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Film Review: Grizzly II: Revenge

13:00 January 12, 2021
By: David Vicari

Back in 1976, a low-budget Jaws rip-off titled Grizzly, about a killer bear loose in a national park, became a drive-in hit. It's actually a pretty fun and effective horror/adventure film. Because it was a hit, talk of a sequel started to percolate. In the early 1980s, a sequel was being shot in Budapest, Hungary, but it was never completed. Supposedly, a shady producer ran off with the funds before the bear-effects shots could be completed. There was also talk of an incompetent first-time director and the original screenplay having been rewritten and dismantled by the film's caterer.

Anyway, almost 40 years later, the movie is finally completed—supposedly. The finished product, Grizzly II: Revenge, has some added bear shots, but it doesn't look finished at all.

So, a momma grizzly goes on a poorly edited killing spree after a hunter murders her cubs. Searching for the bear is a park ranger (Steve Inwood), a bear expert (Deborah Raffin), and a French-Canadian trapper (a hammy and entertaining John Rhys-Davies). Nearby, an outdoor music festival is going on, but don't worry, because the bear does minimum damage at the concert. A roadie gets set on fire, and another character is impaled on a railing. That's about it.

It is doubtful that it was just the bear effects that weren't filmed, because establishing shots, reaction shots, and transition shots are also missing, making scene after scene incoherent. We do get a lot of cheesy '80s concert footage—a lot. For the underwhelming finale, we get a stolen shot from Jaws 2 (1978) of an extreme close-up of the shark's teeth biting down on an electric cable. That's ironic, since this movie uses a scene from the sequel to the movie it is ripping off.

Don't be fooled by the top-billed George Clooney, Laura Dern, and Charlie Sheen. They play the bear's first victims and have about five minutes of screen time. Although this is just a monster movie, those responsible for completing the film had no passion for this project. It's just a cheap cash-in.

Grizzly II: Revenge received a limited theatrical release on January 8, 2021, but it is not playing anywhere around New Orleans. However, it is streaming on various platforms.

* Star (Out of Four)

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