All Stand Together Pt 4 (The Magnificent Seven Ride!, 1972)

Magnificant_Seven_Ride_PosterYears after the original film, Chris Adams is a marshal. A friend seeks his help with a gang of bandits.  He refuses, but after both his wife and friend are killed in a robbery and attempted apprehension, he brings in a group of men to take out the bandits.

And Van Cleef is certainly a better choice of stand in for Brynner, even making a lot of sense as an older and wearier Adams.

But really, this feels like the last gasp at trying to make the franchise matter.  And it really does not work.  It is kind of a boring retread.

Simply put, this final sequel is not the enjoyable ride the original film was.

The Hunter or the Hunted? Pt 8 (Predator 2, 1990)

Predator_2_posterDirected by Stephen Hopkins (Lost In Space, Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and Race), Predator 2 is an attempt at being very different.  Instead of a jungle, we are in “the Concrete Jungle”.  Instead of a heavily muscled soldier, we have have a team of police.  The film tries to be different by being very opposite.  There are vicious gang wars that are tearing up the street.  Captain Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and his team are the cops on the front line.  They start to find dead and mutilated gang members.  Soon the cops find themselves as much targets as the gang members.

This sort of works well, and the film acknowledges the first film with Gary Busey as head of a task force trying to capture the Predator explaining it all to Harrigan.  The film also establishes what draws a Predator to a location.  Extremely hot weather in volatile areas.  It also expands the previous film’s rule that Predators do not hunt and kill the unarmed to not killing pregnant women (even if they are armed).

Predator 2 is competently made, but Hopkins is not as strong as McTiernan.  It has it’s charms (such as a very late 80’s action cast including Bill Paxton, Maria Conchito Alonzo, Robert Davi and Ruben Blades) but does not rise to the entertaining levels of it’s predecessor.

There is a throw away moment towards the end where Glover’s Harrigan is on the Predator ship and looking at the trophies on a wall…one is clearly a xenomorph skull from the Alien films.  Although just a “wouldn’t this be fun” gag, it set fire in the imaginations of fan who soon wanted a crossover between the franchise.  For a long time, this only occurred in the comics.  It took fourteen years (seven from Alien Resurrection) to get to the Alien vs Predator films.

Fishies Pt 5 (Piranha 3DD, 2012)

piranha_3dd_posterThe surprise success of Piranha 3D (which has a 73% Fresh Rating) resulted in another 3-D sequel.  Apparently the takeaway for this film’s “creative team” from the previous film’s success was boobs.  The title, Piranha 3DD?  The posters?  The plot?

The story centers around a water park run by David Koechner’s Chet and the return of his step daughter Maddy (Danielle Panabaker, the Flash).  Maddy’s mother has died and Chet is a classy guy introducing an adult section to the Water Park.  Maddy is appalled, but also happy to be back to see her friends.

The prehistoric fish are back, having escaped into a water supply, ultimately reaching the lake by the water park.  There are corrupt cops (Maddy’s boyfriend, because…oh who cares) working with Chet to turn a blind eye to his cost cutting ways.  The fish get into the park’s water system, eat people and cause carnage.

This film is gleefully trashy, yet manages to miss the mark entirely.  The jokes are a bit more mean spirited and the characters are, at best, not terribly interesting to  to watch.  At worst, they are pretty unlikable.  Keochner’s Chet is unlikable, but that is typical for characters he plays.  So, as opposed to other unlikable characters, he is hilarious in his unlikable nature.

The film just falls apart and the plot becomes lost very quickly.  The cameos are, mostly, not clever.  Other than David Hasselhoff, the cameos have no real connection to water based horror.  I mean, Hasselhoff is part of water themed horror.  But Gary Busey?

Along with Koechner, there are some other bright spots.  Paul Scheer and Ving Rhames return, in spite of it appearing both died in the last film.  To be fair, Scheer literally disappears from the movie.  He and Rhames have come to the park to challenge their fear of water (apparently the piranha attack in Lake Victoria was traumatic…babies).  When the Piranhas show up, Rhames reveals his fake legs are also shotguns.  Oddly, Rhames does not appear in the credits.  David Hasselhoff is amusing portraying himself as a rather detached and delusional star.  And  Christopher Lloyd makes a reappearance as entertaining as the previous film.  But it is a pretty short scene.

But this film stumbles in trying to outdo the gore and nudity of the previous film.  It makes Aja’s film to look like art.  Heck, the closing credits take forever, because they are filled with “gags” and “bloopers”.  This film fails while trying to imitate it’s predecessor. Remember that Piranha 3D Rotten Tomatoes rating of 73%? 3DD is at 4%…and deservedly so.

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