Speed 2: Stop the ship, I want to get off!
June 13, 1997
Web posted at: 9:57 p.m. EDT (0157 GMT)
By Movie Reviewer Carol Buckland
The original "Speed" was a surprise smash. It was a Grade-B action flick that unexpectedly clicked with audiences thanks to a suspenseful, cleverly streamlined story, sharp direction, and some offbeat romantic chemistry.
While the sequel is bigger in just about every way, it's definitely not better.
Spunky Annie (Sandra Bullock) has parted from her previous "Speed" hero and is now in a relationship with a hunky cop named Alex (Jason Patric). Although they've been going together for seven months, Annie is under the impression her new boyfriend has a nice job with the beach patrol. She discovers at the conclusion of a clumsy action sequence that Jack is actually a gung-ho member of a SWAT team. She's contemplating dumping the dude when he whips out tickets for a
luxury cruise and invites her to go away with him so they can get to know each other.
Annie and Alex embark on a dream vacation that quickly turns into a
seagoing nightmare. One of their fellow travelers just happens to be a computer genius (Willem Dafoe) who is seriously pissed off about a major health insurance problem and is out to -- what else? -- wreak havoc and reap revenge.
Or may he's out to reap havoc and wreak revenge. The formulaic script by Randall McCormick and Jeff Nathanson -- which includes genre cliches such as an endangered little doggie -- isn't very clear when it comes to motivations or characterizations. Suffice to say, the guy is a cyber-psycho and it's up to Annie and Alex to thwart his evil scheme.
Well, actually, the bulk of the thwarting falls to Alex. While Annie has a few feisty moments, she basically stands around waiting and worrying until it's time for her to be kidnapped by the maniacal villain.
This is a bummer, considering how integral Annie was to saving the day in the first "Speed."
Bullock -- looking considerably more glam than she did in the
original -- remains an appealing on-screen presence. Her work's starting to get a tad self-consciousness, though; she should start looking for some new schtick.
Patric is very easy on the eyes, but he seems awfully morose. The
adrenaline-junkie joy that this kind of character needs never comes through.
Dafoe begins his underwritten role at a high pitch and quickly goes way, way over the top. He's embarrassing to watch, particularly once he shifts into total Fruit Loop mode.
Jan De Bont's direction is very broad. His constant camera movement
induces a cinematic version of seasickness after a while. Ridiculous though a lot of the stuff in the original "Speed" was, De Bont gave it a gritty, grounded-in-reality feel. Most of his work in this sequel is action-flick fantasy.
"Speed 2: Cruise Control" is likely to sail to a big box-office take in its first weekend, but it's not really worth sinking your time and money into. This movie is more floundering than fun.
"Speed 2: Cruise Control" is rated PG-13. The violence is cartoony, with minimal on-screen gore. There's a sprinkling of profanity, some yucky stuff involving leeches and an insultingly calculated handicapped-child-in-jeopardy sequence. The romantic mush between Bullock and Patric has little sizzle.
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