This is not a great movie. Let’s get that out of the way right away.
Of course, the names “New Horizons” and “Roger Corman” do more or less guarantee that, at least when they show up on the same film together.
I watched this with a friend who absolutely had to see “2” after seeing the original film with me. Somehow the thought of watching a Corman sequel, even to one of his more entertaining efforts of the 90s, wouldn’t normally have crossed my mind.
Unlike its predecessor, 1993’s Carnosaur, it doesn’t give the impression of being duct-taped together from a whole collection of bits and pieces taken from other better films. Instead, it is a surprisingly straightforward action film set in the usual underground labyrinth. It seems to have very little to do with the original, and even has a different origin for the dinosaurs (assuming that the unreliable government type wasn’t lying about that as well as almost everything else). Perhaps the only element that carries over is the choice of weapons used in the final battle with the creature.
Something has gone wrong at a government facility located in the middle of the desert, where the only way in or out is by helicopter. A team of specialists is sent in to solve the problem – for a price. But what no one realizes is that its radios have gone dead because killer dinosaurs have slaughtered everyone
Clearly, it has a lot in common with James Cameron’s Aliens, although it is something one realizes more in retrospect than while watching the film. We do get one sequence with very loud dino footsteps to remind us just which movie this is meant to be ripping off. One of the more interesting changes, however, comes when we meet the team of specialists: these aren’t the usual Seal Team or mercenary commandos. No, they are a team of Extreme Electricians!
Louis Morneau directs. Curiously, one remarkable film stands out from his string of cheap Direct-To-Video sequels to cheap Direct-To-Video movies – 1997’s Retroactive, with Jim Belushi as a redneck serial killer stuck in a time travel thriller. Carnosaur 2 doesn’t rise to such inspired heights, but it moves well, builds up a bit of suspense, and is always entertaining.
It was far better than I expected, although I’m not sure how I’d have reacted if I’d seen this one first. At least it dares to be its own beast, rather than yet another mindless copy.
And there’s a lot to be said for that, even when we’re talking midnight movies.