Basic Instinct 2: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Review)
Release Date(s)2006 (November 27, 2018)
Studio(s)Sony Pictures (MVD Marquee Classics)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B+
Basic Instinct, the 1992 thriller starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, was a superior erotic thriller. It was a film that made its way into pop culture with excellent acting and strong direction from Paul Verhoeven. Fourteen years later, Basic Instinct 2 came into being, but without Douglas or Verhoeven.
The sequel once again features Catherine Tramell (Stone), a novelist with a hearty appetite for sex and possibly murder, in trouble with the law again after a death occurs in her presence. Scotland Yard appoints a psychiatrist, Dr. Glass (David Morrissey), to study the case and evaluate Tramell. Rather predictably, Glass is entranced by her and is soon lured into seductive, sexual games.
In its Unrated form, Basic Instinct 2 is nearly two hours of pure ho-hum. Sharon Stone hands in a decent, if a bit flat performance while her character becomes annoying after a while. Outside of Tramell, the other characters are just bland. Michael Douglas, the star of the first film, declined to reprise his role as Nick Curran, saying that the original film had "been done perfectly effectively the first time." On the positive side, Gyula Pados provides superb cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith offers good musical themes, but they’re not enough to save the film.
Erotic thrillers have also become more passé now. They’re nowhere near as prevalent as they were in the 1980s and 1990s and fourteen years was a bit too long of a wait to make a sequel. Offering nothing more than gratuitous nudity, Basic Instinct 2 even took home awards from the Golden Raspberry Awards for worst actress (Stone), worst sequel, worst picture, and worst screenplay, and was also nominated for worst director and worst supporting actor. The consensus that a sequel wasn’t necessary is perfectly valid, especially since the results are nowhere close to capturing the magic of the original.
Basic Instinct 2 was given a Blu-ray release by Sony in 2006 and was a purportedly lackluster package. MVD Maruqee Classics gives it a second try, offering an improvement over its predecessor with both the R-rated and Unrated versions of the film. Grain is present throughout with bold colors and accurate flesh tones. Daytime scenes look particularly sharp with great detail while nighttime scenes offer decent black levels minus any overt crush. It should be noted that some of the scenes in the Unrated cut still appear soft, with one scene in particular appearing heavily saturated in yellow.
In the audio department, the R-rated version offers options in English 5.1 LPCM, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. The Unrated version is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 LPCM, and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. In general, all of these tracks sound rich and clear with no detectable issues. Dialogue exchanges are sharp while the sound effects and score, including car chases and sexual moans and groans of delight, are flawless. The Unrated version’s 2.0 option seems to be the most aggressive overall. Optional English subtitles are also available.
There are also plenty of extras to choose from, including an audio commentary by director Michael Caton-Jones, which is available on both versions; the Between the Sheets: A Look Inside Basic Instinct 2 featurette; 10 deleted scenes with optional director commentary (Catherine Reminisces, Michael Arrives at Clinic, Michael Meets Milena, Waiting for Dr. Glass, Michael Watches Catherine, Michael Discusses with Milena, Catherine Arrives Drenched, Catherine Entices Milena, Lt. Phil Walker, Alternate Ending); and a set of trailers for the film itself, Art School Confidential, Angel Town, Autumn in New York, 37: A Final Promise, Crazy Six, and Out of Time.
Basic Instinct 2 was released fourteen years too late, but for fans of the film, the MVD Marquee Classics Blu-ray release offers a nice package with both cuts of the film, satisfactory A/V quality, and a wealth of extras.
– David Steigman