Leprechaun 2 (1994)
Directed By: Rodman Flender
Starring: Warwick Davis, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron, Adam Biesk, James Lancaster, Kimmy Robertson, Clint Howard, Billy Beck, David Powledge, Tony Cox
(out of 4)
Leprechaun 2 is not really a sequel – the leprechaun you saw in the last film is still trapped in that well, presumably. (Oops, you did see the first film already, right?) This second film in the Leprechaun series is basically another take on the leprechaun legend – tis only a coincidence that the little green devil in this movie is again played by the always reliable Warwick Davis. And also like the first film, this movie takes more than a few liberties with the legend of our Irish fairy friend. He still loves his gold, of course, but now he wants to take a bride, and he can only do that every thousand years.
In the present time, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, which is the leprechaun’s birthday and the end of his millennium-long reign as an eligible bachelor. He sets his sights on the beautiful Bridget (Shevonne Durkin), who happens to be descended from a guy who messed up his wedding the first time. Bridget is dating Cory (Charlie Heath), who works at a ripoff L.A. tour operation called Darkside with his greedy uncle Morty (Sandy Baron), who is always looking to make a buck on some poor sucker – usually by trying to convince them to make investments in his dead-star’s-home tour business. Warwick’s character turns up (living in a tree on Houdini’s estate) and kidnaps Bridget, who must now marry him because she sneezed three times without anyone blessing her (“She sneezes once, she sneezes twice, she’ll be me bride when she sneezes thrice.”) So not only is the Leprechaun back with his full pot of barely tolerable limericks, but the creators of the series have taken to rewriting the Leprechaun handbook again. In this iteration, holding on to a leprechaun’s gold coin means he can’t kill you (which reduces his threat status somewhat), and instead of being vulnerable to four leaf clovers, he can be killed or held at bay with a good piece of wrought iron. As far as I can tell, the film does correctly pull from folklore the idea that a captured leprechaun must grant three wishes, and that he’s a mischievous little sprite who likes to play tricks. Anyway, while Bridget tries to figure a way out of Leppy’s Lair (it’s not easy), Cory and Morty must find a way to outwit him, stay alive, and get Bridget back.
The result is fairly amusing in spots, ho-hum in others. The plot of Leprechaun 2 is by-the-numbers, with the main character Cory going up against Lep as well as bumbling cops and security guards, and an ending that makes use of the “I’m-not-who-you-think-I-am” trick from Hellraiser III. The acting is pedestrian – Heath not quite good enough to carry a leading role and the less said about Durkin’s acting, the better. The best performance comes from the late Sandy Baron, as the greedy uncle/alcoholic who matches wits with Leppy and (eventually) loses. His death scene, a clever take on the three-wishes scenario, also serves as an obligatory anti-greed message. The best parts of the film are those that deal with the magical leprechaun doing things that humans do – giving into peer pressure, getting drunk, sobering up at an espresso bar – and a short but disturbing sequence when he describes to his kidnapped bride-to-be how she must be “modified” to carry the “litter” of little leprechauns he’s going to father with her (eww). The funniest scene in the film is probably the one where one of Cory’s hormonal competitors (Adam Biesk) is fooled into sticking his head in between Bridget’s naked breasts (not Durkin’s but an obvious body double’s), suddenly revealed to be twin spinning lawnmower blades (“A vision before ya, appears to be true. But a leprechaun’s magic fools humans like you!”) Leppy is such a cutup.
I will go out on a limb and suggest that Leprechaun 2 is a better movie than the original. Looking back on my review of that film, I see that I was disappointed in its decision to indulge in B-movie aspirations as opposed to going for something darker. I’m a little more forgiving this time around; perhaps it’s because the sequel does a better job of being a B picture. Maybe I’ve also accepted the idea that a movie about a killer, malevolent leprechaun can’t possibly be taken seriously. The problem, though, is that I’m still hard-pressed to get excited over the concept, despite a few chuckles here and there. At least the flick had enough sense to throw in cameos from Clint Howard and Tony Cox (Bad Santa, Friday), who gets to dress up like a leprechaun himself. I half-expected Davis’ leprechaun to make some off-hand remark to Cox being Black-Irish. Hey, it’s that kind of film.
- Bill Gordon
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