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Case Number 02082

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Speed 2: Cruise Control

Fox // 1997 // 125 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 30th, 2002

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All Rise...

The Charge

Rush hour hits the water!

Opening Statement

Plausibility, plausibility, plausibility. It's something we all take for granted in our everyday lives. Yet when it comes to the movies, it can be a make-it-or-break-it situation. An example of a plausible movie would be Terms Of Endearment. An implausible movie might be something like Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Then there are movies that try to be plausible but can't pull it off no matter how hard they try. This brings me to my point: Speed 2: Cruise Control. This is the 1997 follow-up to the 1994 mega hit that originally starred Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Well, Reeves is nowhere to be seen, but Bullock is back as the feisty Annie along with her new L.A.P.D. boyfriend played by the stoic Jason Patric. After an initial non-anamorphic transfer on DVD, Speed 2: Cruise Control is back in a newly re-mastered DVD complete with all the sound/video bells and whistles a fan could want!

Facts of the Case

Poor Annie Porter (Bullock) just can't seem to catch a break. After surviving a bus fiasco with her ex-boyfriend, Annie's got a new love interest in Alex Shaw (Patric) and they've decided to snag a cruise to the Caribbean for a little R&R. They think it's going to be the perfect vacation…but little do they know that lunatic computer genius John Geiger (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man) is aboard and plans to run the ship into the ground! It seems that Geiger has contracted "copper poisoning" while on the job with the cruise line (due to working with computers, or something kooky like that) and upon learning he was sick the company canned him without explanation. Well, this didn't sit well with Geiger (down with big business!), so he's decided to steal some rare jewels aboard the vessel and blow her up, Die Hard-style. Soon paradise becomes a living hell when the cruise ship is turned into a ticking time bomb as it heads towards land…and a giant oil tanker! With no time to spare Annie and Alex must figure out a way to stop Geiger's plan of mass destruction before they all become permanent parts of the ocean floor!

The Evidence

A letter to Keanu Reeves:

Dear Mr. Reeves:
In 1994, you showed up in the box office mega hit Speed. While the movie dared us to believe that a bus could make a jump over a stretch of unfinished highway without a ramp, we still coddled it like it was our own child. The director was Jan De Bont, a guy who did a fine job of keeping the pace moving briskly while allowing you to throw off a few of your patented "whoas." Of course, there had to be the inevitable sequel, and in 1997 De Bont came back for more high octane thrills with Speed 2: Cruise Control. But Keanu, where were you? Oh, that's right…you were busy making The Devil's Advocate. Well, since you were apparently busy, your role (or a facsimile there of) was given to the flaccid Jason Patric. I know, I know…the fans were about as thrilled as you were. But, without the leading star the show must go on. The good news is that your co-star Sandra Bullock decided to come back for round two. This time instead of a bus they had the bad guy taking over—get this!—a gigantic cruise ship! "Cruise Control," get it? Yeah, I didn't think it was quite as witty as the studio executives, but I could be wrong (that's why they get paid the big bucks).

So, you're gone and we're stuck with Jason Patric. He's not a bad actor, though he seems to have all the charisma of a Xerox copy of you (and Keanu, while I really like you, I can't say that you're the most personable guy on the planet). Since you decapitated Dennis Hopper's character in the first film (bravo!), we obviously needed a new bad guy. Lo and behold comes Willem Dafoe. He's a pretty creepy looking guy, eh? And after starring in Spider-Man this past summer he's got that whole evil thing nailed down pat. I didn't think he was half bad, though his character seemed a little over-the-top. Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

I'm sure that you also noticed that your old co-star Sandra Bullock is back as Annie. I always liked Bullock—she kind of reminds me of a spirited girl-next-door type that would be perfect marrying material. She's cute, spunky, and full of life. Unfortunately, her character seems to take a backseat to Patric's rough and tumble hero. What's that all about? I mean, in the original Speed I can understand her being in the supporting cast since it was her breakout role. You were the star and we were all fine with that. But if she's the only big name coming back for the sequel you'd think the filmmakers would have given her a meatier role. By the last fourth of the film Sandra is no where to be seen except for a few quick quips from the bad guys boat. I was disappointed to say the least. But at least we get to see her in a two piece bikini! Hubba hubba!

Of course, I'm sure it will come as no surprise to a big star like you that folks come to these movies for the big budget action scenes. Speed 2: Cruise Control doesn't disappoint when it comes to explosions and thrilling edge-of-your-seat entertainment. I don't know about you, but I was enthralled watching the heroes try to stop this cruise ship and avert disaster on the mainland. The end of the film provides a lot of "things gettin' blowed up real good," and there's even a poor little dog in peril (just like in Independence Day, only this time it's one of those Benji type of mutts). I guess my only real problem with the movie (aside of you not being in it) was the implausibility of it all. I mean, I can go with the suspension of disbelief in most films, but Speed 2: Cruise Control really tries stretches its credibility—do you, Keanu, think that Jason Patric could pull himself away from the enormous spinning blades of a luxury liner from under the water? Yeah, me neither. Oh well…I guess if you're going to see a movie like Speed 2: Cruise Control you'd better be prepared to roll your eyes a lot.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that I really liked the original Speed and thought that this sub-par sequel was decent if not a little bloated for its own good—the thing clocks in at over two hours! It's a little slow going, but once it starts moving it's entertaining popcorn fodder. Let's just pray there won't be a Speed 3: Snow Plowed.

Good luck with those Matrix sequels!

Sincerely,

Judge Patrick Naugle
Reviewer, DVD Verdict

P.S. Any chance you'll be revisiting the "Bill & Ted" movies anytime soon?

Speed 2: Cruise Control is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The original Speed 2 DVD from 1999 was only a passable edition that was non-anamorphic and by no means a great looking transfer. This time around, Fox has done a fantastic job of making sure this print is clean and solid. The black levels all appear detailed and solid while the colors are even and very, very bright (the tropical setting looks great). The only imperfection that I noticed was a quick flash of edge enhancement. Otherwise, this is a nice image that's a welcome replacement over the original release.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, DTS Surround in English and Dolby 2.0 in English and French. Talk about some fun, rockin' sound mixes! Both the DTS and Dolby 5.1 mixes are full and bombastic with surround sounds playing out for almost the entire length of the film. Once the second half of the movie kicks in the directional effects rarely let up. The DTS mix on this disc is a great way to show your friends how much better a lackluster film can be with a great soundtrack and sound system. All aspects of DTS and Dolby 5.1 mix are free and clear of any excessive hiss or distortion. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles.

The extra features on this disc are pretty slim, though I think that's as it should be. Speed 2: Cruise Control wasn't a big box office or critical hit, so a special edition wasn't really necessary. The HBO special on the making of the film includes interviews with the cast and crew and is hosted by Tim Conway (he has a cameo in the film) plus a few of the original Speed cast members. Some of the information is neat (how the achieved the stunts is rather unique), though overall, this is a pretty fluffy featurette.

Also included on the disc are two theatrical trailers (one for the original Speed and one for Speed 2: Cruise Control), plus a THX Optimizer for calibrating your TV and surround sound system.

Closing Statement

Letter to Jan De Bont:

Dear Mr. De Bont:
If I ever hear that you're in production on Twister 2, I will twist off your gonads and pin them to my wall.

Hugs and kisses,
Judge Patrick Naugle

The Verdict

Speed 2: Cruise Control is all washed up as a serious movie, but as a cheesy no-brainer it's got potential…

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Scales of Justice

Video: 97
Audio: 97
Extras: 75
Acting: 80
Story: 72
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
Subtitles:
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
Genre:
• Action

Distinguishing Marks

• Two Theatrical Trailers
• HBO "Making-Of" Featurette
• THX Optimizer

Accomplices

• IMDb








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