Back in 1999, a cheaply made, Canadian sci-fi mystery film entitled Cube was released and, as word spread, so did the film's reputation. It was a simple premise that made no excuses for asking more questions than it answered, and left filmgoers with a rewarding experience, even if the theories about the cube's existence never seemed to find a satisfactory explanation. It became something of a cult classic and Cube 2: Hypercube is the sequel, though 'sequel' is perhaps a little too kind.
Cube opened inside a huge cube, that contained cube-shaped rooms connected by portals, though many of the other rooms contained nasty surprises. The human occupants had no idea how they got there, or why, or what they were supposed to do. All that was known was that this crazy, mixed bunch wanted to get out, but that was never going to be easy.
Cube 2:Hypercube is essentially the same film with a few more abstract concepts such as time folding in on itself and moving at different speeds. This time, though, the film was made with a little more money and a new cast. The cube is a little 'shinier', the special effects and various traps are more realistic and more gory, but again the handful of misfits do not know where they are, or why, or what happens next. Like the original, they all desperately want to get out, yet no one seems to know how, and very few seem willing to work together to find the exit.
Like the first film, the rooms would appear to move, and while at first the movements seem random, level heads work out that there is definitely nothing random about the cube.
What is revealed, is that all the 'occupants' have some connection to the cube, no matter how tenuous, and that few of them, if any, are keen to share what little they do know. Naturally, this is a recipe for disaster, and by the time a few answers are delivered there are some very dead people.
The bunch of so-called misfits in this film include a blonde Lara Croft type, Kate (Kari Matchett), the tough guy Simon (Geraint Wyn Davies), Mrs. Paley (Barbara Gordon) the kooky old lady that is not all she seems, Sasha (Grace Lynn King) the token blind chick, Jerry the Nerd (Neil Crone), and the geeky computer geek, Max (Matthew Ferguson).
Like Cube, the acting in this film is a little questionable at times, moving from wooden to rather comical to just plain bad. The story is a little fuller than the original as it does actually allude to a few things that the first film did not, and the ending is not quite as open.
The sets look great, the editing is rather effective at times, but the direction is a little loose. There are times when the tension just doesn't seem to build as it may have with a little more attention to detail and a slightly more talented cast. Nonetheless, those who enjoyed Cube will probably find they like elements of Cube 2: Hypercube, but will likely feel disappointed at the amount of regurgitation that this effort exhibits.
This a rather pristine and sharp looking transfer presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16:9 enhancement. It is a very bright, clean, almost clinical looking film with many of the sets being rather stark white, thereby presenting no problems with shadow detail and some very minimal colouring that is problem free. Grain is non-existent apart from deliberate graininess in some of the opening scenes.
There are minimal blacks as well, and although there are lots and lots of lines and edges, there is surprisingly little aliasing or shimmer. Neither are there significant marks, dirt or specks and a mostly clean print is the result.
The layer change is placed neatly between scenes at 72:37.
There are two audio options, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 will be the choice for most. It offers quite a balanced mix that makes good use of all channels, suggesting the large and spatial nature of the cube. There are no problems with the audio synchronisation and all dialogue is loud, clear and audible.
Rears are used mostly for some specially placed voices floating around the cube and the doors opening and closing, and the subwoofer gets the occasional workout during the dramatic pieces. The sound is very encompassing and does a good job of drawing you into the action.
The musical score is well suited to the film and adds to the tension at all the right times.
The Dolby Digital stereo option is also rather lush and full with good fidelity, but lacks the enclosed feel provided by the 5.1 mix.