DVD Review: The Locator 2: Braxton Returns (2009)

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Traditionally, it's advisable to watch the previous installment when you're tackling a sequel but when you're dealing with straight-to-disc action movies, you typically don't have to worry all that much. And unfortunately, when it came to this title, you won't even care. For, if the original Locator was 1/10th as unbearable as this one, it's safe to bet you would've skipped the sequel altogether.

Less than five minutes in and before the Maverick Entertainment review screener* moved fully from color to black and white for copy protection purposes, I knew that locating anything positive to write about this one would be tough. In fact, I realized quickly that it would be far more difficult than as the plot synopsis explained, former government locator and hitman Braxton's “most deadly” (or rather deadliest) assignment yet.

Set in familiar Wesley Snipes, Steven Seagal, or Jean-Claude Van Damme terrain, the movie takes the predictable Die Hard With a Vengeance, Speed, and 12 Rounds plotline wherein our protagonist (played by the film's co-director Andre Buckner) has to “play a game” with a villain holding his girlfriend hostage.

By plot mandate alone, we should care much more about the events than we do. However, the acting can be described as amateurish at best. And sadly, none of the lead actors are remotely convincing, despite the obvious surface level attractiveness of Buckner and the exotic eye candy of the opposite gender that gives off a bad music video vibe as though we had singers, rappers, dancers or J-Lo era “fly girls” pretending to impersonate cops and robbers in place of prepared professional actors.

Further disappointing from a viewer perspective--aside from being entirely predictable for the genre-- some of the female leads look like they were hired while waiting in line to be an exploited extra dancing in a strip club or wearing a wet t-shirt in a Michael Bay movie.

Unable to make any one of their lines sound legitimate, it's the women's T&A that does the talking for them before we experience Braxton's "discreet, casual threesome" with his girlfriend and a woman whose “real identity” when revealed only incites dubious giggles.

While I wanted to find something-- anything to like about the movie other than its less than two hour running time-- the one thing I can say is that even with a bigger budget or a more experienced cast and crew, there's no doubt that this dull action vehicle would still have suffered even if Snipes, Van Damme, or Seagal had been hired.

And the reason for that is that you have to start with something new or remotely likable. Instead, watching Buckner try to play both Shaft and a guy desperately trying to save his girlfriend who just took part in a stereotypical skank fest with him doesn't benefit the cause or our investment in him in the slightest.

Ultimately the the movie clunks along with so many holes that you could drive a lot of trucks through it. And to its further detriment, The Locator 2: Braxton Returns also includes a cardboard villain who gives off a "manwhore" vibe instead of one of a terrorizing mastermind. In doing so, the film operates with a genuine lack of respect for logic or the audience's intellect throughout. And while I can't speak for the prequel, when it comes to the sequel, avoid taking the time to locate this one on DVD as it will play much better when screened at two or three in the morning on cable television.

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