monster

Shaun vs. Leprechaun (Part 2)

lep2For the six of you who enjoyed the last one, here’s part two of my coverage of the Leprechaun series before getting into the recently released reboot, Leprechaun: Origins.  Click below to see just how crazy the series becomes as the filmmakers come up with new places to drop the Leprechaun.  There was a brief trend of putting horror characters in outer space…Jason was up there, Pinhead was up there, why not a Leprechaun?  But then he makes his way back to Earth in back to back films taking place in urban ghettos getting his freak on with plenty of weed smoking, rap music and hoes.  You wouldn’t think there’d be this much mileage in a killer leprechaun franchise, but here we are with parts 4-6!

lep4Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith

Starring Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Debbe Dunning (Tool Time!), Miguel A. Nunez Jr (Return of the Living Dead)

Story:  Space marines are called in to a far off planet to destroy an alien creature that has a interplanetary princess hostage.  Unfortunately for everyone the creature turns out to be the Leprechaun who wants to marry the princess to claim more power. 

Review:  After destroying the Leprechaun early on and saving the day (or so they think,) the marines head back to their ship in order to return the princess.  There’s also a scientist on board who wishes to use the princess’s alien DNA in order to regenerate his body due to a previous accident that now has him living as part man and part machine.  If that sounds like a great Leprechaun movie, I’ve got some bad news for you because it’s not anything close to that.

There’s honestly nothing that I can recall that would be a positive thought on the movie and that’s probably because there’s nothing good about the movie.  It’s a laundry list of problems that never get righted at all in the movie.  With the drastic change in setting, you’d think the filmmakers could come up with something better than tired old Star Wars and Alien references.  Somehow the movie tries to be a parody of horror/sci-fi but fails at every turn.

leprechaun-4-in-space

While some of the marines are “good guys” none of them are very likeable, though by the end of the movie we’re supposed to be rooting for one of them.  They’re just grunts looking for more money, even the troop leader is an unlikeable douche who just wants more money or he’ll leave.  Dr. Mittenhand, the half robot/human has a terrible European accent that starts to get on your nerves but not before his lackey, Harold does.  Warwick Davis does what he can but it’s a bad script from start to finish. 

The effects are pretty bad too.  Low budget and in the earlier days of CGI, I’m sure the filmmakers tries but it looked bad even back then.  Practical effects were standard and nothing really stood out (unless they were bad, like the Leprechaun growing into a giant, he gets blurry as he morphs.) Even the gore effects failed to impress, which is really the kiss of death to this movie.

The film tries to retain the comedy/horror edge the previous movie almost perfected, but maybe it tries too hard because Leprechaun In Space is a dud on both counts.  Steer clear of this asteroid-sized stinker.

Story: 2 – Let’s put a Leprechaun in space…then make references to space movies!

Blood: 3 – Disappointingly light on the gruesome carnage.

Nudity: 3 – Our alien princess goes topless briefly.

Overall: 2 – Not even fans of the series like this movie, that’s how bad it is.  It’s not funny, it’s not worth the 90 minutes you’ll waste on it.

lep5

Directed by Rob Spera

Starring Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery

Story:  Twenty years ago, Ice-T steals some gold and a magic flute that makes him powerful.  Too bad he stole it….from a Leprechaun!  Years later, three young wannabe rappers steal the items from Ice-T and let the Leprechaun loose at the same time so now we have a movie.

Review: Perhaps sensing they went too far out with the last movie, the producers at least came back to Earth for this sequel but dropped the little man in “the hood.”  You know what that means?  Rap music, lots of weed and people bustin’ caps in asses.  I think that’s what happens in the hood.

Mack Daddy (Ice-T) comes across a Leprechaun’s pot of gold that also contains a flute that he’s interested in.  Before they get too far, Daddy’s right hand man takes a medallion off a statue (hey, a reference to a previous movie, there’s a first!) and unleashes the Leprechaun.  After a short struggle, the medallion winds up around his neck again and Mack Daddy walks away a rich man and becomes a big time record producer for gangster rap.

Years down the road, three up and coming rappers with a positive spin on their music try to get a record deal but it goes bad.  To get back at Mack Daddy, they break into his office and loot the place, taking the flute as well but also taking the medallion off the statue that Mack had on display.  The Leprechaun searches for his magic flute by looking for the young men and killing anyone who’s been in contact with them.

Leprechaun_5_flygirls

Fundamentally a better movie than Lep in Space, the little guy’s foray into the hood still pales in comparison to the Vegas outing.  There are still lingering issues from the last movie, the main problems being that most of the funny stuff still isn’t funny and the kills aren’t as inventive as in the past.  Most of the creativity was wasted on coming up with a unique setting for the Leprechaun but wasn’t totally developed as well as it should be.

Warwick Davis shares top billing with Ice-T, who brings a bit of legitimacy to the movie with his role as a hard gangster rap producer.  That’s who he is in real life so he’s essentially playing himself on screen and there’s nothing wrong with that.  The acting from the main cast is quite good for what you’d expect (especially if you were to judge from previous movies, it may be some of the best the series will see.)  The secondary characters are awful, including an old Chinese man portraying as many Asian stereotypes as he can with what little screen time he is given and a middle aged black man who dresses up as a woman.  This character has what may be the worst scene in the movie where he brings the Leprechaun into his bedroom with the intention of having sex with him.  The heroes actually peak into the room when they hear obvious sex sounds though it’s just the guy getting choked by the Leprechaun.  It’s played for laughs but there are none to be found.

The film shows potential early on and had the movie played it a little more seriously (yes, I know it’s a Leprechaun movie) I think it would’ve been a better movie had it not tried to be funny.  It’s watchable but at this point in the series, there’s not much gas left especially if you were to judge the tame kills compared to what we’ve seen previously.

Story: 4 – Think it’s funny to see a weed smoking, rapping Leprechaun trying to kill Ice-T?  This may be your movie.

Blood: 3 – Tamer than previous movies, the location of the movie lends itself to a lot of gunshot wounds, though the Leprechaun does manage to stab a man with a fro comb.  Funny right?

Nudity: 1 – Cross dressing man ass.

Overall: 4 – If you’ve made it this far in the series, it’s not the worst of the bunch but the best I can say is that it’s at least watchable.

lep6

Directed by Steven Ayromlooi

Starring Warwick Davis, Tangi Miller, Laz Alonso, Sticky Fingaz

Story:  When Emily Woodrow and her friends happen on a treasure chest full of gold coins, they fail to to heed the warnings of a wise old psychic who had foretold that they would encounter trouble with a very nasty and protective Leprechaun.

Review:  I enjoyed the prologue that set up the movie, starting off animated it tells the origins of leprechauns which were originally summoned by a king to protect his gold.  After the king dies, they all went back to where they came from…all of them except one who was truly obsessed over the gold.  The film flash forwards a bit to a minister who is being attacked by the leprechaun for stealing his gold to start up a youth centre for the children of his urban area.  He eventually dies from the attack but not before banishing the leprechaun away.  That never lasts though.

Emily and Lisa are getting their fortunes told by a fortune teller who warns them they’ll come across great wealth but if they take it it comes at a great price and it might be best for them to just not take it.  Take a guess as to what happens next.  While hanging around that old youth centre, along with a few other friends, they find the gold and split it evenly.  This awakens an angry little Leprechaun who just wants his damn gold.

leprehcaun6

What separates this film from the previous urban outing is that the story works so much better here while shoehorning the Leprechaun into the story.  Reigning in the absurdity of the previous sequels, this film plays it a bit straighter than previous movies, being more serious works in the movie’s favour.  However, the movie is still mostly about a killer leprechaun so there is some funny scenes thrown in and I think they work much better than before, they seem to be a little more organic and comes across much better than in the past couple of movies.  Not everything can be funny though, there is a scene where the leprechaun is giving a fat lady a massage with his disgusting feet which wasn’t that funny but it’s a far cry from getting a man to dress up in women’s clothes and have sex with the creature.  

The kills are also a bit better from the last movie.  The Leprechaun doesn’t play around as he goes around breaking some necks, impaling a dude with a bong, ripping off someone’s leg and slashing a woman’s stomach among the highlights.  Just like in every other movie, just because the Leprechaun is like 90% immortal, he goes through hell by getting run over several times, beaten up, shot at and once again having his eyeball plucked out in what has become a series tradition it seems.

To be quite honest, while I’m not sure why they decided to stick to the ghetto setting for a second film in a row, this is what the last movie should’ve been.  As shocking as it may be to say, this is actually one of the better movies in the series.  It takes a more simple approach, coming off more like the first few movies (only better) without the absurdity of the later sequels (I’m looking at you Lep in Space!)  If this was the direction of the series, I would’ve enjoyed another sequel, which was of course set up but never happened.  It was over ten years later that the franchise finally came back as a reboot which I’ll come around to soon.

Story:  5 – The Lep sticks around the ghetto but it’s a much better film than the last one.

Blood: 5 – Not as flashy as some of the earlier movies but he gets the job done.

Nudity: 0 – Sadly there is nothing here.

Overall: 6 – I never would’ve thought that a SIXTH outing with a killer leprechaun would be good, but here we are!

So ends the original series of Leprechaun movies.  Six movies in total which is totally respectable for a franchise but judging by the quality of the movies, the whole series was more often than not a sucky mixed bag of bad comedy and some decent gore effects.  Easily the best of the series, I have no reservations recommending Leprechaun 3 for those who want a funny so bad it’s good film.  However, it’s a rough start for people wanting to get into watching the series as the first two movies are average at the best of times.  Lep in Space is easily the low point of the series, it’s a bad movie through and through with no redeeming qualities in which I could recommend it to anyone.  Lep in the Hood was at least a step in the right direction but at least going Back 2 tha Hood ended the series on a positive note.  If you really want to watch any of these, cherry pick the two good ones because there’s hardly any coherence from one film to the next, they’re all stand alone films.  Otherwise you may be in for a bad time trying to get through them all.  Stay tuned for my review of the Leprechaun: Origins reboot!

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