Killer Crocodile 2 (1990)
New York journalist Liza Post is interested in a story about the cleaning up of a stretch of polluted river and swamp in the Caribbean which is to be made into a holiday resort. However, she finds out that some barrels of radioactive material are unaccounted for when she arrives to investigate. This nuclear waste, responsible for mutating a giant crocodile that wreaked havoc in this area before it was cleaned up, has given rise to another giant crocodile which is killing off anyone unfortunate to be on the water. Crocodile hunter Kevin Jones, responsible for killing the original monster, is called on for help when Liza goes missing.
Filmed just after the original wrapped in 1989, Killer Crocodile 2 is probably the most blatant definition of "rushed sequel" I've ever seen. Original director Fabrizio De Angelis handed over the reigns to effects man Giannetto De Rossi, the person responsible for designing the large animatronic crocodile, roped in some of the surviving members of the cast to reprise their roles and quickly conjured up a feeble story which was shot around a week. It's virtually a re-tread of the original, only with diminishing returns this time around and the rushed, sloppy approach to get everything wrapped up as quickly as possible runs through it from start to finish.
Killer Crocodile 2 is a flimsy sequel which for all intents and purposes could have been edited together using leftover footage and outtakes instead of separately-shot material for all anyone is able to work out. Add in some flashbacks to the original so they could recycle some footage (the finale is replayed twice) and pad out some more running time. It's clear that all of the better ideas were used up in the first film and so this feels very much like a leftovers buffet, devoid of a lot of the manic energy and sheer absurdity of what you're watching on-screen. There are some attempts to build upon the story from the original, rather than just ignore it completely - most horrors from this era simply ignored their earlier films continuity and lore - but the results aren't that vital to the film's narrative. This could have been a standalone film and it would have been the same end product.
With a shorter running time than it's predecessor, Killer Crocodile 2 actually feels a lot longer and that's due to the large stretches where not a lot happens. Say one thing about the original but it always seemed like there was something crazy about to happen. Here, the pace is sluggish and the crocodile isn't shown as much to take the flak. It takes lead actor Richard Anthony Crenna half of the running time to even show up in the film. Before that, there's a load of scenes set miles away in a big city, plus copious amounts of footage of people sailing/riding boats up and down the river. It's clear that De Rossi and the writers just had a few days of actual 'action' shooting on the river and the rest they had to make up with scenes on dry land. Thankfully, once Crenna shows up (accompanied by Ennio Girolami's 'Quint' character again) and begins hunting the croc down, things get better but by that point, you know that they'll have to try and get everything rushed through within half an hour.
This isn't to say that Killer Crocodile 2 doesn't have its moments. There's a decent attack scene in which the croc bursts through the wall of a jungle hut to snack on its occupants. Some scenes just embody the "anything goes" nature of these Italian exploitation films. In America, harming kids is a major no-go area as far as films go but the Italians think nothing of feeding a boatful of kids and their guardian nun to the crocodile after it attacks their boat. Not high on scares or quality but definitely top for some unintentional chuckles! The body count stands at twenty-seven for this one so the crocodile is well fed once again.
I'm guessing it's the same crocodile model from the original and so has the same pros and cons. Its still as immobile as ever, only having the ability to slowly move forwards and upwards and then back again in the same direction. Unlike the original, the novelty of seeing it has well and truly worn off now. There are some daft effects sequences here, notably the finale in which the camera switches from the hero riding on the crocodile's back to a real crocodile with an action figure strapped to it - honestly, it's one of the funniest things I've had to cover on this site. Riz Ortolani does his best John Williams impersonation again with an overplayed score that sounds so much like the Jaws theme that it's a wonder Universal didn't come calling with the legal papers.
I think you get the message that Killer Crocodile 2 is very low on quality and originality but very high on cheap cheese. It is every inch the lazy cut-and-paste job that it was meant to be, designed to maximise profit and cash-in, whilst cutting costs at every opportunity and trying to get a full motion picture shot in around ten days. You may find some daft amusement from this but the original is a far better film overall, something that I never thought I'd see myself write.
Killer Crocodile 2
Director(s): Giannetto De Rossi
Writer(s): Fabrizio De Angelis (screenplay), Giannetto De Rossi (screenplay), Dardano Sacchetti (screenplay)
Actor(s): Richard Anthony Crenna, Debra Karr, Ennio Girolami, Terry Baer, Héctor Álvarez, Alan Bult, Paul Summers
Duration: 87 mins