The 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made

John Travolta, Staying Alive
Image credit: Photofest

1. STAYING ALIVE (1983)

It was impossible not to be moved by the '90s soap opera comeback of John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. But what went little noted in that narrative of redemption was what caused his career to derail in the first place. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Staying Alive — a disaster of such epic proportions they should've handed out HazMat suits and Cipro when you entered the theater. Picking up several years after Saturday Night Fever, Travolta's Brooklyn disco Casanova Tony Manero is now a struggling Broadway dancer. Rejection has hardened his charm into a cocky, misogynistic swagger. After a one-night stand with a snooty dance star (General Hospital's Finola Hughes), he lands a part in Satan's Alley — a show so cheesy it looks like Bob Mackie throwing up on the Starlight Express. The bitchy director describes the musical as ''a journey through hell that ends with an ascent to heaven.'' We get the ''journey through hell'' part; where's the ascent? Tarted up in a Tarzan loincloth, Travolta shakes his moneymaker to Frank Stallone music. (The film's directed by his brother, Sylvester Stallone, finally answering the question, How much Stallone is too much Stallone?) Staying Alive is a sequel that ignores everything that made the original great, which of course may be the biggest insult of all.

Originally posted Mar 02, 2006 Published in issue #867 Mar 10, 2006 Order article reprints
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