By Thomas Sellers Jr.
More than 30 years ago, a classic film came to the masses in Coming to America.
The 1988 comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall wasn’t loved by critics but became a crossover hit in the United States. Most classify Coming to America as a certified four-star masterpiece. Fast forward to this Friday and the very long-awaited sequel Coming 2 America is set to be released to the public.
We finally get to see Prince Akeem become the king and learn about a long-lost son who grew up in America. Many people are excited about the release of this film while others are saying don’t mess up perfection.
The first movie allowed us to get to know Prince Akeem played by Eddie Murphy. He came to America from his homeland in Africa to find love and his bride to be. Avoiding an arranged marriage in Zamunda, Akeem joined by his sidekick Semmi had an adventure in New York City finding his princess Lisa McDowell played by the beautiful Shari Headley.
From the barbershop to McDowell’s, there were loads and loads of laughs for nearly 2 hours. We’ll have to wait a while to give an official review of the sequel. It might take a couple of viewings and sharing opinions with a few close friends before we give a verdict.
Until then, let’s reminisce about a few sequels that were better than the original film in the franchise. Let’s understand in order for a movie to get a green-light on a sequel, the original must have been pretty awesome. When the actors, crew and production can top that first film, that deserves a moment in the spotlight. Before I get into my top 10, a quick shout out to the Lethal Weapon series. From the first movie to part 4, I love Mel Gibson and Danny Glover at the best buddy cop franchise ever.
And one of the best comedy franchises ever is Austin Powers. The second movie crushed the first Austin Powers. The third film fell flat because his sidekick was lacking. So a shout out to Heather Graham for carrying her part in the sequel.
- The Godfather Part II
Year Released: 1974
Original Movie: The Godfather
Most movie critics who get paid big bucks to rank these kind of movies say this is the best sequel ever. And they argue that Part II surpasses the first Godfather in all categories. This sequel illustrates the contrasting lives of Corleones. We get a deeper dive into the lives of the father and son. Michael Corleone’s, played by Al Pacino, origin is better explained and we learn why he choose a life of crime. This movie is intense and gripping for the three hours and 22 minutes of run time.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Year Released: 1984
Original Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Here’s a twist folks, the follow up movie takes us back to explain what we saw previously. Most of the best sequels are prequels. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out three years after the first film in the franchise. The prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark is set a year prior. We follow our hero Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) on a journey through India to recover the sacred stone stolen from a village by a religious cult.
The scene I’ll remember the most is the heart of out the chest… Kalima.
Plus I got a few laughs out of the movie from the trio trying to escape all the danger throughout the movie.
- Terminator 2 Judgment Day
Year Released: 1991
Original Movie: The Terminator
Except for a couple of classic lines, I didn’t enjoy the first Terminator. Not a big fan of the original, I wasn’t too excited about the release of T2 coming to theaters 30 years ago. I finally got a chance to see the action-packed Terminator 2 on cable in 1995. I loved this movie and the ending brought tears to my eyes. In this sequel set eleven years after “The Terminator,” John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization’s victory over a future robot uprising. The young Connor is being chased down by a shape-shifting T-1000 brought to life in a masterful way by Robert Patrick. Only one other Terminator can stop him from killing John Connor. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the T-800. The twist that we end up enjoying in this film, John and the T-800 form a bond that almost gives the robot human feelings.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Year Released: 1989
Original Movie: National Lampoon’s Vacation
In 1983 a timeless comedy masterpiece was released in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Clark Griswold, Chevy Chase, and his beautiful wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) led a family unit across country for a trip to Wally World. Mishap after mishap entertained us until the Griswolds reached California just to be disappointed.
Fast forward a few years and the Griswold children have changed a little bit. It’s the holidays and the family is staying put in Chicago. This time the relatives are coming into town including cousin Eddie. National Lampoon’s did it again, creating a timeless classic that almost everybody can relate. From family trips to a big Christmas gathering, both films still apply to your life 40 and 30 years later.
- Shrek 2
Year Released: 2004
Original Movie: Shrek
Eddie Murphy is back, in voice only. But his comedic timing and chemistry with Michael Myers is phenomenal. The voices of these two comedic actors is loaned to Donkey and Shrek respectively.
The first movie was a great family cartoon that had a great love story. The sequel brought back all our favorite characters and added some adult-based jokes that made this film much better than the original.
- Deadpool 2
Year Released: 2018
Original Movie: Deadpool
My new favorite superhero, bumping down Blankman, is Deadpool thanks to this sequel. I love the Easter eggs, running jokes and timely one-liners. Ryan Reynolds does a wonderful job as the wisecracking Deadpool. The plot of Deadpool meeting Russell, an angry teenage mutant who lives at an orphanage, is compiling until the action-packed conclusion. Good plot, sweet cameos and loads of jokes make this film enjoyable time and time again.
- Scary Movie 2
Year Released: 2001
Original Movie: Scary Movie
The Wayans Brothers are masters at the parody genre. In the original Scary Movie, I would grade it a solid A. They attacked the Scream type of horror movies and made me laugh throughout. I was excited to hear that a sequel was coming out in 2001.
I went from laughing to crying tears from my laughter with part 2. The second film went after the supernatural type of horror movies. It was time to exploit classics like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist.” More recent films like “Hannibal,” “What Lies Beneath” and “The House on Haunted Hill” were not safe. Toss in some “Charlie’s Angels” and “Mission Impossible 2” and you have a classic. Best scene was the back-and-forth between the characters of Chris Elliot and David Cross. No legs vs. a little hand — some of the best roasting ever.
- Rocky II
Year Released: 1979
Original Movie: Rocky
Sylvester Stallone struck Oscar gold with the original Rocky in 1976. And Rocky IV is the most entertaining movie in the franchise. But the direct sequel Rocky II gave us the conclusion we wanted the entire time. We pick back up with our hero from Philadelphia Rocky Balboa after fighting the champion Apollo Creed to the final bell.
Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky lost his over-hyped bout with the world champion Apollo (Carl Weathers). With the national media questioning him, Apollo couldn’t live with himself until he fought Rocky in a rematch.
In of Rocky fighting for just pride, by the time of the rematch he is a husband with a son. Rocky was fighting for his family. Dramatic ending to the fight gives us a new world champion.
- Creed II
Year Released: 2018
Original Movie: Creed
Why is this film ranked so high? It is a direct sequel to Creed giving us the next chapter in Adonis Johnson’s life. And it’s a follow up to Rocky IV from 1985. Adonis’ father Apollo Creed was killed in the ring by the Russian boxer Ivan Drago. That tragic match is the build up to the showdown between two sons. Rocky Balboa was in the corner of Apollo that night he died and as the trainer to Adonis, Rocky was there again to see his fighter triumph.
This masterpiece connects so many dots, gives us a few conclusions and retribution is there for our hero Adonis Johnson… CREED.
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Year Released: 1992
Original Movie: Home Alone
Another Christmas classic on this list, the second film in this franchise takes the good elements of the first movie and added steroids. We move from the McCallister’s Chicago mansion torturing a pair of thieves and use a neighborhood in New York City to punish the Sticky Bandits.
Great jobs by Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern reprising their roles and being good troopers in the Big Apple. And I still got that warm holiday feeling and moral lesson of the importance of family from the first film. Just this time it was more entertaining throughout the movie.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to email@example.com.