This sequel to the 1984 hit moves the action from the fictional small town of Kingston Falls to New York City. Billy (Zach Gallligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) are still together, and both work in a modern (for 1990 anyway!) office tower owned by billionaire developer Daniel Clamp (John Glover). Meanwhile, the former owner of Gizmo has died, and he is captured by scientists working at a genetics lab in the Clamp Building. Billy finds Gizmo, takes him back, and of course, a certain little furball gets wet, and ends up spawning a new group of Gremlins. As the Gremlins wreak havoc on the building, they get into the genetics lab and consume genetic materials making them ven more formidable. Billy and the few humans remaining in the building must keep the Gremlins from escaping the building before dark.
Where the first film had plenty of humor, but a bit of a harder edge, this sequel is a straight-up comedy. The script, written by Charlie Haas (Not the former WWE wrestler. He was barely out of high school when this movie was made!) is filled with clever references, parodies, and in-jokes that are sure to please film fans. My personal favorites are a faked film break that completely breaks the fourth wall and the Gremlins getting their revenge on a noted film critic who dared give the first film a negative review. The scene in which the Gremlins genetically alter themselves is a riot. One becomes a bat, another becomes highly intelligent and gains the ability to speak, another becomes female, and that’s just a few. The best part is that the film does not take itself seriously. At all. It doesn’t take long to see that it’s a parody of the original Gremlins, and itself, for that matter.
Galligan and Cates are good, but somewhat bland in the lead roles, but the supporting cast is excellent. Christopher Lee is a joy as the somewhat mad scientist running the genetics laboratory. John Glover is hilariously clueless as the Donald Trump/Ted Turner-esque Clamp, who owns so many properties that he can’t even keep track of them, and Dick Miller, returning from the first film as Billy’s paranoid neighbor is great, too. Robert Prosky is fun as a horror TV show host who reports the news from inside the building, all the while dressed in his Grandpa Munster getup.
“Gremlins 2” is not a movie to be taken seriously. It doesn’t take itself seriously and gives you no reason to do so either. What it is, however, is a frequently hilarious, fun ride. Be sure to keep watching after the credits.
Running Time: 1 Hr. 46 Mins.