This is dedicated to the sequels who are too good to have linear numeric value. This list isn't simply a "worst sequel title" list where an entry would be "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo." We aren't looking for the worst sequel subtitle like "Jaws: The Revenge" or "Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan." And something like the James Bond series doesn't apply because they are not direct sequels.
There are established movie franchises that use their base name (i.e. Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones) and simply add on a 'chapter' title for the movie.
Here, I'm talking about a series of sequel titles in a franchise that keep changing the rules of the titles within the series.
Let's say it's several years in the future and generations of new are curious to watch a franchise. They wanna watch 'Back to the Future.' No problem. Part I, Part II, Part III. The 'Rocky' movies? Sure thing! I, II, III, IV, V, Balboa. Things start to get a little complicated with that one, but it's not hard to decipher.
Then, we get into the franchises that are mind-bogglingly random and twisted, future generations who haven't heard too much of these franchises might not know what order to watch them in without doing a little research first!
Well, I present my top 5 strangest franchise sequel titles!
5. Final Destination franchise
This isn't the worst, which is why it's only number 5. But they had to mess it all up with the fourth movie entitled "THE Final Destination" as opposed to "Final Destination 4." It was understandable at the time, because they wanted it to be the last and FINAL one, so it is "THE FINAL Destination" which isn't that good to begin with because some people may already refer to the first one as that. And do you think general movie-going audiences will know the difference? But then, they came out with another one AFTER that! So it's no longer THE FINAL one! Now the franchise goes like this:
Final Destination 2
Final Destination 3(D)
The Final Destination
Final Destination 5
4. alien franchise
This series started as a horror franchise. Then the sequel turned it into an all-out action movie. So, the subtle change was weird, but understandable. There are more than one Alien in the second movie, so it's not just Alien 2. But the third movie brought it back to one Alien. What to call it now? The only solution is to give it a numerical value. It's the third movie, so "Alien 3." Now this is the only one with a number, because the fourth one, for whatever reason, went with the moniker,"Alien Resurrection." It may have multiple meanings, but this time there are more than one alien again. So, now the franchise goes:
3. Die Hard Franchise
I've addressed these titles before in my 'Die Hard Retrospective' but here they are again. This is a special case where the series started out clear cut, but the director of the first movie wanted to make the third movie a true sequel to the first one and so he didn't want to acknowledge it being the actual third movie in the franchise, so they gave it a phrased title. And the sequels just followed suit in weird ways. Now they're puns on sayings. So, now the franchise goes:
Die Hard 2
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Live Free or Die Hard
A Good Day to Die Hard
2. Fast and Furious Franchise
This series is just a mess. They didn't know what they were doing when naming the first sequel, so the next installments had no rules to follow and just called themselves whatever they wanted. The worst offender is the fourth movie. It is practically the title of the first movie without the word "The" and using an ampersand for the word "And." It's the fourth movie and it bares a title way too close to the original. I've actually overheard people at a video store get confused on which movie they were talking about; the first or the fourth one. Then came "Fast Five." I liked it because I'm not a fan of the series and the movie broke out of the mold, so it's almost like a reboot title while acknowledging it's place. Then, the sixth movie came out and all the promotional material say "Fast & Furious 6", which is all well and good until the movie itself showcases the title as simply "Furious 6." I like it. It is a nice companion title to 'Fast Five.' But now, we have a franchise that goes like this:
The Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast & Furious
1. Rambo Franchise
It's pretty bad when you refer to the series as the "Rambo" series when the only one with the title "Rambo" is the fourth movie. This series just went through a complete title transition, but remains confusing. The original movie is just "First Blood." It features the character, John Rambo. The sequel demotes "First Blood" to a subtitle. The third movie just doesn't give a shit. They know what movie series this is. It's Rambo's series. But it's the third movie, so just call it "Rambo III." But in a shocking move, the fourth movie comes out and is just named "Rambo." Just "Rambo." So, now, when you talk about the movie "Rambo", you can be referring to any of these movies. The other day, I mentioned the fourth movie "Rambo" to my friend to which he responded,"The first one?"
So, now we have a franchise that goes like this:
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Love or hate the "Fast and the Furious" films, personally, I didn't start to like them until the fifth movie, but there is no denying how nice this story is.
Variety recently wrote an article about Justin Lin, the man behind over half of the F&F franchise and other under-the-radar movies. He was someone who didn't completely change the scope of movies nor have a significant impact, but very carefully and was very subtle about bringing Asian-American actors to a better aspect of the story. They are now part of the team and they get the girl. They aren't weighed down by their heritage. They are three dimensional, have flaws, have weaknesses, have strengths and ultimately follow through.
It's very inspiring to read articles such as this. I may even be able to follow in his footsteps. I may even be able to work with him. Stories like this always give me hope that I truly have a fighting chance to be where I want to be if I can unleash my passion.
Read some of the highlights of the article below! Click on the pictures for the full story.
Lin was still enrolled at UCLA when the first “Fast and the Furious,” directed by Rob Cohen, hit theaters in 2001. He remembers excitedly going to see it, having recently learned about the subculture of illegal street racing from a documentary made by some fellow students. He was particularly intrigued by the preponderance of Asian-American drivers, who would race their heavily modified imports against American-made muscle cars in a show of ethnic pride. But he was disappointed that in the debut picture “the only Asian-Americans are the bad guys.”
E.J. is just a simple man who loves movies. Don't judge.