The Color of Money (1986): Sequels are meant to sweep in fast to cash in on a craze before it dissipates and audiences realize they’ve been had. Some, though, take their sweet time, and not always by choice. One film that actually benefits from having a whopping 25 years between the original and itself is Martin Scorsese’s underrated follow-up to The Hustler. Paul Newman, deservedly Oscar’d for his low-key turn, returns as pool shark and former sparkplug “Fast Eddie” Felson, now a weathered and sage old-timer intrigued and terrified by a young version of himself (Tom Cruise, natch).
Escape From L.A. (1996): It didn’t work so well for John Carpenter. Not only had one-eyed badass Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) been absent for screens since 1981’s Escape From New York, but Carpenter had utterly and completely lost it. No one came, no one cared, no one should have.
Blues Brothers 2000 (1998): Ditto John Landis and Dan Aykroyd’s whole white-man-blues shtick minus Belushi.
Before Sunset (2004): The ideal way to see Richard Linklater’s twin chat-offs is to be like its characters. Before Sunrise (1995) found instant-chemistry lovers Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke promising to meet again in six months. Nine years later, it’s revealed that it took them nine years. Even with the intensity of the real-time setting, Sunset gains much from putting the viewer in the leads’ shoes.
Basic Instinct 2 (2006): It was meant to happen earlier, but every male lead on the planet passed until they finally had to go with nobody David Morissey. Directors included David Cronenberg (!!) and the original’s Paul Verhoeven. Only its fading, aging female lead remained on. Some 14 years later, Michael Caton-Jones gets the job, Sharon Stone looks like a Madame Tussauds doll and the whole thing turns out as depressing camp.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010): And it only took 23 years for greed to be bad. Can a Salvador sequel be too far off?
Six Long-Running Film Franchises