Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No. 41 - Bad Sequels

The 70's saw its share of sequels. After The Godfather Part II won the Best Picture Oscar, sequels were no longer considered disreputable. The floodgates were opened, and the deluge has yet to subside.

Here are some of the more noteworthy sequels:

The Trial of Billy Jack: Remember the famous book 50 Worst Films of All Time? This film made the list. Tom Laughlin also wrote, produced, directed and starred in Billy Jack Goes to Washington, which barely got released. Other Laughlin productions included The Master Gunfighter, in which Laughlin attempted to play a taciturn Eastwood type of anti-hero, with dismal results. Worst of all was Train Ride to Hollywood, one of the unfunniest comedies of the decade.

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure: Michael Caine began his habit of doing five movies a year just for the paycheck with this Irwin Allen disaster flick, a needless sequel to the classic Poseidon Adventure. Caine had previously starred in Allen's 1978 killer bee movie, The Swarm. He would go on to appear in one of the sequels to Jaws, and eventually won two Oscars. This was Sally Field's first movie after her Oscar-winning turn in Norma Rae.

Butch and Sundance: The Early Days: The characters were killed in the first one, and Redford and Newman were unavailable, so Fox invented the prequel with this Richard Lester film. William Kaat and Tom Berenger fill in for Newman and Redford. Years later, George Lucas took the prequel concept and gave us Episode I, featuring Jar Jar Binks.

Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat: Ralph Bakshi's lack of involvement in this sequel to Fritz the Cat didn't keep AIP from releasing it to drive-ins back in 1974.

Walking Tall Trilogy: The first Walking Tall was a crudely effective redneck classic. Joe Don Baker was great as tough Sheriff Buford Pusser. Then, the inevitable Part Two: Walking Tall was released, with Bo Svenson replacing Joe Don Baker. Pusser's demise at the end of the second film didn't prevent the production of a third installment, Final Chapter: Walking Tall. Then came the remake, Nine Lives of Buford.

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