It’s not often that a detective meets his match, but when he does, you can bet that he’ll be in over his head, or maybe I should say out of his mind? Either way, Scanner Cop II has enough mind-melting, smoldering skin, and vicious villainy to go around. Granted, it isn’t much in terms of new material, but the lack thereof isn’t a detriment. If anything, the simple but engaging premise works in the film’s favor as Detective Staziak finds himself three scans behind and one step ahead of his most notorious nemesis yet, Karl Volkin. He’s the kind of guy that you wouldn’t want to encounter in a back alley or a warehouse, for that matter. After all, heavy machinery is no joke, especially when two scanners are dueling over a forklift operator.

One thing that stands out is that Sam has a better grasp of his powers this time around, which is well portrayed during the hostage situation scene. Not only is it a real nail-biter, what with the bomb, but the head kidnapper doesn’t take kindly to waiting around, going so far as to demand a helicopter for him and his henchmen. So much for patience with the police, huh? Well, the good news is that Sam doesn’t hesitate to give the kidnappers what’s coming to them; in fact, his influence over the baddies is so strong that scanning them proves to be child’s play. To top it all off, he seals the deal by melting their ears over his headset. Talk about a high decibel level!

I didn’t expect Karl to be such a power-hungry heel, but I will say that Patrick Kilpatrick shines in the role, whether he is spouting one-liners or overpowering his victims. And to think that scanners could wash their clothes in peace. Maybe they couldn’t be bothered with tumble drying? Ha ha. While the subplot in which Karl goes out of his way to kill Sam’s long-lost mother is tacked on, it makes Karl a viable candidate for the Villain of the Year Award. OK, I made that last part up, but nonetheless, I can’t knock the subplot for leading to the climactic showdown in which both characters engage in a battle of the minds, a battle in which flesh rips, illusions trick, and heads convulse. It’s worth the price of admission if you ask me.

Scanner Cop II is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor, and what’s more, it has its share of interesting ideas, including a vampiric scanner. Surely Dracula can’t take credit for that, but there’s no denying that Kilpatrick lives up to it.