Well, kiddies, it’s almost summertime, and you know what that means: summer sequels! That’s right.
Remember all those great movies that all of you saw a year or two ago that had lots of action, suspense, computer graphics and gratuitous cleavage? Well, you can see them again this summer, just watered down and recycled in order to make a few extra dollars! Isn’t that great? Why would Hollywood want to greenlight some innovative new script from a fresh young producer who really cares about getting the angle and color schemes just right when they could just write a check for “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life”? That just wouldn’t make much business sense, now would it?
Traditionally, sequels are much worse than their predecessors. If you need evidence just check out “Blair Witch 2,” “Chained Heat 2,” “Fletch Lives,” “Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trickbaby,” “Rambo: First Blood Part 2,” “Exorcist 2: The Heretic,” the list goes on and on.
Biff’s point here (that he is having a hard time getting to) is that every once in a while a film’s sequel will actually surpass the original. This is the part where you read on and disagree with what I am saying.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Okay, before he became a meathead in the ’80s who could only speak monosyllabically and blow up stuff, Sylvester Stallone played a sympathetic character named Rocky who could only speak monosyllabically and punch stuff. In the ’70s, Stallone actually cared about making good films, and it shows in his masterpiece, the feel-good “Rocky II.”
In 1979, Stallone took on the directing role in addition to acting and scriptwriting duties for his sequel to the Oscar-winning film “Rocky.” I’ll admit, “Rocky” is hard to top, but there’s just something about “Rocky II” that makes it an itsy bit better. Perhaps it’s the fact that finally Rocky finishes what he started with Apollo. Perhaps it’s because Rocky and Adrien finally tie the knot. Perhaps it’s because Stallone actually does a wonderful job of playing a dim-witted guy trying to get on with his life after his 15 minutes of fame. For whatever reason, it’s awesome.
No discussion of superior sequels would be complete without mentioning “Evil Dead 2.”
What’s bizarre about this cult classic is that it isn’t so much a sequel to “The Evil Dead” as it is an improved version. With the sequel, director Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell deliver the lethal humor/horror one-two punch that the original film only hinted at. Dead by dawn! Dead by dawn!
In 1974, Francis Ford Coppola did the unimaginable when he somehow managed to eclipse “The Godfather” with its superior sequel, “The Godfather Part II.” Coppola cuts between the life of young Vito Corleone (played by a young Robert De Niro) and the life of Michael Corleone, (played Al Pacino, if you must know) as both men rise to power in their mobster family. Pacino’s kiss of death to his brother Fredo is still one of the most powerful moments put on the big screen.
Speaking of powerful movie moments, how can anyone forget when Marty McFly outruns a gang of hooligans on his Mattel Hoverboard in the Robert Zemeckis directed “Back to the Future: Part II”? The sequel is far superior to the first and especially third installments in all areas, including but not limited to development of theme, cinematography and awesomeness. Can you believe that people thought that Hoverboards were actual products? What rubes.
Perhaps the quickest follow-up to a surprise hit, “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo”, hit the theaters the same year, the ever-enjoyable 1984, as its prequel “Breakin.” That’s right, Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones and Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers are back to breakdance all over your lame self to save a community center.
Watch out for future hardcore rapper/cop killer enthusiast Ice-T in a less then flattering cameo as he sports a robot like ensemble and kicks dope rhymes to pop and lock to.
So have fun this summer sifting through the onslaught of sequels that are aimed at your beady little eyes. Just be careful. They can’t all be as good as “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” or “Another Stakeout.” Oh, to live in a perfect world.