Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction Review

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Following the suspicious death of her latest lover, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is diagnosed with “risk addiction” by psychiatrist Michael Glass (David Morrissey). She enters therapy with Michael, who becomes obsessed with his patient. His career, sa


In 1992, Basic Instinct established Sharon Stone as a psychosexual superstar and, not incidentally, “fuck of the century”. A decade-and-a-half on, in a new century, here’s a London-set sequel. Paul Verhoeven, whose overkill sold the first movie’s silly story, is replaced by the measured, considered Michael Caton-Jones. And the dim, horny, out-of-control cop played by Michael Douglas (whose fate is sadly not revealed) gives way to a smart, icy, control-freak psychiatrist played by the luckless David Morrissey.

Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas isn’t getting huge paydays for rejigging Jagged Edge any more and this new (if distinctly familiar) script is crafted by Leora Barish (Desperately Seeking Susan) and Henry Bean (The Believer, Deep Cover, Internal Affairs). A while back, when David Cronenberg was set to direct, the Basic Instinct 2 script got a buzz as being cleverer, deeper, sharper and sexier than the original (which, given the writers’ track record, is credible). Somewhere in years of development (many directors and co-stars were mooted), it must have been rewritten too many times, because this is a bland, silly, play-by-play redo of Basic Instinct without even the original’s Gothic, over-the-top bravado. And, no, there’s no scene here that will get as much attention as the underwear-free police interrogation of 1992 — even if Caton-Jones does riff on his own backlist by having Stone pose in one shrink session like Joanne Whalley as Christine Keeler in the poster for his movie Scandal.

There ought to have been a way to do more with the fascinating, ambiguous Catherine Tramell, but Basic Instinct 2 just reprises her previous act, as a professional man gets unwisely involved and squirms deeper and deeper into her trap as he’s set up to take several nasty falls. Elsewhere, good British actors (David Thewlis, Charlotte Rampling) are laden with duff lines (Thewlis’ Welsh-accented delivery of, “I want that cunt in jail” is priceless) and footballer Stan Collymore gets drowned.

There is one clever variation on the original’s action as Dr. Glass snoops around a ladies’ loo in a Soho club, driven by moans coming from a stall to suspect he’s about to catch Catherine in a girl-on-girl clinch with his ex-wife (Indira Varma), only to receive a nasty, very different surprise. Otherwise, you’ve been here before when it was fresher.

Though as expensive and high-styled as its star, this isn’t much of an improvement on direct-to-video efforts like Single White Female 2 and The Last Seduction 2.