Tony Scott directing this movie makes so much sense in hindsight. It explains why it’s so damn lovable and cheesy 80s action movie. As a sequel it takes everything from the first movie and makes it bigger, badder, louder and funnier, hence Axel this time around being way more arrogant and flashy. There’s a lot of energy here, which suits the outlandish tone perfectly. You might even say the movie is almost as if it was on fire. The difference in tone between this and the first movie is pretty big, but not in a detrimental way. This time it’s very outrageous and in your face about everything, and somehow it all manages to feel like a natural evolution from the previous movie. I think part of that can be explained with the way the movie manages to make it feel like time has organically moved forward during the time gap between the two movies, and the characters themselves have grown and become more developed. The sequel doesn’t have a feeling like there’s been a blatant time skip, as much as the movie serves as a window further into the lives of the characters, if that makes sense.
The bad guys themselves are again entirely one dimensional in this but it doesn’t bother me a bit, that’s pretty standard for the era, and what they lack in depth they more than make up in powerful screen presence. Brigette Nielsen in particular was great in her villainous second-in-command role. Being the face of the robbery in her striking, entirely white outfit at the opening heist really gave her a lot of gravitas in connection to the plot, as well as added the robbery an additional level of sexiness and electric charge. Being in charge of timing the robberies also gave her that cool “strong woman in charge” vibe that made her feel important. Add that to her iconic heist outfit, and despite otherwise having very little screen time, she truly ends up becoming one of the highlights of the entire movie. Even Dean Stockwell was good in his minuscule scapegoat role, I didn’t mind it at all that he didn’t get to do almost anything.
Before I forget, I have to bring up the soundtrack and how great it was. The entire opening of the movie wouldn’t have worked so well were it not for the great combination of music to go with the intense jewelry shop heist and the following Eddie Murphy intro with him Ferrari cruising the town in his expensive suit. They’re super catchy tunes and very effortlessly determine and solidify the overall mood and tone for the movie. It’s hard to imagine the movie without them, they fit in so perfectly. The soundtrack was already pretty good in the first movie but somehow they managed to amp it up a notch higher in quality even on this department. This movie is just absolute blast to watch, it’s a bit painful to think how wrong it all goes with the third installment. They pretty much had perfected the formula with this movie.