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Big Bad Mama II

83 minutes
action, comedy, crime

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This entry created 11 May 2018. Last revised on 11 May 2018.

2,469 hits since 24 Oct 2019
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Big Bad Mama II

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star no star no star no star no star no star no star (3.50)

It's rather amazing that Angie Dickinson came back, 13 years later at age 56 or so, to do a sequel to her low-budget gangster movie.

The director is Jim Wynorski, near the start of his career; he also does the audio commentary track (quite entertaining). His movie has a more comic feel than the original, and flows quite well; it also helps that his budget in 1987 was considerably more than the original movie's budget!

Angie returns as Wilma McClatchie, with no attempt to connect this movie to the plot of the original movie except for the characters of mother and daughters. Angie has obviously aged, but her daughters are still teenagers, and she's married! Well, until the banker forecloses on their house, her husband opens fire, and the law men shoot him dead… giving Wilma her revenge motive for the rest of the film.

Unlike the original movie, this film has a bad guy – Morgan Crawford, banker, candidate for Texas governor, man who practically has a private army of cops. Bruce Glover does a good job playing the villain.

Wilma's goal is to ruin Morgan Crawford by robbing anything with his name on it! She's assisted again by her daughters Billy Jean and Polly. Billy Jean is played this time by Danielle Brisebois, the former child actress (Archie Bunker's Place) who was 17 when she made this film; Polly is played by Julie McCullough, who had done Playboy the previous year, and would go on to a successful acting career. Polly still has her doll, but now she carries dynamite sticks inside!

Along the way, Wilma encounters reporter Daryl Pearson, who is eager for the story behind the bank robberies. Robert Pulp does quite well in the role.

Also along the way, Wilma takes the chance to kidnap Jordan Crawford, Morgan's son, played by Jeff Yagher, who excels in the role.

And so the movie goes from crime to crime, Wilma gets her revenge, Morgan Crawford vows revenge, there's lots of old cars and gunfire, and there's a final shoot-out. (The director says he thought of the movie more as a Western than a gangster movie.)

This movie is more of a comedy than the original, which gives Angie opportunity to be campy and funny. Julie has the interesting ability to play the cute young girl, yet look like the Playmate she was in her bedroom scene. Jeff Yagher is also good as the bumbling son of the bad guy, not sure where his loyalties lie once he falls in love with Polly.

The movie does slow down in spots where it tries to sell us on how terrible the 1930s were unless you were rich.

Once again, they try to minimize the violence in order to keep Wilma looking like the heroine of the movie – she typically shoots to scare, not to kill. Until the final shootout, that is, when everyone gets it!

Is the sequel as good as the original? No, but it's quite entertaining in its own way. It's funnier. The ending is amusing.

The one big hole in the movie is the character of Billy Jean, who is given very little to do in this movie. Danielle's performance is campy and overdone, but the blame may belong more to the script and the director.

Given that the first movie had so much nudity and sex, how does the sequel compare? There's much less nudity this time around – the daughters go topless in a pond, Polly and Jordan have a love scene, and Wilma and Daryl have a love scene (with body doubles). Some extras are topless in a brothel scene, and an extra wears very little in a county fair scene. So there's a lot less nudity this time around, though the sex scene with the body doubles is actually steamier than anything in the original movie.

Can You Game It?

I think the campaign would be harder to pull off, since the story line is essentially Wilma getting her revenge until the villain finally catches her (big shoot-out). I'm not sure any other ending would make sense, and it would seem rather predestined for gaming purposes.

On the other hand, with the same villain for the entire movie, gamers would need to provide fewer figures. The fighting scenes in this movie also tend to be smaller in scope, so you could do them in 28mm.