Thursday, March 18, 2004

10 Sequels That Don't Suck


After the response, both good and bad, to The Top 50 Sequels That Should Have Never Been Made (March 12, 2003), it seemed like it was time to take a stand the sequels that don’t suck. It’s a much shorter list, but a damn good one:

10 Sequels That Don't Suck

1. THE GODFATHER: PART II (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)


Undoubtedly the greatest sequel because it was better than the original, won a best picture Oscar, and because unlike all the sequels on the top 50 worst list it actually has more story to tell. The casting of Robert De Niro as a young Vito Corleone didn't hurt either. Like Part I this was written by Mario Puzo who also wrote:

2. SUPERMAN II (Dir. Richard Lester, 1981)

This supreme sequel works as a follow-up because it's actually an extension of the first film. It was filmed at the same time for the most part (there was a bit of a rough transition from director Richard Donner to Lester, resulting in some controversail re-shooting) and it satisfyingly concludes the Krypton villains’ subplot set-up from the original.

3. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
(Dir. Nicholas Meyer, 1982) 


It wasn't hard for this one to be better than the first because the first one (1979’s Robert Wise-directed STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE) was an overblown bore. Meyer’s follow-up jettisoned the celebral egghead exposition of the original, and brought on the shoot 'em up back to sc-fi basics with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and the rest of the iconic crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise facing off against the genetically engineered super-villain Khan Noonien Singh, portrayed by Ricardo Montalb├ín in a career best performance. Still considered the best of the series.

4. STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (Dir. Irvin Kershner, 1980) Despite the numbering of this as “Episode V,” I still think of this as the second STAR WARS movie. Whatever the case, this is a dark and layered entry luckily not directed by Lucas.

5. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (Dir. Peter Jackson, 2003) After GODFATHER: PART II, this was the second sequel in Academy Awards history to win Best Picture. 

6. THE EVIL DEAD II (Dir. Sam Raimi, 1987) The third one, 1992's ARMY OF DARKNESS is pretty kick-ass too. Let's hope Raimi pulls off another great sequel this summer with SPIDERMAN 2.

7. IN LIKE FLINT (Dir. Gordon Douglas, 1967) Many forget Flint James Coburn's suave American equivalent to 007. They really shouldn't because this is some sharp slick '60s stuff.

8. INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE 
(Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1989) 

Dennis Miller once joked on SNL that Star Trek VI ought to be subtitled “The Apology” (you know because of the Shatner helmed fiasco of Star Trek V), but this is the sequel that really should have that subtitle. This was a pure return to form after the way-too-dark TEMPLE OF DOOM. And 007 himself, Sean Connery as Indy’s father really seals the deal. The word that there may be a 4th Indiana Jones movie is troubling though.

9. MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (Dir. George Miller, 1982)

10. ALIENS (Dir. James Cameron, 1986)

Honorable mentions: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, TOY STORY 2, and A SHOT IN THE DARK.

More later...

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