The end of "Planet of the Apes" is so good that this sequel starts by repeating the famous last sequence, after which Charlton Heston disappears underground before a bemused Linda Harrison. She hasn't long to wait though for a look-a-like companion, as James Franciscus turns up (having landed on the planet in search of Heston) to join her for this disappointing film.
Franciscus stumbles upon a cave and his discovery of an underground band of mutant humans provides for some exciting tension.
Predictably, these mutant humans have little affection for the apes that now rule above, and have plans to destroy them using their nuclear bomb, which they also happen to worship. The potential here is for a rousing adventure film, but unfortunately the film-makers choose to concentrate on the blessed bomb.
This is where things just get silly as the bomb takes centre stage and the script becomes filled with empty moralising, spouted by the increasingly irritating mutants. Franciscus wrestles with the muddled story as well as he can, but he never really gets to play the hero that Heston did as Taylor. As the apes close in and the mutants squeal their annoying noises, it's hard to care which side wins or loses, and that is a great disappointment after the excitement of the first film.
See our "Planet of the Apes" mini-site.