Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jack Frost 2 (2000)

"Jack was nimble. Jack was quick. Jack gouged eyes with candle sticks."

Sequel to the Christmas classic Jack Frost (1998), starring Michael Keaton as the titular character. In this one, Jack comes back and slaughters his wife (Kelly Preston) and son (Joseph Cross), so that they can be reincarnated as his snowwife and snowson. Don't worry parents, the murders are offscreen. This is child friendly schlock at its best. Jack's motivation behind these killings is to form a family band (a la Partridge Family) so he can win the annual North Pole Christmas Pageant and collect the cash prize. They're a jug band, so this one reminded me of Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, only with a slightly more twisted premise. Still, it's a heartwarming feature with some powerful performances. Perfect for all ages. Recommended.

Oh wait, sorry, I'm thinking about a different picture. This is ACTUALLY a sequel to the 1996 slasher film where Jack (played by Scott MacDonald) is transformed into a mutant killer snowman while being transported to his execution during a pounding blizzard. His paddy wagon collides with a truck carrying various toxic chemicals. Jack is thrown from the wagon, covered in chemicals and snow, which fuse together, and then meld with his DNA. There you go. Jack, now a snowman, also has the power to melt himself so that he can get through closed doors. He proceeds to fuck with Sam, the town's sheriff (Christopher Allport), avoid the FBI agent tracking him (Stephen Mendel as Agent Manners) and rape Shannon Elizabeth with a carrot. The CGI was limited. Initially, we see Jack as an unmoving snowman. It's mainly just implied that he can move around (i.e., they do it off camera). My favorite scene was when Jack tripped a boy who was then decapitated by his buddies sled. Jack Frost 1996 wasn't really made for young kids. Still, it's a Christmas classic of a different kind (When I say "classic" I mean piece of shit. Although, you know what they say about shit, right? one person's shit is another person's gold? It's a fetish. Look it up).

Well, I'm not sure why, but it's taken me seven years to get to Part 2. Similar to the Starship Troopers sequel, I guess my thinking was 'why mess with perfection?" I'm just kidding. The first film is perfect in that "wow, I just wasted 90 minutes of my life AGAIN. Why is it that I've seen this god damned thing 4 times now? It's not like it becomes a good or even enjoyable movie after the 3rd viewing. Jesus Christ I need a life" kind of way. Part 2 takes place one year later as the town of Snowmonton has started to put the pieces back together following Jack's reign of terror. The town's one "piece of ass" (Shannon Elizabeth) has been killed, so clearly the setting needs to be moved to a tropical island. Sam (still played by Christopher Allport) has been undergoing therapy, but it's really not helping. His therapist can barely stifle his laughter as he conferences in his secretary and all her friends to hear Sam's story. A traditional film would have killed off these assholes, but this one just shoved a giant icicle up tradition's ass instead.

Sam and his wife Anne, understandably, decide to spend Christmas on a tropical, snowless, island. Accompanying them will be their friends, Joe and Marla, an obnoxious couple planning to marry during the trip. The island resort is a cross between Club Med, Camp Crystal Lake, and Saved by the Bell (the one where Zack was going to marry Kelly in Hawaii). The resort employees consist of the imperialist Colonel Hickering, the irritating Captain Fun, the Jamaican bartender Bobby, and recently fired FBI agent Manners (now played by David Allen Brooks). Manners provides Island security. Of course, there's plenty more fodder for Jack, including three bubbly sluts named Rose, Ashley, and Paisley.

Well, guess whose in the market for some revenge? Jack, that's who. His coming back to life, again, is really quite simple. A couple of scientists unearthed his remains for research and accidentaly spilled coffee on them (I'm pretty sure this was what happened). The coffee worked as a reanimating agent. Not only does it bring Jack back, but it provides him with an immunity to antifreeze. As far as I can tell, It also gave him the ability to reproduce asexually. Well, Jack doesn't quite make Sam's flight to the tropics, so he has to swim across the ocean. Actually, he's in the form of water at this point. Does water swim? Along the way, he murders two guys stranded in a lifeboat, who just happened to have a carrot in their possesion. Jack is, once again, complete.

It was about the point that Jack dropped the giant anvil made of ice on either Ashley, Rose, or Paisley that I realized the movie sucked. First of all, the only 3 attractive females in this thing are killed off within the first 20 minutes. Second, it was a FUCKING ice anvil. I swear it had ACME printed on the side. Jack dropped it from a tree. After repeatedly missing his target with deadly icicles, he says "fuck it" and goes the "can't miss" route. Jack is the kind of slasher movie villain I can't stand. The kind with the bad puns. Honestly, I don't even know why this guy is killing anymore. I think they should go back and make a prequel to the first one, so we can learn about Jack Frost before he became a snowman. Oh, I don't know, I suppose some of the kills were fine. Strangely, the most interesting one was the only bloodless one, where Jack freezes the pool while a late night skinny dipper is making her nipples hard (Jack: "wouldn't mind practicing a little breaststroke, myself."). Ok, she could have been attractive too, but it was nighttime and the shot wasn't that well lit. I liked when the Colonel finds the mangled anviled body and tries to pass it off as a "shark attack". Manners had fun with his role as well; "I live on an island now. No Snowman. Very happy. Now, let's catch that coconut shark".

There's a great photoshoot (wait, another hot female) where Jack morphs himself into tiny ice cubes. The photographer informs the model that she's a "zero on the nipply scale", which, as you can imagine, makes Jack very excited. She then asks for iced coffee and, shortly thereafter, her head explodes. Jack says "I guess it was decapitated coffee". I couldn't really tell how Jack was talking. At this point, he's still in ice cube form, meaning no mouth or vocal cords. Even when he's a snowman, I didn't really get it. I mean, he has a mouth, but does he really have a throat? Lungs? I guess he bleeds, so he truly is a snowMAN. Also, he's got a penis, but he keeps it on his nose. And it's a carrot. When he get's aroused (i.e. ready to kill) it stands to attention.

The movie didn't really become entertaining until Jack, who by this point has blanketed the entire island in ice and snow, fell into a pool of antifreeze and multiplied into thousands of little snowballs. These little things are indestructable and apparently full of razor sharp teeth, although you can't tell. One even had a spiked haircut, so clearly they were ripping off Gremlins and possibly Critters. Unlike Critters or Gremlins, these little guys can't be killed by ordinary means. Sam and company attempt a blender, a waffle maker, and a vacuum. There's a hilarious scene where the greml...snow balls have taken over the bar and are seen dancing, boozing, and possibly fornicating. By this point, Sam has officially lost his mind, so he just sits in the background babbling about antifreeze. I kinda liked this aspect of the film. Main characters rarely go this crazy and this scene was actually foreshadowed in the therapy sequence.

The effects in this picture, in sharp contrast to Jack Frost 1996, are largely CGI. It's not an improvement. I think we need to see less of Jack. A lot less. I did like the effects on the balls though. They were practical. Basically, little sock puppets with mini arms. They were even kinda cuddly, but you really don't want to get too close to them. Unfortunately, Captain Fun had to learn this lesson the hard way.

This film is the first I can think of that features a slow motion supersoaker battle scored to "Taps". I swear the baby snowballs were skulking through a bamboo forrest at one point. One even had a black headband I think. It's clearly a statement on the Vietnam war. That statement being, if it had snowed there, easy victory for the US of A. There's a touchng scene where Jack sheds a tear over a fallen child before dropping the body and proclaiming "It's killing time!" I got choked up.

Somehow, amidst all this mess, Joe and Marla found time to hit the altar and tie the knot. The wedding is crashed by a rampaging Jack; "I now pronounce you totally fucking dead!". There's a final battle that involves archery and bananas I guess. Sam momentarily regains his senses. A few people lose their heads, their tongues. No carrot rape scene though. It starts off slow, but things take off once those balls are born. Agent Manners suffers a violent end as he's ripped to shreds by those same balls. The entire island staff is killed. We've got some icicled noggins, tonged eyeballs, human jambalaya, and a couple breasts. It's marginally better than the first film.

Be sure to stay for the end credits or you might miss the world's biggest carrot. There's also a fitting, tragic post-credits coda where we discover the fate of Joe and Marla. Also enjoybable, was the terrible blues song that opened and ended the picture; "Merry Christmas baby, better watch your back". I'd recommend this for Christmas viewing only. I think TNT might be doing "24 Hours of Jack Frost 2" this season. Seriously though, the acting is terrible, the effects are terrible, the puns are terrible, and I still hate Jack. Also, needed more nudity.

Still, I can't wait for the next sequel with the tagline "The balls are back!"

If that doesn't work, maybe Jack Frost vs The Gingerdead Man.

Either way, I win.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone loses in a fight between Jack Frost and the GingerDead man.

Especially the viewer.

I would rather see them team up and form a plan to take out Santa. Thats a movie I could get behind.

-Dan-

brian said...

Dan,

Sometimes, when you take two really shitty things and have them fight each other for 80-90 minutes, you end up with something not quite as shitty. Sometimes, the opposite is true. It's really hard to predict. I'm saving Santa for jfVgd2.

Anonymous said...

But can you get Gary Busy to reprise his role as the GingerDead Man?
-Dan-

brian said...

No, but maybe Jake is available.

Gianni said...

Ooh, I can smell the mediocrity.