10/14/08

Today's Review Part 2

I've seen a few films in my time that spoofed sequels by slapping on a number after their title, and of the two that spring instantly to mind, Leonard Part 6 and Unmasked Part 13, are both crimes against the very soul of movie making. However today's film is something completely different. It hearkens more to the cash in re-titling a movie such as Fulci's Zombie, but I hesitate to even mention Zombie 2 and this film in the same breath. With this one, there's not even a source movie you can definitively point to and say it's trying to be that movie's "sequel". So I bring to you the only stand alone sequel that I've ever found. Lock and load cause here comes....

The Executioner 2 (1984) starring Chis Mitchum, Antoine John Mottet, Aldo Ray, and Renee Harmon.

It's 1970, and in Vietnam a platoon is being ambushed. The sergeant is leading his troops bravely, but he gets shot. How do we know he gets shot? Well, because he yells "BANG!" and falls down. That's right, all backyard cowboys and indians style. Did the film makers ask for another take or try and cover it with sound effects? Not a chance, and this is the level of sophisticated work that follows us throughout the film. Now I've had a few insults thrown my way that stung, but as my friend Fran Goria noted:

Sticks and Stones
May Break My Bones
But the Word BANG
Will never hurt me.

The whole Vietnam flashback is all to setup the relationship between Mike the mechanic and Roger O'Malley, a detective with the LAPD. Back in the war Mike (Mottet) saved his Sergeant, Roger (Mitchum), and now stateside they are the best of friends. Mike is having a hard time making ends meet though with mobster's demanding repairs for free on top of protection money. Roger is leading the investigation of The Executioner, a madman on the loose in the city taking out the scum and lowlifes that roam the streets.

In fact the Executioner is about to pass judgement again. A gang of thugs, who look like extras from the Beat It video, have a girl trapped on a rooftop with designs on raping her. Before they can carry out their crime, the black hooded Executioner arrives and beats them down. The unfortunate thug that doesn't get away gets a grenade shoved in his shirt. When it goes off, we're greeted by a few seconds of stock footage of an explosion on a black background. I would normally go on about how lame this is, but I think you fine folks already can already surmise what I might say.

The plot rambles on as they introduce a drug addict girl, Laura, who gets forced into prostitution to pay for her junk. When her friend, an over giggly blonde, finally convinces Laura to give "hustling" a try, they are smoking a joint and the blonde delivers the best line in the film, "I wish this were coke, oh. heavenly coke.". Naturally this girl who's getting in over her head is Roger's daughter, and just as naturally we soon find out that Mike the mechanic is having some trouble himself. Mike is full on PTSD and has flashes of 'Nam that send him into a rage where he becomes The Executioner. Roger has his hands full as he struggles over arresting his best friend, and saving his daughter from the sexual sadist mob boss, The Tattooed Man.

Oh man, where to even start with this movie. Well, up front, let me say that I didn't hate the film. In fact there were several things I really liked. Mike and Roger have a rumble with some thugs at Mike's garage, and it quickly degenerates into the whitest kung fu fight of all time. The whooshing fists and kicks are all in attendance as well as heavy impact thuds and thwacks. It was terribly choreographed and executed, but still somehow one of the more entertaining fight scenes I've ever seen because of the raw badness. There's several other high points that made me smile such as the hooker with a heart of gold that tries to warn Laura away from "hustling", the appearance of the Tattooed Man who only has two tattoos, and fight between Mike and a preppy new wave thug who has his shirt tied up like Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island. All of this pales in comparison to the true star of the film, mustaches. I doubt there has been such an impressive array of lip hair since 1986's First Annual Hall and Oates convention.

I'd like to be able to recommend this feature on the strength of facial hair alone, but I'm afraid there is no 'stache on the planet that could make up for this mess. The sound is awful, the script is worse, and the cinematography, such as it is, leave the picture fuzzy and unfocused most of the time. I suppose we can be thankful that there was no Executioner Part 1 if its "sequel" is any indication. Another little note about that number "2". It's been speculated that it was tacked on to make people think it was the sequel to another Vietnam vet run amok flick, The Exterminator(1980). This theory makes as much sense as anything else, but I kind of rather the notion that The Executioner 2 is a sequel to nothing. After all, it almost always holds true that the original is so much better.
Bug Rating
Thankfully you'll be spared a trailer since I couldn't dig one up. So enjoy instead the turntable magic of the X-ecutioners.

2 comments:

  1. Another of the "fake sequels" I can think of is the almost forgotten Surf II (1984). I remember the TV ads for it in junior high school—they always ran during Saturday Night Live, and I recall some friends of mine who adamantly insisted they had seen the original Surf. Ah, if only we had IMDB back then to settle arguments.

    I've never seen Surf II, but I imagine its also a crime against movie making. Not on a Leonard Part 6 level, maybe.

    And then there's that dueling Boggy Creek sequels issue...

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  2. I've never heard of Surf II, and I had forgotten all about the Boggy Creek issues.

    A similar problem may happen soon with the director of the original Sleepaway Camp preparing a sequel as well as the director of Sleepaway II & III making a rival one.

    As always thanks for the great comment, Ryan.

    ReplyDelete

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