New Concorde // 1996 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Norman Short (Retired) // May 11th, 2001
Coming off the lurid success of the original Black Scorpion on cable, a sequel wasn't far behind. Black Scorpion II: Aftershock takes up where the last film leaves off, with only one member of the cast changed. The sequel is far more comic book oriented than the first, which is a plus for some and a definite minus for others. But the lady in latex is back, and there is gratuitous nudity a-plenty, so people know what they're getting here, namely cheesy exploitative trash. Sometimes that kind of movie is just right for some folks. The DVD isn't nearly as good as the original however, in either the video or extras departments.
After Darcy Walker (Joan Severance), AKA The Black Scorpion, takes out the Breathtaker from the first film she is re-instated to the police force and is still in lust/crush/puppy love with her partner Michael Russo (played by Whip Hubley this time). Russo only wants to catch the Black Scorpion, as his lust for her competes with his sense of duty. This time the enemy is Aftershock, a female scientist whose machine to prevent earthquakes was sabotaged by the corrupt mayor, who depends on federal disaster funds to pay for his luxury yachts. Now Aftershock is using her machine to cause earthquakes, and has taken The Gangster Prankster (Stoney Jackson) as her partner. Black Scorpion has to defeat Aftershock while figuring out how to deal with her affections for her partner.
I didn't find a lot to like about Black Scorpion II, other than the things that I liked in the first installment. The special effects and stunts are pretty good; the morphing car still looks cool even if the rationale for it isn't exactly reasonable. There are numerous fight scenes, but thankfully less of the pathetic martial arts attempts by Joan Severance.
The dialogue remains slightly above par for this type of exploitation film, mainly from the supporting cast. I particularly liked Stephen Lee as Captain Strickland, who was an obsessive smoker in the first film and is now an obsessive eater. At least he's consistent. Garrett Morris (from "Saturday Night Live" fame) has slightly more to do here and is pretty funny as the auto mechanic/sidekick Argyle.
The goodness stops there. Joan Severance continues her wooden acting, and doesn't even have her body to fall back on in the sequel. As she said in the commentary track to the first film, she "didn't spend as many hours in the gym" for the sequel. It shows, as she has no nude scenes and the one sexy scene they put her in outside the molded suit shows a distinct bulge or two. Her fighting abilities are even more limited and she spends most of the time getting easily beaten by the bad guys. Without her car she'd have been toast this time.
The new players in the cast add little to the film either. Whip Hubley's portrayal of Michael Russo is so bad, and his character was written to be so bad, that I simply hated him throughout the picture. The villains were far worse than the silly Breathtaker from the first film as well; The Gangster Prankster was an obvious rip-off, and was played as a black Riddler from Batman. Aftershock was also a babe in latex, but shows little and is no actress. The gratuitous nudity is left to background actresses in strip clubs.
The DVD is only slightly better than the sub-standard film, judging even by the standards of the cheesy exploitation genre. The full frame transfer is murky in the many night scenes, and has several instances of pixel break-up from the transfer. It's watchable, but not very enjoyable for the eyes. The sound is typical front-loaded Dolby Surround, but has no low end; the many, many gunshots sound like little popguns. Underwhelming to say the least. At least you can hear the dialogue.
The extra content has almost nothing to do with the film at all; instead, it is an advertisement for the television series. Yes, folks, there is a TV series, driven both by lustful demand here and a much bigger demand in Europe. There is a 20-minute featurette about the TV series, hosted by Adam West, the old Batman himself, who plays a villain on the show. They've also got Frank Gorshin from the "Batman" series playing another villain, and the show seems an obvious tip of the hat to that 1960s camp series. Thankfully they've also replaced Joan Severance as the Scorpion. What does pertain to the film is the cast biographies. That's it folks, not that I was asking for anything more to watch about this film.
If you want to see bare breasts, there are tons of better films to see them in, including most pornography. This film is a poor example even of the gratuitous nudity exploitation variety, and the comic-book villains giggling hysterically every five minutes or so will drive you out of your skull in short order. Poor sound and video mar the disc even from technical merit, so unless you are a truly devoted fan of the Black Scorpion oeuvre then let this one pass you by.
Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! The film doesn't even show the naked charms of the stars of the film, and that is the only reason anyone was actually paying to see the film in the first place.
Review content copyright © 2001 Norman Short; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Concorde
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* TV Series Featurette
* Cast and Crew Info