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Movie trilogies – That Difficult Third Album: The Ugly

August 23rd, 2014 by Dave Bowling 2 Comments

We’ve seen the great and the crap of movie trilogy third parters. Now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to delve into the truly risible. The poisonous waste of filmmaking. Enjoy…

The Matrix Revolutions

Oh yes. A film so utterly dire it didn’t even make the ‘bad’ list.

The Matrix was, frankly, an Earth-shattering moment in Hollywood cinema. Two unknown, relatively inexperienced filmmakers were handed a budget and told to go nuts. And go nuts they did, delivering a rocking adventure that was a treat for the eyes (and no comments about Carrie Anne Moss’s PVC trousers). Reloaded didn’t live up to the original but left a LOT of questions unanswered that promised the third part would be awesome. We didn’t know what the whole thing with the ‘ghost’ programmes was, we didn’t know how the Oracle was connected to the machines, we didn’t know how Agent Smith was replicating himself at an alarming rate and most importantly we didn’t know how Neo stopped those Squids right at the end. Was “reality” just another level of the Matrix used to keep troublemakers in check?

Actually, no. The first three of those weren’t really tackled at all and the answer to the last turns out to be that Neo is, in fact, Jesus. Yeah. And then there’s the climactic Neo-Smith showdown which looks like a badly-executed anime fight scene. All it was missing was the two screaming at each other in Japanese and firing lasers from their eyes.

In all honesty, I’d have been less offended at paying to see this steaming pile of crap if it had been two hours of the Wachowski brothers laughing like lunatics while swimming in a sea of money like Scrooge McDuck and flipping the rods at the audience. Coz that’s what it felt like.

RoboCop 3

There comes a time in everyone’s career when it’s maybe time to stand back and reassess the direction you’re going in. Why the hell Frank Miller didn’t do it before penning this truly terrible third instalment in the RoboCop franchise is anyone’s guess. I mean, RoboCop 2 was bad enough but this is just…

Anyway, instead of the brutal, visceral depiction of violence in its rawest form in the first movie, we now have a video game style of simply zapping bad people. OCP is now run by Rip Torn, who recruits a group of mercenaries led by a cardboard cut-out Rent-A-Limey officer. This being Hollywood, the very fact he’s English means that he must be more evil than Hitler, Stalin and Bieber combined. Lewis is killed off in the first half of the movie by him, for Odin’s sake! How much more evil do you want?

So anyway, Murphy befriends a little girl who’s a member of a resistance group fighting Delta City construction crews and OCP’s hired goons. So he joins them, has a heart replacement operation performed in the least hygienic environment imaginable, finds that he can fly (no, seriously) and takes out three killer androids operated by OCP’s parent Japanese company. Oh yeah, OCP, the company that makes EVERYTHING, is now owned by someone else.

If this film has one bright point, it’s executives leaping to their deaths as OCP’s share price drops over very public issues with Delta City’s construction programme. Given the issues the economy’s been facing over the last decade due to the actions of such greedy bast#@ds, it’s kinda refreshing. Otherwise there is nothing at all redeemable in this waste of celluloid.

They kill Lewis and Peter Weller isn’t in it.

Austin Powers in: Goldmember

Sweet baby Jeebus and the orphans.

Really? The first was pretty damn good, the second had its moments but this was an overly complicated mess that was only remotely salvageable by a few sharp Michael Caine quips.

So yeah, Austin’s dad is kidnapped, he goes back in time to find him, Beyonce and a guy with a gold wang are both involved somewhere and oh, who bloody cares? The joke ran out in the second film and this is nothing but a waste of your time and money. And what happened to Heather Graham and her velvet hotpants?

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Riding in on the coattails of Scream, the poor cousin of slasher pics goes from bad to truly awful with its third outing. Eight years after the second movie, a completely different cast of characters find themselves being stalked by a hook-wielding serial killer fisherman who eventually turns out to be the same guy from the first two films, only he’s dead.

So, serial-killing zombie. Sounds a blast, right? Ah, no. Somehow they manage to balls this concept up so completely that watching it probably lowers your intelligence by 10 IQ points. This film has the distinction of holding a 0% rating amongst professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Heaven & Earth

The third in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam trilogy, this follows on from the superlative Born On The Fourth of July (proof Tom Cruise can act when pushed far enough) and Platoon (proof that Willem Defoe was born to play Norman Osborne) but is nowhere near as good as either of them. Abandoning the realistic depiction of the Vietnam War in Platoon and the homefront faced by returning soldiers in July, Stone instead goes for the experience of civilians in South Vietnam during the war. And misses the target by a mile.

The film tells the story of Le Ly, a girl growing up in rural southern Vietnam. Captured, tortured and raped by both the Viet Minh and South Vietnamese government because both sides suspect her of being a traitor, she and her family are forced to move to Saigon where Le Ly works as a housemaid for a rich family. She’s knocked up by the husband of said family, sent back to the sticks in disgrace and meets Tommy Lee Jones’s shellshocked Marine Corps sergeant, who takes her back to America after the war. There he has a nervous breakdown and shoots himself. Yep, more touchy-feely stuff from the man who brought us Natural Born Killers.

The main problem with the film is that it doesn’t know what the hell it wants to be. Is it a social commentary? A war film? A soap opera? Whatever it’s supposed to be, it doesn’t really work and we end up with a clunky script that has little or no strength in its narrative. Also, it’s unremittingly grim in a way that puts even Ken Loach to shame. This is not recommended Saturday night post-pub viewing. Stick the Avengers on instead.

Any Disney Straight-to-Video Third Part

They all suck the big one.

The Godfather Part III

And we finally end up at the most infamous crap third parter in history.

For years, Francis Ford Coppola was pressured by Paramount into making a third Godfather film. He managed to resist until 1990, 16 years after Part II, when poverty made the decision for him. The result is a disjointed mess that is totally incomprehensible unless you watched the other two a dozen times each, but basically it sees Michael Corleoni reach old age and die following divorce and a land deal that got the Pope assassinated. Yeah.

Amazingly, some people actually like this steaming pile of camel crap. I don’t. It’s bloody awful. Al Pacino is always entertaining but the whole film feels like exactly what it is: something everyone did for the money. Performances, writing and even the direction at times feel phoned in. This is the Stone Roses Reunion Tour of movies: a franchise that was ground-breaking at the start but should’ve been left at that; instead of everyone coming back together for no creative reason, just to make some CASH! I don’t care how many dating site adverts used it to promote online romance, this film blows noodles. Enough said.

Seriously, what next? I honestly fear for my own sanity if Disney decides to follow up their acquisition of Lucasfilm with two more Indiana Jones flicks. You hear me, Eisener? You even think about it and I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger! And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!

Dave was born at an early age to parents of both sexes. He has been a self-confessed geek for as long as he can remember, having been raised through the 80s on a steady diet of Doctor Who, Star Trek, Red Dwarf and (sigh) Knight Rider. Throw the usual assortment of Saturday morning cartoons into the mix and we have something quite exceptional: someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of utter tosh; a love of giant robots and spaceships fighting; and the strange desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound while wearing his underpants over his trousers. The death ray is currently in the works and one day you shall all bow to him, his giant space station and fleet of funky orange space shuttles...