Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aquatic Killers: Lake Placid 2

What a croc!  This is the Direct-to-Syfy-Channel sequel to the surprise hit film Lake Placid.  Let's consider the first film for a moment and see why it had no chance of being a hit.  Bill Pullman was in it.  In spite of that giant hurdle- and thanks to Betty White-, the film was successful.  This movie follows the original film's plot and involves the baby crocodiles shown at the end of the original film.  I'm curious to see what Lake Placid 3 will do, given its lack of foresight in that department.  Here's the big news- none of the stars are here.  They could not even get Betty White!  Before her big comeback, I'm pretty sure that I could have paid Betty White enough to be in one of my family's home movies!  Instead of Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and White, we have John Schneider, Sara Lafleur (no clue if she's related to Art) and Cloris Leachman.  Are you underwhelmed enough yet?  Let's get ready for our trip to...
The film begins with two guys out on the titular lake in a boat.  One is taking eco-samples, while the other is being an idiot.  Okay, they both qualify for that, I suppose!  They talk for a bit before one of them is killed.  Yawn.  The narrative switches to the Sheriff (Schneider) who has his son visiting for the summer.  Blah blah blah the kid doesn't like nature blah blah blah we all know where this is going.  The Sheriff gets called to investigate the death, but doesn't believe it at first because the witness uses pot all the time.  Ha ha- it's funny because someone was torn to shreds!  He meets up with the Fish & Game Warden who ex-girlfriend or something.  This is an odd plot thread since this is the first- and only- film with these characters and we've just barely met the Sheriff.  They go out on the lake and the woman (Lafleur) goes swimming in her underwear until they find parts of the body.  Thank you, T&A filler.  They realize that there is a serious problem, which should be a given.  You guys did have a giant crocodile in your lake some time ago, remember?  They go to see Sadie, the old lady from the first film.  In one off-hand line, they say that the old lady (formerly-White) disappeared and her sister (Leachman) now lives there.  Lame!
So the plot basically breaks down to a series of scenarios that are all taking place around the same time.
* The Sheriff, 'the stoner' and the lady are looking into the crocodiles.
* Leachman is randomly-killing people via the crocodiles and/or trying to kill people with them.
* The son goes out camping with a local girl he likes, as well as her boyfriend, a hot chick and that jerk guy from Monster Man.  Yes, low-rent Jack Black is back!
* A rich hunter (played by character actor Sam McMurray) and his assistant show up to help our heroes.  For no good reason, McMurray has a very bad Irish accent.  Ugh.
* People die...a lot.
The occasionally-good-looking crocodies prove tough, but one of them gets taken out by the combined efforts of the hunter and our heroes.  Unfortunately, there are two more.  One of them attacks our heroes, while the other chases around the sun.  How conveniently the numbers work out, huh?  More of the 'teens' die, including Not Jack Black.  I'm so sad- honest.  Schneider gets a grenade launcher from McMurray and takes out one crocodile, while the other goes down a bit tougher.  The groups reunite and Schneider takes his son and the girl (the lone survivors- duh) to Sadie's house.  Yeah, that's totally safe!  Sure enough, the lady tries to set a trap for the 'teens,' but she gets eaten instead.  It's around this time that they learn that there was actually a FOURTH crocodile, despite no build up to this at all the whole time.  This leads to one final confrontation, which ends with the final crocodile being blown up.  All is well when everything is wrapped up. The End.
Are you surprised that this one didn't turn out good?  The plot of this film is alright, but nothing more.  It's pretty 'by-the-numbers' and routine.  I shouldn't be surprised by this, I suppose.  The acting is not all that interesting and the only one who really makes things watchable is Schneider.  McMurray is never bad, but his character is so lazily-written that he just can't do a lot with it.  In spite of his terrible accent, he tries.  Likewise, the CG work is decent at times.  The problem is that whenever the creatures move, they look very unrealistic.  In some of the still shots (see above), they are lit well-enough to be passable.  The best example of the core problem can be summed up in two words- CG plane.  The plane that McMurray shows up in is CG.  I get it being CG when it has to be attacked by the crocodile, but why does it have to be that way just to land on the lake?!?  The best part, of course, is a wide-shot used after his landing that reveals no plane to be there.  Yes, they forgot to insert the CG Plane into a shot!  Close (being generous), but no cigar guys...
Next up, a film about a giant killer eel.  When a key plot point involves poisoning the creature with sugar, you know it's not going to be good.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't surprised that this one didn't turn out good - but I was surprised that it turned out THAT bad!