Speed 2: Cruise Control is a 1997 action thriller film and a sequel to the 1994 smash-hit movie Speed. It stars Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric and Willem Dafoe with cameos by Joe Morton, Glenn Plummer and Temuera Morrison. The film was directed by Jan de Bont, who also did the first movie.
The film opens up with LAPD officer Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) going on a motorcycle chase after a van carrying stolen goods. After he apprehends the driver of the vehicle, Annie (Sandra Bullock) runs into Alex during her driving test and finds out that Alex is a member of the SWAT team after he lied to her stating that he worked for the beach team. Alex apologizes to Annie for lying and gives her tickets to go with him to go on a Caribbean cruise aboard the Seabourn Legend.
While aboard the ship, passenger John Geiger (Willem Dafoe) hacks into the computer system. The following evening, Geiger destroys the ship's communication systems and kills the captain. After he shuts down the ship's engines, Geiger calls the bridge to tell Juliano, who's the first officer of the ship that the captain is dead and that he is now in charge. As Juliano gets orders from Geiger to evacuate the ship, he steals jewelry from the ship's vault. As the passengers evacuate, Drew, a young deaf girl becomes trapped in an elevator, and a group of people become trapped behind locked fire doors in a hallway filling with smoke. As Annie and Alex attempt to board the last lifeboat, Geiger programs the ship to continue sailing. The winch lowering the lifeboat jams. Alex jumps into the boat to rescue the passengers who are falling off, and Annie and Juliano use the ship's gangplank to get them back on deck.
Alex finds out that Geiger is taking control of the ship. Alex goes with Juliano while carrying skeet guns to Geiger's cabin. Geiger than detonates explosives that are inside the room. Annie goes with Dante, the ship's photographer and notice that the passengers are trapped behind the fire doors. Annie finds a chainsaw and uses it to cut down the door and let them out. Meanwhile, Alex orders Merced, the boat navigator to flood the ship and slow it down. As the ship floods, Alex sees Drew on a monitor after she escaped from the elevator, and goes to save her. Alex sees Geiger leave the vault and holds him at gunpoint. Unfortunately, Geiger makes an escape by closing the fire door in front of him. Using the ship's intercom, Geiger explains that he designed the ship's autopilot system and is taking revenge against the cruise line after being fired as a result of getting copper poisoning. Geiger makes a second escape from Alex when he attaches a grenade to a door leaving Alex trapped inside.
The crew of the ship realize that Geiger has set the ship to crash into an oil tanker off the coast of Saint Martin. Alex decides to stop the ship by diving underneath it and jams the propeller with a steel cable. Geiger realizes Alex is trying to stop the ship and jams the cable winch while Alex is underwater. The winch breaks off the ship and frees the cable. Geiger then takes Annie hostage and escapes with her on a boat from the ship's stern.
To avoid colliding with the oil tanker, Alex and Dante go into the ship's bilge and use the bow thrusters to turn the ship. The ship sideswipes the side of the tanker and doesn't get any damage and heads into a marina while crashing into a Saint Martin town. After the crash, the ship then slows down. Alex jumps off the ship to rescue Annie and takes off on a speed boat. Geiger takes Annie into a seaplane. Alex shoots at the plane from the boat with a speargun and reels himself in. Alex climbs onto the plane and rescues Annie, and both he and Annie escape from the plane on one of its floats while it falls onto the ocean. Geiger loses control of the plane and crashes into the antenna of the oil tanker activating an alarm to alert the crew on board. The crew jump off the ship on the lifeboats just in time as the tanker blows up and kills him. Annie and Alex travel back to shore in the speed boat and later gives her an engagement ring and asks her if she will "wear it for a while" and she accepts Alex's offer.
Annie then goes back to Los Angeles to take another driving test and as she starts to take her driving test, a bus that looks identical to the one from the first film pulls out in front of her and she says to her instructor, "Sorry! That bus was going way too fast."
Why It Sucks
- Completely unnecessary, the first movie already has an ending to the point where it didn't need a sequel. The only reason Fox made it was so that it could continue making money off of the Speed name.
- Because of Keanu Reeves' refusal to reprise his role as Jack Traven, Jack was rewritten (near-effortlessly) into the character of Alex Shaw (Jason Patric’s character).
- The first half of the movie is too formulaic.
- Very slow-paced and has little to no suspense for a movie with Speed on the title.
- The idea of having the movie take place on a slow-moving cruise ship is less thrilling than the first movie's setting on a fast-moving bus.
- Poor story that feels like a pale imitation of the first movie.
- Little to no action scenes.
- Terrible acting.
- Wooden dialogue
- Nonsensical writing. Annie dumped Jack for a stupid reason after he gave her pepper spray for her birthday and that he wouldn’t quit his police work after he saved her from Howard Payne, Dennis Hopper’s character.
- Pointless cameos from musicians such as Carlinhos Brown, the reggae band UB40, and Tamia.
- False advertising: The boat is shown exploding on one of the film posters, but in the movie, the boat doesn't blow up at all.
- John Geiger, Willem Dafoe's character, is a poorly developed villain lacking intimidation, only killing the captain and no one else on the ship.
- Willem Dafoe's death scene is absolutely laughable. He crashes his plane into the antenna of the oil tanker, causing fuel to spill out and make the entire tanker explode as a result of the crash.
- Pointless ending cameo of a bus that looks identical to the bus from the first movie.
- The title is wildly inaccurate.
- Willem Dafoe's over-the-top performance can be entertaining at times.
- The special effects look pretty good.
- Sandra Bullock agreed to star in the film in exchange for financing for her pet project Hope Floats.
- Jason Patric used his entire salary from the film to finance his film Your Friends and Neighbors.
- Two supporting characters from the first Speed appear, Mac (Joe Morton) and Glenn Plummer’s character.
- The closing stunts are good.
Speed 2: Cruise Control was almost universally panned by critics and audiences alike earning a 3% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 3.4 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Speed 2 falls far short of its predecessor, thanks to laughable dialogue, thin characterization, unsurprisingly familiar plot devices, and action sequences that fail to generate any excitement."
However, famed film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert awarded the film with a "Two Thumbs Up" and were among the very few critics to give the film a positive review. Joel Siegel of Good Morning America described the film as "Hold your breath action!" and the late Amy Dawes of the Los Angeles Daily News described the film as "Spectacular, it never stops moving, and man, it's fun!" The Atlanta Journal Constitution gave Speed 2 a positive review along with The Sacramento Bee.
Before Ebert's death, Ebert stated that his written review of Speed 2 was one that he had to defend more than any other film that he had reviewed and he stated that it was one that often cited him as an example of being a poor film critic.
Fellow Los Angeles Times film critic and future guest critic for Siskel & Ebert Kenneth Turan stated in his review of Speed 2 "Even the film's big-ticket closing stunts are more impressive for their size than for any excitement they generate." James Berardinelli of ReelViews stated "Speed 2 can be numbered among the worst second chapters ever made." and Andrew Collins of Empire Magazine described the film as "A pedestrian thriller that never captures the thrill of the first, and even more criminally sidelines Bullock."
Speed 2: Cruise Control had a budget of $110 million than the budget went up to about $135 to $160 million for shooting the finale. In the U.S., the film opened at #1 at the box office on its opening weekend and earned $16,158,942. The film's total domestic gross was $48,608,066. In foreign countries, it made $115,900,000. Overall, the film made $164 million worldwide. Despite grossing more than its estimated budget, Speed 2: Cruise Control was deemed a box office disappointment.
Awards and nominations
Speed 2: Cruise Control was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, Director, Worst Screen Couple and Worst Song for My Dream. The only award the film won was for Worst Remake or Sequel.
Various Negative Comments From Critics
"Speed 2 can be numbered among the worst second chapters ever made." - James Berardinelli of ReelViews
"Even the film's big-ticket closing stunts are more impressive for their size than for any excitement they generate." - Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times
"What a reeking bag of nothingness! What emptiness, what vaporous vapidity! What rot, stink, and whiff of mold spore!" - Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post
"It's still spring, but the films of this benighted summer can't get any worse than Speed 2, which demonstrates with shameless cynicism Hollywood's contempt for its audience." - Peter Keough of The Boston Pheonix
"A waterlogged sequel that'll soon be bottom-feeding with Beyond the Poseidon Adventure." - Mike Clark of USA Today
"Bullock and Patric seem to be extremely good sports, given how little they have to work with (the film is clever, but strangely unengaging)." - Cynthia Fuchs of Philadelphia City Paper
"A pedestrian thriller that never captures the thrill of the first, and even more criminally sidelines Bullock." - Andrew Collins of Empire Magazine
"It's not really worth sinking your time and money into. This movie is more floundering than fun." - Carol Buckland of CNN.com
"It is exactly the type of movie that gives a bad name to sequels." Madeleine Williams of Cinematter
"I hope that somewhere Keanu Reeves is laughing about being considered a nonactor while the wax dummy Jason Patric has somehow achieved a rep as intense and gifted." - Charles Taylor, Salon.com
"Speed 2 doesn't have much in mind besides convincing an audience that a runaway ocean liner is a dynamic menace. Fine, but it doesn't beat a runaway bus." - Janet Maslin of The New York Times
Worst Sequel Rankings
Speed 2: Cruise Control has been ranked in various numbers in terms of the worst sequels ever made. On Complex, it was ranked at #1. It was ranked at #5 on Total Film. On WatchMojo.com, it was ranked at #7. On Entertainment Weekly, it was ranked at #9. It was also ranked at #9 on Moviefone. On The Independent Top Ten, it was ranked at #3. It was ranked at #10 in the MSN Top 10 list of worst sequels. On Salon Top Ten, it was ranked at #6. On The Sun newspaper's Top Ten, the movie was ranked at #10. On Virgin Media's Top 10 list, it was ranked at #8. On the Toronto Sun worst sequels list, it was ranked at #24. On Comcast, it was ranked at #42 on 50 of the worst sequels list.
- Keanu Reeves was offered $12 million when he was asked to reprise his role of Jack Traven.
- Instead of starring in the movie, Keanu Reeves chose to star in The Devil's Advocate with Al Pacino and to go on tour with his band, Dogstar since he hated the script. However, his character, Jack Traven is mentioned in the movie.
- After Keanu Reeves refused to return, there were talks of having various actors as a replacement before Jason Patric was the final replacement choice including Matthew McConaughey, but he turned it down since he stated that he would be starring in Contact with Jodie Foster. There were even talks of having musician Jon Bon Jovi as the lead male role, but he turned it down as well. Christian Slater and Billy Zane were even offered to star in the film as well. Zane turned down the role to star in Titanic, which came out later that year. Christian Slater turned down the role to star in the first Austin Powers movie.
- Before Willem Dafoe was cast as John Geiger, Gary Oldman was offered the role. But, he turned it down after he stated to Fox that he was going to play the main villain in Air Force One.
- The movie was originally supposed to be another installment in the Die Hard franchise, which instead happened with Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995.
- While the first Speed is rated R, Speed 2 is rated PG-13.
- Sandra Bullock hated this movie and regretted that she was even in it.
- On Rotten Tomatoes, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were the only critics that gave Speed 2 a positive review.
- Jan de Bont was forced under contract by Fox to make Speed 2.
- An episode of the comedy series Father Ted called Speed 3 parodied the film's lack of speed, with the plot centering on a milk float that will explode if it goes below four miles per hour.