Sunday, August 22, 2010
BUTCHNESS ABOUNDS IN LAKE PLACID 3
(Ironside and Ferguson in Lake Placid 3)
As monster movie franchises go, Lake Placid has done reasonably well so far -- the second had wonderfully crusty Cloris Leachman and gorgeous Daddy John Schneider going for it -- so I was looking forward to SyFy's part 3. Except for the substandard CGI, it didn't disappoint me.
This time cutie Colin Ferguson (Sherriff Carter of "Eureka") was our hero, with veteran Michael Ironside, of all people, as his sidekick. This time the crocodile-feeding culprit was not a batty old broad but the hero's young son, who was shoplifing meat from the local market to feed the at first small, then REALLY BIG crocs in the lake. The kid did a good job -- they in fact gave him a couple of the film's best lines -- but my partner and I were hoping for another another croc hag, played by Mary Tyler Moore. Then they could have cast Georgia Engel as the croc feeder in part 4 -- but no! Those who remember the Mary Tyler Moore show will get what I mean: first Betty White, then Cloris Leachman, then...
Anyway, Ferguson plays the likably quirky zoologist/ game warden who moves his wife and son into the notorious cabin by the lake (inherited from Leachman's character Sadie, supposedly his late aunt). Either for the sake of his comfort zone or ours, someone got the idea to have his character wear a shirt throughout the film that is nearly identical to the sherriff shirt he wears in Eureka. The sherriff in this film, though, is played by Ironside, bearded and looking surprisingly hunky in a bearlike way. His character is gun-happy but a nice guy.
The real balls in the cast, though, belong to gravel-voiced Yancy Butler, who plays a smart-mouthed and impressivley butch wilderness guide and hunter's mercenary named Reba. Her endless put-downs of the male characters whose asses she repeatedly saves give the film a big added dose of salt that keeps things amusing. She's way scarier than the crocs, particularly the one hapless croc she regularly stabs in the face with her hunting knife.
David Reed's dialogue is worthy of the cast, though the plot is predictable -- when the crocs run out of stolen beef, they move on to chewing up yappy lap dogs and horny teenagers (why don't those kids ever learn?) Many characters appear who are clearly just intended to be croc entrees. Ferguson learns that he should appreciate his neglected boy (who delivers the line, "I thought a law of nature was parents caring about their kids -- my mistake") and frustrated career woman wife. But it remains fast-paced and entertaining, though the crocs aren't integrated with the live action as smoothly as they should be.
It didn't quite live up to #2, but it's worth catching on one of the dozens of times SyFy will show it again. Next time, they should dispense with the expensive weaponry and just have Yancy Butler wrestle the crocs. Or better yet, forget the crocs and have John Schneider and Colin Ferguson wrestle, in speedos. What can I say -- I've come to expect wrestling from SyFy.