The film follows novelist and suspected serial killer Catherine Tramell, who is once again in trouble with the authorities. Scotland Yard appoints psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass to evaluate her after a man in Tramell's presence dies. As with Detective Nick Curran in the first film, Glass becomes a victim of Tramell's seductive games.
After being in development limbo for a number of years, the film was shot in London from April to August 2005, and was released on 31 March 2006. After numerous cuts, it was released with an R rating for "strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language, and some drug content". Unlike its predecessor, the film received negative reviews and fell short of commercial expectations.
Set in London, the film opens with American best-selling author Catherine Tramell in a speeding car with her companion, Kevin Franks, a famous English football star. Tramell takes the man's hand and begins masturbating with it, all the while increasing her vehicle's speed. At the point of orgasm, Tramell veers off the road and crashes into the West India Docks in Canary Wharf. She attempts to save her partner but, as she says while being questioned by the police, "When it came down to it, I guess my life was more important to me than his".
Tramell is interrogated by Scotland Yard Detective Supt. Roy Washburn, who notes that D-Tubocurarine, a neuromuscular blocking agent used to relax muscles during general anaesthesia, was found in her car and in her companion's body, and the companion wasn't breathing at the time of the crash, and that a man named "Dicky Pep" said that he sold Tramell "15 milliliters of DTC last Thursday". Tramell counters by saying that this Dicky Pep must be lying because "you've got him on some other charge and he's trying to deal his way out, if he even exists".
Tramell begins therapy sessions with Dr. Michael Glass, who has conducted a court-ordered psychiatric exam and given testimony in her case. Glass strongly suspects that Catherine is a narcissist incapable of telling the difference between right and wrong. Tramell begins to play mind games with Glass, who becomes increasingly frustrated with, yet intrigued by, this mysterious woman. Soon, Glass's own life begins a spiral of destruction.
One night, Glass goes on a date with Michelle Broadwin, and has rough, violent sex with her after dealings with Tramell. Glass receives a phone call from his ex-wife, Denise, in a state of distress. Her partner, Adam Towers, a journalist writing a negative story about Dr. Glass, has been found strangled to death. Glass suspects that Tramell committed the murder and is attempting to frame him for it. More murders begin to surface around Glass as his obsession with Tramell grows and his career and life are threatened – he finds his ex-wife in a bathroom with her throat slit after they have an altercation in a bar. Later, Dicky Pep is killed – eventually, he himself can no longer tell right from wrong, and the police begin to suspect Glass of involvement in the crimes. He confronts Tramell at her apartment where they engage in passionate sex.
The situations comes to a head during a confrontation between Glass and Tramell at her apartment where, after a struggle, Glass attempts to kill Tramell. Tramell gives Glass a copy of the draft of her next novel, titled The Analyst. After reading it, he realises that Catherine has novelised most of the recent events with herself and other people related to Glass, even himself, as characters. Then it turns out that the character based on herself is going to kill a therapist based on Glass's colleague, Dr. Milena Gardosh.
Glass runs to Gardosh's apartment to warn her, finding Tramell there to his dismay. Gardosh tells him that he is no longer in charge of Tramell's therapy and that he's going to have his license revoked, due to bad practice regarding Tramell's treatment. There is a struggle between Glass and Gardosh, in which the latter is knocked out. Catherine then threatens Glass with a gun she carries, but Glass takes it away from her. When Washburn arrives at the scene, Glass shoots him because Tramell told him he had killed the girlfriend of one of Glass's patients just to "nail him".
In the final scene, Tramell pays a visit to Glass at a local mental hospital where he has been institutionalised, and he learns from her that the subject of her latest best-selling novel was a man very much like him. Tramell claims that she manipulated Glass into committing all those murders for her own amusement, and flashbacks are shown of Glass committing the murders. Tramell leaves with a wicked smirk on her face, while Glass continues to sit silently in his wheelchair, stymied by frustration and rage.Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell
David Morrissey as Dr. Michael Glass
Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Milena Gardosh
David Thewlis as Roy Washburn
Flora Montgomery as Michelle Broadwin
Heathcote Williams as Dr. Jakob Gerst
Hugh Dancy as Adam Towers
Indira Varma as Denise Glass
Anne Caillon as Laney Ward
Iain Robertson as Peter Ristedes
Stan Collymore as Kevin Franks
Kata Dobó as Magda
Jan Chappell as Angela
Basic Instinct 2 had been in "development hell" for the better part of a decade. In 2000, the film was announced as having a March 2002 release. However, the process of casting the male lead was long and troublesome, with male actors declining the role due to either the level of sexuality or the violence in the film. Original star Michael Douglas declined to reprise his role as Nick Curran, saying that at 61, he was too old for the part and that the film had "been done perfectly effectively the first time". The project was then cancelled, and consequently Stone sued the producers for breach of contract.
Before Michael Caton-Jones finally signed on, several prominent directors were attached to the project, including Jan de Bont, who was cinematographer on the first film, Paul Verhoeven, director of the first film, who chose to make Black Book instead, David Cronenberg, and Die Hard director John McTiernan, whose departure to direct his film Basic triggered Stone's lawsuit.
In 2004, just before Stone's case was brought to trial, both sides settled for undisclosed terms. One of the conditions of the settlement that was made public was that the movie would be made as it had been originally planned. In April 2005, the filmmakers and Stone (who was a key element of her male co-star's casting), chose English actor David Morrissey, and production began.
On 6 February 2006, several film news websites began circulating a short, leaked, and uncensored promotional reel that depicted scenes from the movie. The approximately four-minute promo included clips of explicit love scenes from the film. Two days after it had begun circulating, the official trailer debuted.
On 10 March 2006, Stone's 48th birthday, several deleted scenes from the film appeared online. The scenes did not appear in the finished R-rated theatrical version of the film, nor in the Unrated DVD, and they are presumed to have been given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, which would explain their absence. This website has been shut down and now redirects to Sony's website.
Like the original, the film was initially assigned an NC-17 rating by the MPAA; this was again because of sexual content and graphic violence. Two scenes in particular were cited as the reason for the rating: At one point in the film, Tramell is part of an orgy scene, and she is raped by Glass in another scene. There was a threesome scene as well. Eventually, the rape scene and threesome were cut from the film and an R rating was obtained. According to a November 2005 interview of Morrissey by MTV, the subsequent DVD release should have had all edited scenes restored. The uncut version was released theatrically outside the USA, including Canada; however, the US "Unrated Cut" DVD did not contain an extended orgy scene or any of the threesome scene.
Upon release, the film was heavily panned by critics, audiences, and fans of the original Basic Instinct film alike. Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film No. 89 in the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, with a rating of 7%. Although some critics approved of Stone's performance, it was the film's plot that became the main target of criticism. The film also suffered from comparison to the original Basic Instinct, which was more popular with critics. However, BBC film critic Mark Kermode gave it a positive review. Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 stars out of a possible 4, but nonetheless gave a qualified recommendation of the film despite its flaws.
The most negative criticism however was from director Paul Verhoeven, the director of the original film, who criticized the characters, story, and dialogue.
At the 27th Golden Raspberry Awards, the film (dubbed by the ceremony as "Basically, It Stinks, Too") won four Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Sharon Stone), Worst Prequel or Sequel, and Worst Screenplay (Leora Barish and Henry Bean). It also earned nominations for Worst Director (Michael Caton-Jones), Worst Supporting Actor (David Thewlis), and Worst Screen Couple (Sharon Stone's lopsided breasts).
The film was a noteworthy failure at the box office. Budgeted like a summer blockbuster (the estimated budget was US$70 million), the film grossed only $3,201,420 (averaging just $2,203 per theater) in its first weekend of release in the United States. This placed it a poor 10th in top gross, against such competition as Ice Age: The Meltdown (opening the same weekend), V for Vendetta and Inside Man. Low as the opening weekend was, the second week drop-off was just under 70% to just $1,017,607, averaging a mere $700 per theatre, nearly the worst of the year. (Only Harsh Times and Eragon dropped off more.) In the end, the film was in theatres for only 17 days before Sony decided to stop tracking its progress, and finished with a domestic gross of only $5,971,336.
The film found more success outside the United States, earning $32,658,142, giving Basic Instinct 2 a worldwide theatrical gross of $38,629,478.
Even so, Moviefone ranked the film as No. 16 on its Top 25 Box Office Bombs of All Time.
Plans for a third film have been scrapped due to the film's poor box office reception. However, Stone has reportedly been championing the film's production and, if greenlit, said she would not be starring in the final installment to the series but would hope to instead be its director. As of now, no announcement for the film is on the way.
While the film flopped at the American box office and made only a moderate dent in European and Australian cinemas, it was a minor success on DVD and video. In its first week of release (starting 11 July 2006), it placed third. Counting US rentals alone, the film has earned $21.01 million. R-rated and unrated editions are available on DVD and Blu-ray.