|Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)
Starring: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis
Director: Michael Canton-Jones
No one asked for this. No one wanted this. It’s one of the most unnecessary sequels in recent memory that didn’t go straight to video. And, yet, the director and producers of the film have done a vaguely respectable job of trying to make “Basic Instinct 2” seem respectable.
It’s of no use, of course; it still isn’t very good.
The original “Basic Instinct,” released in 1992, was a decent thriller, but, ultimately, it’s remembered almost exclusively for the fact that Sharon Stone spread her legs and gave audiences a quick glimpse of – to use a technical term – her punanny. Nonetheless, there were rumblings about a possible sequel for ages…but the general lack of excitement led to the film sitting in development Hell for almost a decade before, in 2000, we were led to understand we’d see “Basic Instinct 2” in 2002. We did not…ostensibly because they couldn’t find a male lead. Finally, in April 2005 (and just before Sharon Stone’s lawsuit over breach of contract made it to trial), David Morrissey (“Derailed”) was hired opposite Stone, and, at long last, the film could be made.
The only character from the original film who returns is Catherine Tramell (Stone), who’s purportedly a bestselling author, even though the portions of her novels that she reads aloud show less literary ability than your average Harlequin romance. As the movie begins, Tramell is racing along the streets of London, with a footballer in the passenger seat; she’s getting her rocks off, he’s acting like he’s drugged, and just as she’s reaching the climax of her, uh, manual expedition, the car goes flying through a fence and into the Thames River. She gets out safely, he doesn’t. Suddenly, Tramell is on the police’s radar…specifically that of Roy Washburn, played by David Thewlis. Although there’s nothing to directly connect her to the footballer’s death as anything other than an unfortunate accident, at the court’s recommendation, psychologist Michael Glass (Morrissey) is asked to evaluate Tramell; Dr. Glass describes her as having “risk addiction,” which is probably the understatement of the decade. Although Tramell manages to score a get-out-of-jail-free card due to a technicality – the sort that only exists to move a plot forward – she approaches Glass and asks him to take her on as a patient, which, stupidly, he does.
The suspense level of “Basic Instinct 2” never gets beyond that of your average episode of “Scooby-Doo”…nor, for that matter, does the eroticism, which is a bit sad, given that the original film more or less set the industry standard for erotic thrillers. Sharon Stone vamps her way through every scene like she owns the film – and, fair enough, because she does own it; if it wasn’t for her, a sequel never would’ve gotten past the starting gate, so you can’t blame her for giving the role of Tramell all the gusto she can – but although she looks hot, the sex scenes just aren’t all that sexy. If anything, they come across as unnecessary; they’re inevitable, of course, but as each one appears, it’s almost like, ho-hum, get back to the film.
Surprisingly, “Basic Interest 2” does hold your interest. Maybe it’s just because the setting has been changed from San Francisco to London; the British have an unerring ability to make even the iffiest dialogue sound like Shakespeare. (Hmmm, is it possible we’ve been overrating the Bard all these years?) Stone’s speeches as Tramell have her flitting from tough dame to nymphomaniac at the drop of a hat, but she rips into each line with the appropriate enthusiasm. Plot-wise, though, it’s amazing how ridiculous Green’s actions are, and how quickly he’s willing to throw away every ethical standard he has, just for a romp in the sack with Tramell. (I mean, she’s hot, but she’s not that hot.) Director Michael Caton-Jones has provided a good-looking film, but even he can’t escape from the script by Leora Barsh and Henry Bean, which is too preposterous too often.
No surprise here: the film ends in such a way as to leave the perfect opening for “Basic Instinct 3.” Let us all cross our legs in unison and hope that it never comes to pass.
In addition to the making-of featurette you’d expect, there’s also audio commentary from director Michael Caton-Jones, as well as ten – count ‘em – ten deleted scenes, each with optional director’s commentary. Oh, and there’s an alternate ending as well; I’d tell you that it miraculously saves the film that precedes it, but my mother always told me not to lie.