Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999)

Directed by Sandy Tung
Written by Dale Rosenbloom, based on the novel by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Starring Zachary Browne, Scott Wilson, Michael Moriarty, Rod Steiger, Ann Dowd

My Advice: Wait for Cable.

The further adventures of Marty Preston (played this time around by Browne), based on the children's book.  Last time, he won the freedom of his beloved pooch Shiloh from that evil mean nasty Judd Travers (Wilson).  This time, Judd is still being his old ornery self, even going so far as to threaten Marty's father (Moriarty) and his family.  Marty, after talking with the wise Doc Wallace (Steiger), becomes positive that the reason Judd is such a bastard is because nobody liked him, everybody hated him, so he went out back to eat worms.  He also thinks that with a little love they could work it out.

Well the good news is that it's an improvement over the first film.  The main reason is that they've cut down on the number of elongated scenes of boy-and-dog romping and boy-laughing-and-falling-down-with-dog-licking-his-face.  However, the film still feels like a 45-minute afterschool special padded to the bursting by plenty of scenes of (a) Judd confronting [insert character name here], (2) Judd driving around, drinking, (III) the Preston family, wondering what the hell is going on, and (d) Marty, asking his dog for advice.  It feels much longer than it actually is.

It's not a complete loss.  Wilson is given much more to do in this sequel, and he actually gets a chance to do some acting, not just glowering about and spitting.  Not many chances, but still it's something.  Steiger is always fun to watch; he makes cliched aphorisms sound very enlightening.  And let's face it, most kids under ten will eat this up, although the "be kind to evil people and they'll be kind back" moral will get many a young person's ass kicked in public schools.  The major problem is that there's really nothing here to keep adults engaged, so bear that in mind when you rent this.

When all is said and done, it's just another weak attempt at good family entertainment.  It's got its heart in the right place, but with just a little work they could have combined both films into one normal length feature and spared us all some snoring.

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