'Crimson Rivers 2 : Angels of the Apocalypse' (aka: 'Les Rivieres Pourpres II Les anges de l’apocalypse')**** 041305
DVD Review (2003)

The Work = ****
Welp’, this is going to sound like a silly way to start but I have to admit I am not that big a fan of the first 'Crimson Rivers'. Why see the sequel then? Well, mainly because I think Jean Reno is a great actor and I am willing to give anything with him in it at least half a chance. After sitting down and watching 'Crimson Rivers 2' I think I will go back and rewatch the original.

The first was moody but I don’t know, it had a bunch of things in it that kept taking me out of the film. There was a ridiculous and out of place martial arts sequence for one thing that just seemed like it could have been in a sitcom. I may have been too hard on the film though because I do remember enjoying it as a whole. Like I said I’ll have to go back and watch it.

This time around, there are still huge amounts of ridiculous things happening but for the most part it all works together pretty well. There is a fight again and this time the new director keeps it at least a bit more grounded than the last one. The whole look of the film is extremely dark and bloody and the fight stays right in line with that.

Reno investigates some bizarre goings on at a very creepy looking monastery and from there the bodies start piling up. The cool Christopher Lee pops up in an all too brief role speaking French. Actually it is fairly amusing as he is actually playing a German political figure. (So that’s a British actor playing a German speaking French.)

Ever since 'Se7en' came out it seems any movie with bizarre killings is always trying to out-'Se7en', 'Se7en'. They all try to go darker, creepier, and stranger with the killings. Sometimes the movies fail, sometimes they succeed. 'Crimson Rivers 2' succeeds largely I think because it finds it’s own tone and bent on the whole mysterious killing type genre.

Sure its got its flaws but 'Crimson Rivers 2' still worked for me. WARNING SPOILERS BEGIN NOW: I wish the shootout towards the end of the movie had been staged a bit better and I wanted more Christopher Lee and more Nazis! Treading similar water as 'Hellboy' this film uses twisted lost Nazi experiments and followers as its villains to great effect, I just wanted more. END OF SPOILERS

DVD = ***

The Look
The transfer looked good to me. We get an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer that presented the dark stylized look of the film with good quality.

The Sound
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix sounded good to me. I only listened to the French track but there was also an English one on the disk.

The Bonus
We get a featurette on the making of the film and then five more on specific aspects of the film. The featurettes are in French with English subtitles (which, of course, the film itself also has.) The featurettes are comprised largely of on set footage with interviews and shots of the movie interspersed throughout. I wish there had been more overall flow to these extras. A narration and more background on the production and how it began might have made these a bit less dry.

While I am glad that these were included I am also aware that there are features missing. In the featurette on sound one of the crew talks about a feature on the DVD that would allow you to select different layers of sound in a scene. This is not on the DVD. There is a deleted scene also on the DVD as well as the American trailer for the film and some trailers for other films. I seem to remember seeing some ware that a foreign release of the film had an alternate ending.

What I suspect has happened is Sony has decided to release a two disk DVD on a single disc. To keep the quality of the transfer of the film from going down the toilet they took some features out of the DVD. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there was a commentary track on the foreign release that Sony didn’t bother to translate. While I can understand that this release will not make a huge bucket of cash for Sony it is still a shame that they did not include all of the supplements. This is largely speculation on my part, it could be that there are simply features missing from every release of the film but I doubt it. I also would have liked to have seen the foreign trailer on the DVD as well.

All together = ***
So don’t ask what the 'Crimson Rivers' of the title are because I’ve got no clue. Maybe it is just a description of the amount of blood that is shed..... Oh yeah. With that out of the way, I found this an enjoyable film as long as my brain was turned off. If you’re a Jean Reno fan and you like gothic-ish horror than you will probably enjoy this film, you just have to remember to shut your brain off. More Christopher Lee!!! If you’re a fan give it a try, if you are just curious probably a rental first. I would have liked to have seen a two disk set and a better flow to the features on the DVD but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.


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