Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha' Hood (2003)
LEPRECHAUN: BACK 2 THA' HOOD
WRITER: Steven Ayromlooi
DIRECTOR: Steven Ayromlooi
STARRING: Warwick Davis as The Leprechaun
Tangi Miller as Emily
Laz Alonso as Rory
Page Kennedy as Jamie
Sherrie Jackson as Lisa
Donzaleigh Abernathy as Esmeralda
Keesha Sharp as Chanel
Shiek Mahmud-Bey as Watson
Willie C. Carpenter as Father Jacob
QUICK CUT: After a...successful return from space to an urban setting, the Leprechaun is going...back 2 tha' hood (sic) for more mayhem. This time his gold is found by some inner city young adults who use it to better their life before the little green guy comes calling to collect. Oh, and there's also wacky slapstick and pot
Emily - A poor girl stuck struggling away in hair salon, and her ex is currently a drug dealer moving in on the local gang's turf. Not a fun life for her. She's got a good heart, and usually wants to do the right thing, even with great temptation.
Rory - That aforementioned drug dealer, and he too has a good heart...but he's way more into temptation, far more willing to take the easy answer, and run away with the money.
Jamie - Stock black pothead stereotype #3.
Lisa - Emily's best friend, and aside from having bad luck and car troubles, she doesn't have much of a personality or character arc.
Chanel - Rory's current girlfriend, and the definition of a golddigger. To the point where she literally swipes Rory's gold!
Esmeralda - A local fortune teller, who also just so happens to have legit magical powers. You would think she'd see things coming...
The Leprechaun - This is probably the most back to basics Leppy has been since the first few movies. He's rhyming, he's making jokes, he even gets to drive a car again! He's still more into punching out livers than casting wacky magic spells, but he ditched the random telekinetic powers, so that's a plus.
THE GUTS: Yeah, that's right, there's more Leprechaun movies than Die Hard movies. Let THAT random fact sink in for a bit.
Anyways, yes, here we are with the last film for not just Leprechaun month, but the Leprechaun franchise, Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha' Hood. Kill me now. Surely with a title that clearly serialises with the previous movie, there will be more continuity between them than the other Leprechauns!
The answer is a resounding NOPE. This one has just as much Leprechauntinuity as any of the other movies, meaning none. But we do open up with a brief description of lore, even though I'm sure it contradicts the other movies AND has zero to do with this actual plot. However, it does set up what a Leprechaun is. Seems like an odd time, the final movie of the series, to kick things off with an origin of the Leprechaun, yes?
After the infodump, we're back in the urban setting, as you could have surmised from the title, and following a priest who has seen better days limping into a playground. A rainbow blasts down from the sky, and he attacks it with a shovel.
When he's done killing the rainbow, the Leprechaun makes his first appearance, demanding to know where his treasure is, since the rainbow, much like the Shadow, always knows. Which once again makes me question his outsourcing of Ice Daddy in #5. Leprechauntinuity!
The priest sprays him with clover laced holy water, so we're at least keeping that around. And eventually, hands reach up from the ground to drag the Leprechaun down to hell, and the priest dies from wounds he got during the fight.
Well, that was a wonderfully short movie, thanks for reading folks, see you in a few days for my review of April Fool's Day!
...No! What? Not the end? Jumping ahead to one year later?? Spacedamnit.
Anyways, we meet up with some kids lamenting that the Youth Center never got completed, because the money disappeared. Oh, if they only knew it was buried right underneath their feet, thanks to Jacob.
We suffer through some thrilling beauty salon action with your usual cast of typical characters that populate such places. Seriously, this is like it's right out of an Eddie Murphy movie. But with 100% less Eddie Murphy.
The movie builds characters by giving all our leads money troubles, and one of them is even being harassed by some local gang members to pay back a loan. They also get beaten up by a rival drug drealer, and one of the few characters with money, which is sure to cause conflict, because gang members with guns.
Once Lisa's car breaks down, she and Emily head to a fortune teller, because they sure need some good news. Which they get! They're going to come into money! But booo they need to ignore it, because of the Leprechaun. The fortune teller then flashes through scenes of horror later in the movie. Ugh, spoilers!
And because this is an urban movie, once again we have pot rearing its head in the plot. Jamie is about to get high, and discovers clovers in his stash. Must be leftovers from Butch's weed. He tries to get a refund, but he's an idiot. But the movie does try and force the use of 'ninja' as a replacement for...well, THAT word.
I do like slipping in the Obligatory White Guy, who is just as terribly stereotyped in this movie as black people can be in horror movies. It's a great play on the tropes.
Jamie brings his drug dealer Rory to a BBQ the girls are having at the abandoned Youth Center project, and he just so happens to be Emily's ex. Okay, we've established the characters, let's get this Leprechaun party started.
After the rainbow shows up, Rory tries to talk with Emily, but she's not really cool with hooking up with a drug dealer...and the conversation gets cut short when she falls through some rotten boards into the foundations of the abandoned Youth Center.
The basement is remarkably well stocked with candles, food, and other supplies, not to mention it has a lot of piping and furnace stuff for an uncompleted structure. But I'm not supposed to be noticing these things, am I?
Besides all that, Emily also finds a half-sized door in the wall, that magically opens up all on its own, leading to an overgrown tunnel.
She finds a chest tangled up in the roots, and yanks it out, finding her way back to Rory, who's found some rope. They open the chest, and Quentin Tarantino would be proud of the golden glow coming from it.
But unlike Pulp Fiction, we actually see the contents, and yep, you guess it; the Leprechaun's gold. So the four of them divide up the estimated million dollars worth of coins, and go their separate ways to spend it all.
No one listens to creepy old fortune tellers though, so it's not long before the footage of the Leprechaun being dragged to Hell is reversed and he climbs out of the dirt with some helping hands.
We get pulled through a spending the gold montage, which ignores how they converted all that gold into currency, but I digress. That much gold should have raised red flags with someone, but we need it for plot contrivances.
Finally we get to a party, where Jamie shows off his new bong collection to one of his new friends, and leaves him alone to light up. And find some gold just laying around.
Which is fortunately the cue for the Leprechaun to show up to the guy's high, disbelieving eyes. Pot O'Luck sits back to light up and take a hit too, and at least mentions he's done so before. LEPRECHAUNTINUITY!
The Leprechaun falls over from the high, and the pothead drops his gold coin right next to him. And let me tell you, Pot O'Head sobered up REALLY FAST when he saw that.
Our pothead isn't about to give up the gold, starts pushing the Leprechaun around, but you can't push Leppy around, because Leppy will take the bong and stab it into your stomach and kill you dead.
The Leprechaun finds Jamie in the kitchen, and Pot O'Gold has a case of the munchies. So he wanders around raiding the fridge, falling down, and finding another bong. I question making the Leprechaun so slapstick...but I still smiled.
As he gets slammed into the fridge, the girls find the dead pothead, and the cops show up, taking Jamie away. The *trash bags full of pot* don't exactly help his case, either.
Meanwhile, Rory's gold digging girlfriend has a coin melted down and turned into a gold tooth. Psst, spoilers, that doesn't end well.
Over at the salon, Emily is on her last day, and that's when the Leprechaun shows up to play with her last appointment. He also kills the woman. Which, uh, she didn't have gold? Or get in his way? Or do anything except exist... Ah well, random mischief.
But it gets one of our leads to see the Leprechaun, and they have a fun fight with hair stylist tools, leading to YET ANOTHER eye gouging of the Leprechaun, this time with an electric trimmer.
Emily grabs Rory and Jamie, while the Leprechaun finds Lisa and starts tormenting her with the horror of open cabinet doors, nooo!
She stabs him a few times and locks herself in the bathroom, where he quickly pulls a Jack Torrance and Shinings his way through the door.
Lisa grabs a candle and hairspray to see if McScarecrow would like a little fire, and he scurries away. This guy's face is taking one heck of a beating this time around, that's for sure.
She reaches 911, but not before the Leprechaun pounces on her and rips out her guts. You know what I miss? When the Leprechaun was all about ironic punishments and transformations, and less about just tearing into people.
The gang regroups after Lisa's death, and Emily wants to give the gold back. At least someone knows how these movies work, and wants to get it over with.
But Rory has spent almost all of his share, and Emily hurls the chest at him in anger. He picks it up, and they discover all the gold has replenished itself. Which just makes them want to spend more. No. No no, bottomless TARDIS box of money should not encourage more spending, you're in deep enough!
Rory wants to take all the gold and run far, far away...until he sees a picture of him and Emily at the prom, and he suddenly changes his mind. Talk about your plot convenient shifts of motivation. I can't even make sense of that one. But when nobody's looking, he runs off with all the gold anyways.
So the Leprechaun catches up with Emily, and she tells him about the lack of gold. He already knows, though, and is there for revenge. Now, this time I buy his lack of interest in the gold. Since she TRIMMED OUT HIS EYE.
They continue the fight outside, and Rory's ever-shifting loyalties and motivations shift back to *helping* Emily as he races up on his bike and clobbers the Leprechaun a few times, so they can escape.
So, Leppy instead tracks down the gold with Rory's girlfriend...who immediately and calmly grabs a shotgun and blasts him in the face. I love the sheer casualness of it all.
But we all know that won't stop him, and he pins the woman down and removes the gold tooth...and lower jaw.
Meanwhile, Emily and Rory yell about how he's a terrible person, and they end up catching the attention of the cops, who pull them over for speeding. But they see the gold, and know they have something more valuable.
Of course, the Leprechaun shows up to get his gold, and gets into it with the cops. And is once again knocked out. The guy sure has developed a soft head over six movies.
He tears through one cop, then literally tears up the other by ripping off his leg. Once that cop falls over dead from the gushing hip wound, the Leprechaun turns his attention to his friends in the car.
Emily gets the cops' shotgun and fires a few rounds into the little guy, and again, we know it won't work. But it's still fun to watch.
They whoosh off while he's out, but he comes to pretty quickly and sees the abandoned cop car just sitting there. It's not quite his classic lust for anything with wheels on it, but I will take the Leprechaun driving anything at this point.
Unfortunately, hey! He's a Leprechaun! And can't reach the pedals. This is why you stole go-carts in the past, numbnuts.
Emily and Rory catch up with their stoner friend, and drag him off since the Leprechaun wants them dead. But there's a plot complication when the gang that's been troubling everyone shows up to hassle Rory for muscling in on their turf.
Fortunately, much like Bruce in I Come in Peace showing up when Caine has to deal with the White Boys, the Leprechaun also pulls up in a stolen cop car to cut through the plot and kill people.
But there is this absolutely great moment where Scrooge McLuck is trying to give his big speech to the gang leader about taking his gold, and it gets absolutely interrupted by the guy getting a call from his girlfriend. It's silly yes, but such a great moment to break the tension, and completely undercuts the Leprechaun. I normally frown on that, but this is just played SO well, I'll allow it.
He eventually gets to his speech though,which leads to yet another punch to the face and being knocked over. Leprechaun's wobble but they don't fall down.
Actually, it's more like another three dozen, since the Leprechaun does a little rope a dope on the guy, and lets him keep punching and punching, until he's exhausted.
Once that's done, the Leprechaun reaches in and tears the guy's heart out. I am so tired of just punching into people and taking organs in the Leprechaun movies by this point.
The gang is not exactly happy about this, and opens fire. And I mean, opens fire. I guess if you're gonna go to the hood, and run afoul of gang members, you better have a scene of excessive gun violence.
Of course, we all know the only thing excessive gun violence does is annoy the Leprechaun, so after a quick nap, he pops back up. And brings back the, "What's up, ninjas?" line.
...The entire setup for that word was to have Warwick Davis sit up after not being killed and say, "What's up, ninjas?" wasn't it? I bet you even wanted him to say THAT word, but figured that would be going too far, and went for the silly version. And I'm not gonna lie, it's kinda great.
He then slashes Watson's second hand man in the neck, which is about as close as we get to an ironic punishment, because I'm pretty sure that was tv's Blade he killed...
With that plot thread closed off, the surviving trio race off in a car after running over the Leprechaun, not knowing he's clutching to the undercarriage.
He doesn't keep that secret long, and tries punching through the bottom, but they quickly shake him off and drive away some more.
The trio head to the fortune teller to try and get some advice on how to wrap this up in twenty minutes. Which gives us a recap of the lore that started the film. At least it was all the way back, so fair enough.
So she tells them his only two weaknesses are his gold, and four leaf clovers. Uhh, and the vaccuum of space. And a magic stoning necklace. And...
But let's roll with clovers, since Jamie has that stash from the start of the movie, and shows off the clovers in it. Talk about your plot convenience.
They try and figure out how to use the clover, and Rory decides to slice it up all nice and julienne, and fill the tips of some hollow point bullets. Oh, and Jamie says that Glocks always jam. This is what we writers like to call 'foreshadowing'.
Just as things are starting to slow down too much, the Leprechaun crashes through the door so we can finish this up in a hail of bullets. In the hood!
Which Rory is happy to oblige by popping a few caps into the Leprechaun's ass. Which make him spew out little orbs of glowy light
The Leprechaun begs for his life, and Rory is all set to finish things off when...GASP! The glock jams!! Who would have seen that coming?? Honestly, I didn't even need the "Glocks always jam, man!" line. GUNS always jam in movies. That's the least required thing to set up.
But that gives the Leprechaun time to recover from the clover poisoning and drag this out for awhile. He tosses Rory aside, and Jamie keeps the Leprechaun distracted with a baseball bat, until it gets shoved into the guy's knee.
The fortune teller steps in, and we get a pretty cool, if too brief, magic battle. It's maybe straying from 'urban' stuff, but eh, it's fun, and hasn't really been done before in this series.
Emily and Rory climb for the roof, because rooves are always good for climactic battle scenes, with the Leprechaun not far behind.
Rory grabs a pipe and caves in the Leprechaun's skull, but he's still Not Really Dead, even from that, and pops right back up again. Trying to kill this guy is like playing a game of Whack O'Mole.
Before he can finish the job and kill Rory, Emily uses the gold to lure him away and they run around the building for a bit. She tries to escape in an elevator, but he jumps right on down after her.
Emily grabs some loose electrical wires and tries to shock the O'Monkey, but not even an electrocutional can stop this guy.
They find themselves down in the basement, with a giant furnace burning away, and Emily threatens to throw the gold into the flames. She's not bluffing though, and throws them in, smashes the Leprechaun with the giant metal door, punches him in the face, AND flings him into the fire too. That's some nice payback.
Emily rushes back up to the roof and wakes up the unconscious Rory, and it seems like a nice happy ending is at hand! But we all know the Leprechaun is Not Really Dead! Because fire was not on the approved list of weaknesses this week.
So yeah, a slightly more crispy Leprechaun arrives to ruin things and keep things going. This fight has been dragging on for nearly twenty minutes. They've kept it active and with different things at least, but you reach a point where you start shouting, "END!".
The Leprechaun tosses Emily over the edge of the roof, where she clings for her life while he speechifies about greed and humans and blah blah blah. All so Rory can get the gun unstuck and fill the guy with little bolts of yellow light some more.
But he runs out of bullets, and things turn back in the Leprechaun's favour, until Emily bashes him with the chest, and sends him over the edge into the wet cement below.
Hey! You know what would've been good? If ten minutes ago, when you were tossing coins into the wet cement, he was tossed over then, instead of running away, going downstairs, thinking you killed him but not, then literally making a full circle back UPstairs to the roof, where you put him RIGHT back in the exact same place.
I have major issues with plots that literally go in circles like that, it makes me feel like they're wasting everyone's time.
But, he lands in the cement, where I presume it hardens, and we never have to hear from him again. Right? ...Right?!
Video: DEFinitely a step up from the last movie, given a proper widescreen transfer, with at least some care done to it. Coming out in 2003 probably helped too.
Audio: Sounding good, for what it's worth.
Sound Bite: "Say hello to St. Patrick's for me, bitch!" Well, it's no Lucky Charms reference, but...
Body Count: Say what you will about these movies, but they do deliver on the body count almost every single time, don't they? Pretty much everyone always dies, and they populate the movies with a lot of canon fodder.
1 - Father Jacob dies from stab wounds and who knows what else the Leprechaun did to him before the movie started. 4:30 minutes.
2 - Random pothead loser gets a bong rammed into his chest by the Leprechaun.
3 - Random woman at the beauty salon gets strangled and massaged by the Leprechaun. Not necessarily in that order.
4 - Random Lisa...er, Lisa encounters the Leprechaun in her bathroom and gets her spleen removed.
5 - Rory's girlfriend loses a tooth...and her jaw, when the Leprechaun reclaims the gold she took.
6 - The Leprechaun rips out Watson's heart.
7 - One of Watson's goons gets slashed in the throat.
8 - Did Jamie die from taking a bat to the knee?
9 - The fortune teller gets magically defeated.
10 - Technically, the Leprechaun gets tossed into a pit of wet cement and is encased and dies, but...wait, no, this is the last! He's actually dead! ...Right?
Best Corpse: The Leprechaun's, because his death, in this final movie, means this is finally over. But seriously, we got a hopping cop with no leg leaking everywhere.
Blood Type - C+: Not the best, not the worst, with a few good effects, including the always great looking Leprechaun makeup, including now seeing his feet for the first time! And an extra-crispy variant.
Sex Appeal: No major standouts to mention.
Drink Up! Every time someone says, "Oh, you're a Leprechaun, huh??" or some variant.
Video Nasties: Yeah! I finally came up with a good, subject appropriate name for this section! This used to be "Sights and Sounds" and it finally hit me what a good alternative would be. As for what this review's video is, I went with the moment when the Leprechaun gets interrupted by Watson's girlfriend. Just watch the look on Warwick's face. Worth it, right there.
Movie Review: Okay, okay, I rag on this movie. A lot. Because it's easily mockable, and the movie undercuts the villain at every opportunity. But...this may easily be the best of the Leprechaun series. The plot's solid, the goals are clear for all involved...well, except Rory, but having one guy with conflicting morals is okay. It loses the outright silliness of the last movie, with bats hidden in afros. It IS still silly, but that's limited to the Leprechaun's antics, and that's also fine. I do miss some of the weirder things in the first few movies, and the Leprechaun being a magic mischief maker, but he's more clearly focused in this movie than he has been in a few flicks. He's still a pale imitation of Freddy Krueger, but this has a lot of highlights for the series. I'm sure there's some terribly offensive things in this and the last movie, both as stereotypes and just plain behaviour, due to when the movies were made (Less excusable in this, again made in 2003) but I'm ill equipped to point them out too specifically. Three out of five gold teeth.
Entertainment Value: Beyond all that, I found myself nicely entertained. The Leprechaun is silly and funny in all the right ways, and limiting the sillier aspects of the movie to him is absolutely the right decision. I get wanting to have humour in these movies. They're about a crazed, killer leprechaun. It's inherently silly. And they hit the balance just about right. There's lots of fun to be had, and I actually laughed quite a few times, in spite of myself. Three out of five amputated legs.
And so I have made it through all six Leprechaun movies, and I am at last free! Unless the Leprechaun has some kind of, I dunno, revenge planned for me, but that's pretty unlikely...