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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Anatomy 2 (aka Anatomie 2) (2003)

"Rules are for the weak!"
- Prof. Müller-LaRousse (Herbert Knaup)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 21, 2003

Stars: Barnaby Metschurat, Herbert Knaup, Heike Makatsch
Other Stars: Roman Knizka, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Frank Giering, Hanno Koffler, Franka Potente, Rosie Alvarez
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and drug use
Run Time: 01h:41m:10s
Release Date: October 14, 2003
UPC: 043396008328
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

As you might have deduced, this one is a sequel, a followup of sorts to a rather nifty but often overlooked German medical thriller from 2000 entitled Anatomy (aka Anatomie) that starred a post-Run, Lola, Run Franka Potente as a medical student who ends up trying to save herself from a very secret and very deadly group of doctors who like to dissect people while alive. In this sequel, once again written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, the only thread that really connects the two is a brief appearance by Potente, playing the same character from the first film, who is once again trying to put the kibosh on a cadre of overzealous docs experimenting with synthetic muscles, though she really only shows up for about five minutes of screen time in total.

What that means is that having seen the first film isn't a requirement to enjoy this one, as the story is a full standalone, with all new characters and situations. This time around, a hardworking young intern named Joachim (Barnaby Metschurat) takes a position at a Berlin hospital, and worms his way into the good graces of the renegade Prof. Müller-LaRousse (the perfectly villainous Herbert Knaup) and his team of cutting-edge interns. Their work with synthetic muscles is fairly advanced (and in one point outright comical), but violates not just the Hippocratic oath, but a few laws of nature as well. Joachim has to do the angel/devil thing to decide where his allegiances lie, but not before he gets dragged in way over his head.

While Ruzowitzky's plot almost swerves into Six Million Dollar Man territory at times (especially in the deleted scenes), in between a couple of truly ridiculous "emergency" operations, the whole thing is played with such a cartoonish bravado that I could forgive the ever present cackling gaggle of Filipino nurses or the standard issue wheelchair-bound secondary character. Even the obligatory running-scene-set-to-techno-music (though ironically not Lola's Potente this time) seems like a cliché, but there is enough other weirdness to counterbalance that seemingly modern German cinema staple. Who cares if the logic of the computerized muscles seems a tad too pat, because this is fun stuff. In the bad guy camp, aside from the dastardly goodness of Herbert Knaup, there is Heike Makatsch (she of the impossibly gigantic eyes and trowels full of mascara), who does the evil heroin-chic med student bit like a seasoned pro, and her "exam" scene with Joachim is one of the more oddly arousing couplings I've seen in a while.

If you have ever read a Robin Cook or Michael Palmer novel, then nothing than goes on in Anatomy 2 will seem all that outlandish. Amidst the mild surgical gore, there's the usual dose of doctors doing wrong, but only so humanity will benefit, and of course it is important to remember that those who dare to speak out against them must be silenced, and silenced but good. And there's plenty of that.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Anatomy 2 is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, and this looks as good or better than a lot of mainstream Hollywood releases. There is a decidedly metallic and clinical to much of the hospital footage, offset by the deep crimson of the surgical gowns, and the transfer here from Fox captures those solidly. Fleshtones, however, are just this side of natural, running a bit on the pale side, but fitting within the chilly visual look of the film.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
German, Spanish, Portugueseyes

Audio Transfer Review: The film's original German language track (along with Spanish and Portuguese) are provided in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround. Not a whole lot of rear channel activity, aside from a few discrete ambient effects. Solid directional imaging, with plenty of lateral movement adding depth, and while I can't confirm how discernible the dialogue was (being in German, and all) I did find the score and sound cues to be properly balanced and never overpowering on the spoken word.

A French 2.0 surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
0 Other Trailer(s) featuring Anatomy, Big Girls Don't Cry, Darkness Falls, Identity, Men of Respect
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Stefan Ruzowitzky, Barnaby Metschurat
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Artwork
  2. Stills Gallery
Extras Review: Enjoying the extras on Anatomy 2 requires plenty of reading, as all of the material is, as you might expect, in German, with appropriate English subs. Starting things off is a full-length, scene-specific commentary track from writer/director Stefan Ruzowitzky and actor Barnaby Metschurat, who portrays Joachim. The downside is that the track is in German, with slooooow moving English subtitles (a nice touch). However, reading the commentary is tedious work, and while Ruzowitzky sheds some light on the success of the first film, and some technical challenges, the bulk of the content is not particularly engaging.

A Making of Anatomy 2 featurette (16m:45s) is your typical promotional fluff, featuring interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and some special effects footage, with English subtitles. There are five Deleted Scenes (03m:58s), and while they are not especially memorable, the viewing options are better than most. Aside from the straight scene, there is the option to view it with a subtitled Ruzowitzky and Metschurat commentary, or a picture-in-picture option that shows the scene with the two in the lower left corner analyzing the shot. The Screen Test section presents three scenes, and shows the actors screen test, and then the finished product. I'm not a big fan of screen tests, but this was kind of fun, I have to admit.

The disc is cut into 28 chapters, and also features a stills gallery, a promotional artwork gallery, filmographies, a handful of trailers (Anatomy, Anatomy 2, Big Girls Don't Cry, Darkness Falls, Identity, Men of Respect), along with an international cavalcade of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Fans of Robin Cook medical thrillers should get a lift out of this one, as it follows familiar genre ground to readers of those kind of hospital conspiracy novels.

Thankfully there are no bad English dubs on this release (as there was on the R1 release of Anatomy), and those of you not constrained by fear of reading subtitles will discover, aside from a more than tolerable thriller, a commentary, deleted scenes, a "making of," and screen tests (all with good ol' English translation).

Nicely packaged and worth a rental.


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