Giant and mutated monsters have been around for as long as the Atomic bomb of Gojira (1954) signaled a cultural change for an entire nation. Then of course came Them (1954), Food of the Gods (1976), and Tarantula (1955), to name a few but when people tired of the giant monster craze it faded into obscurity and became nothing more than cannon fodder but then writer John Sayles and director Lewis Teague unleashed Alligator (1980) upon an unsuspecting audience and became a huge hit as it took an urban myth and turned it into an urban nightmare. It was a little more than a decade when the sequel Alligator II: The Mutation (1991) saw the light of day and was also a film that had a lot more to say than just being a giant alligator on the loose film.
The plot of this film is very similar to the original as people start to disappear in a small city whose lake is connected to the sewer system. A lone cop David Hodges (Joseph Bologna) is the only one who believes that the deaths of some homeless people and some minority fisherman are linked and that the city may be facing a bigger and more aggressive alligator than anyone has ever seen. Add to the fact that local land developer Vinnie Brown (Steve Railsback) is holding a fair that will put their city on the map as long as there are no problems and Hodges has more problems than he really needs. There are also shades of government corruption and manipulation and minority race relations thrown in to add more political intrigue to the story but the real star of this film is the giant mutated alligator that has been exposed to radioactive waste and really just wants to eat everything in its sight.
The Mutation may seem like a pale comparison to the original but there is a lot going for this film as Bologna proves time and time again that he is an actor that can be both serious and funny when he needs to be as there are many funny moments in the film especially with his interactions with his wife Christine (Dee Wallace) and his rookie partner Harmon (Woody Brown). There is also the “great alligator hunter” in the form of Richard Lynch (always a pleasure to behold) and you throw them all together and you have one hell of an entertaining film that’s quite engaging considering the retread of a plot from the original (and various other giant monster films out there).