To start this one off, a quick review for 1994's 'Speed'; it's a fun action movie with a solid sense of humor, Dennis Hopper as the villain and Keanu Reeves as the hero. It's one of the better action flicks of the early 90's, and has its place in the genre's history alongside such gems as 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Die Hard' (it's arguable, but the point I'm trying to make is that it's at least just as recognizable). The film also features Sandra Bullock as a regular passenger who is able to drive the bus, which can't go below 50mph, lest a bomb go boom (that means perpetually having to go about 80k, to us Canadians).
Alas, however, the chemistry between Keanu and Sandra is shot for this second installment. While Bullock comes back to reprise her role as Annie, Reeves' Jack Traven character is replaced with Jason Patric's Alex Shaw. Things open with Annie taking her driving test, only to have a rude awakening about Alex (whom she's dating) being on a SWAT team. He had told her he was just a beach officer, and so for screwing up, he surprises her with tickets for a Caribbean cruise on a fancy ship known as the Seabourn Legend. For the first while things end up going pretty swimmingly for the couple (save for a bit of sea sickness on Shaw's part), but just when they start to really enjoy themselves, the couple find themselves in danger, along with the rest of the ship.
The cause of the trouble is one of the most fun, but corny villains you'll ever come across; John Geiger (Willem Dafoe). In killing off the ship's Captain, he takes control of the ship and steers it to head towards an oil tanker. Geiger had worked aboard the cruise line and designed their systems (making it very convenient for him to be able to hack), but got sick from copper poisoning and, as a result, was fired. So, here he is, twisted and out for revenge, trying to take down everyone with him. As one can imagine, it's up to Alex and Annie to stop him. Where Dennis Hopper was a fun, cocky villain in the first film, there's something so creepily fun about Dafoe's performance here. The madness just pours out of him, and the only thing that might top it is his role as Norman Osbourne in 'Spider-Man'.
There is something stupidly fun about this movie, but it certainly has nothing on its predecessor. I could watch 'Speed' time and time again, but I have to be in a pretty special mood to deal with 'Speed 2'. I really enjoy Dafoe's role here, but for the most part, things do end up going pretty off the wall and you really have to suspend any sort of realistic expectations. On top of that, a lot of the film's humor relies on something I just don't like these days - bickering humor. That's where the couple spends the whole time arguing about petty things and making ti try to seem funny to the audience, while we're actually just kinda bored and want something cool to happen. 'National Treasure 2' may have been the worst for it, but it can be done right from time to time, like with 'True Lies'. This movie isn't awful for it, but it's enough.
While I certainly don't hate the movie, it's still easy to say that it's a far cry from the first one, and just plain less entertaining. One fun fact, however, is that our favorite Clone shows up in this; Temuera Morrison, who we know best as Jango Fett from 'Attack of the Clones'. I just thought that was a neat little Easter Egg to look back on. Otherwise, however, there's not much more interesting to say about it. It's your below-standard action sequel, missing all of the parts that made the first one so good. If you want a good movie where you can have a bit of a laugh at the villain, it's not terrible. But it simply isn't on par with other action movies, like I had mentioned earlier. If the first 'Speed' could be on par with 'Die Hard', then 'Speed 2' is on par with 'Die Hard 4'; it's dumb, but there is a fun aspect to it nonetheless.