Top 10: Sequels that were better than the original

23 Apr

The Raid 2 is a sequel that is better than the original

The rule of the sequel, as recently set out by Muppets Most Wanted, is that it’s never quite as good as the original.

However, Gareth Evans’ ass-kicking sequel The Raid 2 is currently smacking, stabbing and shooting its way through cinemas. The film is a real triumph and the perfect example of a sequel that manages to exceed the original in just about every single way. 

But this is far from the only example of a quality sequel. Here are the top ten.

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Review – The Raid 2

20 Apr

Poster for 2014 action film The Raid 2

Genre: Action 
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 11th April 2014
Runtime: 150 minutes
Director: Gareth Evans
Writer: Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Yayan Ruhian, Tio Pakusadewo, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle 
Synopsis: A cop goes undercover in an organised crime dynasty in an attempt to bring order to the chaotic Jakarta underworld.



In 2012, Welsh director Gareth Evans shocked the world with The Raid – his remarkable Indonesian martial arts movie. Confined to the most brutal tower block on the planet, the film was a symphony of chaotic ultra-violence and pitch perfect fight choreography. Two years later, Evans has broken new ground once again with his utterly masterful sequel – The Raid 2: Berandal.

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Review – Divergent

18 Apr

Poster for 2014 action/adventure film Divergent

Genre: Action/Adventure
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 4th April 2014
Runtime: 139 minutes
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, Ashley Judd, Mekhi Phifer
Synopsis: A girl must struggle to fit into her society’s grouping system when her rogue classification marks her out as a threat to the established order.



With The Hunger Games making waves all over the world, every vaguely marketable series of young adult novels is being considered for the movie franchise treatment. Divergent is potentially as similar to Katniss’ adventures as it’s possible to get, but thankfully it’s a little more than simply an inferior clone.

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Review – The Quiet Ones

18 Apr

Poster for 2014 horror movie The Quiet Ones

Genre: Horror
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 11th April 2014
Runtime: 98 minutes
Director: John Pogue
Writer: John Pogue, Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman
Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne 
Synopsis: A strange Oxford professor enlists a group of students and a young camera operator to help with and document his experiments with a young girl who seems to exhibit supernatural power.



A few weeks ago, I wrote about the decline of quality and indeed box office money plaguing the found footage horror sub-genre. Despite this, 2014 has already seen two prominent found footage releases and now, in the shape of Hammer’s The Quiet Ones, a film desperate to use found footage tropes without being labelled an example of the genre. Either way, it’s a failure.

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Analysis: Under The Skin as a critique of a society obsessed with body image

18 Apr

Scarlett Johansson bares all for the arthouse sci-fi Under The Skin

Scarlett Johansson is currently filling multiplexes alongside Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But she’s also planting her footprints all over the indie scene with Jonathan Glazer’s erotic sci-fi Under The Skin, which is attracting rave reviews from the critical fraternity.

I thought it was mostly pretentious rubbish, but there was something that stuck out to me as interesting. Amidst its navel-gazing and excessively long shots, there’s a message that emerges about body image and the perception of sex that is definitely worth examining.

Note: Do not read past this point until you’ve seen the film.

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Review – Noah

14 Apr

Poster for 2014 biblical epic Noah

Genre: Drama 
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 4th April 2014
Runtime: 138 minutes
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth
Synopsis: When the Creator opts to destroy the corrupted human race in a flood, he chooses one virtuous man to survive.


It’s been a long time since the biblical epic was a big part of the Hollywood furniture. Ben-Hur and The Last Temptation of Christ are distant memories, but ahead of Ridley Scott’s version of Exodus, the epic is back with Darren Aronofsky taking on the story of Noah. Thankfully, Aronofsky largely eschews preaching in favour of a genuinely interesting fantasy movie.

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Review – Under The Skin

11 Apr

Poster for 2014 arthouse sci-fi Under The Skin

Genre: Sci-Fi 
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 14th March 2014
Runtime: 108 minutes
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Writer: Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Synopsis: A sinister alien woman travels to Earth and preys on lustful men. One of her targets, however, teaches her something about what it means to be vulnerable and alone.



Garnering five-star reviews from many critics, Under The Skin looked set to be a slice of quality arthouse sci-fi from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer. Unfortunately, it’s nothing of the sort and instead is the kind of pretentious guff that comes from a filmmaker desperate to show just how intelligent they are.

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