Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996)

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Until I noticed the notes I’d made yesterday, I completely forgot I’d watched this movie. It’s insubstantial, fluff to disappear from the brain as soon as it finishes; which is a shame as it’s the sequel to something I rather liked, with most of the original cast returning. Please go back and read our “Oblivion” review to get all the background on the planet of Oblivion, and so on.

 

On the other hand, if you’ve not seen the first movie, just watch this, as it spends the first 5:40 recapping it. Moving on to the new stuff, Lash (Musetta Vander, the standout of both movies) now owns a dive bar way out in the wilds, and wins a substance X mine in a bet. Well, she loses the bet, but as she’s about to bed the winner, kills him and steals his map – which is tattooed on his penis. She’s great!

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The other side of the story is now-Marshall Zack Stone is still trying to romance Mattie (Jackie Swanson), but he’s too nervous, for some reason. While he’s trying and failing to pluck up the courage, she’s getting advice from local whorehouse owner Miss Kitty (Julie Newmar, not, it must be said, one of the age’s great actors) on how to give him the green light. This is predictably wacky, but dropped into this mix is intergalactic bounty hunter Sweeney (Maxwell Caulfield!) and lizard alien Red-Eye’s brother Jaggar, conveniently played by the same actor (Andrew Divoff). Sweeney is looking for a female criminal, Jaggar is looking for his brother…I think. I’m really not sure, but they paid Andrew Divoff for two movies and by god they were going to use him!

 

A few people “get” the campy tone that Full Moon was going for. Vander is amazing, completely stealing both movies, but Caulfield is superb too as the foppish (but super-violent) Englishman – and I’m not just saying that because he was born just down the road from me. Andrew Divoff has as much fun as you can manage with a rubber face, too. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the cast try but completely fail, often because they’re just terrible actors – Newmar, Isaac Hayes as the barman at Lash’s place, and once again worst of the lot, George Takei. He only puts one Star Trek reference in this movie, having burned out on part 1, but still acts like a shrieking drunk throughout, and clearly had forgotten how to act long ago. The sub-plot with the whorehouse is quite dark though, and feels like it was added as an afterthought by someone who didn’t understand what was happening.

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You may wonder who the villain is in this, and the answer is…not sure. Sweeney seems like he might be a bad guy but is the classic misunderstood “antagonist”; and Jaggar is too minor a character. It might be Lash, but the movie doesn’t commit to her enough either. Which sort of leads me to my main takeaway from this…

 

Which is that “Backlash” feels, to all intents and purposes, like a single episode of a light-drama TV series. Partly because all the characters survive, pretty much, but there’s a complete damp squib of an ending and the plot is so slight, recapping it is a matter of a few lines. I dearly wish Full Moon had made TV shows, because their talents seem to go in that direction – and this criticism could be levelled at so many of their movies. An “Oblivion” TV series would have been a lot of fun.

 

It’s a relaxed, fun movie, and there are a few good ideas in here – the way spaceships arrive in the town, the reaction to Sweeney, some of the special effects – but it’s a long walk for not much reward.

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Rating: thumbs in the middle

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