Texas area. But the darkly comic tone, satirical dialogue, and the even more excessive gore leaves audiences wondering whether Tobe Hooper just happened to luck out the first time around.
Worth the wait? Not really. It depends how much you love this kind of over the top, comic carnage. Horror marmite, it seems, somehow perversely enjoyable despite all its faults, but not a touch on the first, far more tense, far more exciting affair.
What took so long? Bolstered by the success of his revisit to the ring in the form of 2006’s Rocky Balboa, Sly thought he could mine another golden nugget out of the ‘80s nostalgia mountain (eventually succeeding with The Expendables) by making a Rambo movie more ridiculous, more over-the-top, than ever before.
Does it feel like a real relation? Rambo’s been a fisherman for 20 years? Pull the other one. Or, failing that, blast it full of shotgun shells. The blood and bullets quotient has been upped significantly and the plot holes are more gaping than any Rambo before it: in other words, it’s could be Rambo-iest Rambo ever. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Worth the wait? Diehard Rambo fans won’t care one way or the other, keener to see more of John dealing out death, in whatever form in comes in, but for the casual fan, it’s a disappointing and dire affair that's best left alone – much like Rambo III, to be honest.
What took so long? Thomas Harris' deeply disappointing sequel was published in 1999, turned into a script, and then shown to Ridley Scott, hot property after Gladiator’s success. Though Jodie Foster and Jonathan Demme weren’t on board, Scott and Hopkins were, not to mention Julianne Moore, so things were go-go-go ten years after the Oscar-dominating original.
Does it feel like a real relation? No. It feels boring. It feels purposeless. It feels like a real shame that it was ever made. Lecter was a villain to end all villains, a delicious role that Hopkins nailed in 1991 – here, he’s an old uncle with an unusual hobby. And Moore really disappoints, if only in comparison to Foster’s original stellar turn.
Worth the wait? No, no, no, no, no. If someone offered to give it to you for free, you could use it to rest your glass of chianti on, but that that’s about it.
What took so long? Well, the relationship between Disney and Pixar has been a complicated one to say the least. Back in 2004, Disney, who owned the rights to the characters, decided to start up a new sequel, shifting production from Pixar to a team called Circle 7. Involving a plot where all Buzz Lightyears across the globe malfunction and are sent back to Taiwan, this was shelved after 2006’s Disney/Pixar deal which saw Edwin Catmull and John Lasseter head up all of Disney Animation division. Just one month later, and Pixar were back in the toy box…
Does it feel like a real relation? Yes it does indeed. If the first movie is about dealing with a new, exciting colleague in the workplace (Buzz, of course), the second being promoted to a job you don’t want, then the third is about retirement at Sunnyside. And guess what? It really, really works.
Worth the wait? Absolutely. A long time coming, sure, but well worth the wait. If it had come out before we did our 50 greatest sequels feature, there’s a definite possibility it could have trounced Aliens for the number one spot. And we don’t say that lightly.
What took so long? The towering presence of one of the best loved films of all time, the irrefutably wonderful Wizard Of Oz, must have been a factor in the delay in revisiting Oz, despite Frank L. Baum having written 13 other Oz books way back when. It took famed Godfather editor Walter Murch, the support of George Lucas and a brave set of Disney executives to take cinema back to Oz – though the original books entering the public domain probably helped too.
Does it feel like a real relation? Hmm. Well. Not as such, and yet, yes. It’s definitely Oz, but not the one you remember: remaining far more faithful to the books, creating a dark world that feels a thousand miles away from the Technicolor glory of the yellow brick road. Dorothy feels more child-like and, after her electro-shock therapy, less happy-go-lucky, and Tik-Tok the wind-up man and Jack the Pumpkinhead will never truly replace the beloved Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion (now turned to stone, alas). Oh, and there aren’t any songs. In other words, it’s Oz, Jim, but not as we know it.
Worth the wait? On first release, the answer was no, with many turned off by the scary nature of this not-so-child-friendly outing, but with time, Oz aficionados have come round to this peculiar yet fascinating semi-sequel of the original film we all know and love.
What took so long? It’s the typical mix of late sequel reasons here: a star revisiting the franchise that made him a household name in the first place, and doing so after a series of somewhat disappointing releases, as well as a decent script turning up to suit the brand – in this case, a cyber-criminal terrorism adventure. Involving Kevin Smith.
Does it feel like a real relation? Yes it does, defying the low expectations many had for the late return of McClane and delivering the goods in the form of a decent amount of kaboom and even bigger dosage of kapow. Sure, it’s far more over the top than the near-flawless original, but it’s a laugh, and still worth a few of your precious cinema-going pennies.
Worth the wait? After Die Hard With A Vengeance, there wasn’t much of a burning desire for another Die Hard that soon afterwards (not that DHWAV is a complete disaster) so Die Hard 4.0 is more of a pleasant surprise than a I-just-can’t-wait-for-this-one.
What took so long? After the success of the first two films, of course the studios desperately wanted another sequel – and though they could do it without Cameron (who has stated he’s said what he’s wanted to say with 1 and 2), they had to have Arnie... well, for this sequel, anyway. So Cameron gave Ahnold his blessing to do another Terminator, but only if the Governator-to-be got “nothing less than $30 million.” Which he did – as well as 20 per cent of the profits. Gulp.
Does it feel like a real relation? It’s got terminators in it. And a lady terminator, to boot – one that can control other machines. Plus, Arnold is on board. And things go boom. And other things go kasplow. But as for the intellectual time-travel funtimes from the first two, no sir: it’s a laugh, but it’s definitely a misfire. And the fact that it’s now been rendered non-canonical by Terminator Salvation? Not a good sign.
Worth the wait? Let’s just admit it. Not really. Not at all.