If you asked me to describe my memory of ‘90s action movies in a single image, it would be this: our hero, wading through thigh-deep water, firing an endless barrage of bullets at whatever bad guy or monster happens to be offscreen. In my nostalgia-addled brain, it seems like every movie from that decade featured some combination of flooding and gunfights. And if this same reverence for waterlogged ‘90s blockbusters is what inspired Hollywood to churn out The Hurricane Heist, then I certainly can’t complain. The math, at least as far as I’m concerned, checks out.
If there was a peak period for this particular type of movie, though, it must’ve come in the months between 1997 and 1998. In that six-month span, three action movies were released that serve as rorschach tests for the decade: Speed 2: Cruise Control, Deep Rising, and Hard Rain. Woven together by a shared love of jet skis and blockbuster films like Die Hard and Speed, these three movies could be regarded as variations on a single ridiculous theme. Even Roger Ebert, in his review of Deep Rising, pointed to the trend of recycling these action beats for his upcoming movies. “No sooner is there an indoor jetski chase in Hard Rain,” Ebert wrote, “(then) there’s one in Deep Rising.” These films were also enough to drive Reddit user LundgrensFrontKick borderline insane in 2016 when he attempted to quantify the exact pain inflicted by jet skis movies at the domestic box office.
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Since it’s summer, we’ve seen our fair share of sequels from The Avengers: Age of Ultron to Terminator: Genisys to Magic Mike XXL and the pseudo-reboot Jurassic World. Audiences have varying opinions on these sequels, sometime saying they’re not as good as the predecessor, others saying that they’re missing something. But what?
Well, a new video essay aims to answer that question by asking “What Makes a Sequel Good?” The video does this by comparing original films like Toy Story and The Terminator to their sequels, Toy Story 2 and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But those aren’t the only examples, because there’s some bad sequels that need to be discussed too.
Find out what makes a sequel good after the jump!
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“This sequel is, like, so Hollywood.”
Surreal. It’s beginning to feel like I’m the windshield and Hollywood’s remakes and sequels are the insects. Jan de Bont (yes, Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control) will direct a sequel to 1991’s Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze/Gary Busey starrer Point Break entitled Point Break: Indo. Yes, it’s a theatrical sequel from RGM and Essential Entertainment. IESB reports that Reeves and Swayze have most likely been asked to return. Bodhi lives! This wise-ass guy from my middle school cafeteria days owes me $5. IESB also has the official plot synopsis…
When Billy Dalton, military special ops and star surfer, is disqualified from the pro-surfing tour, he takes off for the coast of Bali looking for the perfect wave. While there he’s recruited by a private security force who are trying to find a gang known as The Bush Administration, surfing outlaws and modern day pirates who work like “The Ex-Presidents,” a bank robbing crew from Malibu twenty years ago.
The Bush Administration? Really? That rots my brain. Of note, however, is that the original screenwriter, W. Peter Illiff (Patriot Games, Varsity Blues and \m/) also penned this installment, so the bitchin’ dialogue should remain intact. The production company is also boasting that de Bont’s film looks to have the “most extreme action stunts ever caught on camera.” Hmm, cameo by MEG? Kidding.
As you may recall, a Point Break sequel has been kicked around for many months. I’m rather skeptical that Swayze will be back due to his health, and back in March Reeves spat on all sequels, so…maybe Lori Petty can return a la Sandra Bullock? But here’s hoping for a gnarly reunion, I know Busey is (even though his character already RIP’d). Too bad director Kathryn Bigelow has bigger fish to fry, like Iraq. Her original (she also helmed Near Dark and Strange Days) is still one of the most re-watchable popcorn movies of the ’90s; the action film equivalent to really, really good chewing gum, a nice contact buzz and the smell of Mr. Zoggs’s Sex Wax in the morning.
UPDATE: Stream the first Point Break in its entirety at HULU. via AzizIsBored
Discuss: What is Jan de Bont thinking? What are you thinking? What’s Gary Busey thinking?