The Net 2.0 (2006) / Thriller-Action

MPAA Rated: R for violence (I'd rate it PG-13)
Running Time: 86 min.

Cast: Nikki Deloach, Neil Hopkins, Demet Akbag, Sebnem Donmez, Keegan Connor Tracy, Guven Kirac
Director:
Charles Winkler
Screenplay: Rob Cowan
Review published December 17, 2005

Probably near the top of the list of sequels that never needed to be made is The Net 2.0, an in-name-only sequel to 1995's very modest hit, The Net

The premise is simple: an attractive American computer systems analyst (Deloach, An American Carol) takes a job in Istanbul, only to find that her identity has been stolen and she can't prove who she is anymore.  Worse, she is being branded as a criminal, and with the police after her, she will have to find out who is doing this to her and why, before her life is ruined forever.

Mistake #1: No Sandra Bullock.  The only reason most people bothered to watch the first Net film was due to Bullock's presence, coming off of two popular and appealing movies, Speed and While You Were Sleeping.  This film has Nikki Deloach, coming off of the failed TV series, "North Shore", here in her first starring vehicle. 

Mistake #2: The characters are different.  The Net 2.0 isn't continuation, or even a spin-off, of The Net, leaving the few fans of the first film with no real identity for this second entry.  Basically, the creators of this one must be assuming that people want to see more "victim of the internet" action, regardless of the characters or actors that portray them.  Calling this The Net 2.0, ironically, is a form of identity theft in and of itself.

Mistake #3: No need for a another one. Hardly anyone really liked the first film, much less loved.  Completist Bullock fans may not have minded picking up a copy of The Net on DVD for a bargain bin price, but practically no one else would.  It only grossed $50 million when it was first released; it's not exactly a blockbuster.  Making a "sequel" to it a decade later, when nearly everyone has either forgotten the first film or just don't care, defies any logic or rationale.

Mistake #4: Shooting this movie to digital.  Granted, shooting to film probably wasn't affordable for the producers of this rather low budget thriller, but the one thing that could have made this bad movie tolerable would be for some nice cinematography in and around Turkey.  There are some aerial shots and scenes inside some exotic locales, but they end up looking murky and ill-defined thanks to the limitations of the equipment this film was shot on.  That the director decides to try to increase dramatic tension through gimmicks like constant freeze frames only makes this less attractive.

Mistake #5: Making this nothing less than a regurgitation of a retread of a Hitchcock staple.  The first Net was already a blatant imitation of standard Hitchcock fare, but this one is an imitation of The Net, which makes it unoriginal a couple times over.  There are consequently no real surprises, making this a very boring movie very quickly.  Despite being under 90 minutes in duration, you'll feel every single tick of the clock as it slowly crawls by.

If you read this and still plan on seeing it, at least make it a drinking game and take a drink for every time the main character's name is mentioned, Hope Cassidy.  You'll be comatose before a half hour passes, if you don't fall asleep from the monotony first.

With the only correlation between The Net and The Net 2.0 coming from some similar subject matter, as well as the fact that the director of this one (Charles Winkler) is the son of the director of the first one (Irwin Winkler), while the writer (Rob Cowan) produced the first film, there is absolutely no reason anyone to watch this cheapie substandard thriller, even if you liked the first film.  They already followed the first film with a TV series no one cared about, I think it's time the creative minds at Sony just let it go.  Dull, forgettable, and a waste of time, The Net 2.0 is about as slow and frustrating as surfing the net with a 14.4k modem.

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo