For those who have seen the first instalment from 1994, Speed 2 this time follows Anne (Sandra Bullock) instead of Jack and lots of things have changed since we last saw Anne escape an exploding bus.
Our film begins with Anne attempting her driver’s test (and oh boy is she a wrong driver now) and quickly lets us know that Anne has moved on from Jack and their relationship has ended. But thankfully Anne has met someone completely different who is nothing like her last boyfriend, or so she thinks.
Anne is disappointed when she discovers her current boyfriend, Alex (Jason Patric), is working as a Swat member just like her last boyfriend did, living day to day like a wild man saving lives. But this time something is different as Alex confesses and sweetens his apology for not being honest by taking Anne on a cruise ship for a romantic getaway. Naturally, Anne is mad, but she forgives him on the spot because, Yay for cruise ships, right?
But what begins as a romantic time for our leading characters becomes an entirely new nightmare when a mad computer hacker alters the ship’s computer, sending the massive cruise ship straight into an oil tanker.
Compared to the original action smash hit, Speed 2 pulls on the handbrake in regards to both plot and its leading characters (yep, I’m getting into it!). The film turns Anne into a silly (and annoying) character. Previously we witnessed Anne save lives while driving a Bus, but here Anne is just not the same. At the opening of the film, Anne is trying to complete her driving test and is risking lives, implying she is the worst driver in the world. She lost her licence for speeding in the 1st film, not because she’s the worst in the world! Not to mention, the movie destroys and flushes one of the greatest things from the 1st film- Jack. Let’s talk about Anne’s relationship. If you liked Jack (Keanu Reeves) previously, you would be shocked to find he’s not here, plus the film wants to rag him out as if he were a horrible man. All of this occurs within the film’s opening sequence.
Instead of Jack, we have Alex, who is supposed to have the same level of skill, perhaps be even more dangerous. Alex and Anne’s relationship never feels real, and I found it very hard to believe that Alex is a wild man who saves lives. The film has down-graded when it comes to the love interest, instead feeling cheesy and forced. This element surprised me considering the film has the same director as the original film.
As a plot, it’s also a disappointment. Speed had such a fast pacing plot I found myself grabbing my seat at every moment, but Speed 2 doesn’t deliver any of these things. Speed 2’s global threat is nothing exciting or thrilling. The concept of a boat heading towards an oil tanker doesn’t make me sit on the edge of my seat in suspense. Alex and Anne are also dealing with a new villain only by luck, and the film creates no real chemistry between any of the leads throughout the film. But! If I had to pick one character I enjoyed slightly; it would have to be the actor William Defoe who always knows how to play a fresh (and yet silly) villain.
I’m not all negative about everything in this sequel. I can praise a couple of minor things. I enjoyed hearing the original Speed theme returning, especially during the film’s opening sequence as Alex chases a man with stolen goods (cheesy scene but set to a great tune) and to my surprise the film’s visuals are pretty solid. The film does take on a brighter tone compared to the last movie. William Defoe also gives a couple of creepy moments on screen, but as for the plot and leading actors. Nope I don’t like it. If you watch the special features, I was amazed at how much work went in visually, not to mention what the financing of this film would have been. In short, big bucks, significant effects, poor results.
Overall, this is a rather disappointing instalment to what was an action smash hit. With main characters who are painful to watch and are unbelievable (plus cheesy) as a couple, the same could be about the film’s side characters too. Even with some fun visual effects and the return of Speed’s instrumental track, Speed 2 is one of those sequels that causes us to question how they got this film so wrong. Other films such as Grease 2, xXx 2, Universal Soldier 2 all fall into the same pile of sequels that should ultimately be ignored and avoided at all costs.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden