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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Python 2 (2002)

"Anybody else starting to get a bad feeling about this?"
- Dwight (Dana Ashbrook)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 20, 2003

Stars: Billy Zabka, Simmone Jade MacKinnon, Dana Ashbrook
Other Stars: Alex Jolig, Marcus Aurelius
Director: Lee McConnell

MPAA Rating: R for language and creature violence
Run Time: 01h:29m:02s
Release Date: January 21, 2003
UPC: 024543062653
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ C+B-B+ C

DVD Review

I'm sure a lot of you are thinking: "Wow, I didn't see Python. How am I ever going to be able to understand all of the subtle plot intricacies of Python 2?" Lucky for you that's not going to be much of a problem, because all you really need to know is that this latest installment practically duplicates the main plot point of the original (i.e. a plane crash releases an 85-foot, 12-ton, acid-spitting, genetically-altered python), with resulting havoc ensuing. For the sake of continuity we do, however, get a returning character from the first film, in this case Billy Zabka reprising his role as Larsen, though here he has evolved from a backwoods sheriff to a hardened CIA operative tracking the over-sized snake, portrayed here by some really bad special effects.

Python 2, allegedly shot in Bulgaria, is a straight-to-video outing that is low-budget B-movie nuttiness, full of fiery explosions, automatic weapon bursts, hardass soldiers, wisecracking heroes, and of course the obligatory sexy heroine. After an expository-filled opening "capture the snake" sequence, an American military plane carrying the coily cargo is shot down over Chechnya, Russia. The U.S. sends in CIA thug Larsen, and his band of gruff mercs, to eliminate the threat, which has been accidently released by a small group of soldiers at an isolated Russian military base. In order to transport the snake once it is captured, Larsen has to recruit the cargo truck services of disenfranchised American civilian Dwight Stoddart (Dana Ashbrook) and his Russian wife Nalia (Simmone Jade MacKinnon).

It's not likely that Python 2 will be up for any prestigious acting awards any time soon, but the cast manages to mine the skimpy material for some decent scenery chewing. The comic-book style dialogue is at times stilted and brash, but it's delivered with a broad B-movie zest, and the fully one-dimensional tough guy character of Larsen actually comes across as the most developed . Ashbrook, who played bad boy Bobby Briggs on Twin Peaks, plays Stoddart like an extension of his Peaks' character. For my own added enjoyment, I kept pretending that Stoddart really was Bobby all grown up, and it somehow seemed properly Lynch-ian that his character would end up in Chechnya hunting a giant snake. Simmone Jade MacKinnon sports a serviceable "get moose and squirrel" Russian accent, and supplies the requisite eye candy handily, even while doing the obligatory Alien-inspired crawl-through-the-air-ducts bit.

A film like this has plenty of campy and fun macho posturing, and the story is goofy enough to be admittedly entertaining. The low-budget nature of Python 2, however, doesn't leave much room for the way of impressive big snake special effects, and sadly most of the creature scenes aren't very good. Most highlight just the first 1/4 or so of the body, usually in some coiling-about-to-strike pose that is more reminiscent of a cheap video game than a feature film. There are some glaring inconsistencies in the creature's size, too, but the silliness factor is so high I could almost forgive those minor transgressions.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Fox has issued Python 2 in a fair-to-middlin' 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that while not great, seems to suit the material well. Colors and fleshtones are rendered nicely, and both look fairly bright and natural, though the entire film seems to be bathed in some kind of weird, digitized haze at times. Black levels are a bit on the muddy side, with some of the cavernous interiors ending up looking too, too dark. There is no major edge enhancement and just a few small examples of ringing in few scenes. The source print had a few noticeable specks early on, but other than that it was largely blemish-free.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: I'm a sucker for cheap, goofy B-movies with ridiculously beefed-up 5.1 tracks, and gladly that is just what Python 2 offers. Dialogue is cleanly mixed, and directional imaging is very pronounced across the fronts, with bullets and voices moving around enough to really stretch out the sound field and give the silly action some breadth and depth. The rears (as well as some respectable .LFE thump) get a lot of the action too, and are used pretty extensively. The big snake growls and roars across all channels, and between those cues and the testosterone-charged score, Python 2 sounds bigger and better than it really is. A less aggressive 2.0 English mix is also provided, and lacks the punch of the 5.1 track.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Python, Venomous
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Extras are lean on this one, with just a trio of snakey trailers (Python, Python 2, Venomous) and a forgettable photo gallery of 15 images.

The disc is cut into 20 chapters, and also includes filmographies as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

The folks at 20th Century Fox need to reconsider having cursed this extras-challenged disc with a high and mighty $34.99 MSRP. As low-budget straight-to-video filler, Python 2 isn't completely horrible, but it's not worth that steep sticker price.

Worth a cheap rental for genre fans.

 


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