Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2016 Part 2 (Ghana, 2011)

I approached 2016 Part 2 with a lot of excitement. Really. That’s because all of the highlights from the mind blowing 2016 trailer were in Part 1, which meant that Part 2 was mostly uncharted territory. I mean, I won’t go so far as to say that 2016 Part 2 was cloaked in mystery, but it at least had a light cardigan of mystery draped casually over its shoulders. Who could imagine what it might contain?

In my review of Part 1, I related to you that that film ended with our hero, Mr. Oppong, receiving some kind of ultimatum from the aliens. That, it turns out, was wrong. It was an assumption on my part, based on untranslated dialog—and, as we all know, “assume” makes an “ass” out of someone named “Ume”. What was actually happening is that Mr. Oppong was eavesdropping on the aliens without their knowledge and just happened to hear their next plan of attack. BTW, I am here and only here going to entertain the conceit that 2016 Part 2 is a separate film from Part 1 by saying that Ebenezer Donkor here returns as Mr. Oppong, even though it is clearly one movie that has been arbitrarily cut in half in order to sell more VCDs.

Soon we are gifted with another dispatch from Ghana’s least invested TV news anchor, who distractedly gives us the English version of the Aliens’ master plan. It seems that the aliens have somehow managed to turn the cell phones of everyone in Ghana into bombs. “By tomorrow at 12:00,” she tells us, “every phone is going to explode.” Then, in strict adherence to the journalistic code, she advises her audience to “pass this message on”. She further advises them to turn their cell phones off, ensuring that every person over 60 who never turns their cell phone on will mistakenly turn it on and be blown to smithereens as a result.

Sincerely, though, you’d think that such a simple plan of action might be easy enough to follow through on, but in 2016 Part 2 it only gives the characters further reason to bicker at each other while consuming endless bottles of soda. These people clearly didn’t get the same memo about Ghana being “the most peaceful land on Earth” that the aliens did, as they are seemingly incapable of communicating other than with balled fists and bared teeth. Only the character played by little person actor Joseph "Wayoosi" Osei shows any industry, attempting to hack into his phone and disarm it. Even Oppong’s teenage daughter, Cara (Prescilla Anabel, who is also credited with doing the film’s makeup and something called “Welfare”) can only carry this news so far down the road before stopping to have a screaming match with somebody.

All of this takes up most of the film’s first twenty minutes, during which we see very little of the aliens. In fact, 2016 Part 2 is very stingy with its aliens throughout, only pausing occasionally for one of them to stroll rigidly into frame to chuck a horribly rendered CG motorcycle at someone or decapitate them with an also horribly rendered boomerang. In most cases, their presence is only indicated by shots of people running away while looking fearfully over their shoulder at nothing. It is hard for me to believe that the effects sequences in this movie would be so costly that cutting back on them would be a budgetary decision, but that might just be my First World privilege talking.

Likewise, 2016 Part 2 does little to add upon the creative carnage of its predecessor, but for one thing: Apparently the aliens have taken the time between parts 1 and 2 to learn kung fu. This means that, if you felt the films in the Alien and Predator franchises were lacking for not having scenes of their titular creatures delivering flying kicks to the faces of unsuspecting humans, you will now feel that a grave injustice has been righted.

Anyway, now that the aliens have truly revealed themselves as typical low budget action film villains, the solution to the problem they present is obvious. All that’s needed is the creation of a Terminator-like cyborg to fight them, a task that Mr. Oppong completes in record time. This stoic killing machine (Ntul Andrew, in a role in every way identical to the one he played in B 14) is then set loose to casually stroll along the same quiet suburban streets that all of 2016’s action takes place in and dismember any alien he comes across.

There then follows more bickering, lots of it, and mostly between women, which gives this portion of the film the feeling of a Bravo reality show sponsored by Orange Crush. There is also a prayer circle with people speaking in tongues. Finally, in a scene lasting literally less than 10 seconds, the cyborg leaps into space and somehow blows up the alien mother ship, which prompts the statement/question: “So wait… You mean you could’ve done that all along?”

Because I loved both 2016 Part 1 and B 14, I really wanted to at least like 2016 Part 2, but, sadly, the film’s ceaseless Housewives of Kumasi style caterwauling—minus the mitigation of people angrily spraying soda pop on one another--erased every last scrap of charity in my heart. You’d think that filming a movie in one go and then cutting it in half would be an ideal way to avoid the dreaded sequel slump, but, perhaps honoring tradition, 2016 Part 2 beats the odds and delivers the very type of bitter disappointment that we have long ago become accustomed to. Given that, my only advice is to ignore its existence completely.

As a public service to those of you who plan to download 2016 Part 1, and would like to walk away from it with a sense of closure, I suggest you append to it the following title card, which I offer free of charge:


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