Another chapter in the accidental saga of Jaws rip-offs and their often interesting tales of genre producers basically kicking a young James Cameron out of the director’s chair, of people making movies about barracudas that actually just used them to trojan horse a completely different thriller plot, of alligators becoming giant in Chicago’s sewer system due to pharmaceutical experiments on dogs, and producers pestering poor Joe Dante into directing rip-offs of his own movies…
Once again we wander in the territory of “we wanna make another one and trick people into thinking it’s a sequel by slapping a number 2 and a subtitle on the title”, but i struggle to even justify this one’s existence. Sure, the first one ended with another baby gator being flushed down the same sewer, but usually you’d want to cash-in into a movie like this right away…. not 11 years later.
I’m kinda struggling to find things to say about movie like this, because even Piranha II tried to add something to the formula, and it’s still that kind of B-movie sequel, where the connection with the original title is non-existent or given in a single line of dialogue, though here they don’t even bother with that pretense, so it’s 100 % not a sequel. Of course there’s a new director at the helm, Jon Hess (The Lawless Land, Excessive Force), no returning characters, and the cast is entirely different, in these case most notably having Brock Peters (Star Trek, Soylent Green), Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy, Blame It On Rio) and Woody Brown (The Accused, Flamingo Road, The Facts Of Life), and others that now make it feel like a Halloween franchise reunion.
In this particular case, the plot is so the same it could easily pass as a remake instead of a sequel, because there is really nothing to help this one stand out, it’s still about an alligator that’s overgrown after being flushed in the sewers due to feeding on experimented animal carcasses dropped illegally by a pharmaceutical company, he begins feeding on people until his killing spree is impossible to deny, and it’s up to a renegade (who had it made) cop to stop it.
It just happens this time the cop has hispanic roots, and there’s a tacked on subplot about evil businessmen trying to scare the latino residents away for profit, but it’s just to give a sequel to a “Jaws rip-off” even more b-movie clichès without humour or meaning behind it. When Alligator wasn’t amicably poking fun at Jaws, it had some genuinely effective scenes with some suspense and craft to them. This one doesn’t, there’s no gusto or wit to any of it, the actors are good but no one is bringing even their B-game (not that they should), and still, they could have totally half-assed it.
You can have far worst acting (and a far worst cast) for a movie like this, there’s even a Gene LeBell cameo in the odd but entertaining “wrestling event inside the fancy pants restaurant” scene, but it’s a small consolation since the characters are less likable, very cliched or almost cartoonish in how evil they look and act. Again, not to make any satire, just regular ol’ B-movie crappy writing.
This time it takes place in the fictional (and confusingly named) city of Regent Park, and apparently this new gator, despite also eating toxic waste it hasn’t gained a super power or become bigger… actually it’s even smaller, in some shots. Aside from the still inconsistent size of the beast, the effects are not bad… but still worse than those from the first movie, and there’s no excuse for it, especially since – according to IMDB– it costed almost twice as much to make than the first one.
To cap off this frankly poor creature feature that really no one asked, that feels incredibly underwhelming (and a bit drawn out) as a follow-up to a killer gator movie released 11 years prior… you have what almost qualifies for a Resident Evil style ending, it’s just missing a self-destruct countdown from the enemy laboratory-dungeon-underground base, but you have the agents just using a bazooka to blow the beast to bits. Impressive how underwhelming can you make a scene where a bazooka is involved, outside of the Turkish Rambo NERF supplied weaponry.
Taken on its own merits, it’s just a mediocre B-movie, nothing awful, nothing great, but you’ll still wonder why even bother.