Remember that time you got gypsy wasted, drunk-dialed The One That Got Away and slurred and stumbled down memory lane? You couldn't shut up about all the crazy shit the two of you did, about the drugs and the sex and how madly in love you were. Then the call ended, and in the time it took you to put down your phone the sappy smile slid from your face and the warm glow turned to ash. If that call were a movie, it would be T2 Trainspotting.
I guess the mid-90s were banner days for movie lovers, because next to 1994's Pulp Fiction one of the all-time best, singularly outstanding, uniquely warped and supremely satisfying expressions of the cinematic arts is 1996's Trainspotting. It was Danny "Boy" Boyle's coming out party as an auteur with whom to be reckoned. It launched the careers of future Obi-Wan Ewan "Nabet" McGregor, future ex-Mr. Angelina Jolie Jonny "General" Lee Miller, future zombie Robert "Staying At The" Carlyle, future alien-bait Ewen "Big Trouble" Bremner and future boardwalk empress Kelly "Old" Macdonald.
A pitch dark comedy centered around a group of amoral, Scottish heroin addicts, Trainspotting leapt off the screen. It had babies crawling on ceilings, an epic soundtrack from end to end and dialogue that sticks in your head decades later. It also featured crib death, the agony of smack withdrawal and statutory rape, but you take the good with bad, right?
T2 Trainspotting - and who the fuck thought that calling it T2 made any fucking sense when that abbreviation is already owned lock, stock and barrel by Terminator 2 - finds McGregor's Renton looking up his old mates after disappearing for 20 years. Bremner's Spud is still a junkie. Miller's Sick Boy has moved on from horse to coke and fancies himself a minor-league crime lord. Carlyle's psycho Begbie has just escaped from prison. And Macdonald's Diane is now an attorney.
The putative new scam aside, T2 Trainspotting is a carbon-fucking-copy of the original . . . minus the originality. It recreates shot after shot from Trainspotting hoping that audiences will point and gasp, "That's how Spud squatted the first time! That's the freeze frame when Renton almost gets run over by the car! There's a shit-covered toilet!" It's like a super group that used to fill arenas playing its six greatest hits over and over at a Podunk county fair.
Renton even delivers an updated version of his famous "choose life" speech. The first time around it was a brilliantly cheeky nihilist tongue fuck. 20 years later, it's two steps away from, "You kids get off my lawn, and pull up your damn pants!" And that's sadder than any set of track marks.
July 14, 2017 Video release review rather than theatrical release review because sick boys should stay out of theaters.