Reboot THIS! (Part Two: Sequels)

When last we spoke, you and I, we discussed Hollywood’s fondness for rebooting franchises every few years and churning out sequel after sequel.  (Okay, I did most of the talking, but you nodded silent agreement.)  In that blog post, I humbly submitted some films that are prime candidates for reboots/remakes, and this time I’m offering up some slam-dunk sequels.

Pump Up The Volume (Likelihood of awfulness: AVERAGE)

Now he looks like Costner's little brother, which OH MY GOD!! ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT!!

Now he looks like Costner’s little brother, which OH MY GOD!! ROBIN HOOD WAS RIGHT!!

Kids today don’t remember the good ol’ days of Christian Slater being the ultimate heart-throb. It’s hard for today’s generation to recall when Slates was like a rebellious combination of Leo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, and Johnny Depp.  He was dreamy, sexy, quirky, and dangerous.  He played vengeful skateboarders and sociopathic high-school rebels and his hair would fall into his eyes and he’d smirk and YOU COULD HEAR THE PANTIES HITTING THE FLOOR!! Anyhoo, the original Pump Up the Volume was not based on that Technotronic jam you’d hear at Chicago Bulls games, but was instead a story about how one kid fought the system…with ROCK MUSIC!!  Slater’s pirate radio station rocked out all the coolest underground bands back when there was such a thing as “underground.”  That’s why I think this story deserves a sequel:  thanks to the internet and digital music sharing, etc. ANYONE can have their own “radio” station.  Now imagine that ol’ Happy Harry Hard-On (Christian Slater’s on-air persona) has become a high school teacher, but still has the soul of a rebel.  In fact, perhaps he discovers mistreatment of some of the students in his class (or bullying or illegal standard testing or whatever hot-button topic works at the time) but the school shuts down the local internets or something so Harry must teach the kids how to do it OL-SKOOL and is threatened with termination and such but it’s totes okay because he’s taught the kids to find their own voice and DAMN THE MAN!!  Throw in some cyber-hacking bullshit and you’ve got yourself a stand-up-and-cheer feel-good movie with a bitchin’ soundtrack.  Plus, seeing Christian Slater play the adult for a change would be cool.

Real Genius (Likelihood of awfulness: High)

No, look again.  It's NOT Axl Rose.

No, look again. It’s NOT Axl Rose.

This would probably suck.  No lie, I would really cringe if I heard they were going through with plans for a follow-up to one of my favorite movies of all time (there have been repeated rumors since 2007 that Val Kilmer had already signed on for a yet-to-be developed sequel.)  I would cringe because the original is so perfect that there’s NO WAY they could make me love a second one any more than the first.  That being said, in the right hands (Shane Black springs to mind) it would be a lot of fun to see Chris Knight as either a college professor or even a private-sector company man.  Perhaps Chris has lost his way, and some upstart college wonks would have to show him the path back to the man he was in college, slaving away for Dr. Hathaway’s nefarious schemes.  Sure, a fat Val Kilmer would be depressing, but the dude can still be funny.  Team him with a Michael Cera or go the other way and have Chloë Grace Moretz play a sassy young lady, maybe even (GASP!) Chris Knight’s long-lost daughter.  Again, with the right script and director, this would be wonderful.  However, in the wrong hands, it could be Slap Shot 2.

Point Break (Likelihood of awfulness: Guaranteed)

In fairness, it was almost impossible to find an unflattering pic of Keanu.

In fairness, it was almost impossible to find an unflattering pic of Keanu.

Again, in a perfect world, this would work.  In the world we actually live in, however, this is doomed.  There was a great deal of talk about a sequel, but then, well…Patrick Swayze died.  He was totally on-board and excited to participate in the planned follow-up.  With Swayze, it could have worked.  Hell, the Fast ‘N’ Furious series basically ripped off the Point Break formula, and they’ve done pretty well for themselves (or so I’m told.  I’ve yet to see a single one of those films.)  Without Swayze, this doesn’t really stand a chance.  To make matters worse, there are rumblings of a reboot, with surfing only being a part of the big-picture “world of x-treme sports and illegal street racing” backdrop.  Okay, first off, who still uses “x-treme” to describe ANYTHING?!  Secondly, did Hollywood follow my lead and ignore the plot of every Fast ‘N’ Furious released thus far?  Because it seems like they have that covered.  Yeah, the sad thing is this will happen and it will be terrible and I will cry.

48 Hrs. (Likelihood of awfulness: Average)

Welcome to...Jurassic Park!

Welcome to…Jurassic Park!

“Hey, asshole!” you shout at the computer. “They already DID a sequel to this!  It was Another 48 Hours and it was…well…” and then you stare at your shoes and male little back-and-forth sweeps in the dust with your toes.  (Why is there dust on the floor where your computer is located?  Jesus, Swiffer that shit!  Place looks like a pig sty!) Yes, there was a sequel, and yes it was lackluster.  Do it right, and this is an aging-cops-and-robbers buddy cop movie that could realistically revamp the whole formula.  And hopefully the screenwriters would twist things up and make it seem fresh: perhaps Eddie Murphy’s con-man Reggie Hammond is now a bail bondsman or something.  Perhaps a skip-trace bounty hunter (although the original movie worked because even though the premise was far-fetched, it wasn’t completely beyond belief.)  Nolte’s Jack Cates is retired, maybe working as a night security guy or something, and Eddie needs his help to track down some bad guy.  It would be fun, and both these actors (especially Murphy) could use a sure-fire hit.

The Last Starfighter (Likelihood of awfulness: Less Than You’d Think)

Yes, it's true.  Under that state-of-the-art makeup is the head bad-guy from Robocop.

Yes, it’s true. Under that state-of-the-art makeup is the head bad-guy from Robocop.

My alternate-timeline brother Vex Pop (not his real name) and I have already discussed this idea and think it’s pretty goddam good.  Hell, we almost have a treatment ready.  This would literally write itself.  In fact, GPA Entertainment has a project called “Starfighter” stuck in pre-production that many feel is either a reboot or sequel.    For those unfamiliar with the original The Last Starfighter, here’s the plot:  The Rylan Star League has come under attack by the Ko-Dan Armada.  To recruit new Starfighters, they plant coin-op arcade games throughout the galaxy and guess what?  Those games are actually training simulators, and when you break a certain score they come down from space to your trailer park and ask you to fight bad guys in a pretty awfully-rendered CGI spaceship! (Hey, it was 1984, and yes, they’d come a long way since TRON, but still had quite a way to go.)  Anyway, the kid plays the game,  goes to space, teams up with a reptilian co-pilot/navigator, and totally saves the universe.  Now, imagine that same scenario…but with Xbox Live.  Jesus, do you know how many kids play CoD on any given weeknight?  You could even have the recruiters themselves playing against everyone, anonymously gauging progress and gamer scores.  Hell, you could actually have an entire recruiting class from all over the world, Willy Wonka style.  Even better, maybe some are old guys like me and others are foul-mouthed little pricks who say terrible things about your mom, blacks, and gays (not always in the order) from the safety of their living room.  Watching these twerps react to a alien-filled space boot camp would be awesome.  Alex Rogan (the kid from the first movie) is now Admiral Rogan, and High Chancellor Grig has tasked him with outfitting a new class of Gunstar Starfighter with talented pilots because of some threat or another. Honestly, the bad guy is an afterthought, because the whole recruitment and training part of the film just sets up the epic finale.  Even better, what if some of the Starfighters/pilots are actually fighting the war from their living rooms in what they think is a giant massively multiplayer shooter? Drone tech has come a long way on this planet…why couldn’t an advanced spacefaring race translate that to home consoles?  In other words, some of those kids playing think it’s a big tournament, but IT’S TOTALLY REAL!!!  And finally, one of the best parts of this whole enterprise would be that for once… for ONCE…we’d have a movie tie-in video game that made complete sense.

Reboot THIS!!! (Part One: Remakes)

There’s been much discussion about the sorry state of Hollywood of late.  In particular, the apparent need to REMAKE ALL THE THINGS!!  Or even better, prolong a franchise well beyond the realms of good taste.  (Seriously, how many SAW movies were there?  About five too many, prolly.  I don’t know, as I’ve never seen a one.)  Dig this stat: in 1981, seven of the top-ten grossing films were originals. Those titles included Raiders of the Lost Ark and Stripes proving that diversity was not only celebrated, but downright necessary.  Two of the top-10 films were technically sequels, although For Your Eyes Only doesn’t really fit my criteria.  I’d say that’s more of a “franchise.”   By 2011, not ONE SINGLE ORIGINAL SCRIPT found its way to the top-10.  Not one. Eight (EIGHT!) were sequels, including Fast Five and Cars 2.  The other two titles were comic book adaptations, Thor and Captain America.  Wow.  Bridesmaids finished in the fourteen slot, and Super 8 was a measly 21st.  Last year was no better.  The wonderfully unique time-travel flick Looper was ranked  #45 in the 2012 box-office tally.  Pathetic.  However, there were two bright spots:  The charming Disney anti-princess film Brave made it to the eighth spot (although one wonders how it would’ve fared without that big Disney machine behind it) and the love-it-or-hate-it Ted edged in at #9.

But let’s be honest: sometimes remakes/reboots work.  They do.  Star Trek needed a fresh coat of paint, lest it fall into obscurity.  21 Jump Street was an unexpectedly enjoyable re-imagining of the old Fox TV series.  So maybe the problem isn’t that Hollywood insists on doing remakes and reboots, but that they’re picking the wrong properties.  That’s where I come in.  In addition to being a certified genius, I also have a keen sense of the “good shit,” a talent that has been honed over these almost 43 years on Earth.  Here, then, are my humble suggestions for remakes (we’ll handle the sequels next time.)  Your move, Hollywood…

Smokey and the Bandit (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: Low)

See?  They're already BROS!!

See? They’re already BROS!!

I seriously cannot begin to understand how this hasn’t already happened.  The popularity of the Fast and Furious series alone should’ve gotten some coke-fueled producer on the horn with Judd Apatow to get the ball rolling.  Imagine Matthew McConaughey’s “Bandit” running interference for Kid Rock as The Snowman, while Sheriff John Goodman chases after them with every police car and helicopter ever.  Amy Adams or Rachel McAdams or some Adams-sounding hot, cute, quirky girl as the love interest/runaway bride.  Sure, the plot would have to be tweaked.  Maybe Bandit has a GPS-jammer in his new-school Trans-AM (PRODUCT PLACEMENT, PEOPLE!) and if he gets too far ahead of the semi, WHUH-OH!!  Also, the whole “bootlegging beer” plot is kinda stale.  But I recently learned that it is impossible to order online and then have delivered a new Tesla electric car to North Carolina.  Hmmm…the Tesla manufacturing plant is in Fremont, California. Smuggling one of those bad-boys all the way across the country would be risky, yes? Plus, IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL ANTI-OIL MESSAGE!!  Dude, this thing is writing itself.  And I want a screen credit, dammit.

Tank Girl (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: Very High)

See?  Just hire some cosplay geeks and LET'S SHOOT THIS FUCKER!

See? Just hire some cosplay geeks and LET’S SHOOT THIS FUCKER!

This will never happen, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up.  The thing is, I had my hopes up waaaayyyy too high for the first one.  You could tell that nobody involved with the making of the film had any clue.  They just didn’t “get it.”  The soundtrack was killer (soooo many 90’s movies sucked, but managed to have AMAZING soundtracks.  Looking at YOU, Crow: City of Angels.)  My only hope here is that after butchering Judge Dredd, someone went back and tried to do it right, with much better success.

Tank (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: Average)

See?  You can't even see Mel Gibson's racism and anti-semitism!

See? You can’t even see Mel Gibson’s racism and anti-semitism!

I really enjoyed the James Garner version, even if C. Thomas Howell had some truly awful delivery.  That Partridge Family chick as the mom was sort of wasted, too.  But you do it today with a new, slightly darker edge (which Hollywood loves right now) and have the main character be an Iraq War veteran, and make it some sort of protest about disabled veterans or human-rights abuse cover-ups or Gitmo or something.  Hell, maybe you throw in some drone policy commentary, and you’ve got a fun romp where stuff gets crushed by an M-1 Abrams and we all learn something.  Maybe the lead guy/dad/James Garner is actually doing it for his Iraq Veteran kid.  I can honestly see Mel Gibson in a decent comeback role.  Maybe Harrison Ford.

Megaforce (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: High)

See?  SUCK IT, CALL OF DUTY!!

See? SUCK IT, CALL OF DUTY!!

Many people have forgotten about (or never heard of) this piece of amazing Hollywood kitsch.  BARRY FUCKING BOSTWICK played the lead.  No, seriously.  Look it up.  (Sidebar: Barry Fucking Bostwick was the never-completed sequel to Witches of Eastwick.) The bald chick from Star Trek: The Motion Picture was in this movie.  Some people thought Chuck Norris was in it, but he was in Delta Force, which was pretty much the same film, but with a better color palette.    I don’t remember the plot too well, but it had a MOTORCYCLE THAT FIRED ROCKETS!!!!  And goddammit, when you are a twelve-year-old boy (and you will be one day) that’s all you need.  A reboot of this flick would be a CGI-Michael Bay thrill ride, and would make the G.I. Joe flicks look sad and out-of-date.  This would be a live-action Team America: World Police.  You could even keep the iconic final credits theme, without seeming ironic.  Seriously, there was a scene in the finale of the original where all the vehicles are streaking across the desert trailing colorful red, white, and blue smoke.  I can’t make this shit up.  Someone MUST remake this movie, if for no other reason than my friend, morning show co-host, and former U.S. Marine Tommy Collins wants it to happen.