“Out with the old and in with the new”… or as it is mostly nowadays “Out with the new and in with the old”, that is considering how much entertainment goes back into the well for something that worked in the past and gives it a new flare for the present. From old film genres like grindhouse becoming mainstream and vintage gameshows once again being evening night staples, but what about taking a real time warp? Back to the 80s, a classic decade of cinema, at the height of the creature feature era post Jaws starring now mainstream stars of Hollywood in a film that no one has seen? This is now possible due to the film Grizzly II: Revenge originally slated for release 37 years ago back in 1983 now being made widely available for the first time.
A sequel to the 1976 film Grizzly,the film boasts quite a talent roll including George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, John Rhys-Davies and Louise Fletcher… keep in mind of course this was in 1983, aside from Davies and Fletcher the film hosted a cast of unknowns. The story surrounding this film was fascinating because when I saw the talent included I could not believe it but as it turns out the film was not completely finished. The only things not shot were the bear sequences as they were saved for the end of production, unfortunately due to financial issues the film was shut down. Intact footage recently resurfaced after decades of thinking it had all been lost. Capitalizing on the folklore surrounding the film and talent involved, additional sequences were added to the re-edited feature which has now been released.
The film is a bear version of Jaws with the violent grizzly standing close to 20 feet tall wreaking havoc in a national park. The formula is almost identical with a giant event pending, this one being a huge concert boasting a crowd of almost 100,000 people, a sheriff who knows better fighting with an authoritarian figure fully intent of putting on said event regardless of what she knows and finally a grizzled hunter who knows all there is about the fierce grizzly bear. Sadly what holds the film back are the scenes that were never shot which were supposed to be these gruesome bear attacks instead we’re treated to stock footage of animals in the forest and random bear shots. Every scene of a bear attack is cut just before anything happens and those that were shot are nothing more than a bear head peeking through the frame. The film runs about 75 mins but with unwarranted music performances going on too long and random stock footage it probably could have been trimmed down to a short film running time. All in all not the worst film imaginable especially when given the timeframe it was shot and the resources available but I don’t see much after just a one and done.
2 out of 5
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