Destination Films in conjunction with Troma Films presents
A Joel Schumacher Production
A Jan DeBont Film
LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS DINA MEYER and
BATS! 2: They Feed, You Bleed
Release date: June 15, 2001.
Estimated box-office gross: $3.50 and a six pack of Pepsi.
Co-starring: Dan Hedaya, Denise Richards, and Regis Philbin.
After the Bats! theme song, performed by The Backstreet Boys, has ended, the movie opens up on a white cruise ship hurtling across the sea like a demon possessed headless chicken. As the camera flops down onto the shuffle puck deck of the ship, we see two men engaged in a battle to the death. The astounding camera work which is evident in every DeBont magnum opus lives on here as the fist fight continues and we see who it is that is scrapping on the ship. Lou Diamond and Regis are brutally beating each other into past recreations of themselves as Dina Myer is frantically trying to diffuse the bomb that is attached to the side of the boat when, suddenly, the shuffle puck deck comes alive! In a magnificently realized CGI sequence, the deck actually starts fighting alongside Phillips, helping him in the cause to vanquish Philbin! However, Regis is no slouch, and continues to fight well despite the odds.
Sensing that the longer the fight contuse the stronger Philbin gets, Lou and the deck decide to employ their complex finishing move in hopes that Regis falls for it. As Phillips keeps Philbin busy with a punch to the shoulder, the deck stealthily sneaks behind the Reigs’ back and gets down on all fours. Seizing the moment, Lou Diamond shoves Regis, who topples over the crouched deck, and falls headfirst into the troubled sea! With the battle won, Lou and the deck turn their attention to Dina, who is still leaning over the boat trying desperately to turn the bomb off. She is holding two wires in her hands – one red, one green – and she is about to pull the red one when the deck dashes up beside her, leans over the boat, brushes her hands away from the wire and yanks the green wire from the bomb, which then stops ticking! With victory achieved and the boat slowed down, the deck drops Lou and Dina off on a remote Caribbean island which houses a Navy SEAL training base. Waving good-bye to the deck, Lou and Dina set out to enjoy their interrupted honeymoon on this island getaway.
The scene then shifts to an office on the Naval base where, inside, Dan Hedeya, who plays an Admiral, is busy briefing an unknown lackey. In this magnificent scene, DeBont brilliantly diffuses any hope of suspense by having Hedeya reveal himself to be the villain of the piece. It seems that the Admiral has kidnapped a young scientist and is forcing her to do horrible experiments on jungle creatures in hope of finding a cure for rape!
As Hedeya explains his intentions of using this cure for world domination, another officer bursts into the room, clothes shredded and bloodstained. He reports that something mean has happened over at the laboratory and that some creatures have escaped into the jungle. A look of dread comes over Hedeya’s face and he orders an immediate evacuation of the base. He then turns to the unknown lackey, who was with him before the interruption, and tells him to go find Mitch Anders-Pete, their best hunter. As he explains it, Anders-Pete is the only thing that can save them now!
As night falls on the jungle, we see a small campfire and two bodies entwined around it in the clutches of love. Again, in another excellently directed sequence, DeBont somehow manages to remove all eroticism from the scene, making it more like a wrestling match, and less like a love scene. Amazing how he’s able to do that! As Lou and Dina exchange headbutts, something large flies across the fire, scattering some logs and causing the couple to stop and listen. Silence. Lou shrugs and says he wants to get back down to business, but Dina grabs a shirt and puts it on, mumbling something about having a bad feeling. She walks over to a scattered log, picks it up, and sniffs it. Lou asks her what’s wrong but all she does is peer into the darkness surrounding them. Then, as she turns around and begins to tell Phillips that she knows what the problem is, a swarm of two giant bats fly out of the jungle and begin attacking them! Lou grabs his revolver and fires at one of the bats, hitting it in the wing. In a touching scene the other bat, seeing his comrade fall, stops ravaging Dina and flies over to his friend. They exchange squeaks and the hurt bat nods, then the other bat bites his head off and spits it into the fire! Dina gasps as the unhurt bat flies off in the direction of the darkness.
What follows is a wonderful barrage of imagery which shows both DeBont’s sensitive eye towards character development, and the autopsy of the headless bat! Following this gruesome scene, Myer reveals that the dead bat had been genetically altered to be a homing pigeon and when that had failed, it had turned towards a life of crime. Phillips applauds her brilliant deduction powers and asks who could have tampered with the bats DNA. Meyers says that she doesn’t know, but that the Naval base nearby should hold the answers. Lou agrees, and they make plans to leave for the base in the morning.
As morning rolls around, Lou and Dina are already on the move, and as they walk through the jungle they keep passing the bodies of dead bats. Then, they get to the base. In a scene that shows DeBont really knows how to photograph widescreen, we see the Naval base as a burned out husk of buildings and smoking airplane skeletons. Bodies, both human and bats, are strewn around the ground. Lou says it looks like the aftermath of a war, to which Dina agrees. Walking through the battlefield, they notice that all of the bats appear to be similar to the genetically altered bat Dina autopsied. Then, Lou notices a sign on a building up ahead that says LABORA-, the rest of the word being eradicated. They move towards it and finding the door locked, Lou shoots it open. Inside the room is dark and smoky, but the image of a woman lying on the floor can be clearly made out. Lou and Dina lift the woman up and carry her outside into the light of day. The woman, according to her nameplate, is Dr. Thora L. Quagmire as played by the renowned thespian, Denise Richards, is now fully conscious. But as she lifts her head to thank her rescuers, a large fruit bat flies down and grabs her by the hair, carrying her into the air. Then, as the bat steadily holds the doctor in mid-air, several other bats take turns pecking away at her. It’s a rather gory scene as Richards is slowly torn apart. First, her ears are taken, and then her eyes. Eventually her arms and legs are stolen by the voracious bats, but before her torso can be gorged, a shot rings out and the large fruit bat holding the remains of Dr. Quagmire falls to the ground, dead!
Dina and Lou turn around to see who it was that fired the shot and they don’t have to wait long. Emerging from the smoke pouring out of a nearby building is Dolph Lundgren, who boldly strides towards them toting a shotgun. He introduces himself as “The Most Excellent Hunter in the World, Mitch Anders-Pete”. He begins to tell the tale of how the evil Admiral had kidnapped Dr. Quagmire from her lab in the West Indies and transported her here to work on genetically engineering jungle creatures. The idea was to have the beasts respond to any orders that were given to them, but a freak accident in the laboratory had caused all the beasties to escape. All, that is, except for the bats! For some unknown reason, the bats had decided to stay and fight their human captors to the death.
Astonished at this incredible story, they ask what ever became of the Admiral, to which Anders-Pete answers that he has the man tied up in his own office. He wants to see the Admiral stand trial for his crimes against the animal kingdom. Before they can carry on their conversation, a horde of bloodthirsty bats attack!
This is the one scene that everyone will remember upon leaving the theater, the one scene that will set this movie apart from all the other creature flicks! A CGI extravaganza of 5,000 bats facing off against Lou, Dina, and Dolph, in a battle scene that makes Braveheart look like a bad dance number in The Secret of Roan Inish. The fight is so brutal that words do not do it justice. Many bats die as the melee ensues, with Dolph accounting for 3,191 kills, and Dina and Lou doing considerable damage themselves. The event finally ends with an enormous bat casualty. However, Lou Diamond loses both legs in the battle but only seems to notice after the fact.
Dolph and Dina drag Lou into the Admirals office and become the witness of another horrible scene. DeBont outdoes himself this time. His direction allows us to see a large bat sitting on Hedeya’s chest, feasting on his face. Instead of shooting the bat, however, Anders-Pete shrugs and tells the others the Admiral was a parasite of shape loving evils everywhere, and was better off destroyed anyway. As Dina and the legless Lou laugh at their new friends’ joke, they ask him how they’re all getting off the island, to which he responds that there is a untouched plane on the other side of the base.
The last shot is brilliantly subtle, and shows Jan DeBonts’ understanding of how to end a movie, while leaving the audience stunned and slightly retarded. As the plane carrying our heroes takes off across the sea, the form of the large Hedeya-feasting bat can be seen following them on their journey home. Then the credits roll and the viewer is released from his demonic shackles, thanks to Mr. DeBont and Mr. Schumacher
3.2 out of 10