Planet Raptor: Raptor Island 2 (Review)

Planet Raptor: Raptor Island 2

aka Raptor Island 2

Directed by Gary Jones
Written by Steve Latshaw

Remember that SciFi Channel movie Raptor Island and how it was one of the worst SciFi Channel movies ever, the raptors just stood there and got shoot, and the whole thing was a complete mess? Well, it got a sequel! Don’t you feel your harsh criticisms of the original are now unjustified? Of course not, there is no reason for this sequel to exist. And yet it does. And it is set in space.


Well, Critters, Friday the 13th, and Leprechaun did it, so why not Raptor Island? That also gives you the excuse to rip off Aliens wholesale with the excuse it is in the future, thus it is a homage or something. So IN THE FUTURE Raptor will still be eating people, because that is what they do. And SciFi Channel will be airing Shark Attack 46: Megalodon in Space.

Director Gary Jones worked with Sam Raimi on two of the Evil Dead films, and has since become a genre director of his own right. Writer Steve Latshaw has been around for years, previously encounter here in The Curse of the Komodo. Neither of them have much to work with due to the limited budget, and are forced to resort to stock footage and abandoned towns. The film reeks of a small budget, it even has problems with the American flags on the uniforms. Sometimes the American flag has forty stars, and sometimes only 35! It looks like in the future America lost a few states, or they are in a state of quantum flux, probably due to more raptors. Schrödinger’s states.

Captain Mace Carter (Steven Bauer) – tough talking captain of a squad of marines sent to investigate a mysterious SOS on a planet. Steven Bauer played the evil foreign terrorist Azir in the previous film, who died, so this must be his great-great grandson who is now an American. Cultural assimilation for raptor destruction, in space. You have to admire a character named for Mace Windu and John Carter of Mars.
Dr. Anna Rogers (Vanessa Angel) – Her parents were killed in a war, so she became a scientist as well. Makes sense. Probably a distant descendant of the offspring of Mike and Linda Olsen from Raging Sharks, because I believe all SciFi Channel films take place in the same universe. A very terrifying universe.
Sgt. Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Moore (Musetta Vander) – The tough woman marine character you need in all Aliens ripoffs. You know she’s tough because she has a boy’s name. Musetta Vander was in such great films as Mansquito, Wild Wild West, and Mortal Kombat 2.
Dr. Tygon (Ted Raimi) – The leader of the creepy government scientists. You know he is evil because he is named after a hybrid animal, but the opposite of the one bred for their skills in magic. Ted Raimi is Sam Raimi’s brother and is in all of his films, but sometimes you got to pay for that new house, so here we are.
Sgt. Pappy Mathis (Peter Jason) – The old man marine who is tough and old and cool. He’s the most likeable character, so you might as well paint a target on his back. He gets raptor chomped, and then goes all suicide bomber on those space dinos. Peter Jason was also in the original Raptor Island, and used the accolades he got from these two movies to get a role in Transformers 2. He is also seen here in They Live.
Jose (???) – A bald trooper with one eyebrow and lots of old food. I don’t know who played him because the credits didn’t bother to tell anyone. Bad credits!
Alien Dude (Puppet) – He is an alien who looks like a mantis, and his race had the brilliant plan to use raptors as slaves and pets. This was after they had the idea to build and orphanage on a volcano and crash a meteor into their capital building to kill some termites. Not the brightest thinkers, and now all dead. Take that, space bugs!
Puppet Raptors (Puppet) – The Space Raptors come in two breeds – Puppet and CGI. Guess which one doesn’t look terrible? All the shots of the Puppet Raptor are pretty scary, but then he jumps out as a CGI mess and you wonder what they were thinking. Next time, go 100% puppet raptor with a marionette. It will still look better than…
CGI Raptors (CGI) – CGI Raptors look pretty terrible. Half of the time they are purple, but at least they aren’t as brain dead as the previous movie’s raptors, who stood still while being shot and just dropped dead. Now they drop dead whil walking forward. That is how Space Raptors are so spacey. Maybe if you are coked out of your brain to the point where you think you are in space, these effects will look good. Give me the Puppet Raptors!!
Commander Bakewell (Serban Celea) – Captain of the ship USS Santee, he spends most of the film hanging with Science Chief Romanov (Bart Sidles) trying to get in contact with the ground team, only to try to kill them when he does. Makes sense. As expected, Commander Bakewell makes the best brownies ever, but is a mortal enemy of Poppin Fresh!.

IN THE FUTURE, marines and scientists beam down to a planet that didn’t get the memo that it was IN THE FUTURE, because it is stuck in Victorian England. The town is also abandoned, which saves money on extras. I lied about the town being abandoned, it is filled with raptors! Scientists Volkov and Anna Rogers wander off, Volkov is so dead, he doesn’t even have a first name! And he does die, as a raptor wanders up and drags him away.

The Marine team has all old-school weapons – AK-47s and shotguns, because that is what they were given. Also, that’s what they had at the prop store. New weapons will show up later, but by not having them at the beginning you don’t have to draw lasers until the last half of the movie. Either that, or the props weren’t finished when filming started. I’m guessing the former, but the latter would not surprise me.

The raptor effects are a mix of a nicely done puppet and bad CGI renders, many of which look swiped from the previous film, though they may just be using the standard raptor walking motions available on CGI sites throughout the internet. These raptors do show wounds better than the previous ones, it is more than a quickly disappearing purple splash and actually sticks around longer than a second. Their skins have been downgraded to an odd purple tone and looks less realistic. The puppet effects are the best part, but there is only one single puppet and it isn’t a full enough body to do anything fancy except look around corners and be a foot or something.

Back to the movie, the raptor eating Volkov gets blown away, and a fog rolls into town. It is a radioactive storm, which begins to make contact with the ship above impossible. Thus they get stuck on the planet, which will be bad once the raptors smash through the basecamp a scene or two from now. Spoilers. The team splits up, so Captain Mace Carter leads some guys through a castle, while other guys go into a room and find a giant alien bug statue. There is also a machine in there that is the SOS transmitter. There are no life signs, and the machine turns off once Jack starts messing with it, so she takes the power source.

BASE CAMP ATTACK!! The raptors just stroll into basecamp, which was set up in the middle of an intersection in the street for some reason. People shoot at the raptors, but some of them grab Pappy and start tossing him around like a rag doll. Not Pappy! He’s the only guy so far who isn’t boring. Another dude gets killified, but by now the rest of the cast has returned with guns to ventilate these crazy raptors, who just want to eat. The raptors get blastilated, and skedaddle. Pappy isn’t dead, which is good, because everyone likes Pappy. The team stand around and argues with the scientists a bit, while Dr. Tygon secretly takes samples from a dead raptor. This is played as being sinister, despite it being perfectly normal for scientists to take samples of an extinct dinosaur that no one has seen in 65 million years! What is he supposed to do, let the thing rot? It’s called science because you do science, i.e. study things. The film is trying to play up Dr. Tygon as sinister and up to something (i.e. he is the evil guy who works for The Company like the dude from Mad About You) but it makes no sense here.

The group decides to hole up in the castle, which is a better idea than sitting in the street (except the fact there are raptors hiding in the castle) and then they sit around arguing some more. Raptor Island 2: Random Guys Arguing! A random raptor just wanders in the room, he gets blasterized. This film is filled with random things, like they had to fill thirty minutes until the big conclusion. So next is a random backstory. We find out that Captain Carter’s wife was a scientist who died on a mission, but Dr. Anna Rogers knows that the wife was really ordered killed by the mission’s ship commander. Who is Commander Bakewell, the ship commander here! Now Captain Carter knows the truth, and wants revenge. Raptor revenge. IN SPACE!

Pappy has a seizure and is injected by Dr. Tygon and saved. He injected him with anti-venom, but everyone mad because it was a guinea pig. I am sorry they don’t have any mice on the planet to run tests on, so why so mad? It is not like Pappy died. Maybe these are some of those idiots who think vaccines are evil and give you autistic cancer or something, or they are Christian Scientists. In any event, the action does not portray the intended effect – that the Company treats the grunts like corporate guinea pigs and not real people – in a well enough way to be understood. A random dinosaur attack outside fulfills the required monster attack every 8 minutes or so SciFi Channel demands. Guard chomped by a Carnotaurus in an effects shot stolen from the first film and the rest of the group shoot at it. The added irony here is the shot was the one that killed Azir, Steven Bauer’s character from the first film, while Steven Bauer’s character Captain Mace Carter is now shooting at that effects shot. We’re through the looking glass here, folks! Despite stealing this Carnotaurus footage, no one mentions it wasn’t a raptor, the Carnotaurus is never seen again, and subsequent shots all show just raptors and no Carnotauruses. Not even a post-production overdub! Gah! Jack throws the alien power source at the attacking raptor (which was formerly the Carnotaurus), it blows up and kills the raptor (the former Carnotaurus). Now there are two injured people (Pappy and This Other Guy Who Got Chomped.) Will this movie just be people injured one after another, until they form a giant piled of injured actors who moan and writh in a bloody, bandaged heap? Because I’d be okay with that. It is what they deserve, for making me watch Raptors IN SPACE!

Captain Carter gets an idea, they will go to get more power sources, and also alien weapons that were in a box that no one bothered to tell Carter about until just then. So they go, and while they are there, an alien appears! A real alien puppet, not some CGI crap! Although this film has a lot of problems, I applaud them for the puppet work, because it is far and away the best part of the film. The alien talks in clicking noise that Dr. Anna Rogers can translate, because the plot demands it. He is the last alien of his kind, a soldier. The raptors were the dominant species on the planet and the bugs used them as pets and workers, until the raptors attacked them. I bet they never saw it coming. This entire alien race was composed of the people who though Jurassic Park was a good idea. The aliens sent the SOS, and then everyone died. And now this alien dies, as he drops dead. I guess he listened to Morgan Freeman – Get busy living, or get busy dying. And he was sick of living. You’d be sick of living if you were stuck in this film as well.

If you ever wanted to see people shoot dinosaurs with lasers, boy will this movie give you a sproing in your groin. But please, cover that up while you read on. We are a family website. The group laserizes these dinos, zappicating the raptors so they are deadified as the team heads back to basecamp. They still lose a guy somehow as they all missed seeing a raptor two inches to their left. Space Marines have no peripheral vision, but they make up for it by hating corporations.

The team finds out from Tygon that they are there on orders from the Company, who want to use the raptors as weapon. That Company never changes their business plans. We also find out that the Company was working with the bug aliens for 50 years, but the comm lines went dark and thus the Marines were sent (despite the marines being sent as a response to a distress call mentioned as the reason earlier in the film) The group ties up Tygon for being evil-ish. They then decide they will use the alien communications device to break through the radiation storm, so they send another team to get there – a team of Mace and Jack only. They get to room, laser some dinos, but run out of batteries so are forced to switch back to bullets. Lame! I want my space lasers! Jack falls down a hole under the communications device, and Mace jumps in to get to her. Raptors in the caves! Just like the last movie. Suspiciously like the last movie. Identical to the last movie. Frame by frame. For shame. Who’s to blame? Duraflame. Just because.

The raptors break down the castle doors! Use the boiling oil! Head to the Keep! Oh, wait, this isn’t castle people vs. Raptors (now THAT should be a SciFi Channel movie!) Toss a dwarf to buy some time, until that Orc from the Olympics blows a hole in the outer wall. Luckily, the Elves showed up even though they weren’t in the book…. Sorry, I was trapped in a fantasy of watching Lord of the Rings again. That’s what this movie did to me! Time for some snappy dialogue: “What what what, what is it?” queries Jose. “Raptors..inside!” says Dr. Anna Rogers. What is this, Intel?

The squad sets up barricades (tables)…something is wrong, the team has suddenly decided to use tactics! Next, they might not do stupid stuff like barricade themselves in a building filled with dangerous dinosaurs. But then who would die every eight minutes as dictated by SciFi Channel rules? They are set to go all Alamo in the castle, except everyone at the Alamo died, so maybe they should go all Santa Anna. Except he lost a leg and the wooden leg was taken by the Illinois National Guard and is on display at the Illinois National Guard Museum in Springfield. So I am out of things they could act like. Maybe they should act like a wooden leg and get a free trip to Illinois?

Back in the caves that reuses shots from the first film: “They thought they could control them by building on top of their nest?” – Jack. These aliens are the kind of people who sign up for those commercials with the CGI fox about running your own business. Let’s blow these raptors up with all this c4 I have and didn’t use before!

In the castle, Pappy is off and running, he shoves a shotgun down a raptor’s throat and pulls the trigger. Pappy rules. The c4 plan is to drop it nowhere near the lots of raptors, because they were stock footage. Jack and Mace Carter blow it up, and the same volcano from the last movie explodes (where was the volcano here???) and lava flows throughout the caves, killing all the raptors and yet not killing Jack and Mace Carter despite them being right next to the giant lava pit and explosives. Pappy finds a room filled with medieval torture stuff, and says “Colony’s a girl!” I am completely lost here. “Colony’s a girl?” Is this some space stuff?

So he found a way out, and goes to get the rest of them, but Qui-gon is too scared to move. They leave him!!!! His head is chomped. Jack and Mace work on the alien transceiver to call the ship.


Earthquake? It looks like someone got their disaster movie mixed with this dinosaur movie. What is next, bird flu? Pappy suicide bombs himself when he’s injured, killing a raptor and fulfilling another Aliens cliché. The escape takes them to the very same entry room that they were in when they left! This is not an escape, but a circle! The circle of Raptor. Mace saves them by bursting in the room and blasting some raptors. As they run out, another raptor is behind a wall, so Tygon shove the injured soldier into him! The injured soldier eaten, maybe I should have learned his name. Not important now. Mace points a gun at Tygon until he runs away, falls off of some stairs, and is eaten by raptors in a rather bloody fashion.

They escape to streets, standoff as they try to make transmitter work. Back on the ship, Commander Bakewell wants to not beam up Mace, because he’s gone from following evil orders to just being evil. But the Science Chief Romanov calls some MPs (who arrive in 1/10th of a second and arrest him.) The four survivors (Jose, Jack, Mace Carter, and Anna Rogers) are beamed back on the ship, and Mace Carter punches Bakewell and we end!

Bloopers before credits! Will there be a Raptor Island 3: Raptors In Da Hood? Because I want to see Ice T fight raptors. Rappers vs. Raptors, that line sells the entire movie!

Remember the fateful line: “Colony’s a girl” – Pappy, IN SPACE!!

Rated 3/10 (Ship mug!, Glowing eyes, Tattoo technology hasn’t improved much…)

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