*/**** Image C Sound A
starring William Zabka, Dana Ashbrook, Alex Jolig, Simmone Mackinnon
screenplay by Jeff Rank
directed by L.A. McConnell
by Walter Chaw Though I've never seen Python I, I had a surprisingly easy time following Python 2, a direct-to-Sci Fi Channel CGI worm-fest that at least has the distinction of featuring a terrible-looking monster no worse than the one in its higher-profile cousin, Anaconda. It seems that a huge snake (two of them, in fact, making the title "clever") is running around in cheap-to-film-in faux Russia, chomping digital comrades to the accompaniment of mirth-inspiring crunchy sound effects as a heroic CIA agent (Billy Zabka, who appears to also have been in the first of the Python epic) is sent to capture the beastie.
There's little question that the snake is some sort of top-secret military weapon gone wrong (an eighty-foot bullet-proof snake seemed like a good idea pre-glasnost, I guess), and also little question that there will be a gratuitous babe (Simmone Jade Mackinnon) who doesn't show any skin to distract from her Boris and Natasha accent.
Amazingly boring with that peculiar, ambitious aimlessness indicative of almost all direct-to-video knock-offs, Python 2 is exactly what you would expect it to be: tame, derivative, amateurish. That's not exactly a criticism of the film (in that criticizing a film called "Python," much less "Python 2," is one of those things that thirty-year-olds wearing felt and living in their mothers' basements do); rather, it's recognition that there's probably an audience for this sort of bloodless, nudity-less, thrill-less monster movie is a sociological exercise, and a cynical one at that. Python 2 gets credit for not being nearly so awful as it should be--whether that glimmer of not-excrescent has more to do with itself or with a general fatigue with finding fault with films this innocuously terrible, it's hard to say.
Python 2 finds its way to your entertainment centre with a 1.78:1 non-anamorphic video DVD transfer that looks suspiciously like a matted version of a television image. Grainy, bad black level and poor colour separation distract from nice skin tones and a generally bright palette. Betraying, at last, the newness of the film is a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix that makes healthy use of the 0.1 bass as well as discrete effects in all speakers, front and back.
The disc is rounded out by trailers for itself, its predecessor, and something called Venomous, which I could swear I've seen but am loathe to recall. A twenty-image photo gallery is no worse than the film, and a minimal cast/crew filmography remains one of those extras only worth the visit in Anchor Bay releases. Originally published: January 23, 2003.