Monday, March 29, 2010

Quadrilogy: Wishmaster 2- Evil Never Dies

In the wake of the first film, what should our expectations be set at?  Should we expect a solid, follow-up to a decent, albeit flawed, horror film?  Should we expect a terrible, piece of shit that makes us want to gouge our eyes out?  Well, we're not to that point yet.  Instead, we've got a legitimate follow-up story-wise, but also a sign of exactly how much this series really has to offer.  Is it a good sign or a bad one?  Find out in my review of...
The film begins with a group of robbers breaking into a museum and taking a bunch of shit.  One of those items just happens to be that gaudy gem that houses the Wishmaster himself.  During the escape attempt, a cop shows up and shoots one of the burglars.  In retaliation/self-defense, the woman shoots the cop.  The man sends his lady away moments later, which means that she misses the gem breaking and freeing the creature.  He shows up first as a head with legs on it- a nod to 1981's The Thing, perhaps?- and destroys the dying form of the man.  He takes on his old, human form and runs into some more police.  Showing the series' early signs of lazy writing, he prompts the officer to phrase his request to 'freeze' as a wish and turns the man into an icy block.  Instead of killing more, however, he lets himself be arrested and takes all of the blame for the crime.  Back at home, our heroine feels bad about killing the cop...which she should.  I mean, I know that this is supposed to make her be conflicted and all, but she is a robber who shot an innocent man in the line of duty.  How is she good again?
To help deal with her angst, she consults an old friend who just so happens to be a Catholic priest.  This guy is built like a linebacker, so I guess that there is supposed to be more under the surface.  After he confession to him, he- along with her- is a bit surprised to learn of someone else taking the fall.  In prison, our Djinn friend is making some allies and enemies.  Most notably, he pisses off a Latino gang, which is led by severely-typecast Robert LeSardo (aka the drug boss from Nip/Tuck).  Oh and one of his henchman is Carlos Leon (aka the guy who knocked up Madonna in the '90s).  This group has a lot of people in it, including a pair of cliched martial artists. Really, movie?!?  In addition, the head guard (Dracula 3000's "Tiny" Lister) gets rubbed the wrong way.  The first of them gets dealt with in time.  The enforcer picks a fight with our Djinn in the laundry room and is tricked into wishing to see a real fight.  This allows the creature to turn his two henchmen against him- not that they are aware of why it's happening- and for the Djinn to kill him with the laundry press.  During all of this, both the priest and our heroine visit with the Genie, who makes his plans pretty clear.  He wants 'the freer' to make three wishes.  Yeah, they're doing that again.
After disposing of Lister in a very anti-climactic way, our villain makes friends with a Russian gangster who also behind bars.  Using his powers and some trickery, the pair escape from prison and go to the man's boss.  The boss doesn't trust the man and, in return, gets his face morphed into that of his sworn enemy.  After all that goes down, the Djinn takes over the gang and confronts the woman.  He forces her to make her two wishes, but she escapes before the third one.  But, Alec, you say, why doesn't she just kill herself and put an end to this?  Well, they thought of this and she's apparently immortal until she makes the wish.  Yeah, that makes no sense.  I almost forgot the movie's extra sub-plot: the Djinn must collect 1,001 (subtle) souls.  How can you get that many?  How about going to Las Vegas...or a cheap substitute.  He lets his powers loose in a casino run by Bokeem Woodbine (you again?!?).  Our heroes show up and try to stop the villain, but don't exactly do a good job.  The priest gets put up on a cross to 'be like his idol' and our heroine must make a hard choice.  Of course, she just pulls out a similar trick to the last movie and the day is saved.  Really?!?
This movie is not terrible, but it definitely could be a lot better.  The problem here is repetition and a lack of ideas.  They set up some interesting stuff with the new location (prison) and a new goal (gaining 1,001 souls).  The problem is that this is very much a sequel and makes no bones about it.  Our original villain (in human form) is back and does his job with the usual flair.  You do get a feeling that he's phoning certain parts in more than he did before.  Of course, I can't talk about the acting without mentioning "Tiny" Lister.  The man has only acted well in one film (his cameo in The Dark Knight) and that record remains unbroken here.  Let's talk about the special effects though.  On one hand, I love that the Wishmaster design is made up of practical effects, but it seems even more unrealistic than in the last film.  The CG stuff is not that bad, but it's minimal and, let's be honest, this film is not old enough for that to give it much of a boost.  Stick with the original folks...if you must pick one.
Next up, a new team takes over the series now and brings college.  Why must you remind of Ghoulies III, movie?!?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, I enjoy this sequel even if it is just stupid fun.