While many films stand the test of time, others fade into obscurity. Whether this happens over a period of years or almost instantly upon a film’s release, each of these titles has slipped through the cracks of our collective memory to join the ranks of the Films That Time Forgot.
As recently covered in our review of Kindergarten Cop, the original should be considered a comedy classic. Making a sequel over 25 years later was always going to be a risky endeavor, especially after Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to return. Much of what made the original so good was its carefully considered approach to its premise: it simply asserted that caregivers can be masculine, and – most importantly – that there’s nothing particularly funny about it.
Kindergarten Cop 2 follows Dolph Lundgren’s Zack Reed, an FBI agent with a background in undercover sting operations. After catching a notorious criminal, Reed learns that he’s attempting to recover a stolen file containing the FBI’s witness protection database in order to kill his ex-girlfriend who is preparing to testify against him. Naturally, the file has been hidden in a school by a recently deceased kindergarten teacher, so Reed must go in undercover to locate it.
It’s a plot that’s about as convoluted as the original’s, but then again, how easy is it to find a good reason for law enforcement to go undercover in a children’s classroom? It’s only fair to forgive the ridiculousness of the premise as a necessary evil because otherwise, Kindergarten Cop 2 wouldn’t fit within the parameters of the franchise. Still, with over two decades having passed since the original movie’s release, the sequel should be able to offer some new and interesting insight into the ideas and themes explored in its predecessor, shouldn’t it?
Kindergarten Cop 2 Forgets Everything The First Film Was About (Including The Comedy)
Sadly, Kindergarten Cop 2 seems as though it was written by people who never saw the first movie, but rather had it explained to them in 10 words or less. This wouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker if the sequel actually had some good ideas, though, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. It almost feels as though it was created as a do-over: the first film was apparently far too sensitive and nuanced, so the sequel decides to abandon all subtlety and just insult as many people as possible. Including its audience.
It’s impossible to work out exactly who Kindergarten Cop 2 was made for. Its attempts at comedy are so simplistic and childish that it’s hard to imagine any adult laughing at them, but its protagonist is written to be as toxic as possible. The serial womanizer just waltzes into a teaching job with false credentials, insults the children and their parents, complains about new-age parenting techniques (despite not having children), and immediately sets about sleeping with his (much younger) co-worker.
Watching through and hoping that Reed might come to some epiphany about the error of his ways proved fruitless: he remains awful, but the children accept him anyway. What makes it all even worse is that the “mystery” at the center of Kindergarten Cop 2 is so blatantly obvious that its final act is ridiculously anti-climactic. There’s absolutely no reward to be gained from suffering through this unnecessarily hostile sequel because everything is all laid out from the very beginning.
Lundgren clearly doesn’t even try to make his role work, and to be fair, we don’t blame him. Kindergarten Cop 2 is so poorly-written that even the children seem to know it, with wooden dialogue and two-dimensional characters just barely keeping its by-the-numbers plot afloat. All in all, it’s pretty clear that this “sequel” is nothing more than a shameless cash grab attempting to capitalize on the name of a much better movie.
Exactly why time has so quickly forgotten this film is pretty clear, and honestly, it’s a kindness. No one should have to endure this: it’s a bastardization of an iconic piece of comedy cinema, and it doesn’t care how transparent that is. There’s no real entertainment value, just Dolph Lundgren grumbling about how weak today’s children are because of their over-sensitive parents. More guns in schools are his solution, and for some reason, Kindergarten Cop 2 lets that work.
Summary: It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, so it’s technically a movie. Everything else about Kindergarten Cop 2 feels more like someone kicking you in the head: it’s unpleasant, it’s unnecessary, and it’s something we hope hasn’t done any lasting damage to our brains.
Highlight: Dolph Lundgren treating a class of children as dismissively as possible is funny in all the wrong ways.