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Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 18/09/97

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

The need for Speed 2

On Donna Summer's 1987 flop album All Systems Go, there's a track called 'Bad Reputation', which is basically Donna's plea to her daughter not to act like a complete slattern by getting it on with every passing individual. The song's chorus includes the following words:

Your reputation follows you wherever you go
Don't get a bad reputation
Your reputation can't be bought, it can't be sold
Don't get a bad reputation

This highly tacky sentiment could certainly be applied to Speed II: Cruise Control, a movie sequel which did so badly in the US that it has been blamed single-handedly for wrecking the profit potential of 20th Century Fox. Although the film opened quite well, word-of-mouth ensured that it got the mother of all bad reputations and quickly disappeared from view.

Having attended a preview screening of the film the other night, I can quite honestly say that I can't see why. Speed II: Cruise Control is not a total film classic on the scale of Heathers or Flatliners. Nor is it a grade A action pantheon flick like The Rock or The Long Kiss Goodnight. But considering some of the total shit that does well in the US (ID4, you can stand up now), it's strange that a perfectly competent film like Speed II should have done so badly.

It has all the essential ingredients: an evil psychopath villain (played by Wilhelm Dafoe), a good guy cop (played by Jason Patric) and a spunky female lead who gets kidnapped by the villain (played by Sandra Bullock, who gets top billing). It has surprisingly few actual deaths (only two that are explicitly shown on screen) and plenty of humour to leaven the suspense (don't see this film if you're scared of drowning). And it has the pathetic inevitabilities, like a deaf girl trapped in a lift who you just know isn't going to die.

Of course, my attitude might be slightly affected by the fact that for some reason I haven't yet seen the original Speed, so maybe it's just too much of more of the same. And I guess that in a world that can make Anaconda a hit, taste is not a high priority. But still, you've gotta wonder.


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