2 out of 5
Directed by: Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott
There’s a character named ‘Dumass Beach,’ which I think Tales From the Hood 2’s creators, Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott, find to be a particularly clever pun. Beach (Bill Martin Williams) is a business magnate, talking about how ‘boys will be boys’ while grabbing the rear-ends of his female staff, and talking about how his jails are filled with black people, and that foreigners come across our borders to rape and kill. Subtlety is not what this flick is after.
Beach invites renowned storyteller Portifoy Simms (Keith David) to help teach the new AI police unit he’s planning on launching some secondhand lessons on good and bad, and that’s a fair a setup as any for an anthology flick. We get four tales (told to the AI, shown to us), with the concluding ‘Sacrifice’ taking a hard turn from the cheeseball of the first three into more serious waters – and is double the length of any preceding bit – and that lack of subtlety is a running theme throughout. Sometimes this works, as in opener Good Golly, which just gets really in your face with its race messaging and then has fun going super camp when it turns toward horror, but the following segments – The Medium and Date Night – are just average B-Movie type entries, with little distraction in the way of comedy, or gore, or much of a point. Sacrifice ups the production quality, and gets points for taking a unique path toward more in-your-face commentary on race; while I’m not a little unclear as to the extent of the ‘sacrifice’ for which its preaching asks, I again liked that it was at least standing up and saying something. The same kinda / sorta goes for the wraparound bit with Beach, as the flick’s ending ‘reveals’ its punny name, and revels in the same type of camp humor as ‘Good Golly.’
With a little more variation in what it’s trying to say, and maybe with some more willful excess in its execution, Tales From the Hood 2 could’ve been an acceptably campy passing of time. As it is, it’s mostly pretty hollow, but with some appreciable energy and bite at certain points.