Thursday, October 11, 2012

Scammers: The Slowdown: "Scanner Cop 2" (1995)

This sequel, also known as "Scanners 4: The Showdown," marks the end of the series...or does it?

The rookie cop Staziak is now a plain clothes detective (he must have had one good year). He uses his scanning capabilities to rout criminals and foil evildoers. We also meet an evil scanner (yes, another one) who has escaped from a mental ward and is trying to kill Staziak. It seems he can also suck the "lifeforce" out of other scanners. You see the finale coming as scanner cop and evil scanner do scanner battle.

In the beginning of the film, the scanner cop fools a kidnapper into thinking he is an accomplice, not the cop. He does this by "scanning." The problem is the director uses the exact same special effect from "Scanner Cop," but in a completely different context. Did FX guru John Carl Buechler get lazy this time around?

One complaint I have had about the entire series, and I have now seen all five entries, is that the Scanner power is never really explained. We see scanners command others to do their will, we see scanners getting scanned, but what specifically does "scanning" entail? Reading minds? This question has never been adequately explained, especially when you throw in the fact that machines can be scanned as well.

The good scanner vs. evil scanner plot has been done to death, yet it is still trotted out for this video. This came out a few years ago, without a sequel, but after witnessing the rebirth of movie series like James Bond, Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc., I am not holding my breath. In a complete pageant of unoriginality, every single episode of this film series has had an exploding head, but none of them ever matched the gore of the first film.

This showdown is underwhelming, and I cannot recommend "Scanner Cop 2." (*) out of five stars.