One of my main concerns about a sequel to a film being released more than a decade later is the amount of callbacks that are going to be littered throughout. I remember watching one of the trailers for Jurassic World and - while listening to the slow, piano version of the original theme song - thinking that it was going to be filled with key moments that make the viewer remember how much they love the first one and also try to trick them in thinking the sequel is a good movie. In reality, it’s a terrible movie, filled with flat characters, an overabundance of nostalgic moments, and very few original ideas. The same can be said for Fallen Kingdom as well.
When it comes to Super Troopers 2, I had the same concern. It has been more than 15 years since we last saw the group of misfit Vermont State Troopers and the crazy shenanigans they got themselves into. And yet the trailer had certain moments that made it seem like it was going to rely on too many callbacks without really giving us different jokes. A repeat here and there is fine, but when it’s most of the movie, it’s tedious and unfunny.
Take, for example, the oft-quoted “meow” game the guys play in the first one. It’s silly, but the amount of exuberance on display from Foster (Paul Soter) and Mac (Steve Lemme) is enough to earn a lot of belly laughs no matter how many times you watch it. That exact moment gets discussed again in the sequel with Foster and Mac running into Larry Johnson (Jim Gaffigan), who recognizes them from when they played that game. They don’t recreate the scene; they actually talk about it and how funny it was. That’s like reminiscing with old college friends about how many times you watched the original Super Troopers and how that scene made you crack up. You and your friends can have a good laugh as you quote the scene verbatim. When a movie tries to trigger that moment in your brain again for a laugh, it doesn’t quite work.
It happens on more than one occasion that the Broken Lizard gang tries to stroke your memory while you watch the same actors, and some new ones, get into mischievous scenarios. The troopers are no longer employed, following a freak accident involving actor Fred Savage. It gets brought up numerous times and then finally shown during the end credits. But when a border dispute between the United States and Canada arises, the gang is called back into temporary action with the possibility of having their jobs reinstated. And if you thought Canadians were generally nice people, then you haven’t met the ones the Super Troopers come across. The Mounties, especially, don’t like the Americans and the possibility that they might take their jobs.
Super Troopers 2 does have its share of laughs here and there, but it lacks the quotability and charming novelty of the original. Yes, for as crass as the first film is, it does have a charm to it that makes it work. The whole cast had great chemistry back then that made even that film’s weak moments seem not as painfully noticeable. The same can’t be said about the sequel.
Sure, the cast is certainly having fun as they spout vulgarities and attempt to pull stunts on their colleagues during this 99-minute reunion, but the jokes have a tendency to miss more than it does hit. You would think that, after such a long wait and after such a high demand from its fans, the Broken Lizard group would have come up with better material and not just recycle almost everything from the film that put them in the spotlight.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for Super Troopers 2 comes with a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. One of the pluses of this release is that the special features, though limited, last for a little more than an hour, which is more than what most new Blu-ray releases have. In addition to the film’s trailers, there’s a making-of feature that lasts for 39 minutes that has more of a fly-on-the-wall approach to it, and isn’t as nicely polished as most behind-the-scenes segments. It makes it feel more authentic that way. There’s a 20-minute segment devoted to extended and deleted scenes, and a two-minute segment that jokingly explains how Kevin Heffernan, who plays Farva, is a method actor. It’s worthy of a chuckle.
Maybe if you’re a die hard Broken Lizard fan, this might have some appeal to you. But if you’re looking for something more than the gang’s usual routine, you won’t find it here. Your best bet is to just stick with the original Super Troopers.