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Direct To Video
8.19.2002 by Dan, every Monday.

Recently, I was watching a direct-to-video movie. This was not by choice. I was watching a direct-to-video movie because we have cable TV at work, and my boss had the remote. Therefore, as I was checking in a shipment of computer parts, I was treated to the Sci-Fi Channel showing of “Pythons 2.”

As is typically the case with the cable TV stations, the Sci-Fi channel often chooses to while away the weekend hours showing movies. However, unlike TBS or USA, who have access to scores of mediocre and forgettable movies of all types, the Sci-Fi Channel is limited to sci-fi movies, and the vast majority of these are crimes against celluloid. And the Sci-Fi Channel is limited even further to movies to which it can actually buy the rights, which limits it to films designed for psychological warfare.

Interrogator: “Okay, Hans. You had your chance. Since you won't tell us where you hid the microfilm, we'll just fire up this big screen TV and let you watch Joe Estevez's finest work, 'Soultaker.'” (He steps out of the room.)

Hans: (Face melts like in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”)

Interrogator: “Poor bastard. Didn't even make it past the opening credits.”

Whenever the CIA or FBI or RIAA decides to retire one of these little gems, the Sci-Fi Channel snaps it up, often for as little as seven dollars. And that is how I ended up facing the atrocity “Pythons 2,” which a Sci-Fi Channel executive must have found in a Dumpster behind a dollar store.

I don't know anything about the original “Pythons,” except that some bastard thought it warranted a sequel, as though the creative forces behind “Pythons” felt that there were still stories to tell about people getting messily devoured by large snakes.

Fortunately, I missed the first half hour or so, but basically the story is about a bunch of Ordinary People who drive to a military base. Once there, they meet a team of commandos who are infiltrating the base, which is operated by the Russians. I apparently missed the part where it explained how these people drove to Russia. Anyway, a Mysterious Something wrecks their vehicles, so they decide to follow the commandos into the base. Sure, whatever. After a quick caveat of “We're not responsible if something happens,” the commandos welcome them to the fold. Apparently these soldiers are from an unknown branch of the military whose slogan is “The more, the merrier.” This gives us our cast: the Head Commando, the Other Commandos Who Never Seem To Speak But Just Scowl A Lot So They Look Mean, The Kind Of Hot T&A Chick With A Sort Of European-ish Accent, The Hero Guy Who Has A Lot Of Flashbacks To Being A Cop, and a couple of other guys to whom I never gave names because it was obvious that that Hero Guy and T&A Chick would be the only survivors.

So this motley crew decide that to get away from the Mysterious Car Wrecking Thing, it would be a good idea to go into the largely deserted military base full of dark and mysterious tunnels. Once inside, a giant snake (shock!) attacks the bunch, and, as you would expect, the highly trained team of commandos is quickly eaten while the civilians climb up a ladder to safety, followed by Head Commando.

Actually, forget this. this movie isn't worth this level of detail, and I can sum up the rest of the movie in one sentence. All but two people get eaten, there's a big explosion which wraps up the plot in a convenient manner while still leaving room for a sequel. I'm sure there will be literally dozens of people clamoring for “Pythons 3: The Revenge.”

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch some MST3K tapes.

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