Originally filmed in 1982, Grizzly II: Revenge hit a major stumbling block when one of the producers bailed during the first day of shooting on the film’s huge concert scenes in Hungary. Money issues saw the partially completed horror limp to the end of principal photography, however portions of the film were never completed and rights issues tangled it in legal woes for nearly a decade. Following a new digital transfer of the original elements in the summer of 2019, Executive Producer Suzanne Csikos Nagy decided to finally complete the film and release it in 2020.
Grizzly II: Revenge gets off to an attention grabbing start when George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen get eaten by a 15 foot grizzly bear in the opening moments of the film. This 1980s creature feature then sees the rampaging bear seek revenge on the poachers who killed her offspring in the lead-up to a huge festival in Yellowstone National Park. The pic follows the Jaws route of having Steve Inwood and Deborah’s characters attempting to talk Louise Fletcher out of hosting the festival, knowing that the angry animal is going to crash the party. Does she listen? Of course not. Brought in to track the bear is John Rhys-Davies’ Bouchard, a hunter extraordinaire who doesn’t take orders from anyone.
There’s a wonderful old-school simplicity with Grizzly II. Is it silly? Of course, but that’s the point of having a 15 foot bear roaring through the middle of a massive pop concert. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Rhys-Davies chews more scenery than the titular grizzly as the gruff hunter. It’s also a great piece of cinematic history to see three future Hollywood stars (Clooney, Dern and Sheen) getting munched on by an angry bear. That’s the price of admission right there.
Brisk of pace and easy on the brain, Grizzly II: Revenge delivers plenty of B-movie fun. It’s a credit to Executive Producer Suzanne Csikos Nagy that she was able to finally bring the film over the finish-line after nearly forty years of hard work. Grizzly II‘s newly filmed elements are barely noticeable and the print looks great for a such an old film. Sure, there are a few moments where it’s a little disjointed, but it’s still in pretty good shape for a film which was beset from all sorts of production troubles. I’ve seen much worse released with a $200 million budget and 6 months of reshoots.
Grizzly II: Revenge is the perfect film to watch late on a Saturday night. It’s fun, breezy and entertaining. If that’s not a good enough recommendation for you – then it’s got a 15 foot tall killer grizzly bear killing future A-listers and Oscar winners. What more do you need?