Published on February 18th, 2016 | by Padraic Coffey


The Top Five Worst Sequel Titles

Having starred in John McTiernan’s original Predator as the first of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commando unit to fall prey to the titular alien, Shane Black is returning to the franchise almost thirty years later as writer and director of a third sequel. Sadly, Black’s skill behind a typewriter (or whatever he uses) has not been employed in the naming of said sequel, unimaginatively titled The Predator.

Which got us thinking, what are the laziest ever sequel names? Ones which required almost no thought on behalf of the studio, other can, ‘how can we stress the connection between this film and its predecessor’?

Final Destination Best

5. The Final Destination (2009)

Sequel to: Final Destination (2000)

Final Destination was an enjoyable subversion of the teen slasher film craze of the late Nineties, spurred on by the success of Wes Craven’s Scream. In it, characters are chased, not by a masked killer, but by the grim spectre of death, devising ways of offing youths in increasingly gory fashion. Having spawned two sequels – Final Destination 2 and Final Destination 3 – studio New Line Cinema may have thought of drawing the series to a close. Still, couldn’t they have come up with a more creative title for the fourth in the series than simply The Final Destination? What’s more, it wasn’t even the final Final Destination. Final Destination 5 followed in 2011.

Rambo Best

4. Rambo (2008)

Sequel to: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

Alongside Rocky, Rambo is the character for whom Sylvester Stallone is best known. He made his debut in First Blood back in 1982, which is surprisingly free of explosive jingoism when stacked alongside its sequels. However, it was Rambo: First Blood Part II which catapulted John Rambo to worldwide ubiquity, inspiring then-US President Ronald Reagan to adopt the nickname ‘Ronbo’ in the process. Rambo III was next in line in 1987, but Stallone would not return to the character for another 20 years, until 2008. Perhaps the studios felt a younger generation may need reminding of who he was, or that adding the numerals ‘IV’ at the end could lead to some sort of confusion. The solution? Simply call the film Rambo. Even though that was technically the title of the film back in 1985. Pure laziness.

Honourable mention goes to Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, his sequel to the star-making Rocky – whose makers couldn’t be bothered to think of a better title, other than adding his surname.

X-Men Best

3. The Wolverine (2013)

Sequel to: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Hugh Jackman has played the character of John ‘Wolverine’ Logan a staggering seven times over 15 years (even if one of those times was his gloriously profane cameo in X-Men: First Class). That’s the kind of longevity which is up there with Sean Connery’s stint as James Bond. Having starred in the original X-Men trilogy, Jackman was given his own film: X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Critics weren’t overly-impressed, but the inability of fans’ appetites to be satiated led to another standalone film for the character. They could have called it anything. What did they go for? Why, The Wolverine, of course! So much thought put into that title.

The Thing best

2. The Thing (2011)

Prequel to: The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s 1982 science-fiction remake is beloved by horror fans. Before the gory excesses of Rob Bottin’s make-up and effects rear their head, strange goings-on at a Norwegian base in the Antarctic are alluded to, including the site of man frozen solid, having slashed his own throat and wrists. If you ever wondered how such a ghastly scene arose, this 2011 film set about explaining it. OK, so it’s technically a prequel, and not a sequel, but why on earth did producers think having an identical name to Carpenter’s film was a good idea? Some even mistook it for a remake of one of their favourite genre pieces. It may not have held a candle to Carpenter’s version, but Matthijs van Heijningen’s film deserved more thought than this lazy title.

Fast and Furious

1. Fast & Furious (2009)

Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious (2000)

It’s hard to imagine now, given the series slipped into self-parody years ago, but The Fast and the Furious was once a quite solemn ‘reinterpretation’ of the plot of Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break – cop goes undercover with thrill-seeking criminals, find himself in over his head, with consequences… The title itself was identical to a Roger Corman film from the 1950s, but few had seen it, so what was the harm? The studio clearly liked it anyway – enough to effectively reuse it for the fourth in the series, bar two uses of the definite article. Imagine a sequel to The Matrix simply titled Matrix. Or a sequel to The Bourne Identity simply called Bourne Identity.

Yes, Fast & Furious is that bad a title.


About the Author

Padraic Coffey is a freelance writer and film critic who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. He has written for the Sunday Independent, Ireland's largest circulation newspaper, and Trinity College, Dublin, ranked in the top 100 best universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings in 2014. Additionally, his film criticism has appeared on Volta - Ireland's first VOD website - as well as sites such as Taste of Cinema, Film Jam and Head Stuff.

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