Speed 2: Cruise Control

No longer with her bus-bound boyfriend (Keanu Reeves), Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) is now dating another man (Jason Patric) who winds up in a similar situation but this time on a boat. Coincidence? I think knot.

“You’re exactly my type!”

The unlucky couple takes a romantic cruise where the cop boyfriend must race against time to propose to Annie, in case she meets a man to whom this sort of thing happens except on a plane. A loner passenger (Willem Dafoe) hijacks the liner while undergoing leech therapy, suggesting the parasites are controlling him.

While it inherits the pathetic villain problem from its predecessor, this 1997 sequel also misses Reeves and the high-concept conceit of Speed. Without that “don’t slow down” hook it’s a generic disaster movie, where even the ship setting is irrelevant for the most part. Too lazy to recreate the original’s medium-speed road chases, the much slower action dilutes any danger or thrill we felt when it was a bus.

This makes the already inappropriate title even stupider, and adds the casual subtitle Cruise Control to create a paradox akin to calling a Fast & Furious film Low-Speed Zone. In hindsight Cruise Control would have been a better name for Top Gun 2, but thanks to this wet flop they had to use Maverick. The same year as Titanic, nobody felt the need for Speed 2 and it tanked everywhere except at the Razzies.

“I have had it with these motherfucking leeches on this motherfucking cruise ship!”

Annie meanwhile never acknowledges that any of this has happened to her before, apparently unaffected by the trauma of terrorism and being dumped by Keanu. The script is clearly written for his character and unchanged when he turned it down to star in The Devil’s Advocate, meaning Patric seems more husk than hero.

Cruise Control introduces a deaf child who looks to be the start of an Aliens/Jurassic Park-style family setup but goes nowhere, along with Lucy from Twin Peaks (Kimmy Robertson), Treeger from Friends (Mike Hagerty) and Jango Fett from Star Wars (Temuera Morrison). The characters all do so little that they don’t even have proper dialogue, instead communicating in a series of vague noises.

More Saga Cruise than action saga and more bin liner than ocean liner, Speed 2 is directed by Jan de Bont with all the finesse of that Trump boat parade. No wonder he now tends to lilo.

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