Rob Reviews "T2: Trainspotting"
When a film takes over two decades between installments, the trap that they seem to fall into is trying to BE its predecessor(s) than their own stories. There is an old saying that Father Time is undefeated, and people age. Even when Hollywood recasts the role to try to match timelines better, they still fall short of expectations for the most part.
The good news is that “T2: Trainspotting” is less of a sequel to the 1996 cult hit from Danny Boyle and more of a continuation with a twenty-one year “vacation”. (There was actually a sequel book written called “Porno,” but only elements of that book are used here.) Renton (Ewan MacGregor) returns to Scotland after the events of the first film to reconnect with his old friends Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Spud (Ewen Bremmer) to not only face them but some of his own demons as well. There is also the issue of the freshly broken out of prison Begbie (Robert Carlyle), who would like to “meet with” Renton as well.
It is hard to imagine that there is any storytelling left to do after “Trainspotting,” but that is not really what director Danny Boyle and writer John Hodge adapting Irvine Welsh’s material are trying to do. There are still some of the visual elements of the original here, but for the most part this is a story all of its own about time, vengeance, friendship, and consequences. The cast is just as good this time around as they were the first time, and the time since then has served all of them well. I think the most jarring job with aging here is Carlyle as he has gone from the small-time crook with big dreams to the hardened criminal who wants to pick up where he left off and maybe settle some scores as well. There are also some nice moments that pay homage to the first film including some of the cast members.
I was also impressed with the fact that given how long ago I saw the first film, I did not feel lost by this one. Other than reading its page on Wikipedia, there was no pre-movie homework that I did, but this film tells the story in a way that it keeps the audience refreshed on the happenings of the first film without beating us over the head with “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE!!!!!” types of dialogue or flashback. And those reminders really work themselves well into this story. In some respects, one could almost not have seen “Trainspotting” at all and still be able to keep up with what is going on here. And it is also very visible that this entire cast had a ton of fun putting on these old characters that in some cases helped put them on the map for another go ‘round.
With there already rumors of a third film, expect “T2: Trainspotting” to be one of those movies that will satisfy fans of the original and even bring in some new fans that will have their interest piqued to go back and watch the first film even after seeing this one. It may not make a ton of “Best of” lists for 2017, but it is still an enjoyable experience that had me both shaking my head and laughing out loud, both in the appropriate places.