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Basic Instinct 2

Rated R, 114 min. Directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Starring Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, David Thewlis, Charlotte Rampling, Hugh Dancy.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 31, 2006

Basic Instinct 2 "Ich rieche Blut" is the title of a pricey-looking lithograph that adorns the wall of Dr. Michael Glass (Morrissey), himself a pricey-looking London psychiatrist sporting a strictly bargain-basement sense of professional ethics. But don't blame him, and don't blame the bossa nova, either – lay this garish, deliciously awful sequel at the feet of screenwriters Leora Barish and Henry Bean, who have contrived Sharon Stone's Venus mantrap Cat Tramell back from the clutches of apropos obscurantism and onto the screen, where she positively oozes freaky kink like Tom of Finland oozes leather. "I smell blood," is Dr. Glass' helpful translation to untethered Scotland Yarder Roy Washburn (Thewlis, biting down hard), who's finding both bodies and bodices – torn asunder, naturally – wherever this particular Cat creeps. Stone still dazzles the eye, but this wholly unwarranted sequel is so outrageously preposterous (and so very chockablock with quotable examples of the fine art of bad dialogue) that the end result achieves a basement grandeur of near-epic proportions. I'm tempted to thank original Basic Instinct scribe and sometime Hollywood animal Joe Eszterhas for this on at least some level, since he also has the pleasingly asinine Showgirls notched on his bedpost. But a â "based on characters created by" credit is hardly the stuff of reliable résumés these days, and so the credit/blame/outrage is to be shared by former Doc Hollywood director Caton-Jones and his two screenwriting compatriots. But what fun! In the 15 years since the original film stoked its initial, audience-baiting outrages, Stone's Cat has relocated across the pond – not much else is revealed about that interim span – and reappears on the screen hurtling through an apparently abandoned London at the stroke of midnight in a glistening, black Spyder, with a famous footballer's fist ratcheting her gearbox. Oh, but the bitch is back, and then some: Chaos ensues. Just how bad is Basic Instinct 2? Well, for starters, there's far less sex than you've been hoping. The conservative timbre of the times may have forced this on the filmmakers, but they've countered with some injudiciously placed dialogue (the female orgasm gets, shall we say, something of an oral workout here) and one helluva cornball plot – a thing of dark, wretched beauty far too complex to go into here, or, to be honest, for anyone to ever fully understand. Thankfully, that's not at all key to the audience's enjoyment of this film, which only asks that you allow it to wash over you like a late-night Skinemax soft-corer, minus the bump ’nâ' grind but with new, improved histrionics. Blood? Nein, Herr Doctor, Ich rieche scheiße.
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