With Detective Slocumb in hot pursuit, the girls are left with only visions of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Lucci) to guide them.
Hollywood generally considers sequels as easy money. Consequently, rather than alienating fans of a movie by trying something new, filmmakers tend to serve up a rehashed version of the original. As a result, most sequels are merely faded carbon copies of the original film.
Periodically, though, someone takes a gamble. Sometimes it pays off; Hannibal is a perfect example. While much different than its predecessor (and critically panned), it still managed to find an audience and succeed at the box office, even with a new leading lady and a new director, Ridley Scott.
Perhaps coincidentally, Ridley hands the directing reins over to brother Tony Scott on a film that might not have seemed a likely candidate for a sequel. But Thelma & Louise 2 proves that original ideas can still be found in Hollywood.
The sequel picks up several years after the fatal trip of Thelma and Louise. The two have become local legends in their Arkansas hometown, to the chagrin of Detective Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel). When the local high school falls prey to a gun-wielding student (Eminem, in an outstanding debut), good girls Selma (Reese Witherspoon) and Bernice (Sara Gilbert) find themselves disillusioned with the town’s declaration of peace and unity. They decide to follow the trail of their idols, Thelma and Louise, and head for Mexico, taking the school gunman with them.
Scott, director of such action classics as Top Gun and The Last Boy Scout, pumps up the adrenaline in this cross-country chase. With Detective Slocumb in hot pursuit, the girls are left with only visions of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Lucci) to guide them. Selma and Bernice soon develop a spiritual connection with the two pioneering ladies, who visit them in dreams. Ultimately, the girls face a choice not unlike that of their heroes.
Witherspoon dazzles as the newly independent Selma, and Gilbert is terrific as the wisecracking Bernice. But the real breakout is Eminem as a gay student pushed to violence by intolerant peers. He shows a depth and range that assure numerous accolades – and future film roles. Unfortunatley, scheduling conflicts kept Susan Sarandon from reprising her Academy-Award-nominated role as Louise, but Lucci actually brings a gritty determination to the role that was missing from Sarandon’s performance.
The best thing about Thelma & Louise 2 is it avoids the traps of most sequels. It is its own movie; with its own story and style. I’m telling you, it’s going to be great, if they ever get around to making it.
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