Basic Instinct 2

It's almost too easy to make fun of a movie like Basic Instinct 2. The sequel to the legendary Basic Instinct, released in 1992, is at least a decade too late in coming. The original's co-star, Michael Douglas, wisely opted out. Sharon Stone is in. Stone (Broken Flowers, Catwoman) shot to stardom with the infamous scene where she uncrossed her legs. It's not exactly a great claim to fame, but what the heck. Now, Stone is pushing fifty, and she still looks great. And that's about all that is good that one can say about the sequel. It's hard to see how people would even green light a film like this. The one excuse could be that it is so bad that it is funny, but that is not the case here.

The original Basic Instinct was an "erotic thriller." The sequel is interminably dull. There is nothing erotic about it, and there are no thrills. Yes, there are kinky sex scenes, but sex has never felt more boring. Throughout the entire film, Stone tries to affect an aura of sexuality by speaking with a husky voice, moving slinkily, and wearing tight/see-through/no clothes. It doesn't work. Part of this is because of the awful lines that Leora Barish (Venus Rising, Window Shopping) and Harry Bean (The Believer, Venus Rising). The dialogue is atrocious. The general plot is atrocious. But aside from Stone, the acting is okay.

Basic Instinct 2 starts with Stone speeding a car. Her male companion is drugged, so she takes the initiative and...uh, well, kick-starts the first sex scene. Yes, seconds into the film. And it is thoroughly ridiculous. The car careens into the water, and author Catherine Tramell (Stone) escapes alive. Her passenger, a famous soccer player, dies, and the police finger her (with apologies for the pun) as the prime suspect. Detective Roy Washburn (David Thewlis, The New World, Kingdom of Heaven) knows she is guilty and wants to pin the crime on her. Before he does that, Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey, Derailed, Stoned) must perform a psychological evaluation.

This is where the plot gets complicated. Overly complicated. Why did director Michael Caton-Jones (Shooting Dogs, City by the Sea) even try? Washburn falls instantly for Tramell's smoldering looks, and she begins to play him like a toy. She professes her innocence, but Washburn remains unsure. This doesn't stop him from eventually giving into his baser desires. The script tries to draw the audience in by throwing out red herrings. Tramell may be guilty, or there may be some sort of conspiracy against her. The only effect is complete convolution. Nobody cares. None of the characters are interesting. Basic Instinct 2 is a failure.

Haro Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 54 minutes, Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language, and some drug content.

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