Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Only now does it occur to me... SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997)

Only now does it occur to me... that they should've named this picture after a phrase which appears on screen about an hour and twenty minutes in:


Yes, despite Jan de Bont's workmanlike direction (you likely know him best as Paul Verhoeven's and John McTiernan's cinematographer), a denouement involving a $25 million setpiece with a cruise ship crashing into Saint Martin ("the most expensive stunt ever filmed"),


 and Willem Dafoe's finest crazyface (throughout),

this thing is the mess that everyone says it is. Witness my disdain by enjoying these screen captures taken from a VHS, which I photographed off of my television set. 

Anyway, SPEED 2 follows two of my ironclad 1990s rules: one of which is It Takes Place on a Boat, and the other being "if it's a SPEED movie, it must star a David Lynch villain as the Big Bad." In this instance, obviously, it's WILD AT HEART's Willem Dafoe gobbling the scenery. He plays a computer hacking leech enthusiast

with a caddy bag full of golf club bombs

and a nefarious plan to throw Bo Svenson overboard, steal some jewels (?), and ram a cruise ship into an oil tanker. When you first lay eyes on the shopping mall aboard this cruise ship, you find yourself rooting for Dafoe.

Anyway, Keanu Reeves has been replaced by Jason Patric (THE LOST BOYS, SOLARBABIES), 

and if Sandra Bullock wasn't in it (seen here wielding a chainsaw in her only moment of agency), you would have no reason to believe this was a SPEED film. The supporting cast is of a shockingly high pedigree: Temuera Morrison (ONCE WERE WARRIORS, THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT)

Please, sir, I beg you, watch ONCE WERE WARRIORS instead

the aforementioned Bo Svenson (THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, KILL BILL VOL. 2),  Colleen Camp (CLUE, WAYNE'S WORLD, POLICE ACADEMY 2), Joe Morton (THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, "Miles Dyson" in TERMINATOR 2), Glenn Plummer (SHOWGIRLS, MENACE II SOCIETY), and Kimmy Robertson (Lucy from TWIN PEAKS, LEPRECHAUN 2) as "Liza the Cruise Director."

Which is probably a bizarre enough note to end this on. Anyway. SPEED 2.


J.D. said...

Glen Plummer. He seemed to be in EVERYTHING in the mid to late '90s from this to SHOWGIRLS to STRANGE DAYS to SPY GAMES. I'm sure he'd like to forget this one, though.

Sean Gill said...

Truly the 90s were a Glenn Plummer-sance. I haven't yet had the stomach for SHOWGIRLS 2, where he apparently receives top billing as the highest-ranking returning cast member.