DVD REVIEW

Lake Placid 2 (Unrated)

Lake Placid 2 (Unrated)
I’m going to start this review with a little joke. Stop me if you’ve heard it: How many arms does a crocodile have? You give up? It depends how far he has got with eating his dinner. I know, I know, that joke really isn’t funny. It’s not even amusing. Heck, it’s not worth telling. The fact that the joke is that bad is appropriate, however, considering that the movie I am about to tell you about is just as crappy. To think, I could have told you this long, really funny crocodile joke about a man carrying a crocodile into a bar and sticking his genitals into its mouth.

The Movie: star rating

Lake Placid 2 is the horrendously dull sequel, of sorts, to the 1999 flick Lake Placid, only without the spectacular special effects, plot, all-star cast, humor, and a number of other ingredients that made the original watchable. I am not saying Lake Placid is a classic movie. It’s not. It’s a movie about a giant crocodile terrorizing a lake, and eating people or blindfolded cows being fed to it by Betty White – you're not exactly exercising the brain with that type of material. However, about nine years after the original, it’s time to make a sequel. Great timing, guys. Hollywood has definitely been lacking a good killer crocodile movie. Trying to decide whether or not a sequel is necessary for Lake Placid is easy: there is absolutely no need. However, since I was strong-armed into writing a review, here is my list of pros and cons for the making of the film. Let’s start with the cons:

1. None of the original cast are involved in the film. Why aim for continuity? Instead of trying to coerce Oliver Platt, Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, or Mariska Hargitay into joining the fun, let’s cast John Schneider (formerly Bo Duke on the Duke’s of Hazzard) and a series of unknown actors and actresses who wouldn’t know how to act if they were abducted by members of al Qaida and threatened to have their heads removed. The cast is predominantly made up of young men who can’t act and are destined to be eaten, young women who remove their tops prior to being eaten, or older actors who couldn’t find work in a good movie. There are great characters, too. Like, Scott Riley (Chad Collins), who is the son of Sheriff Riley (Schneider). He is apparently afraid of the water, yet he lives by the lake with his dad and saves people from the crocs. Brilliant! There is also Emily (Sarah Lafleur), who is a wildlife official willing to strip down to her bra and panties to search for body parts left behind by the croc, but not willing to talk about relationship problems.

The one smart casting decision is that of Cloris Leachman, who apparently has no standards when it comes to the roles she takes on anymore. She is the one link to the original movie. She plays Sadie Bickerman, who is the sister of the presumably deceased Delores Bickerman (White in the original). She, of course, is the reason there are these badass crocodiles roaming Lake Placid – she feeds them beef rejected by the FDA, which is apparently readily available to anyone who wants to feed an animal you’d like to enlarge and thirst for human flesh.

2. Instead of having one incredibly real-looking, gigantic crocodile terrorizing Lake Placid, there are three. Hey, it’s the sequel, folks – ambitions are high and the budget is low. I have seen better special effects in porn. In the original, the crocodile looked real and it looked big. In the sequel, painting someone’s finger green and taping fangs to the edge would be a better option. When the croc goes to bite one of its victims, it usually helps if it actually looks like the limbs are being bitten and not have it look like the person's body is being green-screened for the effect of body parts missing. When a person is being torn to shreds in the water, it helps to have blood flow normally, not like the film is being dyed red. It looks like special effects were an afterthought here, and, considering this movie is about huge killer crocs (that don't exist outside of special effects), it might have been better to spend money on effects rather than Sheriff Bo Duke and the crappy screenplay. It’s almost comical that someone actually thought the special effects were up-to-par with today’s technology. On top of that, is there really a need to have Bickerman name the crocs? She names one Max (after her late husband who was always hungry), another named George Jr. (because he's slow - a rip on the president), and the last one Martha (after Martha Stewart).

Also, it is apparently impossible to kill a crocodile with guns, spears, grenade launchers, or bombs. However, it is possible to stab them somewhere along the back with a knife that looks about the size of an ordinary steak knife. Oh - and if you ever need to get away from a Buick-sized crocodile, run inside the old log cabin by the lake, because it seems, a croc of this size cannot knock down the door – that, or it doesn’t want to ruin the antique vase on the console table near the door.

3. Would you want your film to be directed by David Flores, whose credits include Boa vs. Python, Sands of Oblivion, and S.S. Doomtrooper? How about having it written by the team of Todd Hurvitz (a writer for Punk’d), and Howie Miller, a first-time screenwriter? Could we get another crappy redneck joke in there? How about another crappy joke at the expense of someone just eaten by a killer croc? Seriously, am I being Punk’d? Weird little factoid: the original concept is credited to David E. Kelley. Take that for what it’s worth.

4. Why does this Lake Placid look NOTHING like the original Lake Placid? Are they trying to pull a fast one on me by filming on Lake Erie and calling it Lake Placid? You guys thought you were so clever.

Now for my list of pros that go along with the making of Lake Placid 2:

1. During the opening credits, they spelled Lake Placid 2 correctly.

2. The three women cast to remove their bikini tops on the patch of dirt they called a beach by the lake, had very perky breasts. That is not me being sexist or your typical male, because in all actuality, I don’t think these brief nude scenes fit in with the rest of the movie – even though they were just as boring and poorly written as the rest of Lake Flaccid. But, I have to admit, they had perky breasts. Kudos are in order for Rob Richards and Jonas Talkington, the casting directors, and their fine choice in breasts.

I really think this movie could have worked if it had been animated and the crocodile could talk. I am not a fan of talking animal movies, but when a filmmaker is trying to make a comedic horror movie that really has no comedy, thrills, or chills to it, the best advice I can offer is make it a cartoon and have the crocodile talk. I mean, wouldn’t you like to know what the crocodile is thinking when he’s biting off someone’s leg? Does it taste like chicken? Maybe there could be a dance number with an alligator and a ferret. The possibilities are endless.

The Disc: dvd

There are three features on the unrated Lake Placid 2 disc that you might forget about, but here’s a little bit about them.

“Sex, Guns, and Croc-n-Roll” is a nearly four minute music video showing clips from the film - largely consisting of naked, or half naked, women, guns, and some random behind-the-scenes footage. I am not trying to mislead anybody here, because this is not a music video for a band, but it is a few minutes worth of footage and some really cheesy music playing in the background throughout. It baffles me why the term rock-n-roll (even though it says “Croc-n-Roll” in the title of this waste of time) is used for this, considering the music is nowhere near being rock-n-roll. Heck, it’s barely even music. It’s an instrumental that I would never rock out to – or “croc” out to, for that matter. It sounds like the music that would play in the background at some sort of retro photo shoot, where some idiot behind a camera is telling some girl dressed in jeans to play with a beach ball and look like she’s having fun. Oh well.

In “Surviving a Crocodile Attack,” you will actually learn how to survive a crocodile attack. However, it is my belief that if you listen to the advice on the DVD, you will probably wind up dead – or wind up with the ability to act in Lake Placid 3: My Croc is Bigger than Yours. The feature gives you a total of 12 survival tips, including: Know your surroundings, stay at least 15 feet away from crocodiles, stay out of infested waters, and never feed crocodiles either intentionally or unintentionally. My favorite, however, would be, “If you see a crocodile, RUN!!” The amazing thing is, after showing a quick clip of the flick, it says, “However, running is usually futile,” followed by footage of a man being eaten. Great survival guide!

I have to be honest, the filmmakers are a bunch of idiots. I was trying to be nice about this made-for-television junk until this point. Then I saw the feature, “Lake Placid 2: The Gnawed Up Version.” Whatever disdain I had for them before turned into pure hatred, and for two reasons. The first is the fact that this feature takes the full 84 minutes of the movie and fast forwards past anything that does not have to do with a crocodile attacks, severed heads, breasts (I told you, they were nice), people falling in the water, any type of destruction, corny and/or crappy lines, or girls playing with each other in the water while topless. They miraculously chop their 84-minute movie and into a total of 9 minutes and 5 seconds. The second reason why I absolutely despise these filmmakers is because they didn’t make this the feature film. It would have been a whole lot more entertaining, I’d have more than an hour of my life back, and I would have thought they were intelligent, cutting-edge students of film. Now, I think they’re a bunch of talentless people that don’t deserve to be anywhere near a camera. Not only did they make a crappy movie, but in the special features they decide to show a nine minute “highlight reel” that tears their movie apart and essentially shows what they obviously believe were the only parts worth watching – and even that is debatable. Why not just throw the film canisters in a tin garbage can, burn it, and then use that same garbage can as a toilet. That is pretty much what this film is worth.

Reviewed By: Jarad I. Wilk

Release Details
Length: 84 min
Rated: R
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date:  2008-01-29
Starring: Cloris Leachman, John Schneider, Sarah Lafleur, Chad Collins, Alicia Ziegler, Sam McMurray
Directed by: David Flores
Produced by: Jeffrey Beach, Phillip J. Roth, T.J. Sakasegawa
Written by: Todd Hurvitz, Howie Miller
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