Python 2 (2002)

Python 2 (2002)

The beast is back.

Another top secret military project has been discovered in a remote part of Russia – a giant genetically engineered python. The snake is kept inside an underground military base but the Americans want it back and send a small group of mercenaries in to take the snake back. They hire an American truck driver who operates in the area to ferry the snake back to the US. But when they reach the base, they realise that the snake has escaped, killing everyone there. Now it’s a race against time to get out alive before the entire base is bombed from the air.

 

Not content with ruining the reputation of CGI snakes everywhere, the brains behind Python are back with the originally-titled Python 2. But there’s a catch – there are actually two snakes in the film! Get it? It’s the second film in the series and there are two snakes! Ingenious! I guess there are no real surprises here. You had a CGI crap fest of a film about a genetically engineered snake on the loose and fill the cast with a few names like Robert Englund and Casper Van Dien to try and draw the crowds. That’s fair enough. Python was acceptable. Being one of the first of the CGI snakes to be unleashed, it at least has the benefit of being slightly more original than most. To go ahead and make a sequel to a film not that many will have watched anyway just reeks of desperation. To have it feature one of the minor characters of the original obviously to add a bit of continuity is grasping at straws.

Python 2 doesn’t really need me to bash the film too much as it does most of that itself without knowing. It’s got a really bog standard opening sequence with a bunch of supposed soldiers using supposed high-tech equipment to track down the snake. You can predict the immediate future here: the officer in charge sends nameless soldiers to proceed onwards to investigate strange sounds and we know that there is a giant snake on the loose. Why the snake is loose in Russia is never answered nor is any attempt made to explain why it is the Americans who want it back. Just accept it! But shortly after it has been recaptured, the damned plane it’s being transported in is shot down by Russian terrorists. So you’d think the terrorists would open the container themselves? Wrong.

Moments later a squad of Russian soldiers wipe out the entire terrorist cell and take control of the container once more. But the Russians don’t think to report their finds back to their superiors – they just stash it away in their underground base. This round robin of snake-possession gets boring quickly, simply because the film is stop-start. Just when you think it’s going to settle down and actually have the snake escape and the film focus on one set of characters, it continues to pull the rug out from underneath. The opening twenty minutes is literally a pass-the-parcel between rival groups, with the snake being the unwanted present.

Finally though the snake is released and bad CGI carnage commences. Body count boosting is a pretty shallow ploy in these type of films, none more so than here. You’ve got the male hero, the hot female in distress, the shady government op and one of the hero’s friends (sorry mate, you’re too nice to survive these films) but apart from that the rest of the mercenaries are just there for fodder. The snake has a whole Russian base to munch through too which sadly happens off-screen. In a slight turn of events, it turns out that our male hero is in fact a famously washed up baseball player who fled America after an incident during a game. What the hell? Now he’s busting giant snakes for a living? It’s a totally pointless subplot but I guess it’s the sort of mindless nonsense that you’d expect from a film like this.

I think the only other thing worth noting about this piece of mindless drivel is its main star and said baseball player, Billy Zabka. He struck terror into the hearts of high school teenagers back in 1984 as the martial arts bully who tormented the Karate Kid and who was told to “sweep the leg” by his sensei. Years later and it’s refreshing to know that the guy has turned into a bargain basement action hero in straight-to-video fodder like this. That serves you right for trying to take short cuts to victory!

 

Usually you root for the snake in films like this simply because the cast suck and you want them to die sooner, rather than later. However the only thing I was rooting for here was the power to fail or the DVD to jam so I wouldn’t have to finish this miserable specimen of a sci-fi/action/horror  – whatever the hell Python 2 thinks itself as. Definitely a clunker for the Bottom 100 on IMDB in years to come.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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