Wishmaster 2 (1999)

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The evil Djinn is once again released upon an unsuspecting world. This time, in order to power up, he takes up residence in a local jail (no shortage of wishes there), before he sets his sights on the woman who released him, a burglar by the name of Morgana. It’s now up to Morgana and her priest friend/boyfriend to figure out a way to once again imprison the Djinn.

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Luckily, her priest friend can read ancient Persian… for some reason. I guess Latin really is dead.

Wishmaster 2 is a lot like the first Wishmaster. It follows the typical sequel formula, taking the basics from the first installment and expanding upon the lore and the body count. But where the first Wishmaster was cheesy fun, Wishmaster 2 just comes off as cheesy. Instead of improving upon what made it’s predecessor fun, it focuses on all the negatives and expounds on them.

The acting in particular, suffers this time around. Everyone here seems to either be overacting or terribly stiff. Most of the film takes place in a prison and despite the number of characters roaming around, most of them just fall under the title of ‘Thug’ or ‘Wise Guy.’ They’re pretty much just cookie-cutter personification of inmates, to the point that the movie could have switched all the characters around between scenes and the viewer would have been none the wiser.

To top it off, even the protagonists are dull as sin. Morgana spends most of her time moping about her dead boyfriend and acting awkwardly around the priest friend (wow, she got over the death of the love of her life quickly.) And the priest is… well about as dull as priests can get, especially considering he keeps switching between ‘you must give yourself to God’ and trying to remind himself not to bone his friend.

The only person who’s still close to on par with the last film is Andrew Divoff, and even he comes off more as a creepy salesman in the film than the truly evil presence he’s supposed to be. Maybe the budget was so bad they couldn’t afford to keep him in the suit too long.

But hey, at least the film kept with the tradition of the over the top reaction shots.

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Please, check out my wares. They’re to die for.

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My reaction when I realized the craptastic CGI was about to rear it’s ugly head.

Speaking of tradition, one of the things that does carry over from the first film, is its excellent use of practical effects. Sadly they don’t use it nearly as much as they did in the first, but when they do use it, they get it right.

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Unfortunately, the film also carries over its predecessors use of crappy CGI, and here it’s even more pronounced than in the first one. I guess they felt they’d save some money that way, but good gracious is it terrible. Souls flying out of bodies, fake bees terrorizing people, it’s all just horribly cringe-worthy. What makes it worse, is most of it is relegated to the end of the film, turning what could have been a pretty cool climax into something the viewer could turn into their own personal drinking game. Which might actually be fun, but I’d suggest you don’t include any over-the-top reaction shots with it. There’s so much happening at the end there, that I’m afraid some people might pass out before they got to the end.

On second thought, that may not be a bad idea.

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One frame, two shots. Drink up, suckas!

One of the things I noticed about the sequel that I really didn’t like was how the wishes were reframed. The tagline of the first Wishmaster was ‘be careful what you wish for’ and in that film, it was pretty accurate. Sure the Djinn would grant your wish, but you actually had to make a wish, as in actually say the words ‘wish’, ‘want’ or ‘I’d like’ and then he’d grant it in a cruelly ironic way, like how he turned the saleswoman into a mannequin after he coaxed her into wishing to stay beautiful forever.

In Wishmaster 2, not only is the sense of irony gone, but so is the condition that someone has to actually make a wish. One of the first things he does in the sequel is freeze a policeman because he told him to freeze. The policeman didn’t specifically say he wanted to freeze, or even that he wanted the Djinn to freeze. The whole exchange goes something like:

“Freeze!”
“Did you say, freeze?”
“Yeah, I said freeze!”
“…Done.”

No. Not done. Those words do not a wish make. I’m not sure if it’s a rushed writing job or they just didn’t care, but that one little change really bothered me.

So, yeah, Wishmaster 2 is a bit of a step down from the original. It’s still relatively nice to look at and full of campiness, but most of the campiness seems to be in all the wrong places. The horrible CGI and poor acting makes a roaring comeback, but so do the decent practical effects. The film also adds in a bit of additional lore that just comes across as cliche and unnecessary. If you liked the campiness of the first one, this one is pretty meh, so don’t set your sights too high.

Wishmaster 2 is available on a variety of streaming services, including free on Tubi TV.

It is also available on DVD and Bluray, either solo or as part of a larger collection.

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Michi

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