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Entries in Evil Bong 2: King Bong [2009] (1)

Friday
Mar112011

Evil Bong 2: King Bong (2009)

 

The Grass is Always Meaner...

Evil Bong 2: King Bong is a huge improvement over its predecessor.  I'm not endorsing the film, just stating a fact.

The story is still a disaster, and all of the horror elements have been officially scrubbed from this alleged horror franchise--resulting in something that is un-classifiable, genre-wise.  The first movie wasn't funny enough to be a comedy and not imaginitive enough to be science fiction, but at least it had scenes where characters were devoured by the haunted breasts of kush sirens.  There's none of that in the sequel (we still get lots of breasts, but they stare instead of eat).

Not thinking of Evil Bong 2 as a horror movie is key if you're going to tolerate it (enjoyment is out of the question).  It's like The Wizard of Oz meets Half-Baked meets the "Hawaii Bound" episode of The Brady Bunch--as filmed in a nature preserve.

The story picks up several months after our heroes Larnell (John Patrick Jordan), Bachman (Mitch Eakins), Brett (Brian Lloyd) and Alistair (Brett Chukerman, taking over from David Weidoff) vanquished EeBee, the demonic, soul-snatching bong of the title.  After having moved out of their apartment, Alistair revisits his friends and finds them suffering from the exaggerated effects of too much pot smoking.

Bachman is given to amnesiac bouts of extreme narcolepsy; the typically cut and athletic Brett has gained several hundred pounds and can't stop snacking; and Larnell's libido is out of control (I can now say that I've seen someone fuck a skateboard on camera.  Yay!).  Alistair suspects that the evil bong is somehow responsible.  He tracks down Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis), the delivery man who introduced they guys to EeBee in the last movie; Rabbit recounts the South American legend that the previous owner had shared with him, and the next thing you know, the whole gang is traipsing through the (ahem) jungle.

Here they meet Velicity (Amy Paffrath), who I imagine was a classmate of Denise Richards' The World is Not Enough character at Hot Scientist University (if that's not already the title of a Full Moon Feature, it should be).  She's been collecting samples of a very potent strain of marijuana that may one day cure illness and make the whole world smile through red, slitted eyes.  Unfortunately, her partner is Larnell's cranky, crooked grandfather, Cyril (Jacob Witkin), who wants to sell as much of the shit on the street as he can, science be damned.

Through a bunch of shenanigans that I can neither remember nor care to explain, Rabbit is taken captive by the sultry members of the lost Poon Tang tribe and sacrificed to their god, the skull-faced, stone monster, King Bong.  By "sacrificed", I mean that he's transported inside the bong, where his soul will eventually be harvested.  As with the climax of the first film, Alistair, Larnell and company must also venture inside King Bong to save both their friend and mankind.

Three things make Evil Bong 2 semi-worthwhile.  The first, believe it or not, is a twofer of plot and production values.  Though the movie falls prey to the meandering dialogue of the original, writer August White has enough sense to at least get his characters moving; maybe producer/director Charles Band told him that there'd be more money to pump into the sequel and to let his imagination run wild. Regardless, the jungle sets provide a welcome distraction from the boner jokes, and the medical marijuana angle adds a layer to the story that was desperately missing from the first movie.  Also, the look of King Bong and EeBee (who pops up as King Bong's jilted ex-lover) is vastly improved over the papier-mâché-and-kids'-paints props of Evil Bong.  They're still cheesy as hell, but I could at least stand to watch the villains this time around.

The second plus is the casting of Brett Chukerman as Alistair.  I didn't realize what was off about David Weidoff's performance in the original until I saw Chukerman step into his shoes.  Weidoff played Alistair exactly as he was written: as the Fourth Nerd from the Left in any Disney channel sitcom.  He embodied the lack of self-esteem that White's dialogue suggested, resulting in the kind of character that the other roommates would surely have pummeled to death on first sight, rather than welcome into their home. Chukerman's Alistair is more of a snob.  I can't be sure if the actor just embarrassedly rushed through his scenes, or if he believed his character had grown a spine (and lost a girlfriend, apparently) since his last encounter with EeBee; whichever is true, the resulting version of Alistair still speaks in lame technobabble and pointlessly big words, but he's got a marvelous sneer that suggests he would kill these slackers in their sleep if they so much as pondered giving him a wedgie.

Lastly, we have Velicity.  Yeah, I gave her a hard time a few paragraphs ago, but in all honesty, she's exactly what a movie like this needs: A strong, smart female lead to balance out the franchise's misogynistic portrayal of women as either nude nymphs or snarky airheads (in my review of the first film, I referred to Alistair's girlfriend, Janet [Kristyn Green] , as smart; on reflection, she was smarter than her best friend, Luann [Robin Sydney], and about three steps ahead of her druggie crowd--so, a B- student, at best).  I enjoyed Velicity a lot, and totally bought her budding relationship with Larnell: She's a do-gooder chemistry whiz; he's a conspiracy theorist who believes Big Pharma will co-opt the healing weed the first chance it gets; together, they're an adorable Pothead Power Couple.

You may be wondering, "Ian, are you actually recommending King Bong 2: King Bong?"

No.

And, yes.

If you've never seen the first Evil Bong, your interest in the sequel probably can't be measured.  Though you could easily slide into King Bong, were you so inclined: The first six minutes are comprised of credits and a recap of the events of the first movie (book-ended, unbelievably, by six minutes of closing credits---cutting an allegedly 80-minute movie down to just over an hour of actual story).  Your life won't be poorer for not having seen the sequel to the talking-bong flick.

But if you were turned off by Evil Bong, I can heartily endorse part two.  It's brisk compared to the glacial pace of the first one; the special effects, sets, and costumes are more inventive; and when it was over, I didn't mind having spent more time with these characters.  This is an R-rated sitcom, not a horror movie, and it's just as stupid-cozy as the guiltiest junk TV.

Unlike 24 hours ago, I'm not dreading having to sit through the 3D third installment when it premieres next month in Chicago.  Despite all your sniffing dismissals, I can confidently declare Evil Bong 2 a successful sequel.  God, help me.