Basic Instinct 2 Michael Caton-Jones

Close, but no cigar. This ten years too late sequel inches very near to being an actual movie before bogging down and petering out. Sharon Stone reprises her star-making role as lascivious novelist Catherine Tramell, this time to raise hell in London and ensnare a variety of suckers in her sexual web of lies.

The main patsy is clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), who's first hired to testify against her when she kills a footballer by driving her car into the drink. Despite the pleading of cop Roy Washburn (a hilarious David Thewlis), he takes her on as a patient and then finds his temperature starting to rise. Initially, so do we, as Michael Caton-Jones directs with an icy swank that befits his trash-writer enigma and cues us for a posh good time.

Unfortunately, he also has to sell the contortions of the plot, which work against the fluidity and don't pay off with the frequency that they should. A half hour in, you start to yearn for the pornographic kick of the dubious original, and as the story gets ever more pointlessly snarled, you start looking at your watch. Giving up is not an option, however, as there are some nice bit performances by a couple of sleaze journalists and a genuine aesthetic sense to the whole enterprise. But in the end, it's not enough and the movie winds up a very near miss.

Those complaining about Stone being over the hill should be advised that she's looking extremely good for 46 and rules the screen next to the hang-dog Morrissey, so it's doubly tragic that her movie doesn't quite come off. (MGM/Sony)