Official Exterminator 2 - Heaven's Hell (1988)

Directed by: Phillip Ko
Written by: Benny Ho
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Mike Abbott, Mark Watson, Jonathan Soper, Philp Kevin Dodge, Juigen Michel & Jason Howard


Judging by the cast that appeared in Official Exterminator - Kill For Love and throughout the 4th entry (Official Exterminator 4 - Goddess Mission) in the unrelated cut and paste series (Mike Abbott and Mark Watson chief among them), a case could be made that IFD made sure to film this series in one go... however many they eventually would end end up at (5 according to movie databases but part of the "series" also got re-titled to Ninja Knight and the running order was changed. Heaven's Hell is Ninja Knight 3 for instance). It doesn't mean IFD started veering off their formula though as this is the typically slow and fun cut & paste concoction that even without the ninja touch (aside from one scene) offers up C-movie shenanigans, threadbare connection to the unrelated source movie and goofy dialogue galore.

Phil (Mark Watson) wants to bring down Lucas (Mike Abbott) as he made his brother lose all his money in a financial scam. Enlisting the help from Alfred (the lead from the Asian movie of choice for IFD to play around with), he is more pre-occupied (he is in the other movie after all) staying on the straight path and finding a job in the fishing village after a jail sentence. Money for mommy is the primary concern also for Alfred but the past catches up to him fast as local gangster turn up to pester. Past love and heartache does too...

Making very few attempts to logically and coherently connect the movies, it's interesting watching the individual efforts because when not connected convincingly (and IFD could at the best of times), it becomes two verdicts. On the fun side we get Phil avoiding assassin after assassin (including an exploding ninja) in way too short action scenes. Because Watson is a better than average action hero from the IFD stable, looking fairly convincing and hard with a gun so it's only bite-sized glimpses we get there. While these are merely short bursts, it's enjoyable seeing Mike Abbott sitting down in most of his scenes in an office setting IFD didn't bother to dress up either (the walls are white and empty). Abbott was never a good actor or knew delivery but on the flipside always made an impression in some oddly, sincere way. It's a laugh at and laugh wit kind of situation that's also spiced with solid action choreography from the Asian crew. Short bursts of action, violence and even ninja action, IFD even managed to afford some squibs to deliver some pretty gory action coming from them.

The original possibly Taiwanese production (Lung Siu-Wa from The Dignified Killers is the bad guy) is a pretty ill contrast to the corporate setting IFD provides but no true connection exists anyway so we're left to judge it on its own almost. While the village setting could and should make way for hitting darkness, the original filmmakers do keep it rather anonymous with some dopey characters, exaggerated acting from mentioned Lung that doesn't really translate to the vision. Until the ending that is that shows some gritty chops where we get heinous content such as rape of a blind woman and fights set in rain with a solidic dramatic punch to end it all.

Not as boring and unbearable always thanks to several golden Mike Abbott deliveries (and in general the robot acting from all the dubbers is hilarious), Official Exterminator 2 - Heaven's Hell simply works in the IFD tradition of things if you're a bit patient with it. The formula plot-wise has been changed up a little but even largely without ninjas (just like in part 1), the standard formula does amuse and is interesting from a business- and fan perspective. Not for the newly initiated viewers however.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson