Starting strong, finishing weak

We’ve all done it. We go and stand in line for a sequel to a film because the first one or two were so darn good. The curtain goes up, and BANG! The shotgun of sobering disappointment shoots us right between the eyes. So, lets take a few minutes and review what I submit are the top 10 best/worst film series that started strong but finished pain stakingly weak.

1) The Highlander
I feel my blood starting to boil just thinking about this one. The original Highlander movie with Christopher Lambert to this day is on my top 5 films of all time list. I loved it, and continue to believe it is one of the most truly original films I’ve ever seen. This love makes my hatred for what came next all the more intense. The second Highlander ranks second on my worst films of all time list (right behind Battlefield Earth). What do you mean the immortals are actually all intergalactic Alien convicts whose “punishment” is immortality on earth? Mom, someone’s been smoking the Cherios again! It’s no wonder the 3rd and 4th films as well as the television series all pretend that the 2nd film never happened and never make ANY reference to it at all. I’ve tried on several occasions to drive a tea spoon into my temple to dig the horrific memory of that suck ass movie out of my head. Still no luck, I’ll keep you informed.

2) Batman
The first film with Mike Keaton was great. Period. The following films were never as good as the first, but they held their own and the role of Batman was becoming a Hollywood institution. Who’s next at “Bat” was always the question. Then, on a dark day in film history the hideous movie with Clooney and Arnold came out and the series was DOA. This film was so bad that it killed not only the Batman series, but the whole Superhero genre of films until X-Men came out 4 years later.

3) Police Academy
I laughed myself sick when the original came out. It was just a fun silly comedy in the stylings of Animal House. Then, over the next 6 films it slowly degraded in quality to pathetic sitcom status. Ah, the Police Academy films are truly the living definition of “Direct-To-Video”.

4) Short Circuit
Ok, some may argue that the first Short Circuit wasn√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t all that good, and really it wasn’t. BUT, everyone was taken with Johnny 5 when it first came out. It was endearing in it√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s own kind of way and scored some box office success. But man did it go downhill from that! Johnny 5 in the big city with his wacky adventures. Good grief.

5) Friday the 13th
File this one under the category of “Ok, enoughs enough!” We get it. Jason is gonna kill some people and they can’t do a thing about. Yes, we’ve seen it already. The original 13th was a classic, 2 and 3 were pretty novel too, but come on! Jason takes Manhattan?!?! Jason in space? Who thinks this crap up and gets paid for it?

6) Nightmare on Elm Street
Like the Friday the 13th series, the original Nightmare on Elm Street is a true horror classic and carried all the elements that a great scare flick should. There had to be a sequel, and it was pretty good, but like a battered used car your grandfather handed down to you, this series was just driven into the ground.

7) Planet of the Apes
No, I’m not talking about the Marky Marky and his Funky Monkey Bunch version. I√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m talking about the TRUE Charlton Heston original masterpiece. I still remember the first time that I saw it and they found the Statue of Liberty at the end! AWSOME! But what the hell happened after that? I think they made like 56 films, and still counting. They eventually got so ridiculous that Heston actually laughed at producers who wanted him to appear in another one and had them thrown out of his house. Good move.

8) Superman
The first Christopher Reeves installment of Superman to this day remains as the unofficial standard for superhero genre films. The second (in my personal opinion) was even better than the first (I just found General Zod so darn lovable!). But what happened after that is a bigger mystery than missing socks in the dryer. Superman battles a super computer built by the evil genius Richard Pryor? Then, to top it off, Superman battles Nuclear Man? Wow those 2 sucked.

9) Analyze This
Easily one of the top 10 comedies over the last 5 years. Billy Crystal and Robert DeNero were just wonderful. There was no reason to expect anything less when the sequel titled Analyze That came out. Well, I guess there was reason. A lot of it. Analyze That was a painful film to watch. Not only do you have to deal with a poor movie, you also have to deal with the huge disillusionment from your high expectations at the same time. Bad bad bad movie.

10) Speed
Yes it was brainless and a little goofy, but you had to admit that the first Speed film was a lot of fun. Even Neo Reeves looked like he fit in. Then, some studio rocket scientist had the idea “Hey, lets do another one, without Neo, only its on a boat√¢‚Ǩ¬¶ no, not a boat, a CRUISE SHIP! Yeah! Everyone will LOVE IT!” No we won’t. And we didn’t. This movie sucked.

Dishonorable Mention goes to:
Iron Eagle

Agree with my list? Disagree with it? Are there others I should have included? Let me know in the comments section.

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3 thoughts on “Starting strong, finishing weak

  1. I’m going to have to go with Jurassic Park. The first one was as innovative as a movie based on a book can be, and then it just went downhill, despite the fact that the second one did better financially. I actually fell asleep during number 2. I have the odd feeling I’m forgetting something else glaringly obvious, but I can’t figure out what it is.

    Ghostbusters. Maybe that’s it.

  2. There was a sequel to Short Circuit?! I agree about Superman. I think it set the standard for all superhero movies, although I’ve heard people say Spiderman is the new standard. Actually, everything you’ve said is pretty much on target.

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