Wouldn’t it be great if there was a sequel for every major event that happened in your life? Say you could have sex for the first time twice, or take your college exams twice, get married twice (to the same person, like Mariah Carey and Nick Canon – not that it was necessarily a good idea in that case). Think of how much better you would do things.
The same is true of movie sequels. Characters develop more in the sequel, plots become more complex, the chemistry between the actors grows, the jokes get better, even the actors seem to get better looking. When a movie is good, it has the potential to evolve. Ostensibly, that’s what the sequel is for.
However, some movies have more growth potential than others. We have seen some spectacular sequels and others that have failed spectacularly. Here are some of the ones that were so good, they almost made their prequels look bad.
If a movie called “Jackass” gets better, does that mean it gets more “jackassy’ or less “jackassy?” It’s safe to say that if you’re watching a movie called “Jackass” in the first place, you’re probably thinking the latter. In” Jackass #2,” Johnny Knoxville is up to his old tricks, literally, only harder, faster, zanier, and more hazardous than ever. Examples include: a Gauntlet style skating obstacle course, a prank involving a beehive and the sunroof of a limo, and a beer enema. Use your imagination, or better yet, see it for yourself.
Does Johnny suffer for his art in this film? You bet he does. Johnny reportedly emerged from the movie with a total of four concussions and a scrape with death from a Big Red Rocket.
Go see this one before Johnny does some irreversible damage.
The Fast Five
Fans of the first installment, the “Fast and the Furious” have probably wondered why this wasn’t called “The Faster and the Furiouser,” but it may have had something to do with the grammar. After all, a movie such as this would never attempt to corrupt the minds of school children.
After the warm reception “Fast and Furious” received, director Justin Lin saw the opportunity for blockbuster potential (read: dollar signs), and he went for it. “Fast Five” is the first step in moving the franchise into the epic proportions it has arrived at today. (We’re at “Fast and Furious 7,” officially, in case you’ve lost count). The sequel has more action, a better script and much more of the shenanagins that made us fall in love with the Dom and Co. at first sight – particularly Dom’s famous one-liners. “Gimme the damn veggies?” Priceless.
As for the action, “The Fast Five” drag race scene could put Dale Earnhardt to shame. See what happens when every cop in Rio turns out to watch Brian and Dom turn some sharp corners in some sharp cars. Luckily, there’s a lot more where that came from. Check out all the installments for a binge F and F style.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
What is it that puts “Ghost Protocol” just a little bit ahead of the “Mission Impossible III” installment? Is it the appropriately sinister setting of Russia with the threat of nuclear war looming? Is it the contribution of self-described “Russian madmen” writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemic to the script? Or is it Simon Pegg’s canary yellow bellboy uniform?
Sometimes a film just comes together. It has just the right balance of brilliant cinematography, suspense, one liners and good looking actors that create the formula for greatness. “Ghost Protocol” sealed the deal for the Mission Impossible franchise. It’s not only a story in the continuing adventures of Ethan Hunt, international spy, but it’s a story about saying “Screw it” because you know the world’s going to end tomorrow. In fact, “Ghost Protocol” is a $145 million-dollar movie about it, and it’s worth every precious minute.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
What better way to top off a futuristic fight to the death than a futuristic fight to the death with haute couture clothing and more layers of darkness than a chocolate cake? That’s what “Catching Fire” is in a nutshell, and why fans are saying it’s giving the Hunger Games the burn.
“Catching Fire” takes place when “Hunger Game” victors, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) return home to Panem to bask in their glory. However, the evil President Snow has a different idea about how to celebrate. He’s hatching a deadlier version of the Hunger Games to commiserate the 75th anniversary of an earlier win for the Capital, and Peeta and Katniss have shown up just in time for his game plan. The two are forced to take up arms again and this time the game is really on.
As its name would suggest “Catching Fire” does its fair share of temperature raising. The cat fights are cattier, the real fights are deadlier, and there’s a lot more lip-locking than in the original movie. For someone focusing on an upcoming war, Katniss manages to get a lot of heavy petting in, but hey, a girl’s gotta have a little fun right? Besides with tributes Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta it would be hard not to get distracted.
Eye candy aside, a lot of the improvement in “Catching Fire” can be owed to behind the scenes work. Kudos to directors Gary Ross and Francis Lawrence for the camera work, noticeably matured from the original. Also shout-outs for the use of IMAX which made the scenes especially nail-biting. Is “Catching Fire” better than “Hunger Games?” If dirtier, hotter, darker and more vicious means better than the answer is a definitive, “yes.”
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Was it just us or did Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) seem to get a little sexier in “Temple of Doom” than he was in Raiders of the Lost Ark?” Was his hat a bit more rakish, his talk a little more interesting, or was it just the fact that the movie was just so damn exciting? Raiders may have made the perfect intro to the Harrison Ford character, but in “Temple of Doom,” he really arrived. What made “The Temple of Doom” stronger than the first installment?
In Raiders, we see Indiana go up against a group of Nazis. In “Temple of Doom” see Indiana in temple battling a Thuggee cult practicing child slavery, human sacrifice, and black magic. The villains worship high priests, they force Indy to drink potions to Kali, the god of darkness, they chain up their victims and throw them in bits. Is it just us, or is Mola Ram is far scarier than a group of fast-talking Nazis on a U-boat?
Also, “Temple of Doom” has a child for a sidekick. You can’t help but love Short Round, especially when he stops the Maharaja from killing Indie with the voodoo doll. And remember the bug scene? Pretty creepy, but definitely classic. Check out “Temple of Doom” out and see if it doesn’t make your heart beat a little faster than “Raiders of the Lost Ark” did.
Kill Bill: Volume 2
You can’t kill Bill twice, and Quentin Tarantino doesn’t attempt to. Kill Bill Volume 2 is a continuation of Volume 1 and there is no Bill reincarnation here. In Volume 2, Uma Thurman is still “the Bride,” a former assassin seeking revenge on the eponymous Bill, who shot her at her wedding rehearsal. As you can tell from the need for a sequel, it’s a long story. However, while both movies show the Bride on her “roaring rampage of revenge,” Volume 2” goes give her a little more depth.
In “Volume 1”, the Bride kicks ass with the brutality only the brilliantly twisted mind of Quentin Tarantino is capable of imagining. The film opens with a bloody fight and ends with an even bloodier one, in typical Tarantino style. Volume 2, on the other hand, is more contemplative. It brings up questions about the morality of revenge. The film ends in a conversational face off rather than a violent one. Rarely do we see such emotion and pathos in Tarantino films.
However, analysis aside, one of the main reasons most of us prefer “Kill Bill Volume 2′ is probably that it contains the scene in which the Bride is buried alive. The claustrophobic nightmare is easily the tensest and terrifying scene of either of the movies. Not to mention the deviously delicious and well -crafted sword fight between the Bride and Elle (Darryl Hannah). Need we say more? Go see Kill Bill Volume 2 and see if it gets your bill of approval.
Evil Dead 2
There are films that make us laugh, films that make us cry, and films that make us unsure of how to react. When fans of “Evil Dead” came to see the sequel, they no doubt expected more of the handheld camera, low budget cult classic horror movie about five kids who go on a camping trip turned bad that they saw in the first movie. Most of them didn’t expect to see a comedy that cost twice as much to make.
The “Evil Dead 2” is more of a parody on the first “Evil Dead” than a sequel. It begins like the original, but when hilarity ensues it becomes apparent that it’s taking quite a different path. A prime example is when Ash, the main character, possessed by an insane demon, has a hallucination during which the objects in the room are laughing hysterically at him. Sort of hard to get scared watching that. It’s also pretty funny when Linda’s revived head attacks Ash in one room and her headless body attacks him in the other. You get the picture.
Another note on the “Evil Dead 2:” The inclusion of humor worked so well in Evil Dead 2,” the movie spawned many more hilariously morbid sequels to follow. Click here to get a rundown. You may just die laughing.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
It’s a given that some Trekkies so loyal that they’d be happy to watch William Shatner recite the alphabet, but it seems Robert Wise was depending a little too much on a faithful fanbase when he released the first Star Trek movie. Died in the wool Trek fans may have been all too happy to listen to Kirk and wax poetically about the Enterprise for two hours, but moviegoers who expected a blockbuster were just a bit disappointed.
By the second time around, Abrams knew what the people wanted, and delivered it in spades. Who knew Mr. Rourke (Ricardo Montalban)in a mullet wig could play one of the most legendary villains in cinema? And watching him face off with Kirk (Shatner) – easily one of the best space battles in history. The film not only revitalized the Star Trek brand, but it also changed the way people thought about Star Trek forever.
The Terminator II: Judgement Day
Living up to the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger line, “I’ll be back,”Terminator 2” brought back the first “Terminator” with all that and more. All that includes the original cast and scenes from the original; more includes the introduction of new characters, high wire stunt work, iconic set pieces and the T-1000, the killing the machine that traumatized a generation of young sci-fi fans who were afraid to return to the mall until they were thirty. “Judgement Day” is one of the best, if not the best action film of the nineties.