Every time you watch a movie sequel there’s a certain factor of “Really? This is happening to these guys AGAIN?” As someone with a bizarre affection for sequels, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief a second, third -probably not 4th- time in a row to enjoy all the Back In The Habit action. Even Spider-Man 3’s bullshitpalooza plot point of the Symbiote that just happens to land a few feet away from Parker is the least of the movie’s sins.
But sometimes the sequel is just a little bit too much of a stretch. As is the case in:
7. Escape From L.A. (1996)
In the Hell on Earth dystopia that was 1998, Snake Plissken caught a lucky break. Snake, a once-decorated WWIII hero who fought bravely on the USSR front (womp womp), had been caught by the United States Police Force for breaking into the Federal Reserve. That’s a major felony and he was completely fucked. But as luck would have it, Air Force One had just crashed in Manhattan Prison and Snake gets an immunity deal to fly in and save the President. Sweet. Snake saves the day and he rides off into the smog-choked sunset. The end.
Fast Forward to 2013.
Snake has decided to return to his criminal ways and despite being the future’s answer to John McClane, still manages to get captured again. He’s about to be sentenced, this time to L.A. prison- but hold up! There’s ANOTHER catastrophe at ANOTHER island city prison and Snake is made ANOTHER deal to infiltrate and save the day.
Like I said, I can forgive the whole wrong place, wrong time situation happening a few times to a hero. But this is getting arrested for the same crime in two different states that happen to be at the center of the same national emergency 15 years apart. Nonsense.
Improbability Factor: A teenage girl using the word “literally” properly.
6. Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission (1985)
In the original Dirty Dozen, it’s spring of 1944, and the Allied Forces will try any and all insanity to shut Hitler’s shit down. Cue Major John Reisman (played by Lee Marvin). He’s the hothead, never-played-by-the-rules Major who nobody wants to work with. But he’s a damn good Major. Solution? Reisman is hired to lead a rag-tag group of criminal soldiers to BLAH BLAH BLAH the Dirty Dozen save the day and Hitler gets Awful Waffled.
Fast forward to Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission. It’s still 1944 and Reisman is in hot water again. He’s on trial for trying to steal some steaks from high-ranking officials (that he presumably was going to share with BJ and the rest of the 4077th). He Plissken’s his way into a deal and off he goes to lead another rag-tag group to blah blah blah. Sounds plausible enough. So what’ the improbability?
Here’s Reisman in The Dirty Dozen:
Aaaand here he is in Dirty Dozen II:
Reisman has clearly aged decades in a few months. The Next Mission was made almost twenty years later and MGM thought that nobody would notice or care that Reisman was 3/4ths the way through his Star-Baby evolution.
Improbability Factor: The Simpsons returning to the center of pop-culture.
5. The Hangover II (2011)
I’m not wasting much time on this one. One of the most deliberately copy-and-paste sequels ever made, three guys make the same needle in a haystack mistake playing out the same roles the entire day at two different weddings where someone had decided it made sense to have the bachelor party the night before the wedding. A lot of credit and cash gets thrown the way of a whole cast and director who all have much better work on their resume. Everyone Loses.
Improbability Factor: A Big Bang Theory episode inducing the phenomenon known as “laughter” from an educated adult.
4. Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
First Beverly Hills Cop– Detroit cop Axel Foley gets a lead on a case of personal interest that leads him to Beverly Hills.
Second Beverly Hills Cop– Axel goes to Beverly Hills to help his new cop buddies solve another case that’s turned personal.
THIRD Beverly Hills Cop– Axel stumbles across ANOTHER case that can only be solved by traveling to Beverly Hills.
COME ON! Do you know how FAR away these two cities that have ZERO ties to each other are? Do you know how many other big cities are between Hills and Detroit that would be so much more convenient for either city to do business and/or crime with? Well I’m pretending I do and you can Wiki that yourself, if you like.
Improbability Factor: Someone placing Chill Factor on their list of favorite films.
3. Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
Must. Not. Criticize. My. Middle. Child….
We all know the story of Die Hard. What a rough night McClane had that fateful Christmas Eve.
Exactly two years later (or one year, if deleted scenes are canon), McClane finds himself in the SAME hostage situation, with his wife hostage again, while she’s stuck on a plane with her nemesis reporter, Dick Thornburg, who was also at the Nakatomi hostage crisis- all in a different city where McClane is a cop with no jurisdiction on the same day of the year this already happened to him, all AGAIN.
This is equal to the odds of you having witnessed the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombing with your wife on the inside/surviving both. Oh and throw in you thwarting both attacks and you’ve got:
Improbability Factor: getting struck by lightening, winning two separate Powerballs, and Katie Holmes not being the weakest actor in a movie all in one week.
2. The entire Star Wars canon aka ‘The Impossible Droid Journey’
C-3PO and R2-D2 have a whole lot of explaining to do. The two of them just happen to meet during the Age of the Republic, befriend young pre-whiny bitch Anakin Skywalker and are present for his zany journey to becoming the right (mechanical) hand of the supreme evil of the galaxy. The Republic falls, the Empire rises and all our characters go their separate ways, hardly any of them are aware of the fate of the others.
Flash forward to the days of the Empire/Rebellion War and The Droid Odd Couple have some how coincidentally been given a super important message by Anakin’s daughter who Anakin is hunting, then fall into the possession of Anakin’s son who happens to be living on the same county of the same planet as Anakin’s former trainer. This is a series of coincidences whose improbability is exponentially multiplied by the fact that this is an entire traversable GALAXY in which all these people are running into each other.
I guess you could argue that the Star Wars universe is governed by fate, so it’s not so much “coincidence” as “fate.” That or “George Lucas” is an “ass clown” (all due respect).
Improbability Factor: An autistic, blindfolded, monkey banging out the scripts of all three seasons of Arrested Development in one sitting.
1. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
In the first Home Alone, a Rube Goldberg chain of coincidences, bad luck and bad parenting leads to little Kevin McCallister getting stranded in his luxurious Chicago home and doing battle with the Wet Bandits- Harry and Marv- on Christmas Eve. A lot had to go wrong for this situation to occur. A lot.
Fast forward to the VERY NEXT CHRISTMAS. The McCallister’s, rushing to make their flight, get separated once again and again Kevin is stranded. But instead of being stuck in his hometown of Chicago, he randomly gets on a plane that takes him to New York. There he runs into Harry and Marv who have escaped from prison and using all of his Rambo Jr. skills he learned the previous year, defeats the Wet Bandits again and all is right in the world. Yah, typical sequel. Now let’s breakdown the astronomical odds that would bust Einstein’s brain faster than you could say “Scanners IV: Let’s Blow Einstein’s Fucking Brain Open.” And that’s registered with WGA so don’t even think of trying to cop my shit.
I am graciously deducting the fact that this set of variables produced the exact same outcome of events exactly one year prior. Because to even get to that point:
– Kevin took a random flight. He followed someone who looked and dressed exactly as his father and was accidentally let on the plane by a soon-to-be-fired airport worker. He happens to be on a plane that could literally be going anywhere in the world, that happens to go to New York.
– Harry and Marv- who were arrested in Chicago for committing crimes in Chicago- somehow have broken out of jail and landed in New York. Were they in New York prison? Did they break out of Illinois prison and hitch to New York of all places? Either way, the Wet Bandits have just happened to land in completely unrelated Manhattan the same time as Kevin.
– 23 square miles of one of the most densely populated cities in the World and they then proceed to RUN INTO each other. Factor in that the Wet Bandits and Kevin are both “tourists” to NYC and would hit up a smaller number of famous spots and it’s still pretty improbable.
– Both Kevin and the Wet Bandits have rallied around the same target: Kevin visits Duncan’s Toy Chest- the toy store that donates its profits to charity and stays in business… just cause- and falls in love with the place. But Oh! Marv and Harry have their eyes on the same toy store but with the intention of plundering it for its bullshit profits.
These factors alone make this one of the most improbable, impossibly coincidental set of events ever presented by Hollywood. It would be more statistically favorable to have rain on your wedding day, offered a free ride when you’re already late and winning 10,000 spoons on National Knife Day all on the same day.
Improbability Factor: Not a single human life lost in three Transformers films due to giant, missile-equipped robot battles in highly populated cities.