DVD Review: Basic Instinct 2
By Patrick Luce Jul 12, 2006, 15:59 GMT
In this sequel Stone\'s Catherine Tramell relocates from San Francisco to London and quickly finds herself on the wrong side of the law. Morrissey plays a criminal psychologist assigned the task of evaluating her by Scotland Yard. She may finally have met her match in the shrink. ...more
Sharon Stone returns to the role that brought her fame with Basic Instinct 2 – a sequel that took 14 years to bring to the big screen, but should have taken a little longer.
To be honest, there is nothing wrong with the sequel except for the fact that is almost exactly the same as what we saw on screen in 1992 – only this time Stone is forced to carry the entire movie on her own since Michael Douglas doesn’t return. The film also lost the some of the shock and grit that the original had since writer Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven are not involved in the project.
In the sequel, Stone returns as novelist and possible killer Catherine Tramell – who is now living in London and in the opening minutes of the film gets accused of causing the murder of a football sports star when her car crashes into Thames River.
Before she can be placed on bail, the police decide to bring in criminal psychologist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey) to determine if Stone is right in the head. The good doctor diagnoses Stone as having a “risk addiction” (the film’s original subtitle which was later dropped), but the whole case is thrown out of court before too long.
Although Stone is set free, Detective Superintendent Roy Washburn (David Thewlis) continues to believe she is guilty and is even more determined to find a way to bring her to justice.
Meanwhile, Stone decides it is time for another game of cat and mouse this time with the good doctor and the movie slowly begins. This is also about where we start following every plot device used in the first film. Poor Dr. Glass is clearly overmatched by the manipulative Stone, and we get to watch as he is slowly pulled down.
Like a sultry snake, Stone slithers into various aspects of Glass’ personal life – including his ex-wife (Indira Varma), and a journalist (Hugh Dancy) that is in the process of writing a story about Glass. Naturally, not everyone survives the film, and as the film continues the body count and unneeded sex scenes (including a trip to a brothel where Stone lets Glass watch) continue to build.
While the film is pretty much a carbon copy of the original, it loses a lot of the “edge” that the first Basic Instinct had, and instead seems like everyone is just trying too hard to make it as controversial as the original. The sex scenes are there, but they seem more because the audience expects them and they are not really needed for the plot.
Stone delivers a performance that is on par with what she did in the first film, but her dialogue is flat a lot of the time. The first film managed a “noir” feeling with some of the dialogue, and the sequel lacks that gritty crime weight. The actress still looks great (even after 14 years) and the entertainment of the film comes from watching her spin her web.
Morrissey and Thewlis try to bring something original to their parts, but both seem pale compared to the intensity that Douglas had in the first film. At times, Thewlis seems just as bored with the film as the audience. Also, you really don’t care about what is happening to Morrissey because he is just too wimpy to stand a chance against Stone.
With films like Rob Roy and the Jackal, Michael Canton-Jones (the film’s director) knows how to craft an entertaining movie, but this film felt more like he was trying to craft an imitation rather than something new.
He does a good job with the film’s pace, and manages to set up some moments of suspense with the use of camera angles, editing and the film’s Hitchcock-like music. I also liked Caton-Jones’ use of set design in the film and the director’s use of lighting. Both work extremely well in creating a “cold” feeling to much of the film’s scenes – which works with Stone’s character.
However, all these elements never really gel, and the film just fails to live up to the level set in the original – a curse that falls on many sequels with even the best directors at the helm.
The DVD comes with several special features including commentary by Caton-Jones, and a fairly standard behind the scenes featurette. The Unrated DVD version (which has about two extra minutes of footage) comes with 10 deleted scenes and an alternate ending. The extra scenes and the alternate ending are really just more of the same and don’t add or take away from anything that was in the finished product.
Overall, there is nothing really wrong with Basic Instinct 2 and fans of the original won’t be too disappointed. At the same time, there is nothing really that great about it. The film is pretty much just a standard erotic thriller with few surprises and none of the “shocks” that the original delivered.