Remember Alligator? That was a fun movie, wasn't it? A fantastic creature feature that holds up as a great piece of entertainment today. I may not love it quite as much as I used to, but I'll always have a soft spot for it. Well, this loose sequel doesn't reach the standard of that first movie, but it gives it a good try.
Joseph Bologna stars as David Hodges, one of those rare movie cops who doesn't always play by the rules but, goddammit, gets the job done. When he's not being shouted at by his boss (Brock Peters), or making his wife (Dee Wallace) roll her eyes, he's trying to investigate deaths and find evidence with which to nail slimy businessman Vincent Brown (Steve Railsback). When it looks like a giant alligator is munching on people, nobody can quite believe it. Despite his own reservations, Hodges heads out, with a police officer named Rich Harmon (Woody Brown), and is determined to stop whatever he comes up against.
It may never be as funny as the first movie, but Alligator II: The Mutation certainly maintains a healthy dose of humour throughout, thanks to the script by Curt Allen. Bologna gets to rattle off plenty of sarcastic one-liners and the film revels in the more cliched moments instead of trying to swerve around them. It's an approach that works, for me anyway. The movie may not win any awards for originality or believability, but it's consistently FUN from start to finish.
Director Jon Hess does okay with the material, running through the standard "creature feature" bag of tricks and also reusing some stock footage from Alligator. It helps that he has a decent cast to work with, almost every one of them improving their character.
Bologna is great in the lead, all attitude and no regrets. Wallace is good, though underused, as his wife, and also the woman who helps uncover the truth. Brown is amusingly "wet behind the ears" during the first half of the movie, and he also gets the best, and most bizarre, line in the movie when chatting to the lovely Holly Gagnier (playing the Mayor's daughter). Peters is great fun as the angry Chief Speed, Railsback is a decent villain and Richard Lynch steals almost every scene that he's in as Hawk Hawkins, a good ol' boy who thinks that he knows what he's up against when called in to deal with the alligator.
If you enjoyed Alligator then you should enjoy this sequel. It's the same, but different.