Stereo-typing is a nasty business and unfortunately happens a lot in Hollywood. Certain actors play certain types of characters, certain movies always have the same themes, certain Uwe Boll movies (all) get bad ratings, etc. One of those unfortunate stereo-types is african-american movie making. Quite often you see an urban setting, a rise from the ghetto, or something related to basketball or football. Dominant african-american stereo-typing at what everybody thin…s they do best. Sometimes however there are films that try to steer away from that by portraying them in a different light; one we aren’t used to (but should be). It is the only hope that it is still a good film when all said and done.
Motives 2 : Retribution is a film that picks up where the first Motives drops off. It’s been three years since Emery Simms (played in the first movie by Shemar Moore and used in pictures here) was wrongfully imprisoned for a murder that he had didn’t commit. His best friend Brandon Collier (played by Sean Blakemore) has married Emery’s ex-wife Connie (played by Vivica A. Fox). Simms ends up getting killed in prison and new evidence appears linking Brandon to the Simms’ coverup among other crimes. Enter Emery’s brother Donovan (played by Brian White) who is determined to uncover the truth and expose Brandon for who he is.
Motives 2 unfortunately falls into the category that a lot of sequels do; it is a continuation of the story and does not do very much to stand on it’s own feet. In fact if you haven’t seen the first flic; you will be confused and left in the dark until the climax where a lot of things are explained. (a lot more is also explained in the commentary and the behind the scenes footage which helps to bridge the gap). Furthermore, the original Motives was best categorized as an erotic thriller that held your interest from the start and never let go. The second movie, sure there is a sexual appeal (and the leading actors and actresses are all handsome and drop dead-beautiful), but it doesn’t lead the story anywhere. It simply feels throw in for the sake of throwing in. Outside of the first scene about six minutes in; there isn’t even that much to speak of either. One major point in the movie as well is that there are no male likable characters. To be honest, I only found one female character likeable. (the gorgeous girlfriend of Donovan; Rene (played by Drew Sidora). Donovan who we are supposed to like is actually a rather crooked businessman who would use any means to expose the truth. He also has a dark secret or two that keeps him from being truly liked in the ninety plus minutes of this film.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. It’s not perfect but what is presented here is pretty to look at (and not just the actors and actresses). The colors of the film were good and the scenery was well done. Nothing striking against anything video wise that was in this picture.
Audio is provided in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. The audio dialog is clear and easy to understand. As explained before the audio does what the rest of the movie does and that is take it away from the typical african-american stereotype film. It feels like a natural setting and has some decent use of the surrounds. Subtitles are also provided in English, Spanish & French.
Audio Commentary by Aaron Courseault (director), Vivica A. Fox (star – Connie Simms), Joe Torry (star – Derrick), and Kelsey Scott (Screen Writer) – one thing I did notice about this dvd is that they did put it together quite well, starting off with a very decent commentary. It is certainly scene specific and the Cast & Crew brought together get along very well and are able to bounce off one another (though Vivica as expected does dominate the proceedings). However this is very interesting and explains a lot of what is going on in correlation with the first pic.
Deleted Scenes (15) – Fifteen different deleted scenes are provided here and are a mixture of extended scenes and true deleted ones. A few of them would have worked well to be re-inserted (and would have helped to explain things) but most just destroyed the tight pacing of the film.
Behind the Scenes of Motives 2 19:38 – A good twenty minutes is spent here behind the scenes. This featurette is incredibly useful if you have not seen the first flic. It provides footage and helps to explain the bridge between the two while providing the usual flow of information on the second one.
Automatic Trailers – Stomp the Yard, Half Nelson & Shottas
Previews – Stomp the Yard, Motives, Half Nelson, Crossover, Shottas, Gridiron Gang & Trois: The Escort
The first Motives was something of an underground cult hit that succeeded greatly on DVD. It played out like a very saucy soap opera full of twists and turns while keeping up the heat for its co-stars. The second movie tries to keep up that energy but mostly falters for its efforts. It did keep nearly the entire cast of the first pic but the energy just did not seem the same. The sexual thrill ride from the first one wasn’t as present and the characters for the most part were not likeable. The dvd itself is fantastic providing above average video and audio and including some great extras not seen very often in straight to dvd flics. It’s just a shame that the actual film falls short and becomes nothing more than just an average sequel. If you have seen the first movie and liked it, I don’t hesitate to recommend this one just so you can get an ending arch to the story. But on it’s own, I unfortunately just have to pass it by.
Special Features List
- Commentary (Cast & Crew)
- Deleted Scenes (15)
- Behind the Scenes of Motives 2
- Automatic Trailers (3)
- Previews (7)