Jan De Bont's 1994 hit Speed succeeded on many levels: It had a nifty concept—a speeding bus that blows up if it slows down—and an expertly fast-paced series of thrilling action sequences. It also had Dennis Hopper as its multifaceted villain, Keanu Reeves as its noble daredevil hero, and Sandra Bullock providing plucky comic relief. But like De Bont's awful Twister, Speed 2: Cruise Control somehow manages to fail in every way. Jason Patric is even less dynamic than Reeves in the blank-male-protagonist role, Willem Dafoe shows up to one-dimensionally terrorize a cruise ship, and, after helping out with 40 minutes of staggeringly dull exposition, Bullock is given little to do but shout in horror and be held hostage. (Speaking of which, why does Dafoe need to take a hostage off the boat with him when there's no one in a position to thwart his getaway?) For all the dazzling digital explosions and cool underwater photography, most of the action revolves around mundane stuff like a valve that needs to be turned or a door that needs to be opened. The biggest problem of all with Speed 2 may be Dafoe, who is given nothing to do here but bug his eyes, bare his teeth menacingly, and occasionally stop to click a few keys on a laptop or apply leeches to his bare chest. Speed cost something like $30 million; this sequel cost four times as much. So why is it such a feeble, aimless piece of junk in comparison?

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