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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Trois 2: Pandora's Box (2002)

"I saw him watching and I didn't care. I didn't care."
- Mia (Monica Calhoun)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: March 12, 2003

Stars: Tyson Beckford, Michael Jai White, Monica Calhoun, Kristoff St. John, Chrystale Wilson
Director: Rob Hardy

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, violence, drug use, and languge
Run Time: 01h:44m:12s
Release Date: December 24, 2002
UPC: 043396080058
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- CC+B- B

DVD Review

Trois 2: Pandora’s Box has all of the ingredients needed to make it onto late night cable. Soft-core pornography? Check. Overacting? Check. An undeniably guilty pleasure? Oh heck yeah. And that last ingredient is what makes the film so enthralling: the characters are so over the top that you really can't help but get wrapped up in the absurd chain of events that unfold, regardless of how bad it really is.

When Tammy's (Wilson) husband is murdered in front of her eyes as they are in the throes of passion, she is understandably shaken to the bone. Distraught, she seeks help from a psychiatrist named Mia (Calhoun) in an effort to get her life back on track. Though the sessions are helpful, Tammy feels she should be in charge and immediately begins to take control and examine Mia. It seems as though Mia is the closed-in type, and has no real life outside of her practice, which is something Tammy feels the need to change. Tammy leads Mia to a seedy club named Pandora's Box, where a million fantasies and feelings open up for Mia, the largest of which is an attractive stranger named Hampton (White). Soon, Mia is thrust into a world of sex, money and murder...and more and more sex. Oh yeah, Mia also happens to be married to a loving, but distant, husband played by Kristoff St. John.

The ability to follow the happenings in Trois 2: Pandora’s Box does not exactly require a degree in astrophysics, but you have to give credit to the script for taking the events that transpire with such seriousness. There are double-crosses and numerous characters that are not what they seemand, for the most part, it works well enough to enjoy. But the largest fault is that the performers have difficulty conveying the needed emotions to make you think twice about trusting them. Anyone who doesn't see the twists coming several scenes before they happen should return to watching Sesame Street immediately before their naptime.

Aside from the absurdities of the plot, the other looming problem is that the characters lack the needed remorse that most people feel for their actions. The central conflict of the story is that of cheating, or sinking into a world you may not wish others to know of, but writers Greg Anderson and Rob Hardy (who also directed) offer the actors no scenes to express remorse or guilt for their choices. Stanley Kubrick's (god help me that I am about to compare this to a Kubrick film, but here goes nothing) Eyes Wide Shut worked so very well because we could see that the Cruise character was emotionally torn because of the turmoil he has caused his family. Trios 2 is desperately in need of a conscience. Still, I was hooked for the most part. There is a level of camp and B-movie feel that a million imitators could never dream to match, and I am a sucker for it. I wouldn't dream of recommending the film to anyone, but on the merits of Cinemax-style soft-core trashiness, it works so splendidly well. Come on, any film with Joey Lawrence as a detective is an instant camp classic. Woah indeed.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: The feature is presented in both a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer as well as a mildly cropped, full-frame transfer. Both transfers suffer from excessive softness and grain that hampers nearly every scene. I noticed a large amount of grain throughout and some slight artifacting in isolated scenes. The darkness of the film does not help matters as black levels are very poor, while the brighter colors show some slight bleeding. This is a poor transfer, though given the low budget it may not have been avoidable.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is largely anchored to the center channel, as the surround and left and right speakers are used largely to reinforce the music and some slight ambient and special effects. Dialogue is clean and precise throughout with no distortion or dropouts present.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, chinese, French, Portuguese, Thai with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Trois, Trois 2, Baby Boy, and xXx
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Rob Hardy and Producer William Packer
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: A commentary track by director Rob Hardy and producer William Packer is an interesting and informative look into the making of the film, as well as the choices that were made in various aspects of production. The pair have a great chemistry together, which makes for an energetic track, although things do fall into the dreaded "this is what is happening onscreen right now" curse. Other areas show a vast amount of insight and knowledge, however. This is a track where ideas are exchanged and you actually learn something about filmmaking rather than just going through the motions.

A short "making-of" featurette explores the low-budget filming of Trois 2 and little more. It is commendable that the piece does not become overly promotional, but at the same time there really is not a lot to take away for your time spent with this featurette.

Finally trailers for both Trois and Trois 2 as well as Baby Boy, and xXx are included.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

I have a cat named Pandora and she is the closest thing to a daughter that my girlfriend and I may ever have. I will admit that I was intrigued by Trois 2: Pandora's Box simply because of its name. I guess that teaches me better than to offer to review a disc before checking out what it is about first. Suits me right.


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