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Tucson Weekly Nothing Screams 'Rage' Like A Colon

'The Rage: Carrie 2' Sure Brings Back Those High-School Memories.

By James DiGiovanna

MARCH 22, 1999:  IF YOU'RE ANYTHING like me, then your high school must have had a nerdy, Christian girl who used her telekinetic powers to kill most of her classmates. Man, was that a bitch to clean up after, especially with all the pig's blood and decapitated bodies.

Anyway...if, like me, you were one of the survivors, you'll enjoy reliving those moments in The Rage: Carrie 2. It seems that 23 years after our friend Carrie White (whom you'll remember from the movie Carrie, which needed no colons to make its titular point) burned up her classmates for playing a zany, prom-night prank on her, it turns out her younger half-sister, Rachel, has gotten way into the goth look. She has, like, a dozen Marilyn Manson posters, and the ability to move objects with her mind. This is a bad combination according to her guidance counselor, Sue Snell, who has the misfortune of being one of the few people to get a high-school diploma from Carrie's alma mater in 1976.

It seems that 23 years earlier, as an act of charity, Sue lent her hunky boyfriend to Carrie White as a prom date. Little did she know this would also be a date with DEATH! So Sue lost a boyfriend and didn't get to go to the prom, which basically sucks double; and she's determined to see that doesn't happen to anyone, ever again.

Rachel, who has the bad habit of causing pretty, decorative items to explode when she's having emotions, comes to Snell's attention when Rachel's best friend commits suicide.

It seems that the football players at Rachel's high school have a scorebook to keep track of their forays into statutory rape. Rachel's friend thought she'd scored a football-player boyfriend, but really she'd only scored four points in this little game. When the football player dumps her the next day (played to mookish dopeyness by Home Improvement's ugly older brother, Zachery Ty Bryan), Rachel's friend decides to leap off the school roof and ruins a perfectly good Chrysler Le Baron.

With her only friend dead, Rachel appears as the tragic type. And since her English class is studying Romeo and Juliet, the star football player puts two and two together and decides that he must love Rachel. Audiences here mentally add "even if he can only have her in death." So, little Romeo of the Gridiron and Juliet with superpowers begin a romance--even though he's from the in crowd and she's not!

At this point, the movie picks up on some standard teen-film clichés: There's an "in crowd" and an "out crowd," and the "out" kids really want to be "in." I find it hard to believe this happens in real life, but it's one of those movie conventions you just have to swallow, like that the kidnappers didn't see the second gun strapped to that cop's ankle when they patted him down; or that if a car explodes right behind you, you just have to leap through the air and you'll be okay; or that a girl with glasses is ugly, and becomes shockingly beautiful when the glasses are removed.

The other major cliché is that there's one (and only one) nice kid in the in crowd (i.e., the football player who falls in love with goth geek Rachel) who will learn the meaning of love and loyalty from someone from the out crowd, no matter what his friends think.

That having been set up, anyone who's seen the original Carrie must be thinking, "Please, Mr. Football God, don't invite her to the prom!" Not to worry...he invites her to the big party after the football game. Yikes. And it seems that his friends are scheming to humiliate her in some way--at this very party! Having seen how poorly this idea worked out before, Sue Snell, counselor and Carrie White survivor, attempts to put the kibosh on things.

The Rage: Carrie 2 is pretty predictable, especially if you've seen Carrie without the colon. It has essentially the same dramatic structure, changing only the accidental details. On the other hand, this is the worst weekend for film releases so far this year, with Wing Commander, Baby Geniuses, Deep End of the Ocean and The Corruptor all opening to dismal reviews--so you could do a lot worse than Carrie 2.

Amongst its strong points is the performance by Jason London as Rachel's boyfriend. He looks so much like a young Brendan Fraser that if Fraser were Johnny Depp, London would be Skeet Ulrich. There's also the fact that, as my friend Smokey pointed out, this film seems to take place in a strange, alternate universe devoid of bras. There's some fun cinematography, with black-and-white shots used in a low-budget way to express evil. There's also some really crappy cinematography, with overly tight closeups that serve no purpose other than to make the film easier to transfer to television formats.

Most important, though, is the fact that there's a colon in the title. There's something tremendously mellifluous responding to the question, "What'd you do last night?" with, "I saw The Rage Colon Carrie 2." It seems so much more right-on than a movie without a colon in the title. Wouldn't you rather have seen Citizen: Kane, or Sex: Lies and Videotape, or Rocky: 2?

Finally, the best thing about this movie is that director Katt Shea is probably best known for her acting work, including such roles as Elstrid in Barbarian Queen (also released under the title Queen of the Naked Steel), Dee Dee in Hollywood Hot Tubs and "Unnamed Mud Wrestling Woman Number 2" in My Tutor. But she's not without her background in directing: She helmed such artistic outings as Stripped to Kill and the much anticipated follow-up, Stripped to Kill 2.

The Rage: Carrie 2 is her first work in the tricky genre of films with a colon, and she's acquitted herself quite well for a newcomer to this difficult genre. We'll have to wait until this summer to see if George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode 1--The Phantom Menace, which takes on the colon challenge and recklessly throws in a hyphen to boot, can measure up to the standards set here.


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