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Raiders of the Lost Dignity

April 22, 2008 - Wes Burns
I'm not happy that movies like “Meet the Spartans” exist. In fact those type of movies, the cheap pop-culture references in lieu of jokes type of movie, serve as a type of black hole of humor, destroying all forms of comedy or taste that even comes near. Alas these type of films seem to be the standard fare for modern movies. For every three or four low intellect offerings like “Good Luck Chuck” you get the occasional “Superbad”, a hilarious movie in its own right that has the added benefit of being original.

So the ratio is about 80% dreck to 20% quality product. I think most people are comfortable with those numbers. You can see a lot of ads for terrible movies but there is always a small percentage of films at the local theater that usually at least worth a matinée.

That is to say it WAS worth it until that 80% of bad films started to fill their ranks not just with 90 minute long examples of Eddie Murphy's lack of self respect but rather movies that I remember being good. Not the remake or even the much maligned “Special Edition”; no I'm talking about the dreaded post-mortem sequel.

I first started to notice it last year with the release of “Die Hard 4”. I am a huge fan of the first “Die Hard” (to date still my favorite Christmas movie) and the third in the series was fantastic...”Die Hard 2” was acceptable. I must say I went to the theater in eager anticipation.

And that anticipation was met, once again, with bitter disappointment. One of the great things about “Die Hard” was that the hero, John McClane, spend the majority of the movie out gunned, out numbered, and close to death. McClane is an everyman, its what makes him relatable while he's jumping off of roofs and avoiding helicopters.

In “Die Hard” McClane is a super cop, in “Die Hard 4” McClane is super human. In the first movie it takes him over 30 minutes to get the cop's attention while in the last movie he destroys a helicopter with a motorcycle. What happened?

12 years happened. By the time that this late in the game sequel was made 12 years had passed since the last movie. No sequel is going to be anywhere near as good when you are trying to make a successor to a film that is over a decade old; not that that seems to be stopping anyone.

Stallone is responsible for quite a bit of this phenomenon with his late in the game sequels “Rocky Balboa” and “Rambo” as well as Schwarzenegger and his atrocious “Terminator 3”. Now the Internet (birthplace of fact) told me recently that there is about to be a new Indiana Jones movie. Perhaps I was a bit lost on the meaning but wasn't the last one called “The Last Crusade?”

They can't leave Indiana Jones well enough alone? I saw the trailer for the movie; how do you go from working in one picture with Sean Connery to the next picture working with “the kid who was in Transformers”? And why is the Transformers kid dressed up like The Fonz? Did Harrison Ford really need the money that bad?

New rule: if more than 10 years have passed since the last film in a series was produced than you don't get to go back and make another sequel...also no more prequels. And if anyone out there is in a position to stop the release of the new Indiana Jones movie please do whatever you feel is necessary; my childhood will thank you.


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