STUDIO: Peace Arch
MSRP: $19.95
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 93 Minutes
· Making Animal 2

The Pitch

”Hey, is Ving Rhames still a badass?”
“Pretty sure, yeah.”
“Alright, well….Animal 2.”

The Humans

Ving Rhames, K.C. Collins, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Yannick Bisson, Deborah Valente, Conrad Dunn

The Nutshell

Wearing his jail blues and his trendy black and white Chuck Taylor’s, James “Animal” Allen must cage fight his way to the top if he’s going to uncover the nefarious plot of a nefarious priest.

The Lowdown

Animal 2 opens with James "Animal" Allen (Rhames) praying in his jail cell during a full out riot at Folsom Prison. A riot that was supposedly started by him and that he adamantly denies.  By the time the credits have ended, he’s been transferred to Susanville Prison, where he had previously spent 15 years.

animal priest
The Shadiest Priest.

The riot was actually started by the incredibly skeevey Father Kasada, played by Conrad Dunn.  He gets to overact a whole lot and gets the best line of the movie:  "How would you like me to have you baptized, asshole?" Father Kasada’s master plan? To start a race war between two rival gangs in the prison. The names of the gangs, in case we weren’t aware of the race of the actors on screen, are The Blacks and The Mexicans.   

All of this is very loosely tied to Animal’s son, James Jr., who has been framed for murder.  Said murder, by the way, is the most laughable scene of the movie. As James Jr. is kneeling over the body of his dead best friend, the kid who actually shot the friend sneaks up six feet behind James Jr., places the gun behind him, and runs off without Jr. ever noticing. Father Kasada was also the mastermind behind that as well and is controlling the outcome through an Assistant District Attorney that he has some incriminating dirt on.

After a few jumps through the hoops of logic, sensibility, and racial stereotypes, Animal is forced to fight the leader of The Blacks, thus becoming the leader himself. The title of leader doesn’t mean much, though, as he is still forced to do everything that people tell him and virtually everybody in jail doesn’t like him.

animal man
Related to the rare ailment Cop Shoulder, Darius suffered  
from the debilitating Security Guard Skull.

Rhames looks tired throughout the film, which is fitting for his character, but sad to see.  He doesn’t look like he wants to be there, and probably only ends up being in about 30 minutes of the hour and a half running time anyway. Rhames works best in small doses anyhow*.  He’s a weathered badass, for sure, but he should be the guy who shows up for a few scenes, does something great, and then exits stage right. Everybody else in the film does a decent enough job, especially Vicellous Reon Shannon (replacing Terrence Howard), who plays Animal’s oldest son Darius.

So why did Father Kasada want a race riot in Susanville Prison, anyway? We’re never told, and as it turns out it doesn’t matter. No race riot takes place.  Kasada never receives any comeuppance either. After the last cage fight between Animal and Uno, the leader of The Mexicans, Kasada looks disappointed at the outcome and walks away. And that’s it.

The film takes the overly used “Everything is not okay” route, completely undoing everything that every character throughout the film did their best to avoid. It’s an ending that I despise in most cases, as it’s a cheap way to rile up the viewer and destroys any message that may have existed. Luckily for Animal 2, it didn’t have a message to begin with.

Ving, a little too eager to eat the lunch time orange, always ended up
snacking on a finger or two.

The Package

There’s a glossy “Making of Animal 2” feature included with the disc. It’s very standard EPK stuff with director Ryan Combs talking about how great it was to work with everybody.

*Also best in small doses?  Toe Ring, the new fragrance from Ving Rhames.

5 out of 10