Basic Instinct 2
Great sexpectations, nothing more: Despite potboiler moments, Basic Instinct 2 is much more fizzle than sizzle and arrives much too long after the once racy original. We can only hope that Sly uses this as his Rocky VI cautionary tale.
If you thought a San Francisco police detective (Michael Douglas) was hard to break, imagine how tough it is to sway a London shrink (David Morrissey). Leave it to Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) to try. The sinful author has resurfaced and--in the nearly decade and a half since the first Basic Instinct--moved to London. Old habits die hard, however, and she's again being investigated for a sex-gone-awry homicide. This time, it's renowned shrink Michael Glass who's charged with keeping a watchful eye on the elusive seductress--and does he ever! He tries to maintain his professional ethos, but what's a platonic doctor-patient non-relationship to him is the ultimate aphrodisiac to Tramell, whom Dr. Glass diagnoses with "risk addiction" and delusions of omnipotence. And so begins the Freudian chess match: How long can he resist the femme fatale, and how long can she resist him resisting her?
In Basic Instinct 2, Stone makes us feel naughty--and not a "good" naughty. She looks great, and there aren't any, uh, extra close-ups, but, subtly put, almost 15 years have past since the first installment and Stone is no spring chick--er, rabbit, as it were. For her to still be oozing sex as if it's only been a sequel-standard couple of years is creepy, even though she looks nowhere near her age. The accompanying smolder and breathy voice make it hard not to laugh; she's actually too regal an actress for this stuff. Morrissey--who strangely resembles the Smiths singer of the same name--does fine work with an unenviable role of a steely bloke intrigued by the seedy London underworld his patient enjoys. But it'll take repeated broodings for him to be the next Clive Owen. The biggest waste of talent comes from Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool), as Glass's mentor. She has no place here, and that's meant solely as a compliment.
In some ways, Basic Instinct 2 is such a shame: When the film operates purely as a murder mystery--at least for its first half--it's somewhat engaging. Sadly, the only reason there's any interest in this long-delayed sequel at all is the prospects of sex to outlast its original. Thus it is clear to see how cantankerous a film this must've been for director Michael Caton-Jones, but he does the best he can with all the sexual innuendo that leads up to all the sexual (anti-)climaxes. The completely absurd opening sequence gives it all up without even playing hard to get. It immediately feels like a traditionally slick, dull and revelatory film, whereas the first one offered us foreplay first before moving on to no-holds-barred sex; there's neither that brand of foreplay nor sex here. More ridiculous still is the second half, as the film eventually feebly attempts to hide improbable twists behind the sordid mind of a writer.
Hollywood.com rates this film 1.5 stars.