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15 underrated sci-fi movie sequels

Terminator: Rise Of The Machines (2003)

The sequel: The first Terminator movie to enter production without James Camerons involvement. T3 brushes aside the fact that Judgment Day was stopped by leveraging in a plot point that implies: the end of the world is coming anyway. A lot of fans of the first two movies took umbrage with director Jonathan Mostows approach to that specific embellishment, but if you forgive that convenience the film boasts a lot of impressive sequences.

As was the case before, two Terminators are sent back in time. One to protect John Connor, future leader of the human resistance, and another to annihilate him. Except, the twist in the canon finds the T-850 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) actually tasked with protecting Connors future wife Katherine, who will instead become the great military leader.

Why its worth a watch: Theres TONS of Terminator v. Terminator fight scenes. In particular, the massive battle between the T-850 and the upgraded T-X (Kristanna Loken). The T-X, behind the wheel of a huge crane, snags the T-850 onto the hook and slams it through an entire warehouse.

Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The sequel: The second Matrix sequel picks up directly where Reloaded left off. Those humans unplugged from the matrix are all holed up in Zion, awaiting an imminent attack from the machines. Meanwhile, Neo - the chosen one who is expected to save the world from the predatory digital world - is destined to take out his nemesis, Agent Smith.

Bigger budget, bigger sequences, bigge- basically, everything gets cranked WAY up for the closing chapter.

Why its worth a watch: Less dialogue-heavy than Reloaded, Revolutions assembles one of the most cerebral movies ever in conjunction with a massive effects budget. Most of which is spent on the final showdown between Neo and Smith - which, despite the hours its taken to get there, is worth the wait.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

The sequel: Tony Starks second solo effort finds his Iron Man alterego the centre of media attention. His world-saving exploits have been documented - and hes now a media darling, even if the U.S. government isnt happy with his attitude. His new foe emerges in the shape of the relentless Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who is dead set on taking out Stark.

A majority of criticism toward the film took aim at the second act, which is thought to be a little flabby, but the time director Jon Favreau chooses to spend with the characters is absolutely worth it.

Why its worth a watch: Theres so many stand-out scenes, but its got to be the Iron Man-War Machine battle in the Japanese Garden. Steering Vankos fleet of drone-bots away from the Stark Expo, the two suited-up buds beat seven shades out of their robotic opponents.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

The sequel: A blend of two comic storylines - the Dark Phoenix saga and Gifted - The Last Stand finds all of mutantkind on the precipice of being made extinct, as a new mutant cure stands to render them powerless.

Criticised for botching the Dark Phoenix component of the story, Brett Ratners entry into the X-Men series is a tricky customer. It cant be ignored that the liberties taken with Jean Greys story veered away from the comics intention, however, the sheer quantity of mutants onscreen all embracing their abilities as opposed to relinquishing them... pretty powerful stuff.

Why its worth a watch: Famke Janssens turn as the dual persona Jean Grey. Two sides of the same coin struggling to take control, when she at last engages the dark half of herself - its one of the films standout scenes.

Blade II (2002)

The sequel: Daywalker Blade, who is half-human and half-vampire, is given a gothic makeover by director Guillermo Del Toro. The helmers first foray into comic book adaptations, Del Toro puts his stamp all over the bloodsucking sequel that picks up Blades story as he hunts a new strain of vampire.

Why its worth a watch: It kicks up the spectacle all the way to ELEVEN, and pretty much doesnt yield throughout its entire running time. Plus, theres some nice flourishes to typical vampiric lore with the introduction of GMOd vamps. Who cares about slayers when youve got a triple-jaw and a reinforced breast plate?

Alien 3 (1992)

The sequel: Alien 3, like many movies before and no doubt many to come, can be characterised by its lengthy production troubles. First-time director David Fincher butted heads with Fox over a number of creative decisions. And that was years after the script had undergone multiple rewrites from multiple writers and a range of different directors dropped out. Whether those choices are to blame for the films lacklustre critical response, its hard to say... but a lot of folks believe they are.

Filmed six years after Aliens, the story finds Ripley on an all-male prison colony in deep space. Of course, she knows never to turn up empty-handed and brings along a xenomorph for a spot of population culling.

Why its worth a watch: A darkly comic entry in the Alien series, theres plenty here for fans to soak up. One of the series most iconic shots - of the alien brushing up against Ripley (see above) - is taken from this flick. But really, its the prisoners plan to trap the beast thats a sorely overlooked sequence wherein all the convicts run through the darkly-lit chambers of the prison with a xenomorph in hot pursuit.

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.