The trailer has everything you need to see about Lawnmower Man 2. The only thing missing is the cheesy #2 villain who is actually the main antagonist for most of the movie, but overall the trailer hits all of the (very few) highlights to be found in the trash heap of a movie.
Honestly, this movie is horrible. No arguments there. It isn’t, however, the worst I’ve seen, and by a pretty significant margin at that. The acting is hammed up by the bad guys and generally shittily done by the kids, but the writing and the effects realistically killed the film quite thoroughly before the actors ever came upon its corpse. The editing is also exquisitely bad, which was apparently the result of a serious hack job postmortem by producers in a hopeless attempt to make the film semi-marketable. Despite all of that, it is moderately watchable due to a handful of bright spots.
As I mentioned earlier, this came out in 1996. Independence Day and Twister also came out that year. Watch the trailers of these three movies and compare the effects. It is unbelievable that they came out within months of each other. This movie belongs in the 80’s in the worst possible way, and missed it by the better part of a decade. Interestingly, that makes this movie both anachronistically terrible and entertaining at the same time. Something about those crappy early 90s computer effects is just dopily charming, y’know?
I spend a lot of time pondering what makes bad movies bad. I think the biggest issue with this one, beyond the script and even the effects, is the general fact that it is so misplaced in time. It was a relic in regards to special effects when it came off the presses, and to make matters worse, there wasn’t any call or need for a sequel to the original in the first place. No one was clamoring for a follow up to “Lawnmower Man”, and if there were people doing that, no one could hear them from their basements. It was just a bad idea from the start that someone decided to roll with.
Speaking of rolling, let’s compare this to Rollerball (2002), which I can’t help but do for some reason. It was also a movie bringing back a “franchise” that no one ever even sort of cared about, which is a notable similarity. However, the premise of Rollerball actually had some promise for an interesting movie, and it subsequently managed to disappoint every expectation. To Lawnmower Man 2’s credit, at least no one expected anything exciting or interesting from it (at least I hope they didn’t). The two movies also share legendarily miserable story pacing, overly stylized settings, and two of the most boring dystopias in recent cinematic history. So, I suppose they have more in common than they should, given Rollerball came along many years later. You are supposed to learn from the failures of your predecessors, folks.
As a concluding note, this must be in the running for one of the worst sequels ever made. I’ll keep that in mind at least, because American Psycho 2 is sitting on my kitchen table. Not in the bottom 100, but maybe it should be? If you have other recommendations for awful sequels I can watch, I’d love to hear them. However, I’m not planning to watch Christmas Vacation 2.