Double Feature

May 2015 - Hollywood loves nothing better than a good sequel – or even a bad sequel - except maybe a prequel or a spinoff. In 2011, a website called Box Office Mojo wrote that one of every five films that year would be a prequel, a sequel, or a spinoff. I don't believe that percentage has decreased since then. So, here are my thoughts on just two of the many, many sequels to hit the big screen.

Before he walked with the dead, Norman Reedus was a saint. He starred in 1999's The Boondock Saints and its R-rated 2009 sequel, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. The cast of the sequel also includes Billy Connolly, Judd Nelson, Peter Fonda and Julie Benz as a sympathetic FBI agent.

As the film opens, eight years have passed since Connor and Murphy MacManus won the hearts and minds of Bostonians by taking out a good number of the city's mobsters. Since then, they've been living peacefully with their dad (Connolly) – an accomplished killer in his own right – on a sheep farm in Ireland. But, when they get word that they're being framed for the murder of a priest in Boston, they hop a freighter and head back home to hunt down the real killers.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. Not quite as good as the original, but not bad as sequels go. This movie has better pacing and more humor, but lacks the feeling of righteous indignation that powered the first film. The ending sets things up for another sequel (or a prequel) should writer/director Troy Duffy choose to make one, and word is that Boondock Saints III is in the works.

The Dark Knight Rises is the third film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, and you could call it "The Dark Knight Meets Inception." Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman reprise their roles from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Nolan recruited Inception stars Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy to fill out the cast. And, he convinced Anne Hathaway to sign on as Catwoman.

The story in this PG-13 film from 2012 picks up about eight years from the end of The Dark Knight. Dear, departed Harvey Dent has become a symbol of Gotham's successful war on crime while Batman is persona non-grata. He hasn't been seen in eight years and neither has Bruce Wayne. He's become a recluse, living with Alfred in stately Wayne Manor and paying little attention as his fortune fritters away.

But, a cat-like thief named Selina is about to change that. She poses as a waitress at a cocktail party to steal Bruce's fingerprints and a strand of pearls belonging to his mother. The theft draws Bruce out of his isolation, but also leads him down a dark and painful path.

Overall review: Liked it. The previous film, The Dark Knight, clocked in at 2.5 hours, which was longer than it needed to be. This one is even longer at 2.75 hours, which is a lot longer than it needed to be, especially since a lot of the dialogue is bad. There are good points, however. Tom Hardy shines as the villain, Bane, and gets the best lines in the movie; Anne Hathaway was better than I expected; Christian Bale can do push-ups like nobody's business; the chase sequences and special effects are great; and the door is left open for the series to continue.