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Scorpion
 Thread Rating: 9 votes, 4.78 average.
Old 07-23-2006, 04:52 PM
 
Scored: 5
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Default American Psycho 2



Reviewer: John
Review Date: September 25, 2002

Released by: Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date: 9/25/2001
MSRP: $24.95
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



I was initially disappointed when I found out Lions Gate would be bypassing the theatrical release of American Psycho 2. Upon reading the specs for the DVD, I was impressed that so much time was given to the film. Normally, you can go into a movie knowing what you will get out of it; however these two moves have thrown a bit of a curveball. Good movies go to the theater and then hit the store shelves (a lot of poor ones do too). Bad movies usually don't have two commentaries, deleted scenes, alternate takes, and other features that the American Psycho 2 DVD has gotten. Lions Gate has released some real gems in the past; will this one be D.O.A. or become a cult classic?


The Story

Rachel Newman (Mila Kunis) may be a frat boy's most vivid fantasy. She is an attractive college freshman with a 4.0 GPA and has her goals firmly in place. How can this not be a great thing? The looks of a sorority sweetheart and the mind to match are all wrapped up with the innocence of a child away from her parents for the first time in life. Well, the term 'don't judge a book by its cover' certainly applies to Rachel as there are a few chapters in her life that have yet to be read aloud. Most notable are the ones that include her babysitter Clara's (Kate Kelton) love affair with the infamous Patrick Bateman (Michael Kremko). One evening Clara made the decision to pass on traditional babysitting and take Rachel along with her to Patrick's apartment, where he proceeded to murder her as the nine year old watched. While Patrick was putting the final touches on his latest victim, Rachel managed to untie herself before he turned his attention to her. Leaving no traces of her presence in the apartment, she snuck up behind Bateman, killed him, and left. This life changing event allowed Rachel to realize that there are serial killers in the world and they need to be stopped. With this in mind, the next decade of her life leads her to West Washington University. This gets her ever so closer to her goal of joining the FBI to stop serial killers dead in their tracks.

inline Image With all of the pressures of life rearing its ugly face, Rachel seeks therapy with Dr. Eric Daniels (Geraint Wyn Davies). She talks a lot without saying anything and is not impressed with his guidance. The session simply opens Rachel's eyes to the fact that she doesn't need outside help to achieve her goals. Her only mission is to get the teacher's assistant position and secure her path to the FBI. With no backup plan set, Rachel decides to take matters into her own hands and achieve her goals by any means necessary.

inline Image Of course, telling anymore about the film could potentially spoil the fun for those of you interested in seeing this movie. Along Came a Spider has the usual twists and turns that suspense thrillers use to keep viewers on their toes. The turn of events is gladly welcomed as we already know who the kidnapper is, thus eliminating a potentially dull storyline. The action scenes were placed well throughout the film. As soon as the movie began to morph into a glorified cop drama, an event or discovery would take place to break the monotony.

American Psycho 2 comes across as more of a spin-off than a sequel, which is probably why the material doesn't seem to mesh. American Psycho drew its appeal from dark comedy and over the top portrayals of yuppie life. The kills were beautifully structured with Patrick Bateman's in depth analysis of 80's music culture. A sequel is supposed to expand on the original ideas of its predecessor and continue the overall story, but American Psycho 2 comes across like New Coke (I know you guys remember this). It changes the proven formula of success and attempts to give the public something different, all while using a name that people know and trust. American Psycho 2 has different characters, a different setting, a different tone, a different humor, and even has a different distributor (Universal released the original film). The Patrick Bateman angle could have easily been written out and we would be left with a decent slasher flick. I know what the filmmakers were doing by trying to incorporate American Psycho into the film, but that just raises our expectations. Now it has to try and live up to the original, which gives it no chance. If this movie is not New Coke, then it is Crystal Pepsi - either way, the formula leaves a bitter taste.




Mila Kunis is a great choice as Rachel. She goes from a self centered high school student from "That 70's Show" to a self centered college student in American Psycho 2 and doesn't miss a beat. What I like is how she can look like the girl next door one minute and change her whole persona with a simple glare or stance. Mila makes it believable that Rachel has no guilt from her actions. She is so focused on her goal that things like federal laws or the act of murder don't even show up on her radar. The other actors and actresses played their parts well, but really did nothing to stand out in the film. I only wish I could have seen this in a crowded theater to hear a collective moan when William Shatner first walks on camera. He is a distraction to the film. Nothing against his acting skills, but regardless of what this man does he will always be known as Captain James T. Kirk. Jason X would be more fitting for the baggage he brings to a film.

Image Quality

American Psycho 2 is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Overall the quality of the picture is good, but there are some soft spots. The color throughout the film is strong and the black level is great. The movie also has a bit of a dated look to it. The transfer is similar to much older films that have been cleaned up brought to DVD. Since this movie is less than a year old, the aged look is a bit of a disappointment.

Sound

Lions Gate has given American Psycho 2 a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The only glaring problem I encountered was the volume of the dialogue versus the volume of the music. After setting the sound to a decent level for dialogue, the music would come in and dominate the sound field. Don't get me wrong, I was always able to hear what characters had to say, but there was an obvious difference here. My compliments go to Lions Gate for giving a direct to video movie a 5.1 soundtrack.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Lion's Gate has really given the royal treatment to a movie that didn't even hit the big screen. Considering Universal was pretty slim with the supplements for the original, Lion's Gate wanted to leave no stones unturned with the sequel.

To begin, American Psycho 2 has two audio commentaries. The first one I listened to was with Morgan J. Freeman, the director. The technical information he gives comes across as more of a director speaking rather than a fan of the film. He discusses his budget, the 20 day shooting schedule, and various props throughout the film. I was never bored with this commentary, but Morgan J. Freeman just didn't seem to have the passion about his film that I have heard from other director's commentaries. I get the feeling that Mr. Freeman isn't really a fan of the genre, but is just using horror as a stepping stone for bigger and better things. I know that a lot of people use horror movies to jumpstart their career, but it takes a fan to really make a movie like American Psycho 2 succeed.

I was really looking forward to the second commentary with Mila Kunis. I thought that she may be able to give a little life to compliment Morgan J. Freeman's technical information. Imagine Jackie, Mila's self-centered role from "That 70's Show", in a commentary. Mila desperately attempts to talk about herself, draw attention to her, and prove to the world the she is always right. The two come across as a bickering brother and sister combo giving relatively bland information like "This is Charles and he plays Keith…..but he's a really cool guy…My eyebrows weren't brushed that day….That's Robin and he's a really cool guy….That's Lindy Booth and she's a really cool girl." Can you see what I am getting at? Morgan J. Freeman plays it cool even though Mila continuously cuts him off in mid sentence to let everyone know what she is eating. Needless to say, my expectations for a great commentary were crushed rather quickly.

The outtakes rang in at 3 minutes and 29 seconds. I am a huge fan of outtakes as a supplement; I guess it is a guilty pleasure. In addition to the usual tongue tied actor trying to spit out his/her lines, we also get to see little jokes that were played with the camera rolling. This is an underrated feature that should be on more DVD's.

The alternate opening is almost three times as long as the beginning of the final cut. It is basically the same, except there is some interaction with Patrick Bateman before Rachel's mouth is taped shut. Since Bateman is played by another actor, his dialogue just doesn't sound right. We have Rachel asking for her and Clara to be set free, prompting Bateman to keep her quiet with duct tape. I would imagine the opening was trimmed due to Christian Bale not being involved and to simply bring the movie's r unning time down.

The DVD also includes some deleted scenes. There are three featured here with a running time of less than four minutes. The first of the three is a true deleted scene; the next two are extensions of scenes that are in the film's final cut. They are all presented in non-anamorphic widescreen with no additional commentary by the cast. While the extra shots do little to add to the film, they are a nice addition to the disc.

Last we have the trailer. It is a rather good preview to the film that gives the audience higher expectations than the film has to offer. It is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The Lions Gate logo is on the main menu of the film. By clicking on it, you can see the full frame trailers for Monster's Ball and Lantana. Following these two is the widescreen trailer for Rules of Attraction, which is a great addition to the disc.

Final Thoughts

For those looking to find something along the lines of American Psycho, you will need to wait longer. American Psycho 2 would have been a better movie if it had kept its original title The Girl Who Wouldn't Die and left the Patrick Bateman storyline out. I am impressed that Lions Gate has given so much attention to a film that went straight to video. Give this movie a rent, try and keep the original film out of your head, and enjoy an average slasher movie.

Rating

Movie - C-
Image Quality - B-
Sound - B-
Supplements - B+


Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour 28 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English & Spanish subtitles

Supplements
  • Director's Commentary
  • Production Commentary with Mila Kunis
  • Deleted Scenes Trailer

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