Hitcher II, The: I've Been Waiting (2003)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Louis Morneau|
Universal Pictures Home Video
C. Thomas Howell
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting may not be the worst film ever made. It is probably, however, the worst film I have ever seen. This is an utter waste of your rods and cones. Be kind to your retinas and avoid this dreck like a dose of myxomatosis.
The Hitcher was one of the very few films I bothered to purchase on VHS. It is a truly scary frame-em-up which puts The Fugitive to shame. It featured a terrified C.Thomas Howell (Soul Man) as a young dude, driving across the USA to drop off a car. Poor chap - during a desert thunderstorm, he picks up the hitch-hiker from Hell and is tortured physically and mentally to the point of breaking by a truly freaky Rutger Hauer. He is framed for a series of gruesome and sadistic murders by the psychopathic Hitcher, in what is an under-rated, nail-biting and genuinely terrifying flick.
This sequel arrives over fifteen years later, and in it we see Jim Halsey (Howell) as a grown man, now a jaded member of the police force with haunted memories and a penchant for shooting perps first and asking questions later. After he is sacked for excessive force, he and his girlfriend Maggie (Kari Wurher) soon find themselves reliving his nightmare, courtesy of a rodent-dentured Busey....which one? Hell, who cares...but probably Jake.
Unfortunately, we soon find ourselves reliving a vastly inferior rehash of the original movie. Taking every set-piece from the original and raping it seems to be the order of the day. The self-referential scares will bemuse those who have not seen the original, and bore fans to tears. This, bar a couple of slight plot twists, is really just a very low quality remake of the first film. Who is this current Hitcher? Is he a reincarnation of Hauer? Is it perhaps, his son? Who knows...because the director forgets to tell us, despite obviously intending to at some point. Either way, that's as far as I am prepared to go in plot summary - I am not willing to waste an additional calorie expounding any further on the dire plot. Just think of The Hitcher, add in some ridiculous plot holes, trash the suspense and throw in a reasonable audio/video transfer and there you have it. Alternatively, why not rearrange the following words into your very own plot summary? S***e, bag, of.
The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting is the worst kind of sequel. For the first time in DVD history, the film artefacts are better than the film itself.
Wouldn't you just know it? The video quality of this transfer is overall very good - and they say you cannot polish a t***!
The film is presented in a 16x9 enhanced ratio of 1.85:1, which I assume is the original aspect ratio. The video transfer is acceptably sharp throughout, with only some occasional grain creeping in to rough things up a little. This minor grain adds to the dusty desert ambience - indeed some of it could actually be real grains of sand.
The colour palette is rather stylised, making heavy use of gold and brown tones for the desert scenes. This adds a truly dusty feel to the cinematography, which is also quite good in places. Vivid reds seem to crop up as a highlight colour quite often through the film, and they never exhibit any colour bleeding. Black levels are satisfyingly deep and generally without low level noise, whilst shadow detail is always perfectly satisfactory.
The transfer does not suffer from overt compression artefacts, edge enhancement or aliasing (although a hint of shimmer suggests that aliasing may be more noticeable on a non-progressive scan system).
Somewhat surprisingly, given the vintage of the footage, the transfer suffers from minor film artefacts in the form of black flecks. Whilst they are generally fleeting, they are common enough to be noticeable and mildly irritating.
I sampled the English subtitles and they do a reasonable job at conveying the dialogue, although they are not a word-for-word translation, dropping a fair few words and phrases.
The disc is single layered and single sided (DVD 5), so there is no layer change present.
The overall audio transfer is fairly good, with an enveloping soundstage and no major flaws.
The sole English audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 kbps.
Dialogue is always clear and there are no obvious issues with audio sync.
Original music is credited to Joe Kraemer and is a by-the-numbers suspense piece. Rather like the film itself, it is instantly forgettable. The sound effects used in the film are powerful and well placed.
The soundstage is quite enveloping throughout and the front speakers provide a nice spread of sound across the front soundstage, with some convincing cross-soundstage pans as cars pass by and some nice localised gunshots. The surround speakers manage to chime in with some effective directional effects - the plane fly-overs and innumerable "truck driving over the camera" shots being the most obvious examples. There are also some occasionally nice localised effects from the rear soundstage designed to scare, and they do sometimes have you looking over your shoulder to check that it wasn't your door slamming shut.
The subwoofer sees some reasonable use throughout the film for various engine noises and shotgun blasts.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras present - thankfully.
The menu is a static and silent picture of a hitchhiker that allows you to choose language and subtitle options, play the flick or select from twenty chapter stops.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 release is as bereft of extras as the Region 2 and Region 4 efforts. Who cares? Buy neither, and take my advice - do not even rent this dreck.
The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting is the cinematic equivalent of an enema. If you have never seen the first film, The Hitcher, I beg of you run out and rent it now - this "sequel" makes me appreciate all over again just what a classic the original was. Under no circumstances waste your money on The Hitcher II, because it really is just a waste of time.
The video quality is rather good, with fairly frequent film artefacts to occasionally increase the watchability.
The audio transfer is generally quite good, with some reasonable panning and locational sound effects.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|