Zapped Again! (1990)

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Eight years after Scott Baio is given telekinetic powers in high school, his legacy continues in this sequel that is not bad and is a bit tamer when compared to its predecessor.

Kevin Matthews is the new kid at Emerson High School. Of course, from the get-go, he finds himself bullied by popular kid Wayne, all for just talking to his girlfriend Amanda. However, after getting a job at a local hot dog joint, he meets and befriends fellow student Lucy. Kevin ends up joining Lucy with the Science Club, which includes the nerdy Elliot and couple Chris and Joanne. It is there where Kevin makes quite a discovery.

He finds a strange bottle of prune juice. The label on the bottle reads “Property of Barney Springboro”. Does anyone see what we are getting at here? Of course, after a run-in with Wayne, Kevin is forced to drink the prune juice. Kevin soon learns that he has gained telekinetic powers, the same ones Barney had years earlier. Like his predecessor, Kevin uses his powers to take on the popular kids and protect his new friends in the Science Club. While he may have had eyes on Amanda at first, it’s clear that he falls for Lucy. When they are set up by Wayne, everything comes to a head at the local school carnival.

Yes, there are similarities and yes, we do have the name Barney mentioned in the film, so that makes it a true sequel to the original. It is fun in its own way, with Todd Eric Andrews doing a pretty good job as new boy Kevin, who becomes our new telekinetic hero. Kelli Williams does quite well as the new best friend who soon grows to become the new love interest when Kevin realizes what a mistake he made when trying to eye popular girl Amanda, who seems to have eyes for someone that’s not her bullying boyfriend Wayne, but someone even closer than expected.

Of course, some of the gags are the same as expected and there are striking similarities between this and the original. This includes a romantic subplot between principal Miss Burnhart, who appeared in the original film and is reprised by Sue Ane Langdon (in what would be her final film) and the high school coach, played by the late football legend Lyle Alzado. There is also another returning character in original popular girl Jane Mitchell, who is now the school’s biology teacher. Sadly, Heather Thomas didn’t return to the film, but has a suitable replacement in (of all people) Linda Blair, who manages to even mention Barney and his prom antics in the original film.

Instead of the prom, the climax is set at the school carnival. It is clear that Wayne is such a scumbag that he would go as far as wanting to put Kevin in the hospital or even kill him when he discovers that our hero is allergic to tomatoes. What kind of person would do this? It is like Wayne is the predecessor of today’s cyberbully. Of course, selected people come to their senses and agree with those already watching. Wayne equals scumbag. One just can’t wait for Wayne to get his…in a comic sort of way considering that this film is after all, a comedy.

So overall, compared to its original film, Zapped Again is a bit tamer but still fun nonetheless. The antics and powers are fun to watch and the finale takes quite a different turn but in a fun late 80’s/early 90s kind of way.

WFG RATING: B

An ITC Films presentation of a Part II Productions film. Director: Doug Campbell. Producers: Jeff Apple and Robert J. Rosenthal. Writers: Jack Morris, Vince Cheung, and Ben Montanio; based on characters created by Bruce Rubin and Robert J. Rosenthal. Cinematography: Tom Grubbs. Editing: Michael Spence.

Cast: Todd Eric Andrews, Kelli Williams, Reed Rudy, Maria McCann, Sue Ane Langdon, David Donah, Ira Heiden, Ross McCall, Linda Larkin, M.K. Harris, Michael Colyar, Brent Hinkley, Linda Blair, Karen Black, Lyle Alzado.

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