Last Seduction II
One of the great joys of watching direct-to-video sequels to popular erotic thrillers lies in ascertaining exactly how any given sequel is related to its predecessor. It's sort of a given that they're generally going to have a tenuous relationship with the films that inspired them, but some have taken that concept to a ridiculous extreme. There is, for example, last month's The First 9 1/2 Weeks, a film whose only relationship to the beloved vanilla S/M epic Nine 1/2 Weeks seemed to be that both movies feature human beings having some sort of sexual relationship. All of which is sort of an elaborate way of saying that, while Last Seduction II may be pretty silly, it still deserves some sort of credit for having a more solid connection to its inspiration than a lot of similar films. That's faint praise, to be sure, but it's still praise. Last Seduction II probably also deserves credit for appropriately casting Joan Severancewho is truly the second-rate, direct-to-video equivalent of Linda Fiorentinoin the cold-blooded-superbitch role Fiorentino played in the original. In Seduction II, Severance travels to Italy, where she becomes involved with a swarthy expatriate British businessman (Con O'Neill), with whom she toys in a predictably mercenary fashion. But the filmmakers behind Seduction II, perhaps drawing on latter-day Godzilla sequels that pitted their venerable monster heroes against cheeky radioactive upstarts, have similarly provided Severance with a worthy foein this case, a fierce low-rent private detective played by Beth Goddard, who is hired to hunt her down. As can be expected, Last Seduction II is pretty lousy, but at least it's enthusiastically lousy, which is more than can be said for either of those two glum Nine 1/2 Weeks semi-sequels. Severance bears a striking resemblance to Fiorentino, and pulls off the bitch thing with a fair amount of verve, but she seems at a loss when called upon to exude anything but bitchiness. Oddly, Last Seduction II contains no nudity, an unforgivable faux pas that'sthe direct-to-video-erotic-thriller equivalent of a Dirty Harry sequel in which nobody gets killed or a Jackie Chan film in which Chan spends the entire film confined to a wheelchair.