The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features


I gotta bad taste in my mouth. Blaugh! It tastes


The Spectacular Summer of Promise (Which is turning out to be quite a dud, by the way) came to a screeching halt with the ill-advised release of one of the worst sequels it has ever been my penance to view, Speed 2: Cruise Control. Cruise in "Filmed on..." This turkey gobbles up credibility and common sense faster than it can overrun its skyrocketing budget.

OK, some background. Two years ago, Keanu Reeves and a little known actress named Sandra Bullock made a movie about a runaway bus. Everyone, myself included, ridiculed it without seeing it. Then it was released, and Speed turned out to be one of the best action thrill rides ever. So now they've decided to try again, only without Keanu Reeves, who'd rather tour with his mega-hit rock band Dog Star (Yeah, I've never heard of them either) than pick up umpteen millions in an action sequel.

The result is a disaster.

This time, it's a runaway cruise liner. And Jason Patrick takes over where Keanu left off, almost literally. It seems Sandra just has a thing for LAPD swat team members. There's another mad bomber, played pretty much uselessly by Willem Defoe. He's a lot like Dennis Hopper from the first movie, complete with deep-seeded grudge based on a job-induced physical ailment, and he does exactly what Hopper did only instead of timing the bombs with his retirement watch, he uses golf clubs. The black guy who owned the Porsche in the first movie is back, this time he owns a speedboat. There's another bunch of innocent passengers to be saved. It's deja vu all over again.

If you're starting to think the director Jan De Bont just wrote Speed over and set it on water, you're right. Except he left out one very important thing, plot. This baby is so contrived, it makes Melrose Place look like a documentary. What it comes down to is a bad job by one man, director and co-writer De Bont.

In order to make the audience feel like they're on the ship, he filmed the whole thing in Sea-Sick-o-Vision. And it worked, we all got sick to our stomachs. I know he's a big shot director and all that, but somebody needs to tell him to HOLD THE DARNED CAMERA STILL!

Also, and this is a personal pet peeve, the characters run around the ship and you never got any sense as to where they are. I mean the ship is a big place and all that, but it's the director's job to give a spatial relationship within the story. Is the fire a deck below them? Five decks? If he goes through one door to save the woman, why can't he get out the same door? Mysteries of the unexplained. For all I know, the entire story took place in a two bedroom apartment on the lower east side.

Oh, and let's talk about the passage of time, shall we? Scene A: late at night, people being saved, very exciting action sequence. Sandra saves the day, everyone runs top side. Cut to Scene B: the people run to the top of the boat, and it's mid-morning, the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day. So, like four or five hours passed as they ran from one level of the boat to the next? Puh-lease.

And then as the boat crashes... don't worry, if you've seen a trailer, you've seen the boat crash... but, but it's so's so...ah heck, you don't wanna know. But I will ask why the purser is surprised that crashing into an island will stop the ship.

Another problem the movie has is that it spends far too much time explaining why Keanu isn't in the story. The movie was so obviously written with him in mind, that when he bailed on them, they just got a new actor, changed the name of the character, and continued on their merry little way.

"Don't mind us, this is a different LAPD Swat team member dating Sandra Bullock. No, really."

Oh and by the way, in Speed, Sandra is a cool, take-action gal who helps out to the bitter end. In Speed 2 she's decoration and she gets in the way. This is Jason Patric's movie, not Sandra's. I mean, they don't even get her wet! What's up with that? If you've got a failing action movie with a babe, the least you can do is get her wet! But no, she's not even close to sexy, hiding in life jackets the whole time, I mean honestly!

However, I will say this: It looked pretty. See, they spent a bunch of money to build a small town in order to crash the boat into the town. This is not a model. This is a real boat crashing into a real island. And that's cool. Too bad they wasted it on such a bad movie.

The film is loaded with whys. Why is Defoe's character doing this? Why does the crew basically let Jason Patric run the show? Why did the movie even bother with the deaf girl (who has more action scenes than Sandra)? Why did Fox let this one get made without reading the script?

The producers had the magic formula, (Sandra + Bikini + Wet = Yum!) and they didn't grab the brass ring. Shame on them. And shame on showing us scenes of a lot of really fat passengers stripping their clothes off. Don't they understand what movies are supposed to be about?

Speed 2 gets 1 Babylon, and that's for having the guts to crash a real big ship into a few other big things. Other than that, forget it. Basically, don't see this movie. Go rent the original Speed and pretend they never even made a sequel.

Sandra would want it that way.

Editor's Note:

Yipes! Talk about the dog of the summer! I haven't seen The Self-Made Critic so worked up since he saw a preview for Meet Wally Sparks! Everyone having a good summer? Hollywood isn't, and I think that's funny. As Mr. Self-Made says, they just need some new scripts.

As it turns out, I happen to have a good one about this editor that gets pushed over the edge and begins hacking his co-workers into small bits and mailing them to various ex-girlfriends. But with a Hollywood ending, fo course.

OK, I said my piece, will someone please unlock me from the desk? Please? Please?

I have no friends.

Rated: PG-13
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patrick, Willem Defoe and a boat. A big boat.
Directed and Mutilated by: Jan De Bont.

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