Money Never Sleeps. What kind of a fucking title is THAT?
So for those who were old enough to be around when the first Wall Street came out or those who have seen the film, you'd understand why Oliver Stone wanted to make this one following the 2008 crash of the American economy for the sole reason that the character Gordon Gekko foreshadowed something like this happening in the film 23 years before it actually happened. That's pretty badass filmmaking ja know.
So Wall Street 2 takes place 23 years after the events of the first one. Basically, what you need to know is that Michael Douglas plays Gordon Gekko who was one of the big players in Wall Street in the 80's and he's really corrupt and really powerful and shit but he get's outsmarted by a young Charlie Sheen and is sent to prison. When he get's released, he is sought out by Jake Moore, Gekko's estranged daughter's fiance who wants his help to seek revenge against an evil broker who was responsible for the suicide of his mentor in exchange of helping Gekko rebuild ties with his daughter, as Wall Street is on the brink of the economic meltdown.
I feel sorry for them people who predicted this movie was gonna be so good that it was a shoo-in for Best Picture next year. Hey guys! Hhahahahahaha. Feeling really stupid now huh? And you know what, I blame Oliver Stone for not being able to pull off that Oscar material film even with all the acting and writing calibre Wall Street had.
The key thing that is missing in Money Never Sleeps from Stone's films in the 80's is that it lacks that Oliver Stone punch. The film came off very over indulgent, necessarily slow and had poorly edited montage scenes in bad CGI. What was suppose to be a very sharp film and narrative of corporate America quickly became a sappy soap opera I didn't care for. Mr. Stone, I'm really happy for, Imma let you finish, but I think you should consider retiring now.
But what was great in this is the acting. Seemed like everyone brought their A game in this except Oliver Stone which is kinda sad. Michael Douglas literally makes love to the camera in a triumphant return as a mellower, sort of anti-hero Gordon Gekko. This was how they used to do it back in the day man. He could literally recite a George Bush speech in his slow, cocky style and have you hanging on every word he says. And while he does establish from the beginning that he wants nothing to do with Wall Street anymore, this Gekko feels more dangerous and threatening than in the first film. Because he does such a good job at convincing you of that but you can't help but remember that this is fucking Gordon 'backstabbing' Gekko. Your just waiting through the whole movie to see if he turns around and screws everyone up in the end.
Carey Mulligan, fresh off her Oscar nominated An Education trumps on in her acting glory for this. While I did find her reasons for hating Gekko to be somewhat unrealistic and dumb, there's no denying that she is a fantastic actress and definitely the second best performance in the film. How amazing is it that in a movie with an array of A-list stars backstabbing each other and an endless fashion parade of designer clothes, cars and Apple products; the best scene in the film is one of Carey Mulligan and Michael Douglas just talking to each other on the side of a staircase.
Now let's talk about that Shia boy shall we. Poor guy. He's been getting so much crap for Transformers that people forget that the dude can act. And while I did believe him in the role, I fault my dislike for his character mostly to the writer who made him a version of Bud Fox meets Johnny Fairplay. Your feelings about the guy sways from good guy to villain so many times in this movie because he was that inconsistent when dealing with everything.
And I just gotta talk about the Gordon Gekko/ Bud Fox scene in this movie where we had an interaction between the antagonist and protagonist of the first Wall Street, and my God was it just horrible. Maybe Charlie Sheen was on drugs or something, but I hated seeing what became of Bud Fox, he started out the uncorrectable golden boy of Wall Street to being a richer version of his Two and a Half Men character. That scene was way over indulgent, awkward and should have been left on the cutting room floor.
I think this movie would have been much better if they took away a huge plotline in the film (can't say what without spoiling) and made this a movie of Gordon Gekko. Because he was who I came to see and didn't get enough of. Great acting, horrible directing, very poor editing.
But don't get me wrong, this was still a good film, but by no means great and certainly not worthy to be called Wall Street's sequel.