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UHD Review – Scanner Cop 1 and 2 (Vinegar Syndrome)

UHD Release – 4/5

Scanner Cop
Director – Pierre David (Serial Killer)
Starring – Daniel Quinn (The X-Files, Dead Bang), Darlanne Fluegel (Pet Sematary II, The Twilight Zone), and Richard Grove (Army of Darkness, Point Break)
Release Date – 1994
Rating – 3.5/5

Tagline – “Imagine a cop who can read your mind… then blow it away”

Scanners is an iconic body-horror film that blends the gory side of horror with sci-fi making it not only an enjoyable film but one that shows just how effective a movie can be if you combine certain genres. Scanners is probably my favorite Cronenberg film and I know that I’m not alone by saying that. When Vinegar Syndrome announced the UHD release of Scanner Cop and it’s sequel I was beside myself.

I love when Vin Syn brings me a movie I had never heard of before I quickly snagged them and when I finally tossed them in I was shocked to see it was based on characters based on Cronenberg’s Scanners’ characters. I quickly rushed to Google and discovered that it was a Scanners’ spin-off. Now, I was really excited to dig into this one.

**Spoiler Alert** The film begins with a young Sam who is living with his delusional father when two officers arrive. Sam’s father is a scanner and has not been able to take his meds for several days. He snaps and attacks the police before the landlord puts him down. One of the officers takes Sam in and raises him. We jump forward and Sam is now an officer who finds himself called to duty when officers from around the city become the center of attacks by an unknown person who is drugging people and “suggesting” they attack the cops. Sam has to act quick to discover who is behind the attacks and why. **Spoiler Alert**

Scanner Cop is nowhere near as good as Scanners but god damn was it a fun time. The movie blends in sci-fi and horror with a dash of cop drama. It’s a great start to a new series featuring a familiar story.

The acting in this one is alright but there is plenty of room for improvement. I liked Quinn in his role as a young cop but his “scanner” face is fucking hysterical. I understand the point of it and how this pertains to the story but it was just so silly. The supporting cast is great and everyone does a fantastic job but any scanner scene had me laughing my ass off.

The story for this one is a great beginning to a new series of films that had endless possibilities. We get the basic premise set forth in the original three films set against the backdrop of a city cop who uses his scanner powers to prevent crimes and so forth. I really enjoyed the premise for this one and how it was handled. It’s a fun mix of cheese and daytime drama that slowly moves into sci-fi and horror. I really enjoyed that but as much as I liked it I don’t think I could revisit it.

Finally, the film has a lot of practically effects. I was impressed by some while others were underwhelming. I wanted to love them all but they were very inconsistent. Overall, Scanner Cop is a mid-90s direct to video madness that I really enjoy. This is the kind of film that I grew up on and I’m glad Vin Syn put the work into this release. It was fantastic.

Special Features:
Region Free 4k Ultra HD / Blu-ray combo
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative
4k UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
“Outside the Law: The Scanner Cop Revolution – Part One” – extended making-of documentary featuring interviews with: producer/director Pierre David, actress Hilary Shepard, actor Mark Rolston, actor Richard Grove, special effects artist Ted Haines, special effects artist James Rohland, stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt, director (Scanner Cop II) Steve Barnett and screenwriter (You’re Next) Simon Barrett
Original promotional video
Commentary track by the We Hate Movies Podcast
Reversible cover artwork
Newly translated English SDH subtitles

Scanner Cop II
Director – Steve Barnette (Mindwarp, Cop Files)
Starring – Daniel Quinn (Scanner Cop, The X-Files), Patrick Kilpatrick (The Stand, The Cellar), and Khrystyne Haje (Bates Motel, Raven)
Release Date – 1995
Rating – 3.5/5

Tagline – “Nowhere to hide, not even in your mind”

I was expecting the first Scanner Cop to be a cheesy cop flick based on the Croneneberg concept created in his Scanners film. However, as cheesy as it was, I fucking loved it. I’m kicking myself for not watching this one soon. Hell, I didn’t know about the film until Vin Syn announced it which is a fucking shame. It’s cheesy but a great mix of Cronenbergian and sci-fi inspired cop drama. As soon as I finished the first Scanner Cop I was quick to toss in the sequel which was equally as entertaining.

**Spoiler Alert** The film once again follows officer Sam Staziak (Quinn) who has made a name for himself on the force with the help of his scanner ability. When other scanners turn up dead and horribly mutilated he is asked to work the case. He soon discovers that the murders are the work of another scanner her put away some years back for murder and he has learned how to steal the “essence” of other scanners to make himself stronger. Now Sam is tasked with stopping him before other innocent scanners are murdered. **Spoiler Alert**

Scanner Cop II was not what I was expecting at all but I did enjoy it just as much as the first film. I had some issues with the story but the cheese and practical effects more than made up for the terrible choices with the story. The acting in this one is more of the same from the first film. We get solid performances from most of the cast but Quinn and Kilpatrick’s scanner faces leaves me in stitches. I struggle with the acting in these films because I’m too busy laughing at their strained shit faces. They are completely ridiculous and takes the tension out of the scenes.

The acting in any other scene is great and enjoyable. The story for this one builds up a character that has a past history with Sam but it’s new to us. Bring in an established character would have more of an impact that creating one and having him “return.” Aside from that we get a continuation of the original film with several new aspects introduced. It’s a shame this film never received a follow up film capitalizing on some of the new things introduced like the scanners stealing each other’s essence and the new form of the drug that Sam takes.

Finally, the film once again delivers some fun practical and make-up effects that fit nicely in the Scanners universe. I really enjoyed the way the corpses looked and how the scanners melted when their abilities were being drained from them. Overall, Scanner Cop II is a fantastic follow up to the first film. It continues the story while delivering something new while showcasing some great practical effects. Sure, the actors do ham it up but that’s just part of the charm.

Special Features:
Region Free 4k Ultra HD / Blu-ray combo
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative
4k UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
Commentary track with director Steve Barnett
“Outside the Law: The Scanner Cop Revolution – Part Two” – extended making-of documentary featuring interviews with: director Steve Barnett, producer Pierre David, actor Patrick Kilpatrick, actress Khrystyne Haje, actor Stephen Mendel, composer Richard Bowers, special effects artist Jeff Farley, makeup effects artist Tom Irvin, special effects artist James Rohland and screenwriter (You’re Next) Simon Barrett
Original trailer
Reversible cover artwork
Newly translated English SDH subtitles

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.

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