Thursday, January 22, 2015

French Connection II: What's the best sequel ever, and why?

I watched French Connection II this week, not bad as sequels go, but kilometres short of the original. I don't remember The French Connection having to fall back on clichés the way the sequel did, for one thing (The disaster-movie scene at the dry dock, Hackman rescuing his French colleague/adversary, the "but now it's personal" ending, and one or two more).

One nice touch: Bernard Fresson's Henri, as the colleague/adversary, physically resembles Eddie Egan's Simonson, the supervisor with whom Hackman clashes in the first movie. That's a much subtler tribute to the original than is the window-glancing in the foot portion of the sequel's climactic chase scene.

Now, here are your questions: 1) What are the best crime-movie sequels ever? (Extra points if you don't mention the obvious Godfather, Part II), and 2) What are the ingredients of a good sequel?
© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Steve Oerkfitz said...

Aliens
The Good The Bad & The Ugly
Road Warrior
Terminator 2
Bride of Frankenstein

January 22, 2015  
Blogger Bill Crider said...

After the Thin Man
From Russia with Love
Die Hard 2

January 22, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Steve, I had not thought of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as a sequel, but why not? Good choice. Thanks.

January 22, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Bill, I admit that I don't remember After the Thin Man, but Hammett wrote the story on which it's based, so I probably ought to watch it again. And I have a prejudice against any sequel who title is the original plus "2."

January 22, 2015  
Anonymous Timothy Hallinan said...

"The Color of Money"
Whatever the hell the second "Dirty Harry" movie was, assuming you can stomach the first one.
"The Silence of the Lambs" is a sequel to "Red Dragon," and much, much better than the execrable "Hannibal."

January 22, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Good on "The Color of Money," which may set a record for longest time between an original and its sequel.

I've always wanted to write "Young Hannibal" or "Hannibal: The Early Years" so I could set the following scene in the Lecter family's kitchen:

HANNIBAL'S MOTHER: "Eat your vegetables."

YOUNG HANNIBAL: "No."

January 22, 2015  
Blogger MV said...

Crime sequels are tricky. Magnum Force (Dirty Harry 2), Ocean's 12, Infernal Affairs 2, Bourne Supremacy, Death Wish 2, They Call Me Mister Tibbs, Lethal Weapon 2, Die Hard 2. Add in remakes and you get even more.

January 22, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

MV, bring remakes into play, and I'll say I liked the second Ocean's Eleven, the first recorded evidence that Brad Pitt was capable of facial expression.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

I really can't think of any movie sequels I've seen that equaled the first. In fact the only sequel I can think of is the next Pink Panther, and that was not better.

It's funny, though, that the second year of a TV series is really a kind of sequel to the first and often they hold up quite well. And even beyond the second year sometimes. Justified, Breaking Bad and any number of British mystery series come to mind.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder how long viewers have thought of a television show's second season as a sequel. It has not been that long since season-long story arcs became a big thing.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

I don't know that people really think of them that way even now. I think the concept is still "season" But they often are sequels anyway.

January 23, 2015  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

I liked Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The other two Indiana Jones movies not so much.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, it seems to me that more television series these days bring their stories to an end when the series ends. That makes them more like novels, I suppose. What, if anything, it had to so with sequels I don't know.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mary Beth: I loved Raiders of the Lost Ark and, in the first sequel, I noted the reference to the celebrated scene in which Indian Jones pulls a gun on his sword-wielding assailant. I'm not sure how much I like that sort of self-reference but in this case the original scene was so good that I gave the reference to it a pass.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

A sequel by any other name would smell as sweet. Or not.

January 23, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Rose II: The Smell

January 23, 2015  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

I had one more thought on sequels. To Kill A Mockingbird was such a faultless movie that I don't think there could have been a successful sequel. But I wonder about Scout. What kind of life did she live. I have always hoped she was waiting in the wings to tell her story (with flashbacks to Atticus of course.)

January 24, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder if Harper Lee ever thought about writing such a story.

January 24, 2015  

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