When it comes to Hollywood, originality has been practically kidnapped, beaten and forced to turn tricks on Rodeo Drive by Brett Ratner and the CG versions of Alvin and the Chipmunks. After all, why bother to create something genuinely new and innovative when you can scrape together the remnants of older, rehashed ideas and mold them into a tent pole franchise? Enter the movie sequel, the perfect opportunity for Hollywood to recycle a cast and story and squeeze out a steaming fresh one for movie-going audiences.
The problem of course, is that most sequels tend to be the kind of movies that make you want to gouge your eyeballs out with your thumbs; with travesties like Jurassic Park 3 and Ghostbusters 2 stinking up theatres — not to mention perennial series like Police Academy spreading like the cinematic equivalent of a venereal disease. Yet, every once in a while the stars align and a truly entertaining sequel emerges which captures the same spirit and imagination as the original. Below is a list of potential sequels which – assuming they’re handled correctly and ever get made – might actually kick a little ass…
THE TOP 10 MOVIES THAT COULD HAVE KICK ASS SEQUELS
10. Top Gun
Before he was snorting up Scientologist doctrine like it was BogotÃƒÂ¡ blow, Tom Cruise earned his Hollywood chops as the original Maverick (sorry, John McCain), an F-14 flyboy whose interests include shooting down MiGs and getting his fuck on with Kelly McGillis. The film was an action-packed dose of pure 80s adrenaline masquerading as a two-hour U.S. Navy recruitment ad — and while audiences were expecting the blockbuster film to lead to a sequel, somehow it never materialized (although thankfully, the always helpful Lou Gosset Jr. filled the void with Iron Eagle volumes I to XXVIII). More recently, Hollywood has dusted off the idea and there’s even been a script circulating around in which Maverick returns to become a flight instructor at the original Top Gun training academy and ends up becoming the mentor/love interest of a cocky young female fighter pilot (a juicy role just waiting for a post-pubescent Hannah Montana, perhaps?). To some “Top Gun” is simply cheesy 80s fair, but in the right hands and with Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer back on board, it might actually be worth seeing — if for no other reason that to watch the entire thing crash and burn faster than Goose’s flaming Tomcat. The only question remains, if a sequel does get made, will Iceman and Maverick still have that loving feeling?
9. Forrest Gump
If Tom Hanks taught audiences anything it’s that life really is like a box of chocolates — only in Hollywood’s case some of those chocolates are the candy-coated spoor of greedy Paramount executives. Nonetheless, the original film is a dramatic masterpiece that earned Hanks an Academy Award and put director Robert Zemeckis on the map. After all, who doesn’t love watching Forrest gimp his way through America’s tumultuous history during the 60s and 70s? What’s more, since the film was based on the original novel by Winston Groom, it seemed only logical that Hollywood would jump on board and adapt Groom’s follow-up novel Gump and Co.. Paramount even brought back screenwriter Eric Roth, who penned the original Gump script (not to mention recent flicks like Munich and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Unfortunately, the sequel never materialized, reportedly because Groom was locked in a bitter feud with Paramount Pictures over revenue from the film. But Gump-ophilicas fear not, in 2007 it was announced that Groom had kissed and made up with Paramount and that a sequel based on the novel was now in the works. The potential film would follow Forrest through the 80s and early 90s, including his involvement in developing the much maligned New Coke, accidentally crashing the Exxon Valdez oil tanker, helping to knock down the Berlin Wall and even fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Along the way he encounters a slew of famous individuals including Oliver North, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Ronald Reagan, Saddam Hussein and even Bill and Hillary Clinton. Of course, a sequel almost certainly won’t materialize unless Hanks and Zemeckis are involved, so in the meantime those of up hoping to see America’s favorite semi-retarded yokel back on the big screen will have to settle for watching the beloved unauthorized porno follow-up Forrest Hump.
8. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Director Peter Weir’s historical epic about a Napoleonic ship of war was an intense and brilliantly shot film featuring cannon fire, clashing swords and of course, enough grog-swilling cockney sailors to make the Pirates of the Caribbean seem like the crew of the H.M.S. Pinafore. Drawing material from three of the “AubreyÃ¢â‚¬â€œMaturin” novels by legendary writer Patrick O’Brian and starring box office draw and legendary phone-hucker Russell Crowe, the film was a both critical and financial success. So it seems odd that 20th Century Fox hasn’t bothered to get off its landlubber ass and crank out a sequel – particularly given that O’Brian wrote twenty-one novels in the popular series, giving plenty of material for the studio to draw on. Yet here we are almost six years later and another Master and Commander film has yet to materialize, despite Russell Crowe expressing an interest in doing a sequel and almost all of the original cast being signed to a multiple film detail. A smash hit, an A-list celebrity on board and a popular series of books to draw on, why can’t 20th Century Fox see what movie-going audiences have known for years: America loves crusty seaman!
7. Big Trouble in Little China
When it comes to Hollywood, Kurt Russell is known for two things: his ability to have sex with Goldie Hawn without wanting to jam the barrel of a shotgun into his mouth, and for being director John Carpenter’s go-to action guy for pretty much every film he’s ever made. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the 80s fantasy-horror-Asian-action-homage Big Trouble in Little China. Also featuring Sex and The City star Kim Cattrall, the film showcased Russell as a mulleted, wife-beater-clad truck driver who faces down a slew of ancient Asian demons and sorcery in the heart of Chinatown. The film was essentially a flop when it originally hit theatres, but over the years it’s become a cult classic of B-movie brilliance. Given HollywoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent propensity for resurrecting 80s franchises, it seems almost criminal that the idea of a sequel (or possibly even a remake) hasn’t at least been considered (“Big Trouble in Little Armenia”, perhaps?). Hell, even a direct-to-DVD sequel would placate the legions of fans this strangely kick-ass cult classic has developed over the years. Of course, Carpenter would almost certainly have to get on board (or at the very least give it his blessing), not to mention trying to lure back some of the original cast. Then again, given Kurt Russell’s recent Grindhouse-inspired career resuscitation, chances are he’s considering other sequels right now. Captain Ron 2, anyone?
6. The Chronicles of Riddick
David Twohy’s sci-fi survival-horror flick Pitch Black was a pitch perfect piece of cinematic insanity, introducing audiences to one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time: the balding bad-ass known as Riddick. The character (played by the surprisingly non-pornographic XXX action-hero Vin Diesel) was so popular that Hollywood decided to try and create a whole franchise based around him, with David Twohy once more writing and directing the sequel. The unfortunate result however, was The Chronicles of Riddick, a rancid cinematic dookie blending equal parts leather-clad sadomasochists with a by-the-numbers Buck Rogers plot. You really have to wonder how drunk Dame Judy Dench was when she read the script and signed on for this piece of big screen tripe. Of course, just because the movie sucked doesn’t mean it couldn’t still have an awesome sequel. Just ask any gamer whose ever played The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay on the Xbox or saw the decent Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury animated feature. Both stories capture the same dark, cyberpunk vibe of Pitch Black rather than the ham-fisted dialogue and lame fight scenes audiences were subjected to in The Chronicles of Riddick. Fortunately, a sequel may indeed be in the works as recently both Universal Pictures and Vin Diesel have been talking about a new trilogy of Riddick films, with Twohy possibly writing and directing. A sequel — if done properly this time — could cement Riddick as one of the greatest sci-fi anti-heroes since Lando Calrissian first donned his cape and moustache.
5. The Goonies
When it comes to pure ’80s adolescent action-comedy-adventure there’s film few that can top the sheer awesomeness of The Goonies. From the subtle performances by a then young unknown Hobbit named Sean Astin, to the melancholic jiggling of Chunk’s Truffle Shuffle; for children of the ’80s, nothing has ever come close to capturing the wistful nostalgia of The Goonies. Which is why a Goonies sequel could actually kick some serious ass if done correctly. Of course, the original film was directed by living legend Richard Donner with a script from Chris Columbus (arguably one of the greatest children’s adventure movie writers of all time), so a sequel would have a lot to live up to. It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility though and in fact Hollywood has been knocking the idea about for years, considering everything from an animated television series to a Broadway musical. More recently, a script for the sequel has been circulating through Hollywood with some of the original cast even considering the idea of reprising their roles. Reportedly the sequel would follow the original Goonies children as they embark on another adventure, a premise that’s so crazy it might actually work. After all, The Goonies were good enough for goddamn Cindy Lauper, why not a whole new generation of audiences? Let’s just make sure the Two Coreys stay the fuck away from it…
Okay, so Joss Whedon has developed the kind of fanboy cult following normally reserved for World of Warcraft players and the kind of hardcore geeks who make their homemade Transformers costumes, but even the less fanatical of us can’t deny that Whedon is a freaking genius. And the crown jewel in his impressive body of geekgasmic work is none other than Serenity, a feature film based on the cult television series Firefly and arguably one of the best science fiction flicks in recent years. Sure the movie may not have been a smash at the box office, but DVD sales were respectable leading to speculation that a sequel (either as a theatrical release or direct-to-DVD) could be in the works. In the meantime, Whedon has dropped out of involvement with a feature length Wonder Woman film and has been re-shooting the pilot of his new television series Dollhouse. With a Serenity sequel, the guy could shake off the string of bad luck that seems to have been dogging him over the past few years — not to mention continuing the story Firefly fans have been begging for. The alternative is that Whedon continues his death spiral into becoming the poor nerd’s J.J. Abrams.
3. Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Before he made Jesus a star, spouted drunken anti-Semitic rants and directed historically inaccurate movies about Mayan people, Mel Gibson was best known as Mad Max, the ultimate post-apocalyptic Aussie shit-kicker. The character spawned three movies which became bona fide smash hits and then… nothing. Despite creating a blockbuster franchise, there hasn’t been a Mad Max movie since 1985, even though the series is just begging for a sequel (assuming of course Tina Turner stays the hell away from it). Fortunately, it looks like Max might just be making it back onto the big screen in a recently proposed fourth film entitled Mad Max: Fury Road with director George Miller once again helming the project and a script from British comic book scribe Brendan McCarthy. Sure the last thing Miller directed was a film about a bunch of annoying dancing CG penguins, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still rock a decent Mad Max film (or Justice League flick for that matter). Unfortunately, the one missing ingredient is none other than Mel Gibson himself, who has apparently declined the offer to dust off his old leather chaps and sawed-off shot gun. Of course, that may not necessarily be the worst thing considering Gibson’s slowly dwindling sanity. Mad? That’s putting it mildly. In the past few years Gibson’s had so many booze-fueled schizophrenic meltdowns he’s starting to make Hunter S. Thompson look like Al Gore. Still, even without the original Mad Max, a sequel would likely kick a lot of ass. Then again, given that the world is one pubic hair away from sliding into complete economic meltdown, it’s probably only a matter of time until we’re all roasting our neighbors dogs, tossing around giant metal boomerangs and riding dune buggies through a burned out post-apocalyptic wasteland.
2. The Incredibles
Leave it to Pixar to create a pant-crapping awesome film that’s both a frenetic homage to superheroes and an impressive feat of modern animation. Written and directed by Brad Bird, the film was a blockbuster hit earning major props among the demographic trifecta of kids, parents and movie fanboys. Yet, despite its success there’s barely been even a whisper about a possible sequel – which is pretty damn strange considering that Disney has licensed out everything from Mickey Mouse contraceptives to Littlest Mermaid brand feminine hygiene products. What gives? Well, the short answer may be that Bird has been dealing with a number of other projects including Ratatouille and the upcoming live action historical disaster film 1906. Still, Bird hasn’t discounted the possibility of a sequel which has no doubt given hope to fans everywhere. With Bird back at the helm, The Incredibles 2 could kick some serious ass. That is, if Pixar can successfully dislodge its head from Steve Jobs’ colon long enough for a sequel to get made.
1. Army of Darkness
Ask any cult movie fan worth their Evil Dead collectible lunch box and they’ll tell you one simple truth: Bruce Campbell is the fucking man. Sure, writer-director Sam Raimi has become a major Hollywood player, but there was a time when he was making flicks on a shoe string budget and earning the acclaim of film geeks everywhere with his Evil Dead series. The crown jewel in the trilogy is undoubtedly Army of Darkness, with its madcap blend of cheesy humor, action and horror — not to mention having some of the most overly quoted lines in geekdom. Which is why the film is practically begging for a sequel. After all, who doesn’t want to see Ash fire up his chainsaw-hand and kick a little Deadite ass? The fact of the matter is a fourth installment in the Evil Dead series is a no-brainer, if for no other reason than for Sam Raimi to make amends for that brain-aneurism inducing dance scene in Spider-Man 3.
What do you think? Are there any movies out there which could actually have a kick ass sequel?