Episode 4: Stretch it Just a Bit Further

Every so often you get a trilogy of movies that are just plain awesome and deliver a great story with memorable characters and a satisfying conclusion. Of course there are trilogies that suck but at least you’re happy that they are finally over. But then the unthinkable happens, someone has the brilliant/stupid/greedy idea to make another installment. It can be years or decades since the last movie was made but the nostalgia factor will definitely be there to tempt you into seeing how the characters are doing now. Other times they just made the movie but this time in 3D (check the last post for more info on that here). Regardless, it is supposed to be something that’s faithful to the original but with new levels of amazing, often in the form of more CGI and explosions.

The only examples that come to mind of movies that are decrypted to run an extra mile an make extra dollars are not known for being good. The most recent Die Hard movie, why did you do it Bruce Willis? Superman 4, well that was only because the third one sucked so much even with Richard Pryor but still sucked. The fourth Batman movie, with the ice skates and the nipples on the batsuit still make me shudder. Lethal Weapon 4, it was already confirmed that they were getting too old for this shit, no need for more occurrences of detectives not in their prime saving the day. And don’t even get me started on the craziness with all the monster/horror movies with Jason, Freddie, Chucky and even the Aliens and their infinite sequels.

Perhaps the most egregious example is the fourth Indiana Jones movie with the Crystal Skull. I saw the movie and it was ok but definitely not up to the level of any of the classics. Others were far more more vocal in their opinions and clearly did not pull any punches. The most Simon Cowell of all these critiques was definitely provided by the good people at South Park which described the film as a traumatic event because George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg had clearly raped Indiana Jones in front of everyone. Harrison Ford still has it but no one can or should expect him to be as amazing as the character he played 20-30 years ago. Everything was just a bit too much of a stretch and it broke the suspension of disbelief that makes watching movies and enjoyable experience.

However there is one good movie in it’s fourth installment that no one can deny. Rocky 4. Now that was a movie that saved America from the brink of nuclear war with Russia. The battle between Drago and the Italian Stallion was epic from beginning to end. Mickey the coach had already died and Rocky was married to Adrienne so you know that he had matured, become independent and had a good life outside of boxing. The savage beatdown that Drago puts on Apollo Creed in front of Rocky and the world made our protagonist feel impotent with rage as his friend died in his hands. It was an unnecessary killing and one that cemented Drago as a monster rather than as an opponent. Rocky is forced to confront his fears and get back into the fight for personal and national motivation. All this was cemented by one of the best training montages in the history of cinema, especially with the contrast of Rocky alongside nature with Drago backed by man and machine to ensure victory. Eye of the Tiger may be more iconic to the film franchise and a favorite along the kareoke crowd but Hearts on Fire is made for you to train for mission impossible. I dare you to listen to Hearts on Fire and not want to get into amazing shape; in fact, witness the whole damn thing here and tell me it’s not superb http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZA6mvMXxBQ. Anyway, Rocky 4 is an exception and the example for movies to follow. Rocky 5 ignore it, Rocky 6 was unnecessary for the story but had a good message to the AARP generation that they can still tussle with the young crowd and come out with their head held high..

One thought on “Episode 4: Stretch it Just a Bit Further

  1. […] for what I’m certain to be another movie that will fall under the ones categorized in Episode 4 of this blog. Now the insomniacs amongst you will also know that there have been a few additional […]

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