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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I bought this movie Thanksgiving Day at a Hollywood Video that was
liquidating their VHS stock on cover alone. I personally adore terrible
movies, and just seeing the cover gives the viewer a huge hint that
perhaps SnakeEater II: The Drug Buster is not a film that changed the
industry. From the white guy with a pistol who looks like he's trying
to be tough to the "street wise" black guy with a shotgun, this movie
looks like a simple write-off as terrible. I mean, the black guy on the
cover is named Speedboat in the movie. Speedboat. I can't make this
So I popped in my copy of SnakeEater II tonight, and my first surprise was that there were no previews, and the movie began immediately. The second surprise was that that wasn't the only surprise.
My expectations for the movie lowered upon witnessing the title sequence (which looked like the title sequence for a Super NES game) and the opening scene, where Speedboat is working community service at a community center preparing for a dancing competition. Here, while we see the late 80s at their finest, Speedboat runs around the room and makes wisecracks to everybody, but then begins to play second fiddle once Jonathan "Soldier" Kelly (Lorenzo Lamas), who looks and sounds like a MacGyver clone, comes in the room to put Speedboat in his place. Suddenly, the film's plot kicks in.
This movie requires a high suspension of disbelief, of which the film's plot plays a key role in. The plot is that evil drug lords are selling spiked drugs, which are killing kids. Soldier then moves in to their hideout and kills them all. As Soldier was suspended from the police force, this gets him put into trial, and his lousy lawyer pleads insanity. This gets Soldier Kelly thrown into jail, where we meet the wackiest inmates this side of Con Air. The wacky inmates come in many varieties, but the most memorable one was definitely the perverted Evangelist, who delivers fiery sermons that soon devolve into nothing more than explicitly lurid sexual rants.
However, that is not to say that this movie sucks. In fact, it's quite a decent movie. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the picture, and I was even rooting for the good guys, which I seldom do. However, the best parts of this movie are the script and the acting. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but this is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. From the incredibly bizarre scenes (Kelly asks Speedboat for a cover van that is "inconspicuous", and he gets a Mystery Machine look-alike with a gigantic plumber fixture on top) to the laughably unrealistic dialogue (while sneaking around in a vent, Kelly happens upon an inmate sneaking back into the asylum wearing a Domino's Pizza uniform and holding a pizza. Kelly's reaction? "They need a traffic light in here."), SnakeEater II manages to be funnier than some comedies. Because SnakeEater II made me laugh so hard, it's hard for me to not recommend this movie. However, I cannot give this movie a high rating simply because what I found hilarious in the movie does not necessarily make a good movie.
This time it looks like Soldier Kelly( Lorenzo Lamas) has really lost it. He brings the violent tactics he learned as an Army Ranger to the streets of the city to fight the drug dealers who are killing kids by cutting the dope with poison. This time his actions get him committed to a mental institution for observation. There he meets up with an unbelievable cast of characters whose hearts are in the right place even if their heads aren't. Ron Palilo recreates his character from the first movie and the fun begins. Soldier hooks up with a probationer he was in charge of before the trouble and together they accomplish in their own unique way what the law can't.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As far as ultra low budget, cheesy action flicks go, SNAKE EATER II
ain't bad. It sure isn't great, marred by the typically low production
values you find in such B-movie fare; the acting from the supporting
cast is dreadful, the music poor, and the cheesy digital effects that
cut between different scenes are diabolical. However, as is also the
case sometimes, the low budget actually adds to the gritty feel of the
film, and as much of this takes place on the 'street', it looks good
in the same way that a film like VIGILANTE looks and feels true to
Lorenzo Lamas, TV actor turned super low-budget action hero, is okay in this film. He's wooden, of course, and his attempts at humour don't work. But he looks the part of a Mel Gibson-style '80s action hero, and he appears to be enjoying himself. He's ably supported by Larry B. Scott who is pretty funny as Speedboat, a streetwise young black guy who has a vendetta against the drug lords. This film's plot is clichéd and predictable, but at the same time quite insane. One minute, Lamas is taking down the bad guys a la Charlie Bronson, the next, he's locked up in a mental hospital and fighting a guy named Goliath in a wheelchair battle; yup, I couldn't believe my eyes either. As much of the film is set in an asylum, there's a lot of supposed 'humour' from the crazy inmates, including a sex-obsessed evangelist, a pyromaniac, and some guy who looks like Groucho Marx. Sadly, it ain't very funny, but at least it's different and certainly not run-of-the-mill.
This film's cheesy action sequences are quite entertaining to watch, as the script writers attempted to get mileage out of the tired premise by staging some imaginative assassinations. Thus we get fire extinguishers rigged to shoot flames (watch the hilarious bit where they try to put a burning guy out), a pole that flies down and impales somebody in a car, home-made grenades and my favourite, a bomb hidden in a toilet cistern that's rigged to go off when you flush. The latter is a fine cinematic moment that beats LETHAL WEAPON 2's bog-bomb. The really decent part of this film is the twenty-minute showdown, in which Lamas breaks into the bad guy's mansion to free his buddy. He shoots loads of guys (no blood) before killing all the bad guys with a deadly poison that looks suspiciously like flour. Every action cliché is on show here, from the overacting death throes of the bad guys, to the many heroic wounds and loss of shirt, the machine-gun toting henchman, and prolonged fist-fight with a hulking nemesis. It's great fun and tops off what is a cheesy, low budget but nonetheless sporadically entertaining little movie. However, I am pretty susceptible to this kind of fare, so tasteful viewers may want to deduct a point from this friendly rating.
"Snake eater" was a low-grade junky b-action flick that mixed "Rambo" and "Deliverance" with ridiculous results. This tacky follow up fares no better. Knowing just how silly it is, it goes about things in a much lighter frame with its tongue-in-cheek humour sticking out. Still the context is no laughing matter, as Soldier (Lorenzo Lamas' charismatically reprising his role) wages a private war against the city's dangerous drug lords in this urban action joint. Easily the weakest of the three films, being truly offbeat and tame. What was that all about with the trite sub-plot involving Soldier being kept in a loony bin. It's completely nonsensical. Some things written into the story just don't seem to mesh and there was a real lack of action ( well there is a wheelchair bout), with its tone being very jarring with its message and humour. This time soldier is kind of teamed up with a smart-talking black street kid (Larry B. Scott). Who loves repeating the phrase "Do sh!t stink". They get together every now and again to knock off some prominent drug pushers. Some very creative ideas in dispatching too. It seems to be better executed in its set-pieces than the previous feature, but I didn't find it as fun. Also showing up in the cast is Ron Palillo and Kathleen Kinmont. Amusing enough action fodder.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack "Soldier" Kelly (Lamas) - not to mention Torchy (Palillo) - are
back in this second installment for some more snake eating. This time
around, Soldier's rogue ways get him in a whole heap o' trouble: while
still on probation from the antics in the previous film, he takes down
some baddies in an unauthorized raid, in his own inimitable style: with
guns and grenades. Now in trouble with the law, his lawyer's only move
to prevent Soldier from going to the big house is to label him as
insane and send him to the nut house. While in said loony bin, he
reconnects with the aforementioned Torchy, as well as making some new,
mentally challenged friends, such as Sidney (Aitkin) and Goliath
(Scherer). Also Soldier finds time to hit on his shrink, Dr. Pierce
(Scarabelli). Meanwhile, street thugs are passing around a new drug
laced with poison, and two mob families, the Fabrinis and the Francos,
are battling it out for supremacy. While Soldier sneaks out and teams
up with his buddy Speedboat (Scott) to right the wrongs of the streets,
cops Broderick and Forester (Brennan and Kinmont, respectively) are
conducting their own investigation. Will Soldier and Speedboat prove
their sanity once and for all? It's One Flew Over the Snake Eater's
Nest as Lorenzo Lamas once again tries to shirtlessly work through
life's conflicts. If you ever wished the first Snake Eater film wasn't
Dream Team (1989)-y enough, your strange prayers have been answered.
But that's just the thing about this movie. For the most part, it has a
goofy, jokey vibe that doesn't always mix well with whatever action may
be occurring. It's like stirring some Metamucil in a glass of water,
but instead of cohesively gelling, it remains a bunch of chunks. Not
that we would know from personal experience. The noticeable and
disappointing lack of action, or lacktion, kind of puts this into the
category of the comedy-based buddy cop movies with a "sassy black guy"
that have been churned out since time immemorial.
The first movie had the boatercycle, and this movie has Speedboat. As long as there's some kind of boat, surely director Erschbamer is satisfied. Though it is nice to see Soldier Kelly in a more urban environment when he's not cooped up in the asylum. The problem is, the movie doesn't concentrate on the right things. What should be happening is, he should be attacking the mobsters throughout the whole film, on the streets, either with or without Speedboat's help. Instead, there's a ton of filler with wheelchair races and all the rest of it. But Kelly and Speedboat do get to parade around the streets (of Canada) in a variety of different outfits. That wasn't enough to make us love the movie, however.
As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, Kathleen Kinmont is (barely) involved, because Lamas apparently can't make a movie without her. A pleasant surprise was George Buza as the heavy Rico. Though he appeared in Busted Up (1986) as Captain Hook, we had completely forgotten about him. But he was great in both the movies we've seen him in, and he really shined as the intimidating baddie with a knack for casual racism. The wonderfulness of 1989 is evident once again, and it's a testament to the power of video stores that there are THREE Snake Eater movies. '89 was such a banner year for video stores and their product, we're still sorting through it all today. SE2 was just one of a many myriad choices in your local video store's action section. Now with hindsight, we can look back and examine what that mysterious section was all about. That's pretty much the point of our site, really.
Lamas fans will be onboard with this outing, as will fans of relatively lightweight action, but its lack of seriousness may not sit well with some viewers.
For more more action insanity, drop by: www.comeuppancereviews.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
LORENZO LAMAS returns as SOLDIER, a cop with a short fuse who this time
is partnered with his pal SPEEDBOAT to blow away bad guys (this time
drug dealers) by the dozens when they start selling cocaine laced with
rat poison that makes them money but kills whomever buys it. But when
the drug baron captures Speedboat, Soldier attempts to free his friend
by taking out the bad guys the only way he knows how, with guns,
grenades, bombs & rigged devices. I never saw SNAKE EATER 1 or 3, prior
to seeing this, but that was fine, the film, unless I was mistaken,
made no mention of the original, however this is still an action film
that despite it's decent kills & explosions & good acting, was somewhat
dull. A large portion of the film (particularily the middle of the
film) is set at a institution where we deal with an assortment of
weirdo's that Soldier meets, various counseling sessions he has with a
pretty female doctor & very little time with the villains, who weren't
really that interesting to begin with, there's very little fighting
taking place, but lots of shoot outs & explosions that really aren't
that exciting to begin with. A few humorous scenes & the odd explosion
here & there, saved this movie from me giving it a star & a half, but
still like I said above in my review, it's not really an action film I
can recommend to action fans since they may be disappointed by the lack
of action or find themselves nodding off in the middle of the film in
it's slow & uninteresting scenes at the institution . Followed by SNAKE
EATER 3: HIS LAW
Lorenzo Lamas returns as Renegade cop "Soldier" Jack Kelly who declares war on drug dealers who are cutting the drugs with rat poison in this undistinguished yet semi-fun sequel. Well what can we say? Snakeeater II:The Drug Buster boasts good actionscenes, and some good performances from Larry B. Scott and Ron Palillo but overall Snakeeater II:The Drug Buster is a mediocre movie. At least it's better then it's astonishingly bad predecessor.
Lorenzo Lamas returns as Soldier, who this time is confined to a mental
hospital where he brings his one man army antics to dispose of drug
dealers cutting their drugs with poison (One of the film's more
believable subplots) this time however Soldier is aided by a black
sidekick named Speedboat(Larry B. Scott) who also hates drug lords. He
also gets one on one mental help with a female shrink (Who of course is
hot, after all, in action movies any woman who pursues intellectual
duties also looks as if she just posed for Playboy)who helps convince
the jury he's innocent due to insanity. I'm also guessing that a love
scene wasn't out of the question since she wears quite revealing
clothes around Lamas and he hits on her constantly. In any case Snake
Eater II:The Drug Buster is part of my three part review of the DVD set
I never asked for. I read some positive reviews (Indeed the two
external reviews, average this one at 7/10) saying that it is better
than # 1, I can't disagree, although it's only of the slightest
improvement. This time the production values are slicker, the action
sequences more elaborate and the script more tongue in cheek but it's
still a Lorenzo Lamas movie and although i'm betting this is one of his
better efforts, I still refuse to give this more then 2 stars. Such as
the case here, this is the perfect guilty pleasure B.movie, nothing
* * out of 4-(Fair)
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