While remakes are all the rage in Hollywood these days, it seems like another genre is also getting some love: the complete franchise reboot. Made popular by Christopher Nolan’s revamped Batman flicks, the ditching of casts, plots, and entire settings to start all over again seems to be the norm for long-running franchises.
On the one side, it’s a great way to rejuvenate your line, injecting some much needed adrenaline in a declining series. On the other, it’s a fantastic way to alienate fans of the original material. Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson might have been a back-handed pimp slap in the face of the character’s fans, what with the rampant murdering, gun use, and other things that are anathema to Bruce Wayne, but it raked in 100s of millions of dollars and earned its fair share of fans that were quite vocal in their lack of enthusiasm for Nolan’s reboot.
Such reboots are in the offing in 2012 for characters like Spider-Man (Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man), the Crow (Supposedly with Bradley Cooper in the Eric Draven role), Star Trek’s Chris Pine is in the running to star in Tom Clancy’s rebooted Jack Ryan franchise and Robocop, Tomb Raider, The Fantastic Four and countless others are gearing up for new versions of their respective movies. Just this past month, we witnessed the attempted rebirth of the Conan franchise with Jason Momoa in Conan The Barbarian 3D.
So without further ado, here is’s Top 10 Franchises That Need To Be Rebooted. The rules are simple: we’re not making sequels, these must be franchises that have run their course financially or arrived at logical conclusions and the original cast must be ditched in its entirety, ensuring that no links to the original version survive, story elements and settings can be changed but the general plot must be unchanged.
Sylvester Stallone pretty much brought his second-most-famous character’s story to a close in 2008’s John Rambo, ending the movie with the tired soldier returning to his family’s farm for some much needed R&R, which he’ll probably spend by unleashing some .50 caliber hell on those darn gophers plaguing his mother’s rose garden. In order to reboot the franchise, we’d have to ditch the traumatized Vietnam Veteran angle and bring the story forward a couple of decades to a more modern conflict.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of those as everything for Gulf Wars 1-2 to Afghanistan could be used to produce a modern-day Rambo. Personally, I’d ditch the one-man army conceit and go back to the series’, not to mention the novel’s roots and focus on a troubled soldier simply trying to adjust to life back in the world. Rambo, especially in the later movies, was a caricature, a jingoistic cartoon of American politics.
What’s needed for the reboot is First Blood’s human, flawed but honorable man trained as a killing machine and trying to deal with a society that no longer has a use for him. We’ve seen enlisted men and women come home with enough nightmares to give Freddy Krueger pause, it should come as no surprise to find out that a new John Rambo is lurking out there, ready to take on a society that hates and fears him.
Looking at Jean-Claude Van Damme’s list of accomplishments, I hesitated between this movie and the more popular Bloodsport for the reboot treatment. I picked Timecop for several reasons. Foremost, Bloodsport is already getting a reboot and I didn’t want to tread ground already covered. Secondly, Bloodsport is the ultimate underground martial arts tournament movie and there’s very little to improve upon in that regard. Lastly, I felt that JCVD’s 1994 time-traveling cop movie, and to a lesser degree its abysmal 2003 DTV sequel, The Berlin Decision, was such a gigantic missed opportunity that it was worth revisiting the central plotline.
Here is a movie that could have benefited greatly from a bigger budget and more creative minds on script duty. Basically, time travel is real and the Time Enforcement Commission is formed to police unregulated incursions in time. What should have been a mega-budgeted affair became a vehicle for Van Damme’s endless butt shots and split kicks. How lacking in the imagination department do you have to be to turn a premise such as this into a movie whose only expeditions in time are to the 1920s and a 60-second visit to the Civil War? Let’s ditch the “you can only travel backward in time” insanity and have the characters visit the future too.
Let’s throw a Michael Bay-size budget at this thing and get some decent time travel destinations on the menu. Let’s have our hero chase bad guys to the Battle of Thermopylae, run down illegal time travelers during the Siege of Orleans or keep an assassin from putting two bullets in Columbus’ head before he gets to discover the New World. But nooooo, instead we got a dour Van Damme with a beaver stapled to his head.
No.8 The Hidden
The ’80s were all about the buddy-cop movie. Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hours, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon and Michael Nouri and Kyle MacLachlan in The Hidden. What? You don’t know that one? For shame! I hereby revoke your membership in the Fraternal Order Of Movie Geeks and banish you from my mother’s basement. No grilled-cheese sandwiches for you!
The Hidden is one of those forgotten gems that you’re more likely to find in a Wal-Mart bargain bin than in somebody’s DVD player. Essentially just another buddy movie, the twist is that MacLachlan’s detective is actually an alien cop in pursuit of a body-hopping fugitive. Nouri is the gruff, rules-don’t-apply-to-me veteran with a chip on his shoulder who gets dragged along for the ride. Also, sci-fi fan favorite Claudia Christian, of Babylon 5 fame, makes an appearance as a possessed stripper packing a machine gun.
The Hidden is ripe for a reboot. It would be relatively cheap to produce, since the aliens don’t actually appear in their true form until the climax. I loathe and despise all things Twilight-related, but even I have to admit that Robert Pattinson would make a good replacement for MacLachlan, they both have that weird, detached, ambiguous, alien feel to them. Throw some stubble on him and he could pass as a rookie alien cop. The bad guy isn’t some outer space drug dealer or world-conqueror, he’s just on Earth to cause havoc because he totally loves that shit. Throw in some destruction-focused alien weaponry, a few one-liners, some witty banter between the alien cop and his new human partner, and bingo! Instant hit.
No.7 Missing in Action
Before ascending to Godhood, Chuck Norris once ruled the kingdom known as Hollywood. During his reign, which was both terrifying and merciful at the same time due to Chuck Norris rearranging the laws of physics until they pleased him, His Holiness Chuck once graced a movie titled Missing In Action with His presence. In this movie, Chuck Norris played himself, a Vietnam-era soldier captured… that is to say, willingly spending time in the company of torturers and sadists at an isolated jungle POW camp until such time he no longer wishes to stay at said location.
Chuck Norris manages to escape, by the simple virtue of being Chuck fucking Norris, and returns to wreck unholy havoc on his tormenters. Missing in Action is a simple, action-oriented tale, which nonetheless managed to spawn a pair of sequels, but the basics are ripe for rebooting. Throw someone like Jason Statham inside a… oh, let’s say, an Al-Quaeda stronghold along with several of his wartime buddies, throw away the keys and watch the magic happen.
Oh, Chuck, what am I saying? We’re treading on Holy ground here! I never should have said anything. Please forgive me, oh bearded one! Kindly refrain from striking me dead with a heaven-sent roundhouse kick to the face. Please don’t wipe us all out by rubbing your fantastic beard against the ozone layer and setting the Earth on fire!
The original Tremors is a fun but very light monster feature starring Kevin Bacon, Mr. Remo Williams himself, Fred Ward, and Reba McEntire, for some strange and possibly satanic reason. Also, vagina sand monsters.
The franchise was swiftly run into the ground by a mostly comedic direct-to-sequel (Tremors 2: Aftershocks), a blatant cash-grab threequel (Tremors 3: Back To Perfection) and a desperate for attention prequel (Tremors 4: The Legend Begins). With the series so completely played out it’s the perfect time to reboot this bad boy! The series’ iconic “Graboids” could use a good CGI facelift and since they often mutate into deadlier, stranger forms newer movie makers could have a lot of fun coming up with different variations. Flying Graboid, quadruped Graboid, schoolgirl abusing Graboid…
I know we talked about ditching entire casts beforehand but I have such a soft spot for Michael Gross’ zany, well-armed survivalist Burt Gummer that a small cameo wouldn’t be out of place. Keep the central conceit of having the larva form Graboids as traveling underground only to erupt underneath their prey, make sure the movie takes place in an isolated locale and we’ve got ourselves a decent mid-level crowd pleaser.
Find out which movie franchise needs a reboot at the number 1 spot on the next jump…