The film's departure from nearly everything that made the original is a classic should be a recipe for disaster, yet the film succeeds quite well despite the drastic changes. Upon its release "Chainsaw 2" was damned as much as it was praised, yet this was most likely a result of the sequel not being taken on its own terms, and being compared directly to the success of the original (The sequel was released 14 years after the original, and I would assume that the first film was already being viewed as a classic at the time "Chainsaw 2" was released). While comparisons will certainly be drawn, this is a deliberately different film than its predecessor and should be viewed in a different light.
As mentioned, the original's focus on sheer terror is replaced by some unnerving comedy, and Bill Moseley's first appearance at the radio station is without question the film's strongest scene. Fueled by both a penetrating creepiness and some wickedly strange and humorous dialogue, the scene is elevated by Moseley's brilliantly unsettling performance. Chop Top is one of the most underrated horror villains ever written into a script, as he is equally frightening and funny (in an uncomfortably creepy sort of way).
The film's focus on violence and gore is apparent from the very beginning, as one characters head is sawed in half. Tom Savini's effects are most certainly excessive, although slightly outdated by today's standards. Take for example the aforementioned head being sawed in half – an obviously prosthetic head, wired with various blood pumps, squirts multiple streams of blood straight up in the air. It's fun to watch, if not terribly realistic.
The first film, perhaps simply because they didn't have the finances to display much graphic violence, had to rely on it's technique to unsettle the viewer. The sequel however seems to display its violence simply for its own sake. This is no more apparent than one particular scene in which one character has been run through the stomach with a chainsaw; Hooper shows the violence from behind, then the characters slowly turn to a side profile which displays the chainsaw running on both sides in all it's gory glory. It's as if they're saying, “Look how violent we are.”
To summarize my point... While the film is undeniably a sequel to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", Tobe Hooper envisioned the second film as something different. It would be ridiculous to think that "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" was created with the intent of reproducing the effect of the first on horror film culture, so how can we rightfully criticize the film for not living up to the ridiculously high standards set by the original? "Texas Chainsaw 2" was envisioned by its creators as something different, and we should criticize accordingly. On its own terms, it works... very well, actually, and Bill Moseley's performance is the centerpiece of one of the first genuinely good, if not great, horror comedy hybrids.