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'Wolf Creek 2' can't match original

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After the imaginative promise of 2005's 'Wolf Creek,' the sequel falls flat

Greg McLean's "Wolf Creek 2" closely follows the template of his acclaimed 2005 original, and ultimately the sequel's raisons d'être seem to be emulating superior movies, from "Deliverance" to "Joy Ride" to "Saw."

John Jarratt reprises the role of Mick Taylor, the indestructible redneck serial killer prowling the Australian outback for stranded tourists as prey. This time we get a better idea of what makes him tick, and in turn we get to plumb McLean a bit more. But everything we can gather seems to nullify any virtues we saw in the original film.

Mick is evidently a xenophobic cannibal who has developed an appetite for intruders, especially the country's former British colonizers. If the inflated music-clearance budget has afforded anything, it's the unbridled giddiness on display — like setting a scene of dismemberment to Patsy Cline's “I Fall to Pieces.” It seems to suggest McLean's unequivocal endorsement of Mick's misdirected revanche.

McLean establishes lawlessness right from the get-go by killing off two highway patrolmen. Because there's no more mystery associated with Mick's pathology, McLean compensates for the lack of suspense with graphic dismemberments. The film finally runs its course when he resorts to a pop quiz on Australian history with Mick administering the electric saw for each wrong answer.

Complain about "Saw" all you want. At least that franchise consistently attempted twist endings.

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"Wolf Creek 2"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes.

Playing: At AMC Burbank 16. Also on VOD.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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