Also known as: Angel II, Angel II: Avenging Angel (alternative titles)
Release Date: January 11th, 1985
Directed by: Robert Vincent O’Neil
Written by: Robert Vincent O’Neil. Joseph Michael Cala
Music by: Christopher Young
Cast: Betsy Russell, Rory Calhoun, Susan Tyrrell, Ossie Davis, Steven M. Porter, Robert F. Lyons, Frank Doubleday, Barry Pearl, Ross Hagen
Avenging Venture, Republic Entertainment International, New World Pictures, 93 Minutes
“Good God almighty! The little sidewinder pee’d all over me!” – Kit Carson
After watching Angel, I figured I’d give the sequels a shot but that also hindered on how much of a step down this one was. I’m glad to say that I mostly enjoyed it but it’s not really in the same ballpark as its predecessor. Still, I’ll probably watch the other two, assuming they’re streaming somewhere.
So this one does bring back some of the characters I liked in the first film while also recasting the role of Angel with Betsy Russell, who has always had my full attention. She even made those abysmally bad Saw sequels a wee bit more palatable than they otherwise would have been.
Original Angel, Donna Wilkes, didn’t come back because supposedly, she had salary demands that the producers didn’t want to meet.
I think the recasting makes sense, though, due to the movie jumping ahead four years. Although, I think the time jump also made it less controversial, as the title character was no longer fifteen years-old. Now the character was in law school and definitely made to be sexier, as she was nineteen years-old and technically legal.
Russell has a much stronger presence than the previous Angel, overall, but that’s also not a knock against Donna Wilkes. Russell just felt like she was experienced, tougher and able to handle her shit in a way that Wilkes’ fifteen year-old Angel couldn’t.
I really liked Russell in this a lot and she had good chemistry with the returning cast, specifically Susan Tyrrell and Rory Calhoun.
I also liked the rest of the crew with Yo-Yo Charlie getting a bigger role and the edition of Johnny Glitter, who is a character that honestly cracked me up. Veteran actor Ossie Davis was also a good addition to the cast.
Overall, I felt like the story was weaker. The whole thing about Angel being a minor tricking on the streets wasn’t part of the narrative and this movie loses that edge and her character no longer feels like an innocent child in a scummy, dark world.
It’s obvious that this was made just to try and replicate the surprise success of its predecessor but it’s just more of an action crime movie. The fact that there isn’t a sadistic serial killer was also a step down. This just follows Angel as she hunts down the thugs that murdered her police friend that became somewhat of a father figure to her.
In the end, the good guys win and they go on with their lives. Although, there are two more movies. Sadly, no one returns for the other films.