Film Review: Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha’ Hood (2003)

Also known as: Leprechaun 6, Leprechaun 6: Back In Da Hood (working titles), Leprechaun 6: Back to Tha’ Hood (alternative title)
Release Date: December 30th, 2003
Directed by: Steven Ayromlooi
Written by: Steven Ayromlooi
Based on: characters by Mark Jones
Music by: Michael Whittaker
Cast: Warwick Davis, Tangi Miller, Laz Alonso, Page Kennedy, Sherrie Jackson, Donzaleigh Abernathy, Keesha Sharp, Sticky Fingaz, Shiek Mahmud-Bey

Lions Gate Entertainment, 90 Minutes

Review:

“Don’t you presume to tell me right from wrong. You compromised all you believed in once you got the gold, just like all those before you. Your kind is weak, and will always give in to your selfish yearnings.” – Leprechaun

So I was not looking forward to watching this after reviewing the previous film in the original Leprechaun film series. However, I was pleasantly surprised and this somewhat redeemed the series and at least brought it back to the quality level of the first three movies.

That’s not necessarily high quality but they’re at least pretty palatable for horror fans that like the occasional laugh.

The five previous films were made by Trimark but this one was made by Lions Gate, who ended up absorbing Trimark after the atrocious fifth picture. With that, I feel like Lions Gate wanted to salvage this series and make a decent sequel.

I feel like they succeeded, even though this ended up being the last installment of the original string of films. They’d be rebooted later, twice, but no one cared either time because without Warwick Davis, you don’t have the Leprechaun.

Anyway, this film was actually funnier and the jokes mostly landed. Also, it felt a bit more grounded, as the Leprechaun can’t just summon any random spell for plot convenience, essentially being omnipotent.

It’s not specifically shown or stated that the Leprechaun’s magic has limitations in this film but he seems severely powered down and acts more like a supernaturally strong slasher when he kills. He almost feels like a miniature, festive Jason Voorhees with the ability to teleport.

Another thing Lions Gate did was that they updated the Leprechaun’s look. And they did a good job, as he looks a lot cooler, menacing and more serious in this installment.

Additionally, compared to the previous movie, the cast in this one was a lot more likable. I especially loved Page Kennedy in this, as he made me smile every damn time he was onscreen. He has tremendous charisma and even though he’s had a pretty good career since 2003, more people should hire him.

My only big gripe about the movie was the the Leprechaun’s death scene was heinously weak. Especially considering that this is his final sendoff.

Still, this fixed the damage created by the two previous chapters in Warwick Davis’ six-film Leprechaun run.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.

Film Review: Leprechaun In the Hood (2000)

Also known as: Leprechaun 5: In the Hood (alternative title)
Release Date: March 28th, 2000
Directed by: Rob Spera
Written by: Doug Hall, Jon Huffman, William Wells, Alan Reynolds, Rob Spera
Based on: characters by Mark Jones
Music by: Nicholas Rivera
Cast: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Coolio (cameo)

Trimark Pictures, 90 Minutes

Review:

“A friend with weed is a friend indeed, but a friend with gold is the best I’m told.” – Leprechaun

While the fourth film is where the series starts to really drop off in quality, this fifth film is where it turns into a total piece of shit.

This completely ignores the events of the fourth film, which was set in the future in outer space. Or maybe, chronologically that one is the final movie. But then again, I guess it doesn’t matter, as none of these movies really seemed tied to previous installments.

Anyway, the idea of having the Leprechaun go against Ice-T is kind of intriguing but when the script and the direction are quite deplorable, you get a stupid, mundane picture that might be a turd but can’t even stay afloat.

There is actually one amusing scene where the owner of a pawn shop makes fun of the film’s three protagonists but that’s about it. Even the Leprechaun’s one-liners seem tired by this point and even though the series needed to sort of reinvent itself, this was a massive misstep.

I can’t fault Warwick Davis, he seems to love playing this character and getting a paycheck in the process but five movies deep, even he can’t keep this franchise going.

The main characters in this story are rappers and they draw the ire of an evil rap producer/gangster. Just think Suge Knight, as played by Ice-T.

The music is absolute crap. This film came out in 2000 but these rappers sound like a group from a West Coast gangsta rap demo that got rejected in 1991.

In the end, the Leprechaun raps poorly too but he’s at least better than the actual rappers. This is only worth checking out for that scene and you can just watch it on YouTube, anyway.

Rating: 2.25/10
Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.

Film Review: Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)

Also known as: Leprechaun 4 (shortened title)
Release Date: 1996 (Russia)
Directed by: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written by: Dennis Pratt
Based on: characters by Mark Jones
Music by: Dennis Michael Tenney
Cast: Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Tim Colceri, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Debbe Dunning, Gary Grossman, Rebekah Carlton, Rick Peters, Geoff Meed, Michael Cannizzo, Ladd York, Guy Siner

Blue Rider Pictures, VIDMark Entertainment, Trimark Pictures, 95 Minutes

Review:

“No one leaves this ship unless I so say! Say so.” – Dr. Mittenhand

This is the point in the Leprechaun franchise where the movies started to get more bad than good. I still like this one, though, as the drastic change of setting at least freshened things up and opened the series up for even more campiness.

Additionally, Warwick Davis is always entertaining in this role and he had some great moments in this picture. There’s the scene where the Leprechaun gets a lightsaber and the awesome kill where the Leprechaun explodes out of a dude’s dick who is about to have some hot sex.

The sets looked incredibly cheap and the CGI effects were extremely subpar, even for the mid-’90s. However, the makeup effects of the mutant spider guy were really good and looked badass.

I also liked the cast for the most part between the commander with the metal head who gives us a weird drag show, the hot doctor, the hot princess and the inclusion of one of my favorite character actors, especially in horror, Miguel A. Nunez Jr.

Positives aside, this is still kind of shit and actually tough to get through in one sitting.

Honestly, this is worth checking out if you really love the Leprechaun character and you have a weird appreciation for horror franchises that end up going to outer space once the well runs dry. If you don’t, you might end up banging your head against the coffee table.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.

Film Review: Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Release Date: June 27th, 1995
Directed by: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written by: David DuBos
Based on: characters by Mark Jones
Music by: Dennis Michael Terry
Cast: Warwick Davis, John Gatins, Caroline Williams, Lee Armstrong, Marcelo Tubert, John DeMita, Michael Callan, Tom Dugan

Blue Rider Productions, VIDMark Entertainment, Trimark Pictures, 90 Minutes

Review:

“There was an old man of Madras whose balls were made of fine brass. So in stormy weather they both clang together and sparks flew out of his ass.” – Leprechaun

I think that Leprechaun 2 and 3 are pretty close in quality and both films are a bit better than the Jennifer Aniston starring original. However, these movies are very far from great and they don’t hold a candle to other slasher-y franchises with iconic monsters at their center. And frankly, this is probably why when people want to have famous slashers fight one another in mashup movies, no one ever really throws the Leprechaun in the mix.

That’s not to say that Warwick Davis isn’t good, he’s as the British say, “brilliant!” He’s just unfortunately bogged down by a string of crappy productions that he singlehandedly keeps afloat just by being great in them.

One benefit that this one has though is Caroline Williams, who I have always liked since first seeing her in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and then several other horror films since then. She’s a pretty iconic scream queen and she plays an interesting character, here, who ends up having one of the best deaths in this franchise.

Additionally, I really liked the Vegas setting even if the casino in this film was obviously some warehouse in California that they simply rolled a few gaming tables into.

I also really liked the main female lead and thought that she was the best final girl in the film series. Plus, she’s absolutely stunning and I’m surprised that she never had much of a career.

The male lead on the other hand was pretty awful. But he would go on to have a pretty good writing career in the film business.

Overall, I guess this one is tied for first place with the second film. But I do like this one just a wee bit more because of the setting, the final girl and Caroline Williams’ inclusion.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.

Film Review: Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Release Date: April 8th, 1994
Directed by: Rodman Flender
Written by: Turi Meyer, Al Septien
Based on: characters by Mark Jones
Music by: Jonathan Elias
Cast: Warwick Davis, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron, Kimmy Robertson, Clint Howard, Tony Cox, Michael McDonald

Planet Productions, Trimark Pictures, 85 Minutes

Review:

“Scream as you may! Scream as you might! If you try to escape, you’ll be dead on this night.” – Leprechaun

As I said in my review of the first Leprechaun movie, this is a series that actually increased in quality as it went on. Granted, it did run out of steam after the first three or four movies but this chapter in the series is slightly better than its predecessor.

You don’t really get an explanation on how the Leprechaun survived the first film but also, you never really knew if he died in that one or just got severely fucked up.

Who cares, though, as these movies use magic to do just about anything for the sake of convenience. Like its predecessor, the Leprechaun’s powers aren’t clearly defined and he can pretty much do whatever he wants. So don’t try to analyze the plots of these films or the title character’s choices with any sort of logic.

In this chapter, the Leprechaun shows up in Los Angeles to claim his bride, after cursing the family of an Irishman who outwitted him a thousand years earlier. None of that really matters, anyway. Just know that the Leprechaun wants the movie’s pretty teen girl and her doofus boyfriend wants to protect her.

There are some pretty decent kills in this film but the gore factor should’ve been kicked up a bit. I think the real reason why it wasn’t had more to due with budgetary reasons than anything else. It would’ve been cool seeing the lawnmower kiss of death kill actually happen onscreen and not in silhouette. Also, the pot of gold in the belly kill should have been much more gruesome.

Anyway, Warwick Davis saves this picture from complete mediocrity. He’s much more comfortable in the role and he really turns up the volume in this one. There are also some really good one-liners.

In the end, this is far from my favorite horror franchise but I still enjoy these movies regardless of their faults. However, without Warwick Davis, these films would be just as forgettable and trash as The Wishmaster movies.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.

Film Review: Leprechaun (1993)

Release Date: January 8th, 1993
Directed by: Mark Jones
Written by: Mark Jones
Music by: Kevin Kiner, Robert J. Walsh
Cast: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Holton, Deep Roy (stunts)

Trimark Pictures, 92 Minutes

Review:

“[the Leprechaun talks to himself while sitting over his pot of gold] Ah! Try as they will, and try as they might, who steals me gold won’t live through the night.” – Leprechaun 

I think that this is the one remaining “slasher” franchise that I have left to review. While I don’t specifically see these as slasher movies, the majority of the world deems them as such.

These are very similar in that they feature a murderous monster picking people off throughout the film but the Leprechaun uses magical methods and creativity more than simply picking up sharp objects and decorating the floor with the meat and fluids of his victims.

This is an odd series and I actually thought it improved, to a point, with its sequels. That being said, this one is the dullest in the franchise but I still enjoy it.

The main thing I like about these movies, which are far from great, is Warwick Davis. He’s awesome as the Leprechaun and his one-liners make me laugh, as he gleefully torments and murders those he believes stole his gold.

As far as the rest of the cast in this film goes, it’s only really notable for being Jennifer Aniston’s most prolific role before she exploded with fame a year later on Friends.

There’s not a whole lot to say about this chapter other than that it kicked off a cheap-to-make horror franchise that started getting the straight-to-VHS treatment by the third film. However, this is still amusing because of the title character.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.