8MM 2 is a sequel to Schumacher’s 8MM in name only. It tells the story of an aspiring politician and his loving fiancée on a mission of sexual experimentation in Budapest, which quickly turns into a trust-no one game of seduction, blackmail, and murder. The crux of the story is a steamy threesome between the two lovers and a strange dark-haired beauty. The only eight millimeter tie-in is from the film which is shot during the escapade – unbeknownst to the lovers – which is then used to string the politi…ian along in the unknown blackmailer’s deadly game.
As a sequel, this story completely fails to work. Gone is the creepiness of the first’s horrific plot. Now it’s just about sleaze and blackmail, neither of which are executed in very interesting fashion. Lori Heuring and Johnathon Schaech are good-looking enough, but their presence seems better suited to a made-for-Lifetime movie. Their looks are too clean and simply fall short of the sleaze level the film hopes to obtain. While production values are slick, director J.S. Cardone’s ego is dripping from every frame. I’m glad he takes his work so seriously, but when that work is as cheap and trashy as 8MM 2, such behavior is more obnoxious than endearing.
The soft lighting and monochrome tone of the film is intentional, and as such, never grates too much on the nerves. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is presented with more dignity than the film deserves. While I disagree with Cardone’s assessment of his work, I must say the busy Budapest streets and gorgeous winter snows under the soft light adds a certain degree of grittiness and beauty that he was skilled enough to achieve. It’s just the story itself I find lagging.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is powerfully exquisite, especially when it comes to the mesmerizing musical score. The background bass levels remind you with each pulsating movement of why surround sound is an absolute necessity for every home theater. Dialogue levels are also one of the mix’s stronger portions, and that’s good, as the film’s action scenes are surprisingly famished of any audio value.
The Behind-the-Scenes featurette grates on the nerves, as Cardone reveals himself to be a pretentious man, and Schaech and Heuring have delivery styles which make me want to rip my ears off my head just to get them to shut-up. Schaech seems every bit as sleazy as his character, while Heuring comes across the exact opposite. In the film, she is well-spoken… even a little strong. The real Heuring struggles to complete whole sentences and knocks off each of her lines with a bubbly stupidity that implies she can’t effectively communicate if someone else isn’t writing the lines for her.
While the film is not without merit, it represents a growing problem in the creatively bankrupt Hollywood of today. The trend of building on to existing films in a last ditch effort to make a buck goes one further here. 8MM was not even that successful. The fact this sequel was tacked on to such a film shows the trend is not necessarily just about dollars. 8MM 2 is proof that the trend has more to do with scraping the bottom of the creative barrel. And to borrow a line from Seinfeld, just when you think they can’t get any more shallow, they always manage to drain a little more out of the pool.
Special Features List
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette