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Top 10 Underrated Movie Sequels

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Akil Goin. Come on, that movie was actually pretty good! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 underrated movie sequels. For this list, we’re counting down the sequels that got a bad rap with critics, that didn’t do that well at the box-office, or that simply have a reputation for being “meh.” Some film follow-ups just aren’t as bad as the consensus would have you believe. Special thanks to our users jwiking62, James Gibson and Grant Dillard for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Akil Goin.

Top 10 Underrated Movie Sequels


Come on, that movie was actually pretty good! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 underrated movie sequels.

For this list, we’re counting down the sequels that got a bad rap with critics, that didn’t do that well at the box-office, or that simply have a reputation for being “meh.” Some film follow-ups just aren’t as bad as the consensus would have you believe.

#10: “Rocky IV” (1985)

When the ‘roided-up Russian superhuman Ivan Drago slaughters Rocky’s trainee in the boxing ring, we have ourselves a fresh revenge tale. On its own merit, there is nothing about this film that warrants resoundingly negative reviews. As a sequel, it even reinvents itself in tone and in location and plays tribute to its predecessors by bringing back beloved characters. It raises the franchise’s stakes and manages to infuse a few patriotic commentaries while addressing xenophobia and Cold War attitudes. You really can’t hate this movie.

#9: “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” (1990)

The pressure was on to outperform its pioneering predecessor, and the effort was a successful one: “Die Hard 2” made over 3 times its budget worldwide. A knee-jerk reaction to the premise might be to call the terrorist/hostage/rescue a rehash of the first film, but a new director and a different novel for its source material kept it fresh. Moviegoers got more of what they liked about the first film with a few variations, and sometimes that’s all a good sequel needs. Plus that annoying reporter guy gets his!

#8: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)

There are a few reasons some fans will accuse this sequel of being a blasphemous sequel to a beloved series of films: for example, Short Round was criticized as an irritating stereotype and Willie Scott’s perpetual distress wasn’t very endearing. At the time, it was hard to handle the tone-shifts from serious to silly, but the film aged like fine wine. Upon further review, Harrison Ford delivered, as did his adventure and some of the jokes. Judging by the franchise films since, this one’s as good a sequel as it gets.

#7: “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997)

Okay, a T-Rex traipsing through San Diego might be a bit on the campy side, but does it really compromise the quality of this film? “Jurassic Park 2” changes the game by taking the family friendliness out of the story, keeping it more in line with the tone of Michael Crichton’s novel by removing the childlike wonder and instead heightening the suspense and violence. It also refrains from devolving into a B-movie creature feature by keeping the critique of capitalism through depictions of big business gone haywire.

#6: “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” (1991)

Comedy sequels tend to suffer from snubbings the most because the jokes are at their funniest the first time around. This movie overcomes that by changing the entire world and tone around the very same characters, and throwing a new character – Death – into the mix. Despite its low budget and CGI-free conditions, there are some amazing set pieces and visuals in the “Bill & Ted” sequel. Note that if “Bogus Journey” were as bad as they say, they probably wouldn’t have been talking about making a third film.

#5: “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

It’s nicely paced, operatic, emotional and epic in every sense of the word, with grand scale, design, drama, landscapes and scope. But the first two “Star Wars” prequels are such travesties that they contaminate this one enough to make appreciating “Revenge of the Sith” an embarrassing guilty pleasure. Furthermore, the “Star Wars” saga is such a pop culture powerhouse that even its best film can’t overcome heavy criticism and scrutiny. “Revenge of the Sith” is “Star Wars”’ best kept secret.

#4: “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” (1990)

Sure, it strays from its horror genre to go full looney-tunes, but if it’s generation-X hating on this film, it’s probably because they were preteens or children when it was released. That means all the meta references and instances of being self-aware went over the heads of its audience. Another viewing may reveal that this is a satirical movie that’s lampooning itself, modern filmmaking, commercialization and the corporate world. It balances its cheese in every way it needs to.

#3: “The Rescuers Down Under” (1990)

Disney has a reputation for poor animated sequels, and this one didn’t have commercial success, becoming the worst performer to come out of Disney’s renaissance. But, in comparison to its 1977 original, this film features some heavily improved visuals thanks to new technology and the diligence and attention to detail of artists who sketched Australian wildlife for reference. Also, both high profile actors Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor reprise their roles, and new ones like John Candy join in for great voice performances.

#2: “28 Weeks Later” (2007)

This film’s beautiful nightmare of an opening sequence shatters any illusions that the movie is mediocre. In fact, a passive viewing reveals that it’s pretty ambitious and visibly expansive. Building on the Rage Virus outbreak story from the first film, there’s more violence and it’s done creatively; take zombie slaying with helicopter blades, for example. Hired as director for this installment was Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, whose Spanish thrillers impressed with his filmmaking style. There’s really no excuse for underrating “28 Weeks Later.”

Before we follow up with our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- “Shanghai Knights” (2003)
- “Back to the Future Part III” (1990)
- “Men in Black 3” (2012)
- “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008)
- “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003)

#1: “Ghostbusters II” (1989)

Set five years after the first film’s events, the Ghostbusters come out of retirement to save the world again. The sequel may be retreading its successful premise very simply, but they’re excused because we’re dealing with longtime film professionals, actors and comedians like Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver and others who know exactly what to do with a good script and how. Plus new additions to the cast also bring the laughs. Since the chemistry shines, the comedy between them also does by default. Gotta give them credit.

Do you agree with our list? Which underrated sequels did we miss? For more Top 10s every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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