SaboTaj 

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Your eyes say, “Kill this franchise,” but your studio says, “Let’s do a prequel.”
This weekend, Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj will open and, if there is a God, close before MGM can make enough to cover its marketing expenses. It stars hard-working Kal Penn who, in the original, played a foreign student named Taj with no game. He’s also the guy who played Kumar in the much funnier (and smarter) Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The thing is, as funny as Penn can be, Van Wilder 2 is yet another example of studios raping commercially successful movies for profit by selling new spinoffs (often direct-to-video these days) as somehow related to the original movies despite the fact that they really aren’t at all. How else can you explain The Cutting Edge 2’s release, 14 years after the original — a film barely anyone remembers? Indeed, how else can you explain calling a movie Van Wilder 2 when, in truth, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the character Van Wilder? It’s all too much to comprehend, so, rather than waste time trying to make sense of senselessness, let’s look back at some of Hollywood’s most ignominious moments: at the most unnecessary, exploitative sequels of all time.  

Staying Alive (1983)
Tony Manero’s Saturday-night fever never broke and, instead of getting that checked out by a doctor, he opted to let Sylvester Stallone direct a movie about his quest for Broadway fame. This is from that dark time in John Travolta’s career everyone likes to say Pulp Fiction made up for, but, the truth is, his current choices in roles are no better. He just gets paid like he matters.  

Alien: Resurrection (1997)
As if Alien 3 didn’t suck enough, its one bright moment — Ripley throws herself into lava with the last living alien in her grasp — was completely undermined by Fox when they resurrected Ripley with cloning technology for this fourth Alien installment. Whores, every last one. And I’m talking to you too, Sigourney.         
American Pie Presents Band Camp (2005)
If American Pie resuscitated the teen sex comedy, then American Pie Presents Band Camp is the cinematic equivalent of a dude trying to go down on himself (in this case, dude = Universal Pictures). Sure, it might get him off if he can swing it, but why? Why, God, why?  

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
A friend of mine claims she was almost cast in the Sandra Bullock role in Speed, but thought the script was one of the worst she had ever read at the time. I wonder what she would’ve said about this seven-seas shitfest. Even Keanu Reeves, who has proven time and time again that he’ll do anything for a buck, wouldn’t sign on.  

Bring It On Again (2004)
Bring It On
was a deceptively smart movie about white suburbanites absconding with urban black culture, with a bunch of hot chicks in skimpy cheerleading outfits for the simpler minds out there. Bring It On Again was made by a group of people who apparently only enjoyed the original for said outfits.  

The Next Karate Kid (1994)
The “next” Karate Kid? You mean Ralph Macchio wasn’t available?  

Evening Star (1996)
This sequel to Terms of Endearment was the one and only shot Robert Harling got at directing. It pretty much killed his career. Unfortunately, Shirley MacLaine didn’t suffer the same fate for shitting all over the best role she ever took.  

Batman & Robin (1997)
George Clooney likes to take the blame for why Batman & Robin bombed, but don’t let him fool you. Sure, this is one of the few instances in which the pretty boy was utterly unwatchable onscreen, but this is all Joel Schumacher’s mess. How could the guy who put nipples on Batman go on to make Tigerland?  

The Godfather: Part III (1990)
You hold Francis Ford Coppola in such high regard because of Apocalypse Now and the first two Godfather movies, but the man who made those films vanished a long time ago. Whenever somebody says to me, “I heard a rumor that Coppola really directs all his daughter’s movies,” I can’t help but laugh. These days, he needs her help.  

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
The first time around, I wasn’t quite convinced that three hot chicks in vinyl could kick ass during a prolonged McG music video, but this absurdly silly sequel made the original television series look like Shakespearian drama by comparison. Somebody shoot McG, please. He makes Brett Ratner look good.  

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Havana Nights
had nothing to do with the original besides the fact that both involved dancing that Red States still consider inappropriate for some reason. By the way, Dirty Dancing now plays on the Family Channel. How dirty can it be, really?

More by Cole Haddon

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