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Top 5 80's Movie Sequels

Most people would agree, it's hard to make a successful follow-up to a classic film. Basically it's like trying to replicate a lightning strike on a specific day, at a specific time in the exact same spot. But occasionally the filmmakers bring their A-game and manage to knock out a winner. Let's take a look at 5 classic 80's films that got the sequel treatment and did it right.

The Karate Kid Part 2

In the 1984 original we experienced Daniel-San's fish out of water story and fell in love with the clever, quiet wisdom of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Plus, they gave us a villain we loved to hate in the Kobra Kai and their sensei, John Kreese.  In the 1986 sequel we get a Miyagi-centric story set in an exotic locale that really feels like a continuation of the saga, instead of a rehash of "what worked last time". Though the film does start directly after the All Valley Karate tournament from the first film and gives us an awesome parking lot brawl between Miyagi and Kreese.

Once the action moves to Miyagi's hometown of Okinawa, we meet the over-the-top (if not stereotypical) villain, Sato, the one time best friend of Miyagi who wants him dead for stealing his girl decades prior. An evil protege, Chozen who terrorizes Daniel and tries to intimidate Miyagi into a death match with his uncle and a high stakes final showdown with the classic question, "Live or die, man? Live or die?" I'll agree with most critics that the "Drum Technique" is no "Crane Kick", but closing the film with "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera makes the absence of new iconic moments barely noticeable.

Ghostbusters 2 

Barely noticed in the summer of 1989, when it was released (I've even met people who didn't know it existed) this next installment catches up with everyone's favorite paranormal exterminators 5 years after the coming of Gozer the Gozarian and on the eve of Vigo The Carpathian's ominous return. This one pretty much follows the formula of the original (all powerful, doomsday harbinger ghost taunts Dana Barrett, who needs to be rescued), but the performances by the supporting cast are what really make it stand on it's own.

Rick Moranis as the nerdy Louis Tully has some amazing lines. Whether it's, "I used to have a roomate, but my Mom moved to Florida" or "Because one time I turned into a dog and they helped me. Thank you.", he always delivers the funny. But the true star of this installment in my eyes is Peter Macnicol as Dr. Janosz Poha. So creepy, so awkward, so foreign! Memorable one liners include, "There are many perks to being the mother of a living god" and all-star engrish such as "So why are you came?" or "I think the joyfullness is over". Though I owned both films on VHS, once Ghostbusters II came out it was always my go-to over the original.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Technically it came out in 1990, but I always say the first year of any new decade basically belongs to the previous one, Gremlins 2 arrived 6 years after the first terrifying Christmas tale and is so madcap, it borders on brilliant. It's like returning director Joe Dante put a copy of Die Hard and the best of Looney Tunes into a blender filled with pureed Gremlin to bring us the story of evil green ghouls running amok in a corporate high rise. Billy Peltzer is back with the lovable Gizmo and his girlfriend Kate to witness the madness, but the real fun is found in the mutations on display.

Spider-Gremlin is gross, Bat-Gremlin introduces us to the terror of a flying Gremlin, Electro-Gremlin is truly inspired and Vegetable Gremlin is just weird. Plus, Gizmo walks on his own 2 legs and goes full-on action star! No more stowing away in backpacks for this guy, he's shooting flaming paperclip arrows and saving the day. Throw in John Glover as Mr. Clamp, the world's most lovable, ambivalent yuppie and you've got an 80's time capsule comedy adventure that is truly entertaining. Special thanks to The Hulkster for keeping the Gremlins in line and getting the film back on track halfway through it's run time.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The world of fandom is universally in agreement that the Wrath of Khan from 1982 is miles ahead of the U.S.S. Enterprise's first lackluster voyage into movie theaters. Actually a sequel to an episode from the original 1960's Star Trek TV series, this tale of revenge attempted by an evil, genetically engineered mastermind marooned my Kirk and his crew on a distant planet is an absolute delight. Performances are strong from everyone involved and their Naval inspired space battles are genuinely exciting. Even if Ricardo Montalban seems a bit melodramatic, it perfectly fits the madness of the Khan character. For me the strength of this sequel lies in 3 key elements. 

First there is just enough continuity from the previous film to make you feel invested in the franchise, but the movie really is a strong standalone story all its own. Second, the costumes. It seems shallow perhaps, but the Starfleet uniforms in this movie make the crew look so cool. Kirk's entrance onto the bridge being backlit in silhouette then revealing the red and white of his outfit is so dramatic you are instantly behind him as the hero of the piece. Finally, a villain with understandable motives. The first film gave us (spoiler alert) a super intelligent space probe, while Khan is a fully fleshed out (I mean, check out the chest on this guy) character who has a burning and somewhat justified hatred for Kirk's decision to banish them to an uninhabited planet that became a deadly wasteland. If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to seek it out.

The Goonies 2

How awesome was it when The Goonies found that pack of Sasquatch in the woods and had to protect them from that evil gang of poachers? Remember when Data busted out his Inspector Gadget style propeller helmet and rescued Mikey after he plummeted down that waterfall? Wait, you don't remember that? Oh right, it never happened. But I'm going to let you in on a secret, in some alternate reality it did and now you can join in the fun of imagining the next installments of your favorite retro films.

If you haven't checked out my new podcast, SequelQuest, where myself and 3 friends pitch our concepts for sequels and prequels of films that never got the next episode they deserved, you'll want to get in on this week's episode where we're imagining the sequel to The Goonies that we never got. It's a fun discussion with some unexpected turns and we want you there to join in the fun.

Visit www.sequelquestpod.com for details on upcoming shows, fan art submissions and other surprises. Check out the Podcast section of Retro-Daze.org too. You can also get the latest updates on Twitter @SQPOD.  Get ready to dive into a world of cinematic possibilities and when you're done, tell us what you think!
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Hoju Koolander Posted on Nov 11, 2015 at 09:04 PM

Just in case you've been waiting for The Goonies 2 episode of the SequelQuest podcast, which was delayed for technical reasons, you can listen now at this link http://sequelquestpod.com/2015/11/11/the-goonies-meet-bigfoot/

NLogan Posted on Nov 08, 2015 at 05:48 PM

I also like Karate Kid II and really liked how the film started where the first film left off. In the parking lot after the tournament showing just how depraved John Kreese was by how he treated his students after in dealing with their loss.

The Wrath of Khan is one of the best Star Trek movies for sure. I was always creeped out by those crazy earwigs they put in Chekov's ears.

jkatz Posted on Nov 07, 2015 at 08:26 AM

Yes finally some love for Gremlins 2!

Hoju Koolander Posted on Nov 06, 2015 at 01:30 AM

@NLogan Yeah, totally aware of this and have always appreciated the fact that they really created poster art that could have been used for the theoretical film. There's also the "announcement" by Donner, Feldman and Astin that the real sequel is in the works, but we shall see.

NLogan Posted on Nov 05, 2015 at 10:17 PM

Goonies II The Fratellis' Last Stand totally happened. Came out in 1987. They even had a video game for it. Yeah right, just like the time you ate your weight in Godfather's Pizza, or the time Michael Jackson came to your house to use the bathroom? Well maybe it never happened, but it should'a. The plot of the game was for Mikey to save the rest of the Goonies and a mermaid that were captured by the Fratellis.

Vaporman87 Posted on Nov 04, 2015 at 02:46 PM

I think that as the years have gone by, my appreciation for Gremlins 2 and Ghostbusters 2 has grown. When I first watched both of those films I was disappointed. Both felt like cartoon versions of their original films. Gremlins 2 was more campy and silly than it's original, which had a bit darker tone to it. The same could be said of Ghostbusters 2, though to a lesser extent. I suppose that could be a result of my having aged 4 to 5 years from the time I watched the originals, but I still feel that same way watching the originals and sequels of both films now, so who knows.

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