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Review: ‘Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood’ – Dear God, Help! I STILL Don’t Know Why I’m Watching Every Movie in the ‘Leprechaun’ Franchise!

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'Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood' (2003) - Dear God, Help! I STILL Don't Know Why I'm Watching Every Move in the 'Leprechaun' Franchise!

“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid” (Micah 4:4)

Think back to last summer, if you’ll allow the brief violation of your peace and comfort. Remember back last summer when we didn’t know when we’d be allowed outside? That was pretty scary stuff! Most places are doing much better now, going into Summer 2021, but last year, everything was so unsure. If you’re anything like me, you may have taken a lot of solace in movies and tv shows and content like that. I was streaming and renting and watching everything. The people in charge at Disney must’ve known we were all streaming everything, because they chose last summer to release Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” on their Disney+ service. It was great. Millions of people knew the words to the show but had never seen the production. It felt like a great connector. People all over social media were discussing the show’s strengths and weaknesses, and for a few moments, it felt ubiquitous. Whether we loved it or not, the whole world seemed united by our newfound access to “Hamilton.”

“But Bill,” you may ask. “What does the smash Broadway production of Hamilton have to do with Leprechaun 6?” Stay with me.

Hamilton, has a great song called “One Last Time,” and the melody has stayed with me for the whole year. But, in addition to having a very catchy tune, the song also carries a lot of emotional weight. It’s all about George Washington stepping down from his role and refusing to run for a third term. This presidential precedent was instituted by a wearied Washington who looked forward to retiring outside of the public eye. And so, with this song, Washington informs Alexander Hamilton of his plans. America’s first president extolls his reasons for leaving, before raising a glass to his treasury secretary as they salute their work together one last time.

I wish Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood felt more like “One More Time” from Hamilton.

This sixth Leprechaun movie is, so far, the last to feature Warwick Davis in the titular role. He is the engine that keeps this Cadillac from running into the ground. He is the Leprechaun. It is Davis’ charm, his seeming exuberance in playing this part, that keeps the whole thing from falling apart. It’s already a somewhat flimsy premise, but Warwick Davis is just enough to keep it afloat.

Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood Warwick Davis

So, it should seem fitting that his final performance should be a love letter to Warwick Davis, packing the same emotional resonance as Hamilton‘s “One Last Time,” right?

It’s not. Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood is not a love letter to Warwick Davis, and it does not pack the same emotional resonance as Hamilton’s “One Last Time.” For this, I am upset.

Davis does not get the George Washington treatment at all with this one. He is not treated as an elder statesman who is given the dignity to leave his role at the height of his influence. He is certainly not treated as the shoulders on which this entire franchise has existed. Instead, he is auxiliary, a piece of debris shrugged off by the hydraulic lift of a souped-up car. For this, I am also upset.

So what do we get with this one? It’s really more of a djinn story than a leprechaun story. The events have very little to do with the Leprechaun or his powers, and instead are really all about his gold. The gold here is the driving force. All the human characters are motivated primarily by their greed. There’s a cast of unmemorable, unlikeable characters who find the Leprechaun’s gold. Their moral fiber is tested as it becomes clear that the gold is a force of evil. Their dreams start coming true in Monkey’s Paw fashion. It’s all very barely stitched together to allow time to pass between Leprechaun murders.

Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood Warwick Davis and Cast

What’s new about Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood? Well, the Leprechaun rips a bong. That’s sorta fun, in a wacky way. The Leprechaun loses an eye, which is new, I think. He also avoids saying the N-word by instead saying “Ninja.” That is a big, weird point this movie makes. Criminally, the Leprechaun does not rap in this iteration. I don’t think it can be overstated how much the previous movie benefited from having a rap. This is a big, silly franchise, and a rapping leprechaun is, indeed, very silly. Should’ve had him rap in this one.

That last part brings us to my final point on the Warwick-era of the Leprechaun franchise. I think the movies all benefit from the “horror/comedy” label. Because let’s be honest. Is this really horror? There are a few startling moments, but I’d be really surprised to find an adult who finds these movies scary. They’d be great entry points into horror for kids, if not for the “comedy” parts. Because, again, these movies beg a question: Is this really comedy? There aren’t very many jokes. There are lots of crude limericks! I’d say maybe once every-other-movie there is a laugh-out-loud moment. I say that charitably. But it couldn’t stand alone as a comedy franchise.

So by blending two genres, the series gets away with not being great at either, really. Which is a shame. There is plenty of potential in this series. Because all you need is Warwick Davis. If nothing else, each entry in the franchise proves you ONLY need Warwick Davis, because literally everything else is expendable. Characters? They all die! There’s nobody we care about seeing in a sequel! Setting? The setting changes with every movie! Except this one! And that’s another weird thing. North Dakota, Los Angeles, Vegas, Space, the hood, and then the hood AGAIN?!

Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Lep Red Eyes

Anyhow, Back 2 Tha Hood was not my favorite in the franchise (I think In Space might be?). It is not a triumphant end to Davis’ time in the Leprechaun role. It doesn’t have any fresh ideas to add to the pot, and that’s why I’d say it’s pretty disappointing to see it end this way. I want Warwick Davis to go out on a high note (no bong-pun intended)!

What’s next in this franchise? Can WWE Studios rebuild the series with Hornswoggle as the phoenix rising from these ashes? Probably not! I think that one’s gonna suck! But I’ll watch it, so you don’t have to.

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