Basic Instinct 2

on March 31, 2006 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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A quite unnecessary sequel, “Basic Instinct 2” manages the startling feat of making the trashy but sexy first film look like a cinematic trailblazer. This time around, femme fatale Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) has decamped to London, England, where she quickly finds a new man to entice with her sensual wiles. He's a buttoned-down psychiatrist (David Morrissey) who's been assigned to investigate her state of mind in order to determine if she's a plausible murder suspect. Naturally, he falls for her, and soon enough, like Michael Douglas' cop in “Basic Instinct,” he sees his life spiral out of control. Of course, fans of “Basic Instinct” already know that Catherine is not what she seems to be, but the sequel doesn't do anything new with the character. Stone still looks great, but unlike the conviction she displayed in her role in the first movie, she's only going through the motions here. It doesn't help that her co-star is such a dull dishrag of an actor; Michael Douglas, at least, had a grungy, everyday quality that played well in contrast to the high-class, smoldering Stone.

The story, too, is boring. It's more often than not a reprise of the first movie's major plot points, which were none too smart or believable to begin with. The sexy frisson director Paul Verhoeven and writer Joe Eszterhas brought to the original “Basic Instinct” was its greatest strength; this one, brief nudity aside, is a pretty chaste affair, given an inappropriate, ineffective gravitas by director Michael Caton-Jones (“Shooting Dogs”). It's left to David Thewlis as a know-it-all cynical cop to walk away with the whole film. He brings a mischievousness and wit to a movie sorely lacking in both and offers a fine example of what this sequel should have been. Starring Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, David Thewlis and Charlotte Rampling. Directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Written by Leora Barish and Henry Bean. Produced by Andrew G. Vajna, Mario Kassar, Moritz Borman and Joel B. Michaels. A Columbia release. Drama. Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content. Running time: 113 min

Tags: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, David Thewlis, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Caton-Jones, Leora Barish, Henry Bean, Andrew G. Vajna, Mario Kassar, Moritz Borman, Joel B. Michaels, Columbia, Drama, affair, sequel, murder
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