There are a couple of obvious reasons this sequel fails to live up to the standard of it’s predecessor, but there were so many other things going for it that it is hard to figure out why it fails. Let’s take a look at the first (and definitely the least) of the Arnold Schwarzenegger films of 1984.
Basil Poledouris is back with a reasonable score that can never match the perfection of the first but does echo it adequately so we can tell it is from the same source. Jack Cardiff, the legendary cinematographer, was behind the camera for this. Cardiff’s work in Black Narcissus is the main subject in a post I did last year on a Secret Santa blog. This work was gorgeous to look at some times but the camera does not really follow the action well. That is the fault of the director.
The eighties were filled with offbeat movies about a variety of subjects, but science fiction seemed to fill the theaters on a weekly basis.Some big budget films failed to score as predicted and some little anticipated films have scored sequels right up through today. About four years ago, there was a Jude Law vehicle titled Repo Men, that had absolutely nothing to do with the 1984 singular form of the title. The science fiction roots of this story are hard to ignore, but ninety percent of the movie is focused on the ethos surrounding the guys who come and take your car when the payments are behind. The sci/fi stuff exits only to provide a framework for a story about a bunch of sad sack souls, who find ways to make their profession seem noble. Low budget science fiction appears to be a field where former Monkee Mike Nesmith felt comfortable. This was the second feature he had a hand in producing for his own company. His previous venture being “Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann”, a time travel western. I don’t know that he had a big influence on the creative end of this movie, because his music is not anything like the punk aural wall that permeates most of the film. The real reason that this movie is thought of fondly has nothing to do with the science fiction storyline, it is all about the aesthetic of the film. This is a movie made by angry people for angry people. In other words it is “punk perfect”.