Thursday, December 9, 2010

DTV Sequels No One Asked For and No One Wants + Some Alternates

As a way of changing things up I thought I'd talk about some sequels I absolutely do not Heart. The main problem I have with these are that they are (for the most part) bad cash-in sequels to film I actually like or respect. They are all DTV, many of them being released well after the expiration date for any sequel of this ilk. To keep things upbeat, I've also included some alternate choices if you were a fan of the film being sequelized, as well as a list of some DTV cash-ins that were pretty good.

We'll start with the biggest piece of shite and work our way down from there.

1. Slap Shot 2 - I would like to say that what goodwill I have for Stephen Baldwin stems from The Usual Suspects and Threesome, two films I'm sure his born-again ass wants everyone to ignore. Outside of those two films his career is bogged by films that can be but in two categories: bad and worse. SS 2 is a dreadful sequel to one of the ultimate guy movies, a movie that is as smart as it is outright dunderheaded. SS 2 is only interested in the dunderheads.

Alternate: The Longest Yard - If you've seen Slap Shot there's a good chance you've seen this other 70s testament to the comedy that can come from watching strong men inflict a lot of pain on one another. If not, queue this thing up as fast as you can and see one of Burt Reynold's top 5 films. (Obviously I am not talking about Sandler's remake, even if Burt is in that one too)

2. The Hitcher 2 - Like Slap Shot, the OG The Hitcher is one of my favorite films, one that I grew up not knowing if anybody else liked, but I absolutely adored. While the people behind this DTv sequel were kind enough to bring original star C. Thomas Howell back (I'll bet he was hard to nail down), the one thing they forget to budget in was the brains that made the first film one of the smarter scare films of all time.

Alternate: Highwaymen - I wish I had seen this thing on the big screen. I saw trailers for it but it only wound playing in a couple cheap theaters in the Southern markets. This was OG The Hitcher director Robert Harmon's return to terror on the highway and it is a film that is almost the equal of The Hitcher. Jim Caviezel (as far from his usually saintly persona as possible) plays a man hunting down the man he knows murders his wife. Both men are wielding their cars as the weapons of choice as they play cat and mouse on the highways of America. Aside from a rather unfortunate epilogue this film is really excellent.

3. Almost any Disney DTV sequel - While there may some noteworthy sequels being pumped out by Disney, most of them, particularly the sequels to their true classics, are just awful, bordering on sacrilegious. You'd get more emotional fulfillment out of squeezing a Disney plush doll.

Alternate: Any of the nearly thousands of good animated movies Disney did not make - It is amazing to me that there are so many people who won;t watch an animated flick unless it's Disney related. As much as I hate them some times I'm glad Dreamworks sort of broke this streak, as did the minor Don Bluth masterpieces of the 1980s. But there are so many more out there. Try The Iron Giant if you still haven't for God's sake.

4. Cyborg 2 - While many would have a hard time claiming the original Cyborg as some kind of masterpiece it still works for me as a low budget actioner. It's one of the few times I think Albert Pyun succeeded at stretching his budget as far as it could go without breaking it. Plus Van Damme is just so driven in this flick. The scene where he kicks himself down off the impromptu crucifix he's been nailed to is quite awesome. It deserves a better reputation and it deserves better than this sequel. The only noteworthy thing about Cyborg 2 is that it would be the first time, though certainly not the last, Angelina Jolie would show the world her tits. Yippee.

Alternate: Nemesis - Another minor Pyun masterpiece (though to be honest star Olivier Gruner doesn't have half the presence of a Van Damme) Nemesis works because Pyun is firing on all cylinders and his supporting cast is up to the task of playing it as balls out as possible. It ain't ever gonna wind up on anybody's top 10 list but if you liked Cyborg, give it a look.

5. Scanners 2 thru Scanners: Go Fuck Yourselves - I'm a pretty big Cronenberg fan and I don't think Scanners is a masterpiece. It's not the worst thing he's done *cough*Fast Company*cough* but it is mostly remembered for the exploding craniums it unleashed upon the world and not so much for its rather lackluster direction and pacing. Still, people love exploding heads, so why not a whole series of movies about 'em. Even if they are ten times more butt-numbingly boring then the original. Who cares? Exploding heads! Woo!

Alternate: The Fury - Three years before Cronenberg would release Scanners Brian De Palma would release The Fury, a movie that also deals with sinister psychic abilities and the government types who would exploit them. But De Palma's film is better, no doubt about that. The cast is more than up to the challenge and the film is one of those forgotten De Palma masterpieces that need revisiting every once in a while. Rent it now if you haven't seen it.

Some DTV Sequels That Are Pretty Good
1. Tremors 2 - Forget the rest of the sequels in this series. Even if it isn't quite the gem the original film is, this is one worth checking out if you're a fan.
2. Darkman 2 and 3 - Losing Liam Neeson may have hurt these sequels, but replacement Arnold Vosloo is no slouch either. Fun and over the top in the Raimi/Renaissance production mold.
3. Best of the Best 3 - Losing Eric Roberts on the other hand has never really hurt any film. Philip Rhee is the sole remaining star in this third film. If you're into B movie action than this is a nice little surprise.
4. Starship Troopers 2 - After the zany big budget original where could the producers go but as dark and as scary as possible. I like that ST 2 is a straight ahead horror film. It can be its own thing and still work in the universe created by the first film.
5. Universal Soldier: Regeneration - This is one of the few sequels I can think of that has gone DTV that is as good as the original film. (I've heard Wrong Turn 2 is better than the original, but I have yet to see it. The fact that it could be better does not surprise me; it wouldn't take much to best that piece of crap.) After a horrible theatrical sequel nobody liked, as well as the eventual DTV sequel that doesn't include any of the original stars, it was easy to assume that this would fare no better. Damn you'd be wrong though. This movie is so good I was pissed it didn't get a theatrical release. I would have loved to have seen this on the big screen. Van Damme is excellent, Lundgren is scary good and the action is so good it makes many of the big-budget action films of late look like a joke. If you haven't this yet, get to it.


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