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“2 LAVA 2 LANTULA” (Film Review)

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First line and I’m already preaching to the choir: If you’re the sort of person who would go through the trouble to click on a review of a sequel to a SyFy flick about gigantic fireball-spewing spiders called 2 LAVA 2 LANTULA…well, you’re already its target audience. There is not a whole lot of subtext for a critic to parse here; no exposition to place in historical context. If you’re harboring a fear that LAVALANTUALA was, say, actually some elaborate ploy by Steve Guttenberg and Co. to blindside B-movie fans with a piece of searing art house cinema a year later, let FANGORIA set your troubled mind at ease, friend: Much like its predecessor, 2 LAVA 2 LANTULA feels like an 80-minute Funny-or-Die sketch mocking SHARKNADO, with all groaners, all the time. There is enough cheese in this movie to clog every last artery in your body—and the filmmakers, cast, and effects crew cram it down your facehole with a glee that is way more disturbing than anything in the film’s CGI arsenal.

Guttenberg is back as Colton West, the past-his-prime action star who saved the world not so long ago but is now back to amusing himself by torturing hapless directors on the sets of low budget movies with his meta-comrades—former POLICE ACADEMY co-stars Michael Winslow and Marion Ramsey. (Yes, Winslow makes those funny sounds again for those slow on the uptake.) This repartee goes on for approximately five minutes before West calls up his stepdaughter on spring break in Fort Lauderdale on the ol’ cell…and just happens to overhear lavalantulas suddenly burst from sinkholes and go on a rampage.

Yep. Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in.

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Anyway, the move from Los Angeles to South Florida is, to use the term very loosely, a pretty inspired choice—we’re talking about a larger than life part of the country that has certainly earned its reputation as a magnet for eccentrics and the movie has a bit of fun hamming it up in that setting. Martin Kove—John Kreese, the Cobra Kai sensei from THE KARATE KID—shows up as a military commander who we know will eventually have to give the movie star his grudging approval…but not until balls have been sufficiently busted. To get to that redemption 2 LAVA 2 LANTULA, after considerable marauding, gag sequences, and one-liners, makes its ALIENS move, introducing a much bigger, badder monster than anything seen in the first film—the Gargantulantula.

Most consumers of basic cable science fiction fare could write out the subsequent plot points themselves, right down to the DOCTOR STRANGELOVE nod, and that’s okay—you’re not watching 2 LAVA 2 LANTULA to have geniuses reorient your perspective and expectations. You’re watching because you have a sweet tooth for the gloriously stupid. Or you’re too stupid to avoid the gloriously stupid. Either way, can’t say you haven’t been warned.

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About the author
Shawn Macomber http://www.stopshawnmacomber.com
The ravings of noted South Florida pug wrangler Shawn Macomber have appeared in Decibel, Magnet, Reason, Maxim, Radar, Shroud, and the Wall Street Journal, amongst other fine and middling publications. He also hosts the podcast Into the Depths and pens the metal-lit column Tales From the Metalnomicon for Decibel magazine.
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