|legeros.com > Movie Hell > 1997 > Reviews|
Sandra Bullock in high heels and wielding a chainsaw? Yup, it's gotta be summer. Just when you thought the pointless sequel had gone the way of franchise films and direct-to-video releases, into port slams SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL, the gloriously godawful follow-up to the 1994 sleeper about a bus rigged to explode if it slowed below a certain speed. The gimmick, this time, is an ocean liner rigged to, well, crash into stuff. Sound exciting? Dennis Hopper's disgruntled bomb squader, the villain of the first film, has given way to Wil- lem Dafoe's disgruntled computer programmer, a maniac whose main beef has something to do with having to use live leeches, I kid you not, as a self-treatment for copper poisoning. (And said poisoning induced by prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields, no less! Calling Dean Edell...) So, he overrides the boat's computer, con- vinces the crew to abandon ship, and sends the remaining passen- gers, those who couldn't evacuate in time, on a collision course with destiny. (Oddly, no one thinks to just... jump off the back of the boat.) With Keanu Reeves electing not to return-- perhaps he read the script?-- the job of John McClane goes to Jason Patric (SLEEPERS), as the *second* LA cop and SWAT team member that that bus drivin' babe Annie (Bullock) has dated. (What are the odds?) They're on this Caribbean cruise for pleasure, as are a handful of requisite stock characters, including a deaf teenager (!) who has a crush on the hero (!!) who also knows how to sign (!!!). (And you thought the Raptor Slam was a cool summer movie move? Wait till you see the feats that *this* little girl can do, when stuck on a shipboard elevator!) Bullock is her pesky, perky self, though she ends up with far less screen time than her top billing suggests. (Those paying attention to her bikini- and tank-tops probably won't com- plain, however) Patric is the main man in motion and that's damn good, 'cause when he stops to talk, he's only slightly less mono- tone than his predecessor. (His first LOL line is to Ms. Bullock: "I'd like to boogie with you.") Of course, nobody in front of the camera embarrasses themselves quite the way that returning director Jan De Bont does. He also produced this mess, which is insulting even by the most lax summer standards. (CON AIR, BUDDY, FATHER'S DAY, ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, MURDER AT 1600, 8 HEADS IN A DUFFLE BAG, ANACONDA, VEGAS VACATION, MEET WALLY SPARKS, METRO, BEVERY HILLS NINJA, THE RELIC, all is forgiven). Worse, he's spent a hundred mil on a pre- mise that doesn't even live up to its title! There's no sweat-in- ducing motion of the ocean here-- just two hours of shaky handheld camera work and a handful of cross-cut exteriors, all leading up to the big slam, when the love boat sideswipes an oil tanker and then plows into a harbor town. (Oh, how far we've come in twenty years. Remember the simple fun of seeing a locomotive smash into railway station in THE SILVER STREAK?) Admittedly, either of the aforemen- tioned sequences is worth the price of admission. It's just the rest of the movie-- the other hundred or so minutes-- that's pure nonsense. And wonderful nonsense at that. I know he didn't intend to, but De Bont has done one thing right: he's created the hands- down funniest film of the year. So, now, allow to present a few more things that made me laugh: o a box with a big label: "fiber optic converter" o plain English, whole-sentence computer instructions o an entire sequence devoted to opening a fire door o Jason Patric's character walks onto the bridge and immediately understands everything that's happening o a ships' navigator who speaks in a Scottish accent and actually gets to say "I canna override it!" o Willem Dafoe's amazing arm-mounted keyboard o two living, breathing adults (Bullock's character and the First Mate) who have to be told, step by step, how to disconnect a trip wire from the pin of a hand grenade. Duh o "No wait!" screams the ship's intercom o yet another damn dog in peril o fishing reel. Pontoon plane. Memories of WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S o an oil tanker that explodes for no apparent reason. Any others? (Rated "PG-13"/125 min.) Grade: F (Or, as a comedy, Grade: A) Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros
Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: Damage Control.