Thunder II (1987)

ThunderWarriorIICoverWhen we last saw Thunder, he was shooting arrows into cops, blowing up cars with a bazooka, and demolishing a bank and the police station in his home town with a stolen front end loader. Forced to take the law into his own hands when an Indian burial ground was being desecrated and when his girlfriend was almost raped, Thunder clearly didn’t have the time or patience for the White Man’s law. Especially since it was being enforced by crooked cops who hated Indians! It makes perfect sense then that Thunder II finds Thunder a deputy sheriff!

And he’s assigned to the very hometown he single-handedly destroyed in the first movie! Working side by side with the very cops that tried to kill him! But everyone has agreed to let bygones be bygones and not to frame Thunder for murder and drug running until the middle of the film!

Everything you went on the warpath for in the original Thunder is back! Fleets of cop cars are annihilated in every conceivable fashion! They get rammed in car chases, they get smashed by semis running roadblocks, they race up ramps and bust through fences, they crash off roads into ravines, and they of course get blown up!

But it isn’t like this is just the same old Thunder with his bazooka! That was so 1983! The 1986 post-Rambo:First Blood Part II Thunder is equipped with a crossbow that shoots exploding arrows! Don’t lie and claim your tomahawk didn’t just stand at attention when you heard that!

And the storyline that director Fabrizio De Angelis and co-writer Dardano Sacchetti dreamed up is so much more intense than the relatively routine (but awesome) revenge story of the first movie. Crooked cop Rusty is working with a biker gang (which just by coincidence Thunder beat up at a diner during the beginning of the film) to sell drugs to the local Indians. Thunder starts nosing around and after Rusty kills his biker partner, he sets up Thunder to take the rap! Thunder is sent to prison and must survive the dreaded sweet box, before making his escape to take revenge!

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Now, isn’t that better than some guy running around the hills all pissed over a couple of tipped over tombstones? Sure it is! And Fabrizio squeezes all sorts of spectacular action and drama from it! Like the elaborate scheme to put Thunder in the big house!

Some guy says Thunder killed the biker, they look in Thunder’s locker immediately after the accusation and there’s a couple of pounds of drugs just sitting in there! Because crooked cops always store their stolen illegal drugs in their locker at the station house!

Luckily, Thunder has a friend who is an attorney. Unluckily, his attorney is a sweaty fat drunk guy who seems to be only to secure a cruddy house for Thunder and his wife at the beginning of the movie! It is perhaps understandable then that Thunder files his own “appeal” by shooting a guard at the prison, stealing a cop car and busting on out in spectacular fashion!

Wait a minute? Thunder has a wife? You bet and she’s pregnant! Uh-oh! I hope she doesn’t do anything stupid like go riding around in a jeep with Thunder and his attorney while the evil Rusty is playing sniper from a helicopter following them!

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Just to give you a sense of the attorney’s legal skills, he announces that there’s no cause for concern when Rusty is spotted following them because Thunder is riding with his lawyer! And really, there isn’t any cause for concern, unless you happen to be pregnant and the jeep gets blasted causing it roll on its side!

In a scene reminiscent of the one where baby Superman lifted that car off Pa Kent, Thunder uses his Indian super powers to lift the jeep off his old lady! And it’s accompanied by loving shots of Mark Gregory‘s obscenely bulging biceps! Thunderlicious!

Thunder isn’t finished yet though! He manages to lasso the helicopter and proceeds to hang on to the rope as the helicopter flies all over the desert canyons. The entire time Rusty is threatening the pilot and urging him to slam Thunder into one of the cliff walls they’re flying around.

His threats though would ultimately prove to be Rusty’s undoing. Not because of anything Thunder did, but because the pilot was pissed he was forced to participate in Rusty’s illegal conduct and reported him to the sheriff.

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With Rusty locked up, all’s well that end’s well, right? Right! Except for the bad news Thunder receives at the hospital! Out comes the war paint and headband and the next thing we know Thunder is breaking into the local gun shop and going to war on his hometown! Again! Least favorite resident ever!

Mark Gregory does an even better job as Thunder this time around! It wasn’t anything he did – he was his usual gorgeously big lipped and big haired plywood self. But they butched up the dubbing job this time around, giving Mark a voice that allowed you to close your eyes and imagine that someone manly was playing Thunder.

Bo Svenson returns again as the clueless sheriff who while clearly is all sorts of negligent in managing his department, isn’t really a bad guy. The same guy is also playing the evil deputy who harassed Thunder the first go around! Even the same locations are used as you will surely recognize the Safeway store in the background from the original!

Giving Thunder a job (despite it being the least believable job in the universe for him) really elevated this movie past its perfect predecessor. Besides his personal war with Rusty and his time in prison, we also get to watch Thunder on patrol where he captures some bank robbers and in a completely random scene, busts a trespassing transvestite who beats Thunder up pretty good! It’s Mark Gregory though so when he walks funny back to his patrol car you can’t tell if it’s because he’s hurt of if he just still doesn’t know how to walk convincingly. It’s okay though because he’ll have a chance to keep working on his gait when the trilogy comes to a thunderous conclusion in Thunder III!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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