PLOT: After a year of laying low on the lam, the people's warrior Bill Williamson resurfaces to overrun a local news-station and broadcast his anti-corporate screed live on the air. Anyone who gets in his way...catches a mouthful of lead!
REVIEW: My word! Who would've thought that unabashed schlock-hound himself, Uwe Boll, would be able to deliver a consecutive 90 minutes of amusing bullet-laced social commentary? Well, that's pretty much what he's accomplished twice now, this time with the continued saga of Bill Williamson's RAMPAGE 2: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. You remember Bill Will, right? The heavily-armored one-man-army of the disenfranchised proletariat who laid waste to anything that got in his way back in '09? Yup, that dude! Well, Bill's back and even more pissed off than ever..rocking full-fledged SWAT fatigues and enough artillery for a small commando battalion. My man ain't fucking around! Problem is, save for the last 10 minutes or so, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT boasts far more of a verbal, ideological rampage than a hyper-violent one. And while I agree with just about 100% of the gross inequities Bill rants and raves about, the pontification of such becomes a little too heavy-handed over the course of the film. Still, I had a fun time with what's essentially a micro-budgeted action flick of seething hyperbole!
The good and bad right off the bat with RAMPAGE 2 is the flashbacks from the first flick. On one hand, it's good if you've not seen the opening act, as it'll run you abreast of matters pretty quickly. But on the other, Boll overkills it. Too much footage from the '09 joint is recycled not just early on, but interspersed throughout in a way that feels like a cheap and venal attempt to a). recapture the original and b). skirt its glaringly limited resources (strange for a sequel) in order to pad out a sufficient runtime. This is quite obvious actually, and in typical Boll fashion, he seems to give not one flying fuck. Alright, so we're rapidly reunited with the one-man wrecking machine, Bill Williamson (played credibly by longtime genre vet Brendan Fletcher). After hiding out for the better part of a year, Bill feels the coast is clear enough to launch part two of his anti-corporate, anti-capitalist crusade against the rich and powerful. Only this time, he wants to get his message to the masses. So what does he do? My man hijacks a news station, holes up with a gaggle of hostages and starts barking demands! Oh, and dude squirts off more rounds of hot metal than Papa John's!
Chief among Bill's targets this go around is Chip, a successful news anchor played by the always entertaining Lochlyn Munro (DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS). Chip is the face and brand of the local station Bill has chosen to broadcast his call to arms, so naturally he's the first order of torment. Bill shakes him up, slaps him around a bit, and gives him one simple task to fulfill. Take the DVD with Bill's recorded first-person address to the nation, and play it live on air...at whatever cost! Of course, things never go as planned, and the bulk of the films action is set in this one single location, where Bill has a prolonged standoff with both a cordoned police squad and the ever-diminishing roster of hostages he's captured. But as I said before, action is hardly the proper adjective here, for until the last 10 minutes about, the body count is pretty moderate, the carnage rather tame. This is certainly not THE RAID or THE RAID 2, if you want to put it that way!
Actually, the best parts of the film feature total inaction. When Bill goes off on his fire-breathing diatribes about all that's currently wrong in the world, including the U.S., in effect beckoning his fellow man to rise up and revolt...well, that's often when the flick is at its most gripping and honest. Yes, it's taken to radical extremes for the sake of entertainment, much in the vein of personal favorite like FALLING DOWN and NATURAL BORN KILLERS, or more recently in GOD BLESS AMERICA. It's social satire camped out at the furthest pole, but that doesn't mean it's bullshit. However, as much as I do agree with just about all of what Bill speaks out against in real life, I don't agree with a). his violent line of recourse, and b). the incessant bloviation the film boasts overall. It's just too much. I mean, if we wanted to listen to political propaganda, we could just as easily watch a war documentary. Seriously, the amount of action vs. pontification were inverted, the flick would really kick ass!
Look, if like the rest of us, you were pleasantly surprised by Boll's first decent film in RAMPAGE, then most definitely give the CAPITAL PUNISHMENT a day in court. You may be let down in that it doesn't deliver the requirements of a sequel - bigger, bolder, broader...but in some ways, it's a better film. Hey, we're talking about Uwe Boll here, that he made two competent films back-to-back at all ought to be saluted heartily. Yes, the film is hamstrung by its low budget, limited resources, single location, and its annoyance of overusing footage from the first flick. But through his socially biting, if force-fed monologues and occasional rat-a-tat-tat of bloodshed...not to mention the intense war-field of a finale...you could actually feel good about finishing written and directed by a Movie-Jail lifer. Real shit, Boll's on the uptick!