Reviewed by: Ken James
Something’s wrong with “Cruise Control”. The speed is there, but it sure is a bumpy ride.
Sandra Bullock is back again as Annie Porter, an innocent lovable all-American romantic girl tied up in an out-of-control ride. Sound familiar? If you’re hoping for a smash hit similar to the original “Speed”, sorry to disappoint you, but this sea-sick thrill ride lacks much of the great innocence that was refreshingly found in the original.
So, does something seem a little less sinister and scary when we move from a rocketing bus rigged to explode, dodging motorists in downtown L.A., to a luxury cruise liner set on a collision course with an island in the Bahamas?
At least Bullock is the same quick-witted brunette that we have come to know and love in the original “Speed”, “The Net”, and “While You Were Sleeping”. Who is her romantic sidekick for this journey? Not Keanu Reeves. Maybe their relationship forged in disaster didn’t make the long-haul. This time it’s L.A.P.D. swat team member Alex Shaw (Jason Patric). He’s much too serious and stone-faced in my opinion, but “intriguing” at the same time.
The deranged lunatic, John Geiger (masterfully performed by Willem Dafoe) is a mentally, emotionally, and physically ill ex-employee of the cruise liner business royally ticked off for being fired as an on-board computer designer. He has a big problem with forgiveness and holds some major grudges against the industry. He should have heeded the advice given throughout the most popular book ever sold (the Bible) and forgiven those who he felt wronged against. But instead, he decides to take control of nearly every action the cruise ship makes with his portable high-tech computerized devices. His short term plans also contain setting off a bunch of bombs, stealing a multi-million dollar jewelry collection, killing some people, then escaping before the cruise liner runs into an oil tanker or an island, whichever comes first. Pretty full day, wouldn’t you say? Yes, he’s a genuis with a purpose. But rest assured that chainsaw-wielding while cocktail-dress wearing Annie and her LAPD daredevil boyfriend, Alex (along with the help of the ships skeleton crew) will save the day. The last fifteen minutes of the film are obviously the climax of the film as this huge sea-faring vessel collides with numerous other ships and even a busy tropical port! Now that was worth seeing.
As for “romance”—Alex and Annie are never shown in their “intimate” moments, but with the lingerie she brings aboard and the scenes of the two of them in the same bed, we can safely assume premarital sex is not looked upon as a bad thing. On the positive side, marriage is discussed throughout the film as a “big commitment” and one to not take lightly. About a dozen obscenities or profanities, some hitting one right after the other, are included. Some slightly risque situations are presented with several passengers as they undress (no nudity is shown) to cover some vents in which gas is escaping, and while one attractive woman says she can’t help in that way because she’s “not wearing any underwear.” That’s the tantalizing part of the whole film.
There were several cool accents—Irish, Caribbean, etc. But whatever the deal was with the on-board entertainment in the beginning of the cruise, I do not know. They looked Caribbean and acted Caribbean, but why they were singing in Portuguese?
“Cruise Control” is fast-paced and slightly-romantic, but predictable and lacking luster. Don’t see this if you’re hoping to re-enter the thrill of a ride with the original “Speed.”