Speed 2: Cruise Control
|Speed 2: Cruise Control|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jan de Bont|
|Produced by||Jan de Bont
|Screenplay by||Randall McCormick
|Story by||Jan de Bont
|Based on||Characters created
by Graham Yost
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|Cinematography||Jack N. Green|
|Edited by||Alan Cody|
20th Century Fox
Blue Tulip Productions
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$164.5 million|
Speed 2: Cruise Control is a 1997 American disaster thriller film, and a sequel to Speed (1994). The film was produced and directed by Jan de Bont, and written by Randall McCormick and Jeff Nathanson, based on a story by de Bont and McCormick. Sandra Bullock stars in the film, reprising her role from Speed, while Jason Patric and Willem Dafoe co-star. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on June 13, 1997.
The plot involves couple Annie and Alex taking a vacation in the Caribbean aboard a luxury cruise ship, which is hijacked by a villain named Geiger who hacked into the ship's computer system. As they are trapped aboard the ship, Annie and Alex work with the ship's first officer to try to stop the ship, which they discover is programmed to crash into an oil tanker.
De Bont came up with the idea for the film after he had a recurring nightmare about a cruise ship crashing into an island. Speed star Keanu Reeves was initially supposed to reprise his role as Jack Traven for the sequel, but decided not to commit and was replaced by Patric prior to filming. Production took place aboard Seabourn Legend, the ship on which the film is set. The film's final scene, where the ship crashes into the island of Saint Martin, cost almost a quarter of the film's budget, and set records as the largest and most expensive stunt ever filmed. Many interior scenes aboard the ship were shot on soundstages in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The film's soundtrack featured mostly reggae music. Mark Mancina returned to compose the film score, which was released as an album 13 years after the film's release.
The critical reception was extremely negative, criticizing its acting, story, and characters. One major criticism was that the film's setting on a slow-moving cruise ship was much less thrilling than Speed's setting on a fast-moving bus. The film was also a financial disappointment, earning $164 million worldwide against a budget of $110 million. It was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards, and won the award for "Worst Re-Make or Sequel".
Alex Shaw is on a motorcycle chase after a vehicle with stolen goods. He eventually catches the driver of the vehicle, but 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 cop. 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 by throwing him overboard. After remotely shutting down the ship's engines, Geiger calls the bridge to tell the first officer, Juliano, that the captain is dead and Juliano is now in charge. He is ordered by Geiger to evacuate the ship, during which 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 up with smoke. Annie and Alex try to board the last lifeboat, however, Geiger programs the ship to start moving and the winch lowering the lifeboat gets jammed. Alex jumps onto the boat to rescue the passengers falling off, and Annie and Juliano use the ship's gangplank to get the passengers back onto the deck.
Alex realizes Geiger is controlling the ship and goes with Juliano to Geiger's cabin armed with skeet guns, but Geiger remotely sets off 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 climbed out of the elevator, and runs to save her. Alex notices Geiger exiting the vault and holds him at gunpoint, but Geiger escapes by closing the fire door in front of Alex. Using the ship's intercom, Geiger explains that he designed the ship's autopilot system and is taking revenge against the cruise line after getting fired once 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 back of the ship.
To avoid collision with the oil tanker, Alex and Dante go into the bilge pump room and use the bow thrusters to turn the ship. 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, which eventually brings the ship to a halt. Alex jumps off to rescue Annie and hijacks a speed boat from Maurice, forcing him to chase after Annie. Geiger takes Annie onto a seaplane, and Alex shoots it from the boat with a speargun and reels himself in through the water. Alex climbs onto the plane and rescues Annie, and both escape from the plane on one of its floats, which falls onto the water. Geiger loses control of the plane and crashes into the oil tanker, causing it to explode. The tanker crew however are safe, because they launched their lifeboat just in time. Annie and Alex travel back to shore in Maurice's boat, and Alex gives Annie an engagement ring, asking her if she will "wear it for a while", and she accepts.
- Sandra Bullock as Annie Porter
- Jason Patric as Alex Shaw
- Willem Dafoe as John Geiger, the main antagonist in the film
- Temuera Morrison as Juliano
- Brian McCardie as Merced
- Christine Firkins as Drew
- Mike Hagerty as Harvey
- Colleen Camp as Debbie
- Lois Chiles as Celeste
- Francis Guinan as Rupert
- Tamia as Sheri Silver
- Jeremy Hotz as Ashton
- Bo Svenson as Captain Pollard
- Enrique Murciano as Alejandro
- Glenn Plummer as Maurice
- Kimmy Robertson as Liza
- Joe Morton (uncredited cameo) as Lieutenant McMahon, or "Mac"
Background and writing
Speed was released in June 1994, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, and dealt with the story of a runaway bus armed with a bomb that would explode if it dropped under 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). The film was a success, grossing almost $350 million worldwide, and holds a 93% "fresh" rating at review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 60 critic reviews. De Bont felt the film was a "one-time story" with no sequel potential, and its studio, 20th Century Fox, made no obligations for the actors to appear in a follow-up film. However, Speed had such positive word-of-mouth prior to its release that Fox began to discuss plans for a sequel. After its initial box office success within the first week of release, plans for a sequel to Speed were officially announced, and Fox mentioned the possibility of the sequel beginning with Reeves and Bullock's characters being married. De Bont was contractually obligated to direct Speed 2, and was paid a reported $5–6 million salary for the sequel. Fox expected Reeves and Bullock to reprise their roles without obligation, and negotiations with the actors began later that year.
Hundreds of ideas for a sequel were submitted to de Bont, all of which he turned down in favor of his own idea, based on a recurring nightmare he experienced about a cruise ship crashing into an island. Speed screenwriter Graham Yost had an idea for a film involving a boat, with a Vietnam War-era vessel loaded with weapons that would explode if its ammunition came in contact with water. He also had an idea for a story about a plane that has to fly through the Andes mountains, but cannot ascend above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Neither Yost nor Speed producer Mark Gordon were asked to participate in the sequel, although Yost received a "characters created by" credit and Gordon was credited as executive producer for Speed 2. Randall McCormick was hired to write the sequel in 1994 and received a story credit along with de Bont. McCormick and Jeff Nathanson collectively wrote the screenplay, working back from the idea based on de Bont's nightmare, while writers Kevin Peterka and Greg Chabot provided additional uncredited work to the screenplay. Prior to production, details about the film were kept secret, and de Bont refused to confirm rumors about the film taking place on a ship, although he did state that the sequel would be "funnier". Speed 2 star Jason Patric said that details were kept secret because "people do tend to steal other people's ideas", but said the sequel is a "very complex movie" and would have "bigger sequences".
De Bont produced Speed 2 with his company Blue Tulip Productions and producer Steve Perry. Producer Michael Peyser later joined the project during production in late 1996, after joining Blue Tulip as de Bont's partner. While Speed was produced for $30 million, the sequel was green-lit at "just under $100 million" due to the larger production and higher cast salaries. The director began working on the pre-production prior to the release of his previous film, Twister (1996). He started location scouting in the Caribbean in May 1996, and chose Saint Martin as the primary filming location because he felt it was unlikely to be subjected to a hurricane, as it was struck by a hurricane the previous year for the first time in 100 years. De Bont wanted a cruise liner that was luxurious enough to possibly have millions of dollars of jewelry aboard and that was sleek enough for the film's poster. He learned about the Seabourn Legend in a hotel brochure, and chose the ship for the film after visiting ships from other cruise lines.
Bullock agreed to star in the sequel to get financial backing for the drama film Hope Floats (1998), and was paid a reported $11–$12.5 million to reprise her role as Annie. Reeves was offered $12 million to reprise his role as Jack Traven, but turned it down as he did not like the script and was financially secure from the success of Speed. Having recently starred in the action film Chain Reaction (1996), Reeves felt he was not "ready to mentally and physically" star in another action film. He instead chose to star in the horror film The Devil's Advocate (1997), which was filmed at the same time as Speed 2, and subsequently toured with his band, Dogstar. He said that Fox was "furious" with his decision and released "propaganda" against him, claiming that he turned down the role to tour with his band, which Reeves stated had nothing to do with his decision. De Bont said that the character in the sequel was not specific to Reeves and could be played by any young actor, as long as he could have chemistry with Bullock.
Many actors were considered to replace Reeves in Speed 2, including Jon Bon Jovi, Patrick Muldoon, Johnathon Schaech, Christian Slater, and Billy Zane. Matthew McConaughey was the first to be considered, suggested by Bullock after starring with him in the film A Time to Kill (1996). After McConaughey passed up the role to star in Contact (1997), Bullock suggested Jason Patric, with whom she had wanted to work since seeing his performance in After Dark, My Sweet (1990). De Bont was skeptical of featuring a relatively unknown actor such as Patric, but was reminded by the studio that Bullock and Reeves were also relatively unknown prior to Speed. He chose Patric based on his role in Sleepers (1996). Patric was paid a reported $4.5–$8 million for his role in Speed 2 and also used his salary to finance a 1998 drama, Your Friends & Neighbors. After accepting the role, Patric stated that he never saw Speed or had any intentions of seeing it, and Reeves said he was looking forward to seeing Patric star in the sequel. After Reeves declined to appear in Speed 2, the screenplay was rewritten to remove his character from the story, which de Bont wanted to deal with early in the film. His absence is explained in the first scene, where Annie talks about how her relationship with Jack did not work out, and mentions her current relationship with Alex (Patric), before his character is introduced in the film.
Gary Oldman turned down the role of the villain, Geiger, and instead chose to star as another villain in Air Force One (1997). Willem Dafoe was cast as Geiger after Dafoe wanted to star in a "big movie" and once again play a villain. De Bont cast Kiwi actor Temuera Morrison as Juliano based on his role in Once Were Warriors (1994). Despite not liking the script, Brian McCardie accepted the role as Merced as his agents assured him it would be good for his acting career.
Comedian Royale Watkins was hired by de Bont for the part of Dante after discovering Watkins performing at a comedy club. Glenn Plummer was cast as a character named Maurice whose boat gets hijacked by Alex, reprising his role from Speed as a Jaguar owner whose car gets hijacked by Jack. To add comic relief, de Bont cast comedian Tim Conway as Annie's driving instructor, and hoped it would be a comeback role for Conway. Singer Tamia was cast as Sheri, an entertainer on the ship, because de Bont wanted a singer who could also act. She did not plan on doing any film acting that early in her career, as she had yet to release her debut album, but said the part was "too perfect for [her] to resist". Joe Morton reprised his role from Speed as SWAT lieutenant "Mac" in an uncredited cameo appearance in the beginning of the film.
Principal photography took place from September 23, 1996, to late February 1997. The film's opening scene with the driving test and the motorcycle chase was filmed in Elysian Park, Los Angeles. During a motorcycle stunt on a Ducati 916 on the second day of filming, Patric flew off the bike 30 feet (9 m) into the air, and Bullock said the incident was so dangerous that Patric "should be dead". Stunt coordinator Dick Ziker was very impressed with Patric's physical stunts in the film, and said that Patric "is so physical he probably could be one of the top stunt men in the world". Patric's stunts included being dragged by a seaplane through the water, jumping onto collapsing buildings, and scuba diving while pulled by a moving ship. He was also required to tread water for multiple hours at a time. De Bont said the most frightening incident was when a stunt woman was hit in the face by a boat cable and required reconstructive surgery. De Bont persuaded Bullock, Patric, and Dafoe to perform most of their own stunts, as opposed to using stunt doubles, so the scenes would appear more realistic. The three starring actors were also required to get in physical shape and engage in physical exercise sessions before and during filming. Bullock had to overcome her fear of water that she developed after almost drowning at age 14, while learning to surf. While filming in the middle of the ocean, Bullock was smacked into the ship several times and was saved by Patric from decapitation by the ship's rudder. Bullock and Patric also had a scene filmed in an underwater tank where they had to kiss underwater with Bullock's hands tied together. Navy SEALs with scuba gear were present inside the tank during shooting, as the actors had to hold their breath during the scene. According to Bullock, she performed all of her own stunts "except for a quarter of one stunt"; her stunt double worked for only three days during production.
Film crews moved to West Palm Beach and Miami, Florida in July 1996 with the anticipation of shooting in each location for several weeks later that year. However, due to scheduling issues with Patric, production did not take place in West Palm Beach and only filmed in Miami for "just a few days". The Miami production took place in a gymnasium and a boat hangar at Dinner Key in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, which were rented by Fox. After spending over $55,000 in repairs to both facilities, Fox refused to pay the $35,000 in rental fees to the City of Miami. The city sued for the rent since Fox did not seek approval for the repairs, and a compromise was reached when the city credited some of the repair costs, resulting in Fox paying around $26,000 for the rent.
Production later moved to the Seabourn Legend, and the crew lived aboard it for six weeks. During filming, the ship provided accommodations for the film's cast and crew, and housed the makeup and wardrobe departments. The Seabourn Legend's captain and other crew members appear as extras the film. The evacuation sequence was among the first scenes filmed on the ship, and was shot in Key West, Florida. Several days after shooting began, the National Hurricane Center issued an alert for Hurricane Lili, which was predicted to be headed towards the Florida Keys. Shooting the evacuation scene was put on hold, and the ship was forced to sail to safe waters. The producers rearranged the shooting schedule and shot additional scenes on the ship's bridge while sailing towards Cuba. As Hurricane Lili approached Cuba, the ship's violent movements caused seasickness among those on board. The ship was again forced to relocate, sailed from Cuba towards the Gulf of Mexico, and returned to the Keys three days later. The filming of the evacuation sequence continued and took place over the next two weeks. Approximately 30 hoses and the ship's fire sprinkler system were used to simulate heavy rainfall in the scene. De Bont said that during shooting, he learned to "never film a boat from a stationary point of view". To make the ship appear faster, all exterior shots of the ship were filmed from a moving vehicle. Following the production at sea, de Bont said that filming on water "was 100 percent more difficult than [he] imagined".
For the climatic scene where the ship crashes into an island, de Bont wanted to create and destroy an actual town. He opted against miniature scale models and computer-generated imagery (CGI) because he wanted the scene to be real for both the actors and the audience viewing the film. Additionally, creating the entire scene in CGI was deemed too expensive and would have cost around $500 million. Production designer Joseph Nemec III designed a set in Marigot, Saint Martin that extended the town's architecture, which included 35 buildings and was built in six months for $5 million. Despite de Bont's reason for choosing Saint Martin for filming, a hurricane struck the town and destroyed the set during construction, which had to be rebuilt with hurricane-proof buildings. Before destroying the town for the film, some of the buildings on the set were used as production offices. To stand in for the Seabourn Legend during the finale, two mock-ups were constructed in Florida and towed to Saint Martin. The first mock-up, dubbed the "bridge ship", was a reconstruction of the bow and bridge built atop the hull of the Sturgeon Atlantic cargo ship. 60 short tons (54 t) of steel were used to construct the bridge ship mock-up, which was 18 percent smaller than the original. The bridge ship was used in the first part of the finale when the cruise ship is crashing into boats in the harbor prior to hitting the island. A cargo ship was used for the scene because the actual Seabourn Legend could not navigate in the harbor's shallow waters. The second mock-up was a full-scale replica of the Seabourn Legend's bow, known as the "rail ship". The rail ship was 150 feet (46 m), about one-third the length of the Seabourn Legend, and weighed 300 short tons (270 t). A 1,000-foot long (300 m) rail was built 60 feet (18 m) underwater, and the rail ship was placed on top and sat on 50 wheels.
Filming the finale scene with the rail ship was initially delayed because it could not be hoisted onto the track due to large waves caused by the hurricane. The scene was filmed using 14 cameras, with the rail ship traveling 50 feet (15 m) at a time into the set, with debris from the destruction cleared between each take. The ship was powered by four diesel engines and pulled by a large chain at a speed of 18 miles per hour (29 km/h). The three planned collisions in the scene were aided by explosives and hydraulics to ensure the set's structures collapsed precisely. Concrete was also removed from the buildings and replaced with sand-coated balsa wood so the buildings would "crumble" more effectively after being hit by the rail ship. In the scene's final shot, the ship had to stop within a 6-inch (15 cm) area, and was completely successful on the first take. The five-minute scene cost $25 million to produce, roughly one quarter of the film's entire budget, and set records as both the largest and the most expensive stunt ever filmed. The remaining two-thirds of the ship was added into the film during post-production by Industrial Light & Magic using computer-generated imagery (CGI).
Following production in Saint Martin, filming moved to The Bahamas to shoot the underwater shots in the scene where Alex swims underneath the ship to try to jam the propeller. A location in the Tongue of the Ocean off the coast of New Providence was chosen for filming due to the clarity of the water. The scene was filmed underneath a propeller-less barge, and the barge's hull was designed to resemble that of the Seabourn Legend. A propeller was later added into the scene using CGI during post-production. To provide a sense of velocity to the scene, the barge was towed by tugboats at one and a half knots. The production crew did not have a winch system available for the underwater shoot as depicted in the scene, so a pulley system was created by feeding Patric a rope that was attached to the axle of a car that drove along the barge. After reviewing the dailies from shooting, de Bont was unhappy with the footage because the water was so clear that "it looked like a swimming pool". The scene was later reshot with divers above the camera dusting the area in front of the lens with sediment to alter the clarity of the footage.
Interiors of the ship were filmed at Sony Pictures Studios and Warren Entertainment in Culver City and Valencia, California, respectively. Full-scale replicas of the ship's atrium, cabins, and engine rooms were constructed at the soundstages where production took place for over a month. The scene where Alex rescues Drew while the ship is being flooded was filmed by camera operators wearing wet suits inside a tank at Sony Pictures Studios. The set inside the tank was constructed with plywood and included a hydraulic lift that gave the effect that the water level was rising. Part of the seaplane scene was filmed outdoors in Valencia. The seaplane was suspended from a crane, with its engines and fuel tanks removed to ease its lift, and large fans were used to simulate wind. The outdoor shoot was filmed in one day for a brief, "one- or two-second" shot in the film, according to Nemec.
To go along with the film's Caribbean setting, the soundtrack consists of mostly reggae music. De Bont also wanted musicians to appear in the film as entertainers on the cruise ship. A cameo appearance for reggae band UB40 was written into the script after the filmmakers heard a demo of their song "Tell Me Is It True", and wanted them to perform it in the film. Brazilian singer Carlinhos Brown was also chosen to be featured as a performer on the ship because de Bont wanted music that was "lively" and felt that Brown's music was "full of energy". Tamia worked with de Bont and musician Quincy Jones to choose a song for her character to perform in the film, and selected "Make Tonight Beautiful", which was written by Diane Warren.
The Speed 2: Cruise Control soundtrack was released by Virgin Records on May 20, 1997, about one month before the film's release. The soundtrack album featured 12 songs, all of which were featured in the film, and five of the songs were distributed to radio stations for promotion. In addition to UB40 and Brown, the album features reggae music from Jimmy Cliff, Common Sense, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Rayvon, and Betty Wright. Shaggy wanted to feature his cover of the Erma Franklin song "Piece of My Heart"; however, because the song was being using in an upcoming Janis Joplin biopic, he instead featured his song "My Dream". Priest was assigned to cover a song in his style for the soundtrack after contributing to the soundtrack for Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), and Common Sense's appearance on the soundtrack led to a recording contract with Virgin the following year. Speed 2 score composer Mark Mancina wrote a dance-rage track for the soundtrack based on the score, which was produced by Japanese musician Tetsuya "TK" Komuro, who made his debut in the United States performing the track, called "Speed TK Re-mix".
Mancina wrote the film score for Speed 2 after previously composing the scores for Speed and Twister. He started composing the music on March 1, 1997, and it was later recorded at the end of April. He began by creating themes and melodies, then working them into the film where he felt they would fit. The score includes a reworking of the 20th Century Fox fanfare, in which the final chord is sustained and "slithers down" into the opening theme, while the studio logo fades into a traveling shot of the ocean on screen. Originally, the studio was hesitant to feature an altered version of the fanfare, but allowed the alteration after being convinced by de Bont and hearing it performed by an orchestra.
The film score features reggae music to serve as a love theme and complement the film's Caribbean vacation setting. The eight steel drummers heard in the music were double-tracked to increase the sound of the percussion.
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Specific action cues were scored on the piano down to each second of film. Noting how the film was set in the Caribbean and had a different, slower pace than Speed, Mancina gave the score a "Jamaican/Latin feel" by incorporating reggae music in between action sequences. The reggae music was written to give the feel of being on vacation and serve as a love theme for the characters. Some of the themes from Speed were included in the score between sections of the newly written material. He wrote new themes for Annie and Alex because he felt the original themes written for Reeves' character would not work well with Patric. After viewing the scene where Geiger attaches leeches to his body to cleanse his blood, Mancina felt the scene was "so gross" that he wrote a "slimy theme" for the character, which is distinctively different from the rest of the music. He mixed the score at the same time the film was being edited, which caused the music to be constantly re-edited into the film. During the scoring of Speed 2, Mancina said in an interview that keeping up with the editing of the film was the "hardest thing [he had] ever done".
Over 100 minutes of score are present in Speed 2, more than Mancina wrote for Speed and Twister combined. After the score was written, Mancina created a demo of the entire score on a synthesizer to play for de Bont. While the score for Speed only used strings, French horns, and percussion, Speed 2 used a wider variety of instruments including trombones, large woodwinds, bass clarinets, and contrabassoons. Mancina, himself, played a nylon string guitar on several cues. The reggae music featured a band with steel drums, in addition to Cuban drums and Latin percussion. De Bont wanted 16 steel drum players, but due to the lack of players available, Mancina used eight drums which were double-tracked. The orchestra had 96 players, which was significantly larger than the orchestra of 63 players that performed the score for Speed. Music was recorded on an Electro-Voice microphone that allowed the music to be recorded directly to a computer without the need for equalization or compression, due to the microphone's high clarity.
Mancina's score was initially not released on CD to avoid competition with sales of the soundtrack album. De Bont made a deal with Virgin Records that the score could not be released until at least six months after the release of the soundtrack. An official release of the score was not made until 13 years after the film's release. La-La Land Records released the Speed 2: Cruise Control Original Motion Picture Score on June 15, 2010, as a limited edition of 3000 units. The album features 70 minutes of music across 14 tracks, and according to La-La Land, it also features a "notable amount of music" that was not used in the film, due to the film's constant re-edits prior to its release date. Daniel Schweiger of Film Music Magazine said that Mancina's score was "arguably a better one than Speed", praising the album's "thrilling themes", "epic orchestrations", and "Jamaican-style grooves". Filmtracks.com gave the release four out of five stars, saying the album was "perhaps [La-La Land's] finest offering of a previously unreleased score", although it also stated that "[s]ome of the action and suspense material in the latter half of the score becomes a bit generic."
|The Independent||Top 10|
|The Sun||Top 10|
|Virgin Media||Top 10|
|Toronto Sun||Top 25|
The film was and continues to be widely regarded as a travesty in filmmaking and it received many scathing reviews both upon its release and in subsequent years. Rotten Tomatoes reported a 3% approval score with an average score of 3.4/10 based on 68 reviews. The website's consensus 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." Website Metacritic rated the film "generally unfavorable" based on 22 reviews, with an average score of 23/100. Time said that Patric's character was "fundamentally uninteresting", but blamed de Bont and the screenwriters for "not providing their actors with stuff to act". Many critics stated that a major issue with the film was the lack of thrill due to the setting of the slow-moving ship. Entertainment Weekly heavily criticized the lack of story and said the film is "as slow-moving as a garbage scow". According to the Los Angeles Times, even children who saw the film felt it was strange that it took place on a ship "not capable of going more than a few knots per hour [sic]", and claimed that Speed was "much more logical".
It is also considered to be one of the worst film sequels of all time, and many publications have placed Speed 2 on lists of the worst film sequels. Complex ranked the film first on a list of "The 50 Worst Sequels of All Time", calling it "one of the worst 'event' movies ever conceived", while praising Reeves' choice to not return for the sequel, and referring to Patric as "wooden and woefully miscast". In 2010, New York film critic David Edelstein featured an article on Speed 2 that described it as the "Worst Sequel of All", mainly due to the film's explanation for the absence of Reeves' character. In addition to being ranked among the worst sequels, Empire ranked the film at number 24 on a list of "The 50 Worst Movies Ever".
Bullock has since regretted starring in the film, and stated that the script was to blame for the negative reception of the film. She stated she had doubts about its success during production and "knew it was going to be a big flop" once she saw the final product. Patric also admitted "it wasn't a good movie" and said that its lack of success was due to de Bont's directing, while praising Bullock and the rest of the film's crew. Mark Gordon and Graham Yost stated they felt "bitter and happy" after initially not being asked to be involved in Speed 2, then seeing how the film was unsuccessful.
Despite the overwhelming negative reviews, the film did receive some positive feedback. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times and Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune both gave Speed 2 three out of four stars, and wrote the film's only two positive reviews, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. On their film review TV series Siskel & Ebert, they collectively gave Speed 2 a positive rating of "Two Thumbs Up", calling it a "truly rousing ocean liner adventure story", although Ebert criticized Bullock's more limited role in the sequel while Patric "stole all the action sequences". Since his original review, Ebert claimed that he enjoyed Speed 2 more than Bullock, and wrote an article in 2013 that his favorable review of the film "inspired more disbelief" than any other he had written and was frequently cited as an example of him being a poor film critic. At the Conference on World Affairs in 1999, Ebert spoke about the difficulty of making films such as Speed 2 and defended his review by offering a "Speed 3" contest for anyone to create a five-minute short film that takes place on something that cannot stop moving.
Speed 2 was listed on About.com's "Top 9 Cruise Ship or Ocean Liner Movies", which said it had "[g]ood shots of the ship and a spectacular ending", but also described the plot as "lame". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Daily News, and The Sacramento Bee all gave favorable reviews, while stating that the film was not as good as Speed. Empire Magazine's Andrew Collins gave the film a 3/5 stars, while commenting "...top-billed Sandra Bullock, formerly an accidental heroine, is insultingly sidelined here to boyfriend's little helper and hostage-in-waiting. Patric is the film's actual seabourn legend, and a watchable one, but the pair's gooey relationship sorely lacks Speed's thrown-together dynamic."
Release and box office
Speed 2: Cruise Control premiered at the Cineplex Odeon in Century City, Los Angeles on June 9, 1997, and was released into theaters on June 13. The release date was rescheduled twice—originally set for July 2 and pushed up to June 6 to avoid competition with Men in Black and Titanic (which was then scheduled for July), then moved back one week to avoid competition with Con Air.
During its opening weekend, Speed 2 was shown on 2,615 screens and grossed $16.2 million. Despite its negative reviews, it ranked at number one in the box office, grossing just $500,000 more than Con Air in second place. Box office sales for Speed 2 dropped 54 percent the following weekend, grossing only $7.8 million and ranking at number five.
The film grossed only $48 million in the United States, and had a total gross of $164.5 million worldwide. Moviefone and Time have both ranked the film among the biggest box office bombs of all time.
The film received eight Razzie Award nominations out of 12 possible categories at the 18th Golden Raspberry Awards, and had the second-highest number that year following Batman and Robin (1997), which had 11 nominations. Speed 2 won the award for "Worst Re-Make or Sequel", but lost the award for "Worst Picture" to The Postman (1997).
|Worst Picture||Jan de Bont, Steve Perry, Michael Peyser||Nominated|
|Worst Actress||Sandra Bullock||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Willem Dafoe||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple||Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric||Nominated|
|Worst Re-Make or Sequel||N/A||Won|
|Worst Director||Jan de Bont||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson, Jan de Bont||Nominated|
|Worst Song||"My Dream" (written by Orville Burrell, Robert Livingston, Dennis Haliburton)||Nominated|
Speed 2: Cruise Control has been referenced and parodied in pop culture. A 1998 episode of the British sitcom Father Ted titled "Speed 3" involves a bomb planted on a milk float that will explode if the float travels under 4 mph (6.4 km/h). While the plot is a parody of Speed, writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews got the idea for the episode after asking themselves if it was possible to come up with a "worse idea for a sequel than Speed 2". The Simpsons episode "Bye Bye Nerdie" (2001) features a scene on a racing school bus where character Milhouse Van Houten says "It's like Speed 2, only with a bus instead of a boat!" The Family Guy episode "Blind Ambition" (2005) includes a parody of the film's finale where a cruise ship crashes into a pier and through a city before stopping in the middle of an airport.
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De Bont acknowledges that the movie came in over budget but shoots down reports that the original $100 million has soared into the $135-million to $160-million range. The movie is on schedule, he says. It's not out of control. When the movie wraps at the end of this month, it should come in "close to $110 million"--providing nothing untoward erupts.
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