REVIEW: Teen Wolf Too (1987)

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1987, Atlantic Entertainment Group

Director:
Christopher Leitch
Producer:
Kent Bateman
Writers:
Jeph Loeb (original characters and story)
Matthew Weisman (original characters and story)
R. Timothy Kring (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Jules Brenner
Editing:
Raja Gosnell
Steve Polivka
Harvey Rosenstock
Kim Secrist

Cast:
Jason Bateman (Todd Howard)
Kim Darby (Professor Tanya Brooks)
John Astin (Dean Dunn)
Paul Sand (Coach Bobby Finstock)
James Hampton (Harold Howard)
Mark Holton (Chubby)
Stuart Fratkin (Stiles)
Estee Chandler (Nicki)
Robert Neary (Gustafson)

Based on an episode of the cartoon series, this sequel was an attempt to help launch Jason Bateman in the same vein as Michael J. Fox, but ultimately proves its inferiority.

At Hamilton College, newcomer freshman Todd Howard has learned he received a boxing scholarship. However, he has only played in the high school band and yearns to become a veterinarian. When he meets the boxing coach, Bobby Finstock, he learns why he was offered the scholarship. Finstock was the basketball coach of Beaverton High, where Todd’s cousin Scott was the star player two years ago because he became a werewolf and is hoping Todd has the same gene. Todd is convinced he is not like Scott, but he soon learns that he is slowly going through changes himself.

Todd’s roommate is Scott’s best friend Stiles with fellow friend Chubby also on the boxing team. They are both hopeful that Todd will inherit the gene. After fully transforming at a social event, Todd is seen as a dog and finds solace with fellow freshman Nicki as well as his faculty advisor Professor Brooks. However, during his first boxing match, Todd becomes the wolf and knocks out his opponent. Soon, Todd becomes the star player and with that, comes the ego. When Todd realizes what his newfound fame has been costing him, he must turn to the one person who can truly understand his problem: his uncle Harold.

The original Teen Wolf was a really good film that had a lesson about ego and being responsible when you are given a gift. Of course, that film became a hit film for lead star Michael J. Fox, who was at the time a television star already. After the 1986 cartoon spin-off, we were given this sequel, which looks to be based on an episode of the series that revolved around the introduction of Scott’s cousin Todd, who also became a werewolf.

Like Fox with Family Ties, Jason Bateman had appeared on Little House on the Prairie but at this time, he was gaining massive popularity as oldest son David on The Hogan Family. His father Kent served as the producer of the film and while Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman served as executive producers, they didn’t write the script for this film, which is pretty much described as re-hash of the original film only with the setting changed to college and the sport changed to boxing.

Give Bateman credit though for trying. Unlike Scott, Bateman’s Todd is in a new environment so there is going to be a bit of hostility until he meets Stiles and Chubby. Thankfully, Jerry Levine did not return to the role and was replaced by Stuart Fratkin, who would be known at the time for his role in the short-lived TV series The Adventures of Beans Baxter and would go on to appear in more television series and films, including his double team-up with Dean Cameron first in the underrated comedy film Ski School followed by the one-season TV comedy They Came from Outer Space. Mark Holton makes the most of his return as Chubby, whose role here is more prominent than in the original.

Veteran Kim Darby offers a mentor role to Todd as Professor Brooks. She is pretty much treated the way the way Scott would treat his father when confronted with the ego that goes with the powers. However, unbeknownst to Scott, Brooks has a bit of an ace up her sleeve that is revealed in the third act. John Astin proves to be worse than Jim MacKrell’s Thorne as the arrogant Dean Dunn while Paul Sand just doesn’t seem to have the comic flair that Jay Tarses does in the role of Coach Finstock. James Hampton makes a great cameo as Uncle Harold, who looks better in werewolf mode than he did in the original and Bateman is almost unrecognizable at times when he is in wolf mode, with help from John Logan and Mike Smithson, who created the wolf makeup for the film.

Teen Wolf Too is nothing more than a re-hash of the original film but give Jason Bateman credit for trying to emulate the spirit of Teen Wolf. Yet the truth is, we can only thank God Bateman has gone on to bigger and better things.

WFG RATING: C-

DVD

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