Thunder 2 (1987)

Thunder’s back, this time on the right side of the law as a new deputy sheriff in the town he had previously destroyed! I’m guessing there wasn’t a large hiring pool after the last movie. But corruption abounds in the local sheriff’s department, and soon enough, Thunder finds himself unjustly accused and forced into prison, while his pregnant wife is attacked and made to lose the child. What’s a young Native American man to do? Get revenge. Get sweet, explosive revenge. Again.

Italy does it again for the Thunder sequel, only this time it’s a bit muted in comparison. In general I think it’s a superior movie over the first, with a lot of the racism toned down but made up for with a generally better story. It’s still not a good story, but it’s an improvement that I’ll take. Unfortunately it appears everyone in the film was dubbed over, so the acting…well, it isn’t so up to snuff. At least in the first film, everyone seemed to actually be saying their lines.

But hey, the stars return: Mark Gregory comes back as Thunder, Bo Svenson once again plays the Sheriff (though his name has gone from Bill Cook to Roger), and Raimund Harmstorf is back as the racist evil deputy…though also with a name change from Barry Henson to ‘Rusty’. And Mark Gregory has lines this time! They’re just dubbed over. Everybody is dubbed over, usually pretty poorly. Gregory also appears to have gotten a lot lankier, but that might be because he fails to find a properly fitting shirt for half the film. I kept thinking he was going to get lost in all that cloth.

The plot for this one is a little more complicated than the previous “Native gets mad and attacks white folks” storyline. Basically evil deputy Rusty sells drugs and murders folks, and he hates Thunder. So he frames him for selling cocaine and has him sent to prison. Thunder escapes, so Rusty tries to hunt him down and in the process kills his unborn child, injures his wife, and wrecks Thunder’s alcoholic lawyer’s jeep. So Thunder goes and gets a crossbow and shoots stuff with exploding bolts. Stuff blows up, and Thunder wins.

The violence is again as bloodless as the first film, but there are fewer racial epithets thrown around, making this movie a PG-13 instead of the R of the previous entry. Damn child-friendly marketing strategies!

If anything, this one should be noted for its ending too: as Thunder and his wife ride away while his alcoholic lawyer drives (and drinks), Sheriff Bill Cook/Roger pulls out a rifle, takes aim, and there is a supposed gunshot…though it could all be a trick! After all, how else were they to get Thunder III?!

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