Spud 2: The Madness Continues

What it's about:

The year is 1991, and Spud Milton's long walk through puberty is still creeping along at an unnervingly slow pace. Approaching the ripe old age of fifteen and still with no signs of the much anticipated manhood, Spud is coming to terms with the fact that he may well be a freak of nature.

What we thought:

After the success of the first film, the pressure was on for the makers of Spud 2: The Madness Continues to deliver another South African box office success.

The first movie - adapted from the bestselling book series by John van de Ruit - opened to rave reviews, earning nearly R3m in its first week and went on to be named the sixth biggest performer of all time for a local film at the box office.

So it was with big expectations that I attended the screening of the second film in the series; Spud 2: The Madness Continues.

The film is a quirky coming-of-age tale about a young boy, John 'Spud' Milton, in his second year at a South African boarding school in the early 90s.

Writer and producer Donovan Marsh tries his best to keep the ball rolling after the success of the first Spud and it many ways he succeeds, but I can’t help but think that hardcore fans of the novels will be expecting more.

The big name in the film is actor John Cleese who reprises his role as the eccentric English teacher 'the Guv' in a performance that is both skillful and sensitive.

Speaking to Channel24, Cleese said the second film is "a little more bouncy and a little more fun" and I couldn't agree more. While the first Spud was both funny and touching, the second is more of an outright comedy and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the hilarious antics the Crazy 8 get up to.

The boys from the first film are back - ready to take on their bumbling housemaster Spare Rib, played by South African actor Jason Cope, and reminding us what is was like to be a teenager all over again.

This year, the gang are desperate to push the boundaries at school, says Sven Ruygrok who plays Rambo.

"It's the teenage years, you want to fight you want to find out who you are."

Marsh has cast some really superb and talented actors. Troye Sivan, Aaron Mcllroy and Julie Summers give stand-out performances but the entire cast manages to hold their own on screen, bringing the book's dry wit and 'South Africanisms' to life.

But where the movie falls short is when you start to compare it to the book.

Characters like Vern and Mad Dog, who come to life in the pages of John van de Ruit's novel, are far too simplistically portrayed in the film.

Vern's weird and peculiar behaviour that make up so much of the hilarity in the book are lost on screen and Marsh brushes over Rambo's massive character arc - not giving it the attention it deserves.

I was also disappointed that the movie was filmed in Cape Town - losing much of the charm and history that Michaelhouse and the KwaZulu-Natal landscape lent to the first film.

Overall, the film is humorous, full of heart and wonderfully South African – making it well worth watching!

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