Cube 2

Starring: Geraint Wyn Davies, Kari Matchett, Neil Crone & Matthew Ferguson
Mosaic Entertainment

Certificate: 15
Available now

A group of seemingly unconnected individuals wake up and come together within the identical inter-linked cubed rooms of a geometric superstructure. This hypercube incorporates the fourth dimension of time-related alternative realities. As the characters move through constantly shifting and often perilous rooms, attempting to discover a way out as well as the reason for their presence, they come to learn that the one thing they have in common is an affiliation with Izon Research - a weapons manufacturer and think tank based in Washington...

First and foremost, let me say that this isn't a patch on Vincenzo Natali's original low budget sci-fi thriller from 1998. If it's intended as a sequel, it doesn't work at all with only the tenuous of links; and if it's a reworking, then most of the good points are lost from the initial concept to make way for quantum theory and other notions mention but not explored. In brief, too much is attempted and little if any of it comes across.

Let's make some comparisons. The first venture similarly portrayed strangers thrown together but, unlike this version, there was no link between them, only a variation of professions or skills. It was full of effective ideas. One aspect was rooms tinted one of three different colours, leading characters to incorrectly believe that a similarly coloured room would be safe if it proved so on the previous occasion. Another clever point was having numbers by each access hatchway; the assumption is the portals are numerically counted, but an autistic man realises prime numbers signify safe and stable rooms. In Cube 2, not only are all the rooms an uninteresting white, but all the hatches operate by touch panels, and each event takes place at random with no possibility of calculation.

The original Cube was much more mechanical, with the rooms sometimes even moving as characters tried to negotiate between them. Here the effects look cheap and 'cartoony'. Also, you feel nothing for the cast, because if the company wants them dead, why not just kill them. I think it works better to have no explanation than seek to justify what has no logical sense. A psychotherapist, a computer game designer, a theoretical mathematician, a psychotic private investigator (to match the psychotic cop in the first outing); none get the chance to use their so-called skills. The blind girl, Sasha, turns out to be the legendary computer hacker Alex Trust and also originator of the cube designs, but she might just as well be the illegitimate offspring of Lord Lucan and Shergar, for all the relevance it has.

Newcomers to Cube might be interested in Hypercube, but I can't imagine any fans of the original seeing this as an improvement, or even a logical story progression. Save your money; buy Natali's original instead.

Ty Power