Modern action sequels have been in the news a lot lately. We just celebrated the 10th anniversary of ‘The Dark Knight,’ ‘The Equalizer II’ just hit theaters, and leaked video showed Keanu Reeves pulling a horseback stunt in shooting for ‘John Wick 3.’ Frankly, it’s a great thing that all of these films happened or are happening. ‘The Dark Knight’ is as good a superhero film and an action film as we’ve seen this century, ‘The Equalizer’ appears to have spawned a perfectly respectable franchise, and the ‘John Wick’ movies are resetting how we think of modern shoot-em-ups. It’s a pretty good time for the genre.
But this, of course, just got us thinking about some other modern action movies that haven’t gotten the same treatment, and which deserve sequels. These are a few that came to mind.
If you didn’t love this 2007 Clive Owen flick, I’m not sure why you’re reading about action movies. Owen plays the mysterious Mr. Smith, who becomes a reluctant hero when he saves a woman in distress and then delivers her freaking baby mid-shootout. It’s intentionally absurd, but it sets the stage for one of the most entertaining, high-octane gunfire-based action films we’ve seen in decades. Because action mattered more than plot (but in a stylized way that made this perfectly okay) it would be exceedingly easy to come up with a sequel for ‘Shoot-em-Up.’ Let’s hope, particularly in light of the success of ‘John Wick,’ that Hollywood is on the case.
There always seem to be hints that this RoboCop-esque comic book-based thriller is resurfacing. A Canadian slot gaming site hosts a game based on “Mega City One’s most infamous law enforcer,” but it’s based on the comics rather than the 2012 action film. Lead actor Karl Urban has publicly lobbied for a sequel, but seemingly only on a streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon. Online games and rumors are nice, but we’d like to see Urban back in his suit and on the big screen in the dark, forbidding, post-apocalyptic hellscape of Mega City One. This was a fascinating and unique movie that, because it was in part introductory in nature, could easily be spun into a trilogy.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
This, hopefully, isn’t just an idea. There is supposed to be a sequel to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ which many rank as the best or most impressive action film of the 21st century so far. There are apparently two scripts, and Tom Hardy is attached to return as Max. However, writer and creator George Miller’s studio is apparently suing Warner Bros. over unpaid bonuses. That sounds a little bit nasty and seems to be throwing the sequel into some doubt. Then again, given that this is Miller’s baby, we have to think he’ll allow it to happen, and we’ll all be back in the land of Mad Max soon enough.
This is another film that’s had a sequel confirmed, though it’s early enough in the process that we still feel a little bit of hesitancy to celebrate just yet. Long heralded as something of a female version of ‘John Wick,’ ‘Atomic Blonde’ was indeed a highly stylized, visually gorgeous action film. Charlize Theron’s lead character was very different from John Wick, however, more of a spy than a shooter, and if anything she actually seems more suited to a series of different mysteries and incidents. This film will be getting a sequel, and we hope there’s more than one.
‘xXx: Return Of Xander Cage’
This is almost certainly going to be the least popular choice on this list, because ‘xXx: Return Of Xander Cage’ was an objectively awful movie. However, Vin Diesel can sell an action flick, and the original ‘xXx’ was a ton of fun. ‘Return Of Xander Cage’ was actually the second failed sequel, after the follow-up ‘xXx: State Of The Union’ flopped without Diesel on board. But if we got yet another effort more focused on continuing the story from the original, and settling down a bit after the ludicrous nonsense of ‘Return Of Xander Cage,’ it might just surprise people. The original Xander Cage was a good enough action character to support another good movie or two.