Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid (2004)
The Sequel: Bearing little in common with its fairly terrible predecessor (except for giant snakes), this sees a group of soap-opera scientists heading to Borneo on a mission to find a flower that can grant immortality.
Why It’s Terrible: The first one at least had the decency to offer up some pretty big stars whose demise we could will for. Here we get Coronation Street’s Matthew Marsden, who’s out-acted by a capuchin monkey (who incidentally does a better ‘peril face’ than his human castmates), and some risible CGI that couldn’t coax the most amenable disbelief into being suspended.
What They Should Have Done: Made the monkey the lead. Immediately it’s sounding a whole lot more appealing.
Grease 2 (1982)
The Sequel: Remember that school, Rydell High, that Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson attended? Well, it turns out that the school didn’t close when they left, and new kids joined to take up the T-Birds and Pink Ladies’ respective causes.
Why It’s Terrible: Like many a terrible sequel, this falls down on simple maths, as it tries to rehash the original without the talent, energy or essential musical ingredients that made the first one a hit. Songs have been shoehorned in regardless of their relevance, and Maxwell Caulfield is a limp lead, in both his ‘Brit new kid’ and ‘Cool Rider’ guises.
What They Should Have Done: We’d say get Travolta back, but that didn’t bode too well for Staying Alive …
Staying Alive (1983)
The Sequel: Sylvester Stallone wrote, produced and directed this Saturday Night Fever sequel, which sees Tony Manero trying to make it as a dancer on Broadway.
Why It’s Terrible: SNF was surprisingly poignant, and came packed with grit, charm and swagger. It was a dark look at a very specific era, and it had a peerless disco soundtrack. Staying Alive piles on the cheese, and without his colourful Brooklyn friends to break things up, Tony becomes a pretty detestable lead.
What They Should Have Done: A Saturday Night Fever / Rocky crossover, where Rocky and Tony go head to head in the ring and on the dancefloor.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
The Sequel: After being blindsided by the rollicking good adventure that was The Curse Of The Black Pearl , we were feverishly keen to see what Captain Jack did next, or at least we thought we were.
Why It’s Terrible: Chest is symptomatic of what went wrong with the Pirates sequels (all of which deserve a place on this list). Unnecessarily complicated plots put the brakes on the swashbuckling, past characters return for the hell of it (regardless of whether or not anyone actually wanted them back), and there are always some vapid support characters ready and waiting to cut into your Jack Sparrow time.
What They Should Have Done: Sent Jack off on a whole new adventure, totally unrelated to the first outing.
The Great Escape II: The Untold Story (1988)
The Sequel: A lame TV follow-up that looks at what happened after the events of the original, as Major John Dodge (Christopher Reeve) heads back to Germany on a Churchill-sanctioned mission to avenge the deaths of ‘the fifty’ in a historically dubious adventure.
Why It’s Terrible: Loosely adapting the last chapter of Paul Brickhill’s book, this lacks the star wattage (not to mention the epic impact) of the classy original.
What They Should Have Done: Turned it into a full-blown exploitation flick, Inglourious Basterds -style.
Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
The Sequel: Following a successful casino heist in Part I, Danny Ocean and his band of slick-suited crims are on the look out for a couple of extremely valuable artefacts.
Why It’s Terrible: It collapses under the weight of its own smugness, as anyone who has witnessed the Bruce Willis cameo will testify. The sloppiness of the various jobs this time around make you forget how effortlessly the gang took down the house in Eleven .
What They Should Have Done: Soderbergh, Clooney and co should have turned their attention to remaking and improving another Rat Pack movie: how about Robin And The 7 Hoods ?
The Jewel Of The Nile (1985)
The Sequel: Following the fun, romantic romp that was Romancing The Stone , this catches up with writer’s block-afflicted novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) and adventurer Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) on their boat in the south of France, before they get involved in tracking down an Arabian jewel.
Why It’s Terrible: The success of Romancing… meant this was rushed into production as quickly as possible, regardless of the outcome of the final product. It sticks rigidly to formula, with none of the zip or surprise that Zemeckis conjured up. The chemistry between Douglas and Turner is the only redeeming feature, and they were only there out of contractual obligation.
What They Should Have Done: Put Zemeckis back in charge, and given him the time to find a story he was happy with.
Beethoven’s 2nd (1993)
The Sequel: Overweight St Bernard Beethoven blesses his owners with four devastatingly cute pups after finding a mate.
Why It’s Terrible: The first one was a bit of a slog, but it was passable as a kid-distractor. Here you have a choice between the lame ‘puppies are troublesome x 4’ skits, or the awkward, uninteresting first love of the oldest Newton girl.
What They Should Have Done: After this abomination, they definitely shouldn’t have bothered with more follow-ups, starring none other than Judge Reinhold.
The Ring 2 (2005)
The Sequel: The Ring was a surprisingly effective remake of Japanese sensation Ringu , and marked a new trend in Hollywood J-horror adaps. Bizarrely Ringu director Hideo Nakata helmed this confusing follow-up, which catches up with Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) six months after the events of the first film.
Why It’s Terrible: The original’s delightfully creepy videotape hook is absent, replaced by half-hearted horror movie cliches and cheap jump tactics. And in trying to keep the story going after the intriguing close of the first film, it opens up all kinds of plot holes.
What They Should Have Done: Ditched the characters and started again with another haunted device, like one of those emails that asks to be forwarded to 10 more people…
Escape From L.A. (1996)
The Sequel: Snake Plissken is back, 15 years later and considerably less cool. As the title suggests, it’s now Los Angeles that has been turned into a lawless penal colony, and our anti-hero has to wade into the mess (on threat of death) once again.
Why It’s Terrible: New York was hardly a subtle drama, but L.A. has none of its predecessor’s urgency or grit, and the social commentary (taking a swipe a religion) is exaggerated so far that any relevance or insight disappears. And, as Die Another Day would later remind us, CGI wave-surfing is never a wise idea.
What They Should Have Done: John Carpenter and Kurt Russell should have struck while the iron was hot, and made the follow-up a couple of years later.