It’s called “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” but a better title would be “Speed 2: What Were They Thinking?”
The first “Speed” was taut, economical and precise, but “Speed 2” is gargantuan, messy and just about the worst thing it could be: sl-o-o-ow. The main tie to the first film is Sandra Bullock, who really ought to avoid all forms of transportation. As spunky, adorable Annie, she gives “Speed 2” its few moments of lightness, but, like everything else in the movie, she overdoes it (if Bullock were any more kittenish, she’d need a litter box).
Bullock and boyfriend Jason Patric - who has an amazing abdomen, the cheekbones of an Easter Island statue and absolutely no sense of humor - take a cruise and foolishly fail to notice that Willem Dafoe also has made his way up the poop deck. Of course, he’s a psycho, and a boring one at that. He could compete with Patric for president of the Humorless Club, and the first time you lay eyes on him, you know every single thing he’s going to do while we wait for him to blow the ship sky-high.
There are other passengers on board this Love Boat-turned-Poseidon Adventure. But, with the exception of a plucky deaf girl, whose hearing impairment is laboriously set up and then amounts to nothing, the movie doesn’t care about any of them (virtually all of the passengers are evacuated early in the film and then forgotten about).
What it does care about is the finale, a dock-crashing-into-a-coastal-city scene that is reportedly the most expensive special effect ever. It’s fairly impressive destruction, if that’s your bag, but it takes the 100 percent suspense-free “Speed 2” an eternity to get to it.
“Speed 2” is so awful it could make you hate the first one, and it doesn’t even respect its own illogic. For instance, when Dafoe has programmed the ship to hurtle into a town and nobody can figure out what to do, why doesn’t somebody suggest that they cut the fuel line?
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: “Speed 2: Cruise Control” Location: East Sprague, North Division, Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls 6 Credits: Directed by Jan Le Bont; starring Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe Running time: 2:05 Rating: PG-13