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Hard Core Logo 2 (2010)

by on 2013/02/28

Hard Core Logo 2 (2010)

“Ever back this way, don’t drop in. Ever.”

* *

There’s a scene in Hard Core Logo 2 — call it analogy, synecdoche, a microcosm, whatever, I don’t care to bother deciding which — illustrating my distaste for the movie as a whole. The band Die Mannequin are recording new tracks in Saskatchewan’s Danceland hall when a cell phone signal interferes with the audio production. The device in question belongs to Bruce McDonald, the filmmaker both in and out of the story.

He’s made himself distracting and unwelcome.

As a reluctant convert to the pleasures of the first Hard Core Logo, I approached this follow-up with a mixture of lowish expectations and careful hope. By the end it confirmed at least two disappointing conclusions: the fumes of the original’s fuel aren’t enough to drive the sequel, and mockumentaries aren’t necessarily funny.

McDonald casts himself as the hero of this piece, set fifteen years after he last, er, interviewed Joe Dick…

(Hell, why am I even being careful about spoilers? The end of the first film is ruined by the start of this one, so you’d better not be watching them out of order.)

Now McDonald’s working in Los Angeles when he hears about Care Failure (Caroline Kawa), lead singer of Canadian hard rockers Die Mannequin. She’s said to have a mystical connection to his former subject, so he follows her recording of an album in Saskatchewan . . . an album being produced by someone familiar, Bucky Haight (Treed Murray’s Julian Richings). Coincidence or something more significant?

Talk about care failure. I was utterly apathetic. Our time is mostly wasted, seeing and hearing too little of substance. There are witches, drugs, and references to hypnotism. Fast-cut montages and wipes, flashy titles, and distressed visuals. Word association narration, non-English un-subtitled voice-overs, and overt descriptions of what’s already seen onscreen. But for all this pretentious provocation, nearly an hour passes before something significant happens. I’ve heard of investing in character, but this is ridiculously unbalanced, and hardly worth the payoff, such as it is.

I’d estimate we spend more time seeing Bruce float in a pool than we get watching Die Mannequin perform. His (fictional) character is far too weak to be the hub of this whole affair. He’s unpleasant, inconsistent, and unreliable. These “qualities” make it difficult for an audience to trust him. It’s unfortunate since he’s pretty much the only one who feels Care Failure manifests anything of Joe Dick. He can expostulate all he likes on her spirit, her focus and passion. Just because Care reminds him of Joe doesn’t mean we will agree, and the movie fails to justify his belief.

Here’s what I liked, all in all: some of the songs, Richings’ performance, and a fractional glimpse of Sam the Record Man’s sign.

I want to invoke the phrase “sound and fury signifying nothing” but there’s precious little of either in this misfire. I’m sorry to say that Hard Core Logo 2 is navel-gazing nonsense, a tumbledown monument to self-indulgence. At one point its egocentric asks whether he still has what it takes to make a documentary. At no point would my answer have been anything but “Who cares?”

* *

Rated 14A

100 minutes

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