Anatomy 2 (2003)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Aug 13, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - Germany   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

The original Anatomy was a German approximation of the high-concept American thriller -- think Coma with a younger, more marketable cast. It's therefore fitting that this aimless sequel suffers the same pitfalls as most Hollywood franchises: a weaker script, a (mostly) absentee star, and a depressing over-familiarity. Franka Potente, who proved with the original film that she wasn't opposed to mixing luminous art-house roles with glossy commercial ones, is relegated to a small supporting part. Once a victimized medical student, her Paul Henning is now a cop intent on exposing a secret society of corrupt research physicians. As such, she mostly gets to spout conspiracy theories with a conviction equal to the silliness of her dialogue. That leaves Barnaby Metschurat with the thankless task of tracing the exact same plot arc Potente followed in the first installment. He's convincing enough, but we've seen it all before. Herbert Knaup, who previously co-starred with Potente in Run Lola Run, makes an enjoyably oily mad-scientist villain. But the setup this time, which involves grad students using themselves as guinea pigs for the development of bionic muscles, lacks the creepy set-pieces that made the first film such a delightful gross-out. A subplot involving the hospital's mostly Filipino support staff adds an interesting perspective on Germany's emerging multiculturalism. But it's mostly just a distraction from the script's frequent clich├ęs, which include The Hot Evil Chick (Love Actually's Heike Makatsch); The Crazy Guy Who Knows Too Much (Frank Giering, who was so appealing in Absolute Giganten); and The Guy in the Wheelchair Who Must Be Kidnapped and Rescued (Hanno Koffer, who manages to be appealing here despite the hackneyed material). It's conceivable that a U.S. studio could someday get around to remaking The Six Million Dollar Man as a cautionary medical thriller. If so, Anatomy 2 offers a veritable wealth of banalities to avoid.