9 November 2004 | film-critic
Is this the part where I spin some ingenious line proving that I was in fact listening all along?
So, where should I go with this one? I am pretty sure that most can realize how bad of a film this was without needing me to spell it out for you, but then some of us do need guides, so here it goes. The Skulls II is a classic example of a movie company trying to monopolize on the semi-success of the original. Using the rules of low-budget sequel making, they get lesser-known actors to replace the better known actors from the original. They repeat several select scenes that resemble the original so that the audience doesn't get confused, while all the while continuing with a similar story from the original. At first glance, you may not realize that there is a difference between these two films outside of the grade D actors that are trying to make a name for themselves. When will Hollywood realize that they need to stop doing this? The original Skulls film was not a box-office sensation, so why suck even more money from an already dried well? Then to see that there is already another film released for those of us that are foaming at the mouth to get more of this secret society makes me sick. Why Hollywood, why?
Let me begin by getting the shredder out. The acting was horrible. I mean, I have seen some bad acting in many of the films that I have seen over the years, but that done by Robin Dunne and Nathan West was despicable. It was obvious from the opening sequence that they were more excited about being in a film than the overall quality of the film. This was not a good sign. The only successful task that these young actors did for me was taking me from minute zero to minute ninety-eight. The progressed the film, if that is what you want to call it. Of course, how can you act if you are handed shoddy material anyway? None of these characters were developed or better yet underdeveloped. I would have been happier with underdeveloped characters because I could have blamed the writers, but instead I have found that both are to blame. For lack of a better word, the actors in this film were lazy. They accepted bad parts for money, and that is never a way to boost your career. If you have noticed, these guys haven't gone further with their jobs, and I would be blaming this film if I were them for their lack of good employment.
Another aspect to toss in the shredder is the concept of continuity. When one directs a film, you must possess within your bag of goodness the ability to move the characters from point A to point B fluently. For those of you that have seen this film, you will probably agree with me that director Joe Chappelle did not have this talent. There were so many holes in this story that he tried to fill with scenes from the original that forced Chappelle to shoot himself in the foot. I could not get involved with the plot of this film because one moment the organization was doing something, and the next they were doing something completely the opposite. Perhaps it was the laziness of the characters that opened these holes, but we cannot leave out Chappelle. He should have pushed his team further and used his leadership abilities. I have spoken before that I felt as if the actors were there to collect a paycheck and jump-start their careers, I feel the same about Joe Chappelle. Could he not see the overall awfulness of this film? When did he finally look at the finished product and say, 'We have an Oscar winner here!' If he said this, then I would question Chappelle's ability to direct.
Finally, I would like to make a quick comment about the use of CGI in this film. For those of you who have seen this horrible, horrible film, you probably missed it because of the burning sensation coming from your eyes. It says something about a film when the only use of CGI is on a trashcan. A trashcan being hurled towards a person is a waste of studio money and viewers patience. I laughed hysterically when I saw this because I could see Chappelle getting excited about this scene. What kind of damage could a plastic trash can do to anyone? It is a tough question, and I am thankful that hard-earned money went towards the creation of this piece of cinematic history.
Overall, I have had enough about this organization. For this series to continue, the creators, directors, or film studios will have to completely break the norm and go out on a limb. As I can see from the next one it looks like they have a woman that wants to join the organization. That is not the limb that I am talking about. This (now trilogy) was failed from the beginning, yet the Hollywood recycle factor chose to release it over and over again. It was sad to see these actors and director fail, but it should have been obvious from the beginning when they were handed the direct-to-video release script for The Skulls II. I encourage you to avoid this film at all costs. There is nothing redeemable in it at all.
Grade: * out of *****