This review is from: Alligator/ Alligator 2 - The Mutation  [DVD]  (DVD)
Alligator is surprisingly good for an aging, low-budget monster movie. Having watched this as a kid and loved it, I thought I might be remembering it through rose-tinted glasses but that's not the case. Despite the budget limitations, the special effects are actually pretty good: much more convincing than the dodgy CGI of Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and the like which is now so prevalent. The acting's also pretty good for this level of film with Robert Forster putting in a good performance in the star role and Dean Jagger is a splendidly unscrupulous villain. Things are also helped by the fact that the concept isn't too far outside the possibility of reality.
Alligator 2, on the other hand is every bit as bad as you would expect. Forget the fact that the new twist (it's venomous!) is pretty redundant when the alligator's 30' long and kills instantly: there's so much bad about this that it barely registers. Glimpses of the monster are limited to a metre of its hide or a flash of its jaws, as though there wasn't even the money to make the full monster. the defining scene is a bizarre one where, just before the rampage begins, the film's villain holds court on the world's smallest ferris wheel. It's comically ridiculous.
But never mind the second film's shortcomings: just consider it a bonus disk and enjoy the first film as a genuinely decent film.