SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL
Reviewed July 29th, 2002 by Dan Jones
I remember renting Speed 2 for the first time a number of years ago after I quite enjoyed the original. Of course, we go into sequels expecting the film we are watching not to be up to par with its predecessor, yet we cannot help but still expect quality... I’m sure we all have a handful of movies that we keep at the top of our head when someone asks, “What are your top five worst movies ever?” Thankfully, my viewing of Speed 2 has helped in that regard, now I only need to think of four more movies. Oddly enough, a certain respected critic gave Cruise Control three stars... you will notice that on the poster.
Anyways, here is the story. We get Sandra Bullock’s character Annie Porter back from Speed, and that’s about it. Keanu Reeves passed on this one for whatever reason. Way to go Keanu. Annie has now ditched Jack Traven, Keanu’s character from Speed, due to his reckless choice of a career. Enter Annie’s new love interest Alex Shaw played by Jason Patric whom is hiding that he is a member of the LAPD Swat Team from her (because remember she’s not into that.) So the two of them go on a seemingly harmless cruise ship vacation. Soon after the cruise begins, Willem Dafoe’s character, John Geiger, hi-jacks the ship. How? Well, Geiger was fired from a large scale computer company after coming down with copper poisoning from computers’ electromagnetic fields. You read that correct. Oh, and he carries around leaches to suck the copper poisoning from his blood, allowing him to live that much longer.
Subsequently, Geiger was the one whom initially designed the computer control mechanism that goes into this cruise ship, and he knows that the ship is currently holding a large cache of diamonds in its vault (movies love diamonds). So, after a bit of cable splitting Geiger has complete control of the ship. His goal is to steal these diamonds, get revenge on the people responsible for his “copper poisoning” via electromagnetic fields (it’s just so funny I have to repeat it) and destroy the boat. So now, it is up to Annie and more specifically Alex to try to regain control of the boat and stop Geiger.
I know its common practice to try to go into a film like Speed 2 and “suspend your disbelief”... but sometimes that is just not possible. Speed had its share of bad physics like the bus jumping a bridge opening that was not even a ramp yet actually lifted up in an arc in the air. After seeing Speed 2, its predecessor looks completely realistic. Speed 2 has so many glaring realism problems it makes itself almost unwatchable. There are ways to make action films exciting without doing away with gravity and physics, unfortunately the writers and directors of Speed 2 wanted nothing to do with that. On top of that most its scenes just seem utterly corny or moronic, like when the people on land fail to see a cruise ship coming at them until they’ve been plowed over by it. Just bad, bad, bad.
This is Speed 2’s second release on DVD, getting upgrades in video and audio, while still giving very little in terms of supplemental material.
Video wise, Speed 2 has been given a new 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer which is very, very nice. The picture is detailed yet seems to be free of edge enhancement problems. Color and contrast are good with natural flesh tones. Darks and blacks are also nice and deep with good shadow detail. Slight digital compression problems pop up here and there, but nothing too noticeable.
Audio wise, Speed 2 has been giving outstanding tracks in 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS. While both tracks will please, I found the DTS track to have more subtle detail, as well as slightly improved clarity from voices. Both tracks are very immersive and powerful with good imaging to all five channels and solid emphasis from the LFE channel, which is used to great success. Also included are 2.0 tracks in English and French as well as subtitles and closed captions.
As for extras, we have basically one which you may or may not have already seen on HBO. It’s a somewhat lengthy feature, clocking in at just over a half hour that gives us. We gain quite little insight into the film with this somewhat odd feature, yet there is a bit on the special effects, which was an interesting viewing. Clunky feature, but I suppose worth a watch.
Other then that we get anamorphic widescreen trailers for Speed and Speed 2; along with the THX optimizer.
Overall Speed 2 is just a bad film that really has no tie to its original, other then Bullock’s character. While the DVD’s presentation in video and audio are top notch, it does not make up for the film that it contains. Therefore, unless you are a huge Bullock fan or Speed was your favorite movie of all time, pass this one up. At most, have a friend rent it for you.
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