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.
LAPD officer Alex Shaw is on a motorcycle chasing a vehicle with stolen goods. After he catches the driver of the vehicle, his girlfriend Annie runs into him during her driving test. She finds out that Alex is on the SWAT team after he lied and told her he was a beach officer. As an apology, Alex surprises her with a Caribbean cruise on Seabourn Legend.
Aboard the ship, passenger John Geiger hacks into the ship's computer system, and the following evening, he destroys the ship's communication systems and kills the captain. After remotely shutting down the ship's engines, Geiger calls the bridge to tell the first officer, Juliano, that the captain is dead and he is in charge. Juliano is ordered by Geiger to evacuate the ship. Geiger steals jewelry from the ship's vault. As 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 realizes Geiger is controlling the ship. Armed with skeet guns, he goes with Juliano to Geiger's cabin. Geiger remotely detonates explosives inside the room. Annie and Dante, the ship's photographer, notice the people trapped behind the fire doors, and Annie uses a chainsaw to cut the door open and let them out. Meanwhile, Alex orders the navigator, Merced, to flood the ship and slow it down by opening the ballast doors. As the ship floods, Alex sees Drew on a monitor after she climbs out of the elevator, and runs to save her. Alex notices Geiger leaving the vault and holds him at gunpoint, but he escapes 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 when he got sick from copper poisoning. Geiger again escapes from Alex by attaching a grenade to a door.
The crew notice 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 jamming the propeller with a steel cable. Geiger realizes Alex is trying to stop the ship, so he jams the cable winch while Alex is underwater, causing it to break off the ship and free the cable. Geiger takes Annie hostage and escapes with her on a boat from the ship's stern.
To avoid a collision with the oil tanker, Alex and Dante go into the ship's bilge and use the bow thrusters to turn it. The ship screeches down the side of the tanker, but manages to withstand the damage, and heads straight into a marina. It then crashes into a Saint Martin town and eventually stops. Alex jumps off to rescue Annie and hijacks a speed boat. Geiger takes Annie into a seaplane. Alex shoots at it from the boat with a speargun and reels himself in through the water. He climbs onto the plane and rescues Annie, and both escape from the plane on one of its floats, which falls onto the ocean. Geiger loses control of the plane and crashes into the oil tanker, causing it to explode and kill him. The tanker crew however are safe, having launched their lifeboat just in time. Annie and Alex travel back to shore in the speed boat, and he gives her an engagement ring, asking her if she will "wear it for a while", and she accepts. Annie than returns to Los Angeles to take another driving test. As she starts to take her test, a bus 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 was absolutely pointless and laughable when 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 like the one from the first movie.
- The title is 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 this film in exchange for financing for her pet project Hope Floats.
- Jason Patric used his entire salary from this film to finance his film Your Friends and Neighbors.
- Two supporting characters from the first film appear, Mac (Joe Morton) and Glenn Plummer’s character.
Speed 2: Cruise Control was almost universally panned by critics and audiences alike earning a 3% "rotten" 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. Film critic 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." Steve Rhodes of Internet Reviews stated "It stays fun much longer than expected." 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 million. After that, the film grossed $48,608,066 making it a box office disappointment. Overall, the film made $164 million worldwide.
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 stays fun much longer than expected." - Steve Rhodes of Internet Reviews
"Not as bad as you might have thought it would be." - Marc Savlov of Austin Chronicle
"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
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 at 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 for Moviefone. On The Independent Top Ten, it was ranked at #3. It was ranked at #10 in the MSN Top 10. On Salon Top Ten, it was ranked at #6. On The Sun newspaper's Top Ten, the film was ranked at #10. On Virgin Media's Top 10, 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.
- 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.
- Rumor has it that 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 was rated R, Speed 2 was rated PG-13.
- Sandra Bullock hated this movie and regretted that she was ever in it.
- On Rotten Tomatoes, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were the only critics that gave Speed 2 a positive review.