Monday, November 15, 2010

A Decade of Dreck #34: Basic Instinct 2

Charge Shot!!! is celebrating the end of the decade in the most masochistic way we know how - by watching and writing about the 100 worst movies of the last ten years as defined by film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Click here to see RT's complete list, click here for more about the Decade of Dreck project, and click here to see all of the movies we've done so far.

I can go on the record for actually liking 1992's Basic Instinct. For all it's over-the-top ridiculous "eroticism" that movie was goddamn hot (sure, it also had a great cast and was directed by Paul Verhoeven but that's besides the point, hot). So when I had to watch the ill-thought-out sequel from 2006, I came, that is to say I approached it, with a healthy degree of skepticism.

Seductive novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone: she's still got it, kids!) is living in London and is still up to her (maybe?) murderous ways fourteen years after the events of the first film. After being pulled out of the Thames after a car accident that killed her boyfriend, Tramell is the prime suspect in his murder. Psychologist Michael Glass (David Morrissey, Liam Neeson's Non-Union Mexican Equivalent) is brought in to profile her, but she ends up dragging him into her web of manipulation and all things lurid. Would you believe that Glass is a fairly button-down guy with a dark past? Yeah, it's kind of like how Michael Douglas was in the original. Do you see what they're doing there?

The obvious draw for Basic Instinct 2 and quite likely the whole reason it got greenlit in the first place is it's star, Sharon Stone. Notice that no other original cast members return as well as no original crew members save a handful of producers. Hell, they couldn't even get master of schlocky sex movies Joe Eszterhas to pen a sequel to his original screenplay! Clearly the plan was to cash in on the success of the iconic original and promise 2006 audiences just one more peak at Sharon Stone's vagina.

For some reason, the biggest objection I had with the movie was that it wasn't ridiculously "erotic" enough. Way back in the day just before the film's release, a clip of all the "good" scenes made its way onto the internet in a none-too-subtle stab at viral marketing (back when that sort of thing was still kind of cool). In it was steamy sex scenes, orgies, at least one menage a trois, and tons and tons of nudity. This probably had the exact opposite effect on the target audience because if they're anything at all like me they said "Well, there's everything I would want to see in that movie." and never gave it another thought. In the end, most of the good stuff ended up on the cutting room floor to secure an "R" rating and wasn't even reinserted, that is to say edited back into, the film.

Sharon Stone ends up becoming the actual greatest hinderance to the film. Whenever she shows up to get all sexy up in David Morrissey's grill, the plot slows to a griding halt. You might have a halfway decent Basic Instinct-esque erotic thriller suitable for endless repeats on Starz or some other pay cable channel without her showing up to ruin everything.

And no, her vagina never comes, that is to say you never see it.

Basic Instinct 2 is ranked #89 on the Rotten Tomatoes Worst 100 list with 7% freshness. Its RT page can be found here.