With summer now upon us, people across the country will be flocking to multiplexes everywhere. Let's face it, this summer will usher in yet another season of sequels. With highly anticipated action films such as "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
," "The Dark Knight
," and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
," it is only fitting to take a look back at the top five best and worst action sequels of all time.
Best Action Sequels:
5. Die Hard: With a Vengeance
and Samuel L. Jackson
are reluctant allies as they try to hunt down a villain who is all about playing games-literally. In the first two installments of the franchise, John McClane never had a partner. In the third film, which was released in 1995, McClane teams up with Jacksons' Zeus Carver, and their clashing chemistry is wonderful to watch on the screen. In previous films, McClane was most definitely a reluctant hero. In this installment, however, he is almost like an anti-hero. He wife left him and he appears to be an alcoholic who barely is getting by in life. When terror strikes in New York, McClane must find his "A-game" to compete with the witty, sick-minded antagonist Simon Gruber, who has more than just revenge on his mind.
4. The Bourne Supremacy
A 2004 sequel to The Bourne Identity
, Matt Damon
returns as an amnesiac who happens to be a former CIA assassin. Still on the run and yet hungry to know more about his past, this action thriller did not disappoint fans. In a genre that has become all too comfortable with special effects, wire work, and poor writing, this sequel shows that Hollywood still has the capability to get it right. With fast paced, realistic fight scenes and an exciting car chase towards the films' end, fans certainly will not fall prey to amnesia regarding this sequel.
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The third installment of the Indiana Jones franchise certainly was the charm. The audience got to see a young River Phoenix
play Indy early in the film. Later, we are introduced to Dr. Jones' father Henry Jones, played by the ever sophisticated Sean Connery
. The film deals with Indy attempting to not just rescue his father from Nazi's, but also locate the Holy Grail. The last Indy adventure, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
," was a sequel that was darker in tone but wasn't as well received by fans and critics alike. In Crusade, the audience sees Dr. Jones dealing with his father's wisdom and, sometimes, his stubbornness. The film provided quality action and was a satisfying way to wrap up the trilogy.
2. X2: X-Men United
Indiana Jones Last Crusade © Paramount Pictures
This is how all comic book films should be made. Released in 2003, X2 expanded on the universe that was created in the original 2000 film. With an interesting story that delved into Wolverine's past, and great additions to the cast, this film was certainly a crowd pleaser. From the opening scene featuring a misunderstood Night Crawler destroying secret service in The White House, to the incredible fight scene
between Wolverine and the equally equipped, yet far more brutal Lady Deathstrike, this film has it all. Director Bryan Singer even makes Halle Berry seem credible as the weather controlling Storm. Now that's the sign of a filmmaker turning a sequel into a classic.
1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Is it possible to be an action film aficionado and not have this sequel be number one? Released in 1991, this movie still holds up today in many aspects. The film had eye popping special effects which helped shape the way movies were made from that point on. But more important than eye candy is a quality story and T2 had that. Any quality action film, though, is only as good as its villain. In Robert Patricks
' T-1000, the relentless liquid metal machine on the hunt for John Conner, viewers witnessed a seemingly unstoppable force who was only bested by Sarah Connor's determination. Oh, and Schwarzenegger's
protective, "good" Terminator (T-800 Series model). With memorable action sequences and even famous movie lines, this film will still remain popular long after the world's "Judgment Day."
5. Bad Boys 2
This 2003 sequel to the original "Bad Boys" was a disappointment on many fronts. One, the film was far longer than it needed to be. Two, the chemistry and comic timing between Will Smith
and Martin Lawrence
was, for whatever reason, non-existent. Three, the original film was a fantastic action movie, and therefore expectations were high. Four, while the action and special effects in this sequel were no doubt first rate, the movie employed characters that were uninteresting and a meandering plot that involved Lawrence sticking his hands in dead bodies and the duo running over shanty towns with their high priced hummer. Even the fun Joe Pantoliano
didn't have much to do in this film. If there is a third movie on the horizon, hopefully director Michael Bay
will realize that bigger isn't always better.
4. Speed 2
This 1997 sequel to the original film "Speed
" was so bad that one forgets it was even made. The idea of doing a sequel to a film without the original star (Keanu Reeves
) seems silly, but that's exactly what Twentieth Century Fox chose to do. Instead of an out of control bus, it is an out of control luxury cruise liner (how clever!). It is doubtful that this plot would have gotten past a professor in a college film school class, let alone a major motion picture studio. Alas, Sandra Bullock
stars in this film that was drowned before it even left port. Bullock is a fun personality to be sure, but this is one of her many films that should never have been made.
3. Predator 2
This is yet another film where the studio tries to cash in on the title because the original star chose not to participate. In this sequel, Schwarzenegger is out, and Danny Glover
is in. While Glover is a wonderful actor, he is out of place in this action franchise that is missing a lot of the charm and fun of the original. Instead of taking place in the jungle, the film has its characters running around the streets of Los Angeles. The entire film and all of its participants feel out of place and so does the audience. The sequel doesn't diminish the luster of the original; it just makes one want to forget the sequel ever existed.
2. Matrix Revolutions
It's hard to think of a bigger letdown at the movies than the debacle of "The Matrix" sequels. While many will argue which sequel was worse, 2003's "The Matrix Revolutions" had little to no redeeming qualities. While the first sequel had rousing action sequences, the third installment truly does take some of the luster off of the original film. With a drawn out fight between the human race and machines, and a final battle between Neo and Agent Smith that more resembled two Superhero characters fighting and flying through the air, the movie was an immense disappointment, and, truly, an embarrassment to the franchise.
1. Batman and Robin
Yet another sequel that was made in which a well known actor is placed in a film that is not suitable for their style. In the horrid 1997 sequel "Batman and Robin," George Clooney
dons the "nippled" Batsuit. Accompanied by Arnold Schwarzenegger
as Mr. Freezem, Uma Thurman
as Poison Ivy, and Alicia Silverstone
as, ugh, Batgirl, this film was doomed once the screenwriter finished crafting the story. Director Joel Schumacher
created a neon Gotham City full of camp and one-liners. A film that would make even Adam West
cringe, it's a wonder that "Batman and Robin" didn't sink the Batman franchise longer than it did. With the dark tone and style of the recent Batman films starring Christian Bale
, and even the creepy look and feel of Tim Burton's first two Batman films, "Batman and Robin" is not just the worst action sequel of all time, but quite possibly the worst sequel of any genre that was ever made.
Story by Michael Langston Moore
Starpulse contributing writer
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