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Movie Review

In 1994, a runaway bus made stars of actress Sandra Bullock and first-time director Jan De Bont. Speed, despite an R rating for moments of extreme violence and numerous uses of the f-word, was a surprise box-office smash. In this summer's hit sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Bullock and De Bont return for another adrenaline rush, joined by new leading man Jason Patric. What's encouraging is that the strongly objectionable elements of the first film didn't hitch a ride.

A luxury liner is hijacked by a vengeful sociopath bent on making an on-board jewel heist and crashing the ship into an island at maximum velocity. It's up to the chivalrous Patric and plucky Bullock, along with the ship's crew, to work together to regain control of the vessel and minimize casualties.

How does Speed 2 throttle back on violence? Its relatively few deaths are implied, showing great restraint for a film of this kind. The mass-destruction of the liner plowing through a busy harbor is tempered with humor. And language? No f-words or misuses of Christ's name this time. Unfortunately, other profanities pop up frequently—and subtle banter suggests that the romantic leads are sexually involved.

While the makers of The Lost World felt the need to try "harder-edged stuff" to lure audiences back for a Jurassic Park sequel, the creative team behind Speed 2 deserves praise for taking the opposite approach, though De Bont and company may not have gone far enough to suit many families.

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