Hey everybody, it's Tony here with my most controversial list to date! These sequels all missed the mark, either by changing directors or failing to change direction, or just by not being very good follow-ups to their predecessors. However, because I'm the insane obscure fan I am, I'm not just going to list these movies because I think you should see them. You should see these films, if only to cleanse your palette and appreciate the true greats. I'm also telling you how I would make these films better, were I to FINALLY get my damn time machine working again! I've been stuck in the 21st century for too damn long! Whoa, that went off course a little. Okay, let's jump right in and talk about some sequels that didn't exactly hit the mark. As always, BEWARE OF GORE AND SPOILERS!!!!!
#1: Hostel 2 (2007)
Well, let's stir the shit pot with the very first entry! Coming off the success of Hostel, Eli Roth decided to ratchet up the Crazy-O-Meter and make a sequel. Why wouldn't you when your first made a ton of money!? However, he falls into a pretty common trap when it comes to making sequels, and that is the risk of rehashing the same exact material in a less effective manner. Here's a basic plot summary of the first, in case you're unaware of the term "torture porn". The original Hostel was the story of 2 Americans and their Icelandic buddy are in Amsterdam to party. They love sex and loose women, and they find plenty of both, until they are told by a shady druggie dude to go to Slovakia where the women are EVEN HORNIER. Of course, being men on the prowl, they decide to check it out. One by one, they start to go missing from the hostel they're staying at, and it is eventually revealed that they are being kidnapped, tortured, and KILLED by an organization called Elite Hunting, where the rich can live out their sick murder fantasies for real instead of on Netflix. Now, copy that plot, paste it onto a new movie, and change all the leads to women. Yeah, yeah, I know, "It's different, Tony! They're art students and it's more shocking because they're WOMEN!"
There were three BIG mistakes made by this movie. Don't get me wrong, because there are actually two scenes that are awesome (The Bloody Bathtub and The Dogs), but the rest of the movie needs some work.
(1) The buildup isn't exciting because it's EXACTLY THE SAME. That is, minus the perspective of two new Elite Hunting initiates. That plot arc could have been excellent, and winded up being lame.
(2) It's still the same level of gore, but it's APPARENTLY more shocking because women are the victims. While this works in theory, it doesn't actually make it more disgusting.
(3) They killed off the protagonist of the original OFF-SCREEN!!
How Do We Fix It?!
For starters, let's NOT open the sequel with Paxton's OFF-SCREEN BULLSHIT death! If you still want to kill him off (C'mon guys, he's been through so much already!), let's do it with some style. How about we at least SEE the struggle against his would-be killers?! After that, we need a plot overhaul. How about LIKABLE CHARACTERS?! How about showing Elite Hunting in another part of the world? How about making REAL SUSPENSE?! I'd love to see paranoia grow as friends are kidnapped, and I would LOVE to see characters that aren't stupid and/or totally flat. Finally, we need to work on the deaths, because that's what people are really paying to see. Kill off your characters in original ways, like you did with the Ruggero Deodato cameo! That was BADASS!
Now that I've torn apart one fairly-successful sequel, let's criticize some more, because being subjective is fun!
#2: Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Shut up, Jason! The year is 1982. Paramount Studios is still drowning in dollars from their lucrative Halloween cash-in Friday the 13th and the first sequel, which introduced Mrs. Voorhees' son, Jason. Don't remember that one? Perhaps this'll jog your memory:
Friday the 13th Part II was a box office hit, and for good reason. The story continued in an interesting direction, the kills were all more exciting than their predecessors, and the characters were, for the most part, distinctive and likable! Not only that, but it was actually pretty damn creepy, with the right levels of campy fun and violence, and the pacing was very good. Then Part III happened. There are many reasons why I'm such a huge fan of slashers, ESPECIALLY the Friday the 13th series, and the third entry is not one of them. Yes, yes, I know, it's the one where Jason gets the mask. It's also the one where they spent all their money on 3D effects and NOTHING on story, quality actors, or inventive kills! To be fair, it is pretty badass that Jason can just shake off a shoulder separation in a night, and Shelley's death (The Jewish prankster kid who just wanted to be accepted, the ONLY character I ALMOST rooted for) was alright. Here are my three major gripes:
(1) The teenagers were exceedingly stupid, INCLUDING FINAL GIRL! I can't even remember her name. That's how memorable she was. I even remember Tina's name from Part Vii, and she wasn't even that well written!
(2) The kills weren't as good as in Part II. I guess we'll have to wait for The Final Chapter (I always laugh a little when I think of Part IV as the "Final Chapter". As if, Paramount. Seriously though, the kills were pretty lame.
(3) This entry DIDN'T BRING ANYTHING NEW to the franchise except the mask, and don't you dare try to tell me that 3D is new, because who can even watch that without getting a fucking migraine?!!
Now, To Fix This Mess...
Friday the 13th Part III could have been another awesome entry into the franchise, and although it was REALLY commercially successful, it's BAAAAAAD! So here's my proposal. First, we write some likable non-stock characters. We make sure they don't all just happen to stumble upon Jason ONE AFTER THE FREAKING OTHER. Next, we make some badass kills. Well, okay, the handstand kid who got cut in half was pretty cool. But the others were shit! RE-WRITES! And finally, let's get a Final Girl who is actually smart! Or memorable! Or SOMETHING! Jeez, it's not like the 80's were short of strong female leads, man! This entry will only be remembered for seizure-inducing red-blue coloration and the hockey mask, and that feels pretty bad. I better leave this segment on a positive note...
What sequel shall I tackle next? Oh, I know, let's go overseas! ONWARD!
#3: Battle Royale 2 (2003)
Why do I get the feeling people are going to shit on this entry before I start talking about it? "Is he really going to sit there and tell us Battle Royale 2 was more than just coagulated crap on celluloid?" Why yes, sarcastic reader's voice, I am! If you've seen Battle Royale and not the sequel, most people would probably say it's in your best interests. Directed by the legendary Kinji Fukasaku, the original hit audiences HARD with a surprising level of emotions while keeping the awesomeness and violence cranked up to 11. So what happened to the sequel, man?! Let's talk briefly about the plot. Remember, I'm about to spoil the shit out of the original AND this one, so go watch 'em both before I send you to your room with no dinner for skipping an important chapter in cinematic history! Here's #1, and Here's #2, because I think you're cool! Alright, so the survivors of Battle Royale escape the country and get together with other survivors to form a terrorist group, and their goal is to bring down the BR Program by killing a shitload of people. WHAAAAT?!
The government responds by disbanding the BR Program (Yay!) in favor of a new game, aptly titled "BR II" (Oh no!). This new class of specially-chosen delinquents are suited up in army fatigues, given explosive bomb collars and machine guns, and sent off to the island hideout of the terrorists and told to kill them in 3 days or get their heads blown off! This is more of a war film, and borrows from Saving Private Ryan (I'm looking at you, beach landing scene!) and a couple other movies in a pretty heavy-handed fashion. BR II is one of those sequels where they take the story and go in a totally new direction with it, while keeping some of the good stuff from the original, and that aspect is very cool. The battle scenes are pretty fun, if VERY cheesy at times, and there's a lot of kids getting shot, blown up, and just generally getting killed, and the movie definitely pulls no punches in terms of violence. I actually like this movie, but there are some MAJOR problems with it:
(1) Kinji Fukasaku tragically died of cancer before they started filming the sequel, so his inexperienced son Kenta took the reins. The most obvious repercussion is that Kinji was an expert at getting the best possible performances out of his young actors, and Kenta, frankly, was not. The acting is pretty rough, with a couple notable exceptions.
(2) There's SOOOO MUCH CG BLOOD!
FUCK CG blood!!!
(3) The story needs an overhaul! The pacing is BAAAAD! The acting is one-dimensional! GRRRRRR!!
Okay, Let's Fix This Flick.
The first order of business is to recast some of the actors. Now, most of the kids are cannon fodder and get blown up in the first hour, but the ones who make it to the midpoint NEED to be able to act! Let's snag some youthful theatre students and get 'em in here! Also, NO CG BLOOOOOOOD! I can't say this enough. CG blood makes the whole film seem cartoonish. That being said, the level of violence in this film is almost cartooinsh already, but at least make it look good!! Next, something needs to be about the pacing. If you're making a war drama, there needs to be lulls in the action. Obviously I get that. But make it poignant, not boring. Make us feel for the characters instead of wanting them all to blow up in a fountain of gore. This sequel didn't live up to the greatness of its predecessor, but perhaps it's not meant to. Maybe I'm just supposed to enjoy the comedic elements. Which I do. I'm rambling so hard right now because I want to love this film. I want to love all these films. I'm gonna leave you with what can only be described as the best death scene in all cinematic history.
Holy fuck, that was inspirational. Until next time, I'm Tony, watch these movies, tell me how YOU would improve them, and as always, have a KILLER day!