We last saw JTRO retire to his pond with his love Stacy and all the ducks a town could need. But fate is cruel. Some warriors can never rest, and some films demand sequels. JTRO is such a warrior, and THE FP is such a film.

Like any great sequel character, JTRO is at a crossroads in FP2: BEATS OF RAGE. Everything he won in THE FP is lost. Every strength he had has failed him. Everything he learned he must unlearn. He was at the top, but he is faced with a new and even greater challenger in BEATS OF RAGE.

Director Jason Trost (going solo this time as his co-director from THE FP, Brandon Trost, has become one of Hollywood’s busiest cinematographers) used his immense love of big budget action storytelling — which notes to hit and which clichés to embrace — to make THE FP an amazing audience experience and an instant cult classic. Audiences embraced and cheered for each action moment, reveling in the cinematic language they shared with the creators. BEATS OF RAGE replicates that experience, adding in an understanding of apocalyptic sequels and the continuing quest of the weary warrior setting out again.

Bad sequels don’t let the character evolve, but instead just replicate the structure of the first film. BEATS OF RAGE adopts the best parts of the best sequels, crafting a story that tears down the main character in order to build him into something even stronger, and giving the audience the thrills and laughs they have come to expect from this franchise. (JAMES EMANUEL SHAPIRO)