The 7 best 7-movie franchises | Virgin Media
The 7 best 7-movie franchises

The 7 best 7-movie franchises

20/09/2016Movies

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The saying goes that three is the magic number, but as The Magnificent Seven hits cinemas this week - and Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Lee Byung-Hun and more hunky cowboys steam up the screen with steely looks and blood-letting gunplay - it’s hard not to argue that seven trumps three, every time.

Which got us thinking about the amount of movie franchises that have made it big enough to release six sequels. From worst to best, join us as we rifle through some of cinema’s most iconic (and decidedly circumspect) seven-movie franchises…


7. The Mummy

Moisturise me

Moisturise me

The Movies: The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008), The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (2012), The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power (2015)

Best: The Mummy. It all started off so well. At the turn of the noughties, Brendan Fraser was the action hero leading man we needed (or at least deserved). Universal’s blockbuster reboot of one of its most iconic monster franchises was hammy and cheesy, sure - but it was also hella fun. 

Worst: If the original’s goofy old-school hijinks weren’t exactly classic, their increasingly debilitating, sub-par sequels/prequels were the epitome of embarrassing, with dodgy VFX and cringe-worthy acting the norm. Rotten Tomatoes may say The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (12%), but that’s only because three of the Scorpion straight to video sequels don’t qualify. Really, take your pick.


6. Police Academy

There was a dog in Police Academy?

There was a dog in Police Academy?

The Movies: Police Academy (1984), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986), Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987), Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988), Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989), Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow (1994)

Best: The original Police Academy hit box office gold thanks to its adorably goofy characters and ensemble performances that all hit the mark. Human giant Hightower, the squeaky-voiced Laverne Hooks, and the ‘Man of 10,000 Sound Effects’ Larvelle Jones became instant cult comedy icons.

Worst: The last four movies in the list have an impressive aggregated score of 0%. But it’s the belated seventh entry in the list, Mission to Moscow, that’s the saddest, with recycled jokes and elderly leads aplenty.

 

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

“Hey, do you wanna see my new chainsaw?”

“Hey, do you wanna see my new chainsaw?”

The Movies: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

Best: Yet again, the original movie trumps all of its diminishing sequels. So shocking at the time that it was dubbed “despicable” by critics, the original has lasted so timelessly because of its creepy combination of brutal terror, chilling violence, and instantly iconic villains (OH HAI LEATHERFACE).

Worst: 1994’s The Next Generation is tied with 2006’s The Beginning and  2013’s pathetic 3D as the worst in the series. But while The Next Generation boasts a misplaced campy humour, it’s still worth a watch, if only to see young Renee Zellwegger and Matthew McConaughey running around faux-screaming for their lives.

 

4. Saw

“Let’s play a game”, “Err, let’s not and say we did, k?”

“Let’s play a game”, “Err, let’s not and say we did, k?”

The Movies: Saw (2004), Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), Saw IV (2007), Saw V (2008), Saw VI (2009), Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

Best: Gross as it was, the original Saw was pretty ingenious. Sure, the gore was OTT, but it had a conversation-starting Se7en-esque dilemma at the heart of every trap that guaranteed pub debates ad infinitum.

Worst: By the time Saw 3D hit cinemas, fans had been subjected to seven movies in seven years. Already ridiculous plot twists had swerved so hard that attempts at crafting a coherent story all but imploded, just like one of Jigsaw’s own non-sensical traps. Not only that, but the much touted 3D was beyond lame.

 

3. Rocky

Rocky’s greatest hits

Rocky’s greatest hits

The Movies: Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015)

Best: Going by Rotten Tomatoes, 2015’s pseudo-sequel Creed (94%) is better reviewed than the original Rocky (93%). As good as it was, it’d be near sacrilege to forego the surprisingly brilliant Sylvester Stallone fight-drama that started it all. Those steps, that training montage, that ADRIAAAAAAAAN!

Worst: Rocky V killed the franchise for 16 years, and for good reason - by upsetting the formula of the last four films, and focusing on Rocky’s ‘meh’ child, it was the epitome of lacklustre. In 2010, Stallone admitted that he only made it out of greed. Which explains a lot.

 

2. Fast & Furious

The car is not always the star

The car is not always the star

The Movies: The Fast & Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Fast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Furious 7 (2015)

Best: Now Vin Diesel and co have nailed the formula (increasingly preposterous stunts x increasingly preposterous performances x increasingly preposterous stories), each successive entry is more and more entertaining. Furious 7 involved a supercar driving between skyscrapers, from the approximately 829th floor. Amazing.

Worst: Remarkably, the fourth entry - which re-energised the entire franchise - from 2009 is the worst reviewed (28% on Rotten Tomatoes). But fans will generally agree it’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift that was the weakest in stunts, performances and story.

 

1. Star Wars

The force is strong with this one

The force is strong with this one

The Movies: Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Best: It’s nigh-on impossible to argue anything but Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which boasts character growth, amazing action, cliffhangers, and quite simply the best twist in movie history. “*I* am your father.” Chills.

Worst: It’s a close tie between Episode I and Episode II, but while I has Jar Jar Binks and the most annoying child actor in the history of everything ever, Episode II boasts the most hideous love story ever committed to cinema - with George Lucas’ cringeworthy dialogue in full force. “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.” THIS IS WHAT PASSES FOR FLIRTING, PEOPLE.