- Directed by Sam Irvin
- April 2, 1996
The suave bounty hunter Sweeney arrives in Oblivion in search of a wanted killer.
As can often be the case for sequels, Oblivion 2: Backlash is a more polished version of what came before. They have the universe solidly set down by this point and knew what worked and what did not in the last one and went full steam ahead in crafting this film. This sequel takes itself much less seriously than its predecessor. The characters are better defined and they lean into the personas that they established early on. The humor flows much more naturally than it did the first time.
Tossed into the mix is a bounty hunter named Sweeney (Maxwell Caulfield) with a near superhuman reputation who is heading to the planet of Oblivion in search of a corporate saboteur. I really thought in the last one the town was called ‘Oblivion’ with the planet being unnamed. On top of that Sheriff Zack Stone (Richard Joseph Paul) is hesitatingly attempting to engage in a relationship with Mattie (Jackie Swanson) who is briefly intrigued by Sweeney.
The first film’s cast of Richard Joseph Paul, George Takei, Julie Newmar, Isaac Hayes, Musetta Vander, and Meg Foster all return to their respective parts. Andrew Divoff even comes back but not as the unnamed character he showed up as briefly out of makeup in the last one but rather as Red Eye’s smarter brother Jaggar in a move that is a poke at returning cast members that should not have been able to return.
Much like with the last one, whatever it does here is more of a joke than it is a serious attempt at anything. This is much less a comedic nod to Westerns and science-fiction and more a comedic Western with science-fiction elements. That’s a bit of a fine line, but it is what it is and Oblivion 2: Backlash walks it very well. That’s not to say it isn’t without acknowledgements of such things as Star Trek or the scene in Empire when Han and the others are in the cave that turns out to be a space monster.
It looked like they may have been setting things up for a sequel, or at the minimum providing material for a sequel if this was successful enough which never materialized. They don’t kill anyone off in a way they can’t return from. This is in addition to the possible revelation that Miss Kitty (Julie Newmar) might be Sheriff Stone’s mother. How this fits together I don’t know.
Sam Irwin returns to direct the sequel (which is expected since this was supposedly filmed back to back with the first one) and he does a much better job here than he did before. He doesn’t create high art, but he knows what he has to work with and his comfort in this universe really shows at how smoothly everything comes together.
Full Moon Entertainment, the studio behind this, originally aimed for cheap movies that looked expensive. The goal eventually faded and this is a victim of that. It looks very much like a syndicated series pilot of the era and not a more polished or expensive production. There is something about this that screams ‘television pilot’ and I would’ve loved to of seen this turned into a series. It feels there is so much material here that it would work better as an episodic television show rather than a series of films.
Oblivion 2: Backlash is yet another sequel to a film that works better than the original. They went all in on the comedy and created something fun and entertaining. The main drawback is this is probably for a very niche audience so if you like cheese or just general junk, this is for you. For the general moviegoer not so much.