Friday, May 12, 2017

Movie review - "Big Bad Mama II" (1987) ** (warning: spoilers)

Big Bad Mama was one of Roger Corman's biggest hits at New World but it did end with most of the leading characters dead, so he presumably didn't feel he could make a direct sequel - instead he made a bunch of "kind of" sequels, such as Crazy Mama and Fighting Mad.

More than a decade later he must've gone "stuff it" and brought Angie Dickinson back to go on a crime spree - for this is a remake more than a sequel; once again she's a widow kicked off a farm, once again she goes on the lam with two daughters. It was directed by Jim Wynorski, who remade Not of this Earth around this time.

We see her husband in this one - he gets killed at the beginning. Mama leaps straight to robbing banks after hubby is shot - I mean they don't even try to get a job or a loan first or anything. Robert Culp is in the Tom Skerritt part as their male accomplice - only he's not a fellow outlaw, he's a columnist who wants to make the girls famous, which is interesting but perhaps not as exciting. He's an observer rather than a participant in the film.

The main plot involves them kidnapping the son of the banker/politician who kicked them off their land. He falls in love with one of the sisters, making the other one jealous, and she leaves the group.

That's not a bad plot but it lacks a bit of kick... The original had Shatner and Skerritt squabbling over Dickinson but there's none of that here. They have the two girls fighting over the guy, but not because of any real emotional attachment. I think it was a mistake for Dickinson not to kill Bruce Glover when she had the chance... it felt hollow. The movie lacks the genuine passion of the original... it doesn't feel like there's a Depression going on, everyone looks well fed. Also the ending, where everyone gets away, feels like a cheat.

Danielle Brisebois and Julie McCullough are good value as the girls, although their haircuts as a bit late 80s for something set in 1934. They go for a swim; one of them does some nudity with the guy. Dickinson and Culp have sex - rather their body doubles do.

Jim Wynorski directs with competence. There's some decent production value. It's not a stinker. But it lacks flaire.

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