Sister Act 2

Back In The Habit

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Rating Other Trailer(s) No
Year Released 1993 Commentary Tracks No
Running Time 102:43 minutes Other Extras No
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (62:36)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Bill Duke
Touchstone Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring Whoopi Goldberg
Kathy Najimy
James Coburn 
Maggie Smith
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Miles Goodman

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, in credits

Plot Synopsis

    And so we return to that wonderfully whacky world known as Region 4 where the sorry sequel is released on DVD before the infinitely superior original. Quite why distributors find it necessary to indulge in this activity is beyond my comprehension - surely it costs no more to master the infinitely superior original, which is more than likely going to sell significantly more copies, thus recouping their investment quicker?

    In this case, the original film - Sister Act obviously - was not that great a film, but it was a least a mildly amusing film to wile away a couple of hours with, which is more than can be said for this sequel. It simply lacks the element of unforced situation that made the first film mildly amusing. Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit is marred somewhat by the forced attempts to repeat the original film, and falls short by some margin.

    The story begins with Sister Mary Clarence, otherwise known as Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) strutting her stuff as a headline singer in the lounge of a Las Vegas casino. During her final show, she is visited by some of her friends from the nunnery including Sister Mary Patrick (Kathy Najimy) and Sister Mary Robert (Wendy Makkena), who happen to be on a mission from God - well at least from Mother Superior (Maggie Smith). The mission this time is to become a teacher at the (sort of) high school from hell - St Francis High School, the former school of Sister Mary Clarence. The purpose of the mission? To bring order to a high-spirited and mildly rebellious bunch of students coasting their way through a "bird" class - music. This high-spirited class includes Rita (Lauryn Hill) and Margaret (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Sister Mary Clarence takes this high-spirited bunch and turns them into, of all things, a choir, and a darn good one too. So good, in fact, that the ever-faithful sisters enter them into the California All State Music Competition. Well, since this is a Disney film, you know what happens in the end.

    The story is not a classic, and it really does drone along with barely anything approaching a laugh. It is as predictable as the absence of extras on a Disney DVD and even some of the cast look like they are just going through the motions. Whoopi Goldberg has been known to reach substantial heights in her acting career, but this is generally when she is given superb material to work with and good direction. Sadly, both are missing in action here, and so her performance is really just marking time. Wendy Makkena is obviously so disenchanted with proceedings that she does not even bother to hide the fact. The usually skatty Kathy Najimy is similarly unable or unwilling to really get into the spirit of things and the rest are just plain forgettable. About the only thing here that even gets any sort of interest is the singing - and there is some quite decent stuff here. The whole clichéd story is moved along by some rent-a-director type by the name of Bill Duke - I have never heard of him before and never heard of him since. Probably says an awful lot really.

    To be very kind, this is really mediocre stuff of the highest order and there is little here that would make me run out and buy the disc. Sister Act 2 is an eminently forgettable film that should not have made it onto DVD until budget-priced ranges become available.

Transfer Quality


    I suppose it is reasonable that a mediocre film gets little more than a decent transfer.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The reference on the packaging to a ratio of 2.35:1 is erroneous.

    Well, we are not talking razor blades here as far as detail and sharpness are concerned. It is a decent enough transfer demonstrating decent sharpness and decent detail, but nothing remotely approaching anything to really make one sit up and take notice. This is a reasonably clear transfer, not really grainy at any point but really not demonstrating anything approaching sparkling clarity either. The shadow detail was reasonable but could have been significantly better at times. There were no low level noise problems in the transfer.

    This is definitely not a vibrant transfer, and this is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the transfer. Even when there was an opportunity for bright, vibrant colours to shine, such as with the bright graffiti segments, the overall tone was a little too reserved. At least there was a degree of consistency in the colour rendering. The transfer is, however, blighted with a number of instances of oversaturation, most notably in the red lighting of the audience in the theatre shots. The whole thing loses a major amount of detail in these shots and this is as poor an example of oversaturation as I have seen for a while. There was also some evidence of colour bleed during the opening credits and in the song during the closing credits.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were something of a problem with some shimmering noticeable on a couple of occasions: the worst example is some rather off-putting shimmer in the buildings at around the 7:25 mark. There were also some fairly noticeable film artefacts thrown in for good measure, although I would be hard pressed to suggest that they actually detracted from the film.

    This is an RSDL format disc with the layer change coming at 62:36: this is during a scene change and is only moderately noticeable and is certainly not disruptive to the flow of the film.

    The packaging manages to omit the listing for the French subtitle option that actually is included on the DVD.


    In keeping with the general theme of mediocrity here, we get a rather mediocre audio transfer.

    There are three audio tracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack Not wishing to tempt fate any more than necessary, I stuck with listening to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Cue the usual rant about Disney DVDs not allowing you you select language options on the fly.

    The dialogue was clear and generally easy to understand throughout.

    There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    The music score comes from Miles Goodman, and a thoroughly ... mediocre ... effort it is, too. There is certainly nothing memorable about this effort.

    There is really not much to say about the soundtrack. The film is obviously one that does not call for excessive use of the bass channel, and so its usage is pretty limited. Overall, I felt that the surround channel use was quite ... mediocre ... and this really could have been a lot better, as there was ample opportunity for greater rear channel ambience here. Apart from when Lauryn Hill and some of the others sing, this is really quite a flattish-sounding effort, distinctly lacking a high degree of believability.


    Well, Disney are certainly back in the habit here with nothing that remotely qualifies as an extra.


    So useless in the whole package that I forgot to check it out. Presumably it's there, but why bother with it?

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 release misses out on:     The Region 1 release misses out on:     I would say that makes it yet another decision in favour of Region 4. I am truly thrilled by the news!


    Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit is a lousy sequel - that really is all you need to know. Even if it were given the best transfer we had ever seen, and an extras package to drool over, it would still be an eminently unrecommendable film. If you are looking for some light relief for your evening's viewing, there are plenty better than this.

    A mediocre video transfer.

    A mediocre audio transfer.

    A non-existent extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
28th July 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL