What Film Franchises are Streaming on Netflix
Ron Seifried | On 15, Feb 2014
Another snow day, more time to binge watch on Netflix streaming your favorite TV series. But did you know, there are entire film franchises just waiting to be streamed for hours at a time in the comfort your home, all part of February’s Netflix list of titles? We’ve compiled a list of complete and almost complete film series for your viewing pleasure.
Beverly Hills Cop Franchise
Believe it or not, this year is the 30th anniversary of Eddie Murphy’s street-smart Detroit cop out of town exploits in tony Beverly Hills, California. All three films are now streaming. From the critically acclaimed box office hit “Beverly Hills Cop” to the no longer funny Eddie Murphy “Beverly Hills Cop III,” see the demise of one the most iconic characters from 1980’s cinema right before your eyes. If you make it to the third film, keeps a close eye on the number of famous directors making brief cameos.
After several attempts to revive the franchise in both film and TV, Murphy will reprise his role as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop IV to be directed by Brett Ratner.
48 HRS & Another 48 HRS
In 1982, Eddie Murphy was a breakout star on Saturday Night Live. To capitalize on his success, he was offered a three-picture deal from Paramount Pictures. The first, was the cop/convict buddy flick “48 HRS.” Directed by Walter Hill and with Joel Silver as producer, the film paired up cop Nick Nolte with convict Murphy in search of his recently escaped ex-gang members on the streets of San Francisco within 48 hours, the time Murphy was allowed out from jail. The film is credited to be the first in the “buddy cop” genre which continued with future franchise “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Lethal Weapon” and “Rush Hour.”
Eight years later, during a decline in Murphy’s status as a movie star, both stars and director reunited for “Another 48 HRS,” this time to clear Nolte’s name for a potential manslaughter charge. Despite making more than the original, the negative critical reception negated any future return to the franchise. At least 25 minutes were cut from the sequel, but as of now there are no plans to release a director’s cut.
Airplane! & Airplane II: The Sequel
Comedy was reinvented in 1980 with “Airplane!” a satirical spoof of the disaster film genre that permeated throughout the 1970’s and more specifically, 1957 movie “Zero Hour!” which borrowed the general plot and characters. Combining slapstick with verbal and visual puns mad this in instant classic and great ice breaker for movie quotes at parties, “Airplane!” was written and directed by the brothers Jerry & David Zucker and Jim Abrahams and became the 4th highest grossing film for 1980.
The inevitable sequel came two years later without the original creators, who claim to this day never seeing “Airplane II.” Part two centered around science fiction and a Lunar’s Space Shuttle mission to the Moon. Lacking most of the originality of the first, even going so far as to repeat jokes, there are some bright moments including William Shatner’s take as Commander Buck Murdock
The Brady Bunch Movie film series
Wait, there was a third Brady Bunch movie? Yes and now is the time to revisit the spoof franchise. Based on the 1969-1974 TV series, “The Brady Bunch Movie” took the original 1970’s innocent characters, complete with fashion and home décor logic, and placed in mid-1990’s southern California. Themes including alcoholism, lesbian seduction, grunge rock, attempted statutory rape, S&M and more mixed surprisingly well with the bright colored hue of 70’s façade. This risky departure actually worked and it spawned one theatrical sequel and one made-for-TV movie. Seven of the original cast members make cameos. Only the parents Gary Cole and Shelly Long made it to the third film.
Tomb Raider & Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life
Pistol wearing Angeline Jolie in a tight black tank top and tight black shorts based on the video game. What else could someone ask for? Maybe a good movie. Many writers and rewrites do not make a good film, and that’s what plagued this story. Angeline Jolie is the perfect Laura Croft and critic Roger Ebert liked it, so it can’t be all bad. It made enough money to green-light a sequel.
The Crow film series
Based on comic book, the “The Crow” spawned four films, all of which are streaming on Netflix. The supernatural action film is probably best remembered today for the on-set accident that took the life of Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son. The critically acclaimed film made enough for a sequel, which itself kicked off a TV series followed by two direct-to-video sequels. All four films are streaming on Netflix, but the series is only available via DVD rental.
Hellraiser (all 9 films)
Written and directed by horror-maestro Clive Barker and based on his novella “The Hellbound Heart,” the film is based on the discovery of a evil puzzle box that unlocks the Cenobites, extradimensional forms of mutilated creatures into sadomasochism. The first film was so scary, even Stephen King hailed Barker: “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” Eight sequels followed, the latest in 2011, 24 years after the original. Recently, Clive Barker announced that he will be remaking the first film with Bob Weinstein as Executive Producer.
The Human Centipede: First Sequence & The Human Centipede 2
When approaching investors prior to filming, Dutch writer/director Tom Six omitted the mouth-to-anus aspect of the German doctor/kidnapper horror story, fearing it would turn off financiers. Ya think? They would not find out until the movie’s release, but by then it won several accolades at international film festivals. Both films are streaming on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. When the sequel was announced, Six stated the second film “…much more graphic and disturbing film; First Sequence being “My Little Pony compared with part two.”
The Toxic Avenger I – IV
The 1984 cult classic and its three not-cult classics are now streaming on Netflix. The B-movie about a 98 pound weakling transformed into a superhero after falling into a drum of toxic waste which immediately causes severe burns and disfigurement and the reborn avenger goes after criminals like Cigar Face, Nipple, Knuckles & Mayor Belgoody, before the National Guard come into the picture. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been confirmed to star in the reboot, so now is the time to brush up on the storyline.
Almost Complete Franchise Streaming on Netflix
Not quite complete franchises, but most of the films in the series are streaming.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 & 3
Do you like chihuahua’s? You get plenty of the little dogs and the voice of George Lopez in the second & third films of this comedy franchise.
Jackass & Jackass: Number Two
The “Do not attempt this at home” series of the stunts and pranks started by MTV, the first two feature films are streaming on Netflix.
Stephen King’s Children of the Corn
Seven of the eight Children of the Corn films are online, except “Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice” which has never been released on DVD.
Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan Series: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games & The Sum of All Fears
Now is your time to see Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford & Ben Affleck each star as CIA Analyst Jack Ryan. Three of the first four films are streaming on Netflix now, with “Clear and Present Danger” the exception. The new “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is out in the theaters now with Chris Pine in the title role.
A Fistful of Dollars & The Good, Bad & The Ugly
The first and third of Sergio Leone’s “man with no name” series of spaghetti westerns, the film’s star Clint Eastwood as the mysterious gunman and includes Ennio Morricone’s fantastic score. This is one of the rare instances when the third film is considered the best in a franchise, so check them out if you haven’t already.
The first four (out of five) films of Immortals is now streaming on Netflix. “Highlander II” has been considered one of the worst films ever released in the theaters and has gone through extensive editing to fix continuity issues. The version on Netflix is the “Renegade Version,” eliminating the Immortals being aliens from another planet fiasco that pissed off fans of the original movie.
Star Trek film series
Although not complete, you still get the first five Star Trek films with the original crew, including one of the greatest sci-fi battles of all time: Captain James T. Kirk Vs. Khan Noonien Singh in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”. Also available on Netflix are the 7th, 8th and 10th films in the franchise; “Generations,” “First Contact” and “Nemesis.”