Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming (US - DVD R1)
Troy takes a look at what Rob Lowe is doing to keep himself busy these days
Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming is another in a long line of follow-ups to films that don't deserve a sequel. But, there's a ton of films that don't deserve sequels that get them. This motion picture falls into that bastard category that exists in between the bowels of Grease 2 and Smokey and the Bandit III. That's not to say that the magic of Stir of Echoes was lost somewhere in this flick. After all, how can something be worthy of a sequel if the first film was a side of shit?
Rob Lowe plays Captain Ted Cogan, an Iraqi War vet who survived a brutal roadside attack. Cogan makes his way back to the world and he finds himself haunted by the memories of war. When Ted is back on his feet, he discovers that life back home has changed. His kid hates all people of Arabic descent and his Army pal's buddy is trying to kill herself. While dealing with the wife, Cogan starts to piece together what happened in the attack.
Revelations are at hand, as Cogan starts to delve into a supernatural mystery that unfurls around him. Rob Lowe gets the chance to make his crazy face and watch as his family falls apart around him. During the final fifteen minutes of the film, you have to fight the urge to shut the film off. It's been some time since I've seen an obvious war/horror/thriller/protest film fail so badly, but this flick takes the cake. Hopefully, Rob Lowe got to buy a car with his money from this abomination.
Again, I'm noticing the same problems that I saw on the transfer for Bratz and other LionsGate DVDs. I never got to see the film when it was originally show on television, but the DVD transfer has a lot of open space on the right and left sides of the frame. It stinks of an attempt to manipulate the transfer to play better on the HDTVs that are flooding the market. From the way the film was shot, I can't tell if it was ever scope or did the powers that be just hope that no one would notice a badly manipulated 1.78:1 transfer stuffed into a stretched scope image.
Even with those problems, the transfer is pretty clean. There are no signs of print damage or haze, but I did spot some noise during Cogan's original attempt to investigate his bizarre hallucinations. That passed within a few minutes, so it was as bad as I've seen it on similar titles. Still, it's enough to drop the video grade.
Stir of Echoes 2 actually has an impressive Dolby 5.1 mix for a television movie. It's a nice follow-up to the original picture which contained a sound design that was far better than The Sixth Sense. The dialogue, score and effects get balanced out well across the open audio channels. Then, there's the field of depth that the soundtrack creates as Lowe's character spends a good chunk of the film exploring empty hallways and back alleys. Truly impressive for a film that didn't really need it. For original audiophiles out there, you can check out the broadcast quality Dolby Surround 2.0 track.
The extras on this DVD are minimal, but they do a good job of showing off what went into the production. The featurette is nothing more than EPK material that allows the cast and crew to pat themselves on the back. The director opens on the commentary and talks with the editor about the choices they made in regards to the film and how they presented Cogan's descent into madness. Then, there are a collection of deleted scenes that were cut out of the final print for a reason. If you were looking for to the supplementals to tip the scales in favour of picking this disc up, you're out of luck.
Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming didn't need to happen, but then again a lot of films don't have to happen. Sometimes, a mommy executive and a daddy executive get together with a bundle of bad ideas and throw them against a wall. Whatever sticks gets sandwiched together with rejected ideas to make the perfect film that no one wanted to see. I can't recommend this as a rental or even a bizarre purchase for a friend. Just be glad that you can exist in a world where the amount of titles released per week guarantees that this title will get ignored and stuck somewhere next to the Lost Ark of the Covenant.
Review by Troy Anderson
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 20th November 2007
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Extras: 'Stir of Echoes: Homecoming' Featurette, Feature Commentary with Director and Editor, Deleted Scenes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Ernie Barbarash
Cast: Rob Lowe, Marnie McPhail, Katya Gardner, Ben Lewis and Shawn Roberts
Length: 89 minutes
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