Dimension Films // 1997 // 97 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Norman Short (Retired) // June 15th, 2001
They'll do whatever it takes...to take down their man.
Just when you thought you'd seen enough movie titles with a numeral after them to last a lifetime, here comes another one. I recently reviewed the direct to cable Bounty Hunters with Michael Dudikoff and Lisa Howard, and gave it a grudging approval as a cheesy but fun B movie. Taking up where we left off is the sequel, and we're in for more of what made the first one fun, with a surprise casting for the villain. I hate to say it, but I actually enjoyed this. Don't tell anyone.
Jersey Bellini (Michael Dudikoff) is still the booby trap-happy guy who brings in fugitives for a local bail bondsman. His on again, off again relationship to his partner B.B. (Lisa Howard) is back on, but not for long, as she leaves him after a misunderstanding while foiling a jewel robbery. Unfortunately, that jewel robbery was a front for the mob, and now they want Jersey dead (again!). As before, the fugitive they are trying to catch lands them in the middle of bad guys, and numerous murder attempts. But the pair is too well armed and too well trained to get killed, if they can keep from fighting with each other, at least. Lots of things will go boom and lots of fights will happen before the end. Oh, and the surprise villain? None other than Tony Curtis. I have no idea what got Mr. Curtis to decide to be a part of this film, but it must have been good.
When I reviewed the first Bounty Hunter movie, I was surprised that it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. The worst thing I had to say about it was that it was so predictable. This time isn't quite so formulaic as the first, since the bad guys have their own double crosses and dynamics going on, but it's basically the same story. Wisecracking partners who also provide the love interest get into lots of trouble. And I certainly didn't expect the sequel to be as good as the first film; they almost never are. But I have to admit that the sequel improved upon the original in some cases, and at least held up to the first in the rest.
For one major improvement, there were a lot more stunts this time, and they were very well done. Considering the typical budget for these straight to cable movies, I didn't expect nearly the level of carnage. As an example, they blew up a whole chain of cars during one stunt when one car would have sufficed. At least I hope they planned it that way; I'd hate to see the director and the cast walking home from the shoot. If you like explosions, there are plenty in Bounty Hunters 2 to satisfy even the pyromaniac in the family. Since I happen to like movies with lots of bullets and explosions, this was a natural for me. I know, I really should pipe up with how I really wish I were watching some sensitive art film instead, but sometimes this type of film fits my mood.
Otherwise, the movie is decent, with some nice banter amongst the dialogue once more, and some zany situations that add some comedy to the mix. It's not Citizen Kane, or even Die Hard for that matter, but it's not bad.
The DVD presentation is fitting for the type of movie we are getting. No need for multiple commentary tracks or tons of extras for this film; what you see is what you get. The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is quite good, especially since most people saw this in full frame. It's nice to get widescreen whenever we can. Colors are well rendered and the print was very clean. The only noticeable complaint worth mentioning is the occasional edge enhancement. Overall the transfer is a notch better than the first film.
The soundtrack is once more only two-channel Dolby Surround, but it fits the bill. Bass response is actually pretty good for all the explosions and gunfire; in fact a touch better than the first film. On the other hand, there is less action from the rear channels than I'd like on either film. Extra content is reserved for sneak peek trailers, including one for the original Bounty Hunters. I'm not exactly getting excited, but then again I wasn't expecting much.
Okay, this isn't that great of a movie. It's pure pap entertainment. Tony Curtis is really slumming to do this picture, though he's in so few scenes he must have showed up for a day or two at most. And he really didn't add that much to the movie, if anything the villains weren't as credible as they were in the first film.
If you enjoy an evening of fairly mindless entertainment once in awhile, Bounty Hunters 2 would make a decent end to a double feature with the original film. Sure, it's pure cheese, but I like cheese. I'd put this in the rental category.
All acquitted once more, at least until Bounty Hunters 3 comes along.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Dimension Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Rated R