In 1992, this film’s notorious erotic predecessor turned Sharon Stone into a star. Fourteen years later, the sequel opens with super-seductive heroine Catherine Trammel (Stone) now a successful crime novelist – speeding down a London freeway, loaded with alcohol and narcotics. Whilst having sexual intercourse, driving as if being Mario Andretti had been her lifelong calling, she suddenly orgasms, losing control of the wheel, crashing into the Thames. Perhaps you think this sounds outlandish? Well, you’d be right. And it’s a perfect foreshadow of what’s to come.
Suspected of murdering her playful car passenger, Tramelle is introduced to court psychologist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), who concurs she has issues that make her do the things she does. With nothing really to hold her, she ends up being released, much to the dismay of Police captain, Roy Washburn (David Thewlis).
Allurement is the ultimate weapon in Basic Instinct 2, a glaring yo-yo of manipulation and control, which plays like a recycled, racy page turner. The chic London backdrop actually works in the film’s favor, yet the psychological impact achieved by director Michael Caton-Jones is significantly diminished by bathos and sensationalism. Twists and turns come off as breathy rather than breath-taking, and the sex is kitschy while eroticism is non-existent.
With that being said, there’s certainly no shortage of sex and sexy taunts. Trammel spreads her sights (and legs) to Dr. Glass, whose initial resistance is quick to break. Although most would expect this sequel to focus more on Tramelle, it oddly spends more time with Morrisey’s character, getting into the back story of how his wife left him for a journalist who accused Glass of committing perjury. Surely to be a HUGE SURPRISE, they all start turning up dead once Glass discovers Tramelle has been involved with them. As peculiar as it is to have various long stretches without Stone, it’s even weirder when people start talking about her. One unavailing sequence I found ridiculous is when they cut to a random shot of her posed in a stylish robe, using ice picks to break up ice. This is LITERALLY done solely as a nod to the previous movie despite having ZERO CORRELATION to anything happening in this film.
Overall, the movie’s story-line is grossly convoluted and all over the place, spending way too much time with Glass and the characters that surround him. The editing is immensely slapdash, and the soundtrack sounds like it was shamelessly copied from any Hitchcock movie.
Near the film’s end, you sense there’s an attempt to pull this utter disaster together by bringing everyone into an almost “laughable” face-off (Don’t expect a True Romance type of ending here). What then ensues is an even sillier coda, as the movie tries to offer a plot-twist anybody with an IQ higher than Forest Gump could have predicted. Seriously, this film makes M. Night Shyamalan seem like the most avant-garde director of all time.
Yes, Sharon looks good; I mean, as good as wealth can buy and as good as the mirage of cinema can provide. But clearly, that is no reason to recommend or enjoy this mundane two-hour production.
While Stone’s character gets to experience a series of pleasurable climaxes, you as the viewer get stuck with one that is gallingly unsatisfactory; A type of irony I truly find hilarious. Lofty expectations are not to be had for this abysmal sequel, as my only advice is to avoid this movie at all costs. Trust me. Or better yet…trust your basic instincts.
By Brandon Colón