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Sucky Sequels

French Connection 2 One of the Suckiest Sequels of All Time

By Robert T. Trate     February 24, 2009

Gene Hackman in the French Connection 2 now on Blu-ray
© Trate


Hollywood is packed with sucky sequels. Due to a shipping SNAFU I received a copy of John Frankenheimer’s French Connection 2 on Blu-ray instead of his original French Connection (both released today). In film school the original French Connection was required watching. That and the original Godfather made a pretty heavy week of discussion and debate. Much like the third Godfather film I had heard many people say that the French Connection 2 was unwatchable. Well I took the gamble on The Godfather Part 3 and thought, outside of the creepy incest and Sofia Coppola’s bad acting the film was bearable. Only once mind you but it wrapped up the story. I rolled the dice on Frankenheimer’s French Connection 2 and by the title of this week’s column you can see what I thought about the film.
For those of you that haven’t seen the French Connection 2 here is the break down. The much beloved (by fans) and feared (by crooks) “Popeye” Doyle journeys to Marseilles with the plans to work with the French police department to bring down drug kingpin Charnier (Fernando Rey). Once there Doyle is captured by Charnier and becomes addicted to heroin. It is up to Doyle’s French partner Barthélémy (Bernard Fresson) to find him and help him bring down Charnier.
It sounds simple enough however the language barrier causes difficulty for the English speaking audience. Obviously this plot device is to alienate the audience and give them the feeling of a fish out of water, similar to what Doyle is going through. However you can’t connect to anyone else in the film. It quickly becomes a one man show for Hackman and the only other people that speak English are his partner who hates him and the bad guys.
The film is also incredibly bloated. There are plenty of scenes that just go on and on and on. The car chase in the original French Connection is a cinematic must see. Here there are huge gun fights and drying out scenes that seem as if they’ll never end. I was suddenly reminded of another sucky sequel and that was the Matrix Reloaded. Did we need a motorcycle chase that went on forever? A wonder of CGI and stunts for sure but that entire sequence belonged on the special features. There wasn’t any danger element and it did nothing but prolong an already short and simple plot. Get Neo into that room to unlock all the answers. I guess mentioning the “rave” would just be beating an already dead horse.
For every Bride of Frankenstein or Terminator 2: Judgment Day, two perfect sequels, there are dozens of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Back to the Future 2’s. There is not a third installment of the French Connection but Frankenheimer certainly left the door open with his abrupt ending and instant closing credits.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was inevitable but did we really have to wait that additional thirty minutes where Jack and his crew are escaping from the cannibals? Could we have just jumped right into the plot? Sure, Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow is a joy to watch but after a while you just want to get on with the story. The film of course ends with a cliff hanger insuring we’ll shell out twelve more dollars to see how it all ends.
When Back to the Future 2 premiered it was the answer to a young fan boy’s dream. Finally we’ll see what happened to Doc and Marty in the future. What we got was them foiling an old Biff who had changed the future. It was very tough to stomach that this dolt could figure out how to operate the time machine, refuel and then get back. Besides the fact that he threw off the space time continuum and wouldn’t be able to return to his present (our future) because it would now be different. The whole film was an exercise in special effects and nothing more than a bridge to get to part 3. Sure the seeds were planted for Forrest Gump’s wizardry but that isn’t worth it. Back to the Future was an instant classic. Its sequels just plain suck.
I want to hear from you Maniacs! What other sequels just straight up suck?
Badland ~ Tom Carey, Joe Morton, Chandra West, and Vinessa Shaw
Cimmaron City~ George Montgomery
Crossings ~ Ryan Gibson, Kristin Richardson, Robert Youngs, and Larissa La Renne
Evil Roy Slade / Brothers O'Toole - Collector's Edition Embossed Tin! ~ Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Henry Gibson, and Edie Adams
Freedomland [Blu-ray] ~ Samuel L. Jackson, Philip Bosco, Julianne Moore, and Edie Falco
The French Connection [Blu-ray] ~ Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, and Tony Lo Bianco
French Connection 2 [Blu-ray] ~ Jean-Pierre Castaldi, Pierre Collet, Raoul Delfosse, and Jacques Dynam
The Long Hair of Death/An Angel for Satan
On the Other Hand, Death: A Donald Strachey Mystery ~ Chad Allen, Margot Kidder, Gabrielle Rose, and Sebastian Spence
Protégé ~ Andy Lau, Daniel Wu, Louis Koo, and Jingchu Zhang
Retrograde ~ Dolph Lundgren
Rollin' Westward/Rollin' Home to Texas ~ Tex Ritter
Ronin [Blu-ray] ~ Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, and Stellan Skarsgård
Svengali ~ Hildegard Knef, Donald Wolfit, Terence Morgan, and Derek Bond
Sitting Bull / Cry Blood Apache - 2 DVD Collector's Edition Embossed Tin ~ Dale Robertson, J.
Carrol Naish, Iron Eyes Cody, and Joel McCrea
The Tall Man ~ Tall Man
Vanishing Point [Blu-ray] ~ Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger, and Victoria Medlin
Windcroft ~ Joe Ryan, Vanessa Daniels, and Monica Knight
Yuma/Proud And Damned - 2 DVD Collector's Edition Embossed Tin ~ Chuck Connors, Aron Kincaid, Cesar Romero, and Clint Walker
Zulu (1964) [Blu-ray] ~ Michael Cain
Akira [Blu-ray]
Anime Fiction Vol. 1
Anime Fiction Vol. 2
Death Note Vol. 9 with Limited Edition Near Figurine
Death Note, Vol. 9
E's Otherwise: Complete Collection
King of Bandit Jing: Complete Collection
Kurau Phantom Memory: Complete Box Set
Love Hina: Complete Series Box Set ~ Yûji Ueda, Yui Horie, Masayo Kurata, and Yu Asakawa
Maria Watches Over Us Season 3 DVD Collection ~ Maria Watches Over Uc
Saint Seiya: Collection 2
Samurai 7 - Box Set [Blu-ray] ~ Inukai Junji, Zarah Little, Bill Flynn (II), and Maria Vu (II)
Save Me! Lollipop: The Complete Series
Shattered Angels: The Complete Series Box Set
Shonen Onmyouji: Volume Six ~ Shô Hayami, Daisuke Kishio, and Takahiro Mizushima
Sister Princess: Complete Collection
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder [Blu-ray] ~ Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, and Tress MacNeille
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
Charlie Chaplin - 2 DVD COLLECTOR'S EMBOSSED TIN SET! ~ Charlie Chaplin
What Just Happened? ~ Robert De Niro
What Just Happened? [Blu-ray] ~ Robert De Niro,
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage [Blu-ray] ~ Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, and Eva Renzi
Black Ice
Crippled Creek
Cyclops ~ Eric Roberts, Kevin Stapleton, Frida Farrell, and Craig Archibald
Dario Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet ~ Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Tom Felleghy, and Jean-Pierre Marielle
Epitaph ~ Jeon Mu-song, David L. McInnis, Kim Tae-woo, and Lee Dong-gu
The Fog (1979) [Blu-ray] ~ John Houseman, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, and Adrienne Barbeau
Friday the 13th Part 2 [1981] [Blu-ray] ~ Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, and Kirsten Baker
Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) [Blu-ray] ~ Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Nick Savage, and Rachel Howard
Green Eyed Monster
Haunting of Molly Hartley ~ Chace Crawford, Haley Bennett, AnnaLynne McCord, and Nina Siemaszko
House on Haunted Hill: 50th Anniversary ~ Leona Anderson, Jr. Elisha Cook, Carolyn Craig, and Howard Hoffman
The Last House on the Left ~ Sandra Cassel, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, and Fred J. Lincoln
The Legend Trip
Malabimba: The Malicious Whore ~ Mariangela Giordano, Elisa Mainardi, Patrizia Webley, and Enzo Fisichella
Night of the Jackals ~ Rose, Lawrence, Dobbs, and Angelo
Red Sands ~ Shane West, JK Simmons, Leonard Roberts, and Mercedes Masohn
Requiem for a Vampire ~ Paul Bisciglia, Dominique, and Philippe Gaste
The Scarlet Brand/Quick Trigger Lee ~ Bob Custer
Scorpion with Two Tails ~ Elvire Audray, Claudio Cassinelli, Van Johnson, and Paolo Malco
Scourge ~ Russell Ferrier, Nic Rhind, Robyn Ledoux, and Marina Pasqua
Succubus: The Demon ~ Markus Salo, Pekka Oinonen, Veera Toivanen, and Maarit From
Sweeny Todd/Incredible Crimes at the Dark House
Tales Of The Unexplained From The Veil - 2 DVD - Collector's Edition Embossed Tin ~ Boris Karloff, Patrick Macnee, Leo Penn, and Argentina Brunetti
The Whip and the Body/Conspiracy of Torture
The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice ~ Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtin, and Bruce Davison
Breaking Bad - The Complete First Season ~ Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, and Dean Norris
Just Shoot Me: The Complete 3rd Season ~ Laura San Giacomo, Enrico Colantoni, George Segal, and Wendie Malick
Cowboy Heroes of the Silver Screen - COLLECTOR'S EDITION 2 DVD EMBOSSED TIN ~ Walter Brennan, Edward Andrews, Ricky Nelson, and Warren Oates
Futurama Movies Collection ~ Futurama: Bender's Game and Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs
John Wayne 2 DVD Collection - COLLECTORS EDITION EMBOSSED TIN ~ John Wayne
Phantom of the Opera/Hunchback of Notre Dame/Shadows/The Shock ~ Lon Chaney
Roy Rogers: King Of The Cowboys - 2 DVD COLLECTOR'S EDITION EMBOSSED TIN! ~ Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, Andy Devine, and The Sons of the Pioneers
The Spy Collection Megaset (The Prisoner / The Persuaders / The Champions / The Protectors) ~ Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, and Robert Vaughan


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PhillipBrian 2/24/2009 12:53:03 AM

Highlander 2 is the  worst follow up movie through which i have ever suffered.

kwsupes 2/24/2009 3:45:29 AM

I liked Back to the Future 3 and part 2 was ok. Now that you mention it Old Biff returning to the original future he had changed is a little sketchy, but still as sequels go they were not as good as the first one, but they were good enough to be considered part of the storyline. The Matrix sequels on the otherhand took everything that we loved about the first movie and destroyed it. Talk about killing a classic, I can't say enough about how much I detest the sequels, I don't even own them and I found both of them in the $5 bin at Walmart. You know a movie sucks when it is not worth $5. Highlander 2 is probably the worst sequel ever made simply because it does not make any sense at all. I have never seen it all the way through, but the Renegade Cut they released years ago on DVD is better (from what I have seen of that version of the film.) The Klumps was pretty bad as sequels go, it was funny, but it really took things too far in terms of the humor.

jppintar326 2/24/2009 5:01:00 AM

French Connection 2 is one of the most underrated sequels ever up there with Godfather III.  Yes there is a middle part that sags a bit but I enjoyed it and I don't think the ending is ambiguous at all.  The French Connection is dead.  The end.  The original is somewhat overrated because it has the abrupt ending, not the second one.  Back to the Future 2 is slightly funnier while Back to the Future 3 is slightly better.  The car chase in Matrix Reloaded was probably the highlight of the entire trilogy.  The Matrix is the most overrated scifi film ever because I never bought for a minute that the human race was going to depend on Keanu Reeves to save it.  He was just so miscast,  I never got into the trilogy at all.  Unintentional laughs in Reloaded and Revolutions kept me going but the original is still a long bore to me.  Pirates of the Caribbean movies are all overrated because nobody seemed to know how to edit them.  The first one could have been trimmed by at least half an hour and the sequels could have been merged together into one movie easily.  I also never understood why everybody found Jack Sparrow so lovable when I would have left him in Davy Jones's locker forever.

StarlightGuard 2/24/2009 5:20:53 AM

I'm sorry, but I must read that again.

(reading, reading, reading)

What, you DIDN'T like Back To The Future 2?

That surprises, as I've seen a few (and heard as well) opinions that stated 2 was the best.

I never saw BTTF in theaters. Or any sequels.

I saw it all, one night, because my brother rented all three of them, and we watched them back to back all in one go and that's when I fell madly in love with the trilogy.

I know a bad sequel -- Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey. I still own it though.

And you pay twelve bucks to see a movie? Hell the most I've ever paid is 6, and even that has been lowered to 4 or 5 bucks.

LittleNell1824 2/24/2009 6:06:39 AM

Higlander 2, yes... awful.. disappointing... really, really disappointing.

hanso 2/24/2009 6:27:25 AM

Highlander 2 is Slumdog Millionaire when compared to Highlander: The Source!

I'll throw in any of the Crow sequels and Lost Boys: The Tribe. 

Godfather 3 is not underrated, that film sucks straight up.  Godfather I & II are masterpieces!

hanso 2/24/2009 6:28:20 AM

Back to the Future 2 owns!

Wiseguy 2/24/2009 6:44:44 AM

TDK sucks, then again so did Begins

StarlightGuard 2/24/2009 6:58:16 AM

ah, wiseguy's just gonna keep pushing pins in TDK's voodoo doll


(I still liked it hanso....still hate Apatow in Ghost Busters though)

stupidmania 2/24/2009 7:01:16 AM

 Wrong Back to the Future 2 is awesome! I still want that hat!

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