STARRING: Kari Matchett, Geraint Wyn Davies, Grace Lynn Kung, Matthew Ferguson, Neil Crone, Bruce Gray, Philip Akin

2002, 94 Minutes, Directed by: Andrzej Sekula

The original Cube began life as a practically no-budget movie back in 1997 to become quite a bit of a cult item in the interim. British mag Empire, for example, put it into its list of Top 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of all-time a while back. When the On-line Film Critics’ Society, an organization I belong to, recently voted on their Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies, omitting Cube was one of that list’s major oversights (along with including Independence Day, but not A Boy and His Dog). When more levelheaded compilers will make up a list of the best science fiction movies of the past decade or so, then the original Cube will no doubt be included.

With such unexpected success what else to do but . . . make a sequel! To be honest, except for reasons of avarice, there really is no need or justification for a sequel. If you happened to have seen the trailer for Cube 2: Hypercube then you would probably surmise that this is simply a case of rehashing the events of the first movie while taking high-concept to new levels.

What else to do in a sequel but have a new group of strangers wake up yet again – but in a bigger, weirder cube this time! (As the publicity material sums it up: “Eight strangers wake up in a bizarre cube with no recollection of how they got there and no idea of how to get out. They soon discover that they're in a deadly dimension where the laws of physics don't apply and they must unravel the secrets of the ‘hypercube’ in order to survive.”

However, while this sequel may be as unnecessary as they come, Cube 2: Hypercube is unexpectedly good. A lot better than it has any right being come to think of it. Boasting a bigger budget this time around (most of it no doubt spent on CGI effects) Cube 2 is less of an existential experience than the previous film.

Director Andrzej Sekula uses all kinds of fancy camera angles and some other cinematic tricks to speed up events while trying to lighten the movie’s claustrophobia by moving events and flashbacks to outside the cube. Extremist fans of the original may be scandalized by the fact that this sequel attempts to explain the origin of the cube - sort of.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the first movie yet! Part of the original’s charm lay in never explaining the cube’s function or who built it. Its plot and characters served as a metaphor for life and humanity itself. End spoilers! Less maths and more action this time around.
While these fans original may deride the sequel as being 2010 to the original classic 2001, when taken on its own terms as straight-to-video fare, Cube 2 stands head and shoulders above its competition. Its central premise remains strong, the acting is adequate, there are some eye popping visuals, the pace is fast, and there is even a surprise ending.

Cube 2 may be the dumber sibling, but it is the more muscular creature. My wife and I slipped the disc into the DVD player at the end of a hectic evening, fully expecting to fall asleep in no time flat - instead we were fully engrossed by onscreen events.



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