David Cronenberg unleashed the world of Scanners in 1981. Eleven years later, this sequel would be the only one to have a connection to the original film.
David Kellum is a young veterinary student who slowly begins to have migraines. However, he somehow saves a dying puppy after looking into its eyes. He soon learns that he is a “scanner”, a person who has the power of telepathy. When he and his girlfriend are nearly robbed and assaulted at a convenience store, David uses his powers to kill the robber who knocked his girlfriend out. His actions draw the attention of John Forrester, a police commander who is planning to use scanners to bring law and order back to the city.
At first, David is recruited by Forrester to stop a few criminals. However, he soon learns of something more sinister as it pertains to his plans. Deciding to escape, David heads to his family’s home and it is there he discovers he was adopted and learns who his real parents were. When Forrester sends in corrupt detective Gelson and evil scanner Peter Drak to track David, they kill David’s mothers and just as he saves his father, David learns he has an older sister, Julie Vale. The siblings reunite and decide to use their powers to save the city from Forrester and his minions before it is too late.
The Canadian sci-fi thriller Scanners was something of sheer brilliance. The film revolved around people with telekinetic powers who wage war on both humanity and each other. Flash forward ten years later and the Scanners return. Only the main characters this time around are the two adult children of the original film’s good Scanners, Cameron Vale and Kim Obrist, played by Stephen Lack and Jennifer O’Neill.
Much like the original film, most of the focus is on good scanner David Kellum, played by David Hewlett. Like his father in the original, David at first doesn’t understand his powers. However, it is when he saves a puppy from potential euthanization (and later adopting it) that he knows it is not just migraines that he’s suffering from. It is once he discovers his true power that he finds himself at first corrupted only to realize the only way to make things right is to use his powers for good but after learning that the evil scanner is more powerful, he is going to need some help.
The late Deborah Raffin does well coming in the end of the second act as Julie, David’s sister and fellow Scanner, who not only serves as an ally to David, but even serves as a mentor. She is the one who really helps David learn about his power and even teaches him a trick that involves not only scanning but in a way, possession of another person. This pays homage to the finale of the original film. As for the evil scanner, Raoul Trujillo is definitely villain-worthy as Peter Drak, who looks menacing from his introductory scene and just amps up the villainy from there while Yvan Ponton’s Forrester is the puppet master who considers Scanners the “new order” in his so-called “fight” against crime in the city but has something even more sinister planned.
The special effects, mixed in with some stunts, are nicely done. There are some very gross out moments and of course, what’s a Scanners movie without a good old head explosion? However, the big twist comes in the form of the “possession” mode in which Julie teaches David how to get inside and see the actions of someone. This is seen with the eyes of the scanner changing to something that looks at first a bit disturbing, like something out of the Incredible Hulk series. The final act gets the most out of using the special effects quite well.
Scanners II: The New Order is a well-done sequel to the classic and thanks to its connection to the original, this film makes for a good modern update of a new decade and the same ol’ thrills that made the original a classic.
WFG RATING: B
The Image Organization Ltd. presents a MaloFilm production. Director: Christian Duguay. Producer: René Malo. Writer: B.J. Nelson; based on the original characters created by David Cronenberg. Cinematography: Rodney Gibbons. Editing: Yves Langlois.
Cast: David Hewlett, Deborah Raffin, Yvan Ponton, Isabelle Mejias, Tom Butler, Raoul Trujillo, Vlasta Vrana, Murray Westgate, Doris Petrie, Dorothée Berryman, Stephen Zarou.