‘Gator Season

By Alligator II’s release, the industry was far past its obsessive Jaws knock-off phase, but producers clearly didn’t mind. Instead, they updated the theme (slightly) and dropped this sequel about stock capitalist villains gentrifying an immigrant area, who the try hiding a monster lingering in the sewers. As expected, their plan fails.

Alligator II doesn’t have the cynicism or the spitefulness that gave the first film its color. Star Joseph Bologna plays the generic cop going against “the system” to hunt down the title critter, yet he’s so inherently likable in every facet of his being, he’s wholly artificial. Alligator II works overtime to establish the good/evil divide. What results is something akin to a cartoon, except those tend to veer more subtle.

Alligator II swims its river by-the-numbers

While dopey in its premise, Alligator still felt authentic in its character. Real. True. Honest. Or, as honest as a movie about an irradiated alligator could be. The sequel abandons that, dripping with cliches, and aside from its minor digs at Reagan-era economics (and a smaller knock against racist policing), Alligator II swims its river by-the-numbers.

When the ‘gator strikes, it’s less impressive still. Budgetary constraints mean Alligator stock footage is intercut with an immobile floating prop. Editing can’t save things, and as patience dries up, the promise of a wild, chaotic finish holds hope. That fizzles too. Gathered for a carnival, citizens run from a rubber mouth, and only a handful become food.

It’s a stodgy, daffy mess, but not in a delightful way. Dee Wallace is the lone reason to watch, a permanent genre starlet, who plays her derivative scientist role with enthusiasm. As the lonely housewife waiting for her husband to return home, she’s wonderful. The rest, sadly, isn’t.

Video

While Scream doesn’t note anything about the master on their cover art, the visuals suggest a new scan. Generous in color reproduction, splendid accuracy in flesh tones and appropriately dreary city buildings produce enough saturation. It’s all organic and precise.

Firm density in the shadows keep sewer environments cloaked in pure black. in the early going, contrast filters into the police station, bouncing off walls and paperwork to liven things up. It’s a shame Scream didn’t double up this sequel with Alligator’s 4K, because this is calling for HDR.

All of that is great, but the resolution proves most impressive. Fine grain cleanly sits over the imagery, easily resolved by Scream’s encoding (aside from quickly glimpsed break-up in splashing water). Wide shots explode with detail, resolving every tiny detail. Close-ups bring texture in droves. Fidelity fares better than it ever should for something like Alligator II. Even the print nears spotlessness; only a few scrapes and dings miss perfection.

Audio

Clean dialog, firm treble, and even a touch of low-end give the DTS-HD track life. A sharp stereo split spreads the front soundstage widely, with chirping crickets and splashing water popping from specific channels. This aids some of the cheap scares, and betters the flick overall.

Extras

Scream includes five new retrospective interviews, which for Alligator II, is as deep as bonuses will ever get. Speakers include director John Hess, editor Marshall Harvey, actor Kane Hodder, effects artist John Eggett, and second unit director Eugene Hess. Totaled up, they run around 40-minutes.

Alligator II: The Mutation
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Filled with stock characters, a stock plot, and cheesy tone, Alligator II is a dud sequel with only a few creature feature highlights.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: