Apparently The Collector made enough money to warrant a sequel and one would expect for it to rehash the plot of the previous movie. The Collection does things differently and takes the “Aliens approach”, and does so actually quite literally since the set-up is as much a copy of Aliens as the The Collector was of Die Hard. The movie opens with a mass murdering scene of a caliber I haven’t seen since Ghost Ship. An entire warehouse, where an illegal rave takes place, is being killed by The Collector after someone stumbles upon a suitcase containing the protagonist of the previous movie: Arkin. Arkin gets out and manages to flee the scene and The Collector takes a young girl, Elena, as the latest addition to his collection. Luckily for Elena her dad is wealthy and hires mercenaries to retrieve Elena with the aid of Arkin.
The Collector had a really grim and low-key tone due to the relatively small scale of the mansion in the previous movie, the one-on-one cat and mouse game and lack of light. The action, and I mean that in the basic meaning of the word, in The Collection takes place in an abandoned hotel which has been completely transformed into a lair where the Collector stashes his victims. There are many rooms and like Cube most of these rooms have unique traps. Instead of merely torturing his victims The Collector also has been drugging a bunch of them turning them into mindless violent beings that resemble zombies, only still alive. Instead of one man, the Collector now has to fight a group of heavily armed mercenaries and Arkin who’s familiar with the man’s tactics. For anyone who has seen Aliens it should come as no surprise that these mercenaries are completely unaware of what they’re up against.
The different approach to the material while keeping the theme the same works as much here, as it did in Aliens. Instead of a simple rehash of the previous movie this sequel is engaging in its own way as it feels fresh. That’s not to say it’s without its flaws. These mercenaries make stupid mistakes from the first moment on. They hardly listen to the guy they practically force to guide them and they have no reason not to call the police immediately after discovering the Collector’s hideout. It would have been the wisest thing to do, yet they once again rely on their own macho attitude to take him down, underestimating their opponent.
Like the previous movie, the more familiar names have only small supporting roles. Christopher McDonald plays Elena’s dad and has only a handful of small scenes, another familiar face is Andre Royo who’s mostly known for playing junky Bubba on The Wire. Here he’s a mercenary though I could not see him in that role knowing him from his character on The Wire.
In my review of the previous movie I made a comment about how I was afraid this could be yet another one of those franchises that go down the hill with each installment, and yet like Saw II (which I found to be a good movie, and I must add that the multiple people in a house full of traps is very reminiscent here) this movie is a welcome addition and promises us this could be a healthy franchise, if they make the right decision where and how to go in part 3.
The Collection movies feel like mash-ups of genres, and I like a good mash-up every once in a while.