by Anthony King
While not a sports guy, if I do watch sports I tend to go for the non-violent types – baseball, golf, chess. The funny thing is that I said the same exact thing in a group text and not 15 minutes later do I put on a movie about boxing. Did you know the Penitentiary movies were about boxing? Because I didn't. Having not seen the first one, I assumed going into Penitentiary II that an exploitation movie such as it is wouldn't require the viewer to be privy to the story leading up to the sequel. And I was right. Having since seen number two, I have gone back and watched the first one. And while I like each of them enough, I'm not compelled to watch the third one because, you guessed it, boxing.
I would absolutely love this movie if it were strictly about revenge, but alas it's a boxing movie and boxing takes up most of the time here. Too Sweet just wants to make the world a better place and delivers a cheese-filled monologue that includes the line, “I'm gonna make a difference in this dirty, rotten world... I'm gonna be the champion of the world.” You get your standard Rocky training sequence where Too Sweet is running alongside Mr. T and the trainer, Seldom, riding a motorcycle on the beach. You get the inevitable scene where Too Sweet just wants to give up but Rudy Ray Moore and Irene Stokes inexplicably show up as a random husband and wife and inspire him to keep fighting. And you get the big final boxing match at the end. As in the first, each of these matches is broadcast on live television by professional commentators where we're treated to an impassioned cry of, “I believe in smarties. I believe in motherhood. I believe in apple pie. I believe in too sweet. I believe! I believe!” Also carried over from the first is a little person dogging ladies in the bathroom and under the ring, ringside musical entertainment provided by a saxophonist and conga player, the horrifically offensive gay section of prisoners, and a pre-show dance routine from a proto Fly Girls dance troupe.