NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The old saying about "death and taxes" as the only two constants in our universe needs to be updated to "death, taxes and movie sequels." It's become inevitable in today's Hollywood that if a movie is even moderately successful, then a sequel or two or more is not far behind it. And if the movie is a box office hit, then a sequel becomes less of a probability and more of a guarantee.
Sometimes movie studios just can't leave well enough alone. Sometimes Hollywood churns out sequels that are inferior to the original. Sometimes studios produce sequels that simply don't need to exist because the original films were so complete or because they waited more than a decade to continue the story. And sometimes we get a sequel that completely desecrates the first movie because it is so mind-numbingly terrible.
With that in mind, let's take a plunge together into the absolute worst of the worst with the 10 worst movie sequels ever made. For this list, we're sticking only with direct sequels. Third movies or later in a series are out of contention. Take a deep breath, we're going under...
10) Speed 2: Cruise Control
The first Speed movie was a surprisingly enjoyable, and surprisingly commercially successful, action flick in 1994. Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels and, of course, Keanu Reeves (whoa...) provided us with some thrills as Bullock and Reeves try to survive inside a bus that cannot drop below 50 mph or a bomb will go off and kill everyone inside the vehicle. So how did they follow up this high-octane thrill ride?
They set the sequel on a cruise ship. A large, slow cruise ship.
Keanu Reeves wisely decided not to return for the sequel, so his presence, welcome in the first movie, was missed in the second. Instead, we had a new love interest for Bullock's character that few people cared about and a plot that hardly excited anybody. Besides, to quote George Costanza, "How many people do you lose on a normal cruise? 30? 40?"
The sequence toward the end of the film in which the ship crashes into Saint Martin cost almost 25% of the film's $110 million budget and set records at the time for most expensive stunt. So there's that.
9) Blues Brothers 2000
John Belushi was one of the original stars of The Blues Brothers, based on the Saturday Night Live characters, in 1980 alongside Dan Aykroyd. He passed away far too young at the age of 33 in 1982, which means he never saw the horrendous sequel, Blues Brothers 2000.
The film takes precisely none of the charming and hilarious qualities of the original and instead presents a series of bizarre and unfunny events that fail to capture the spirit of the source material. Aykroyd returns for the sequel along with John Goodman, but even the two comedians can't lift this movie out of the pits.
It tries to recreate the cab sequence from the original but fails horribly. At one point, a voodoo practitioner named Queen Moussette, played by a young Erykah Badu, turns the Blues Brothers into zombies (no, we're not making this up). There are Russian mobsters, white supremacists and evangelical zealotry throughout the movie. Even appearances by stellar musicians such as Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin and James Brown aren't enough to help this movie.
Finally, this movie came out in 1998! Why is it called Blues Brothers 2000?!
8) Caddyshack II
The original Caddyshack is a comedy classic. Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray combined to create one of the most quotable and legitimately hilarious movies that still holds up 34 years later.
The 1988 sequel, unfortunately, lost two of those three men, as only Chase appeared in Caddyshack II. The second movie had a far less interesting plot and flat jokes. This was also a prime example of a movie that didn't need to exist, as the first Caddyshack was its own, self-contained film and the sequel had little connection to the original outside of the name.
The famous gopher returns from the first movie, but this time it can speak because...actually we have no idea why it can speak. Bill Murray was involved in the creation of the gopher in the first movie, so he sued the producers of the sequel during post-production for its use in the sequel. The two sides settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
7) Son of the Mask
One word comes to mind when thinking of this movie: Why?! This movie, nay, the very idea of the movie, could never have come to life and the world would have kept on spinning. Let's take a look at all the factors working against this one.
The Mask in 1994 showcased Jim Carrey and his brand of physical, expressive, frenetic comedy and helped turn him into the go-to funny man of the decade. In fact, 1994 was a breakout year for the actor with The Mask, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber. The sequel starred Jamie Kennedy, who brought us such gems as Malibu's Most Wanted and whose comedic chops don't touch Carrey's.
Once again, this is a movie that has no business existing based on the original. The Mask was a delightful movie. But it was over and done with once the credits rolled. There was no need to continue the story, especially 11 years later.
The jokes in this one were pretty cringe-worthy, and the plot pretty much rips off Norse mythology before Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston made Thor and Loki cool in the last few years.
6) Ocean's Twelve
Michael Scott from The Office once told his girlfriend, "This isn't Ocean's Eleven where you get together with your friends and you just have fun and you don't care about how it turns out." Far be it for us to disagree with the manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin, but that quote applies far more to Ocean's Twelve.
The first movie was a pretty solid remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film. The ensemble cast that featured George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and more brought energy and fun to the enjoyable comedy/heist film.
The sequel, on the other hand, was slow and overly complicated and delivered a tacked-on final twist that invalidated much of the film that preceded it. The charm of the ensemble cast in the first movie completely evaporates in Ocean's Twelve, as the actors are basically just hanging out together on screen and not delivering a quality product.
Top all that off with unnecessary cameos by Bruce Willis and Topher Grace, and a frustrating sequence in which Julia Roberts plays Tess Ocean AND herself in the same movie, and you've got a mess of a sequel that actually spawned a third installment.
5) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, was a fun time at the movies thanks to Johnny Depp's wonderful performance and a simple plot with a satisfying conclusion, which was an impressive feat for a movie based on a theme park ride.
Naturally, the follow-up was precisely the opposite. Dead Man's Chest introduced an unnecessary backstory for Captain Jack Sparrow with the squid-faced Davy Jones. It expanded the character roster with far too many characters such as Will's father Bootstrap Bill, Naomie Harris' character of Tia Dalma and one of the most mind-numbingly boring villains in recent history, Lord Cutler Beckett. Seriously, this man is dull, and his motivations are just as dry as his personality.
The Kraken, however, is awesome.
4) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
We have a confession to make. We didn't completely hate the first Transformers movie. It is by no means a spectacular piece of cinema, but it's a good "shut your brain off for two hours and watch robots tear each other apart" movie. The sequel, on the other hand, is nearly impossible to defend, and we're not even going to try.
This movie is a look into the mind of a madman. Actually, you could probably say that about most of Michael Bay's movies but this one deserves special recognition. The suspension of disbelief required for this film is staggering. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox's characters survive literally impossible situations, including one scene in which they drop headlights-first in a car from a height that should instantly kill them and then walk away like nothing happened.
As with all three Transformers movies, it's nearly impossible to tell which robots are the good guys and which are the bad guys as the trademark Michael Bay 360-degree spinning camera rotates around them and things explode like the entire location is getting carpet bombed. The plot, or the things that happen that loosely resemble a plot, is barely explained as we race from explosion to explosion.
But don't take my word for it. Let the excellent work of CinemaSins pick apart every detail in this movie for you (Warning: Some censored curses in the video):
3) The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix is one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever created and arguably one of the finest films ever made. It had groundbreaking action (the bullet time visual effects have almost become a joke nowadays, yet they were revolutionary and certainly influential at the time) and a deeply intricate plot that required the viewer to pay attention and forced them to think and ask questions.
The Matrix Reloaded took those elements, turned them up to 15 and let the sound deafen the audience before the amps exploded.
The sequel expanded on the plot of the first movie by continuing the war between the humans and the machines but introduced convoluted elements such as The Architect that muddled the narrative and left people confused and frustrated rather than stimulated and intrigued.
Reloaded also suffers from some painfully terrible CGI, particularly in this scene where Neo fights hundreds of Agent Smiths:
2) Batman & Robin
Okay, we know we said we were sticking to direct sequels for this list, but how could we NOT include Batman & Robin, a movie so terrible that it almost single-handedly killed the franchise? This 1997 movie is widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. Why? Let me count the ways.
The actors completely mail in their performances.
Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy inexplicably team up despite the fact their goals are completely opposite. So opposite, in fact, that if one of them were to succeed, the other would fail. But yeah, let's totally team up.
Alicia Silverstone's character comes from England but has no British accent.
Arnold Schwarzenegger gets top billing over George Clooney, the guy who plays Batman!
The logical inconsistencies and plot holes are so numerous to count that it would take pages to recount them all. So once again, we turn to CinemaSins (Warning: Some censored curses in the video):
The one shining light in this pit of darkness? Mr. Freeze speaks almost entirely in puns, which means we can watch this video and laugh anytime we want:
1) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
We know, we know. This is technically a prequel, so technically we broke our own rule again. But much like the previous entry on our list, we had to include this vilified entry in the Star Wars franchise.
The Phantom Menace debuted 16 years after Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, and proceeded to ruin everything we loved about the Star Wars franchise. You thought the story started with Luke Skywalker as he learned to control the Force and battled the Evil Empire? On the contrary, the story begins with Darth Vader as a bratty nine-year-old.
The sidekicks you know and love from the first movie, such as Chewbacca, are replaced with Jar Jar Binks, whose existence has been so hated by anyone who laid eyes on this movie that we don't even need to relive it here.
This film's existence is so useless, in fact, that the now-famous Machete Order for watching the entire Star Wars series completely removes Episode I. Unless you're itching to know about the intricacies of galactic trade law, you can completely skip this movie. For those interested, check out the Machete Order explanation here.
On the plus side, Episode I doesn't have Hayden Christensen trying to emote, so we'll count that as the most minor of victories.
Do you agree with our list? Would you have added or removed any movies? Do you think any of the movies are ranked too high or too low? Let us know in the comments below.