At Audiences Everywhere, we talk movies. A topic that comes up sometimes during staff meetings held in our headquarters is the idea of the mini-genre. Unlike a sub-genre, like found footage or time travel movies, a mini-genre may only encompass a scant few films, but is still a genre unto itself. We’ve talked about one of these genres before with Genre-Ender Movies, and today we’re going to talk about another rare min-genre: the Epilogue Movie.
An Epilogue Movie will usually be an unofficial, sort of sequel to an earlier movie. It picks up a character decades after their last appearance and re-positions them in the modern world. Now, all of these choices veer into the dangerous territory of fan theory, as none of them are officially the thing I’m saying they are, as each of the characters has a new name and isn’t explicitly playing the original character they’re epilogue-ing. However, they’re close enough for us to make a logical leap and create some fun double features:
From Russia with Love/The Rock
Let’s face facts, Sean Connery in The Rock is James Bond. He’s using a different name but he’s Bond. As such, The Rock forms a great end to the Bond mythos. What happens to a Cold Warrior when the Cold War ends? He fucks up in America and they put him in a prison that can’t be escaped. But you know who escapes from things? James Bond. Pair this with arguably Connery’s best Bond film, From Russia with Love, and you have a great double feature of Bond at his best and then as an old man back in the saddle dishing out ass kicking and off-the-cuff quips.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly/Unforgiven
In a similar vein as the first choice, this one shows a hero at his peak and then where he ends up. The Good character in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is only good by the standards of the shitty characters around him. Taken at face value he still kills a lot of people, leaves Tuco to die in the desert, and is always ready to threaten someone to get what he wants. We’re all about The Man with No Name being a hero, but a man with no name who leaves piles of bodies in his wake would be something terrifying in the real world, the stuff of nightmares. Unforgiven feels like the end game of a blood-soaked life lived on the plains, when a man tries to put the killing behind him for good.
The Conversation/Enemy of the State
We’ve talked about this one before, but it’s clear that the makers of Enemy of the State wanted Hackman to be playing the same character as he was in The Conversation. Considering The Conversation ends with Hackman succumbing to his paranoia, it makes sense to pick up with him decades later after he has become a cranky recluse, living under the radar and off the grid. It’s also interesting to watch the two movies side-by-side and see how the technology and surveillance methods have changed. The only thing missing is John Cazale.
There are others. For instance, Quentin Tarantino loves to do this, having martial arts legend Sonny Chiba playing his famous character Hattori Hanzo in Kill Bill and original Django, Franco Nero, appearing in Django Unchained, though that’s probably more of a cameo than an epilogue character. Regardless, we love these movies because some characters are too good to not revisit, and when done well, there is something wonderful about seeing an old man kick the shit out of the generation that followed him.