Wednesday, August 24, 2011

REVIEW: Lake Placid 2 (2007)

2007 was apparently the year for terrible Sci-Fi Channel crocodile movies, as we got the abominable Croc and also this one. Lake Placid 2 is better than Croc, and better than the original Lake Placid (if only because there’s no Bridget Fonda in this one), but seriously, is it that hard to make a movie about killer crocs that doesn’t suck? I guess that’s a dumb question considering I just watched this and am now reviewing it. So suck up your crocodile tears and let’s review Lake Placid 2.

Director: David Flores
Starring: John Schneider, Sarah Lafleur, Chad Michael Collins

Our movie begins with two morons out on the lake doing research, just like in Croc. Only this time they’re funny! One of them says that fishing isn’t a hobby of his, which is clearly why he’s out there to begin with, and clearly, acting isn’t a hobby of his either, seeing as he’s less believable than most third grade actors in a school play. But it’s OK. The crocodile eats him and spares us his dire performance any longer.

We then switch to something much more important: Sheriff Riley, played by John Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard fame! He tells his punk son Scott to respect him, then tries to get him to talk to a hot chick who I’m sure won’t be in any of the rest of the…oh, screw it; sarcasm is pointless now. The sheriff goes into town and hears about the guy being eaten out on the lake. Like any good law enforcement officer, he waves off the whole thing as a joke and accuses the surviving scientist guy of just being on drugs the whole time, not even listening at all. Truly the best law enforcement in the world.

"You raise a good point. Allow me to contort my face and tap my chin as I ponder your query."

That is until his ex-lover Emily shows up. Emily is a wildlife researcher/bleeding heart who’s been called in as well. She also doesn’t believe there’s anything out on the lake, even when they find the severed head of the dead guy from the opening in the water. What more proof do you need? A note from the croc saying he did it? Hell, I bet even then she wouldn’t believe it! Maybe he just cut off his own head, right?

They go to see Sadie, a crazy old lady who is sadly not played by Betty White this time. Apparently it’s her sister or something; I don’t know. She says she doesn’t know anything and refuses to talk to Emily, slamming the door in her face. Emily mutters something in a clear low tone that nobody would be able to hear that well through a closed door, and Sadie opens up the door again and snaps at her again. Maybe she just has really good hearing aids? I hear the Supersonic Hear-Thru-Walls models are just flying off the shelves! Later on she shouts at them to go away through the closed door and it sounds like she's right outside with them, no barrier separating them at all. Because doors don't block or distort sound in any way! Truly a genius handled the sound editing for this movie.

Then we see some more brilliant examples of tact as Emily and Riley see a helicopter landing around the lake. Emily tells Riley it’s a guy called Struthers, who is some kind of poacher who kills endangered animals, and she keeps talking about how bad and horrible he is even though he is clearly in earshot when he’s walking up to them – nice to see she’s got such a great sense of professionalism! Or maybe it’s just poor filmmaking. Oh and I also love how he keeps saying “She likes me” to his assistant every time Emily shoots down one of his dumb quips. I think I forgot to laugh at that one. Whoops!

Look at these two; it's like the movie is stuck in 1930s cliches of explorers.

Oh, and have you picked up that the sound editing is just horrible? There's zero sense to this. Like the above scene - Emily is walking away, clearly almost out of hearing reach, but she hears Struthers making a sarcastic quip about the idea of trying to humanely get rid of the giant croc and tells him to shut up, but the sound is mixed so it sounds like she's still right there beside him and not walking away in the distance. Maybe she's just really good at throwing her voice? I don't know.

Meanwhile Scott meets up with the hot chick from before, whose name is Kerri, and her dumb jock boyfriend Thad, who has no redeeming qualities. She says she doesn’t want Scott to think they’re all a bunch of redneck hicks, to which Thad replies that he hopes Scott brought beer. Real stunning refutation of that stereotype, I must say! So they all go camping on the lake, and I’m not making a sarcastic quip where I pretend I don’t know what’s going to happen this time. You know what’s going to happen.

They meet up with Larry and Rachel, another couple who you probably won’t remember when this whole thing is over. Larry is a big fat guy with a beard and no shame, and Rachel looks like she belongs in the 50s. We’re treated to some gay wrestling between Larry and Thad in the water while Rachel says she doesn’t want to come in and get her hair wet. Oh, don’t worry honey. That won’t be your biggest problem in about ten minutes. Whoops, spoiler! Oh well.

Scott goes for a walk and displays his amazing coolness when he stands in place, not moving at all, and somehow trips and falls on his ass, sliding down a small bank and landing in the lake below. To be so amazingly inept at even the simple act of standing up straight is just awe-inspiring. That is talent right there.

"Hmmmm, yup, just standing here, enjoying the fresh open air, not doing a thing..."
"Whoops, tripped over air again! Happens all the time. Hyuck hyuck hyuck! Don't judge meeee!" *splat*

Then we switch over to the group of croc-hunters actually starting their hunt. But Emily wants to do it without killing the animal, setting up a net and some bait to try and lure the croc into it. They get something in there, I’m not sure what because it’s so poorly shot, but then the croc sneaks up on them from behind and eats several of their friends, including dorky scientist-guy from the beginning and one of the cops I think. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is HOLY HELL, THOSE ARE SOME CUBE 2-LEVELS OF CGI BADNESS THERE!

Mnomnomnomnom...nothing like watching your arm get eaten by CGI.

You know, when Jaws did the whole ‘keep the monster hidden’ thing about 35 years ago, it was good, and suspenseful. I am not sure this is what they had in mind. Having people standing there pretending to shoot at something off screen isn’t exactly good entertainment when that’s all you show, and barely ever the actual monster they’re aiming for. Christ. Riley says he doesn’t like hunting, but as soon as Struthers pulls out his guns, Riley is amazed and shocked at how awesome they all are. I like contradicting myself every two sentences, too. No, actually I don’t like that.

At the other end of the lake, Scott gets Kerri and Thad to come see what he found in the woods. Larry doesn’t go because he’s too busy watching Rachel sunbathe nude. He calls her breasts “little monkeys,” really? That’s the euphemism for breasts you’re using in this movie?


He’s still in the water though, and for some strange reason the croc bypasses him entirely to go after Rachel on the beach and eat her instead. I guess her dry hair just tastes better or something…and I told you that wouldn’t be her biggest problem, didn’t I?

Well if we can say one thing about this character, her hair was indeed very dry right until the very end.

So yeah, then Larry shouts “I’m sorry” after she gets dragged under and killed – not sure what the point of that is, buddy; not like she can hear you, being dead and all. Just sayin’.

Scott shows Emily and Thad the egg nest he found. Thad smashes some eggs, and almost gets into a fight with him. Thad spouts such poetic lines of dialogue as “You don’t want to start something you can’t finish, or it’ll be your darkest hour.” What is this, a Killswitch Engage song? Thad gets eaten by the crocodile in another amazing display of drop-dead awful CGI, and when they’re running away, Kerri says “What happened? What IS that thing?”

…really? It happened right in front of her, movie. It’s not like it was some alien creature never before seen on this planet! And she didn’t know what happened? I’m not sure it takes a rocket scientist to figure that one out! Her boyfriend got eaten by a crocodile! That’s not exactly cryptic or anything! Man these characters are dumb. If boxes of rocks are the standard, these characters are storage lockers full of rocks.

So while that’s all going on, Riley, Emily and Struthers, along with Struthers’ assistant, Ahmad (who Struthers ‘saved’ from a lion years ago and has him indebted to him) are planning to lure the crocodile out into the open and then kill it. But Struthers, being an attention whore, jumps the gun and ends up getting the boat flipped over, risking death for them all. Ahmad kills the croc but also quits being Struthers’ assistant, saying that he’s been doing it for 14 years and has not gotten any kind of gratitude. I think that’s more his fault for letting it go on so long, but OK. He gets killed off two minutes later anyway, so I guess there was no point to the whole exchange.

They go to see Sadie again, who tells them that she’s been feeding the crocs growth hormones because she doesn’t have money for better food…wait, huh?

"Don't you judge me!"

Anyway, they find out there’s 3 crocodiles. They kill another one of them, so now there’s only the one left. Meanwhile, Scott, Kerri and Larry are hiding in trees when an owl scares them and Scott delivers the following line: “I don’t think owls have ever eaten anybody.” STOP GIVING SCI-FI IDEAS FOR MORE MOVIES, DAMN YOU! Also, I wouldn't really trust the guy who can't stand up straight without falling over to lead me or give me any kind of logical consolation. Just sayin'.

Larry gets killed off, and Riley sends Kerri and Scott to stay with Sadie until they kill the last croc. Struthers cracks some more terrible jokes, Emily acts self righteous and annoying and Riley tries to be Bruce Campbell some more. Kerri says the crocodiles were ugly, and that makes Sadie so mad that she has to feed Kerri to the crocs, but it’s OK, because Scott saves her and somehow Sadie gets pushed into the water and eaten instead. And nothing of value was lost.

The final battle comes around and admittedly I don’t have too much of a problem with these action scenes, as they’re pretty well done in terms of slasher/monster movies. The special effects are crap, but the action scenes are quite good and maybe a little more exciting than the original film’s action scenes. So that’s at least one thing the film did right.

They kill off the crocs, Riley and Emily start making out spontaneously – crocodile hunts and gory death scenes are a big turn on in Maine, I hear – and Scott and Kerri find Kerri’s dog who went missing in an earlier scene, so everything is OK. Because no matter how many people died in the movie, if the dog survives, you know it’s a happy ending. How else would you even do it? By having a sensible resolution and providing a realistic way to send each character off on his or her next journey? Nah, just throw in a dog, as it is the cheapest possible way to end any movie. Hurrah for phoned-in and contrived emotions.

I don’t know. Lake Placid 2 was not the worst thing in the world. There were a few funny scenes and jokes. But on the other hand, the characters had little sense, the story was played out and dull and the editing and special effects were just horrible. So it’s a mixed bag. I can’t really recommend it, as there are so many better films out there, but it’s certainly better than the first one, and also way better than 2007’s other big crocodile movie, Croc. So there’s that! And now I’m finished with my summertime crocodile-movie-reviewing extravaganza, and can move onto something else…

Well isn't that just great?!

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