She tried to go straight, she really did, but they just won’t let Wilma McClatchie be.
When Big Bad Mama II opens, the evil banker and land baron Crawford (Bruce Glover) has ordered the foreclosure of the Texas farm Wilma lives on with her two daughters and husband, and when her husband refuses to budge, Crawford’s henchmen shoot him in cold blood.
Wilma and her offspring, Billie Jean (Danielle Brisebois from Archie Bunker’s Place) and Polly (Julie McCullough in her screen debut), are then forced to not only avenge his death but make a little spending money as well. After all, there’s a depression going on.
Hubby dead and buried, Mama elects to delay grieving in favour of revenge, picking first on the banks Crawford owns and then focusing on his campaign to be elected governor.
Their exploits attract the attention of Pearson (Robert Culp), the western correspondent for The Philadelphia Eagle, whose nose for news tells him that a bank-robbing widow with a gang consisting of two beautiful daughters might hold some attraction for his readers.
So when Mama kidnaps Crawford’s son, Jordan (Jeff Yagher), Pearson has a vested interest in keeping the gang – and his story – alive.
In the best Patty Hearst tradition, the kidnapped boy soon develops a big crush on his most naive captor, Polly, who puts down her dolly full of dynamite long enough to return his affection. This creates some tension between Polly and her more belligerent sister, but Mama has more to worry about than sibling rivalry.
She’s got some real retaliation to plan against her nemesis Crawford, who is already plotting some vengeance of his own.
It’s hard to tell if Big Bad Mama II is a sequel or a prequel, or just a remake of the original 1974 film. But producer Roger Corman knows that it doesn’t really matter as long as we have a lot of Tommy gun shootouts, chases in antique cars and at least one skinny-dipping scene involving buxom young ladies.
Director Jim Wynorski (who co-wrote the script with RJ Robertson) keeps things light and loose, going easy on the blood and heavy on the wisecracks and lingerie.
There is very little attempt to create an authentic period atmosphere, and the sets appear to have been left over from some low-budget TV western.
The film took less than two weeks to make, a fact borne out by Danielle Brisebois’ face every time she picks up a machine gun. Her eyes get as big as saucers, and her mouth freezes into a frightened yet excited howl.
Just for the record, Angie Dickinson does reprise her infamous bedroom scene from the first movie, but this time she called on a body double (Monique Gabrielle) for the nude bits.
Billie Jean McClatchie
Ebbe Roe Smith
Jacque Lynn Colton
H Ray Huff