8MM 2: The Velvet Side of Hell (2005)

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Released 29-Dec-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Dolby Digital Trailer
Featurette-Making Of-Parts 1 And 2
Trailer-D.E.B.S., Deuce Bigalow 2, Layer Cake, Single White Female 2
Trailer-Trois-The Escort, Wild Things 3
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 102:48
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By J.S. Cardone
Studio
Distributor
SONY Pictures
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Lori Heuring
Johnathon Schaech
Alex Scarlis
Julie Benz
Robert Cavanah
Zita Görög
Bruce Davison
Jane How
Barna Illyés
Valentine Pelka
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Tim Jones


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Portuguese
Hindi
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    At first I assumed 8mm 2 is one of the latest in a new genre of Hollywood film - the straight-to-DVD sequel to a moderately successful movie. But when is a sequel not a sequel? The Velvet Side of Hell (2005) has absolutely nothing to do with the 1999 film, 8mm which starred Nicolas Cage. When The Velvet Side of Hell was completed, the studio decided not to waste any money on a theatrical release, so it sat on the shelf gathering dust until Sony bought the distribution rights, renamed it 8mm 2, and released it straight to DVD.

    Joel Schumacher's gory 8mm (1999) followed the descent of the rather ordinary Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) into the sleazy and sadistic underground world of hard-core pornography. Welles was a private investigator hired to determine whether a mysterious 8mm snuff film was genuine. His investigation led him to Los Angeles, where he teamed up with failed musician Max California (Joaquin Phoenix), who earned a living by working in a pornographic bookstore.

    However, 8mm 2 does not have any of the same actors, director, or theme. Indeed, it doesn't even have an 8mm film. The title is merely to attract people into picking it up off the DVD rental shelf.

    8mm 2 opens with a young lawyer, from the wrong side of the tracks, David (Johnathon Schaech), enjoying a sexual fantasy set in a courtroom. He eagerly tells his glossy and beautiful poor-little-rich-girl fiancé Tish (Lori Heuring) about his fantasy. David and Tish are soon to be married, and are on their way to a weekend vacation at a luxurious hotel in Budapest.

    Wishing to give her hubby-to-be a wild buck's night of her own, after a bit of dirty-dancing in a Budapest nightclub Tish invites a gorgeous local woman, Risa (Zita Gorog) to join them in their hotel room. Needless to say the three of them are soon making "the beast with two (make that three) backs".

    Returning home, David is surprised when he receives an envelope filled with photographs of the . . . err, threesome. The couple are being blackmailed for big US dollars, and they cannot turn to the authorities as they must avoid scandal. It seems that Tish’s wealthy father enjoys a lofty political position as a US ambassador in Hungary, and is a potential candidate for the US Supreme Court. Thus David and Tish absurdly decide to solve the mystery themselves, which leads them on a journey into the sleazy Budapest red light district and the world of strip clubs and pornography.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Overall, the PAL transfer is good, as one would expect of a recent film.

    The widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is good, for example, consider the definition in the roof tiles at 41:27. The black level and shadow details are both fine.

    The colour is excellent, and well saturated. The skin tones (and there's a lot of skin) are accurate.

    There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts. Tiny film artefacts appear infrequently throughout.

    English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Hindi, and English for the Hearing Impaired Subtitles are provided, and the English ones are accurate.

    This is a single-sided, dual-layer disc, but I did not spot the layer change. The feature is divided into 28 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio options: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    Set in Hungary, there are a few heavy accents, but the dialogue quality and audio sync are generally excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The atmospheric score is credited to Tim Jones, and it suits the film well.

    The surround sound mix is quite reasonable. The rear speakers are used at times to help carry the score and provide ambience, such as during the night club scene at 11:40 or the passing train at 41:45.

    The subwoofer is utilised as required, such as in the night club scenes, and the ominous deep rumbles at 97:44.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    For a straight-to-DVD release, I was surprised at the quality of the extras.

Menu

    Animated with audio

Featurette - Making Of - Part 1 (24:21)

Featurette - Making Of - Part 2 (23:51)

    Strangely divided into two parts, the Making Of is a genuine documentary looking at the film's production. It features interviews with the director and the two leads, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and anecdotes. In particular, the Director J.S. Cardone discusses the aims of the film, and the challenges, technical and otherwise, of filming with a limited budget, and very limited shooting days.

Trailers

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    8mm 2 has been released on DVD in Region 1 as an R-Rated and Unrated version. Apparently the R2 and R4 is the same as the R1 Unrated edition. There is no real difference then, apart from the PAL/NTSC transfer, and the trailers included.

Summary

    8mm 2 desperately attempts to be an erotic thriller, but fails badly. Instead, it is merely erotic melodrama, lacking any real suspense.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is also good.

    The extras are genuine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplaySamsung 106cm Plasma TV (42 Inch). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersJamo

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