Basic Instinct 2 is horrific. A truly bad film. It’s probably not memorable or interesting enough to be considered in the pantheon of straight dog poo films, but it had aspects that set it apart somewhat. First and foremost, Sharon Stone competes for the title of Worst Acting Performance Ever Seen in a BMT Film. She smirked after every deadpanned line as if to wink at the audience and say “remember this character? Isn’t this fun?” No it was not. I dreaded when she would appear on screen. On top of that this provides a perfect example of one of the main ways that a truly bad BMT film is created: the vanity project. I’ve said before that I feel like BMT films have to be made organically because they are rooted in delusion. If you set out to make a bad film you by definition lack delusion (you are obviously aware that you are making something bad), and so you will not succeed in making a BMT film. Alternately, the vanity project is a product of delusion. This was Stone’s vanity project. No one really cared and they let her drive it into the ground. This will all be detailed in my upcoming books (set for a June, 2054 release): The Seven Deadly Sins of Hollywood: How Bad Films get Made. The Greed chapter would be loooooong. I’m not sure what would be in the Gluttony chapter of the book… The Island of Dr. Moreau?
I’ll just have a quick game to go through our Settings 101 for Basic Instinct 2. This is easily a solid B+. Very, very, very clearly takes place in London. It even opens with a high speed car ride through London with a professional Footballer riding shotgun with Stone. They talk about London and the police investigation is performed by the British police. But what really pushes it to a high B is the fact that David Morrissey’s office is purportedly in the Gherkin, which is the glass egg-like building in the middle of London. Perfect. Only way it could have been an A is if Stone killed someone in London Tower, Big Ben, or Parliament and it was called Basic London. An additional small note: The original Basic Instinct is also a B+ for its clear San Francisco setting. Wonderful.
‘Ello everyone! Basic Instinct 2?! More like this Bullshit Stinks Too! Booooooom. To preface this discussion of the movie we have to get a bit into the original Basic Instinct which I watched for the first time in preparation. My feeling? It is like looking at the erotic thriller genre with fresh new eyes. Sharon Stone is amazing, Douglas is amazing (deep V in the original Hollywood badass bar included. The bar was so luxuriously not-crowded, you could get a drink at the drop of a hat, solid stuff). The story could have been an entire HBO series and it would have murdered all 10 hours of it. It almost has an anti-pattern of a twist as well, I found it revelatory. Like what the Thing is for sci-fi horror or Halloween for slasher films, it feels quintessential. And yet I still have two legs to the Michael Douglas erotic thriller trilogy (Fatal Attraction and Disclosure being the other two, also the three highest grossing erotic thrillers in history). So yeah, I’m excited. But not as excited as I was to see how Basic Instinct 2 butchered the original’s legacy, let’s go!
- The Good – The story, while very similar in beats to the original, is at least somewhat interesting. Moving the film to London does give it something of an exotic and novel feeling when directly compared to the original. And that is honestly it, because …
- The Bad – Sharon Stone is a straight up parody of herself, I don’t understand how the woman I saw acting in the original became this shadow of herself in only 15 years. The main actor couldn’t keep up with anyone else in this film. The pacing for the movie was a crawl. The directing was lazy, the writing wasn’t nearly as sharp as it needed to be, and the ending is ludicrous. It is a genuinely terrible movie made only more so by the competence of its predecessor.
- The BMT – Yes. 70? Sure, but only given what came before. I think it is a solid 50 (40 if you don’t like films that are more on the boring side) regardless, but given how incredible the original is this is a genuinely incredible film. It didn’t kill the erotic thriller, but it may have killed the erotic thriller sequel genre before it even got started.
Phew! I’m going to do a quick Audio Sklog-entary for the solo director commentary for Basic Instinct. There is only one thing I would recommend about this commentary, and it is those brief moments where the director awakens from his slumber and just tears into the film. At one point he exclaims “This isn’t the cure for cancer!” and “If you didn’t like the film, I don’t care”. It is stunning. Besides that, a lot of rote directoral details and discussion of London as a setting. D, this is why you don’t get just one person for commentary, especially a non-enthusiastic technical person. Boring.