At first I was a little concerned about this sequel. Sondra Locke comes back, and that seems pretty fishy because she totally screwed Philo over in the first one. She was not a good person and nobody in their right mind would think “why didn’t those two crazy kids work it out?” So I was a little disappointed in Philo for forgiving her, and maybe in Clint for casting her. It smelled like girlfriend nepotism.
But by the end I realized that this letting-bygones-remain-in-their-original-state-of-being-bygones business is the central theme of the movie and the reason why it’s so enjoyable. It’s about friendship and bonding and forgiveness, about enemies becoming buddies. When mustache-sporting tough guy William Smith shows up in town and goes jogging with Philo you know right away that he’s gotta be the big mafia-sponsored underground fighting opponent Wilson coming to spy on Philo. That’s easy to predict. What’s not as expected is that they instantly like each other, and it stays that way. They help each other out and there’s alot of talk of owing one and being even, but it seems to me that’s all a front. There’s just no animosity between them, nothing but professional respect and a shared disgust for the people they’re working for. I didn’t pick up on that at first. I thought Philo would outsmart Wilson and show him up. Maybe he could if he wanted to, but he respects him too much. When they finally do have their fight you’re not rooting for one side like you traditionally do in a fight movie. They’re not fighting for any kind of grudge or to prove anything, but just out of love for their sport of bareknuckle boxing. (read the rest of this shit…)
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.