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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Exterminator 2

June 12, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Exterminator 2

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #558: Exterminator 2

The Robert Ginty Movie Marathon: Week 2

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never waged a one man war against a ruthless street gang or, really, anyone, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and fifty-eight, The Robert Ginty Movie Marathon continues with the “sequel” to The Exterminator, Exterminator 2, which hit American movie screens in mid-September 1984.

Exterminator 2


Exterminator 2, written and directed by Mark Buntzman (with some sort of reworking by William Sachs), is a weird as hell sequel, especially when you consider the first movie. The Exterminator, while incredibly violent, was awfully high minded and tried to say something about vigilantism, revenge, and victimhood. Exterminator 2 has no real interest in saying anything. Instead, Exterminator 2 is a straight up action movie cartoon where a masked vigilante takes on a wild street gang that’s practically out of a post-apocalyptic story. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a better movie than the first one, but I can say that Exterminator 2 is infinitely more entertaining than The Exterminator.

Exterminator 2 stars Robert Ginty as John Eastland, a man who acts as a flame thrower wielding vigilante at night on the mean streets of New York City circa 1984 (the movie was shot in 1983 but I’m just going to say 1984 because that’s when the movie came out). Eastland doesn’t seem to have a day job, as we see him wandering the streets, pawning watches and whatnot for money. At night, he listens to his police radio, waiting for the cops to get a call about a robbery or some such so he can run to that robbery location and set the robbers on fire. In fact, that’s what we see him do in the first major sequence of the movie. After four guys jack a liquor store and kill the owners, Eastland shows up in the alley as the bad guys escape and sets two of them on fire with his flamethrower. When the cops do finally show up all they find is two burned up skeletons. The Exterminator clearly isn’t fucking around.

One day, Eastland meets up with his old ‘Nam buddy Be Gee (the immortal Frankie Faison), who offers him a job as a garbage man (Be Gee owns and operates his own garbage truck). Eastland agrees to work for Be Gee, and they go to a bar to celebrate. While in the bar, which has dancers in it for some reason (they’re not strippers/exotic dancers, though), Eastland meets Caroline (Deborah Geffner), a dancer that is working her way to Broadway. There’s an immediate connection between Eastland and Caroline, and they have awkward sex in her apartment.

Now, while all of that is going on, a street gang lead by X (Mario Van Peebles) is looking to grow and become an even bigger criminal element in the city. Members of X’s gang robbed the liquor store, they rob an armored car, and they’re looking to make a big drug deal with the mafia that will somehow allow X’s gang to grow. The only thing standing in X’s way is the Exterminator. Who is he? Where does he live? How can he be destroyed?

And while all of that is going on, X’s gang also tries to take out Be Gee, as he interferes in the gang’s armored car operation. Is the garbage truck guy the Exterminator? Is he a sympathizer? Is he just some other guy that likes to take on the city’s criminal element?

So then some stuff happens, X and his gang see Eastland driving Be Gee’s garbage truck, follow Eastland back to his apartment, and then decide to take out the garbage truck driver first, completely unaware that Eastland is the Exterminator. X and his gang stalk Eastland in the park when he’s out and about with Caroline on a date, attack and seriously injure Caroline, and then figure that they’ve achieved their revenge and the garbage truck driver won’t try to fuck around with them anymore. Since X’s gang, again, has no idea that Eastland is the Exterminator, they’re all in for a rude awakening when Eastland decides that he’s had enough of their shit. Before he gets to that point, though, Eastland tries to help Caroline get her legs and confidence back (Caroline was beaten so badly by X’s gang that they put her in a wheelchair). And when that doesn’t work out well for anyone, Eastland decides he’s pissed off just enough to go head on at X and his gang.

And so Eastland, along with Be Gee, basically turn Be Gee’s truck into a tank and start kicking ass. They kidnap a gang member, get that gang member to tell them about the big hooha drug deal between the mafia and the gang (they put the poor bastard in the back of the garbage truck and threaten to squash him), and they disrupt the whole thing. In the ensuing gun fight, Be Gee grabs the drugs, gives them to Eastland, and is then shot dead by X. What the fuck? That isn’t how it’s supposed to go!

So Eastland drives away with the drugs and Be Gee’s dead body, deals with his dead friend’s corpse, and tries to come up with a new plan to take out X. Before he can do that, though, X kills Caroline, Eastland finds out about it, and now it’s total fucking war. Eastland armors up the garbage truck, outfits it with various machine guns and rocket launchers and whatnot, and goes right at X and his gang. Only one entity is coming out of this confrontation alive.

Exterminator 2 is much more focused than its predecessor, wherein Eastland now has a single enemy to fight. Eastland isn’t wandering the streets, looking for bad guys to take out like he did in the first movie. And Eastland is meant to be seen as a full on hero this time around. Eastland isn’t a burgeoning psychopath. That all makes Exterminator 2 a completely different experience. Part 2 doesn’t even feel like it takes place in the same world as the first movie. I mean, in part 2 Eastland actually uses a flamethrower to take out the bad guys. It isn’t just some bullshit the producers put on the poster.

Exterminator 2 also lacks a real police presence in the story. We basically see cops twice and both times they’re completely useless. X’s gang kills a cop in a helicopter by blowing it up with a rocket, and a cop on a horse shows up when Caroline is being beaten but doesn’t offer much in the way of help. You would think that with a street gang like X’s robbing places and killing people there’d be a task force or something after them. On top of that, the news media reports on the Exterminator’s flamethrower killings. Where the hell are the cops on that front? Why isn’t there a task force looking for him, too? Do the cops not watch the fucking news? And after the gigantic shootout after breaking up the gang/mafia drug deal, you would think the cops would be all over the aftermath of that. There were dead bodies everywhere and explosions galore. Someone must have heard all of that shit and called the cops.

X’s gang is hilariously ridiculous, and I mean that in a good way. As soon as Mario Van Peebles puts on X’s shoulder pads (MVP has described the look as “The Road Warrior meets Grace Jones) you know that the gang isn’t just another street gang. There’s also a guy that moves around on roller skates, and they also kill an armored car driver in this elaborate ritual that features tying the driver to a giant “X” carrying him underground to the subway, electrocuting him on the subway’s third rail, spray painting a fluorescent “X” on his body, and then throwing the guy in front of a subway train. Why do all of this? Damned if I know. It’s what the gang does, though. The gang also has a penchant for kidnapping random women on the street, injecting them with drugs, and then raping them. That seems like a more “traditional” vicious street gang in an action movie activity, but for some reason, as it happens in this movie, it isn’t normal. It’s bizarre. And it’s exactly the kind of shit you want to see Eastland’s The Exterminator avenge.

The movie has a much brighter look than the first The Exterminator. It also doesn’t look quite as sleazy as the first movie. I’m not sure why that is, although I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the movie was produced by Cannon Pictures. Exterminator 2 definitely has that “Cannon” glow that movies like Death Wish 3 and Missing in Action have.

As for the movie’s violence, Exterminator 2 is brutal. It isn’t necessarily gory, but when characters get shot they get fucking shot. And when Eastland sets a guy on fire with flamethrower, he fucking sets the guy on fire with his flamethrower. The flames look hot and look like they hurt. The beating X’s gang inflicts on Caroline is horrendous (the slow motion whack to the shins and knees will make you wince). And check out the final death sequence. The dead body looks like grilled sausage. If you do some internets research on Exterminator 2 you will read that multiple cuts were made to the movie in order to avoid an “X” rating. The movie also underwent serious reshoots by William Sachs, altering the flow of the movie. What was removed/reworked? And just how much violence was cut? No official “director’s cut”/extended cut presently exists so we don’t really know what was cut, and the Shout! Factory Blu-ray doesn’t feature any deleted/extended scenes or any behind-the-scenes footage. Heck, that excised footage may no longer exist.

Exterminator 2 has a killer theme by composer David Spear. In fact, the Exterminator 2 theme sounds and feels like the kind of theme you would hear while watching a low budget Italian sci-fi action post-apocalyptic movie. The theme is synth heavy, repetitive, and catchy as hell. I can guarantee you that you will hum the theme to yourself after watching the movie. I can hear the theme in my head right now as I type this.

Robert Ginty does a fine job as John Eastland. He’s a little livelier this time around, especially when interacting with both Deborah Geffner and Frankie Faison. He has a nice freak out moment when he shoves the gang member inside the garbage truck, and he does a decent enough job in the action scenes he’s called upon to participate in. Ginty doesn’t do the flamethrower scenes, though, as those sequences were added during the reshoots and Ginty’s stunt double did them. The one flamethrower sequence Ginty did do appears towards the end of the movie and features a completely different flamethrower. Ginty couldn’t come back for the reshoots as he was working on a different movie when the reshoots happened, and it seems as though Ginty didn’t like wearing the welder’s mask that the Exterminator is known to wear. Still, Ginty is cool here, and while the movie is odd compared to the first one, it’s nice to see him come back and take on criminals and whatnot as the Exterminator.

Mario Van Peebles is a fucking riot as X. The second you see him on screen you know you’re in for a scenery chewing treat, and he isn’t wearing his shoulder pads at that point. When he does put on the pads, holy shit, X is a goddamn loon. At the same time, he’s so charismatic you can see why he leads a gang and that people are devoted to his cause. MVP’s final confrontation is a bit lacking because there’s no hand-to-hand brawl between the two (the ending was part of the reshoots and I assume that because the Ginty stunt double had to wear the welder’s mask the whole time while shooting the new ending a fist fight/kung fu brawl wasn’t feasible) but the run up to the big moment where X is killed is Peebles doing everything he can to be scary, funny, and super memorable. The bit where he puts the two lines of blood on his cheeks is a highlight. It’s too bad that Peebles didn’t get to do more villain stuff in the mid-to-late 1980’s. He probably didn’t want to get typecast as a villain, but you just know that he would have kicked ass being a bad guy in more stuff.

Franke Faison is brilliant as Be Gee. He makes Be Gee the exact kind of friend you want to have in your life; he has a business and can give you a job when you’re down on your luck employment wise, he’s willing to go to war with you when you need him to and he has a stash of machine guns and whatnot to help out, he has a garbage truck that you can turn into a fucking tank, and he’s willing to die to protect/help you. Faison also gets a nifty scene where he gets to beat the shit out of several gang members in a hand to hand brawl. It’s too bad that Cannon or someone back then couldn’t put an action vehicle together for Faison. I bet it would rocked hard.

Deborah Geffner does a nice job as Eastland’s dancer girlfriend Caroline. She has real chemistry with Ginty and it’s heartbreaking when they sort of split up. They belong together. Geffner also does a great job in her dance sequences, which makes sense since she was in All That Jazz. Caroline probably deserved a more dignified ending, but then, as I’ve read, her character arc was altered during the reshoots.

With the way the movie ends I’d assume that, even if it was successful, there was not going to be an Exterminator 3, at least not with Robert Ginty as the star. Perhaps another actor could have taken up the flamethrower in another sequel, but Exterminator 2 wasn’t a box office hit. It likely made a small fortune on home video and cable (I think I saw the big VHS box for this movie in just about every video store back in the day so it was popular in some way) but, I guess, there wasn’t enough interest from anyone to do another one. I’m surprised no one has tried to do a quasi-remake/remake of the idea. Super violent revenge/vigilante movies are no longer the rage they once were, but I bet there’s an audience out there for a movie about a crime fighter that takes out the bad guys with a flamethrower. Well, mostly with a flamethrower. There are probably only so many ways you can kill a bad guy by setting them on fire with a flamethrower.

Exterminator 2 is terrific. It’s entertaining as all hooha, and it’s precisely the kind of movie you can see yourself just putting on when there’s nothing else to watch. It isn’t great, it may not even be a good movie, but it works enough to make it worth your while. No one really makes this kind of movie anymore. Not really. I’d probably try to make a movie like this, but then who the hell is going to give me a few million dollars to blow shit up and set people on fire?


See Exterminator 2. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 26.

Explosions: Multiple, big and small. They’re all awesome.

Nudity?: Yes. It’s awkward.

Doobage: A cool opening theme, flamethrower hooey, police scanner hooey, serious elder abuse, glass bottle to the head, young people killing old people for kicks, flamethrower attack, burned up skeletons on the road, a gang hanging out, bar dancing, armored car robbery hooey, a helicopter, rocket attack, exploding helicopter, up close helicopter pilot on fire, garbage truck attack, garbage eating, crucifixion, spray paint hooey, more flamethrower hooey, boobs, homeless people, a big hooha mob meeting, a big pile of money, two old friends talking about stuff at a bar somewhere, kidnapping, potential of screen rape, attempted breakfast, parking ticket hooey, weird, awkward, and artistic sex, dance practice in public, street break dancing, a hot dog cart, a surprise ladies room attack, slow motion knee, shin, and leg breaking, full on woman beating, cop on a horse, wheelchair hooey, scotch drinking, off screen mugging and murder with knife to the chest, yet another flamethrower attack, attempted physical therapy, relationship issues, snow plow hooey, hidden weapons, street thug hooey, interrogation hooey, attempted garbage truck torture, Uzi hooey, a coffin filled with cocaine, cocaine testing, exploding door, multiple exploding cars, grenade hooey, off screen murder, garbage truck weaponizing, neck breaking, a garbage truck with machine guns and rockets and shit on it, exploding bag, serious machine gun hooey, total vehicular destruction, a gasoline drop, multiple bad guys on fire in slow motion, a chase of sorts, a tunnel foot chase, rafters hooey, blood face camo, exploding bag, exploding villain, bad guy falling to the ground in slow motion while on fire and then falling on a giant sharp object, and a walk into an unknown future.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: “And Mario Van Peebles as ‘X’,” “Robert Ginty” (it’s his stun double, not really him), “Robert Ginty” listening to a police scanner, TV news talking about the Exterminator, Arye Gross, Irwin Keyes, Robert Ginty, the Daily News, Robert Ginty looking for a job in the Daily News, Deborah Geffner, Mario Van Peebles , Mario Van Peebles leading a street gang, Mario Van Peebles delivering a motivational speech, Frankie Faison, a guy walking down the stairs while wearing roller skates, guys carrying torches, Mario Van Peebles walking around with shoulder pads and a spray painted “X” on his chest, bad guys electrocuting a guy on the third rail after spray painting an “X” on his body with fluorescent paint and then putting that guy in place to be run over by a subway train for absolutely no real reason, David Buntzman, Frankie Faison giving a treat to a dog, Frankie Faison driving a garbage truck, Frankie Faison picking up the garbage, Ron Taylor, Robert Ginty trying to pawn a watch, a guy roller skate dancing for tips on the sidewalk, heroin cooking in a spoon, Frankie Faison dancing, people drinking beer while driving a garbage truck, Robert Ginty attempting to drive a garbage truck, Zorba on Broadway, a guy with nunchucks, street break dancing, Deborah Geffner attempting to learn break dancing moves by watching break dancers, Robert Ginty ordering hot dogs from a hot dog cart, Robert Ginty briefly dancing, Robert Ginty being a loving show off asshole, Mario Van Peebles doing one armed push-ups in a freight elevator for some reason, toe work, Frankie Faison and Robert Ginty driving a garbage truck with a gigantic snowplow on the front of it, Frankie Faison using a MAC-10 Uzi that sounds like a shotgun for some reason, garbage eating, Robert Ginty wearing a welder’s mask, a final confrontation between Robert Ginty’s stunt double and Mario Van Peebles, a giant “Safety First” sign, the obvious reuse of a shot of Robert Ginty from earlier in the movie because Robert Ginty couldn’t come back for the movie’s reshoots, and a walk into an unknown future.

Best lines: “No witnesses,” “Hey, check it out! It’s about that motherfucker that fried Stitch and Max!,” “I don’t like that shit. Guys like that are freaks,” “What the fuck is an exterminator anyway?,” “I am the Messiah and you are my warriors!,” “Let me have him, X. You got him, brother,” “Shit! They’re ripping off the armored car!,” “Looking for a date, honey? I ain’t that hungry,” “Hey, John! It’s me! Be Gee!,” “Jesus Christ, Tony, what is this? It’s cool, it’s cool. This is ridiculous,” “This stuff is good. Can I have her after?,” “Where do you park this? Anywhere I want to,” “Caroline? Caroline? What are you doing?,” “What is it you want to talk about? I don’t know,” “It just seems like every time I get close to somebody I get hurt,” “Did you see the look on her face when we put it through her?,” “Take a look over there. Looks like some garbage needs to be removed,” “The truck is still hungry,” “You ready for this? I been ready,” “You street boys have really grown up. I am the streets,” “You want to play games?,” and “How do you like being hunted like an animal, Johnny?”

Rating: 8.5/10.0



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Pandamonium: This is apparently some sort of low budget British slasher comedy about a bunch of male asshole business executives and a group of strippers that are trapped inside of an office building and being stalked by a knife wielding psycho that wears a panda mask. Personally, I’m shocked that it’s taken this long to have a slasher movie about a killer that wears a panda mask. The trailer is pretty good as it straddles the line between the comedy and the nastiness that you would expect to see in a slasher movie. Is this the start of a potential low budget horror franchise? The title suggests that it should be. I mean, come on, Pandamonium? That’s one of the greatest titles of all time.


Next Issue: The Robert Ginty Movie Marathon continues with Programmed to Kill (aka The Retaliator)!


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Exterminator 2

Robert Ginty– John Eastland
Mario Van Peebles– X
Deborah Geffner– Caroline
Frankie Faison– Be Gee

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Mark Buntzman and William Sachs (uncredited)
Screenplay by Mark Buntzman and William Sachs, based on characters created by James Glickenhaus

Rated R for gory violence, language, nudity, sexual situations, and drug use
Runtime– 89 minutes

Buy it here or here or here