Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Third Time is NOT the Charm

Watching 'Omen III: The Final Conflict' for the first time last night, I was reminded once again that movies with 'Part 3' or 'III' following their titles are best avoided. I'm not saying that sequels are usually bad, because there are many instances ('The Road Warrior,' 'The Empire Strikes Back,' 'Spiderman 2,' 'Aliens,' etc.) where the second installment manages to trump the original (although a significant argument could be made for 'Alien,' since the big budget James Cameron sequel was not a horror movie like the original was). But films almost universally fall flat when trying for three. And without delving into 'Part IV' and '5' sequels, since it is accepted that they will be bad, let's take a look at my list of favorite bad Part III's:

'Omen III: The Final Conflict'
As I stated above, I just saw this last night and was very disappointed. Being a big fan of 'The Omen' and having mixed thoughts on the second one, I had mild expectations for 'III.' But this movie really has nothing going for it, starting with its horrible decision to flamboyantly change the 'rules' implemented in 'The Omen.' In the original, Gregory Peck was told that to completely kill his demon child, he needed to use all seven of the special daggers and even spear them in a certain order. But in 'III' we are told that just one stab from a dagger will kill Damien, giving the director a chance to show many different, and stupid, failed attempts on Damien's life (seriously, if you're going to corner Damien on a bridge while he's surrounded by a bunch of dogs, you're asking for trouble. Me? I would just follow him into a bathroom and stab him at the urinal.)

In 'III' we meet a grown-up Damien who is positioning himself to be America's ambassador to the United Kingdom so he can kill the second-coming of Christ and eventually become president. There are again many silly deaths caused by his satanic powers, with the worst being the suicide by Damien's predecessor in the U.K. After being hypnotized by a dog, he goes to his office, calls a press conference, then takes the ribbon out of his typewriter, wraps it around the doorknobs to a pistol pointing at him at his desk so when the reporters come through the door, they will blow his head off. So did he think this up on his own or did the dog give him all the instructions? Had the dog tried this before? Would it really work? I better find out before I type anything more about this awful movie.

Jaws III
Simply one of the worst movies ever made. I can't imagine how Steven Spielberg must have felt watching his masterpiece reduced to D-grade slop in just a few years. While the second 'Jaws' was almost passable as entertainment, 'Jaws III' is impossible to witness without wincing at the Community College-quality blue screen work and the ulcer-inducing finale: the second shark (yes, there are two in this one, the first one was just a baby!) 'eats' a scuba diver holding an underwater explosive, but somehow forgot to swallow him, so his relatively unharmed body is still in the shark's mouth. This sets the stage for Dennis Quaid's character trying to reach inside the shark's mouth to pull the pin on the bomb held by a dead scuba diver, which results in the most poorly staged explosion ever witnessed: one frame the shark is there, the next frame there is a cloud of blood, wow!

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Yes, I know there are some who enjoy this atrocity, but I despise this unworthy finale to a great series. In 'Mad Max' and 'The Road Warrior' there are spectacular car chases and stunts, but in 'Beyond Thunderdome' our hero drives . . . a team of camels. Cool. The plot revolves around getting a smart midget to a city where he can turn the lights on by refining pig shit, and there's something about a society of children who think Max is their savior. It really matter though because it's not entertaining, it's too long and it's not Mad Max.

Ugh, that's all for now, thinking about all the pig shit puns in 'Beyond Thunderdome' put me in a bad mood.

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