The Cell 2 (2009) - Special Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Science Fiction / Thriller
Warner Brothers || R - 94 minutes - $35.99 || June 16, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-27


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Tim Iacofano
Writer(s): Lawrence Silverstein & Alex Barder and Erik Klein and Rob Rinow (screenplay)
Cast: Tessie Santiago, Chris Bruno, Frank Whaley


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Digital Copy
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, German

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.::THE FILM::.

With the releases of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in 2009, studios have known for decades that sequels can be the safe routes – with a few exceptions like The Pink Panther 2 – for getting consumer dollars and with the recent slate of direct-to-video movies that have come out, sequels that have little in common with their predecessor have also become common. They’re cheap to make usually with an unknown cast, standard locations (Canada or Eastern Europe mostly) and visual effects one can see on a low budget television series (see the later years of “Las Vegas”).

The latest is the insipid “sequel” to the 2000 Jennifer Lopez psychological thriller, The Cell. The original concept found an FBI specialist going inside the mind of a serial killer and finding herself trapped and at his mercy. He dies, she dies with him. The original was primarily known for an amazing visual flair from the mind of director Tarsem Singh in his directorial debut (he has since only directed 2 other movies and served as a second unit director on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

The “aptly” titled The Cell 2 centers on Maya (Tessie Santiago) a woman who is the only person to have escaped from an elusive serial named The Clap... err The Cusp. The Cusp likes to abduct women at random, take them to his secret layer and torture them by killing and then reviving them over and over again. Maya, being one of them, had been killed and brought back six times had survived after The Cusp mistaken her to be dead when he dumped her in an alley. With her near-death experiences, an ability that is long dormant in most people was opened within Maya’s mind where she can take an object and get inside the owner’s mind; in this case it can either be the victim or the killer himself!

When the movie opens, Maya is working with the FBI to track down The Cusp’s latest victim but they’re too late. When The Cusp realizes she is in his mind, he kills the girl and somehow makes a quick getaway. Of course, Maya is distraught over her failure and a year passes when The Cusp makes another appearance by kidnapping another young woman. The FBI once again needs her help.

Getting straight to the point, The Cell 2 is just a bad movie. Sure, the potential was there but more than anything this came off more like a pilot episode for a failed television project than a feature film (even for direct-to-video). Everything looked cheap from substandard visual effects that are the weakest I’ve seen since Pulse 2 and Pulse 3, run-of-the-mill locations (despite being filmed in Salt Lake City) and some really spotty performances that are above porn but a tad below a standard television series.

The movie was directed by Tim Iacofano in his feature debut after serving as producer and director on “24” (only six episodes, however) as well as single episode stints on “CSI: NY” and “Supernatural”. The idea behind the movie came from no less than four writers, most of them making their feature debuts (of course, you got to start somewhere, so kudos).

Overall, The Cell 2 did have some sort of a foundation built and even with the limitations, star Tessie Santiago isn’t half bad even if it looks like she was cast because she bares, in certain shots, a striking resemblance to Jennifer Lopez. But she is cute and although I’m not sure she can actually carry a film, I do hope to see her more in the future.

One other thing, although the back cover states the movie is 94-minutes, the actual movies ends around the 81 minute mark so there's 13 minutes of credits mixed in with behind-the-scenes footage.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Cell 2: Behind the Scenes (30:02) – This is a pretty basic making-of featurette but still probably more extensive than the movie deserves. The opening just goes over what the movie is about before showing some behind-the-scenes footage and features interviews with producers, writers and members of the cast. The most interesting aspect is the fact they felt they were making a special movie.

This release also has a BD-Live portal (**Blu-ray Exclusive**) and a digital copy disc compatible with both iTunes and WMV.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Cell 2 is presented on a single 25GB Blu-ray disc (VC-1 codec) and with a 1.78 aspect ratio (back of the package says 1.85 but since my TV does not over scan, I did not see the black bars). Although the picture doesn’t look bad, it also only barely passes mustard when comparing it to other recent releases. Some shots look pretty soft and lacks sharpness while others come off a tad better.

Warner has given this Blu-ray a Dolby TrueHD track that can only be called underwhelming or at best, acceptable. Dialogue levels are halfway decent but other audio such as sound effects or even ambient noise don’t have much of an impact with my bass getting very little use. Even when there’s gunfire or some sort of banging noise, it comes across more flat than a reverberating sound I come to expect from TrueHD tracks.



.::OVERALL::.

I should’ve known that when my Blu-ray player spit out the disc stating a “disc error”, I should’ve heeded its warning; this happened three times before I got it to play, now I wish I had just given up. The Cell 2 is just a quick cash grab with a low budget movie, no name cast, a subpar and ridiculous story and almost no style (I say “almost” since the opening shot did look great... of course it was taken from the first Cell movie). The Blu-ray itself isn’t anything amazing either. The video and audio are both middle-of-the-road in terms of quality and there’s only one featurette.