aka: Actionised Sequel
A new film franchise has a lot of work to do. In only a couple hours, you have to introduce the characters, the premise, and all the Phlebotinum
you're going to be using for the rest of the series, and
you need to have a plot to tie it all together. Because of this, the first installment in a film series tends to be slower paced.
Starting with the second film, though, the Back Story
is already established, everyone has already met everyone
, and the budget for the movie is often much larger, allowing it and subsequent sequels
to fall increasingly into the 'Action' genre, even if the original didn't have that much action. If it did, the sequels become outright over the top in their action
Tends to happen with horror films. Occasionally, as with Alien
, it's because the director feels the first was perfect and tries to do new things. Other times, it's because anyone who survives
a horror movie graduates with a few levels in badass
, and when you put a badass
into a horror movie, it becomes an action movie.
This can also happen in some video games, particularly those in the horror genre. Often, the first installment will be based on survival, not combat, and encourage you to avoid the enemies rather than fight them directly. Possibly in an effort to appeal to a wider audience (after all, survival is hard, but blasting shit is fun
), subsequent games will add more ammo and weapons, or go into a full Genre Shift
. Of course, it can happen to other genres as well—as technology has improved, the RPG genre as a whole has become faster paced and more action-oriented, for example.
- The shared continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe allowed The Avengers to play this trope for all it's worth; since each of the characters got their own movie detailing their origin story and character background* the writers could afford to make the majority of the exposition be about the team as a whole, rather than focusing on each character's history.
- The upcoming DC Cinematic Universe is largely averting this, with only Superman getting an origin story solo film before Justice League comes out. (Be warned: getting this franchise booted at all has developed many circles of Development Hell over the years.)
- First Blood was a moody piece about a troubled Vietnam War vet trying to adapt to a regular life again and failing disastrously. Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo take that vet and put him back where he is killing people and taking names.
- Terminator is a horror movie about being chased by an unyielding, unstoppable menace. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is ROBOT FIGHT CITY.
- Alien is a suspense movie about a creature hidden in the labyrinthine corridors of a space ship. Aliens sends in the clones for all-out war. This was because James Cameron (who also wrote Terminator 2 and Rambo) thought Alien was perfect at what it did and wanted to do something different. Notably, Aliens is considered a great film in its own right, and some consider it even better than Alien.
- The Batman films subverted the trope, defied it, and then played it straight. The first movie (in 1989) had to set up a lot of plot exposition and could get draggy at times, but it still had a fair amount of action. Its sequel, Batman Returns, had even more action, but paradoxically seemed less action-packed because the non-action sequences and story themes were so powerful. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin both had tons of action, often for no other reason than to have an action sequence.
- Casino Royale to Quantum of Solace - Even though the first was an action movie, the sequel did take this to ludicrous proportions. The Jitter Cam didn't help.
- Pitch Black to The Chronicles of Riddick
- The first X-Men movie had a few fight scenes, but much of the screentime was devoted to explaining mutants and setting up the character relationships. X-Men United, however, had several fight scenes and let Wolverine really cut loose, and The Last Stand was a two-hour sequence of Wolverine cutting things up, pausing twice to let Dark Phoenix obliterate the area.
- The X-Men: First Class franchise promises to be similar: the first episode has to re-introduce everyone, including Xavier and Erik, who we already know but who didn't get a whole lot of time devoted to their origins. The next is based on Days of Future Past, which, in the comics, is a Bad Future in which house-sized Killer Robots have interpreted "protect humans from mutants" as "conquer humanity and kill all resistance." (See, mutatations in the actual scientific sense are in all of us.) If it's not an example of In Name Only, it will be the much darker, much explodier affair we expect from the second film in any superhero franchise.
- Parodied by Family Guy with The Passion of the Christ 2: Crucify This! (which from the trailer appeared to be Rush Hour with Jesus instead of Jackie Chan)
- The Mad Max progressively movies added more action with more budget.
- Koi...Mil Gaya starring Hrithik Roshan is a Filmfare Award-winning movie about a developmentally disabled young man (Roshan) who tries to continue the work his father did in communicating with extra-terrestrials from outer space, which leads to something miraculous and wonderful. Its sequel Krrish? That young man's son (also Roshan) was given his dad's superpowers and becomes a superhero, Twenty Minutes into the Future.
- Parodied in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, where Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are seen to be filming Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season. Will Hunting uses a shotgun to end arguments.
- UHF shows a preview for the fake movie Gandhi 2. All of his arguments are solved with killing his opponents. He likes his steak bloody rare, and the movie title is spelled out as he fires a submachine gun across a restaurant because someone said "Hey baldy!"
- Though not advertised as a sequel, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland uses the events of the original book as backstory, with Alice now a young woman who becomes an Action Girl and slays the Jabberwock.
- Star Trek films.
- The original Gojira was a somber allegorical horror film about the dangers of the atomic bomb. The first sequel, Godzilla Raids Again set up the action-based formula of "Monster VS Monster" (in this case, Godzilla VS Anguirus).
- The sequel to Cars. The first movie was about Lightning growing up and learning to appreciate the people around him in time for a big race. The sequel involves him and Mater being mistaken for American spies by British intelligence, leading to chase sequences and plenty of Stuff Blowing Up.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 is also this. Thanks to Po getting past his training, he can now join the Furious Five in their missions and become a Rookie Sixth Ranger.
- Death Wish and Death Wish II were vigilante revenge dramas. Death Wish 3 and Death Wish 4 The Crackdown turned up the action to eleven for the day, with 3 featuring Charles Bronson's biggest bodycount ever.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows spends considerably less time on investigation sequences and focuses the bulk of its plot on chasing the villain across Europe in the hopes of unraveling his scheme. This results in a lot more explosive and high-octane moments of action compared to the original movie.
- This is true to the Sherlock Holmes story it is based on, "The Final Problem," which lacked a mystery and was essentially Holmes vs. Moriarty the entire way.
- The Evil Dead was a low-budget early '80s horror movie, with the male lead as the sole survivor. It was good. Six years and 12 in-movie hours of experience later, Bruce Campbell stars as the now badass survivor, who still makes mistakes but kicks Eldritch Abomination ass, and kicks even more ass in 1991 in Army of Darkness, "The Ultimate Ass-Kicking"!
- Carrie is an example of this happening with remakes rather than sequels. The first adaptation in 1976 was shot on a budget of just $1.8 millionnote , meaning that they couldn't film Carrie's rampage as it was described in the book (with her burning down the whole town). As a result, the special effects were limited to just the prom and a handful of other scenes. When the film was remade as a TV movie in 2002, it cranked up the rampage to near-Disaster Movie levels. And if the teaser for the 2013 version is anything to go by, it looks like it's following the same path... only this time, the destruction has an actual budget behind it as opposed to the '02 version's Conspicuous CG.
- Cinderella III: A Twist in Time is very much this to its predecessors. Lady Tremaine uses the Fairy Godmother's magic to change the outcome of the original story in her favor, and Cinderella and her friends must overcome the alterations in order to reunite her with Prince Charming.
- Crocodile Dundee was a weird example - the first was a Fish out of Water comedy about an Australian from the Outback trying to adapt to life in New York. The second pitched him against a gang of crooks in the Outback.
- More of an Actionized Remake, but The Simpsons parodies this when Mel Gibson stars in a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Homer convinces him to make some changes. The resulting film ends with Smith killing everyone in Congress after his filibuster, and then decapitating the president.
- Resident Evil:
- Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, unlike the previous games, have a much more action-packed gameplay style, with fully functional manual aiming, (conditional) melee attacks, and generally more combat-friendly environments. Several fans agree that they are more like action games than survival horror. As one analysis explained, the series shifted from aiming for "scary" to aiming for "tense". Or put another way, it goes from survival horror to adrenaline horror. Resident Evil 6 follows the same path.
- To a lesser extent, both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis increase the action segments due to the wider availability of ammo and the dodge ability, but they're otherwise much less action-packed than the post-Umbrealla adventures.
- Although not to the same extent as Resident Evil 4 or 5, Silent Hill: Homecoming has a much more developed combat system, including combos, a dodge move, and a lock-on camera that turns every fight into a one-on-one duel, that makes combat a much more viable option rather than simply running away from everything like in the first 4 games. Enemy encounters are still spaced out evenly and the game's overall pace is still pretty slow and brooding.
- Mass Effect 2 has more and faster-paced action than its predecessor. Best exemplified by the Vanguard class's new ability - a gravity-powered Foe-Tossing Charge - or the increased variety of heavy weapons, which range from a Grenade Launcher to a borderline Too Awesome to Use personal nuke.
- Should check out that Mass Effect 3 trailer. In particular, melee combat does far more damage in the third game, as every class either has access to a personal Laser Blade or a biotic punch.
- The first Dino Crisis, like the Resident Evil series, focused on survival, and barely gave you enough ammo to deal with the dinosaurs you encountered. Dino Crisis 2 is a full-on action shooter, letting you slaughter them by the dozens, and rack up combo points to buy ever larger guns.
- The Final Fantasy series is still firmly in the RPG genre, but has slowly becoming more action oriented, with action commands in battle, and a shift to more real time combat. Spin Offs like Dirge of Cerberus or Crisis Core are a full genre shift.
- Jak and Daxter was an action game already, but it was more of a standard platformer. Sequels introduced gunplay and somewhat less straight-up platforming.
- The Ratchet & Clank series likewise placed more of a emphasis on combat with each successive sequel (given the close relationship with Jak and Daxter above, it could be considered a feedback loop), until Deadlocked pretty much became all T/FPS. They backed up to a more balanced mix for Tools of Destruction, however.
- The Neverhood is a claymation-based adventure game with a bizarre sense of humor. Its sequel, Skullmonkeys, keeps the claymation and humor but shifts to a platformer.
- The Kingdom Hearts series. The first game had about equal amounts of combat, platforming, and puzzle-solving. The combat in the first game was very simple, as you could do basic sword swings, a few spells, a few summons, and by the end of the game Sora gets exactly 4 "special attacks", and upgrading attacks in that game was nothing more than adding a few more hits to his basic swing and making the hits pack more of a punch. The second game - at which point the series had already set forth the motion that Sora was basically the Messianic Archetype and now needed to prove just exactly what made a 15 year old boy better than grown, experienced men and women with supernatural powers- focused mainly on combat. As a result, the player was given a ridiculous number of ways to kick ass: Drive Forms, more elaborate Summon Magic, much more powerful and varied Spells, Limits, the ability to equip whole new combat techniques as well as being able to upgrade basic swings like in the first game, and, perhaps most infamously, Action Commands worth of the Matrix (whew). The next few games put some more emphasis on platforming, but continued to refine the combat system.
- Inversion: Penumbra: Black Plague nearly completely took down the combat system Overture offered, throwing objects aside.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent, its Spiritual Successor, takes it up a notch: the only way to get rid of the monsters is to hide from them, or in some cases, run until another area is reached. Some enemies, like a few versions of Kaernk, can be killed, but it's mostly a case of Good Bad Bugs.
- Inversion: Doom 3 goes from the run and gun shooter, a landmark of the previous games, to a scary, moody, slow horror shooter.
- The classic Doom games did get into this trope somewhat though. The first game spaced most of the combat out a bit, and often the largest groups of enemies faced at once were placed in a confined, maze-like space (both to keep things tense, and to keep you from being swarmed right off the bat). Doom 2 was more willing to throw large groups of enemies at you all at once, and in general the new types of enemies introduced added more variety and lethality. The two versions of Final Doom (Plutonia in particular) turned things Up to Eleven, setting a precedent for later swarm-based mods such as Hell Revealed. Oddly, Doom 64 also inverted this trope, by going back to a slower pace that created more suspense.
- Another inversion: While more of a "remake" than a "sequel", Silent Hill: Shattered Memories also throws the combat system out of the window.
- Splinter Cell: Conviction turns up the action and gives badass Sam Fisher another level in badass.
- The first two Turrican were slow, methodical Metroid Vania platformers while the console sequels and Turrican 3 were fast-paced run & gun shooters more akin to Contra.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots made the run n gun style of gameplay an option as compared to earlier titles which were more stealth focused and were more difficult to run n gun. There's also Revengence, which ditches the stealth and focuses entirely on action.
- The first three Rainbow Six games (Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear and Raven Shield) we about careful planning and one-hit-kill gameplay. Lockdown gave you a health bar and removed the tactical planning part. Vegas and Vegas 2 are about three guys with regenerating health mowing down a massive army of mercenaries and terrorists.
- The Metro series of games have undergone this quite successfully.
- Metro 2033 was a very heavily atmospheric game. While it did have plenty of combat, the vast majority of it was against mutants in limited numbers, facing almost never more than three at a time. The amount of fighting done against human enemies was rather limited, with the majority of it being avoidable to some degree, depending on play style and equipment. And even then, an entire group of human enemies would certainly number approximately five at most. For comparison, having 100 of ANY kind of ammo in this game is considered a lot.
- Metro Last Light increases the action dramatically, and balances the amount of time you spend fighting humans and the time you spend fighting mutants. In some missions, you may face as many human enemies as you may have to fight in the entirety of Metro 2033. Combat has been streamlined, with the melee attack now being done with a quick button tap, and health regeneration taking noticeably less time. Gunplay has been improved and tightened immensely. Weapons and ammo are proliferated immensely, with there being many more guns and a lot more ammo. You can choose between different options for your weapons, allowing to alter guns to suit your needs and style. The Bastard you get early in the game can easily and comfortably stay with you as your weapon of choice, remaining a viable option even in the endgame, whereas pretty much everyone dropped their Bastard for a 74 in 2033 the moment they could.
- Interestingly, the games do not suffer much for the gameplay changes. One of the few differences between the two is that Last Light is generally somewhat more forgiving than 2033, which is for the most part a good thing, because 2033 could be extremely unforigiving, especially with the occasional Guide Dang It moments.
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, compared to the first previous two games. There are a lot more actionized setpieces (like dropping a giant bomb on a leviathan shield, the demolition trooper escort mission, Hypermode, the free-fall Ridley fight) and less isolated parts. It is also more linear, but mostly due to level design, as you fly around several planets and the areas are smaller. There is still plenty of exploring to do, but combat takes a strong precedence over it.
- Metroid: Other M takes it even further by giving Samus loads of melee attacks, dodging and other combat-related abilities.
- Zig Zagged with Need for Speed series: some games are about kicking arses and taking credits in illegal street racing, some others are about professional, Gran Turismo-esque racing. Examples of the former are Most Wanted, Carbon, and Hot Pursuit, the latter are Pro Street, Shift 1, Shift 2.
- The first Condemned game, Criminal Origins, had firearms mostly as an afterthought- guns were pretty rare, you couldn't reload, and it was entirely possible to go through the game without firing a single bullet. In the second game, Bloodshot, guns are a bit more plentiful, and there are a few parts where having a gun is necessary for survival. The melee elements are also enhanced with the addition of combos and chain attacks.
- Dead Space 2: the first Dead Space wasn't without it, but it was certainly slower and less over-the-top. To put things into perspective, in the first game Isaac moved around in zero-g by jumping from surface to surface with the aid of his RIG's magnetic boots. In the second game, Isaac moves in zero-g by way of a Jetpack integrated into his RIG. If you're not drawing comparisons to Iron Man, you're doing it wrong.
- Dead Space 3 takes it a bit further by adding dodge rolls and the ability to crouch behind cover to Isaac's repertoire.
- Towards the end of the Adventure game era and the rise of the FPS genre, Sierra Entertainment attempted to actionize several of their franchises. These games often became the end of their respective franchises. For examples:
- Front Mission ventured into this when Gun Hazard was released as the second video game in the franchise. A side-scrolling shooter with 2 player co-op, it was a complete change of pace from the original Front Mission. This was followed up by the release of Alternative two games later. Alternative plays out in real-time strategy albeit there is an action element as the game lets players control the action in first-person ala an FPS. After the releases of 3, the Front Mission remake 1st, and 4, yet a third action spin-off was released - Online. An MMO third-person shooter with FPS elements, the action took place in real-time and focused heavily on team-based play such that it never truly lost the Front Mission appeal. Evolved continued the trend a few years later as the second TPS title (also has a bit of FPS in it), although it completely abandons a lot of the Front Mission appeal (teamwork, slower-paced gameplay). Instead, it better resembles Armored Core with some unusual additions (regenerating health, arcade-y gameplay). Although it wasn't developed by the core Front Mission team, Evolved was hated by all fans, even by the hardcore who know that Front Mission isn't all about turn-based strategy and were eagerly awaiting a new action title.
- 3 follows suit. With large amounts of its tactical nature being scaled back (number of playable units dropping from 12 to 4, missions taking place on tiny maps, customization made bare bones), it is comparatively more action-oriented as far as TRPGs go than its predecessors. 4 returns back to much of its roots.
- In contrast to the slower pace of the original, Shenmue II positively brims with action and quick time sequences, in addition to other major changes.