Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snake Eater II: The Drug Buster (1989)

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The SnakeEater is about to clean up the street. No matter how dirty he has to get.

Movie Review:

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I reviewed the first Snake Eater back in October last year and found it generally enjoyable with plenty of silly elements to keep me entertained. What I didn't like was the fixation on creepy rednecks. Thankfully the sequel, "The Drug Buster", doesn't have any creepy rednecks and is all the more better for it.

As you might assume by the title, the Soldier (played by Lorenzo Lamas) is back and this time he is busting drug dealers - though it's not as straight forward as it may sound. The movie begins at a cracking pace; a young black man that for some reason goes by the name "Speedboat" (Larry B. Scott) runs a community centre for the local youths and has them breakdancing, doing gymnastics, DJ'ing and other wholesome activities to keep them off the street and away from drugs. Soldier waltzes in, freshly suspended from his job as a cop (most likely for not doing things by the book) and after a few seconds talking to Speedboat two of the girls in a dance troupe falls to the ground. Before one passes out and Soldier does come CPR on the other, she says she "took something to give her the edge". DRUGS! Not only that but drugs cut with POISON!

From that moment on it's vigilante revenge-time for Soldier and Speedboat (that sounds like a kids morning television cartoon doesn't it? Soldier and Speedboat: The Crime Fighters!) who take it upon themselves to clean up this town. Soldier prepares his weapons belt and heads for a known drug sales operation and starts blasting away everybody that stands in his way. It's some top action and we are only ten minutes in to the movie. Just as he finishes laying waste to everybody, Speedboat turns up at the scene ready to kick arse but finds that all arses have been kicked by Soldier. The cops are on their way so he splits, leaving Soldier to face up to his actions.

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After the initial awesome ten minutes of gunfire and bad fashion it starts getting weird again, just like the first movie. Soldier is on trial for killing four drug dealers that night and his incompetent comic-relief lawyer wants him to plead insanity. It's agreed that he will undergo psychiatric testing and is remanded to a nut house full of comical types and a cute female psychiatrist. The movie from this point on, for the most part, is a revenge themed adventure-comedy with plenty of in-nuthouse highjinks and daily escapes onto the street to take out another drug kingpin.

The other patients are what you would expect for cliche nuthouse patrons; we even get a perverted evangelist who gives sermons that turn quickly into the praising of breasts. There's a real strange scene in this incredibly low-security nut house facility: As the 'new guy' Soldier must compete in a game where he and another new guy fight each other while strapped to wheelchairs with one foot sticking out in a metal boot, jousting style. I'm not making this up. A movie about a suspended cop busting drug dealers features wheelchair jousting. My favourite line in the movie is in this scene and I actually burst out with a big "HAH!":

Soldier: "Why is that other guy not strapped to his chair?"
Patient: "Oh he's not a combatant, he's a cripple."

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CHAMPAGNE COMEDY! Another strange scene has Soldier sneaking out of the nuthouse via the air conditioning ducts. As he progresses along the duct he runs into a prostitute going in the other direction, off to see one of the other patients. If that wasn't enough Soldier then encounters a pizza delivery guy in the vent asking for directions ("They should put a traffic light in here.") This movie is too much of a comedy sometimes.

And that's the real downside to the movie - the lengthy wait between each action sequence. Ultimately it's a case of quality over quantity because when they do come they are either truly explosive or plain hilarious. One of the funnier ones would be Soldier and Speedboat, pretending to be health inspectors, sneak laxative into another mob kingpin's pasta in a restaurant. Oh the hilarity as the guy clutching his arse runs to the toilet with the runs! But then Soldier has also planted an explosive in the toilet and blows the fucking bathroom up, kingpin and all. I guess that's when you are meant to stop laughing but I just laughed louder.

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Ultimately Soldier and Speedboat get their revenge on the top drug kingpin and we get a proper old-school machine gun shootout at the end, although Speedboat does get captured and tortured for a bit until Soldier rescues him. The main bad guy, Joey Garcia (Richard Jutras), is a real piece of work - he slaps a prostitute and then presses a button in the wall that reveals a concealed bed - and really does the "don't worry, they can't get into my impenetrable fortress!" act well when attempting to appease other kingpins he is entertaining.

Snake Eater II is stupid fun but it's still not the movie I was expecting, or really wanting, though it is better than its predecessor. Perhaps with the third movie I'll get the ninety minute shoot-em-up that the first five minutes of the previous two Snake Eater movies eludes to... though I doubt it. Oh and be sure to pay attention to the fantastic checker-board wipe transitions between scenes, hah!

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The Video:

Good enough full screen presentation. Looks like they used the same cameras from Degrassi High.. the video just has that colour and feel to it. Runtime 90 minutes.

Sourced From:

eBay for $8.


More Screens:

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  1. Nice Review. This looks an absurd sequel and you are totally right: "Soldier and Speedboat" would make a great show!

  2. I think you and I are in total agreement on this one. Just too weird to work.

  3. It really is disappointing isn't it? It's like they really knew they were filming for cable TV so couldn't make it too explosive, but then every now and then forgot about it and rammed a pole through someones head.

  4. Well I thought it was pretty enjoyable in spite of the overt silliness, I think you'd definitely like Snakeeater 3 better though as it's alot less silly then this one, but it's also not as unsettling as the first one, it manages to strike the perfect balance.

  5. That's good to hear. I look forward to seeing the third one then.