There are bad reboots, and then there are lackluster (or borderline appalling) continuations. Like Frankenstein's monster, desperate for love, franchises often try to pass the torch from one actor, cast, or continuity to another, only to be met with disregard, apathy, or even anger from the fan base and general audiences.
These spinoffs, remakes, or recastings often feel disingenuous - cookie-cutter cash grabs. While the original installments were entirely their own (most of the time), the mock versions fail to take off in popularity the way their predecessors did. Sometimes, they fail so horrendously, the studio doesn't just decide to abandon the franchise but brings back the original versions, almost as an attempt at redemption (and another way to pad the studio's pockets). Once the box office equivalent of an apology is received, the newer versions are ignored or otherwise slaughtered on the vine (think the Terminator franchise's missteps or Lucasfilm's failed suggestion of a Shia LaBeouf Indiana Jones spinoff).
With that in mind, here are some times Hollywood tried to pass the proverbial torch and audiences looked the other way. Vote up the installments that deserve to be ignored and forgotten.
- 1Photo: Paramount Pictures
Before 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford hadn’t donned his signature fedora since 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. At the ripe age of 64, Ford returned as the iconic professor/archaeologist that became a household name after 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Taking place during the Cold War, Crystal Skull saw Dr. Jones searching for the legendary Crystal Skull of Akator in Peru. The adventure reunited Indy with his love interest from the first film, Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood, along with her son, Shia LaBeouf's Mutt Williams... surprise, Mutt turns out to be Indy's illegitimate son. At the end of the film, Indiana and Marion wed in a church; a gust of wind blows Jones's fedora toward Mutt, who picks it up and looks at it (as if preparing to put it on). Before he can do so, Indy character snatches it from him and walks out of the church with his new bride.
That moment at the end of the film implied that future installments may star LaBeouf. However, not only is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull considered by many to be the worst installment in the franchise (Indy and aliens don't mix), but LaBeouf proved ill-suited to carry a family-friendly franchise. LaBeouf's reputation has dramatically improved over the years (as has his credibility as an actor), but his performance as Mutt Williams still pales in comparison to the everlasting appeal of Harrison Ford. Is it even an Indiana Jones movie without Indiana Jones?
For their part, Ford and Steven Spielberg will be reuniting for Indiana Jones 5 - presumably without LaBeouf.Hard pass?
Following films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Jason Statham made himself into an action star with the fast-paced, over-the-top Transporter franchise. For six years, Statham played Frank Martin, a driver for hire who will "transport" anyone, or anything, anywhere for the right price. Following 2008's Transporter 3, the studio believed there was still money to be made even without Statham. Therefore, Transporter: The Series premiered (lasting just two seasons) and the feature films were rebooted with 2015's The Transporter Refueled.
Refueled served as a prequel to the Statham films, with Ed Skrein replacing Statham in the role of Martin. Overall, the prequel felt desperate to live up to its predecessors, heavily relying on the formula already in place. The result put Skrein in a lose-lose situation, being compared to Statham every step of the way. Maybe, had The Transporter Refueled attempted to reinvent itself and be original (like how The Transporter built upon getaway movies that came before it), it would've seemed less like a vehicle without its driver.Hard pass?
The 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Was A Box Office Disappointment, So The Studio Quickly Re-Signed The Original TeamPhoto: Columbia Pictures
It’s hard to compete with the chemistry of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver in Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. The comedic nature of those films cannot be replicated. It has proved impossible. 2016's Ghostbusters reboot tried to do this by teaming up an all-star cast of Saturday Night Live alums, including Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Leslie Jones. Chris Hemsworth even filled the "damsel in distress" role as their receptionist, Kevin. With cameos by Murray, Aykroyd, and Hudson, the reboot did everything it could to tap into the original’s magic. But the film did not meet expectations at the box office; even the critics that liked it admitted it paled in comparison to the original.
Now, the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife - from Jason Reitman (son of Ivan) - is set to take place in the same universe as the originals and feature the original characters. Still, early looks at the film suggest its tone will be more comparable to Stranger Things or It than the early entries in the franchise. The studio may have learned that lightning doesn't strike three times.Hard pass?
- 4Photo: Columbia Pictures
2002's "spy thriller" XXX proved to be the perfect star vehicle for Vin Diesel; it was loud, nonsensical, and glamorous. Following extreme sports athlete/daredevil Xander "XXX" Cage as he's recruited by an unconventional NSA agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), XXX never took itself too seriously. Some people hated it, others loved it for being endearing muscle-clad nonsense, and ultimately it made over $277 million at the box office.
The follow-up, XXX: State of the Union, positioned Ice Cube as its star instead of Diesel. This time, the film followed ex-con Darius Stone, whom Gibbons believes to be the only man capable of stopping a group of extremists. Critics called State of the Union less inspired and more implausible than its predecessor, and it made a little over $70 million at the box office (with a budget of $87 million). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 2017's XXX: Return of Xander Cage brought back its titular hero and capitalized on Diesel's ineffable appeal.Hard pass?