So how do you make a sequel to a fake music documentary from the 1990s, that happened to be a cult hit? As director Bruce McDonald says in the supplements, you really do not, and Hard Core Logo 2 is really its own separate thing from the beloved-in-certain-circles status of Hard Core Logo. The original movie was a riveting and inspired commentary on the Canadian Punk scene, but beyond that it had a strong emotional resonance outside of the inherent comedy and music. Hard Core Logo 2 is a spoof of various issues that doesn’t elicit many chuckles and only has the loosest of ties to the original, though it still features music that most Punk fans will find interesting.
The events in Hard Core Logo 2 take place fifteen years after the shocking death of Joe Dick, depicted at the end of Hard Core Logo. The lead female singer of Die Mannequin, Care Failure, claims at a live show to have been possessed by Joe Dick’s ghost on stage. It’s an obvious publicity stunt, or at least Bruce McDonald thinks so on first hearing it. He eventually gets talked into making another documentary about Care Failure and her band, as they go off to a remote Canadian location to record their next album.
Theoretically, this is where the real comedy and pathos in the film is supposed to happen. Unfortunately, the sequel has little fresh to say and mines most of its laughs from simple parodies of reality television. The only character of note to return from the first film is Bucky Haight (Julian Richings), whose small but critical role is expanded here as Die Mannequin’s record producer.
Director Bruce McDonald inserts himself into the narrative of the film, really becoming its central character. This is the first critical mistake the sequel makes, because his droning narration goes on and on for stretches of the film. Whereas the first movie was a spoof of Rock groups and their behavior, Hard Core Logo 2 at its core is mocking the entire process of the documentary form and celebrity culture in the Twenty-First-Century. It simply misses the mark in execution, as the characters are not as humorous or realistic this time around. Most of the story is built around the antics and mood of Care Failure, but she is hardly given any dialogue for a viewer to connect with, beyond being a Punk singer.
Hard Core Logo 2 is not unwatchable by any means, but it misses the superior characters and acting performances found in Hard Core Logo. That film was a subtle parody of music documentaries and the Rock lifestyle, backed by a shocking ending that came out of nowhere. Hard Core Logo 2’s story is not as coherent or intrinsically interesting, while choosing to make commentary on tired subjects like reality television and celebrities. A spoof that simply isn’t funny most of the time and drags by the end.
Note: Hard Core Logo 2 is only available on Blu-ray paired with the original Hard Core Logo, on the Hard Core Logo: All-Access Edition.
While the first Hard Core Logo was a gritty documentary shot on low-budget film, the sequel has been primarily shot with digital cameras and looks infinitely cleaner. It shares a single BD-50 with the first Hard Core Logo. Running a length of 93:54 minutes, Hard Core Logo 2 is encoded in AVC at very moderate bitrates. A few shots demonstrate some minor compression problems such as banding and chroma noise, but for the most part the very clean video survives intact and unscathed by artifacts.
A mixture of film and video appears to have been used for Hard Core Logo 2’s production, though the modern footage is almost entirely filmed in pristine, high-definition video. There is a touch of archival footage and some extracted clips from the first Hard Core Logo that look substandard.
Outside of that step back, the 1080P image has a pleasing clarity and contrast with its ultra-clean appearance. Overall the sequel is a slicker and more sophisticated-looking movie, from the graphic elements to the production standards. Framed in a very standard 1:78:1 composition for a video-based production, the cinematography loves to emulate the feel of a bad reality show from cable. It reproduces all the little hallmarks of that genre, from the slightly unstable camera-work to the odd shooting angles of a scene.
As a movie built around supposedly “live” musical performances, Hard Core Logo 2 has disappointingly been saddled with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack at 640 kbps. It’s a solid mix that emphasizes the energetic music of Die Mannequin, but the lack of a lossless audio option prevents a perfect five stars in this category. Dialogue is clean and well-recorded, integrated quite well into the overall soundtrack. It’s not going to blow anyone’s socks off, as the music is supposed to be emulating the low-budget ethos of a Punk band at times. The surround channels are more heavily emphasized in Hard Core Logo 2 than the original movie, as a 2010 production it was likely created in surround from the beginning.
The only subtitles offered are English subtitles, presented in a white font.
Audio commentary featuring Director Bruce McDonald and Simon Lees – The sequel gets its own audio commentary. Mildly informative, it is not the best commentary I’ve heard but it will entertain McDonald’s die-hard fans with the unusual approach between the two participants.
Hard Core Logo 2 Featurette (18:49 in 720P) – While it’s called a featurette, this special feature is a compilation of fully-finished deleted material from the movie itself. A number of secondary characters get extended scenes that are entirely missing from the final cut.
Original Theatrical Trailer (01:52 in 1080P)
Director Bruce McDonald Interview (17:39 in 1080i) – McDonald steps out of being a character inside the movie, to actually provide some insight and background information on making Hard Core Logo 2.
Producer Rob Merilees Interview (04:49 in 1080i)
Care Failure Interview (04:12 in 1080P) – Here the lead actress reveals her lack of acting experience before this film. Her rambling answers provide some clue as to why her dialogue in the film is kept to a minimum.
Actor Julian Richings Interview (06:55 in 1080i) – Richings talks about his history with the character from the first Hard Core Logo and the general fan reaction that he has received over the years.
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