Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Buntzman|
|Produced by||Mark Buntzman|
|Written by||Mark Buntzman|
|Music by||David Spear|
|Cinematography||Robert M. Baldwin|
|Edited by||Marcus Manton|
George T. Norris
The Cannon Group
|Distributed by||Cannon Film Distributors|
|September 14, 1984|
|Box office||$3.7 million|
Exterminator 2 is a 1984 action thriller film written and directed by Mark Buntzman (with additional scenes directed by William Sachs), starring Robert Ginty and Mario Van Peebles, with cameos by Arye Gross in his debut role, and John Turturro in his second role. It is the sequel to the 1980 film The Exterminator.
Following from the previous film, it shows Eastland walking freely on the streets of New York, without any hint that his dual identity was compromised. He meets up with another old army buddy, Be Gee (Faison), who owns a garbage truck. As seen at the beginning of the film, Eastland wears a welders' mask and wields a flame thrower, while listening to a police scanner for possible crimes to stop. Slaying the brother of a gang leader named X (Van Peebles), the Exterminator gains the gang's enmity. Coincidentally, his army buddy happens to see the gang during a robbery of an armoured car, and scares them away with his truck. However, they get the truck's plate numbers, and vow revenge. Following the truck one night when the buddy loans it to Eastland, they follow Eastland to his home, and, not having seen who the driver of the truck was the night it scared them away, they presume Eastland was the man behind the wheel that night. They attack Eastland's girlfriend in the park, crippling her. Later, they break into her apartment and kill her.
Then Eastland and his buddy interrupt a drug deal between X's gang and the mob, stealing the narcotics in the process, though the army buddy dies. Having earlier captured one of the gang members, Eastland allows him to escape to draw X into a confrontation, with the drugs as bait, in a closed up industrial site. Curiously, X seems to be aware of the Exterminator's real name in this final battle. Eastland triumphs, but was shot when last seen, and is seen walking away.
- Robert Ginty as John Eastland
- Mario Van Peebles as X
- Deborah Geffner as Caroline
- Frankie Faison as Be Gee
- Scott Randolf as Eyes
- Reggie Rock Bythewood as Spider
- Bruce Smolanoff as Red Hat
- David Buntzman as Head Mafioso
- Kenny Marino as Tony
- Derek Evans as Squealer
- Irwin Keyes as Monster
- Robert Louis King as Philo
- Arye Gross as Turbo
- Janet Rotblatt as Mom
- John Turturro as Guy #1
Exterminator 2 had a very troubled production which included budget problems, heavy re-editing and re-shoots, and censorship issues. The Cannon Group studio was not pleased with director Mark Buntzman's original rough cut of the film, so they hired film doctor William Sachs to do extensive re-shoots in Los Angeles to improve it.
In 2012 interview about his work, Sachs talked about the reshoots on Exterminator 2. He was the one who came up with idea of the Exterminator wearing the flame proof mask throughout the movie:
Bob Ginty was supposed to be doing another movie and they wouldn't release him. I said, 'I'll fix it so you don't need him.' I couldn't get any other stars, so that's where I came up with the idea. There's one shot of Ginty with the welding mask working on the garbage truck, and he lifts his mask and has a little torch. So I just used that shot at the end. I turned him into a vigilante with a welding mask for the whole rest of the movie.— William Sachs, about working on Exterminator 2
Because of the budget problems, the movie had to be re-shot in Los Angeles:
They started shooting in New York, and they went so far over budget that they moved it to LA. They spent double their budget, it was supposed to be $1.5 million and they got to $3 million and they'd shot like 40 minutes. I had been working on the movie in New York as a co-producer. So I brought it to LA, and I had to ship the garbage truck from New York, because the ones in New York are metal and the ones in LA are fiberglass, because of the weight restrictions. We got permission. We have scenes where [the truck] goes around the corner of one street in New York, and the other's in LA. We threw garbage in the streets and painted the curbs in LA a different color, to make it look like New York.— William Sachs, about working on Exterminator 2
Sachs also mentioned that production's initial struggles were probably due to Buntzman's inexperience handling a large film crew:
I was in New York just to watch, and I saw what was going wrong. If you can't make a decision, everyone starts giving you their two cents until it's a committee. Mark Buntzman couldn't make a certain decision, so the script supervisor had an idea and the DP had an idea, and soon there was a meeting going on. A directing lesson: if someone asks 'Where do I point the camera?' you just point. The first thing that comes into your head, you just say "there." Nine times out of ten, it's the right place. And if it's not, you say later, 'Well, I thought about it and it'd be better over here.' But if you don't give an answer, you lose them.— William Sachs, about working on Exterminator 2
According to Sachs, the character of X got his name due to more indecisiveness from Buntzman, who could not think of a better name. It was also Sachs' idea to make the character more central.
Even in post-production, the film met with some troubles. The MPAA made Sachs cut down an early gory scene in which an elderly couple is shot up by the gang:
I'm not really excited about violent stuff. When you're shooting it, it's fun, but something a little more realistic affects people. When we shot that scene, the DP said it was the most realistic thing he ever saw. The squib and the gun went off in the same frame. It was timed perfectly, by luck, and you don't usually see that. We had six shots and ended up with one quick shot.— William Sachs, about working on Exterminator 2
In interview Sachs also had a funny anecdote about the casting of Arye Gross, who played gang member Turbo in the movie: "He came in and read for me, and he was talking like Marlon Brando, through his nose. It was fantastic, so I gave him the part. And when we did the scene, he didn't talk like that. I said, 'You're not talking like you did in your reading!' And he said, 'I had a cold.'"
Sachs tried to get co-director credit for his work on Exterminator 2 but wound up accepting a co-writer and "additional scenes directed by" credit due to a legal battle with Buntzman. "I joined the Director's Guild after that," he said.
Original cut, re-shoots and deleted scenes
The theatrical trailer shows following deleted and alternate scenes from the original rough cut of the movie;
- Nightclub explosion scene that happens after the gang shoots down a police helicopter which crashes on it. The helicopter pilot is shown burning a little longer while he tries to get out of the burning helicopter. There is also a shot of a wounded John looking at this helplessly.
- John and Caroline trying to help someone who got hurt during the explosion by pressing something on his wound.
- X pointing at something and screaming while standing on an armored car.
- X and John see each other for the first time face to face and X points his finger at John. This scene happened after the helicopter crash and club explosion. Originally there was a part where John and Be Gee try to stop gang members from robbing the armored car with Be Gee chasing them in his garbage truck and John fighting with them on the street.
- Chase scene between Be Gee's garbage truck and the armored car driven by gang members. Originally this scene happened after the gang shoots down the helicopter.
- Completely deleted club explosion scene and John's fight with gang members on the street.
- Another deleted garbage truck chase scene. John and Caroline are driving in the garbage truck, but they are attacked by gang members who jump on the sides of the truck. John manages to get rid of one when he slams him into the light pole or something.
- Differently edited dialogue scene in the club between John and Be Gee.
- Couple more extra shots from the scene when gang members attack Caroline while she is with John in the park.
- Alternative mirrored shot of X shooting at Be Gee.
Some lobby cards and stills also show several scenes cut from the movie;
- John looking at wounded and dead people inside the club after the helicopter crashes on it and explodes,
- Caroline helping someone who got injured in the same deleted club explosion scene,
- John throwing the wheel cap on one of the gang members, who jumps onto Be Gee's garbage truck when he tries to stop the gang members from stealing the armored car,
- After the armored car robbery and his fight with the gang members, John escapes from the police and is hiding somewhere while his head is covered with blood due to the injury he got during the club explosion,
- Caroline taking care of John's head wound,
- Longer version of the scene where X and his gang members attack Caroline in the park,
- Some lobby cards show pictures from the original ending with John and X fighting with each other next to the garbage truck and the wounded X kneeling on the ground while some cop is pointing his shotgun at him.
Scenes in which John wears a fireproof mask and burns down the gang members with a flamethrower were not in the original cut of the movie. They were added during re-shoots and were filmed with Robert Ginty's stunt double. Originally the only scene where John used the flamethrower to kill the gang members was in the ending when he burns the last few after he already killed most of the others with weapons from the garbage truck. A shot of John taking his mask off in the ending after X dies is actually an outtake edited from this same scene, which is why the scene cuts abruptly when he starts taking the mask off. According to some interview from the time when the movie was released, Ginty hated the way movie was cut down and re-edited by the studio.
The original ending in the rough cut of the movie was different than the one which was filmed during re-shoots and used in the final version. Instead of the chase scene between John and X in the factory, both of them confront each other after John kills all of X's gang members and get into a fight. X almost kills John, but Caroline shows up in her wheelchair (she did not die in the original cut, the scenes where John finds her dead body were also filmed during re-shoots with Ginty's stand-in) and shoots X, wounding him. When the police shows up, John puts X into the garbage truck and the chase starts between him in his truck and the police cars. The chase ends with John crashing the garbage truck into the river and X's dead body floating out of it. Some behind the scenes footage included in an old making-of documentary shows the filming of the fight scene between John and X in the original ending.
Despite the fact that the studio demanded more graphic scenes with John burning down the gang members with a flamethrower to be included into the movie, they also deleted some other graphic and action scenes from the original cut during the re-shoots and re-editing. These include: more scenes with the garbage truck (including some chase scenes) and an entire scene where the police helicopter which is shot down by the gang members crashes down on the nightclub filled with people and causes an explosion which kills and injures many of them. Some more cuts were demanded by the MPAA for an R rating, since the final version of the movie was originally rated X because of the violence. No uncut version of the movie was ever released.