review for Scanners II: The New Order on AllMovie

Scanners II: The New Order (1991)
by Donald Guarisco review

This late-in-the-game sequel is a surprisingly decent and diverting affair that is nicely tailored to the interests of genre fans. Scanners II: The New Order's script operates at a comic-book level in terms of plotting and characterizations but it does this style well, delivering clear-cut heroes and villains placed into a pace-concious narrative that yields plenty of setpieces. It also develops the "scanner" concept in interesting ways, including the role drugs play in causing/controlling the condition. Christian Duguay's direction pushes it forward with a muscular sense of style that suits the action-oriented material well: memorable setpieces include a scanner's psychic assault on an arcade and the heroes using their powers to storm the villain's scanner-imprisonment facility. Performances sometimes veer into campiness - Raoul Trujillo's bug-eyed antic make him the film's major scenery-chewer - but those excesses are fairly entertaining in a b-movie way. Thankfully, David Hewlett makes a sympathetic hero and old pro Deborah Raffin turns in the film's most subtly effective performance as his sister. In short, Scanners II: The New Order rises above its second-division origins to shape up as a solid, sometimes surprisingly ambitious crowd-pleaser for genre buffs.