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A few years back the film Wild Things was released and, although it was pretty much a box office disappointment, it has done well in the video market. Well enough, in fact, that Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment decided to make a sequel, albeit a direct to video sequel.

Wild Things 2
Film
Wild Things 2 once again takes place in the steamy environment of southern Florida. Nicole Havers (played by Susan Ward, who is very similar looking to Denise Richards from the original, especially when she is coming out of the pool dripping wet) is the step-daughter of Nigel Dunlap, a somewhat unscrupulous businessman who has amassed quite a fortune. When Nigel dies in a plane crash his fortune is left not to Nicole, but to his foundation, unless a "blood heir" can be found. Stepping into the picture is Maya King (Leila Arcieri), a co-student of Nicole's (although one who obviously travels in a different social circle), who claims to be Nigel's daughter. She puts forth that Nigel slept with her mother, who happened to be Nigel's maid, and she was the result of that encounter. If proven true, Maya stands to inherit Nigel’s fortune, valued at $40 million.

There is one problem though. Nigel also has a $2 million life insurance policy, and in comes Terence Bridge (Isaiah Washington), the insurance investigator. He is not convinced there wasn't some foul play going on, and when there are rats found inside Nigel's plane, he becomes more convinced than ever that everything is not as it seems. He is determined to get to the truth of what occurred, thereby saving his company the money, and quite possibly his job.

The film follows the flow of the original very well, and seems to have the same feel. Crosses, double crosses and triple crosses abound throughout, and it is tough to tell who is aligned with whom at certain points. There are several scenes which seem to be lifted directly from the first film: the student assembly, the courtroom battle, and the much talked about three-way, which in the original featured Neve Campbell, Denise Richards and Matt Dillon. In Wild Things 2 the scene is much longer but not nearly as provocative or controversial, perhaps having lost its shock value after the one from the first film.

Wild Things 2
Another device from the first film is the director including scenes during the credits that basically explain everything that has happened, showing the crosses and double crosses. It serves the movie well and continues until the very last frame of the film. Although the film won't win any Academy Awards, it was more fun than I had expected and all of the individuals involved seemed to be having a good time playing their roles (even if they bordered on camp in some instances, which is exactly what the director Jack Perez claims he was going for.

Video
Presented in the 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio, the transfer is a good one (as one would expect). Much of the film takes place in the backwater bayous, marshes and everglades of southern Florida, and perhaps this is why I was somewhat disappointed in the colours of the film. When one thinks of southern Florida they think of Miami and the bright coloured neon that adorns almost every building. You will find none of that here. Instead, there are many varying degrees of brown and dull green (the marshland) and a large part of the film takes place at night as well. This does not mean that they were not presented well; in fact they were, but I was expecting something much different going into the picture. Flesh tones are rather clear and the aforementioned night scenes keep the blacks to a decent level and they do not drown out any of the other colours. Finally, there is little or no grain or dust apparent.

Audio
Wild Things 2 includes a Dolby Digital English 5.1 soundtrack, and it is really underutilized. Having said that, there is not much in this film which really would be made all that much better than a standard 2.0 track. There is just not a lot happening in this film sound-wise. The film is mostly standard dialogue, and there are little or no situations where there is a need for a specific use of front or back channels. Sure, the cars driving or the motorcycle speeding along gives the 5.1 track a little workout, but this occurs only once in the whole movie and for the rest of the film the channels remain silent. I would rather have seen them use the money to do some more extras (something which I’ll elaborate on in a moment) than to waste 5.1 on this material. But, as it stands, the 5.1 track is good, if unnecessary.

Wild Things 2
Extras
I would be lying if I said that there are a load of extras. In fact, other than trailers for the film, the first Wild Things, and other pictures that someone who enjoyed this movie might also like, there is only one extra in the whole package. It is a twenty-two minute featurette entitled Making the Glades: The Making of Wild Things 2”. Included are interviews with director Jack Perez and all of the main actors and actresses. Perez relates how he had just twenty one days to film the entire movie, and the consequences that went with that. He tells of how he had to keep the actors on a “short leash” because of the short shooting schedule, and also of how he had never shot a love scene before (particularly between three people).

All of the main actors offer up what it was like to work the picture, and the two female leads (Ward and Arcieri) seem to have developed a friendship during its production. A word of caution: if you are one of those people who like to watch the extras first, I would strongly suggest you do not, as may plot points are talked about during the “making of” featurettes.

One thing I simply cannot fathom (and I have said this before in previous reviews) is how someone can release a DVD in this day and age and not include a commentary track. These have become as ordinary in releases as the scene selection menu and for one not to be included here is inexcusable. Perhaps there wasn’t time before the DVDs production, but I can’t forgive one not being included. Many of the early films released in DVDs infancy were released without commentary tracks, but most of those are being reissued with a track included.

Wild Things 2
Overall
Although theWild Things 2 DVD disc does not include a commentary track, the film really does not aspire to be anything more than it is: an almost campy remake of the first film using the formula which was established by the original. It won’t be on anyone’s Top Ten list for 2004, but if you liked the first one you should find enough here to satisfy you. If you didn’t like the first one you won’t like this one either, and if you’re not sure watch the first one instead—it’s a much better picture.


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