Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! Reviews
Michael Pare is now the leading man -- and he's better than the last performance as the lead singer of The Cruisers named Eddie Wilson. The songs are still catchy and fit the time period, although the character of Eddie is conflicted, I believe the story made him seem that way. 'Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!' proves to be a bit of an improvement over the last film by also containing a subplot focusing on the smart satire of cashing-in on a "celebrity death".
Even so this is a great movie and definitely worth a watch, or two, or three!
However, like the Satin record producers in the film, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! seems more like a ploy for money and an excuse to attempt to resurrect the legacy of Eddie and the Cruisers to make an easy buck, as well as the talents of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.
I'm glad someone created Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!, but it damages the credibility of the story because the thing that made Eddie and the Cruisers so memorable was the fact that the soundtrack featured so many passionate and iconic songs, music so excellent that the character Eddie Wilson was happy to have his music embrace the legacy he wished for without taking the fame for himself, which displayed a passion for music that is difficult to find in existence anymore. In Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! however, his passion for being the best is brought back even though he already is the best, and it entirely changes his character. Although the implementation of his car crash as an actual accident and his emotional side being effected by what happened to Saxophone player Wendell Newton benefit his character and give the audience an understanding to what he was going through, essentially Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! chronicles putting a dead man up on stage so that he can live out his legacy, but that goes against his character and is accompanied by generically written music which doesn't have the same passion as it did in Eddie and the Cruisers and is less iconic, and not very downright memorable because most of the songs sound too much like each other. They are performed well by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, but they aren't singularly special due to the fact that they all primarily chronicle a similar theme within the genre but with cheap lyrics, and the fact is that the movie spends more time with the characters playing them on stage in a concert fashion than it does letting its story develop, and so it seems like just a big concert which exploits the infamous Eddie Wilson. The producers of the film were clearly more concerned with using the film to promote a soundtrack which doesn't hold a candle to the soundtrack of its predecessor and isn't one worth going out of your way to get. They didn't even create a decent concert setting because the actual heart in the scene where audience members discover that Eddie lives, it's the same generic cheer all over again and isn't the welcome back that the ever so popular figure deserves.
And the script is terribly generic, forcing the actors to have little to deal with, alongside the poor direction of Jean-Luc Godard who hasn't nearly the spirit of Martin Davidson, the director of the predecessor who intelligently decided not to take part in the project.
The change of characters and poor script negatively affects the actors, particularly Michael Pare who is forced to portray Eddie Wilson as a hollow shell of a man incognito whose musical passion returns when he joins a band named Rock Solid after 20 years, and his angry hot blooded passion is brought back even though it was satisfied by his music being appreciated. But it's unclear if his passion is back due to being sick of his commercialised identity or because Satin records treatment of him makes him want to draw the legacy back to him as a person, but isn't made clear to the viewer, or to Michael Pare, so his performance ends up sub-par and hollow like the Joe West alias Eddie Wilson uses to his his identity.
Marina Orsini isn't much better because she has to suffer from the worst lines in the script and isn't that experienced an actress as it is, so she's truly a limited actress held back by a truly limited script, and she can't quite capture the passion her character is supposed to have, nor the emotions she would express upon realising the existence of and her unprecedented romantic encounter with the famous Eddie Wilson.
But for die hard fans of Eddie and the Cruisers, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! is bound to please them due to the fact that it provides dying spirit from the first movie and a sweet sense of nostalgia, as well as a sense if resolution to viewers unhappy with how the last film ended.
And the music, although poorly written, is played well by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, and so the passion for rock and roll is all still there.
Plus, it's good to have this sequel exist because after the failure of Eddie and the Cruisers, the existence of Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! gives more to fans of the first film and provides more to the story of Eddie Wilson, even if I don't agree with much of it. It continues the legacy of the first film, and really that's just great, even though it doesn't do it in the best possible way.
Lastly, the fact that Bo Diddley has a cameo in the movie is awesome because it connects Eddie Wilson to the real world and makes a line between the passion of both rock legends abundantly clear, which is fairly great.
So Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! was created with monetary intentions without substantial thought or effort, but the gain goes to fans of the predecessor who want more and get some.