Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

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 
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.

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