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Lions Gate presents

American Psycho 2 (2002)

"You know how some babysitters take you to the movies, or rollerblading in the park? Mine brought me along on a date with a serial killer. Patrick Bateman."- Rachel (Mila Kunis)

Stars: Mila Kunis, William Shatner
Other Stars: Geraint Wyn Davies, Robin Dunne, Lindy Booth
Director: Morgan J. Freeman

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Run Time: 01h:28m:26s
Release Date: 2002-06-18
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B-B-B- C+


DVD Review

Writer Brett Easton Ellis caught a lot of flack for his 1990s novel American Psycho, a markedly gory tale that told of an elite brand-name obsessed yuppie serial killer named Patrick Bateman. The satirical undertone of Ellis' work were apparently lost on many, and when Mary Harron directed the film version in 2000, she too was met with a similar degree of agitation from people who thought the story desensitized and glorified the obviously reviled serial killer. Christian Bale's cold, detached performance as Bateman was darkly fun, and though the stylish film itself failed to accurately capture the satire that Ellis originally created, it was still a weird, black comedy. I think audiences were confused, unsure if it was intended to be funny or not. Much like the book, I suppose.

This sequel operates under the premise that Bateman's final victim also brought along a twelve-year-old she was babysitting on their "date," which is revealed in the film's prologue. During the opening, Bateman (not Christian Bale, by the way) is about to murder the babysitter when the young girl kills him (and apparently her babysitter, though that is not made clear), and, according to the voice-over narration, decides to commit her life to studying serial killers. Yeah, right.

The young girl grows up to be Rachel (That 70s Show's Mila Kunis), who is attending college with hopes of entering the FBI training program at Quantico. In order to do so, she needs to get the coveted teaching assistant position for her behavioral studies instructor, a Dr. Robert Starkman (William Shatner), noted serial killer profiler. Rachel's whole life is built on "a schedule, a plan, a dream" and she is not about to let her competition get in the way, even if that involves murder. And lots of it.

Director Morgan J. Freeman (note the "J"; it's not THAT Morgan Freeman) takes an even more satirical tone here, almost broadly comic, and I have to admit that I enjoyed this film far more than I did American Psycho. Harron's film was too slick in comparison, and Freeman delivers easy, obvious laughs around the decidedly dark subject matter. The gore quotient is almost non-existent here, with the core of American Psycho 2 being the sexy-girl-next-door-who-just-happens-be-a-deranged-killer performance by Kunis. Much like Pam Springsteen's genre-riffic performance in Sleepaway Camp II, Kunis is all smiles as she dispatches various human stumbling blocks in her path, and she looks damn good doing it, too. For you Trekkies, the almighty William Shatner, looking oddly bloated, is a treat as the horny Starkman, and he lays out one of those hammy, self-parodying portrayals that adds to the obvious humor of the film.

I'll be quite honest: I expected very little from American Psycho 2; in fact I practically dreaded watching it. I hadn't really watched American Psycho thinking , Boy, this really needs a sequel!, so I was truly surprised that I enjoyed this film as much as I did, and that it supplied a couple of actual laugh out loud moments (and intentional, at that).

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


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the American Psycho 2 transfer suffers from some minor compression issues, as well as an unnatural amount of annoying white specks, especially on such a relatively new film. The good news is that fleshtones look realistic, and are balanced by a warm, natural colorfield dominated by the bright clothing worn by Kunis; black levels, too, are pretty solid and provide generally well-defined shadows.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: A moderately healthy 5.1 Dolby Digital track is the solitary option here, and while it is not overly aggressive, it does have a few moments of atmospheric effectiveness. Rear channels are used infrequently, but when they are, they provide subtle mood enhancement that adds noticeable depth. Voices and dialogue are mixed well, and Kunis and her high-pitched warble in particular sounds exceptionally crisp. Freeman uses little known "alternative" pop songs sporadically throughout the film, and these also sound well balanced.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Morgan J. Freeman, Mila Kunis
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Outtakes
Extras Review: This release suffers from a bad case of quantity over quality in the extras department, with a completely unnecessary set of two full-length commentaries, both of which feature the slooooooow surfer dude drawl of director Morgan J. Freeman. Freeman does one track on his own, and the other pairs him with star Mila Kunis. On his own, he is painful to listen to, and he offers little in the way of real insight, other than often reiterating what is onscreen. At one point he actually says "This is just kinda stuff." Huh? His track with Kunis, who seems naturally caffeinated and perky, still manages to drag a bit, with Freeman supplying many of the same meandering dead-end anecdotes that he does on his solo track. Kunis, despite her inherent bubbly personna, adds little in the way of expository depth, other than gleefully pointing out a few continuity gaffes.

Outtakes (03m:29s) covers five flubs and goofs, most significantly Shatner's overly dry throat during a come-on from a sexy coed. The Alternate Opening (04m:14s) extends the sequence that is narrated by Kunis in Bateman's apartment, and gives the original American Psycho a few lines. This alternate take is much darker in tone than the comparatively quirky open used in the final print. Deleted Scenes (03m:58s) are essentially three extended versions of existing scenes, with the most substantial being one where Rachel (Kunis) is eavesdropping on Dr. Daniels.

There are 24 chapters, subtitles (English, Spanish), as well as a theatrical trailer.

Extras Grade: C+

Final Comments

Less dark and gory than it's predecessor, American Psycho 2 is a WB-friendly spin on serial killers, anchored by the eye-pealing Mila Kunis as the title wacko. This is a dumb romp, but it has a few funny moments and it doesn't take itself very seriously at all.

Definitely worth a rental.

Rich Rosell 2002-09-19