When Graboids show up on Mexican land rich in oil, Earl Bassett is brought in to get rid of them again.
Written by Brent Maddock, S.S. Wilson, and Ron Underwood, and directed by Wilson, this 6 years in the making sequel is one fun film that came as a bit of an unexpected surprise back in 1996, direct-to-video, popped unceremoniously into video stores. This may be, but those who saw it loved it and with reason. The film brings back Earl from the first film and everyone’s series favorite Burt Gummer. The story is built around bringing these two back and bringing more Graboid mayhem and it succeeds in a very entertaining way. The new elements brought in to add to the film and the lore of the series, such as (spoiler!) a new version of them, complete with how they are born. The film is creative, makes good use of the established lore, and adds onto it in a fun way.
The cast here is good. The film is a bit silly, but they all go 100% into it with all they can to make this a worthwhile sequel. Fred Ward returns as Earl Bassett and makes it his goal to be the grumpiest hero the public has ever seen, and he does it magnificently well. He’s the grump and he’s the best grump. Michael Gross comes back as Burt Gummer, and he steals the shows. His performance here explains why he’s the one character that keeps on coming back throughout the sequels. The man plays his gun-loving, explosives-carrying character with glee and a clear love for his work. These two are fantastic here. Joining them are Chris Garten and Helen Shaver as Grady and Kate (aka White), both of whom hold their own with Ward and Gross. The film’s performances show how to take a silly premise and make it into something more.
The new release by Arrow Video is great. It looks good, sounds good, and has a ton of goodies as part of the extras. The fun starts with the packaging which has new art by Matt Frank that is so good, it’s one of those that shows the fun of the film and what can be expected. The extra art pieces included are quite nice too. The main dishes here are on the disc itself which include outtakes (why do releases not have more of those? We love those), the making of featurette with the cast and crew which is a highlight, the Graboid Go Boom interview with Peter Chesney all about the effects, and Critical to Know Information which is a new interview with Phil Tippett. The new commentary with S.S. Wilson and Nancy Roberts is worth a listen as well.
Some may call this one the best direct-to-video sequel of all time, which isn’t far from the truth to be honest, but for this reviewer it’s one of the best and it has a ton of great extras. It’s the kind of re-release that is worth picking up for collectors, but also for fans of the film or the series.