June 15, 1997 -- "Speed 2: Cruise Control" is one of those fun summer movies that you just want to enjoy without having to worry about deep meanings.
About the only thing this film has in common with the original "Speed" is Sandra Bullock. Last time, she drove the bus. This time, she only gets to drive in the car in a couple of funny driver's test sequences with Tim Conway.
Her new boyfriend Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) is supposed to have a nice, safe job handing out littering tickets on the beach, but instead, it turns out he's on the "suicide squad." I didn't know that police departments have such things as a suicide squads until I saw this movie. By the way, it has nothing to do with preventing suicides. It seems to have something to do with using motorcycles to chase vans.
Anyway, Annie (Sandra Bullock) is upset when she finds out Alex is on the suicide squad because it is too dangerous, but they decide to go on a Carribbean cruise together. Little do they know that John Gieger (Willem Dafoe) is out to destroy the ship because of a grudge against the company over some kind of leach infection.
Geiger, a computer expert, takes over the ship and then steals a bunch of jewels to offset his former employer's lack of medical benefits. After stealing the jewels he hangs around on the boat so he can be apprehended by Alex.
Actually, it is more complicated than that, and it really wasn't a leech infection either, I was just kidding, but you get the idea. The plot is more than a little like "Under Siege." A handful of crew and passengers scurry all over the boat, trying to keep from being blown up. The writers go to great lengths to find new challenges for our heroes to overcome to pad out the running time of the movie to an acceptable length.
There are lots of stunts and lots of explosions and lots of close calls. Lots of humor is added to the plot and surprisingly few people are killed for this kind of disaster flick. It is mostly an elaborate obstacle course.
I read somewhere that Jason Patric is supposed to be one of the new big action heroes. Could be. He has the two main traits of an action hero, he's handsome, with a jaw the size of Rhode Island, and he's stoic. That is, he can't act, so he just keeps the same sour expression on his face all the time to be safe.
Sandra Bullock is as winning as usual and Willem Dafoe has great fun chewing up the scenery as the villain. Unfortunately, there's not much chemistry between Bullock and Patric, so the love story doesn't work. The love story, however, is incidental. Hey, it's a popcorn movie. It rates a C+.
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