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  Publicity Stills of "Basic Instinct 2"
Courtesy of GV/Encore Films

Genre: Thriller
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Starring: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis, Hugh Dancy
RunTime: 1 hr 54 mins
Released By: GV and Encore Films
Rating: R21

Opening Day: 13 July 2006


In the sexy and sleek psychological thriller Basic Instinct 2, after re-locating from San Francisco to London, best-selling crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) once again finds herself on the wrong side of the law.

Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), a respected London criminal psychiatrist, is brought in by Scotland Yard detective Roy Washburn to perform a psychiatric profile and evaluation of Tramell following the mysterious death of a top sports star. Physically drawn to Tramell and mentally intrigued by her, Glass, against the advice of his mentor, Dr. Milena Gardosh, is quickly sucked into her web of lies and seduction. The professional boundaries between Glass and Tramell are obliterated when she uncovers his basic instincts. A deadly battle of wits ensues, climaxing as Glass faces a choice that will change both their lives forever.

Movie Review:

There are certain images that will go down history as “great movie moments”. Take for example, Sharon Stone crossing her legs while being interrogated in Paul Verhoeven’s erotic thriller Basic Instinct (1992). And those ice picks - they still send shivers down our spines.

14 years later, someone came up with the idea to make a sequel to this guilty pleasure of a movie. But alas, not only is there no iconic “movie moment”, the resultant that is Basic Instinct 2 could not have been more disastrous, as far as movie sequels go.

Stone reprises her role as novelist Catherine Tramell, who does not learn her lesson, and gets into trouble again with the law. Her appointed psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey trying his best to look sullen and intense) has to evaluate her, and unsurprisingly, he gets entranced by this dangerous woman and lured into a seductive game of lies and deceit.

While its predecessor isn’t exactly a critically-acclaimed movie classic, at least it was well-known for its no-bars-held style. It also made a star out of Stone. Unfortunately, this sequel tries too hard to be intellectual and seductive at the same time.

The plot of the movie unfolds like a novel itself, and along the way, no thanks to tiresome scripting, the pace becomes wearisome. One third into the movie and you can already predict what is going to happen next; and when the story becomes ridiculous, you will find yourself laughing at the unintentionally funny scenes. The supposedly titillating lines spouted by the characters do not help to build the suspense either. Instead, they fall through rather badly.

To be fair, the cast does deserve some credit. At the age of 48, Stone is ravishing to watch. Her sensual self is the highlight of this 114-minute movie. In fact, the only thing you’d be watching out for are the scenes she appears in. Some may find her whispery and lusty voice annoying after a while, but we are perfectly fine with that.

Morrissey’s role is rather difficult to pull off, considering he has to live up to a certain Michael Douglas. So his portrayal of the struggling raging psychiatrist gets our vote for being the most sympathetic movie character we have seen in a while. Then there are the always reliable Charlotte Rampling and David Thewlis to round up the supporting cast of a mentor and a police detective respectively.

Having given kudos to the supporting cast, we would think that the capable UK actors have not been properly utilized in this movie. And we also pity Stone, if she had thought that this sequel would improve her already sagging career.

Note of advice to the poor woman: try to stay off potential box office and critics’ bombs. As if Cold Creek Manor (2003) wasn’t bad enough a mistake, she had to star in the multiple Razzie-winner Catwoman (2004). And with this latest big screen disaster, we really hope Stone would learn her lesson.

No matter how hard we try, we cannot bring ourselves to like this sequel more. When the common movie-goer cannot care less about its plot development or its characters’ fates, we can only hope no one would come up with the idea of making a third movie. Laying hands off another sequel would be the true basic instinct of any filmmaker.

Movie Rating:

(Wasted talents are aplenty in this messy and indecisive redundant movie sequel)

Review by John Li

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