my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Penitentiary II
Director:   Jamaa Fanaka
Year:   1982
Genre:   Soul Cinema
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   07.06.07

Other Movies Seen By This Director (4)
- Emma Mae
- Penitentiary
- Penitentiary III
- Welcome Home, Brother Charles

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
07.06.07DVD So... I'd heard that the Penitentiar series gets progressively more bizarre and makes less and less sense which is something I suspect I'll appreciate more after seeing the third film. Right now, I'm still prety jarred by this. For starters, this wasn't a prison movie. I kind of thought, what with the name and all, that Too Sweet would get in more trouble and be sent back to another tough situation and much more moral outrage and expressions of masculinity. Instead, he's out for the whole picture except when he boxes the prison champ. Yeah, he goes bacck to the Pen for a boxing match. That's something I can't quite get my left brain around...

Meanwhile, Half Deaad has escaped (probably by getting plastic surgery to look like a young Ernie Hudson) and is out for vengeful blood. Armed with a pair od idiot sidekicks with awesome names ('simp' and 'do dirty'), he manages to rape Too Sweet's girl to death in the bathroom before launching into another sweaty-naked-black-man fight reminiscent of their first meeting back in pneitentiary 1. I can't exactly say hat Hudson makes a more memorable Half Dead than the dude who played him the first time, but he does bring his own unique brand of pyshcosis to the role, augmented very well with wide-angle close-ups and ugly pink lighting. Seldom Seen also appears to be a different person. I can't really figure out how he'd be stucck in the Pen for life in the first film then just show up out of the blue in this one, but whatever. The guy who plays him doesn't come close to the powerhouse performance of the original, but he sounds kind of like him and, with his beard and fro and sweating all the time, is pretty fun to look at.

I can't really get a grip on what this movie's about. The plot makes little sense (my girl's dead so i'm gonna box and be the world champ and show young people... something. what?) and things happen that are very peculiar. A Star Wars scroll appears in the beginning going to very long lengths to set up the character but all that heavy lifting gets done in the first scene anyway. Fanaka seems to be so aware of the sequel mold that he cares little about connecting the dots.

This movie really throws me off guard. It's so different from its predecessor one a very fundamental level but one or two layers up it tries to a fault to bring back favorite characters or situations. What Mr. Goodbar was the the first Penitentiary, potato salad is to this. Why is Mr. T there and why is he dressed up like a genie? Why is Half Dead's disguise to help him blend in a multi-colored clown wig? I don't have answers to these questions. All I can say is I want to get Mondo Tees to makes me a yellow t-shirt with black lettering saying "too TOO SWEET."

A really surprising and confusing and bizarre viewing. Makes me really curious to see if this was the mutant (like Temple of Doom) or a sign of what to expect with the third one.