Jake Moore is an up and coming Wall Street broker who works for Keller Zabel Investments, a bank that goes down the tube in the onset of the recession. For complicated wibbly-wobbly financial reasons, Jake blames his boss and mentor's subsequent suicide on bastardly hedge fund manager Bretton James. Coincidentally, Jake's future father-in-law is none other than Gordon Gekko, who's back on his feet after a long stretch in jail for insider trading and wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter in exchange for helping Jake exact revenge.
With me? Nah, I thought not. What Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is missing, desperately, is Martin Sheen. It's not that it's not good to see Michael Douglas reprising his most iconic role, because there's absolutely nothing wrong with his second run as the manipulative Gekko. It's just that Martin Sheen was arguably the heart and soul of the first film, which was predicated on chastising the wealthy and the greedy. The elder Sheen was the film's conscience, while Charlie, his son on-screen and in real life, dicked around with everyone's money and getting rich in the process.
|He researched the market and the brokers for the role, but forgot to learn how to act...|
The film's problems aren't exclusively down to LaBeouf, who just can't carry a film, let alone this film. It's also down to a de-toothing of the material. I've mentioned that there's nothing really wrong with Douglas' performance, but there is a problem with the way Gordon Gekko is written. He's not the suited shark that we saw first time around, mostly because Stone favoured Josh Brolin's hedge fund bastard as the villain instead. There's also a distinct lack of the sharp dialogue that marked him apart in the first place. Eli Wallach gets more zingers in as a batty old investment banker than Douglas does as Gekko.
Moreover, the film is so over-plotted that there is not a lot of room for clever dialogue after all the exposition is put out there. There is exposition about the same kind of stuff BBC News 24 was running with about a year ago. There is exposition about who Gekko's daughter is, despite how Carey Mulligan is as woefully underused as her female forebears in the first film. Fuck, there's even an expository cameo by the minor Sheen, explaining what he's doing, despite the fact that Stone didn't think he was important enough to revisit properly. The excess of plot, even for the overlong running time, leads to a deficit of audience interest. Money never sleeps, but you might.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps comes out as a disappointingly gummy sequel to the incisive satire of the original. It can only have been held back from its original April release date for one reason, and that's in the hope of Oscar eligibility. With the dead weight of Shia LaBeouf around its neck, Oliver Stone shouldn't be counting his statuettes. Michael Douglas shows him how it's done, but to paraphrase Gekko in the original film, this sequel creates nothing.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is now showing at cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, why not share your comments below? If you're Steven Spielberg, I know you're a smart guy and a great director, so please tell me what the hell you see in that overpaid twerp that you turned into a star?
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.