In today’s Hollywood scene, sequels and remakes, reboots and adaptations, reworks and prequels are running rampant. I hate it. You should too. But what can we do? Nothing, essentially. But we can give a nice shout out to some of the legendary followups that did their originals justice. Here are my personal Top 5 Sequels!
5. [REC] 2 (Balaguero, 2009)
The whole “found-footage” craze is entirely lost on me. I can think of maybe three films in this style that I actually enjoyed. “[REC]” and “[REC] 2,” however, happen to be two of them. These Spanish gems bring together the beloved “zombie” genre with a really well-executed theological context. The action is brutal and bloody, and the scares are real and constant. I might even rank this sequel above its original. Also, don’t see the American remake, “Quarantine.” Literally the same film, just worse acting and no closure.
4. Aliens (Cameron, 1986)
James Cameron was once a man who could do no wrong (“Piranha 2” notwithstanding). In the 1980’s, he delivered two of the greatest sci-fi action flicks of all time. This one was the followup to Ridley Scott’s ’79 masterpiece, “Alien.” This introduction is a little unnecessary, as it’s impossible not to know or at least recognize this ass-kicker. Space Marines, Xenomorphs, robots, explosions, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton. They got nukes, they got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs. They got sonic electronic ball breakers! They got nukes, they got knives, sharp sticks… Sorry I lost myself for a moment. This movie rules!
3. The Road Warrior (Miller, 1981)
Few images can evoke such bleak, stark despair as a post-apocalyptic Australia. Seriously, isn’t that just sad? Well, Mel Gibson’s “Mad” Max makes it bearable with his souped up car and sawed-off shotguns. This is another sequel that surpasses its predecessor (by far), and “The Road Warrior” is now more iconic than the original. Movies, shows and video games are still taking their cues from this down-under cult classic. It also has two villains with the most epic mask, and mohawk respectively.
2. The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991)
This is where shit gets serious. “Manhunter” is an great thriller. Its followup is a master work of filmmaking. Anthony Hopkins completely reinvented the Hannibal character (originally portrayed by Brian Cox), and turned him into one of the most iconic and terrifying villains of all time. Others have tried and failed to capture that same magic. Most recently, Mads Mikkelsen is giving it a go. Don’t we wish everyone could get E-For-Effort medals?
1. T2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1990)
James Cameron makes his second appearance on this list, topping it with this – the pinnacle of action movies. “Terminator 2” is one of those rare occurrences where everything just comes together perfectly. Great direction, impressive action and effects that hold up today, great acting, and a terrifically engaging and entertaining story. It’s got it all. Intensity, heart, and a genuine quality that just isn’t present in so much Hollywood fodder nowadays. “T2” has stood the test of time for the last two decades and is still the benchmark any action film should be held against.