True To The Game 2 – R – 1 hr 29 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday November 6, 2020
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
#43 new movie seen in theater in 2020
This is Gena’s (Erica Peeples) story, as the first was her drug dealer fiance’s. She’s moved out of Philadelphia, trying to put the past behind her. Unfortunately, friends of her fiance have seized a rival dealer’s drugs and money, leaving that dealer on a hunt to find the people responsible. Gena is unwittingly drawn back in a story of false identity and intimidation.
Peeples is a stronger character in the sequel than the first movie, but the storyline in the first is more compelling. It’s the intensity of the first movie that’s missing here. This movie starts a year after the first one. Another plus is this movie starts one year after the first, which I liked for the sequel. You don’t really need to have watched the first film, but if you did — like us — then you’re apt to make comparisons. It’s the problem with all sequels that viewers will compare to the movie that started it all.
Gena aside, most of the characters in this film are unlikable, but even Gena isn’t as likeable here as she was in the first film. The only significant ally Gena has is a guy in California, but his placement in the story is framed too much like a cheap plot device instead of having something genuinely useful to the tale. Would have been nice to see him do more than be a brief friend in the story.
There is an implausible twist late in the film which tries to make everything a shock. Won’t get too into the specifics here, because this is a spoiler-freereview, but neither of us bought it. Again, if you’ve seen the first film, then you probably will feel the same about this.
Last, the first film tells a different type of story. That is about the drug dealer who meets Gena and wants to leave that life and spend it with her. A romance with dramatic consequences. This sequel is missing the romance and redemption angle and is replaced with an escape the past life type story, only Gena never was a drug dealer, she just fell in love with a man who was, so it doesn’t really fit. Stories about redemption are more engaging than a “trying to move on from the past” story, I guess.
Here’s how we felt just leaving the theater:
Bottom line: we don’t recommend seeing this movie in the theater. Maybe, just maybe, for those interested enough to find out what happens to Gena will want to check this out. The more interesting and entertaining story was already told and this didn’t really need a sequel.
That’s the danger with all sequels, really, was the original story enough. Am sure you can think of several standalone movies that filmmakers tried to make into franchises. Urban romance dramas don’t really lend themselves to franchises. I am interested in more stories about redemption and find the original story compelling, but the biggest problem with this story is Gena hasn’t moved onto anything more interesting than the first film.
Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️½ (Todd) ⭐️½ (Kara)