We continue to get major headaches over the propensity of production companies to produce sequels, mainly to generate more money than produce a film well worth watching and being preserved in the annals of good filmmaking. We do agree, however, that in certain instances, the sequel is warranted, mainly because the story continues in a logical sequence, sometimes with appropriately placed flash-backs to remind audiences of what happened before. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy is a good example of this. But then there are those sequels, far too many too mention in this small space, which are degenerative where film art is concerned.
Learning to quit while ahead
Hollywood action legend, Sylvester Stallone, may have utilized a good pair of boxing gloves during training for the original Rocky film to successfully create some authenticity in some of the boxing ring scenes, but like the legendary Muhammad Ali, Stallone did not master the sporting scheme of quitting while still ahead. For those not familiar with the legend, Ali liked to brag that he was The Greatest, even vainly producing a dramatic biographical film of the same title in which he actually took the leading role himself.
In later years, Will Smith, an accomplished actor in his own right delivered an Oscar-nominated performance in a far better film, Ali. The original Ali’s true claim to fame was that be remains the only heavyweight boxing champion to have won the world title three times during a long career. But he also paid a heavy price, suffering irreparable brain damage as a result of his exertions.
Never nearly as good as Paul Newman’s Someone Up There Likes Me and Robert de Niro’s Raging Bull, Sylvester Stallone delivered a nostalgic production in the form of Rocky for which his film was acclaimed as Best Picture at the Academy Awards at the time.
Cheesy one-liners and tragic losses
But, as in life, people, famous or not, are often remembered for their failures and previous accomplishments are quickly forgotten. And still Stallone has not learned his lesson. His latest follow-up to the Rocky Empire, Creed, is yet another flop for which he will be duly remembered. Now, whether this was intentional or not remains to be seen, but Stallone’s three movie series of The Expendables was nothing short of hilarious in which the whole gamut of legendary Hollywood action men, all good Republican pals into the bargain, romped about and had a jolly good time for old timer’s sake.
Famous for his cheesy one-liners, former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, forthrightly remarked to Bruce Willis in one of the many action scenes that ‘we belong in a museum’. On that remark, critically, we’d like to argue otherwise. The Fast and the Furious had a very long run of sequels, curiously for all the right reasons.
This action-packed series was extremely popular among audiences, so quickly-made sequels made sense. It was only after the tragic death of Paul Walker that cast and crew decided that enough was enough.