Much like the Cameron Vale character from David Cronenberg's original SCANNERS, Peter Drak (Raoul Trujillo) wonders initially through life in a state of pained confusion, unaware of the nature of his telekinetic gift. He's a scanner, but doesn't know it. Yet.

However, a ruckus at an all-night amusement arcade brings loony bin escapee and Zack de la Rocha lookalike Drak to the attention of a group of shady government officials led by tough cop Forrester (Yvan Ponton). They chase him into an abandoned warehouse - by which point the voices in his head have him so demented that he's started to mutate into David Wyndorf - and sedate him with tranquiliser darts.

Drak comes round in the Morse Neurological Research Institute. Dr Morse (Tom Butler) assures Drak that he wants to help him cope better with his powers. But that hardly explains why he keeps dosing him up with debilitating drug EPH-2, or why the Institute is host to several other scanners who have become junkies to the stuff, effectively losing their gift in the process.

Forrester, it turns out, runs a "special unit" which harbours designs of ridding the streets of crime and creating a "new order" of super cops and honest citizens. Which, in turn, will give his political aspirations a major boost. With Morse's help, he hopes to train scanners into successfully combating crime at every level. Or, at least, that's his surface manifesto ...

Meanwhile, country boy David (David Thewlett) is new in the city, there to study to be a vet. He doesn't know it either, but he's a scanner too. He's too busy getting frisky with fellow student Alice (Isabelle Mejias) to worry too much about the migraines he's been getting lately.

On their second date, David presents Alice with a puppy he's cured from a terminal illness - that's the type of thing you do on a second date, yeah? - and then the pair visit their local convenience store to buy some pesto sauce. No, really. She can't cook his dinner without it.

While at the shop, they become mixed up in an armed robbery which results in David saving Alice's life by disposing of the would-be robbers with his psychic powers (insert obligatory head explosion effect here). His actions are caught on CCTV, and brought to the attention of Forrester.

Which is good timing, as Forrester and Morse have realised that doping their subjects up with EPH-2 is no good: they need, as Forrester puts it, "a virgin mind".

And so, mild-mannered David is delivered to Morse by Forrester, and slowly trained into using his powers for 'the greater good'. But what are his new mentors' true motivations? Is he a match for naughty scanner Drak? And who are the real baddies here?

SCANNERS 2: THE NEW ORDER was released in the early 1990s straight onto home video and every aspect of its production rings true to this fact: daytime soap acting (Trujillo's facial expressions later in the film are hilarious); bad guys who signal their motives by sneering into space whenever they're on camera; a wanker lead with a perfectly groomed perm; the requisite poor-man's Jan Hammer score; ugly, tight framing; terrible, terrible dialogue that was seemingly purpose-built for festival audiences to snigger at communally. It's all here, and then some.

I'll go so far as to say THE NEW ORDER is shit. But it's that kind of shit which is curiously watchable. The pace never really flags (not like in its predecessor) and the low budget, TV movie visuals encourage a perverse viewing pleasure as the silliness wears on. It's all delivered in such a serious tone too, that wondering whether anyone involved in director Christian Duguay's disastrous film truly believed in its worth, becomes half the fun of watching it.

An interesting drinking game would be to sink a bevy each time a scanner stares at someone and their subject starts quivering uncontrollably. I guarantee you'd be pissed within the hour. The only way to get drunk quicker would be to take a drink each time you come across laughable dialogue or really bad acting.

I'm not berating the film, it was fun. But, fucking hell, it was bad too.

THE NEW ORDER makes its UK blu-ray debut (indeed, I believe, worldwide debut on the format) courtesy of Second Sight.

The film is presented uncut and looks good in its MPEG4-AVC encode. Picture resolution is proffered in full 1080p high definition, and the original aspect ratio has been adhered to. Colours are cool as they ought to be while most scenes exhibit an impressively smooth sheen with natural fine grain on top. Some of the darker scenes get somewhat noisy in terms of grain, and there are passages of the film where the colour schemes employed do look very washed out for HD, but all in all this offers a credible playback.

English audio is provided in LPCM 2.0 and 5.0 Master HD mixes. Both are highly reliable, as are the optional English subtitles for the hard of hearing.

The disc opens to an animated main menu page. From there, a pop-up scene selection menu allows access to the film via 16 chapters.

There are no extra features.

Second Sight originally intended to release the SCANNERS trilogy as a single proposition. I imagine the second and third instalments of the series would shift more units that way. But, would you really want them sullying the altogether superior (though, in my opinion, hardly brilliant) original in such fashion?

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Second Sight
Region B
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review