Good Movie Sequels

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

Most fans of the cinema know that sequels usually stink. Unfortunately, the magic that made the original film something special is gone by the second or third installment, and all that remains is a tangled mess of lame jokes and bloated CGI effects. But there are good movie sequels out there if you know where to look, and that’s the basis for this entire article.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – The third film in director Sergio Leone’s legendary Dollars Trilogy, this classic spaghetti western stars Clint Eastwood (The Good), Lee Van Cleef (The Bad), and Eli Wallach (The Ugly) as a trio of gunfighters searching for a hidden cache of gold while the American Civil War rages around them. A massive influence on filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, it’s notable for Leone’s distinctive close-ups, Ennio Morricone’s epic score, and Eastwood’s perpetual cool.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Picking up where the previous film left off, this James Whale masterpiece follows scientist Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) as his monstrous creation (Boris Karloff) forces him to create a female companion (Elsa Lanchester) from human body parts.

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) – Supercops Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are back, this time taking on a corrupt South African diplomat and his henchmen. It may not pack the punch of the original, but it comes darn close. Fans of Joe Pesci will also be in for a treat, as the recurring character of Leo Getz makes his debut.

The Godfather Part II (1974) – While Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) deals with professional and personal problems in the 1950s, flashback show his father’s (Robert De Niro) arrival in America and descent into a life of crime. Winner of the Best Picture Oscar, as well as a Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, The Godfather Part II remains one of the most iconic crime movies ever made.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – Suburbanite Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants the Christmas holidays to be perfect, but his plans are derailed thanks to everything from eccentric family members (especially Randy Quaid as the uncouth Cousin Eddie) to a squirrel in the Christmas tree. The third installment in the series and way better than European Vacation.

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Dawn of the Dead (1978) – After inventing the modern zombie movie with Night of the Living Dead, director George A. Romero turned out this much gorier sequel about survivors who’ve locked themselves in a shopping mall while the dead shamble across the land. One of the rare good movie sequels of the horror genre.

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) – Meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla franchise, Final Wars brings back all your favorite movie monsters, as well as many that have been absent from the screen for over 30 years. MMA legend Don Frye has a supporting role.

Mad Max 2 (1981) – Also known as The Road Warrior in the United States, this post-apocalyptic sequel pits a burned-out former cop (Mel Gibson) against a horde of murderous scavengers in the wasteland of Australia. The Brian May score and George Miller direction combined to create a number of tension-filled moments, and fans of white-knuckle car chases should move it to the top of their lists.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The darkest entry of the series finds Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and all our other favorite rebel scum butting heads with the unstoppable power of Darth Vader and the Empire. Boba Fett and Yoda are introduced, and the ending is a downer of a cliffhanger.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Linda Hamilton team up once again, this time for the story of young John Connor (Edward Furlong). Destined to save the human race, John must dodge a shape-shifting killing machine (Robert Patrick) from the future, bust his mom (Hamilton) out of a mental institute, and teach a cyborg protector (Arnie) such useful modern phrases as “Hast la vista, baby.” A rock-solid blend of action and science fiction, with plenty of explosions and gunfire.

So the next time you’re looking for some good movie sequels, be sure to give the films listed above a try. In some cases, they’re even better than the original.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 at 10:27 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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