Saturday, January 31, 2009

Squirming Sequels

Sequels. I must say that I have a love-hate relationship with it. Personally, I am not a big fan of sequels, despite the fact that three of my all-time favourite flicks include Terminator II: Judgment Day [1991], the entire Star Wars franchise and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [1989]. This begs the questions; what makes a good sequel? Why are some sequels better than others? Why do we need sequels?

One of the obvious answer is of course, financial gain. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Why would anyone continuously develop flops? If you can make some cash the clean way, go right ahead. But please, do the films justice by putting some heart into it. Some films are better off as it is.

Now, Sylvester Stallone is best known for his two roles as John Rambo in the Rambo series and also as Rocky Balboa in the Rocky series. I'm not taking anything away from the guy; he's an okay actor, a good screenwriter and a visionary director. But he has this bad habit of not knowing when to stop. Although, I wouldn't say that the fault is entirely his own, for aside from the two movie franchises, he has very little success when it comes to acting. As a result, he churned out sequels for the two movie franchises. To date, there are six Rocky movies and four Rambo movies (rumour has it that another one is in the works).
To be completely honest, only two Rocky movies are worth watching (the first and the last) and every Rambo movie after First Blood [1982] are laughable at best. Which is really too bad for Stallone's rise to fame is a legitimate one. He was at one point a broke-actor and even sold his soul to the devil by starring in a pornographic movie just to make ends meet. All that changed when he wrote and starred in the original Rocky [1976]. After that he gained some more star power when he starred in First Blood [1982], the first of the Rambo series.

Things went downhill from there. It wasn't until the release of Rocky Balboa [2006] that he redeemed himself as a film-maker. Rambo [2008] was a decent throwback to the action films of the 80's, but ordinary at best. Hopefully he would just let the two characters rest from now.

Movies like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter can get away with it because one film would not be enough. The same, however, cannot be said for others such as Pirates of the Carribean, Rush Hour and Transformers to name a few. People are going to hate me for saying this, but we really don't need more than one Pirates movie, and a single Transformers is atrocious enough.

I have nothing against Pirates. In fact, I enjoyed every installment of it. But I have to say, after the first one, the movie traded it's charm in favour of squeezing as much elements as they can into the next two sequels; akin to the Batman and Superman franchises prior to their recent 'reboot'. Although it is safe to say, the Pirates franchise can still get away without leaving a bad taste in our mouth.

Don't even get me started on Transformers. I got news that it is actually planned to be a trilogy. After the first one, how can you possibly get another one going? They don't even have a good story to begin with. "In search of some cube/artifact, they engaged on a battle across Earth while destroying everything in their path". There. I had just summarised of what happened in the last movie and what could possibly happen regardless of how many sequels they churn out.

To be continued...

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