Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
Forget every preconception you might have about Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. While advertising campaigns might have presented it as a topical whodunit set against the backdrop of the recent financial crisis, the reality could not be farther from the truth. What we as viewers are treated to during the course of the only sequel director Oliver Stone has ever produced for one of his original films, is a bizarrely self-conscious load of shit starring non-actor Shia LeBoeuf and a shockingly old Michael Douglas. Oh yeah, and some British chick with shirt hair and the inability to hide her accent while crying – which she does a lot.
To say that Stone has made a career out of putting together vaguely lucid, surreal slices of American mythology would be an understatement. This time around, Stone has decided to skewer the industry that helped shoot him to fame in the original ode to 80's greed, "Wall Street." Let’s start with the murder mystery. There is no mystery. The dude jumped in front of a subway train, in front of a million witnesses, which I was frankly surprised lead to his death given the protective coating of old rich dude fatness that surrounded his entire body.
Ok, so that's out of the way. Next, let's deal with the idea that somehow Douglas and LeBoeuf are trying to 'warn the world' about an impending financial meltdown. Sorry, but no. Beef wants to keep banging Gordon Gekko's daughter, make a ton of cash and at the same time BRING NUCLEAR FUSION INTO THE WORLD. I am absolutely not making that last part up. It's almost as though Stone transplanted part of the script from Superman IV into Wall Street 2, minus the tights and the weird hairdos. Apparently, to make fusion a reality, all you need are $100 million and 39 lasers - or something like that. Maybe sharks with lasers strapped to their head, some Wookie fur, and a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief would help too?
In any case, here are some more spoilers: fusion doesn't happen, Gekko turns out to be a cold, manipulating player, we don't get to see any titties and no one is able to save the economy from itself. Does any of that surprise you? Along the way we are treated to some heavy-handed sermons regarding the idea that no one on Wall Street produces anything of value, that ideas are as worthless as dirt and that an honest day's work trumps pretty much any other career choice. In essence, it's like your grandfather screaming at you during Thanksgiving dinner, only instead of the incontinence and suspenders we get smug self-righteousness from a director who…pretty much has never worked an honest day in his life. I honestly think the same effect could have been achieved by just filming Larry King running off at the mouth for a solid two hours against a black background. It certainly would have been cheaper.
They say you can't go home again, and I wish Stone hadn't tried. I also wish he hadn't loaded the film up with self-referential bullshit, like an incredibly jarring cameo by Charlie Sheen and regurgitated dialogue from the original film. If you want to see a modern take on Wall Street greed, rent Boiler Room and stay the hell away from this shit. At least Vin Diesel embraces his baldness.
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