6 people comically meet in the Kalahari desert: a female NYC lawyer flying with a local zoologist/pilot in a mini-plane, a Cuban and an African soldier taking each other POW, a Boer elephant poacher and a bushman looking for his 2 children.
Xixo is back again. This time, his children accidentally stow away on a fast-moving poachers' truck, unable to get off, and Xixo sets out to rescue them. Along the way, he encounters a couple of soldiers trying to capture each other and a pilot and passenger of a small plane, who are each having a few problems of their own.Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
The picture was nominated for Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society's 12th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1989. See more »
When the hyena and the youngest kid are face to face, the glass window separating them is visible; the frame runs in the ground and also into the rock. See more »
[the two bad guys place the tied up Xixo in the back of the truck. George then picks up Xixo's things and puts them with Xixo]
What do you think you're doing?
It's his boss.
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When released on video in the UK, one second was cut to obtain a 'PG' certificate. See more »
A worthwhile sequel that's a microcosm of South Africa
Series note: While it's not imperative to watch The Gods Must be Crazy (1980) first, it's recommendable. If you watch II before seeing "I", it might act as a slight spoiler to I for you.
Set an unspecified amount of time after the first film, Part II has Xixo (N!xau) living back with his tribe of bushmen in the Kalahari. His children ask to go with him on a murula-collecting trip. He's reluctant to take his small son, because he says that if his small son is not as tall as his bow, it's too dangerous. His small son talks him into it anyway. But not too long into the trip, Xixo and another bushman find signs of an injured elephant. He sends his kids back home, but a large truck driven by poachers sidetracks them. Xixo's kids end up in the back of the truck, unable to jump off once it starts rolling.
Meanwhile, Ann Taylor (Lena Faugia), a lawyer from New York, has traveled to Africa for a convention where she is supposed to deliver a lecture. Her group is staying at a safari lodge. While there, a ranger hits on her and talks her into going for a short safari flight in a two-seater airplane/glider. While away, they run into Stephen Marshall (Hans Strydom), who ends up hooking up with Ann instead. In another thread, there are a number of military vehicles riding along the edge of the Kalahari. We eventually meet two men on opposing sides of the intermittent skirmishes that have been occurring in the area.
Like the first Gods Must be Crazy, Part II's plot sounds over-complicated on paper. But also like the first film, writer/director Jamie Uys shows himself to be a master of handling a number of concurrent threads that gradually merge. The film is never confusing or incoherent as it would be in less capable hands.
The bad news, however, is that part of the reason for the above is that Uys used the first film as something of a template for this one. The threads--bushmen, military guys, and experienced ranger/Dr. guy with an attractive fish-out-of-water woman with whom there is a budding romance, are direct parallels to the first film, as are the way they develop and merge, as well as some specific comic scenarios. The bushman is searching for something that brings him into contact with the others. There is a wreck of sorts that leaves the fish-out-of-water woman and the ranger stranded in the bush. The woman gets her dress caught on something so that she shows some skin and it emphasizes the building romantic/erotic tensions, the military guys and poachers are bumblers who can't shoot straight, and so on. It's not that any of this material is bad (most of it is quite good, actually) or that I subtract points for formula. It's more that the film is bound to remind you of Part I's similar scenes, and Part I is a work of sublime genius.
However, there is a major thematic/subtextual difference from Part I. The first film was a parable-like satire of culture/society/civilization that suggested that maybe we'd made some missteps and should reconsider where we'd ended up culturally. Although there are hints of the same ideas here, Part II's most prominent themes/subtexts are much less ambitious, and maybe less universal, but no less enjoyable.
Uys sets Part II almost exclusively in the bush. There are neither the cities nor villages of Part I. Instead, Uys seems to present something of a microcosm of South African culture circa 1989 against a functionally "abstract" backdrop.
Ann (and the other characters in her "group", whom we only see very briefly) represents both suave urbanites and the plethora of tourists who head to the area for eco-tourism. Xixo and his fellow bushmen represent the various native groups who have tried to go about business as usual as much as possible while having to adapt to the ways of non-indigenous (per more current anthropological history, at least) peoples who have come to occupy and often control the natives' land. Stephen represents the non-indigenous who have tried to also adapt themselves to their adopted country and its environment, to live in "harmony" with both the natives and the land. The two poachers represent all of the opportunists who have tried to exploit the area and its resources--not intending to do it harm, exactly, but not caring if they do, either, as long as it doesn't affect their profit/comfort margin. And the military guys represent regimentation, political control, and the constant armed conflicts in the area, whether official or not, engaged in by natives and the non-indigenous alike, who have all chosen a non-native lifestyle dictated by ideas of possession, laws/rules, control, force, and so on. While these are not the only groups in the region, they represent the primary conflicting interests that underlie much of the tension the area has experienced in the past (and continues to experience even now, if in a less formal and violent way).
While Uys doesn't employ the unusual editing of Part I (with its extreme time/action manipulations during the course of scenes and single shots) to the same extent (there is a bit of it here, but it is very subtle), and he doesn't amp up the spoof nature of the film as much (the bushmen speech isn't so comically exaggerated via overdubs, for example), he present even more beautiful cinematography, with a lot of fantastic desert shots, plus more suspense utilizing native fauna. I think I prefer the score in this film, also.
Part II is funny, but the tone isn't quite as "madcap", and there isn't quite as much slapstick (although there still is plenty to be had) as Part I. However, this is still a more than worthwhile sequel to a masterpiece.
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