Scanners II: The New Order Film Details
Overview: A scanner discovers a plot by renegade elements in the city government to take power with the help of evil scanners.
Tagline: He can make you do anything…if he puts his mind to it.
Review: David Cronenbergs original, Scanners”, was a one of a kind film: it was science fiction, it was horror, an action film, yet, it felt more like a drama, the characters firmly in the centre of attention. We were able to relate to the Scanners, seeing them as normal human beings, who had super-powers that were at the same time a disease. The sequel takes a slightly different turn: the action- and science fiction elements churned up, it feels more like a “RoboCop”- then a “Scanners”-sequel and the amped-up colour, sound and special-effects give the film a comic book-feel. A good example is the use of the drug ‘Ephemerol’: in the original, it’s a medicine that has no effect on ‘normal’ people but temporarily cures the Scanners from the side-effects of their powers; in “Scanners 2” it’s a drug that turns Scanners and non-Scanners alike into bald-headed addicts, eventually killing them. In the original film, there’s a ‘sound’ of what the Scanners hear in their heads, permeating almost every scene, fractions of sentences and words, voices and noise; the viewer can relate why the Scanners live a tortured existence. Here, the ‘Scanner-sound’ is reduced to a light, vibrating noise that sets in ever time a Scanner uses his powers. Christian Duguay clearly is no David Cronenberg; the director is more at home at the straight-to-video horror and science fiction genre. Not to say that the director is doing a bad job; within the limits of above mentioned genre it’s a very neat movie but, to give you a reference, imagine Wim Wenders “Wings of Desire” being remade by Brad Silverling. As for the acting, most of the performances are B-movie at best, but adequate for a sequel like “Scanners II”. Especially the villains, Tom Butler, Yvan Ponton, Vlasta Vrana and Michael Rudder, seemed to have climbed straight from a comic book. Special mention should go to Raoul Trujillo (decades before he’d play ‘Zero Wolf’, the monstrous Mayan bounty hunter in “Apocalypto”), who fantastically hams it up as psychopathic Scanner Peter Drak. The gore-factor, one of the trademarks of the “Scanners”-franchise, has been hyped up a notch or two, never reaching the level ‘splatter-movie’, but often coming close. However, especially younger viewers should be warned, that this movie comes from a pre-CGI era, relying entirely on special effects, not computer animation, hence, may seem a little rough on eyes used to contemporary CGI. All in all it’s an enjoyable little romp but suffers the fate of most remakes: it just doesn’t stand the comparison to the original. If you came for action, exploding heads and the archetypical “Scanner-grimacing”, you cannot go wrong with “Scanners 2” – but if you consider the original film a piece of art and hope for a similarly inspired film, you might leave disappointed. 8 points for being a 90’s video-cheapo of it’s own right, 5 as a sequel to an art-film like “Scanners”, so I settle for 7 points out of 10.
Language: English, French, Japanese
Duration: 104 min
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
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