original Python (2000) was an OK giant-snake
flick, cheap and made by a first-time director, but
not without merit -- it had some good giant-snake scenes
and generated decent levels of suspense. The plot was
a paranoid body-count exercise, of course, seguing into
desperate attempts on the part of the main characters
to kill the titular genetically enhanced CGI perp. One
of these characters was local cop Greg Larsen (played
by William Zabka) -- who survives that particular scenario
and is hence destined for Great Things.
II (or Python 2 or even, as the Region
4 DVD case would have it, the totally inaccurate Pythons
II) is an even-cheaper TV sequel in which Greg
Larson (still played by Zabka) pursues his destined
Greatness -- now as a CIA operative who has been sent
into Russia "somewhere" to fetch the US military's
prize serpentine weapon because he's a default "expert".
Another plane carrying the giant python-in-a-crate has
crashed en route to wherever and the Russians have retrieved
the cargo and secreted it in an isolated military establishment.
What Larson and his goons don't know, of course (but
might have guessed), is that the Russians have already
opened the crate and have therefore been turned into
bloody python chow.
other main characters are a husband and wife team who
have a Big Truck and run a haulage operation "somewhere
in Russia". They are hired by Larson to go pick
up the "cargo" and before long find themselves
dodging giant snakes in an underground complex, as one-by-one
the slow-mo cannon-fodder lackeys get eaten and the
Truth is revealed.
critical response to this film (such as there is) has
not been kind. In fact, many reviews are downright sarcastic.
Such lambasting is unfair, I think. OK, Python II
was clearly made on a very low budget someplace where
production costs could be kept down,
and the CGI snake is not a premiere example of contemporary
visual technology. But, for me at least, the film works
quite well. I wasn't expecting a lot, yet it kept me
interested. Contrary to some reviews that react, I think,
to a conscious or unconscious belief that lack of expensive
bells-and-whistles equals bad and therefore justifies
contemptuously criticising everything from the visual
effects to the acting and the script, the film does
generate suspense if you let it, the direction is fairly
tight and the actors handle themselves well. The effort
on display here is not a disgrace.
the giant snakes rarely "sit" in their scenes
very convincingly. But the film-makers recognise that
there are unavoidable technical problems in creating
flawless CGI monsters on a limited budget. As a result,
they keep the SFX scenes fast and furious and to a minimum
-- with just sufficient full-on glimpses of the snake
to keep us reasonably happy. Actually,
adopting a tactic of treating the snake in a visually
elusive manner, albeit enforced by economic strictures,
makes for some genuine suspense. Meanwhile
the writing is OK, character interaction is effective,
the back story (about how the haulage guy is a disgraced
baseball pitcher in exile) is only slightly silly, Simmone
Jade Mackinnon is gorgeous, and the snake races through
tunnels with vim, being nastily predatory and spitting
toxic venom with glee.
in the end everything gets blown up by stealth bombers...
decent effort. Reasonable actors. Action. Suspense.
Giant snakes. What more can you expect for a couple
Ratio: 1.33:1 here (though some reviews talk
of a widescreen ratio)
Python Productions LLC, The Sci-Fi Channel, UFO Films
Time: 89 mins
Simmone Jade Mackinnon
Producer: James Hollensteiner
Producers: Jeffery Beach, Melanie J.
Elin, Phillip J. Roth