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Speed 2: Cruise Control

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Speed 2: Cruise Control
Speed 2.jpg
Making a slow-paced "sequel" does not make any sense for a film with the word Speed in the movie title.
Genre: Action
Directed By: Jan de Bont
Produced By: Jan de Bont
Steve Perry
Michael Peyser
Written By: Jan de Bont
Randall McCormick
Based On: Characters created by Graham Yost
Starring: Sandra Bullock
Jason Patric
Willem Dafoe
Temuera Morrison
Joe Morton (uncredited)
Glenn Plummer
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Jack N. Green
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 13, 1997
Runtime: 125 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $110–160 million
Box Office: $164.5 million
Franchise: Speed
Prequel: Speed

Speed 2: Cruise Control is a 1997 action thriller film and a sequel to the 1994 smash-hit movie Speed. It stars Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric and Willem Dafoe with cameos by Joe Morton, Glenn Plummer and Temuera Morrison. The film was directed by Jan de Bont, who also did the first movie.


The film opens up with LAPD officer Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) going on a motorcycle chase after a van carrying stolen goods. After he apprehends the driver of the vehicle, Annie (Sandra Bullock) runs into Alex during her driving test and finds out that Alex is a member of the SWAT team after he lied to her stating that he worked for the beach team. Alex apologizes to Annie for lying and gives her tickets to go with him to go on a Caribbean cruise aboard the Seabourn Legend.

While aboard the ship, passenger John Geiger (Willem Dafoe) hacks into the computer system. The following evening, Geiger destroys the ship's communication systems and kills the captain. After he shuts down the ship's engines, Geiger calls the bridge to tell Juliano, who's the first officer of the ship that the captain is dead and that he is now in charge. As Juliano gets orders from Geiger to evacuate the ship, he steals jewelry from the ship's vault. As the passengers evacuate, Drew, a young deaf girl becomes trapped in an elevator, and a group of people become trapped behind locked fire doors in a hallway filling with smoke. As Annie and Alex attempt to board the last lifeboat, Geiger programs the ship to continue sailing. The winch lowering the lifeboat jams. Alex jumps into the boat to rescue the passengers who are falling off, and Annie and Juliano use the ship's gangplank to get them back on deck.

Alex finds out that Geiger is taking control of the ship. Alex goes with Juliano while carrying skeet guns to Geiger's cabin. Geiger than detonates explosives that are inside the room. Annie goes with Dante, the ship's photographer and notice that the passengers are trapped behind the fire doors. Annie finds a chainsaw and uses it to cut down the door and let them out. Meanwhile, Alex orders Merced, the boat navigator to flood the ship and slow it down. As the ship floods, Alex sees Drew on a monitor after she escaped from the elevator, and goes to save her. Alex sees Geiger leave the vault and holds him at gunpoint. Unfortunately, Geiger makes an escape by closing the fire door in front of him. Using the ship's intercom, Geiger explains that he designed the ship's autopilot system and is taking revenge against the cruise line after being fired as a result of getting copper poisoning. Geiger makes a second escape from Alex when he attaches a grenade to a door leaving Alex trapped inside.

The crew of the ship realize that Geiger has set the ship to crash into an oil tanker off the coast of Saint Martin. Alex decides to stop the ship by diving underneath it and jams the propeller with a steel cable. Geiger realizes Alex is trying to stop the ship and jams the cable winch while Alex is underwater. The winch breaks off the ship and frees the cable. Geiger then takes Annie hostage and escapes with her on a boat from the ship's stern. To avoid colliding with the oil tanker, Alex and Dante go into the ship's bilge and use the bow thrusters to turn the ship. The ship sideswipes the side of the tanker and doesn't get any damage and heads into a marina while crashing into a Saint Martin town.

After the crash, the ship then slows down. Alex jumps off the ship to rescue Annie and takes off on a speed boat. Geiger takes Annie into a seaplane. Alex shoots at the plane from the boat with a speargun and reels himself in. Alex climbs onto the plane and rescues Annie, and both he and Annie escape from the plane on one of its floats while it falls onto the ocean. Geiger loses control of the plane and crashes into the antenna of the oil tanker activating an alarm to alert the crew on board. The crew jump off the ship on the lifeboats just in time as the tanker blows up and kills him. Annie and Alex travel back to shore in the speed boat and later gives her an engagement ring and asks her if she will "wear it for a while" and she accepts Alex's offer. Annie then goes back to Los Angeles to take another driving test and as she starts to take her driving test, a bus that looks identical to the one from the first film pulls out in front of her and she says to her instructor, "Sorry, Mr. Kenter, but that bus was going way too fast."

Why It's Not Speedy

  1. It is completely unnecessary and feels like it didn't exist ever since the first movie already has an ending to the point where it didn't need to get a sequel. The only reason Fox made it was so that it could continue making money off of the Speed name.
    • This is not helped by the fact that it infamously ripped off the idea from James Cameron's Titanic without the romantic themes and The Poseidon Adventure.
  2. Because of Keanu Reeves' refusal to reprise his role as Jack Traven, Jack was rewritten (near-effortlessly) into the character of Alex Shaw (Jason Patric’s character).
  3. Although they are both on the poster, Alex and Annie have a severe lack of chemistry with each other.
  4. The first half of the movie is very formulaic (e.g. when Alex is in pursuit on his motorcycle chasing a thief in a van carrying stolen computers.)
  5. Very slow-paced and has little-to-no suspense for a movie with the word Speed in the title.
    • On that topic, the title is wildly inaccurate, as the cruise ship barely even goes that fast. In addition, the idea of having the Speed movie take place on a slow-moving cruise ship is much less thrilling than the first movie's setting on a fast-moving bus.
    • Also, the cruise ship setting is an entire night long, unlike the first movie's bus setting which is approximately a couple of hours long.
  6. Poorly written story that feels like a pale imitation of the first movie.
  7. Little-to-no action scenes, unlike the original film.
  8. Some things just make no sense.
    • For example, Annie found a chainsaw in a maintenance closet, even though there isn't a real-world purpose of a chainsaw inside a cruise ship. Also, she continues carelessly revving the chainsaw in front of people after cutting the hole in the door.
  9. Terrible acting with Jason Patric as Alex Shaw being a massive step back from Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven.
  10. The film was chopped down to a PG-13 rating while the original film was rated R, meaning that the violence level was toned down (e.g. when Geiger pushes the captain overboard, we just see him go down in the water, but we don't see the captain die or get bloodied up.)
  11. Terribly-written dialogue.
  12. Many of the attempts at comedy try way too hard to be funny, but all fail miserably, such as a scene where the ship finally comes to a stop, the dog jumps into the convertible. In the next shot, the jammed anchor on the ship falls into the car and the car is crushed, meaning the dog would have been killed too, however, the dog comes out of the car unharmed, which isn't even funny at all.
  13. Very nonsensical writing (e.g. When Annie is talking to Tim Conway's character, she reveals to him that she dumped Jack for a stupid reason after he gave her pepper spray for her birthday and that he wouldn't quit his job as a SWAT officer after he saved her from Howard Payne, Dennis Hopper's character.).
  14. Out-of-place and pointless cameos from musicians such as Carlinhos Brown, the reggae band UB40, and Tamia, as well as the bus that looks like the bus from the first movie.
  15. Annoying supporting characters like Drew (Christine Firkins' character), a deaf girl who has an adolescent crush with Alex. Drew's dramatic purpose is to be offended by her insensitive dad so that she can run away -- and get trapped in an elevator in the midst of the crisis.
  16. False advertising: The boat is shown exploding on one of the posters, but the boat doesn't blow up at all in the actual movie.
  17. The original characters are out-of-place, especially Annie Porter, who is now completely irritating and reduced to a damsel in distress.
  18. John Geiger is a poorly developed villain that lacks intimidation, only killing the captain and no one else on the ship, even his death scene is absolutely laughable. He crashes his plane into the antenna of the oil tanker causing fuel to spill out and making the entire tanker explode as a result of the crash.
  19. Annie has a line that calls back to the first film.
  20. The soundtrack, while decent (as mentioned on RQ#6), isn't that memorable.
  21. Weak direction by Jan de Bont.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Willem Dafoe's over-the-top performance as John Geiger can be entertaining at times.
  2. The special effects look pretty good (especially the closing stunts).
  3. The scene where the boat crashes into the dock is pretty decent, except with the car with a dog scene.
  4. Sandra Bullock agreed to star in the film in exchange for financing for her pet project Hope Floats, while Jason Patric used his entire salary from the film to finance his film Your Friends and Neighbors.
  5. Two supporting characters from the first Speed appear, such as Mac (Joe Morton) and Glenn Plummer’s character.
  6. Decent soundtrack from Mark Mancina, who returned for this sequel, despite not being memorable (as mentioned on WINS#19).
  7. The cruise ship looks nice.


Speed 2: Cruise Control received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics and audiences alike. The acting, story, and characters attracted the most criticism, as well as its setting on a slow-moving cruise ship, citing it as less thrilling than that of Speed on a fast-moving bus. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 4% based on reviews from 71 critics, with an average rating of 3.4/10. The website's consensus reads: "Speed 2 falls far short of its predecessor, thanks to laughable dialogue, thin characterization, unsurprisingly familiar plot devices, and action sequences that fail to generate any excitement.". On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 23 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B-" on scale of A to F.

However, famed film critics Gene Siskel [1] and Roger Ebert [2] awarded the film with a "Two Thumbs Up" and were among the very few critics to give the film a positive review. Joel Siegel of ABC's Good Morning America described the film as "Hold your breath action!" and the late Amy Dawes of the Los Angeles Daily News described the film as "Spectacular, it never stops moving, and man, it's fun!" The Atlanta Journal Constitution gave Speed 2 a positive review along with The Sacramento Bee and Andrew Collins of Empire Magazine described the film as "A pedestrian thriller that never captures the thrill of the first, and even more criminally sidelines Bullock."[3]

Before Ebert's death, Ebert stated that his written review of Speed 2 was the one that he had to defend more than any other film that he had reviewed and he stated that it was the one that often cited him as an example of being a poor film critic.[4]

Fellow Los Angeles Times film critic and future guest critic for Siskel & Ebert Kenneth Turan stated in his review of Speed 2 "Even the film's big-ticket closing stunts are more impressive for their size than for any excitement they generate." [5] James Berardinelli of ReelViews stated "Speed 2 can be numbered among the worst second chapters ever made."[6]

Box Office

Speed 2: Cruise Control had a budget of $110 million. The budget then went up to about $135 to $160 million for shooting the finale where the boat crashes into the harbor. In the U.S. and Canada, the film opened at #1 at the box office and made a domestic gross of $16,158,942 on its opening weekend. The film's total domestic gross later went up to $48,608,066. In foreign countries, it made $115,900,000. Overall, the film made $164 million worldwide. Despite grossing more than its estimated budget, Speed 2: Cruise Control was deemed a box office disappointment and was out-grossed by Air Force One and Con Air.[7]

Awards and nominations

Speed 2: Cruise Control was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, Director, Worst Screen Couple and Worst Song for My Dream. The only award the film won was for Worst Remake or Sequel.

Various Negative Comments From Critics

"Speed 2 can be numbered among the worst second chapters ever made." - James Berardinelli of ReelViews

"Even the film's big-ticket closing stunts are more impressive for their size than for any excitement they generate." - Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times

"What a reeking bag of nothingness! What emptiness, what vaporous vapidity! What rot, stink, and whiff of mold spore!" - Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post

"It's still spring, but the films of this benighted summer can't get any worse than Speed 2, which demonstrates with shameless cynicism Hollywood's contempt for its audience." - Peter Keough of The Boston Pheonix

"A waterlogged sequel that'll soon be bottom-feeding with Beyond the Poseidon Adventure." - Mike Clark of USA Today

"Bullock and Patric seem to be extremely good sports, given how little they have to work with (the film is clever, but strangely unengaging)." - Cynthia Fuchs of Philadelphia City Paper

"It's not really worth sinking your time and money into. This movie is more floundering than fun." - Carol Buckland of

"It is exactly the type of movie that gives a bad name to sequels." Madeleine Williams of Cinematter

"I hope that somewhere Keanu Reeves is laughing about being considered a nonactor while the wax dummy Jason Patric has somehow achieved a rep as intense and gifted." - Charles Taylor of

"Speed 2 doesn't have much in mind besides convincing an audience that a runaway ocean liner is a dynamic menace. Fine, but it doesn't beat a runaway bus." - Janet Maslin of The New York Times

Worst Sequel Rankings

Speed 2: Cruise Control has been ranked in various numbers in terms of the worst sequels ever made. On Complex, it was ranked at #1 indicating it as the worst sequel of all time. It was ranked at #5 on Total Film. On, it was ranked at #7. On Entertainment Weekly and Moviefone, it was ranked at #9. On The Independent Top Ten, it was ranked at #3. It was ranked at #10 in the MSN Top 10 list of worst sequels. On Salon Top Ten, it was ranked at #6. On The Sun newspaper's Top Ten, the movie was ranked at #10. On Virgin Media's Top 10 list, it was ranked at #8. On the Toronto Sun Top 25 worst sequels list, it was ranked at #24. On Comcast, it was ranked at #42 on 50 of the worst sequels list.


  • Keanu Reeves was offered $12 million when he was asked to reprise his role of Jack Traven.
  • Before filming began, Keanu refused to reprise his role as Jack Traven and chose to star in The Devil's Advocate with Al Pacino. He also chose to go on tour with his band Dogstar since he hated the script. However, Jack Traven is mentioned (not by full name, but referred to by Annie as "Jack, my last boyfriend") in the movie.
  • Keanu starred in another action film called Chain Reaction, which is another reason why he refused to return.
  • In a 2015 interview on Jimmy Kimmel, Keanu stated that he loved working with Jan de Bont and Sandra Bullock and stated that when he read the script he said, "I love you guys. But, I just can't do it."[8][9]
  • After Keanu Reeves stepped out, there were talks of having various actors as a replacement before Jason Patric was the final replacement choice, including Matthew McConaughey, but he turned it down since he stated that he would be starring in Contact with Jodie Foster. There were even talks of having musician Jon Bon Jovi as the lead male role, but he turned it down as well. Christian Slater and Billy Zane were even offered to star in the film as well. Zane turned down the role to star in Titanic, which came out later that year. Christian Slater turned down the role to star in the first Austin Powers movie. Other choices included Simon Baker Denny, Johnathon Schaech and Patrick Muldoon.
  • Before Willem Dafoe was cast as John Geiger, Gary Oldman was offered the role. But, he turned it down after he stated to Fox that he was going to play the main villain in Air Force One.
  • Rumor has it that the film was originally supposed to be another installment in the Die Hard franchise, which instead happened with Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995.
  • Sandra Bullock hated this movie and has since said that she regrets her involvement in it. Same for Jason Patric.
  • On Rotten Tomatoes, Gene Siskel, Andrew Collins and Roger Ebert were the only critics that gave Speed 2 a positive review.
  • Jan de Bont was forced under contract by Fox to make Speed 2.
  • An episode of the Irish comedy series Father Ted titled "Speed 3" spoofed the film's overall premise, with the plot centering on a milk float that will explode if it goes below four miles per hour.
  • It is revealed that Annie's last name is Porter.


Behind the scenes photo

Model of the ship used in the finale



External links


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