What Not To Watch: Penitentiary II
You know a movie is of What Not To Watch caliber, when the highlight of the movie is a scene with the main villain, Half Dead (played by Ernie Hudson) and his “lady” Sugar eating in bed eventually leading to Half Dead smothering Sugar with potato salad. Do you see the enthusiasm on the face of Lean Isaac Kennedy in the picture below. That is what your face will look like if you don’t heed my advice and go ahead and watch Penitentiary II.
Let’s talk about some basic rules of action movies. You have a good guy. You have a bad guy. The bad guy does horrible things to the good guy, which is what makes the bad guy a bad guy. BUT in the end the good guy overcomes all obstacles and brings the bad guy to justice.
Penitentiary II got most of those rules right. There’s the good guy, Too Sweet Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy) and there’s the bad guy Half Dead.
Half Dead does some horrible things to Too Sweet, with the most vile being raping and killing Too Sweet’s girlfriend.
Half Dead and Too Sweet do have an altercation about 20 minutes in (involving a switchblade and a vase) and later Half Dead with a clown wig gets the jump on Too Sweet before his big fight… but Too Sweet never gets his revenge on Half Dead.
Instead one of the supporting characters gets that honor… sure that supporting character is none other than Mr. T but that still defies simple action movie logic.
It would be like if Apollo Creed didn’t meet his untimely demise in Rocky IV and instead beat Ivan Drago sending the big Russian running back to Moscow and then Rocky had to finish the movie by defeating the robot he bought Paulie after the robot goes berserk and takes over Rocky’s mansion.
This is not a case of me loving the original so much that any sequel they made would ruin it. In fact, I’ve never seen the first Penitentiary. And the level of enjoyment I had watching the second one may prevent me from ever watching the original. I believe somewhere in the Star Wars like opening credits they recapped the events of the original, but to be honest I lost interest about 6 words into that scrolling nightmare.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “Chris, you just aren’t a fan of the prison movie sub genre of action films. A true fan of prison movies would appreciate the movie.”
You would be wrong. This is barely a prison movie. It is a prison movie in name only. You’ll find more prison bars in the Fat Boys video below than you’ll find in Penitentiary II. So do yourself a favor and DO NOT WATCH Penitentiary II for any reason.