Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sequels: The Good, The Bad, The Underrated and The Forgotten. Part 2.

You know what I get sick of reading online and in movie magazines? Articles on sequels. You may be thinking, 'Uh Jade you are writing an editorial series on sequels'. And this is true I am, but I am sick of reading about the same sequels in EVERY GOD DAMN COUNTDOWN. I understand that there is certain sequels which will always be seen as 'The Best', but really it's been done too many times now. The articles all just recycle information off one another, and it gets tiring and boring to read. I have always dreamt of reading some of these countdowns and be completely surprised, that someone has thought outside the box. While doing research for this series I realised the best way to do this is to look in my own collection. I have a lot of DVD's, so I decided to look through them all and my god did I find some gems! But as I was looking more and more into my collection it got me thinking. How could so many of these sequels just be forgotten or considered as crap? It made me question humanity and what they think is ACTUALLY good. I think as a group of movie viewers, people tend to concentrate too much on the films which looked to have made more an impact on the film industry financially and socially. Here are some of the forgotten and underrated sequels I came across on my travels, you may not agree with my choices but I believe these films deserve a mention. Remember this is just an opinion, it isn't set in stone.

When I would ever go to the video store with my mum, she was always very cautious with what movies I chose. Not because she wanted to protect me from violence or horror, but she wanted to make sure I would like the film. Sequels were definitely something she didn't like us renting. I would often ask her if we could rent out certain movies like 'The Addams Family Values', but she said I wouldn't like it because it wasn't like the original. Now as a small child, I thought her word was correct, but as a I grew up I would rent these sequels and I would love them. I remember seeing 'The Addams Family Values' on TV for the first time, and I loved it! I didn't see that movie as just another sequel or a run of the mill kids film. I thought it was extremely fun, and had so many memorable lines. I think a lot of people overlook this sequel because they see it as 'just another kids film', and that is so not true. Sure this movie is a lot more light hearted than the original because you see the Addams family really spending time out in the 'real world' with people who we would consider 'normal'. A lot of this film is about the light and the dark, and even though the Addams Family are considered quite gothic, dark and weird, they have a stronger sense of family than most that are portrayed on screen, and that's what is so great about them. I think this picks up perfectly where the first film left off, and it continues to convey the strong yet unique structure of their family and their values. I don't think this is as clever as the original film BUT it is enjoyable and it is a lot of fun. This is the problem nowadays. People don't go into films wanting just pure fun, expectations are far too high not just for sequels but all movies alike.

'The Devil's Rejects' is a film that I had not seen until last year. It was out of print within several years of it's DVD release, so for a while I just hadn't taken much notice of it or bothered to check it out. As soon as I found a copy I had to go home straight away and watch it and GOD DAMN did I love this movie. I really enjoyed 'House of 1000 Corpses', and it actually scared me at times. I guess I was a little scared of watching the sequel 'The Devil's Rejects', but it was totally different. Sure you could classify it as a horror film, but it had a real 1970's exploitation vibe about it. I found it to be more grimy, seedy and just vile, and that was just made it more exciting. It did have some scare factors into it, but I just found it was more violent and a lot of fun to watch. I would have to say this is by far better than 'House of 1000 Corpses'. It's great to see the characters get reprised, but you actually get to find out a lot more about them, and what makes them do what they do. I have spoken to a few people about 'The Devil's Rejects' and they don't think it's a sequel...Now I just find that a tad bit odd. Sure it doesn't have the same name as 'House of 1000 Corpses' and it isn't a 'traditional' carry on for a sequel, but you have all the original characters picking up where they left off...Maybe people are just a bit stupid, either way 'The Devil's Rejects'  is hands down one of the best horror movie sequels I have seen. I find that people do forget about this movie, because they either don't see it as a sequel or they just didn't like it and didn't find anything memorable about it. Which is a shame, because it is Rob Zombie's best work in terms of his movies.

I can feel the hate that will ensue as soon as I mention the next film...'Piranha II: The Spawning'. This is hands down my favourite of all the Piranha movies. Why? It is just so god damn funny, violent, awkward and the biggest selling point for me is that the FREAKIN' PIRANHA'S FLY! Imagine that piranhas flying...the day great white sharks can do that, is the day we are all DEAD. I am surprised no one has made a film called 'Great White: Shit, these sharks can fly'. If anyone is reading this out there, lets come together and get that film made. I think the opening to this is just pure genius. You have two swimmers who decide to go diving in this sunken ship and they go there to have sex...but little do they know it's a lair for piranhas...yep you guessed it they get chomped on oh so violently, and you can't help but laugh. Has that opening sold it for you? I think this is better than Joe Dante's original 'Piranha' film because it isn't about sexy teens getting killed at a summer camp by piranhas. Don't get me wrong, the story is weak, and the dialogue is a tad bit weird and awkward at times, but it's worth the watch. Why? Lance Henriksen. Nuff said. James 'AVATAR' Cameron directed this film, and I am pretty sure he sees this film as trash, but I believe he shouldn't disregard this film because it doesn't live up to any major blockbuster that he has made. He should be proud that this film has a massive audience in the 'Creature Feature/Exploitation' genres, and we appreciate it for the charm that it has. Don't ever deprive yourself of extremely 'shlocky' sequels. They make the world go round.

You can imagine my excitement when I found 'Desperado' in my collection. It dawned on me, it is a freakin' underrated and KICKASS sequel. This is another film, I haven't really seen on too many 'best sequel' countdowns. I think it's another film which has been forgotten, and I believe most people thing it's the original and that 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico' is the sequel. I would definitely say it is the case in Australia, since 'El Mariachi' isn't available on DVD, the only way it is available is in a Robert Rodriguez Blu Ray box set. When I worked as a DVD manager, and we sold the El Mariachi trilogy, a lot of people didn't believe that 'El Mariachi' was ACTUALLY the first film, everyone thought 'Desperado' was.  I would have to say I do indeed prefer 'Desperado' over 'El Mariachi', because I believe Antonio Banderas did bring a lot more depth and badassery to the character. I love the fact that while in some ways the film is very sleek it also pays great homage to B grade movies and Westerns. This is definitely a film you need to watch while drinking some smooth whiskey and eating some chicken. I think it's the only way to really enjoy it. There isn't a single boring scene in this film, it is just violence, with a touch of comedy thrown in for good measure and let's face it, you see Banderas playing the guitar and singing...I think that adds a touch of class to the movie. I think overall 'Desperado' is a very gritty yet sophisticated action/ western movie, and not many films of those kind of genres have been able to capture what this film did since.

I have found that with comedies, you can have exceptionally good sequels, or really bad ones which just fall flat on their ass. A sequel which I have found not many people like is 'City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold'. The original did very well at the box office and came out to really awesome reviews, however the sequel didn't do so well. I have always found that to be extremely surprising, because it is really funny. I think the 'brotherly love' between Billy Crystal and Jon Lovitz is just amazing, because their personalities in the film are so different, but the comedic timing between them bounces off one another extremely well. I love the adventure they go on to try and track down Curly's Gold, because something always goes wrong, some may say certain scenes were for a cheap laugh, but what is wrong with a cheap laugh? Sometimes I feel you need to be able to imagine yourself in the characters position and then you start to find it a lot funnier. Either way, this film has great comedic timing, it has really awesome  and memorable characters; my favourite being Jon Lovitz. This also has a lot of charm, and its fun. Adventure films don't need to have a serious tone to them like 'Indiana Jones' for it to be entertaining.

I know 'Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning' is a fairly recent film, but HOLY SHIT IT IS FREAKIN' AWESOME! I was absolutely heartbroken that this film was only getting played in two cinemas in ALL of Australia. Which of course were not played in Perth, where I live. This is a perfect example of action movie sequels which again get put on the back burner and go straight to DVD. I understand why they do it, but when you have a film like this, with a tonne of buzz surrounding it, why not just give it a couple of weeks of playing time in cinemas nation wide? I believe playing this at more cinemas world wide would have given it more recognition, and I am scared that this will be seen as just another sequel which get's lost in the midst and soon it will be put in the bargain bin that no one looks at. This film has it all. If you want a kickass action film, don't look any further. I won't lie this is more of a Scott Adkins film than it is a Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren film. While they do reprise their roles, Adkins is very much in the drivers seat and man so he should be. He is such a great actor and an amazingly talented martial artist. All the way through watching this I just couldn't take my eyes off him. He possesses a depth that Stallone does in his films, and that is what grabs me about him. I think given the chance he could be extremely versatile and can prove a lot of narrow minded, action hating critics wrong. You all need to see this film because it has some BRUTAL action scenes, the storyline is easy to follow, it's all about revenge and who doesn't love a good revenge story? It's very straight to the point, it doesn't try to be the original 'Universal Soldier', it stands on it's own.

I am so not done with Sequel series just yet. These are definitely sequels which I have found have been over looked for actually being sequels, and just forgotten and not seen as 'worthy' of a movie magazine 'best sequels' countdown. Either way I will be back for the third and final instalment of this series, which will contain some of my favourite sequels as well as honourable mentions. Now I think you all need to take a trip to the video store, rent some of these movies and buy some Cherry Coke and have a KICKASS SEQUEL BONANZA WEEKEND! 

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