EXTERMINATOR 2 (1984)
Directed by Mark Buntzman
The flamethrower-wielding vigilante known as ‘The Exterminator’ is back on the streets to rid the city of scum but his vengeance becomes personal after a drug-fuelled gang of youths attack and ruin the life of his beloved girlfriend Caroline (Deborah Geffner).
Exploitation sequel EXTERMINATOR 2 opens with a traumatic scene of an elderly couple, who run a local shop, murdered by a ruthless gang of youths. As I sat watching the cruel events unfold, I personally wanted to smack the living daylights out of these hoodlums (and much more!) so when they’re confronted by The Exterminator as they flee the scenes, I lapped it up with utter glee. Welcome to EXTERMINATOR 2 where violence rules and the audience is able to get behind the vigilantes taking justice into their own hands. I say vigilantes because welding-masked Exterminator John Eastland (Robert Ginty) doesn’t work alone in this movie. He teams up with good friend and co-partner of the haulage business, Be Gee (Frankie Faison), who himself is sick of the criminals bringing down New York city and making it a dangerous place to walk through.
I expected a lot of flamethrower carnage from this movie but the amount of extra crispy individuals is pretty slim as our anti-hero gets to work with more than just his flame-thrower. When teamed up with Be Gee, guns and grenades are as much a part of the arsenal as the garbage truck which acts as a ramming vehicles to tear down the street in as well as a vehicle for getting from A to B in, including hitting the local bars after a hard day’s work. The young criminals of the film, however, dressed in their fishnet shirts and other questionable fashion choices, opt for more theatrical executions including a sinister crucifixation involving a security van driver and a subway train. Keen to rise up from the streets and run the city, head honcho X (a camp performance by Mario Van Peebles) and his crew aim to get their hands on as much money as possible to fund their heroin trade and control New York which involves terrorising anyone who gets in their way.
As a Cannon Films production, I knew to take the film with a pinch of salt. The low budget, straight-to-action affair is pretty evident here with very little plot to the movie other than revenge on a group of wasters who ruin countless lives. There’s not much meat to the story though and the narrative is quite disjointed, even for a movie like this, that it makes it a bit of a bore to watch. There’s simply not enough action to warrant the popcorn neither is there enough of a narrative to really sympathise with the characters. The film is stuck in a no man’s land where instead of having one particular strong section, it ends up being rather average on all counts. Nevertheless, I’ve seen far worse films and the little bits of burning flesh torched by the masked vigilante do their bit even if there’s simply not enough of them.
101 Films have given EXTERMINATOR 2 an uncut DVD and Blu-Ray release in the UK complete with reversible cover, a rather cool poster and interview with the film’s writer, William Sachs.
Not quite the exploitation film I was hoping for, EXTERMINATOR 2 is more medium rare than well done.