No Train, No Gain

Nicole M. Campbell is a KFI editrix. She thought Adrien Brody's Jamaican thing that one time on SNL was funny and doesn't think it merited a lifetime ban from the show. This week, the Girl on Film gives us her review of a sequel that sings, "T2 Trainspotting."

Sequels are a fickle feature of film. They have a built-in fan base but that doesn't always translate into big box office. They need to be different than the original but not so far off the mark that the movie loses what it made it good in the first place. 

Blissfully, "T2 Trainspotting" manages to avoid the sophomore slump. Several things make it superb. First, all the actors who appeared in the first "Trainspotting," which came out in 1996, are back. Director Danny Boyle is too. It feels like heroin home. 

"Trainspotting" made a star out of Ewan McGregor and he's just as good this time around. His Mark Renton has filled out but that's a good thing. No Dad bod here; Renton is just healthy and drug-free. 20 years after he ripped off his friends by stealing money from their drug deal, Renton returns to Edinburgh to make amends. Sick Boy is there to greet him. He now goes by Simon, but that's about the only adult thing about him. Goofy, lovable Spud is still kicking around too, even if he hasn't managed to kick drugs. And yes, Begbie is back. He's the only squad member who has aged significantly. Inner rage will do that to you. 

"T2 Trainspotting" manages to pull off a couple of things I've never seen in a sequel - namely, the fact you don't have to have seen the first movie to get and enjoy the second. Flashbacks are sprinkled throughout the sequel. It's a trip to see a painfully thin, sweaty McGregor in the 1996 version, all shaved head and gap-toothed grin. 

Music played a big part in "Trainspotting." Indeed, its soundtrack is a pitch-perfect slice of '90s Britain. There are callbacks on that front too. The last scene is particularly effective, tying the two movies together perfectly.

There's music of another sort at work in T2. My last name is Campbell so I'm biased, but listening to the Scottish burr was a most pleasing melody to my moviegoing ears. For the uninitiated, the accent is hard to grasp at first. But the movie goes meta with bursts of English subtitles during an opening scene. It's just one of the many amusing moments in the film. 

My only niggling complaint is the title. It's too close to the Terminator sequel from 1991. But in this era of derivative drivel being spewed from studios, "T2 Trainspotting" is a shiny second offering.

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