I barely remember Basic Instinct, apart from a doggy-style and an ice pick. I think I saw it out of the corner of my eye while revising at university – I’m sure it was total shit though, and I listen to Bill Hicks the way credulous people listen to God, so don’t ask me to justify the assumption.
It may be similarly unfair of me to review Basic Instinct 2, because for some reason – it may have been my tight angle on the TV screen elongating everyone’s faces – I found myself convinced that the male lead was in fact ginger ninja Mark Gattiss of The League of Gentleman, with the unfortunate knock-on effect that everybody else on screen must therefore be one or the other of his friends, frequently in drag. Much better drag than normal, admittedly, but some of the faces don’t look like much of a stretch for those talented chaps – David Thewlis would pass through Royston Vasey unremarked unless he happened to bump into Angry Mike. So when the post-coital Gattiss pads over to the fridge for milk, closes the door then goes back for a double take, I’m expecting to see a severed head with a raw sausage in its mouth peeking out from behind the last night’s casserole. When Charlotte Rampling says “She’s my patient now,” a gravelly voice in my mind’s ear instantly supplies the missing “Daaaaavvvve”. There’s even a Herr Lipp.
But this is all beside the point: this is a film in which the top billing (in order of appearance, true, but nevertheless) is ex-footballer, ex-ex-beater Stan Collymore who, it could be said, leapfrogs all of Vinnie Jones’s cinematic triumphs simply by playing a terminal game of motorway stink finger. There’s not as much fucking as in the first one, but to compensate it is less explicit too. Oh, and Michael Douglas’s sprinting cameo in the comedy madhouse at the end is an absolute scream. What more can I say? Bollocks.
Although… Well, the shocking twist is that taken as a piece of modern film noir, it’s not bad. Even the actual twist is played with a modicum of skill, simply presenting a new interpretation, undermining certainty – which, if one is to be exceedingly generous towards this franchise, is the real point about what goes on at every turn. Apart from the fucking. So, in the context of what it is a part of, Basic Instinct 2 deserves a little cutting of the slack. The one loose end is Collymore; no-one bothers to explain his significance to the greater events that follow. But then that’s been true ever since he left Forest…