Lacks the magic of the original
In 1961, two years after "Sandy", "Danny" and the gang from Rydell High School graduated and went on with their lives, we return to the school on the first day of the school year with a new group of students, along with some familiar faces.
"Michael" (Maxwell Caulfield), the British cousin of "Sandy", arrives on the first day as students are dancing and singing. He is met by "Frenchy" (Didi Conn), the "Beauty School Dropout" who is returning to start her career in cosmetology by learning high school chemistry.
Soon after arriving, he bumps into the beautiful "Stephanie" (Michelle Pfeiffer, in her first starring role), who is the leader of the girls gang the "Pink Ladies," and the latest girl of "Johnny" (Adrian Zmed), the leader of the "T-Birds", a gang once lead by "Danny" in the original movie.
It is love at first sight for the well-mannered young man, but he quickly learns that he has to be a "T-Bird" to date her. But, he will do anything to get close to her.
Now, "Michael" pursues his crush by turning into what "Stephanie" wants -- a "cool rider" who will sweep her off her feet.
Let me say right off the bat, this is a very weak followup to one of the greatest musicals of all time. It just completely lacks the magic of the original film.
First of all, there is the music. If you ask me, only two of the 13 songs are memorable. The rest, though having the sound of early-60's music, is just terrible and uninspired. To me, most of the tunes sounded as if they were just thrown together just before production starts. As for the choreography in these scenes, it's hit or miss. In the original, we get an energetic dance number in the school gym, which is one of the most memorable moments in the movie. In Grease 2, we get an out-of-nowhere number in the local bowling alley that the cast appeared to enjoy doing. However, I would not want to go back to learn these steps (and I am in a wheelchair). I also felt, with some exceptions, that the cast was taught the choreography the day before filming the dance scenes.
One of the biggest problems is character development. To me, the characters seemed to have been written as if we are expected to know the new faces. Most of the main characters appear to be loosely based on specific characters from the first film (most notably "Michael," a male version of "Sandy" with a bit of "Danny" thrown in, and "Stephanie", a female version of "Danny" with a bit of "Sandy" thrown in). There are also many supporting characters with their own, minor story lines which barely moves the story along. We get only minor basics of these characters, and the audience mostly ignores them due to not being presented well.
As for performances from the main cast, they are fairly good, but not perfect. Pfeiffer is near perfect in her first major role on the silver screen, and carries the weaker members of the cast fairly well in their scenes together -- and she can actually carry a tune pretty well (especially in "Cool Rider," one of the only two songs you will most likely remember after the closing credits end. Caulfield was pretty good as "Michael", even in his invented alter-ego to swoon "Stephanie". However, there was something lacking in their romantic chemistry most of the time.
The supporting cast, all around, is quite weak. Like I said, these characters are horribly written. We only get the most basic information. The "T-Birds" lacked the feel of being a unit, as did the "Pink Ladies." We even get some of the original cast in this film, but they are only on-screen to deliver a line or two as the movie progresses.
As for the wardrobes, nothing real special here. The gym shirts the men wear in one scene appear to have the school name ironed onto it, and not in a quality a school district would spend the money on. I found the wardrobe pretty boring actually. The "Pink Ladies" and "T-Birds" iconic jackets don't look that great on the cast members wearing them. And, especially with certain male members of the cast, the hairdos look too much teased. It looked as if they cut some corners on the wardrobes and hairdos to me.
The story just feels rushed, especially the part where "Michael" creates his alter-ego. It appears that he became an expert in riding rather quickly, as there was no way to tell how much time had past.
I really can't recommend this one. If you already own the first movie, I would suggest that you get this film just so you can have both movies. And that's the only reason to purchase it. It's just not able to live up to the icon that is the original.