10 sequels from the Police Academy school of follow-ups

Some sequels are interesting, expand on the original and flesh out some of the characters. Others just reach for the photocopier...

Rush Hour 3 - the threequel nobody wanted?

Film history teaches us that Police Academy is the ultimate demonstration of not just how to milk a franchise, but to bludgeon it as many times as possible.

The Police Academy sequel was, after a promising original, a simple exercise in photocopying the last script, fiddling one or two bits, but essentially fudging a way to replay the last film over and over again.

With news reaching us of a potential third Men In Black movie, here are 10 modern pretenders to Police Academy’s judicious use of a thesaurus to write a story…

Men In Black 2It was very clear at the end of the first Men In Black film that Tommy Lee Jones’ memory had been wiped, and that his MiB days were over. That didn’t, of course, take account of the box office gold that followed, and before you could say “cheat”, Will Smith spends five minutes at the start of the sequel unravelling all of that, in the quest for more cash. The two then do pretty much the same thing they did in the original, to hilarious effect. Actually, that last bit’s a lie…

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City Slickers 2: The Legend Of Curly’s GoldYou have to give credit to the City Slickers team, who failed to let even the fact that they’d killed one on the main characters in the original get in the way. Thus, not only did City Slickers 2 feature more male bonding and mid life crises, it also shoehorned in Jack Palance again, as his original character’s twin brother. Not even Police Academy had the gall to do that…

The Mummy ReturnsNot a great film (and that’s an understatement), the second Mummy film sees Brendan Fraser and John Hannah running round after, er, the exact same Mummy from the first film. Catastrophically, the one attempt the filmmakers made to differentiate it from the original called for the inclusion of a little kid as a sidekick. Audiences the world over slapped their heads, cried ‘Why?’, and that was that.

Shrek The ThirdThe cracks, if we’re being honest, were showing in Shrek 2, where the wit and originality of the original was diluted, and the cracks papered over by getting Eddie Murphy in to do some comedy shtick. But heck, it didn’t work third time round, with Donkey relegated to a back role, and instead some dull plot just serving as an excuse to let the usual characters do their usual stuff.Rush Hour 3Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, as the pair of culturally mismatched cops from different parts of the world, just about stuttered the first Rush Hour film over the line. The second, deathly-dull film in the series at least turned the location round (Crocodile Dundee 2-style), but by Rush Hour 3, any attempt to differentiate pretty much anything had gone, replete with a raiding of the first film to get a key character back. Sigh.

Shanghai KnightsJackie Chan again, and this one’s a real pity, because Shanghai Noon – with Owen Wilson as his co-star – is an absolute hoot. But Shanghai Knights just feels like a tepid rerun, that’s less funny, less interesting and was, ultimately, less successful. There wasn’t a hint of a risk being taken in sight…

Speed 2: Cruise ControlThis isn’t, actually, supposed to be a list of terrible sequels, but it’s inevitable that there are some stinkers to be found. And how about this one? The single-line pitch – “let’s do the original Speed, but on a boat!” – killed not only the film’s chances, but the franchise in its entirety.Final Destination 2FD2 plays out like one of those medical shows, where there’s a huge build-up to try and work out how someone is going to horribly injure themselves (clue: spaghetti). The film is quite content to shuttle along, just mirroring the concept of the first film, with a big accident being foretold, and then lots of teens being bumped off in increasingly dramatic ways. But – what the heck – it actually works. FD3 wasn’t much cop, but the second proves that every now and then, a complete lack of ambition does actually work.

Saw 3The first Saw film, lest we forget, is really good, cutting away from the gore at key moments, and actually having some intriguing setups. The second diluted it, but still played with the spirit of the original. Yet by the time films three and four toddled along, you couldn’t help but know the predictable, miserable and singularly unambitious drill. Saw is now, arguably, the ultimate modern day pretender to the Police Academy crown.

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Hostel: Part IIHorror inevitably doesn’t come out of lists like these too well, and Hostel is a prime example why. The original, whether you liked it or not, at least had something different about it, and its unpredictable character choices could at least fuel a decent chinwag. The follow up stripped all of that out and just got on with torturing people. That’s, er, clever. Hostel III is now going straight to DVD, with more of the same…

There are, of course, plenty more, and they’re not all necessarily bad. Add yours in the comments below, and we’ll perhaps come back to this list at some point in the future��

 

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