Anatomy 2 (2002) Movie Review

Despite everything you may have heard, “Anatomy 2” is not a Teen Slasher film — and in this case, that’s a bad thing. Not having seen the original, I can’t tell if the whole point of the “Anatomy” series is to be goofy and not to be taken seriously. The biggest problem with this sequel is the screenplay by writer/director Stefan Ruzowitzky, who also helmed the 2000 original. The sequel is a funny film, in that its parts ludicrous and parts stupid, but all laughable.

Our medical thriller stars Barnaby Metschurat as Jo, a studly intern from (from what I can gather) the boondocks of Germany. Jo arrives in Berlin to work at its central hospital, where he enviously eyes a position with Professor Muller-LaRousse (Herbert Knaup), a genius doing experiments that are not altogether legal. But Larousse is very selective, and Jo is left on the outside looking in. That is, until an unscheduled late-night surgery brings Jo to Larousse’s attention, and soon Jo is inducted into a secret organization called “The Lodge”, whose members have decided to do anything and everything to achieve medical success, the rules be damned. Think Tom Cruise’s “The Firm”, but with doctors.

As soon as Jo gets accepted into Larousse’s super secret project, all of his dreams come true. He becomes one of the cool doctors, strolling through the hospital corridors with Larousse like a posse instead of doctors; and he gets to have wild sex with Viktoria (Heike Makatsch), who literally oozes skankiness from every pore. But all that quickly becomes moot, because LaRousse turns out to be the ultimate Mad Scientist. And like all mad scientists, he’s imbued with greatness — not because we see him doing anything particularly great, but because the script keeps telling us how great he is.

“Anatomy 2” is one of those movies that is more ordinary than it is bad. It’s not bad in the sense that every minute of it is excruciating pain. In fact, the film is actually quite good — that is, if it was only about Jo, a young studly hospital intern with dreams of greatness, who struggles to find a cure for his crippled brother. Jo, who has to cope with 60-hour work weeks for little to no pay, but gets to flirt with the attractive Filipino nurse played by Rosie Alvarez. Jo, who live in a building full of charming Filipino nurses who takes care of their own because it’s the right thing to do, and how Jo helps them.

Instead, “Anatomy 2” is cartoonish and bad in the sense that it keeps trying to convince us that what LaRousse and his gang of adoring geeks are doing is anything other than comic book science. To wit: the group is replacing their own body parts with what looks like plastic springs that gives them super strength and speed. One intern/geek even puts the plastic spring in his penis to give it that extra, er, lift. It’s all very silly and not grounded in any inch of reality. But apparently the script has no idea, so the entire scenario is executed as if it makes absolute sense. And this is the plot we have to deal with. No human drama. Just comic book science.

Which brings me to this point: “Anatomy 2” would have been much better had it gone the Teen Slasher route. As it stands, there’s nothing here that would satisfy anyone; with the exception of the opening sequence, which has a man mutilating himself with a scalpel. Too bad the rest of the film can’t hope to match that scene’s rawness. The rest of the movie is one big joke, made even more hilarious because Stefan Ruzowitzky apparently isn’t in on it. If the silly first hour wasn’t bad enough, we get a Third Act that is completely out of the realm of reason. (Yes, even taking into account the whole plastic springs for bodyparts gag.) The movie loses what little brain cells it had left for clich’d Teen Slasher-like sequences, but neglects to include all the Teen Slasher fun.

Aside from the opening scene, which made me wince, “Anatomy 2” is surprisingly short on the bodycount. The notion of doctors experimenting on themselves, literally giving themselves horrendous scars in the name of science and ego, may have seemed interesting in theory. The execution, alas, is lacking. The movie is simply not scary, or even mildly uncomfortable. Which is a shame because the movie has a very polished and slick look. But it’s all for naught, especially whenever Herbert Knaup shows up. Knaup, incidentally, should be given the Worst Mad Scientist Impression In the World Award. He’s so cartoonishly evil that I kept expecting him to hit himself in the head with a mallet and for his body to collapse into an accordion.

“Anatomy 2” is all camp, made even more priceless because no one involved in the production seems to be “in” on the joke. I can only hope the original was better. Speaking of which, Franka Potente (“Try Seventeen”), the star of the original, shows up in an unnecessary cameo as a cop investigating the Mad Scientist. She should have stayed away.

Stefan Ruzowitzky (director) / Stefan Ruzowitzky (screenplay)
CAST: Barnaby Metschurat …. Jo Hauser
Herbert Knaup …. Prof. Muller-LaRousse
Heike Makatsch …. Viktoria
Roman Knizka …. Hagen
Wotan Wilke Möhring …. Gregor

Buy Anatomy 2 on DVD