Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 2

I am baffled, flabbergasted, dumbfounded, astonished, nonplussed. I am deep into the thesaurus when it comes to how I regard Leprechaun 2, the 1994 sequel to filmmaker Mark Jones’ magnum opus. The first flick stank. It only made a little over eight and a half million bucks at the box office, yet it spawned a film franchise that has now spanned a quarter century. I admire the fact that everyone involved keeps making these shitty flicks despite an unending wave of negative criticism. It’s just that in a country known for such ruthless capitalism, I’m surprised these turds keep finding financial backing.

Jones retreated into a producer role for Leprechaun 2, handing screenwriting duties to Turi Meyer and Alfredo Septién, with Rodman Flender directing.

Flender has an interesting IMDb page. This was his third film, after directing a pair of cheapies, one of which went direct-to-video. His career was on a path into the b-movie wilderness, but after this flick, it appears he had enough. He has since spent his time in the director’s chair exclusively in television.

Warwick Davis returns to play the titular leprechaun, although it’s not the same leprechaun. The beastie from the first flick was done away with in gooey fashion, and rather than concoct some outlandish resurrection for the sequel, the filmmakers decided to go with a standalone story.

According to this flick’s lore, on a leprechaun’s millennial birthday, he can take a human bride. A thousand years ago, in medieval Ireland, the leprechaun was foiled, but he vowed to find his would-be bride’s descendant on his next thousandth birthday, Leprechaun 2 movie posterand seal the deal then. That happens to be in 1994 Los Angeles, and the leprechaun’s target is Bridget (Shevonne Durkin, making her second appearance in this year’s Horrorshow).

Bridget is young, blonde, sweet, and vapid. She’s a weak damsel in distress compared to Jennifer Aniston’s Tory of the previous film, and what the character lacked in depth, Durkin matched in talent. In a movie with…challenged…acting performances, Durkin stands out. But not by much. That’s because the lead, Charlie Heath as Cody, wasn’t lighting the screen on fire, either.

The best and most professional performance was given by veteran actor and comedian Sandy Baron as Cody’s drunken, scheming uncle Morty. Baron’s performance was so good that it almost makes this film watchable all by itself. Every scene with Morty had life, whether he was drunk in a bar, drunk in his apartment, drunk at a police station, or drunkenly expounding on life in general. I wanted more Morty. In fact, this film should have been about Morty, not about a pair of empty-headed Gen Xers slacking their way through the plot.

As for Davis, he didn’t improve any on his performance from the first film, but at least he managed to sound a touch more Irish in this flick.

So, the players are on stage, and plot stuff has to happen. It’s already been established that the leprechaun is chasing down Bridget to be his wife, but less time is devoted to that plot than one might suspect. The filmmakers seem to have run into a common problem with storytelling. They had a beginning and an ending, but that pesky stuff in the middle was a challenge. They filled the time with some random violence and leprechaun chicanery, but it was all very thin. Through all of this, the viewer is forced to listen to dialogue from the leprechaun that made me want to bang my head off of a wall. It was around the tenth or eleventh time the leprechaun shouted, “I want me gold!” that I began to check out.

There just isn’t much to this film, despite going on and on for a full 85 minutes. There wasn’t enough blood and gore, the jokes were too lame, the plot too uninteresting, and, outside of Baron, the performances too weak. This is a film that had profound b-movie possibilities, and barely lived up to any of them.

Leprechaun 2 falls way down the Watchability Index, displacing the equally pointless Venomous at #302. Yuck.

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