Speed 2 - Cruise Control

I actually enjoyed the first Speed with Sandra Bullock. That's why it was so painful to see what they did with Speed 2, bringing in a new co-star of Jason Patric.

In the movie, Annie (Sandra B) is moving on with her life, having ditched her previous boyfriend. There are numerous in-jokes about how a relationship built on disaster is not meant to last. She thinks her new guy, Alex (Jason P) is a quiet beach cop but actually he is of course a rough-and-tumble SWAT guy. Annie is pretty upset to discover this, so Alex offers to take her on a cruise to patch things up. He also plans on proposing.

Of course, things go awry almost instantly. Bad-guy John (Willem Dafoe) is an insane computer programmer with a heavy-metal poisoning disease brought on by his cruise-ship employers. This allows the movie to throw in gratuitous scenes of body-leeching. Willem's plan is to steal the diamonds on the ship and then ram the ship into an island.

The movie is in essence a sequence of escalating disasters. You think one disaster is done, and another comes. Just when that one is taken care of, another one springs up. This is of course standard disaster movie fare - but the problem here is that the situations are SO incredibly hokey that you really find yourself laughing at them. The movie is making fun of itself.

Which brings me to the second big issue I have. In a climactic scene, the cruise ship is going full-tilt through a crowded harbor and beach area. You see people screaming in panic, the ship plowing over the boats and very clearly killing people. But the way the scene is paced, with "silly" situations like a woman on the phone staring open-mouthed as the ship goes past - they are trying to make you laugh! So this is a "drama" film about serious situations - and they have people dying - and they are having you laugh about it. If this was a real comedy like Naked Gun it would be one thing, clearly the whole situation would be a farce. But in Speed 2 they lay it out to try to get you to care about the characters as if it was a serious story. Then they put in comedy elements just when the situation DOES get serious, dire and dangerous. I found it both very poorly done and in poor taste.

I usually love Willem Dafoe, but he was given a super over-the-top lunatic here who cackles madly to himself. There wasn't much he could do. The lines that Sandra Bullock has are even worse. The is the ultimate air-head here and we literally found ourselves laughing out loud at the truly stupid things she had to say. Even if she was the best actress in the world, there is no way she could have said the lines in that script and had anybody connect with her. I felt very sorry for her at many times, to be forced to say the things she did.

How about the cruise ship? Well, that was a Seabourne, which is an actual cruise ship line. They did in fact film the ship scenes on ... a ship. So if you want, for some unknown reason, to relive this movie - take a cruise!

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