I’m gonna be honest, I’m not a big David Croenenberg guy. I don’t think he’s over-rated or a hack and I appreciate his movies for their thematic richness and creatively disgusting visuals but, aside from The Fly, I just never really connected with his work. That being said, Scanners isn’t a terribly deep abyss to gaze into. There are people with psychic powers called Scanners, the government is likely exploiting them, Michael Ironsides is a bad Scanner, Stephen Lack is a good Scanner, they stare at each and make intense constipation faces and the person they’re looking at either flies through a plate-glass window or is covered in air-bladder specials effects. It’s enjoyable but pretty simple, bitching head explosion though.
The government is now overtly exploiting Scanners by hooking them on drugs. There’s a crazy homeless bad-guy Scanner (Raoul Max Trujillo) and a new good-guy scanner (David Hewlett) who turns out to be the son of the two leads from the first movie, which means this movie takes place appromiximately 25 years after the first so I guess it takes place in 2006. Hewlett’s character finds out his police handlers are corrupt and goes on the run, making sure to tell everyone close to him where he’s going so the other psychics can read their minds and find him. Trujillo’s character helps the corrupt government because he’s just a dick, I guess. Air bladders inflate, people fly through plate glass windows, Raoul Trujillo makes a million intense faces and they’re all spectacularly ridiculous looking, and another head explodes. Not too bad.
Does It Hold Up?
I’m tempted to say that Scanners 2 is the Robocop 2 of the franchise but that’s underselling Scanners 2 and way overselling Scanners 1. In all the ways that matter, Scanners 2 is a carbon copy of its predecessor. The effects are good, the acting is good enough (Michael Ironsides is great but watch Visiting Hours if you really wanna see the man act), there’s a bit more action because the budget’s bigger, and the movie has that same sterile cyberpunk-without-the-cyber feel to it. Director Christian Duguay (Screamers) has a lot of the same sensibilites as David Croenenberg and mimics him well enough that there’s not a marked difference between the two films. They’re both equally enjoyable.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy?
It’s worth a watch.
Where Can I Find It?
Scream! Factory released a Blu-Ray/DVD of this one and the third film.