It picks up pretty close to where The Collector left off, which was important being that the last thing we saw there was Arkin being slammed into the Collector's trunk, before being driven off in an ambulance. Of course then he was in all the trailers for Collection, so there had to be some explanation as to how he managed to escape. We get to see his escape, which is then followed by the club scene which I've seen a lot of mention of online the past couple of weeks. This movie features the biggest club massacre scene I can remember since the bloodbath in the first Blade movie. Traps going off left and right, heads exploding, people being torn in half, people being crushed, and the Collector just sitting back and watching the mayhem unfold. If it sounds like I enjoyed this scene immensely, it's because I did.
Whereas the first movie almost completely took place inside the Chase house, the sequel does a bit more to give less of a claustrophobic feel. Still, a majority of the movie does take place in one location, it's just a much larger location, an abandoned hotel that the Collector has turned into his own private amusement park from hell. It's where he takes his victims, torturing and mutilating them, creating the twisted works of art that you likely saw on the movie posters, or in the trailer. As long as you can turn off your brain, and just watch, this is an incredibly badass locale. When you start overthinking, especially when the traps start going off, it seems a bit ridiculous. Dude has this hotel rigged to the HILT. He's obviously an extremely intelligent individual, but damn, I can't see how anybody could remember where all the trip wires, triggers, pressure plates, etc. were located in a place this big. Maybe that's just because I'm getting forgetful in my old age though, and can barely remember where I've put things from one minute to the next. Suffice it to say if I was the Collector, it wouldn't be long before I fell victim to my own devices.
As mentioned above, Josh Stewart reprises his role as Arkin, and once again plays the role of a criminal with one hell of a soft spot for a damsel in distress. I'm also of the opinion that the character has have some sort of mutant healing factor, as he undergoes more punishment than any human being should be able to withstand and keep going. Almost immediately I noticed that the Collector himself looked much bigger, and sure enough the original actor Juan Fernandez is replaced by Randall Archer who is noticeably larger in stature. Not complaining or anything, I actually liked that the Collector was a beast in this one, but still it's very noticeable. Other notables from the cast were Emma Fitzpatrick, Andre Royo, and most importantly Lee Tergesen and Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin!). I particularly enjoyed Lee Tergesen as the badass. Don't know exactly why, I suppose it's because he'll always be Terry from Wayne's World to me, but I was highly entertained by his performance.
Visually, The Collection is nothing to write home about. The "Saw" influence is abundantly obvious. Lots of shaky cam when the action is happening, particularly the fighting. The trap deaths aren't as bad, we are given a pretty clear look at the carnage there, although sadly almost everything appeared to be CGI. Aside from some bloody body parts spread all over the place, there didn't appear to be much in the way of practical effects. I did enjoy some of the camera work, particularly some of the shots of the Collector watching his traps do their thing, I loved how he just lurked above, watching silently. One scene in particular toward the end of the movie was incredibly badass, when double doors swung open and he was standing in between two large german shepherds, assault rifle in hand, with the light pouring in to the room from behind him. Was it cheesy? Yeah. Did that make it any less badass? Nope.
When all is said and done, The Collection won't win any awards. In fact, it probably won't show up on many people's "best of 2012" lists, even from those of us in the horror blogging community. If you hated The Collector, you won't like The Collection. For those of us who are fans of the original though, there's a lot to like here, and I can't see how anyone would come away disappointed.