Unlike The Exterminator, Part II, this movie does have a sequel. However, Octopus and Octopus 2: River of Fear are radically different in nearly every aspect save for the fact that they both have a giant killer octopus. Oh, and water, but I figured that was a given.
Aquatic New York Police Department master diver super cop Nick Hartfield has a problem. He gets hunches that end up right, but they look bad politically. He starts off by thinking a local judge is getting in cocaine shipments, and then he thinks a giant killer octopus has begun killing people in the New York harbor. He’s right, but nobody believes that a judge in New York could be corrupt…right. Oh yeah, nobody believes that octopus story either. Unfortunately, his partner Walter is soon killed, and while Rachel, the mayor’s errand girl, soon believes Nick, nobody else does. Instead, they all believe it’s some kind of serial killer who went active right before the Fourth of July celebration, and the town’s mayor is totally not willing to do anything to jeopardize the Fourth of July celebration. That’s when the killer octopus shows up.
Anyway, so New York elected the mayor from Jaws, only this guy is even shittier at his job. But more importantly, the giant killer octopus is real and kills a few cops, which is what it takes to get the NYPD to actually pay attention to the problem. Once the chief realizes Nick isn’t crazy (and after he busts that drug dealing judge…ok, he doesn’t. The judge got eaten by the octopus, and Nick just found the cocaine. Freaking octopus, coming in here and doing the NYPD’s job), he sends out everybody to fight the octopus. The cops blow up said octopus during a fireworks display, so nobody notices that the water is exploding.
Unfortunately, the octopus manages to damage an underwater tunnel in the process. Said underwater tunnel happens to be a road containing the mayor’s errand girl on a school bus full of children from around the world, and by that I mean Eastern European kids holding flags of counties like Japan. And of course, one of those kids is in a wheelchair. With the school bus trapped, Nick then has to go down and rescue those kids! And an old woman! And her dog! Once he gets everyone out to safety, the evil octopus rears its head, and the super cops take it down with exploding dart bombs. The day is saved, and everybody cheers and jumps around, even the disoriented old woman with a head injury that is bleeding profusely, because yeah, that makes sense. Maybe they should get her to a hospital or something.
There are some key things to note about this movie, but the primary one is that it’s really about rugged cop Nick and artistic mayor’s errand girl Rachel having a meet-cute like in a Hallmark movie while also saving New York City and a bus full of kids from a giant octopus. Yes, I know what a meet-cute is. No, I’m not proud of it. Also, the giant octopus rips the head off the Statue of Liberty in a dream sequence. Yes, it’s a dream sequence, but damn it, it proves that the most heinous part of a giant octopus killing people is that it hates America! We can’t be having any of that crap now! This is a nation of proud cops and proud incompetent mayors and proud corrupt judges, and no giant octopus can come in here and attack our big ass statues.
That dream sequence also has the worst CG of the film, but it regularly has bad CG. Octopus 2: River of Fear looks like it had the budget of a made-for-tv movie, and when it goes to computer generated images, it just looks awful. The practical effects are much better, which mainly consist of puppet tentacles attacking people like wet noodles and somehow managing to strangle them. There’s even a scene where a boat explodes, and you know what? It was a miniature boat with little puppet tentacles on it. That was so much better than the bad CG octopus exploding too, it gave me Godzilla vibes. More movies need exploding miniatures.
Look, it’s a movie that uses Bulgaria to stand in for New York. What more could you want?