Grease is still the word!
Get out your hair gel and lip gloss, the kids from Rydell High are back in an all-new musical extravaganza! Although Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko have graduated, their spirit lives on in the form of hardcore Pink Lady sorority leader Stephanie (Michelle Pfeiffer in her first starring role) and foreign exchange student Michael (Maxwell Caulfield). After dumping her T-Bird boyfriend Johnny (Adrian Zmed, Bachelor Party), Stephanie decides that she doesn't need to be anyone's "chick…".that is, until she meets a dashing motorcycle daredevil who is as brave as he is mysterious. What Stephanie doesn't know is that her secret crush is really the mild mannered Michael (Sandy's cousin, no less)—he's moonlighting as a rebel to win her affections. Along with all of the drama, old faces return to Rydell including the bubble headed Frenchy (Didi Conn), the stern Principal McGee (Eve Arden), everyone's favorite nerd Eugene (the always entertaining Eddie Deezen), and Coach Calhoun (comic legend Sid Caesar). And what would a Grease movie be without the kids breaking into song and dance to such catchy tunes as "A Girl For All Seasons" and "Reproduction"? It's a new year at Rydell (1961, to be exact) and everyone's going to get a lesson in the birds and the bees, rock and roll style!
Although John Travolta isn't dead yet, someday he'll be rolling over in his grave whenever anyone puts Grease 2 into their DVD player (or whatever popular medium is available at that time). Grease 2 is a sequel that has the audacity to take the exact same story line from the first film, flip flop the sexes, then market itself as a brand new cinematic experience. The whole mess is one big '57 Chevy car wreck, except that somehow, someway…it's watchable. I have no idea how the filmmakers did it—though Grease 2 is a pale imitation of the now classic original, it's a movie that's hard to take your eyes off of. I mean, let's be honest—any flick featuring Adrian Zmed as the lead should be burned in a voodoo ritual involving grass skirts and skull candles. And yet I still couldn't peel myself away from the TV set. The songs are badly written and devoid of catchy lyrics or beats (I sit here now trying to remember one and nothing is coming to mind…), and yet I had to watch. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Stephanie with so much gum chewing, lip smacking attitude that she nearly implodes on screen. James Dean look-alike Maxwell Caulfield pouts so often and for so long that you assume he's a lost puppy in need of a home. The T-Birds, led not by Zmed but by his bouffant hairdo, includes a young Christopher McDonald (who has seemingly appeared in every movie since 1990) mugging for all he's worth…and six dollars more. The highpoint of the film (i.e., the best of the worst) is the rousing horn ball number "Reproduction," which features Tab Hunter as a substitute teacher singing about a woman's ovaries while the students prance around like oversexed gazelles. It's enough to make even Bob Fosse cringe. Though the spirit of Grease remains, Grease 2 ends up being a hollow shell without the heart, soul, and tunes of the original film. The odd thing is that while Grease 2 is universally reviled, it's attained some sort of cult status—it is the movie that everyone loves to hate and hates to hate, all in the same breath. It's easily a guilty pleasure for many a late night viewer (because let's be honest: this movie works best at 2 in the morning). Though it may not be "the one that you want," Grease 2 is still a weird and guffaw inducing little excursion into sequel-ville (population: 2 billion and counting).
Grease 2 is presented in its first ever DVD widescreen debut (2.35:1) with an anamorphic enhancement for 16x9 TV sets. While it's debatable how many fans there are of this movie out there, those who do love it will be happy to see that it's in good old widescreen. Though there are imperfections throughout the image (including some nasty edge fuzz and halos), generally speaking the picture is in much better shape than I anticipated. The colors and black levels are all solid and dark with only the slightest amount of dirt showing up in the image. The soundtrack is presented in a newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track in English. As expected, the biggest boost on this track comes in the form of the unforgettably forgettable music numbers (does that even make sense?). Otherwise, the bulk of this track is fairly front heavy with a few minor actions through the side speakers. The mix is free of excessive hiss or distortion. Also included on this disc are soundtracks in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English) and Dolby Stereo (French), plus English subtitles.
Seeing as the original Grease received practically bare bones treatment upon its initial DVD release a year ago, it's no surprise to see Grease 2 void of even a single theatrical trailer. But maybe it's for the best that the film dies a quick and painless (i.e., supplement free) death.
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