It’s been 20 years since the last time we saw unrepentant junkie and thief Mark (Ewan McGregor) in the original Edinburgh-set “Trainspotting.” At that time, he was waffling between addiction and sobriety. Even in that condition he had enough clarity to screw his best friends Simon aka Sick (Jonny Lee Miller), gentle Spud (Ewen Bremner) and violent-tempered Franco (Robert Carlyle) out of a massive sum of money in a drug deal scam.
Neither Simon nor Franco are happy to hear that Mark has returned. On the other hand, Spud, whom Mark left a small portion of the booty, feels a certain loyalty to his old friend. After doing serious bodily harm to each other, Mark and Simon find accord. The three old friends unite to convert Simon’s pub into a brothel, even securing a considerable small business loan from the government. Nevertheless, the plan is destined to go awry due to old wounds that never properly healed. Mark becomes attracted to Veronika. Simon’s blackmail scheme leads to his arrest, and Mark’s reunion with Diane (Kelly Macdonald) now a high-priced attorney. And, of course, Franco, who is disappointed in son Frank Jr.’s unwillingness to follow his father into a life of crime, is bent on revenge when he learns that Mark has returned.
As exhilarating and darkly funny as the original, as sequels go T2 is more on par with The Godfather Part 2 than say Jaws 2. The film is trademark Danny Boyle; down to the random use of subtitles, various visual effects and indelible scenes (see: the pub sing-along). Boyle makes outstanding use of flashbacks and references (see: the toilet) while never allowing the first film to overtake its follow-up. As in the case of the Trainspotting, T2 also makes awesome use of music which will surely make the soundtrack for this film as popular as it was for the first one. Rating: A-