January 23, 2017

A Look At 5 Underrated Sequels

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Written by: Lee Skavydis
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Most people know that sequels are commonly the death of what starts as a good movie concept. The film making industry’s main focus is to make as much money as possible, but while the money rolls in quality ideas often get harder and harder to think of over time. Eventually, the end result is a last sequel devoid of any bona fide concept. In fact, many continuations often regurgitate what has come before, just in different “packaging.”

However, every so often a continuation will come along that prolongs the novelty value of a film franchise. It is a rarity that a film series ends on a high note, but if one looks hard enough a sequel of at least passable standard can be found.

This feature today will examine 5 sequels in varying genres that are considered underrated.

Feel free to add your own in the comments below!

Halloween 4 (1988)

Halloween III: The Season of the Witch tried something a little different in not reintroducing Michael Myers as the central force of evil, instead taking a completely different path and introducing audiences to a brand new narrative. But fans of the first two Halloween films cried out for yet another appearance by the sister killer and their wishes were granted.

Director Dwight H. Little did an admirable job in at least bringing back the type of mystical and haunting atmosphere that was contained in the first two movies. Little respected John Carpenter’s approach in that he wanted to terrify audiences by only showing glimpses of Myers, which the Ohio based director also imitated.

The narrative hinted that the series was started to clutch at straws but this is probably the last “good” Halloween film until the critically acclaimed Halloween: H20 made ten years later.

The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

Swiss actor Vincent Perez had big shoes to fill after Brandon Lee’s principal performance as Eric Draven in 1994’s The Crow. And perhaps it was a tad insensitive of Dimension Films to want to film a sequel so soon after Lee’s tragic death. Regardless, it happened. And the film unsurprisingly tanked.

But in fairness, there are a few good things about this one and only direct sequel (the follow ups are in no way linked to the original). For starters, the narrative explains that a father and son are murdered which is perhaps even more daunting and tragic than losing a fiancee, as Draven did in the first film. Perez’ performance, while maybe coming off as a little too depressing, was as meticulous as the screenplay allowed it to be.

Punk singer Iggy Pop is more than competent as one of the murderous yobs and is possibly even more charismatic than Top Dollar or any of the other villains in the film’s predecessor. Thuy Trang, of former Power Rangers fame, plays Kali, the soulless villainess who has the ability to defend herself more with than just a gun making for an interesting cast of bad guys all with their own interesting facade’s.

The Crow: City of Angels is certainly not the best movie in this now downtrodden franchise. It isn’t even the best sequel! But it is nowhere near the worst, either.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

Riggs and Murtaugh were getting a bit long in the tooth to be doing what they were doing. And Lethal Weapon 4 made the sharp witted decision to play on this throughout the course of the last chapter in this definitive buddy cop movie series. While Lethal Weapon 3 was devoid of much fun, this sequel had to reach new lengths of mindless entertainment to reignite some of the enjoyment that was previously missing.

But the film’s final tale did effectively keep things constrained and made no bones about there never being another follow up, which is very telling during the final act and end credits for those that are more abstract minded.

Lethal Weapon 4 gave the much loved action series the sending off it deserved!

Die Hard 2 (1990)

Die Hard is a movie that has to be watched at least once every year, especially at Christmas time. The television networks even encourage us, since the movie is almost guaranteed to be shown during nearly every festive period.
As what happens often when a movie grand in scale and originality, it is received with infinite affection. And it’s 1990 sequel was always never going to receive as much acclaim. Most sequels try to up the ante and amplify the magnitude in comparison to it’s original counterpart. And an airport was the film’s choice to apply that effect.

Unlike in the first film when John McClane was confined to a room all on his own which prevented him from stopping much of the chaos, Die Hard 2 gave the character a lot more freedom which resulted in a more physical role. The only thing unfavourable is the lack of a memorable villain. The movie’s main bad guy elects to cause madness behind a walkie talkie giving orders while McClane runs around trying to prevent impending disaster.

But the element of action is much more sustainable this time around, making for a less serious but more amusing installment.

Predator 2 (1990)

Arnold Schwarzenegger getting his money run for by a dreadlock wearing alien. That was never going to be topped! But the Danny Glover starring sequel in an urban setting contains a fair amount of humour with enough drab atmosphere that makes the predator feel right at home!

Glover plays cop Harrigan who wants revenge for the murder of his friend, killed off early by the skull carrying hunter. The film is generally much more to the point without much build up, but did it need that? Viewers were already filled in on the specifics in the classic original. The final battle between Harrigan and the predator is thrilling and need you be reminded that this is the film which started the Alien v Predator face off idea!

But let’s end it here and try to keep those awful Alien v Predator movies forever banished from our minds, eh?

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis

I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.


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