[box cover]

Python II

Few ingredients guarantee an evening's worth of entertainment. Favorite actors, directors, and writers always have at least one bum film in their body of work. But few genres have proved themselves as reliable as the giant animal gone amuck. When they're good (Them, Jaws, King Kong), they're great, and when they're awful (The Giant Claw, War of the Gargantuans, Anaconda), then dammit, they've still got giant animals eating people. That's not to say that Python II (2001) is that great — frankly, there's better (even the first film) — but the fun of watching a CGI snake eat a man whole is still there. Dana Ashbrook (remember him from Twin Peaks?) plays Dwight Stoddard, an ex-baseball player who's now working in Russia as a moving-truck driver with beautiful redheaded wife Nalia (Simmone MacKinnon). In the middle of a fiscal crisis he gets hired by CIA agent Greg Larson (Billy Zabka, best known as Johnny the bad guy in The Karate Kid and the only returning cast member from the first film) to move an unspecified object for $100,000, no questions asked. A deal too good to be true, it turns out that Dwight has to move a giant snake that was supposed to go to America but was shot down by rebels. The snake was moved to a Russian military base in the interim, and Greg and his team were supposed to take out the base, but it turns out every one there is dead. It doesn't take long for Greg to realize that the snake is loose, especially after some of his team members get killed. From here on out you've seen it before (they all have to go into the facility as one by one the extraneous team members turn into reptile feces); it's all rather familiar and there's some plot holes that Dwight's truck could fit through. But, that said, giant snakes spit poison and eat people, and that's pretty cool. And let's face it — no one renting a DVD called Python II is expecting the Lubitsch touch. Fox presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and in both DD 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 surround. Extras include a cast list, a photo gallery, and trailers for this and other serpent-themed films. Keep-case.

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