Basic Instinct 2 Review (Blu-ray)

out of 5

Admit it, guys; secretly you’ve anxiously awaited the release of Basic Instinct 2 on Blu-ray even though you correctly suspect an appalling film. And you know why, so I won’t waste space presenting the obvious. What you don’t know is the journey into Sharon Stone’s undies isn’t the erogenous high-def adventure you seek.

It’s been 14 years since Catherine Tramell embarked on a maniacal sex-filled ice pick rampage through San Francisco’s aristocracy. During the unexplained time off she’s pumped up her bra size and relocated to London, England, in search of inspiration for new guaranteed best-seller novel. In other words, Sharon Stone felt the legal threat in her pocketbook and finally agreed to make this film long after its welcome ran dry with audiences.

Seeking the ultimate rush and delivering an appropriately campy return to Basic Instinct, Catherine speeds through the streets of London in a sweet Spyder sports car while a drugged up star football (soccer) player massages her privates. She then unintentionally ” or intentionally ” steers the car into the Thames River where the poor drugged sap drowns with a blank stoned smile on his face.

The car’s descent into the river’s bowels effectively kills any hope the fun ride continues. A sluggish pace takes over starting with Catherine’s court sentencing to psychiatric observation under the lazy eye of apparently horny Dr. Michael Glass. David Morrissey plays this Michael Douglas stand-in character with the charisma of a gnat impersonating Liam Neeson, while overly aggressive Catherine plays him and any other human she comes in contact with for her own creative devious pleasure. Especially susceptible to Catherine’s charm is detective Washburn, who many of you will recognize as professor Lupin from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If the real British police force is manipulated as easy as this guy is, then I feel sorry for London’s citizens.

After a number of murders and a laughable confrontation between the principle characters, the audience is supposed to once again be left questioning whether Catherine is the culprit behind the violence. Allow me to spoil the intended surprise: there is no question to ponder. This is a shoddy remake staged in a different continent with bigger boobs, but minus the intrigue, acting and inventive display of eroticism. Even the sex and nudity is a cheap rip-off the original. Any tease, position or act has been seen on HBO countless times before. And Sharon, despite her newly lifted breasts and toned body, is only hot when the light isn’t highlighting layer upon layer of caked-on makeup upon which smoke from her nonstop cigarettes can glide upon.

The first film designed to sell sex appearing on Blu-ray suffers from some of the same excessive grain and blurriness found on past Blu-ray releases. Both Sony and Samsung have acknowledged a fault with the internal scaler on the BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player causing issues with all Blu-ray Discs played on it. A fix is in the works and will be available in a couple months, but because no other Blu-ray Disc players are available at this time, I’m going to refrain from passing final judgment on the video quality. The PCM 5.1 uncompressed audio, on the other hand, has no excuse for lacking in terms of offering enveloping surround on a consistent basis. As with the plot, once Catherine’s car plummets into the river, the audio mix is unable to reach the same level of 5.1 surround excellence experienced during the opening scene.

Sony continues their Blu-ray trend of minimal extra features, which in this film’s case is a welcome decision. First up is an Audio Commentary with Director Michael Canton-Jones. He obviously isn’t going to berate his film on tape; instead, he confidently praises the work at every chance. Whether he’s fueling his own ego or putting on a happy face for the execs is up to the viewer’s interpretation. Next, and thankfully last, is the fluffy Between The Sheets: A Look Inside Basic Instinct 2 featurette which is nothing more than cast members trying to convince us how great their film is. Sorely missing are the unrated deleted scenes found on the standard definition release.

Basic Instinct 2 should have carried the campy feel from the opening scene throughout without grasping at believability. Instead, it sloppily retreads the original’s steps with one murder after another so preposterously obvious in solving, yet the intensely focused police force and Dr. Glass are nearly oblivious to Catherine’s involvement. No amount of fake-breasted, been-there-done-that high definition sex can overturn the basic instinct to turn this car wreck off.

– Dan Bradley

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