American Psycho II (2002)

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Released 5-May-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Alternate Opening
Outtakes
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary
Audio Commentary
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 84:51 (Case: 88)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Morgan J. Freeman
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Mila Kunis
William Shatner
Geraint Wyn Davies
Robin Dunne
Lindy Booth
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Norman Orenstein


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    With a title like American Psycho II, one could be forgiven for thinking that this movie is a sequel to the great horror/comedy/social commentary American Psycho. In this case, that would be an entirely misleading assumption. Not only does American Psycho II have very little in the way of horror, barely any amusement, and absolutely no social commentary, it also has less of a connection to the original than The Scorpion King has to The Mummy.

    So what exactly is American Psycho II then? It is a direct-to-video attempt at a teen slasher with little in the way of gore, no nudity (two areas where those expecting something like the original will be greatly let down) and where the identity of the killer is revealed on the movie poster. It is also extremely bad. The problems start from the first few seconds when it becomes apparent that the lead actress (the All American Girl - and psycho - of the title) has possibly the most annoying and grating voice since Jo-Beth Taylor. It just compounds from there when all acts of violence are censored (hands poised followed by quick cuts), and it becomes apparent that there is nothing behind this movie - unlike the original, this movie is not making any statement of any sort (well, apart from how very lame sequels can encourage people to watch them through a name association).

    The plot starts with an eleven-year-old girl watching as Patrick Bateman begins to slice his baby-sitter to pieces (guess that answers the question left carefully ambiguous at the end of the original - a very cheap trick). After freeing herself, she finishes Bateman off with an ice pick, and then decide to dedicate her life to ridding the world of other psychopaths. Cut to six year later, and the young girl has grown into Rachael Newman (played by Russian-born Katie Holmes look-alike Mila Kunis), a college student studying criminal profiling under former FBI great Robert Starkman (a fun performance from William Shatner). To achieve her dream of being accepted into the FBI training academy at Quantico, she wants to become Starkman's Teaching Assistant for the next semester. To her thinking there are three others in the running, and it really isn't giving anything away to say that she will do anything - even murder - to make sure she gets what she wants.

    To be fair, the performances are actually not all that bad. Shatner hams it up in his usual style as the somewhat lecherous Professor, while Kunis - grating voice aside - is appropriately enthusiastic as the titular psycho. Geraint Wyn Davies also provides a solid anchor as the "straight-man" in this black comedy. The problem for the actors is the script - they are fighting as hard as they can with twigs while their enemies carry swords. The script is so pathetic that it is almost a surprise that it was approved. On its own, this would have been a bad movie, but tied into the original American Psycho it is a truly terrible movie. Stay well away.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a serviceable transfer, although the direct-to-video nature of it is evidenced by the number of small problems, especially for such a recent production.

    Presented at 1.78:1 (which was the shooting aspect ratio), this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is nicely sharp, with more than enough detail represented. There is almost no grain present, with the only visible grain being during stylised "flashback" sequences and the like, such as at 26:24. Shadow detail is excellent with the darker scenes being easily visible. There was no low-level noise.

    Colours are good. The highlights come out well, while the college environments appear rich and appropriate.

    The only compression artefacts come in the form of some "motion-trails" from 59:30 to 59:38. Aliasing does not get off quite so easily, with an abundance of medium level aliasing, and a number of bad instances, such as on the shirt and glasses of Keith from 37:40 to 38:54, and the rail at 39:51. Film artefacts are also a constant presence, and although all are small, such as at 14:31 and 60:58, they are frequent enough to be annoying.

    There are no subtitles present on this disc.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 54:53. It is reasonably well placed on a fade-to-white, but the drop in audio still announces it.

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

Audio

    As with the video, this audio transfer is serviceable, although far behind the best the format can offer.

    There are four soundtracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue in both Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 224 Kbps), and two audio commentary tracks, both in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 224 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, and this is aided by the clear and clean recordings. Audio sync is likewise never a problem, remaining spot-on throughout the movie.

    The music falls into two categories, the score by Norman Orenstein and a collection of contemporary pieces. The score is actually very effective, and recalls some of the themes from the original. The contemporary pieces work relatively well, and are chosen well to match the genre - there is no rap/R&B to be found here - favouring "girly" pop-rock.

    The surround channels are not exactly worked very hard. They provide some minor ambience and help out with the music a little. They also carry some of the larger effects, but for the most part are rather dormant, leaving the bulk of the work up to the front three speakers. Both the 5.1 and 2.0 surround tracks sound very similar, and there is little to tell them apart. Dialogue in the 5.1 track is a little more solid due to the dedicated centre channel, but apart from that there really seems to be no difference.

    The subwoofer is used sparingly, largely only backing up the music on occasion, although there are one or two sound-effects that it does help out with. To be fair though, this is not exactly a soundtrack that lends itself to large amounts of low frequency sound.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Morgan J. Freeman (Director)

    This commentary track is an interesting listen, if a little bland at times. Freeman talks about the film's production and what it is like to be on a restricted budget. He even has the grace to appear not overly proud of his work.

Audio Commentary - Morgan J. Freeman (Director), Mila Kunis (Actor)

    If you thought you had heard bad commentary tracks, then just wait until you hear this one. Kunis treats the track as one big joke, constantly interjecting comments that have nothing to do with the movie. On top of that, it appears that Kunis and Freeman don't get on very well together, and often end up almost arguing. To make matters even worse, we have another 90 minutes of one of the most annoying voices of all time. Don't even bother with this one.

Trailer (1:06)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer is quite effective in letting the viewer know that the movie has little to offer. It's a pity it can't be seen before actually paying for this DVD - because now it is more like mocking than advertising.

Alternative Opening (4:03)

    Presented at 1.33:1 (with the film image at 1.78:1, surrounded by timers), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this is an extended version of the opening that features more of Patrick Bateman. It was a good decision to cut most of this, as it is even more cheap and tacky than the current way the connection with Bateman is depicted.

Outtakes (3:20)

    Presented at 1.33:1 (as with the alternate opening, this is film surrounded by timers), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this is a series of gaffes and short jokes played out on camera. Somewhat amusing, they do nothing to address the issues with the main feature.

Deleted Scenes (3:48)

    Presented at 1.33:1 (again, film with timers), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, these additional scenes give just a little bit more in the way of explanation for certain actions, and as such really did deserve to be cut (the actions usually spoke for themselves).

R4 vs R1

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

   

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Three trailers, a 2.0 soundtrack, and some subtitles do not a large difference make. Unless the subtitles are a necessity, stay with the local version.

Summary

    American Psycho II is a bad slasher movie masquerading as a sequel to a good black comedy. It should never have seen the light of the day.

    The video quality is serviceable, although for a recent film that never made it to the cinemas, it is rather disappointing.

    The audio is extremely front-heavy, but otherwise does its job, if very unspectacularly.

    The extras are quite extensive for the nature of the film, and are a nice inclusion. Unfortunately, they can do nothing to make the main feature more attractive.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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