Should I Watch..? 'Basic Instinct 2'
What's the big deal?
Basic Instinct 2 (sometimes called Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction) is an erotic thriller film released in 2006 and is, obviously, the sequel to the ground-breaking Basic Instinct. The film stars Sharon Stone in her most iconic role of author and serial killer Catherine Tramell who finds herself in trouble with the law once again after relocating to London. The film also stars David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling and David Thewlis and was directed by Michael Caton-Jones. The film had been stuck in development hell for the best part of a decade and was even the subject of legal action by Stone when it appeared the project would be dropped altogether. When it was eventually released, the film tanked with critics as well as audiences as global box office earnings were just $38.6 million - just over half of the film's total budget. The failure resulted in plans for a third film to be dropped although Stone is rumoured to be still interested, possibly in a directorial role.
What's it about?
Best-selling author Sharon Stone has relocated to London and is enjoying a high-speed drive around Canary Wharf with her football-playing partner Kevin Franks. After distracting him in the only way she knows how, the car suddenly veers off the road and Franks is killed. Interviewed by Scotland Yard's D.S. Roy Washburn, Tramell's ambivalence infuriates Washburn as he has a forensic trail that leads straight to her. Determined to charge Tramell, he assigns psychologist Dr Michael Glass to conduct an assessment of her and provide court testimony against her.
As Glass begins his therapy sessions with Tramell, he begins to find himself obsessing over her deliberately enigmatic nature. As he finds himself slowly drawn to her, his own life spirals out of control - he develops a nasty and violent side in his relationship with women, his colleague Milena Gardosh finds herself in danger and even Washburn begins to have doubts about who his chief suspect actually is...
Dr Michael Glass
Dr Milena Gardosh
DS Ray Washburn
Leona Barish & Henry Bean*
Release Date (UK)
31st March, 2006
Drama, Erotic, Thriller
Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Stone), Worst Screenplay, Worst Remake Or Sequel
Razzie Award Nominations
Worst Supporting Actor (Thewlis), Worst Director, Worst On-Screen Couple (Stone's lopsided boobs)
What's to like?
I maintain that Tramell, despite her appearance in Basic Instinct 2, is still one of the greatest femme fatales in history. Seductive, exciting and existing purely to satisfy the lusts of men who prove powerless to resist, the only downside to her character is her occasional penchant from using ice-picks on something other than ice. But despite the danger, men still fall for her although given the fourteen years between this and the first film, I'd possibly think twice as Stone hasn't aged as well as you might have hoped. Sorry but the captivating beauty she possessed in spades in 1992 has been replaced by a plastic-looking vamp.
Morrissey, better known as The Governor in The Walking Dead, is a much better actor than this tosh deserves but he struggles in the role, possibly due to the mind-bending script which thrashes about like a shark in a bathtub and makes about as much sense. Truthfully, this film will only appeal to precisely two types of viewer. Fans of the original film will lap up all the references and acknowledge that they really shouldn't have bothered with this limp effort. And teenage boys will discover a film full of naughty bits that the pause button was invented for but why not stick with the original? It was far more daring that this and arguably pushed the boundaries as far as they could go. Even those of you who enjoy your bad movie nights will struggle to justify this - it's about as erotic as a Sunday in church but more boring somehow.
- Part of the reason for the delay in production was finding a male co-star opposite Stone. Robert Downey Jr was being considered before he was busted on drugs charges, Stone vetoed Benjamin Bratt for "not being a good enough actor", Kurt Russell dropped out because of the nudity, Pierce Brosnan refused the role and Michael Douglas felt he was too old to reprise his role.
- Stone's contract dictated that she would be paid $14 million for the role, regardless of whether the movie was made or not. When production stalled in 2000 & 2001, Stone then started to sue the producers for $100 million. They eventually settled out of court in 2004.
- For those who don't know, Collymore was an actual footballer between 1990 and 2001. Basic Instinct 2 is his only acting credit and he currently works as a football pundit in the UK and abroad.
What's not to like?
Let me count the ways...
Let's start with the script which is probably one of the worst I've ever encountered in all my years. It's a steaming hot mess of references to Basic Instinct, Stone speaking dirty whenever she opens her mouth, clumsy sex scenes that aren't sexy and a convoluted mystery that makes no sense at all. The film exists in a state of arrested development, not having changed at all since 1992 whereas its audience has obviously grown in that time.
Stone, so memorable in the first film, feels like a pantomime villain who pops up whenever it's most inconvenient but actually hasn't much to do in the film. Thewlis, shackled with the most unpleasant-sounding Welsh accent in cinema, is dreadful as the cop on the case and ultimately overshadowed by his randy co-stars. Morrissey has far more screen time and as we watch his unravelling mental state, the film threatens to get interesting. But no, the ending is so completely at odds with what came before it that I got the impression the screenwriters had written themselves into a corner and just hit the "all a dream" escape button. The film just has nothing to recommend about it - it's badly performed, incoherent, boring and about as long in the tooth as the Charleston. It's like sleeping with an ex before you suddenly remember why you dumped them in the first place.
Should I watch it?
Frankly, I'd run a mile from this uninspired tossery which does nothing but sully your opinion of the much better original. I felt sorry for Stone whose persistence made the project an expensive millstone for the producers and Morrissey who does well in the role but it destroyed his movie career before it got going. Basic Instinct 2 is yet another erotic thriller that isn't erotic or thrilling but also has the dubious distinction of being one of the dullest films you'll ever see in your live.
Great For: horny teenagers with pause buttons, teaching film-makers what not to do, Razzie awards
Not So Great For: fans of the original, the careers of anyone involved, Netflix-and-chillin'
What else should I watch?
It was never going to be easy trying to match the erotic thriller that came to define the genre. Basic Instinct wrote the rulebook and contains to stand above all the imitators that flooded the market in its aftermath. The Nineties brought us such infamous skin-flicks as Striptease, Color Of Nightand Showgirlswhich even reunited the director and screenwriter of Basic Instinct, Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas. None of these pretenders ever got close to toppling Basic Instinct from the top of the pile and more recent efforts aren't getting any closer.
Part of the reason given for this film's failure was the rise of internet pornography, which is understandable. We are living in an age where the most extreme and depraved imagery is a mere mouse-click away and usually free as well - what incentive is there to go and see a film in a cinema that promises more than it can possibly deliver, especially in the face of ever-rising ticket costs? This hasn't stopped studios from trying, however - the poorly received Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy somehow got worse the longer it went on and Lars von Trier's exploitative Nymphomaniac is a depressing and downbeat look at a woman's self-destruction and frankly, is just another reason to stop him going to Cannes in future.
© 2018 Benjamin Cox