By: The Cinema Drunkie
“Hold on to your life jacket as the rip-roaring sequel to “Speed” hits the high seas. Sandra Bullock reprises her star making role as Annie Porter, a young woman expecting to enjoy a CARRIBEAN (that’s not my mistake, that’s actually how they spelled it on the back of the VHS cover) vacation with her boyfriend (Jason Patric) on the world’s most luxurious cruise liner. But their trip to Paradise turns deadly when a lunatic computer genius (Willem Dafoe) takes over the boat and sets it on a course for destruction. An explosive voyage helmed by daredevil director Jan De Bont (Speed, Twister), “Speed 2: Cruise Control” rides the wild waves at maximum velocity.”
Sigh… Today marks the 23rd Anniversary of one of the most polarizing sequels ever made, “Speed 2: Cruise Control”. A film that was anticipated by a few until it was learned that original film star Keanu Reeves declined to return. And in a smarter world, that should have been the clear sign to… you know… rewrite the script better to his liking. But since director Jan de Bont was just coming off the enormous success of “Twister”, he was given full creative control over the production, and stupidly decided to persevere on with another actor. Very Bad idea. Very bad and stupid idea. How do you continue on with a would be franchise that’s only on its second entry, by replacing the headline star from the first film???
That’s like going to see Die Hard 2 and finding out Holly dumped John and started dating ANOTHER gung ho, wise ass cop named Max Reed and he’s played by Billy Baldwin. Or going to see First Blood: Part II and see Trautman has sought out ANOTHER badass vietnam vet for the mission named Jack Viper and he’s played by John Travolta. Or going to see xXx2 and see that Gibbons gets ANOTHER bad… Oh, wait… They actually did that. Nevermind that example. The point is, sounds pretty stupid, right?? Well that’s what this movie is: Pretty fucking stupid. It’s no wonder it bombed horrendously.
The Number 1 issue of this movie is that Reeves’ replacement, Jason Patric, who is a fine actor in his own right, is SOOOOO BLAND in the main hero role. Just completely bored and devoid of charisma. Throughout the film, he carries an expression on his face that says “I’d rather watch a conversation between 2 brick walls.” And, they introduce him in the poorest, most confusing way they possibly could. Meaning, He literally just comes out of nowhere. Drops down from above on a ninja bike in mid pursuit of an ice cream truck while corresponding with Lt. Mac (brief cameo by a returning Joe Morton). Like who the fuck is this guy??? I swear. Literally just drops right into the movie like we know him. And why is he chasing this ice cream truck??? And how hasn’t he caught up to said ice cream truck yet??? You’re on a Ducati!!! This chase should’ve been over in 3 seconds!!! And, hold up… He works for Lt. Mac??? Does that mean he knows Jack too??? Like WTF??? It’s blatantly obvious that they changed veeery little from the script that Keanu turned down. “Hey, hack screenwriter… just write 2 lines about Annie breaking up with Jack, then change all the times it says Jack to Alex, and we got ourselves a movie! Don’t worry, it’ll work just fine!” No. It didn’t.
It also doesn’t help that he and co-star Sandra Bullock, returning from the first film, have ZERO CHEMISTRY together. And Bullock, whose character Annie was one of the biggest reasons for the first film’s success, is SOOOO ANNOYING and bone headed in this one. Annie went from the resourceful, witty sidekick she portrayed in the original film to just an obnoxious, useless, damsel in distress. A complete 180 from the original film. And why all of sudden is she unable to drive?? She could whip a bus around the city doing 50 mph like nobody’s business, but now she can’t drive a little piece of shit jeep to save her life??? Did the writers even watch the first film????
And what a waste of one of the greatest character actors of our time, Willem Dafoe. To cast Dafoe as the primary villain and saddle him with a villain who is SUCH A FUCKING WEENIE is a crime against humanity in itself! The character of Giger is about as threatening as a one legged cockroach. I’d be more scared of a moth at a barbecue than this fucking guy. And the endless supply of unnecessary, annoying supporting characters. Dante. The 2 sisters. The Fatbusters couple. The nicotine patch lady and her husband. Drew the little deaf girl and her idiot parents. And last but certainly the worst of all, the fucking Irish navigator. “9 knots. 8 knots. 7 knots. We’re slowing down. 6 knots.” FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
And the first half is SOOOOO SLOW! The night scenes are completely devoid of any tension whatsoever! No shits given whatsoever about what’s going on. Constipation level shit giving here, folks. But… with all that being said… I will admit… the daytime scenes in the second half are pretty good summer action movie fare. There are some really cool parts there, but only from a spectacle standpoint, since you don’t give a shit about anything in this movie. The attempted slowing of the boat propeller, the collision with the oil tanker, ESPECIALLY the crashing into the port (still an awesome scene to this day) and the final chase, capped with a massive tanker explosion are seriously awesome to watch. And composer Mark Mancina’s score is one of the best action scores of the 90s. Just a very top notch soundtrack. But I digress… All in all, this is a movie that should not have been attempted without first film star Reeves. I just hope filmmakers all around Hollywood remember this clearly: if Keanu Reeves refuses to do your movie because he thinks it’s stupid, It’s stupid.
About The Aurthor: With his mind utterly intoxicated off of a steady stream of movies, comics and cartoons, a young boy from Brooklyn, New York grew up to become the man known as… THE CINEMA DRUNKIE!!! https://thecinemadrunkie.wordpress.com/