The latest Fast and the Furious movie opens Friday, April 3 and offers a prime example of one of my favorite amusing/annoying Hollywood trends: the confusingly-titled sequel. For the record, the titles go in this order:
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Fast & Furious (2009)
Fast & Furious seems as concise a title as possible without resorting to initials, a la X2. But using it as the title for the third sequel of a film originally called The Fast and the Furious seems to be just asking for mass audience confusion -- if not at the cineplex, then definitely at the video store and on the Netflix queue later on. It makes me wonder when sequels started taking such pride in dropping the number from the title. Wouldn't it be simpler to title the films The Fast and the Furious 3, The Fast and the Furious 4, etc.? Is it somehow less "cool" to have numbers -- Roman or otherwise -- in the name? I can how studios would want to avoid the ridiculousness in a name like Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, but aren't the Fast and the Furious numbers low enough that it wouldn't be a big deal?
It makes me wonder, just what is the worst sequel title of all time? Which is the most ungainly, perplexing or preposterous?
This blog discussion reminded me of one of the most unintentionally hilarious examples of the trend:
First Blood (1982)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)*
Rambo III (1988)
* If memory serves me right, author/critic Harlan Ellison described this film as sporting a title as graceful as a hyena with a shattered spine dragging itself to a watering hole, or words to that effect.
Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo comes to mind, but I honestly don't know if that's a terrible sequel title, or an awesome one.
Possibly my favorite awkward series titles is the Final Destination franchise. For the first three, the sequencing is perfectly clear -- Final Destination (2000), Final Destination 2 (2003), Final Destination 3 (2006) -- until this summer's Final Destination: Death-Trip 3-D (which commits a minor faux pas, since usually the third film in a franchise should be the 3-D one). What I always wonder is, if you have a sequel called Final Destination, doesn't that imply that the predecessors involved something other than the real final destination? Should they be retroactively retitled to Penultimate Destination? Two Destinations Away From the Final One? Final Destination: Concourse A?
Yay, pot-related arrests. Good use of my tax money. Lotta lives saved.
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