Movie sequels that went their own way

Clint Eastwood himself directed only one Dirty Harry picture, "Sudden Impact"
Clint Eastwood himself directed only one Dirty Harry picture, “Sudden Impact.”

Sequels come in few flavors. Some continue a storyline. Some hit repeat. Others, like the James Bonds, help a franchise endure by shape-shifting, adapting for the times and swapping out stars as they age or move on. Very few completely change course midstream. With “The Hangover Part III” not being about a hangover, unlike parts I and II, we round up films that mess with formula — and sometimes get burned.

‘Sudden Impact’ (1981)
Clint Eastwood made his directorial debut with “Play Misty for Me” in 1971, the same year he first embodied rebel cop “Dirty” Harry Callahan. The five-film series had mostly been helmed by genre directors of varying quality. For the fourth, Eastwood — a more laid back and thoughtful breed of filmmaker than, say, Ted Post (“Magnum Force”) — took over. Though it’s the one that features the “Make my day” bit, it’s a slower and more probing film than the rest, with Harry finding unexpected empathy with a vengeful murderer (Sondra Locke) he’d historically have gunned down with his .44. Regardless of this, it’s the series’ biggest grosser.

‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’ (1982)
John Carpenter originally envisioned his series as boasting new villains with every film. But even though the first sequel brought back Michael Myers, the third adhered to this vision, thus confusing everyone when the baddie turned out to be 62-year-old Dan O’Herlihy, playing the owner of a Halloween costume manufacturer hell-bent on a bizarre form of domination.

‘Army of Darkness’ (1993)
“Evil Dead” goes medieval! Ash, the survivor of “The Evil Dead” and its comic sequel/sorta-remake, was suddenly whisked to the Middle Ages for no reason other than, “Wouldn’t that be kind of awesome if a gorefest franchise did that?”

‘The Neverending Story III’ (1994)
It’s probably appropriate that the first “Neverending Story” film only got about halfway through the book’s events. A barely seen 1990 sequel covered, rather unfaithfully, the rest. Even fewer people saw the third, which goes with its own narrative but spends most of the time away from magical Fantasia and in the real world, including malls, where people run from the bad guy (played by a young Jack Black).

‘Babe 2: Pig in the City’ (1998)
There could have easily been endless nice films about Babe, the talking pig, on his farm with talking animals. But the first sequel killed these prospects dead by taking our pig into a mega-city and going dementedly, creepily, wonderfully dark. Parents famously freaked, but most kids would adore this.

‘Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning’ (2012)
When no one was looking, “Universal Soldier — a modest hit for Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren back in 1992 — lived on as a direct-to-video mainstay about the cyborg battler. Anyone who caught up with its sixth entry would have been shocked to see it barely resemble the original: Van Damme is the bad guy, the star is just some guy (Scott Adkins) on a routine revenge mission and, most glaringly, the film, by director John Hyams, is very well-made and a lot of fun.

‘The Hangover Part III’ (2013)
There’s no hangover. There’s no wedding. And there’s nothing of equal or even comparable invention to dudes trying to find out what they did when they were blackout crazy drunk. Still, at least they tried. (And they failed.)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…