Mike’s Review: Grizzly II (2021)

★★ out of ★★★★★

Directed by André Szöts 

It’s everything you’ve ever wanted! It contains film footage likely derived from 10 different film shoots over the course of nearly 40 years. It’s got Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Louise Fletcher). It’s got Indiana Jones’ pal Salah (John Rhys-Davies). It’s got the super crooked hillbilly cop from Rambo, Galt (Jack Starrett). It’s sort of got a couple scenes with a grizzly bear. But just don’t be fooled, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, and George Clooney. 

Clocking in at a mere one hour and 14 minutes, Grizzly II: the Revenge is quite the majestic site to behold. There’s some earnest Roger Corman elements. A dash of Al Adamson. And the wildest collection of disconnected real and fictitious footage you’ve ever seen. 

At it’s core Grizzly II doesn’t stray too far from its progenitor, Grizzly, directed by the great William Girdler. A massive ursa major is out to avenge the death of her cub. Boom! That’s it. The  entire Grizzly II chronicle. Except Grizzly II has a eastern European new wave concert, a corrupt former Congresswoman/National Parks concert promoter, a French Canadian trapper whose family was destroyed by the aforementioned bears, a doting and bureaucratic National Park Service ranger, a gang of fireworks, and a grizzly bear puppet (?). 

Director André Szöts whipsaws from scene to scene with no clear path or clear sense of story. It’s obvious from the opening three minutes with Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, and George Clooney that Grizzly II is an entirely garbled affair that clumsily strings together contemporary footage with 1983 footage and throws in a solid 40 minutes of oddball new wave bands that NO ONE has ever heard. Seriously, the concert’s lineup features KFT, Set the Tone, Toto Coelo, the Predator, and the Dayz. Desperate for footage, some of the concert clips are repeated upwards 20 times. An unbelievable Hungarian happening that really occured as the backdrop to a full on grizzly assault. 

Scary DVDs! Woo!
Don’t get too excited, you won’t see much of this pair in Grizzly II.

The film climaxes with a horrifically fun fireworks mishap, a grizzly bear puppet seemingly mocking its prey as they parade through the field of fireworks, and an inexplicably high voltage stage that lacks any proper grounding. To see the final demise of the grizzly puppet is a sight that will bring a wide smile to your astounded face. 

Make no mistake, this film is a defective mess of celluloid offerings. Its present day editing is clearly an homage to the drive-in theaters and recycled grindhouse trash of yesteryear. Cut here, cut there, move this scene, change the title and voila’, you’ve got a new movie! In some ways this is kind of refreshing to see that someone would actually attempt this type of chicanery in 2020. Remixing an entirely incomplete film, padding it with a kooky Hungarian new wave concert, and hyping George Clooney’s two minute appearance is a bold bit of hucksterism. One that we at the Scariest Things Podcast applaud loudly

Occasionally, bad is good. You can turn off your brain and turn on a big fat smile. There’s no reason to concern your self with how bad Grizzly II is, because it is just bad. It has many of the same bad but endearing qualities of its 1976 forefather, but on par, Grizzly II is a very different bite at the schlocky apple.  

Grizzly II is likely PG and currently available for streaming on multiple platforms.

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