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Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood (December 29/03)

Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood marks the sixth installment in the seemingly unstoppable Leprechaun series, and surprisingly enough, isn't quite as terrible as it could have been. The film's not good, exactly, but it's certainly miles beyond the last two episodes (Leprechaun in Space and Leprechaun in the Hood).

The most obvious area of improvement is in the non-Leprechaun characters; for once, they've actually been developed to more than just potential victims. The story's a familiar one: A group of friends stumble upon a chest full of gold, little realizing that it actually belongs to a demonic little troll known only as the Leprechaun (played by, of course, Warwick Davis). While the tenacious pals try to figure out how to stop the the titular beast, he's killing anyone that so much as looks at his gold (which he refers to as his "babies" at one point).

Though the film is technically better than recent efforts, Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood fails completely in the area of gore. Aside from a few perfunctory instances of carnage (Lep rips off a guy's leg, extricates the heart of another, etc), the movie is lacking in the sort of creative killin' that made the first few films so enjoyable. No longer does our intrepid antagonist twist around the wishes of his hapless victims (remember that one poor sap who wished for a pot of gold, only to have it appear inside his stomach?), usually to a gruesome conclusion. Now he's essentially just a regular movie villain, albeit one with super-human strength and a predilection for bad limericks.

But given how well-developed the characters are (comparitively speaking, of course; this isn't exactly The Station Agent), the lack of gore is something that's easy enough to overlook. However, the film's lack of a storyline - the film essentially consists of vignettes featuring the Leprechaun and his prey - eventually catches up to it, turning Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood into a passable but ultimately lackluster entry in the series.

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