The stage is set and the dinner is served.
Grizzly II: Revenge
Release Date: January 8, 2021
Louise Fletcher as Eileene Draygon
John Rhys-Davies as Bouchard
Steve Inwood as Nick Hollister
Dick Anthony Williams as Charlie Hill
Deborah Raffin as Samantha Owens
George Clooney as Ron
Laura Dern as Tina
Charlie Sheen as Lance
Written by Joan McCall & David Sheldon
Directed by Andre Szots
A giant grizzly seeks revenge against poachers and a nearby rock concert is the perfect location for mayhem.
My first experience with the film
This was my first and last time watching this turkey!
I’ll just start this off by saying that Grizzly II: Revenge is a bad film. It’s bad in so many ways but, unfortunately, it never crosses that coveted line into “so bad it’s good” territory. It’s definitely not a sequel to the original but it had a decent story idea with a grizzly seeking revenge after a mother and her cubs are killed by poachers. The summer season at the park idea is replaced here with a rock concert and the park supervisor is now a superintendent hell-bent on having the concert to raise money and secure her future out of the park and back into high society. Louise Fletcher did the best she could in that role and often offers up some of the best moments in the film.
Unfortunately, the film suffers on so many levels. Aside from Fletcher, the acting is generally poor and the dialogue is amateurish. I’m not even sure what John Rhys-Davies was trying to pull off with his performance. The whole rock concert sub-plot is odd with a lot of footage of unknown rock bands filmed during a real Nazareth concert. The special effects are almost laughable at times. Don’t expect a lot of bear footage as a lot of that was never even completed. Apparently, animatronic bears can be problematic. However, the film has become a thing of legend due to the fact that it was never finished in 1983. The original producer had no money to pay the crew in Hungary and even after a Japanese investor came forward and the principal photography was finished, it was never released. It turns out the Hungarian government seized most of the equipment because they were never paid. Cannon Group bought the film in 1987 and planned to finish and release it but when they had financial troubles, it got “lost” in the vaults. An unauthorized work print from a VHS copy surfaced in 2007 and work eventually went into finally finishing the film and releasing it in 2021. Seriously, the story behind Grizzly II: Revenge is more interesting than the movie itself.
Despite George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen getting top billing now, they were unknown actors in 1983 and would certainly have not been top-billed had the film been released back then. It’s an obvious ploy to capitalize on their success now but don’t expect to see much of them. They’re killed off in the opening minutes of the film and then they’re gone. However, credit to them for actually helping behind the scenes once the production was in financial trouble back in 1983.
Grizzly II: Revenge is a classic example of something lost being rediscovered but failing to live up to the hype. I’m not even sure it would classify as a cult classic. Even with a running time of only 74 minutes, it suffers from a lot of padding. There just isn’t much of a film here. The current 2.8 rating on IMDb is well-earned. Sometimes, there’s a reason that a film has become lost. It’s definitely a couple of servings of really dry turkey without the benefit of any of grandma’s gravy or some sweet cranberry sauce to help it go down.
Did you know?
The big electrical death scene actually contains two brief shots from Jaws 2 (1978), zoomed in to eliminate the shark and focus only on the fire.
Grizzly II: Revenge was originally titled The Predator some four years before that other little film with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Grizzly II: Revenge is available on Blu-ray and is streaming on Amazon Prime.