A baby alligator is flushed down a Chicago toilet and survives by eating discarded laboratory rats injected with growth hormones. The small reptile grows gigantic, escapes the city sewers, and goes on a rampage.
Michael V. Gazzo
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"Alligator II: The Mutation" is a more than capable sequel to the first classic.
A rash of deaths in the Chicago swamps has left the local police baffled. Detective David Hodges (Joseph Bologna) is brought in to lead the investigation, which takes place near broker Vincent Brown's (Steve Railsback) new real estate expansion. One real sentimental case gets him more motivated than ever to solve it. His wife, Christine (Dee-Wallace Stone) a chemist, tells him that one of the most recent clues to the case is involved with an animal of some sort, but she can't solve it herself. More investigated finds that Brown is trying to scare away the residents for the real estate he is building, and he formulates a theory that a crocodile or alligator is behind the attacks. No one believes him, and the mayor (Bill Daily) places him under house arrest. After escaping, he seeks out the residents around the lake, who are concerned that Vincent Brown is a cancer on the area. Another attack brings Hodges after it more determined than before, especially since Brown brought in a special team led by Hawk Hawkins (Richard Lynch) and his partners Billy Boy (Kane Hodder) and Paul (Jon Paul Jones) to catch the alligator and have failed. Finally teaming up together, everyone works to get the alligator out of the sewers and are able to kill it.
The Good News: What can I say, I really like this movie. There were several things that I liked about it. First of all, the action in the film is actually exciting. The first confrontation with the gator in the swamps is a great scene that I love to watch over and over again. The fake gator may have killed it a bit, but it is still a very enjoyable scene. What helps is that the film plays with the fact that it is a campy movie and never tries to overplay that. What really helps the film is that the campiness plays into scenes that it allows the action to be over-the-top. With all the scenes that feature the alligator, we do get to see a few great scenes. Every single scene in the sewer chasing the gator is a pretty cool scene. The gator's assault at the end of the film is pretty cool to watch as well. It does have a lot of vicious looking attacks as well. The first time we see the gator swimming in the lake and it's landing on the beach are all pretty chilling. The film even has some good suspense scenes written in as well. When the gator first appears in the sewers stalking the two cops, it is a pretty chilling moment. The attack on the winos in the middle of a darkened alley lit only by torch-light is the film's most chilling moment and is definitely it's high point. The final scene in the lake is also pretty terrifying, but it could've been handled a lot differently than it was.
The Bad News: The many scenes set in the nightclub with the wrestlers were a total waste of time. It did nothing to the plot of the film and the moves were so relatively standard that it didn't impress me that much. The only thing it did was provide the film with some much needed length and even still, it doesn't stretch the film that much. What really hurt this film the most is that the alligator itself isn't very menacing. The change between the real one and the fake one is so obvious that only a real unintelligent person would recognize it as a real monster. The change between them is so great that not being able to tell them apart is unfathomable. The real one is, naturally, a real one, but the fake one doesn't even move a single iota. The tail doesn't even move when it swims in the lake at the end, a real letdown considering how other films have gone to such great lengths to correct that small flaw. The film would also be a lot better without the really tacked on ending. The real ending isn't really all that spectacular, and it left completely dissatisfied.
The Final Verdict: Ignoring the fact that the killer monster, who does have a lot of screen time, is very fake and a rushed ending that never really matches what the rest of film sets up, this is a pretty good film, considering the first one is a bona fide classic. Good for chasing away rainy days with your drunken buddies or for those like to watch a movie and ridicule it at the same time.
Rating PG-13: Graphic Violence, Adult Language, and children and animals in jeopardy of the alligator
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