First comes an opportunity, then comes betrayal. T2: Trainspotting centers around the connection between betrayal and revenge.
Sitting down to watch T2, I went in with two questions:
1) What's happened over the past 20 years with this cast of characters, none of whom had a likely long self life.
2) Is this going to even come close to the feverish brilliance of Danny Boyle's 1996 original breakthrough, Trainspotting?
Mark Renton is back in Edinburgh after 20 years and his friends are pissed.
The original film ended as Renton stole 12,000, the take from a profitable drug deal, from his three best friends, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie.
On top of that, he called the cops on Begbie, wanted for armed robbery and the violently dangerous bully of their little group.
Renton had returned Spuds take from their deal at the end of Trainspotting and he's the first person Renton visits now that he's back.
Surprisingly, Spud is not thankful for the cash Renton had left him.
It seems that the money financed Spud's immersion into the world of heroin, which has dogged his life with the losses of his wife and child, and any hope he'd ever had about holding down a job.
Spud is so far gone that when Renton calls on him, he's in the act of attempting suicide.
He doesn't emotionally move far away from that sad despair until the final act of the film.
Renton finds Sick Boy the sleaziest kind of professional blackmailer.
Sick Boy's partner in crime and girlfriend, Veronika replaces Diane as the focus of Renton's dysfunctional lust.
The sadistic and vengeful Begbie has escaped from prison to find out that Renton is back.
That means Renton is not safe, nor is anyone in the path from Begbie, even Spud and Sick Boy, to his revenge.
It's unsure whether Renton's other friends will stand with him through this mortal danger because of how he'd burned them so badly 20 years before.
But Spud and Sick Boy know that Begbie is a danger, even when he's not hunting down Renton and any of his possible accomplices.
He's volatile and unpredictable and they can sleep better when he's back in prison.
So after all this works itself out, the questions is does T2's entertaining sequences, and the nostalgia from the first film equal the amazement we all felt 20 years ago when we walked out of the theater speechless, knowing we had just watched cinematic history.
In a word, no.
A large part of the fun of Trainspotting was being introduced to these characters and their insane natures.
Now that's been established and the first act of T2 feels noticeably emptier.
It doesn't feel like they're reintroduced them properly, even though it answers some questions about how these 4 have been spending these past 2 decades.
The answer is that none of them have been doing much of anything, nor have any of them grown as people at all.
In the end, we're left with a lovely little film in and of itself.
But it doesn't even come close to the hyperactive intensity that defined the original "Trainspotting."