As if Cronenberg had sustained brain trauma and slipped into mental retardation. Scanners two plunges in quality and derails from the philosophical core which makes his work so provocative and engaging in the first place.
Director Christian Duguay takes the helm and sends the viewer into a low budget examination of late eighties, early nighties visual sci-fi shlock.
The film opens with hobo scanner (Raul Max Trujillo), our moral counterpart to the protagonist scanner played by David Hewet, who you might remember form Stargate Atlantis and I remember from the often-overlooked sci-fi paranoia masterpiece Cube.
Hobo scanner wanders into a scene of classic arcade nostalgia. I could almost smell the Old spice, weed and B.O. that once permeated the hang outs of youth, loners, and wire rimmed Jeffry Dahmer glasses a glow with the reflections of game screens, a mise en scene of denim, and joy sticks oiled to perfection from low rent pizza.
RauI’s performance in the film walks the line of “Killer Bob” and this guy I used to buy coke from – all eyeballs and grease.
After the arcade, hobo scanner is tracked down to a ware house where he descends into harassing the residents of mannequin town. I mean look, we’ve all been there, it’s late you’ve been drinking, perhaps you’ve been turned down for the fourth time buy the local bar slag. You just want a tug job in the alley – not much to ask for. So, what else is there to do but break into a ware house and scream at some plastic women?
Anyways, hobo scanner is finally captured and sent to the scanner research facility where we find that junkie scanners addicted to a new chemical that suppresses their powers and side effects, are now used to further the cause of a local police Sargent or captain… Or something, I started to lose focus at this point, perhaps it was the bourbon, perhaps it was the hour of the night, perhaps it was because the film was boring.
I didn’t even find myself laughing from how bad it was. It was just middle of the road, and that’s the worst crime any piece of art really can ever commit – to be mediocre. If you can’t make me feel something other than shoot yourself in the face boredom, then what have you got? You’ve got Scanners two.
The music in the film was on par with everything else – a lifetime movie level of quality, and the sound design in general made me cringe as every Super Nintendo gunshot sample flatly repeated itself over and over. The dialogue was no better, as it was all obviously recorded in post, and lazily layered into the lack of foley for each setting. It was if the viewer was expected to feel as if their hearing was slowly going out.
I will give the movie one praise – when the scanners did “good” scanning, instead of the creepy synth sounds carried over from the original, you got instead a weird altered whale song sound bite… Yeah, whale sounds. Which in a way adds further to the numbing underwater sound quality of the whole film? I guess.
In the end, Scanners two is not worth the time, it was like watching a dolls head stuffed with hamburger slowly turn in a microwave. You know the explosion is coming, but by the end, was it worth it? I say stick to the original or watch The Fury if you’re in need of further psychic mischief.
Two nose bleeds out of five.