Movie sequels are a dicey proposition for the most part. There are only a few rare exceptions where the sequels outshine the original movie and most of the time the sequels are pale imitations of the original. For this list though, we’re going to take a look at some sequels that,while they maybe don’t live up to their originator, get way too much criticism and shit from people and are worth a second look if you’ve decided to write them off.
6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out, Temple of Doom was considered the black sheep of the Indiana Jones franchise. I think a lot of people were thrown off by the movie’s darker tone, lack of Nazis and a slightly less noble Dr. Jones (He’s more interested in artifacts for personal and monetary gain in Temple of Doom). Temple of Doom has some amazing action sequences including the famous mine cart chase, the finale on the rope bridge and the opening chase through Shanghai. There’s also such memorable scenes as the disgusting feast at Pankot Palace (featuring everyone’s favorite dessert, chilled monkey brains) and the heart ripping sacrifice scene you saw above. I will admit that Willie Scott is an absolutely horrible character, especially after Raiders set the bar ridiculously high for Indy’s love interests with Marion but her awfulness is balanced out by Short Round and one of the best villains with Mola Ram. The artifact MacGuffin is kind of lame as well but Temple of Doom is still an excellent action/adventure (and it also helped establish the PG-13 rating because of it’s violence).
5. Robocop 2
I think every action fan would agree that Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is one of the all time classics with it’s fantastic mix of satire, horrific violence and Peter Weller’s awesomely dead pan bad assery. The sequel was helmed by another fantastic director, The Empire Strikes Back’s Irvin Kirshner and continued the first movies warped sense of humor and violence. Robocop 2 continues the adventures of cyborg cop Alex Murphy as he and his partner, Anne Lewis, are trying to stop the spread of deadly new drug Nuke and the main supplier of it, Cain. Kurtwood Smith was one of the all time greatest villains in the original as Clarence Boddicker and Robocop 2 can’t match that but they do have one of the go to guys for creepy villains, Tom Noonan as Cain, and he’s fantastic. Cain sees himself as some sort of religious figure and has a bizarre entourage including a 10 year old kid as one of his enforcers. The commercials from the first movie make their return as well, including one for sunscreen for nuclear blasts. One of my favorite scenes from Robocop 2 is probably when Murphy is reprogrammed after OCP has a focus group and he turns into an ultra politically correct do gooder in the vein of the future cops from Demolition Man. The one thing that doesn’t hold up as well now is the stop motion for the literal Robocop 2 when *spoilers* Cain’s brain is placed into a new, heavily armed OCP project. The final battle features extended stop motion that is kind of jarring and shoddy looking by today’s standards. It’s still well worth a watch if you’re a fan of the original Robocop.
4. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
The original Gremlins is easily in the top 5 of the Steven Spielberg produced movies of the 80’s and has joined movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon as one of the best unconventional Christmas movies. Gremlins 2: The New Batch turns everything about the original up to 11 and is, at it’s most extreme, like a live action Looney Tunes cartoon. There’s so much going on that some of it doesn’t work but more of it does work. The movie takes a cue from the aforementioned Die Hard by taking place entirely in a futuristic skyscraper called Clamp Tower, built and run by billionaire Daniel Clamp. Our hero from the first movie, Billy Peltzer, works in the art department of Clamp Tower while his girlfriend Kate Beringer works as a tour guide. The tower features TV studios, a cafeteria and a science lab, which is where Mogwai Gizmo comes back into Billy’s life as he’s found by a pair of twin scientists out looking for specimens. Just some of the awesome stuff going on in Gremlins 2 is Christopher Lee as an evil mad scientist, tons of new gremlins including a spider, bat, lady and the Brain Gremlin, voiced by Tony Randall, and Gizmo getting pushed too far and becoming Rambo. The movie is also filled with tons of meta humor, which is probably not everyone’s cup of tea but I’m a fan of. There’s an entire scene where characters make fun of the plot holes from the original and the movie “stops” in the middle because Gremlins get into the projection booth but fortunately Hulk Hogan is there to get the movie restarted. If you’re a fan of the original and don’t mind poking fun at some of it’s dumber aspects, Gremlins 2 is worth a rewatch.
3. Ghostbusters 2
Ghostbusters is one of the most beloved movies of all time so obviously the sequel could never live up to the original but everything you love about the Ghostbusters is pretty much intact for the sequel. Five years after the first movie, the guys have all drifted off to do their own thing after being sued by city and state agencies for property damage following the Gozer incident. Ray runs an occult bookstore and helps Winston perform at birthday parties, Egon works at a laboratory and Peter hosts the public access show “World of the Psychic”. The guys get back together when their old friend Dana Barrett comes looking for their help after her son Oscar’s carriage rolls into traffic by itself. The Ghostbusters eventually discover that there’s a river of evil slime flowing below New York City that can cause paranormal activity and that there’s a possessed painting at the Manhattan Museum of Art of Viggo The Carpathian, who wants to use Dana’s son as a vessel to be resurrected. There’s a fantastic ghost busting scene in the beginning where the guys are in court and have to capture a pair of ghosts who got the electric chair and a fantastic montage of the effects of the slime, culminating in the Titanic finally arriving in New York Harbor, and the evil team of Viggo and Dr. Janosz Poha is great with some classic Ghostbusters lines like “He is Viggo, you are like the buzzing of flies to him!”. The slime stuff is maybe too heavily focused on as the guys disappointingly replace their classic proton packs for slime guns for most of the movie and it’s pretty vague how the slime is connected to Viggo but otherwise it’s still a hilarious movie.
2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
With the recent release of the Jurassic Park trilogy, I’ve heard a number of people just spew vitriol at the sequels, which 3 probably deserves but The Lost World most certainly doesn’t warrant. I don’t know if people wanted Alan Grant to still be the hero or there’s some backlash against everything Vince Vaughn but The Lost World still has tons of great stuff going on and doesn’t dumb things down to the levels Jurassic Park 3 devolved the series down to. Ian Malcolm, after recovering from his injuries from the first movie, is shanghaied by John Hammond into leading a research team to “Site B” of Jurassic Park, Isla Sorna, where the dinosaurs were actually born and raised before being transferred to the park. The dinosaurs are now roaming wild on the island and Hammond wants to document them so he can lead an effort to conserve the island and fight Ingen’s attempts to exploit it. There’s a bunch of new dinosaurs introduced in the movie, most notably the Compys, most of which are probably best featured in the awesome round up scene featured above. I also love the late Pete Postlethwaite’s role as Roland Tembo, who is, dare I say, more bad ass than the first films resident bad ass, Robert Muldoon. Tembo manages to actually take down the male T-Rex with a tranquilizer gun and then just walks off. The attack on the trailer by the Rexes is also a great sequence and has a classic Spielberg tension scene where Julianne Moore’s character, Sarah Harding, is trying to slowly move off a slowly spidering window. There are a number of scenes that are completely worthy of criticism like Malcolm’s daughter Kelly using gymnastics to kill a raptor and the finale of the T-Rex’s rampage through San Diego goes kind of overboard and probably keeps the movie going longer than it should have. There’s also not as much of the Raptors as I would like, although the scene with them in tall grass murdering the remaining Ingen hunters is pretty awesome. Jeff Goldblum’s Malcolm is slightly more restrained than in the first movie but still manages to unleash a number of fantastic one liners and even Julianne Moore is suprisingly tolerable. I think expectations were just set way too high for this one following one of the greatest movies ever made.
1. Mission Impossible III
Mission Impossible III is a victim, I think, of awful timing. It came out right at the height of Tom Cruise’s descent into insanity and that probably turned off most people who were unable to divorce Tom Cruise from Ethan Hunt. If you are one of the people who did that, do yourself a favor and give MI3 a second look, as it’s one of the best action movies of the past decade. JJ Abrams made his film debut with MI3 and what a debut it was. In MI3, the Impossible Mission Force’s Ethan Hunt is forced to steal a bioweapon called “the Rabbit’s Foot” for psychotic villain Owen Davian, who has kidnapped Ethan’s wife. MI veteran Ving Rhames returns with Maggie Q and John Rhys Myers round out Ethan’s team. Unfortunately Anthony Hopkins doesn’t return as the head(?) of the IMF but Laurence Fishburne steps up to that role. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is absolutely frightening as Owen Davian and is easily the best Mission Impossible villain. There’s a ton of great action sequences including an attack on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge by a Predator drone, the IMF team’s kidnapping of Davian in Vatican City (with mandatory MI face mask technology) and an early movie attempt to rescue captured IMF agent Keri Russell that features Ving Rhames setting up a number of remote turrets to level the bad guys inside and ends with a nerve wracking helicopter chase through a bunch of power generating windmills. Most people will probably pick the original Mission Impossible as their favorite of the series but MI3 is my favorite hands down (It might be Ghost Protocol if it’s half as awesome as the trailers make it seem).