Basic Instinct 2

Basic Instinct 2

***1/2

Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

A sequel that comes traipsing in 14 years after the original can be accused of cashing-in. But you shouldn't judge a film until you've seen it, right? Yes, I know I am being a total hypocrite here. And if Basic Instinct 2 were to be accepted as a potentially good movie then perhaps they should have done it back in the late 90s when David Cronenberg was involved. Think of the movie he would have made!

But, Hollywood being that grinding, pounding machine that it is, postponed this film until 2006. Verhoeven, Cronenberg, Jan De Bont and even John McTiernan all came and went. Lead actors such as Michael Douglas, Benjamin Bratt, Kurt Russell, Robert Downey Jr and Pierce Brosnan all passed.

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As the years went on, the film shifted from America to London and underdog director Michael Caton-Jones took charge. The lead went to David Morrissey, who I have never heard of and a supporting cast of recognisable British faces filled out the rest of the characters. But after all this... is all this teasing and sexual depravity still relevant?

A lot has changed in 14 years. We no longer need to walk away from newsagents ashamed for buying a wank mag because so much better stuff is easy available for free on the internet. And I know where to find the best stuff! Softcore porn is almost extinct and TV has become racier and more hedonistic. A film selling itself on sex would have to be more than just competent in the story and character department.

If this is what matters to you, I am afraid that Basic Instinct 2 is pretty much the exact same as the original with the same character arcs and developments. The new location and a fresh crop of characters to kill is really all it has got to offer.

This time around Catherine Tramell is causing havoc in the streets of London and 'accidentally' causes the death of a famous football star by driving her car into the Thames. She's not sorry and shows no sympathy. Sent for a psych evaluation she meets Dr Michael Glass who convinces the judge she has a 'risk addiction' and will not stop pushing the limits to her madness until it costs her her own life.

Glass must be a convincing man as Tramell is soon scot-free to do more evil deeds. And Glass, despite being as reserved and collected as a man can possibly be, like Nick Curran before him, falls head first into a wildly complex plot that bears more than just a shadow of a resemblance to the first.

But this time we go a little bit deeper into the devious mind of Catherine Tramell. As a writer myself (simultaneously really crap and unbelievably brilliant) I really dig her style. She lies and deceives and manipulates people in diabolically genius ways for her own inspiration. She hides it from everyone but when you look in her eyes you can see the fire of a brilliantly evil mind blazing away. She's a great character and Stone pulls it off perfectly. She may be pushing 50 but she's still gorgeous and in my opinion she looks better in this than she did in the first instalment.

What Basic Instinct 2 lacks is a defining set-piece or action scene. It's most all talk and has none of the car chases or panic the original had. Michael Caton-Jones, whose career in film has been extremely unbalanced brings a slick edge to movie and makes it a bit darker than Verhoeven's approach. The world of Basic Instinct 2 is set in a London filled with shining glass and steel surfaces by day and dark shadows by night.

Jerry Goldsmith was set to score the film but due to his untimely death the duties were passed onto John Murphy. But worry not, all of Goldsmith's wonderful themes return and although Murphy tries to make it his own by adding his own developments, almost every cue still belongs to Jerry. It's a great score and one of those that stays in your head forever.

It's easy to criticise Basic Instinct 2. It's easy to call it loads of names. However, the first film suffered from this exact same problem, but the audiences of today are just far more savage and unforgiving. See past these problems and, like before, you'll discover a film that the rest of the world seems to be missing.

Reviewed on: 01 Apr 2006
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Sharon Stone reprises her role as sexy author with possible murderous streak.
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Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Writer: Leora Barish, Henry Bean, based on characters created by Joe Eszterhas

Starring: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, David Thewlis, Charlotte Rampling, Hugh Dancy, Stan Collymore, Iain Robertson

Year: 2006

Runtime: 114 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, USA

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Basic Instinct