The sequel is set in the years following the initial deadly home invasion, where Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) lives in quiet solace until his past sins catch up to him.The sequel is set in the years following the initial deadly home invasion, where Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) lives in quiet solace until his past sins catch up to him.The sequel is set in the years following the initial deadly home invasion, where Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) lives in quiet solace until his past sins catch up to him.
This shouldn't have been a sequel.
It may sound like an exaggeration, but this genuinely would've been better if it wasn't 'Don't Breathe 2 (2021)'. It feels as though it started life as something entirely unrelated and, if that is the case, it honestly should've stayed that way. Most, though not all, of the movie's issues stem from the fact that it reframes an antagonist as an anti-hero without giving much thought as to the implications of this shift. Though there is the the germ of a good idea at the core of this picture, the almost interesting underlying concept ultimately isn't done any justice. Rather than focusing on an innocent young girl caught between two irredeemably violent factions, it opts to create a scenario in which her safety is entirely in the hands of one particular party. Any potential for a morally grey and challenging affair is thrown out of the window in favour of a more straightforward thriller that jumps through several hoops just to paint its protagonist as someone worth rooting for. Even then, it only manages to make him the 'hero' by default. Because of this, the emotional climax of the piece falls flat on its face. After all, just because we've had our arm twisted into aligning with someone doesn't mean we actually care about them. To be fair, it does attempt to make its audience unsure as to whom they're supposed to be supporting, sewing seeds of doubt at the halfway point and almost promising that the latter half will turn into the aforementioned morally grey and challenging affair. Instead, it takes a sledgehammer to its ambiguity and is all the worse for it. It isn't just the fact that the villain of 'Don't Breathe (2016)' is now the hero that makes you wish the two films weren't connected, it's that this later effort feels nothing like its predecessor and features a number of frustrating inconsistencies that feel as though they're the result of bad writing rather than off-screen character development. I mean, the movie almost forgets its protagonist is blind at one point (or, at least, that he isn't Daredevil). This really would've been better off as its own thing, and I think general audiences would be reacting to it slightly more favourably if that was the case. There's a huge difference between a character alluding to a previous history of monstrous behaviour and actually having first-hand knowledge of those actions - actions which are all the more discomforting due to their relative realism, overtly intrusive nature and general heinousness (let's just say we aren't dealing with someone like Boba Fett here). Despite its plentiful problems, though, the picture does have genuine merits. Its structure essentially means that it is comprised of a preamble, an extended second-act set-piece and an extended finale. The latter two elements are genuinely rather good, entertainingly bouncing between blunt brutality and suspenseful sneakiness. The set-pieces are well-shot, convincingly choreographed and suitably engaging. They're enjoyable and do pretty much exactly what they need to. The film is at its best when nobody is speaking (the writing is noticeably poor throughout the entire experience), but even then it lacks the context to be compelling or affecting beyond a surface level. The flick isn't terrible overall, but it is a bit baffling. It's bad, but it's relatively enjoyable, which I guess means it isn't bad? Whether that makes sense or not, I can't deny that the feature is (somehow) fairly entertaining, thanks both to its set-pieces and to its oddities (which are fun to tear into with a friend). Ultimately, it's far worse than its predecessor, but it's just about successful enough to be worth watching if any of what I've said peaks your interest. 6/10.
- Feb 20, 2022
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