As the title suggests this is the second sequel to the 2004 original, as Chris Carmack plays a troubled young man with a gift for time-travel that he is currently using to assist police in apprehending felons by observing (but not interfering in, as the ‘butterfly effect’ comes into play) their crimes and giving the cops vital clues to assist in the capture of said crims. Of course, the cops treat Carmack as your typical loony psychic, not caring to know the nature of his methods. Naturally this whole ‘observer’ role thing is pretty hard to adhere to, especially when the sister of an old flame comes knocking. Actually, Carmack has never been good at rule numero uno, as he tried to save his sister (Rachel Miner) in a house fire, at the subsequent expense of their beloved parents. You change one thing, it alters everything, that’s just how it works. And never, ever try and alter something in your own past. There are rules, y’know! But hey, Miner survived...and you have your health, dude. Anyway, the guy who was incarcerated for the murder of the ex-girlfriend (yes, Carmack was unable to stop that crime, despite his ‘gift’) may actually be innocent. So off he goes back in time to see if he can track the killer down. Unfortunately, with each ‘jump’ back, more killings spring up. Yup, Carmack inadvertently creates a (rather nasty and violent) serial killer, dubbed ‘The Pontiac Killer’, just making things worse for everyone, including himself and sister Miner. Or is Carmack himself the killer all along? (Or has altering the past somehow turned him into the killer, if you catch my drift. Ow. Head hurts!).
The original “Butterfly Effect” was an intriguing time-travel concept that mixed in a slightly miscast Ashton Kutcher and a heavy paedophile subplot to create an interesting but very lumpy and not quite successful whole. The heavy issues made the film stand out from other time-travel films, and it was never boring, but ultimately it just didn’t come together. Released direct-to-DVD in 2009, this second sequel from director Seth Grossman proves that the time-travel concept still has some entertainment value, but it’s like the same damn three chords being played over and over, with little differentiation.
Having said that, for all the originality that is lacking in the plot, the idea is interesting enough to make this watchable stuff, even when, like the original, it’s pretty sick at times. To that end, Grossman and first-time writer Holly Brix deserve credit for going all the way with the film’s sick denouement, at the very least, though Brix isn’t so good at setting up plot points and important characters early on. Quite clunky in fact.
The biggest issue, in fact, is that I solved the big mystery almost immediately and without the aid of time-travel, which lessened the impact of the film as a whole, for me. Also, compared to the bland Carmack (Formerly of “The OC”), Ashton Kutcher is a master thespian of Shakespearean proportions, whilst Amy Smart is also sorely missed. The best performance comes from burly Kevin Yon as Carmack’s Physics professor/friend who counsels him on the dangers inherent in his special abilities.
Perhaps lesser than the original (not a great film to begin with), but you could do a lot worse than this. Hey, at least it’s plenty violent, so fans of that sort of thing will enjoy those parts. Needless to say, fans of the first film will no doubt get more out of it than most.