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

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…