BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE COLLECTION

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08.01.2013

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BUY FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
MSRP $24.99
RATED R
STUDIO Lionsgate
RUNNING TIME 82 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES

• Audio Commentary with Director/Writer Marcus Dunstan and Writer Patrick Melton
• 5 Mini Featurettes
• Alternate Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

The Pitch

The last man standing of the torture porn fad has a vastly entertaining, if mildly stupid, sequel.

The Humans

Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald, Lee Tergesen

The Nutshell

When Elena is talked into attending an underground warehouse party with her friends, she finds herself caught in a nightmarish trap where the revelers are mowed, slice, and crushed to death by a macabre series of contraptions operated by a masked psychopath. When the grisly massacre is over, Elena is the only survivor. But before she can escape, she is locked in a trunk and transported to an unknown location. Fortunately for Elena, one man – Arkin – knows exactly where she’s headed, having just escaped from there with his life and sanity barely intact. Elena’s wealthy father hires a crack team of mercenaries to force Arkin to lead them to the killer’s lair. But even these hardened warriors are not prepared for what they encounter.

The Lowdown

I’m just gonna come out and say I liked The Collector. I know it started life as a Saw prequel. I know it was done by a lot of the people behind the most egregious Saw sequels. I know it came out during that period of time when torture movies over-saturated the market. I don’t even think it’s a perfect film by any stretch, but it never bored me and I enjoy watching it every now and again. Also, after the end of the first movie, a sequel was deserved.

This guy knows what I’m talking about.

For those who don’t remember the end of the first movie (spoiler alert I guess, but if you watch this movie first it’s gonna get ruined anyway) our anti-hero Arkin (locksmith, professional thief, and amateur Sean Penn impersonator) saved the day only to be caught by The Collector and shoved into a trunk as the credits rolled and the audience shouted obscenities at the screen.

After a ridiculously convoluted mass murder at a night club that’s only slightly less bloody than the one at the beginning of Blade, Arkin escapes and Christopher McDonald’s hearing impaired daughter Elena is captured. With the help of a mercenary group led by Lee Tergesen, McDonald kidnaps Arkin from the hospital and make him take them to The Collector’s hide-out. Once there, Tergesen leads Arkin and a crack team of three complete idiots with guns to rescue McDonald’s daughter.

A well-oiled machine or a greasy tool, you be the judge.

Like its predecessor, The Collection isn’t perfect, but it improved on the original in almost every way. Since the Collector is fighting on his own turf, his lair is a funhouse of crazy traps more reminiscent of something like The People Under the Stairs than the latter Saw movies. The torture porn fad is long over and that element (which felt tacked on in the original) is now all but gone. The brutality is still there and I would hesitate to call it fun, but it’s less off-putting for certain.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t problems. The Collector seems to be more into the psychological torture angle now, but they include one bit of him performing surgery on a person with no anesthesia so the audience can know that this guy who just killed an entire club full of people in the most gruesome of ways is not a very nice person.

“I have a necklace made of only the vaginas of nice girls!”

Everyone in this movie who isn’t Arkin is easily the stupidest person in the world and even the supposedly well-trained mercenaries have the average life expectancy of the funny guy in a slasher movie.

Everybody in this movie knows that The Collector makes traps. They are finely and acutely aware of this, yet they still charge into rooms without looking or thinking first. Of course, this also works to the movie’s favor, as the stupidity of most of the characters leads them to stumble into some cool and well-designed traps and since they’re worthless the audience doesn’t have to care about the fact they’re dead.

The Collector’s. . . let’s just call it a doom fortress, is full of victims both past and present and each time one pops up something horrible and usually fairly creepy occurs, but not all victims accomplish this as well as others. The Collector has turned some of his victims into trained cannibal attack dogs by torturing them and giving them PCP, because that is apparently what PCP does. The PCP zombies are one of the stupider things I’ve seen, this is true, but what is also true is that they’re terrifying so I’ll let that slide.

He just read my “Sean Penn impersonator” joke.

The pacing works fairly well and things come together for a sufficiently climactic and satisfying finale that ends in a fairly satisfying, if sequelizing, ending. It’s a good ending and I’d say the movie’s worth about three stars based on this, but the movie’s not over yet. I don’t want to spoil anything but The Collection knows that you hated the end of The Collector and seeks to rectify that in the best way possible. I literally cheered.

The Collection is nothing terribly original or cerebral, but it’s a major improvement on its predecessor. Arkin is still a likeable and refreshingly intelligent protagonist and the film-makers are still willing to put him through a ridiculous amount of punishment, the traps are more creative and showy, the tacked-on torture porn angle is all but gone now, and the ending is gleefully cathartic. I’m happy with this being the end, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at further sequels. I recommend The Collection to those who liked The Collector and those who wished they did.

You can just pretend this whole thing takes place in the same universe as Happy Gilmore.

The Package

The Collection comes in a fairly standard package featuring audio commentary, a few featurettes, and some alternate scenes. It’s honestly more extras than I think most people even want from this movie but it’s decent release and the picture and sound are great. It also comes with a code for Ultraviolet.

Rating:
★★★★☆

Out of a Possible 5 Stars



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