Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 8.31.30 AM.png

Philadelphia's independent voice
for film criticism.

Split Decision: To the 4th Power and Beyond

Split Decision: To the 4th Power and Beyond

Welcome back to Split Decision! Each week, we pose a question to our staff of knowledgable and passionate film geeks and share the responses! We may never know if it is legal to park in the center of Broad Street, but we’ll answer movie questions all day long. Chime in on TwitterFacebook, or in the comments below!

This week’s question:

This week's question: In honor of Toy Story 4, what's your favorite film in a franchise that is the 4th entry or later?

For example, Aliens doesn't count, but Alien: Resurrection and Alien: Covenant both do.

Since I must patiently await the 4th installment of the Fifty Shades series, I'll defy expectations that I'd pick the Paul Walker entry The Fast and Furious, and go with another car-themed franchise, the unappreciated The Transporter Refueled. Ed Skrein picks up where Jason Statham left off, and I was just smitten with the mix of  action, European locations, deadpan one-liners and sex appeal. Put your brain in neutral and enjoy the ride. 

Gary Kramer


My favorite quadquel is Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I'm still impressed by the way Brad Bird and company chain action scenes together without burning out. That we get Tom Cruise running around the outside of a skyscraper, a big bad money briefcase handoff and a car chase through a sandstorm, and all this is one long sequence with no time to breathe, and, watching it, I never lose track of where every character and MacGuffin is? That's a miracle. As good as the Christopher McQuarrie M:Is have been, I wish Bird had spent a little more time guiding Ethan Hunt's story. I also wish he hadn't made Tomorrowland.

Alex Rudolph

Like Alex, I'm going with a Mission: Impossible film. And while I think Ghost Protocol was the turning point in this franchise where everything starts to click, M:I - Rogue Nation turned out to be my favorite. 

That plane stunt is one of the most exciting opening scenes to an action movie. In addition to the great action sequences that M:I films are known for, this film continues to develop the characters and their relationships to another level. After several sequels together, you finally feel like these characters care about each other. It helps make this more than just another M:I movie with Tom Cruise trying to pull off more ridiculous stunts. 

You also get an awesome villain in Sean Harris. While Philip Seymour Hoffman was excellent in M:I-3 (like he was in pretty much all of his roles), I think Sean Harris as Lane may just be a notch better.
Matthew McCafferty


I echo all the Mission: Impossible love, and I almost threw this one to any number of 007 films, but landed on going back to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. A bold choice after 3 seasons of television and 5 previous films, this flips the scripts on Captain Kirk and crew, seeing them a step behind their current day. Mapping the end of the Cold War to the Federation and Klingons, the Enterprise crew are now a relic from an age that is swiftly ending. Their denial and then coming to terms with his makes this one of the most satisfying entries in the franchise.

Ryan Silberstein


I was waiting for somebody to say it but since nobody has I have to mention...Mad Max: Fury Road! 

I was not super into the Mad Max movies until I saw this one. The characters are great,  it looks awesome and it is filled with badass ladies. It was also probably one of the most fun movie going experiences I've ever had because my heart was racing the entire time.

Tori Potenza


I love to crush through as many lengthy horror franchises as I can, no matter how punishing it may get, because there's a sadistic fun in it. I recently finished the Final Destination franchise, and was pleased to discover that Final Destination 5, the FINAL entry, was as good as everyone says it is. All of the films follow the exact same formula- someone at the beginning of the film has a premonition that there will be a major accident with a high body count, freaks out and saves a few friends, only to discover that their premonition was accurate and the accident does happen. But death doesn't like to be cheated, so one by one, with varying rules, the survivors get knocked off. It's a grim franchise that features the death of nearly every single character, which is appropriate considering that it's all about the inevitability of death itself. 

The fifth entry is the first to feature a mostly adult cast, of young people in their mid twenties trying to figure out what to do with their lives after college. It feels appropriate, in that if you saw the first Final Destination when you were a teenager in 2000, you would probably be about the same age as these characters when this movie came out in 2011. For those who grew up watching this series, it's a nice end result. Although not for most of the cast, obviously, who survive a terrifying bridge collapse in the middle of a work retreat that was not to be. FD5 has a lot of great stuff going for it, from riffing on terrible bosses, soul sucking office work, the fears and risks in pursuing your passions or settling for a more secure route. 

It is the first in the series though, to feature a truly great mindblowing ending, one that I won't spoil for you here if you have never seen it. I unfortunately knew going in, but on the other hand, it made picking up on the various clues provided throughout the film very enjoyable. It is more than worth it to plow through the series to go out on top with FD5. After all, life's a bitch and then you die. So you may as well have some fun with it. 

Andy Elijah


Some great choices, even though most franchises decline in quality over time in my humble opinion. Definitely love the 4th and all post-4th entries of Mission Impossible, and Mad Max only gets better with Fury Road, but.... I'm going with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the fourth film in the franchise. 

The first film is the best made film of them all, but this one takes the cake for all its crazy batshit mythology that is littered throughout the franchise but comes to a head here (wolf-human imprinting, historical rival vampire clans, vampire children, vampire-human impregnation, etc) as well as all the broody melodrama you can stomach. If you learn anything from this franchise it's that teen/young adult love is eternal and it hurts like hell. More than it ever seems to be worth to these old eyes. But to Bella (Kristen Stewart) her life, and all her suffering, are worth the goal of motherhood and immortality. This chick wants to be a fucking vampire, leave her alone. Her final transformation into a vampire is my favorite sequence of the film, and is really nicely handled considering the trajectory of the character. Anyway, Gary has his Fifty Shades, and I have Twilight
Jill Malcolm

Since we've already covered Mission: Impossible, which just keeps getting better and better (Ghost Protocol wins my heart), Friday the 13th (the sixth entry, Jason Lives, is my fav), and Mad Max: Fury Road, allow me to provide the factually correct answer. 


It should be impossible for the seventh entry in a long dead, much picked-on franchise to not only be great, but to be the best of the bunch, yet CREED pulled it off. Yes, CREED is better than Rocky. If ever a movie was designed to make me cry at the gym (for legitimate reasons, rather than the usual reasons) it's CREED

Dan Scully

The Last Black Man In San Francisco mourns for a city lost, and the city that never was

The Last Black Man In San Francisco mourns for a city lost, and the city that never was

Ten years later, Moon is still indie sci-fi at its best

Ten years later, Moon is still indie sci-fi at its best