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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 August 2014
Wall Street remains a firm favourite of mine with the edgy plot, excellent cast and back to a time when Oliver Stone could dish out the on screen goodies as good as anyone sitting in the director's chair. In short Oliver Stone = Interesting well made movies with real edge.

I had mixed feelings about watching this film, partly because Stone's more recent films paled compared to previous productions and secondly the cast, Douglas aside I wasn't convinced Shia LaBeouf (fine for Transformers) was up to the job of this kind of role, and on both counts the film comes up short but the problems go beyond Stone and a single actor. The other problem is the original Wall Street, being such an iconic film for many just didn't really need a sequel hence the term "why bother" springs to mind.

Anyway onto the plot, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is released from prison after serving him time for insider trading (at this point we still have the bones of what could be a decent sequel) However Gekko is not the ruthless trample on everyone financial war monger he used to be, he's now a reformed man. Gekko sets about trying to "put right" his relationship with his distant and unforgiving daughter Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan) who is less than happy about the Gekko legacy of corruption and greed as well as the suicide of her brother which she blames Gekko for
She happens to be dating a young up and coming trader Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf) who soon ends up helping Gekko try to rebuild his father/daughter relationship and in return Gordon will help Jacob get revenge on the man who pushed his MD (Louis Zabel ) played by Frank Langella to suicide. The predictable bad egg character in this case is Josh Brolin as Bretton James head of the investment bank which put Louis in a tight spot.

Firstly a few problems start to arise, the film is trying to do too much at the same time. We have Gekko trying to make amends for his past deeds and iffy role as a father. The second if a fairly predictable financial revenge plot which fails to excite. Josh Brolin isn't bad (think of him as the more up to date Gekko type) but evidently Javier Bardem was due to play the role but backed out. After Bardem's outstanding bad guy role in "Skyfall" it might have added some edge to the character. Still either way the screen play and script lack sparkle and hit merely competent at best.

The other "crime" is with recent events (the huge financial crisis that hit all over the world), mixed with one of the most iconic "bad boy" business characters aka Gekko, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it would be a white knuckle ride that would have your palms sweating on the crushed cheque book and visa card. Sadly neither is the case as Stone plods along with his "passable/watchable" film that just fails to land the punches it could have.
It's not a good film, it's not truly awful either it shifts a few hours of time and is nothing more or less than acceptable. I can't blame single cast members, though I feel LaBeouf just isn't right for this role. Few cast members stand out, though I can see Douglas is trying, it would be no understatement to say that "Gekko" is and remains his defining role he played so brilliantly in the original film. However you can only work with what you are given, and the script/story just don't shine, the directing is laid back and has no real edge.

I feel sorry for Douglas in a way, this could have been a strong film despite the loyal fan base who feel no sequel is needed. Stone has sadly spent too much time on the "personal side" and taken no risks. And the reformed good guy Gekko just doesn't work. What could have hit the spot is the eager and hungry "older Gekko" could have been released from prison and gone back to his old ways, the powerhouse of financial fear, the take no prisoners tread on everyone Gekko we all know and love to hate. With the financial meltdown real world events you could easily have made a story with a few "shirts getting lost" big time.

There are other potential story lines, but all of this is merely academic. As one film friend said to me "you don't make a sequel to Wall Street without busting a gut to make a damn good movie, or trying as hard as you can" Stone neither tries nor really ever gets into the skin of the film. We even get the obligatory Charlie Sheen (Bud Fox) very small cameo role which does nothing at all to add to the film.
What a shame, at best it passes some time it's watchable, but watch this back to back with the first Wall Street and you'd be forgiven for thinking the two films were made by entirely different people. Could have been a corker, ended up tainting the bottle a bit.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Oliver Stone's films are normally heavy going, humourless and preachy; he likes to smash the audience over the head with his moralising and in "JFK" he got almost everything factually wrong. However, I always appreciated the original 1987 "Wall Street" for its sharp screenplay, superlative acting and editing and morally astute "greed-is-NOT-good" message. It's fair to say that Michael Douglas's devastating performance as Gordon Gekko defined the original film's core in personifying the selfish, cold, win-at-all-costs immorality of the long-gone 1980s.

So 23 years on, what of this belated sequel, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"? Well, Stone is now a better film-maker, matured and wiser. He has crafted a near-excellent lesson in morality attacking this time not the activities of a few rogue traders, but the systemic corruption and imbalances inherent in a banking system with little external oversight or realistic internal managerial prudence which allows for continued out-of-control borrowing, leverage and debt-trading on insubstantial property assets on a truly galactic scale, to the point where it cracks and the global economy is almost brought to its knees. These guys can, at the end of the day, virtually dictate that government steps in to save them from going under because the consequences of failing to shore up the financial system are too awful to contemplate: social and economic meltdown, the "end of the world."

Douglas resurrects his memorable role as Gordon Gekko in a second career-landmark performance, if anything even sharper than in the 1987 film. He has some killer lines ("If you stop telling lies about me, I'll stop telling the truth about you" and "Hey! If someone were to take out this building right now, there'd be no-one left to rule the world!" stand out in memory). Released from jail after eight years, having lost his son to suicide following psychiatric breakdown he has searched his troubled soul and seems reformed. Daughter Winnie (played tearfully in a so-so performance by Carey Mulligan) is doing OK with fiancé stockbroker Jake Moore (played well by Shia LaBeouf, though as an actor he possibly lacks the gravitas the role calls for). Winnie will have nothing to do with newly-released and rehabilitated Pop, distrusts him and hates him for tearing the family apart, causing her brother's death and tarnishing her name. It's up to Jake to finally reunite them in (a rather formulaic Hollywood scene of) tearful forgiveness, though the journey is a rocky road and takes time.

Having rediscovered his moral compass behind bars, Gordon has a new book published to coincide with his release. The book exposes the house of cards which is the western financial system, built on debt and promise-to-pay-eventually and motivated by greed whilst backed by insufficient assets. Gordon's book proves prophetic as the global credit crunch unfolds through 2007 and 2008. A killer scene where Gordon gives a presentation to several hundred finance students and players in a lecture hall, complete with black humour and devastating one-liners, may be destined to become one of cinema's most iconic moments. "You're the NINJA generation", he quips, "No Income, No Job or Assets."

Without giving too much of the plot away, one of the main storylines is the engineered collapse of Lehman Bros - disguised in the film under another name as Jake's employer - and Jake's quest for revenge against the instigators with the covert assistance of Gordon. A new villain, Master-of-the-Universe Bretton James (played to suitably demonic effect by Josh Brolin), who of course Jake gets real close to, takes centre stage as The Bad Guy. The amorality of the game everyone is forced to play in the banking and stock-trading world is nailed to a "T" with some masterful observations by Stone. A little heavy-handed at times he may be, but he shows you the way it is, no holds barred. The screenplay is a devastating critique, fast-paced and tightly scripted and holds the attention mostly, though it's not exactly cliché-free.

Where the film falls short is in the family-relationship and personal redemption department, which is almost classic Hollywood and doesn't really come off as well as the hard-hitting message about the financial system. It's just OK, but not altogether convincing. Stone manages to incorporate his alternative green-energy obsessions (in this case, hi-tech fusion) as the neglected Cinderella of big financial investment and there is, at a personal level, a happy ending of sorts for the three main characters. No-one comes out smelling of roses, but sure enough, Gordon is in the end redeemed.

David Byrne's excellent music provides a quality soundtrack perfect for the film's mood. The supporting cast is good, especially Susan Sarandon as Jake's mother whose character has forsaken her career as a nurse (i.e. someone performing a job of real social value who "makes a difference") in order to become a real-estate speculator and make money in the casino economy until everything goes pear-shaped for her and she loses it all (go on, Oliver, ram your morality message home some more, why don't you?). The plot is fast-paced and convoluted, so you need to pay attention. Is it worth seeing? Yes, it is. It's a serious film and a good one, if not quite a great one. Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Hmm. Not bad. But it lacks the impact of Wall Street 1.

Here Gekko, newly released from jail, has been tamed somewhat. The picture on his apartment wall featuring the Dutch tulipmania craze shows he still has one eye on the madness of the market. There is still some fight left in him.

The action in the movie takes place in the setting of the 2007-08 subprime crisis.

I found the romance thing a bit contrived. These two were an unnatural pairing.

As a rule I like Oliver Stone's movies, but felt he was cashing in on the film's predecessor to some extent. However, Wall Street 2 is a good film. But Gekko is the real star here - as indeed he was in Wall Street 1.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I will say the acting was good and the film moved along. The opening scene of Gordon Gekko (Michael Milken type) getting out of prison and getting his belongings made me long to watch the "Blues Brothers." The soundtrack sounds like a bad Beatles cover bad. They really didn't think hard there. Once out, Gordon writes a book about the coming collapse on Wall Street. The crash of 2008 provides a background of corruption, greed, stock manipulation, etc. for a drama that centers around Gordon, his estranged daughter and her Wall Street boyfriend. If you are looking for a good film which exposes the collapse, this isn't it. If you are looking for a movie which is true and the names of the characters have been changed, this isn't it. If you are looking for a heart warming drama with a happy ending, you've come close, but a lot of the background jargon interferes that warm and fuzzy feeling you are supposed to develop for the characters. Cary Mulligan as Winnie was perhaps the person we could identify with the most, although her character's disdain for her father was a bit unbelievable. This appears to be a half-hearted effort by Oliver Stone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 December 2013
This film arrives with impressive credentials, how could it possibly live up to its predecessor. Contrary to expectations Oliver Stone, an unsubtle and bombastic director, has produced a fairly disposable lifestyle movie with a comfortable moral at its heart.

Although like its predecessor it has a Byrne/Eno soundtrack, it is not the harsh mechanical tracks from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, but later far more mellow fare.

Throughout it is shot like an advert for the lifestyles of rich bankers. The film does not so much hit the odd wrong note within a symphony, as attempt to play Beethoven on a stylophone. The banking jargon is all complete cobblers, the characters are either stereotypes or unconvincing, and the best thing here is Michael Douglas tired but still retaining a dangerous twinkle in his eye.

If you can discard any expectations of a hard edged and insightful critique of the 2007/8 crash, then this is impressive eye candy, constantly engaging, and it rightly puts Douglas at its centre, as a reformed and contrite Gordon Gekko, or is he?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2012
The long overdue sequel. I was really anxious for this movie to come out, as the original was legendary. (which also was released during a wall street crash). As expected, Michael Douglas cooly plays a seasoned (post-prison) Gordon in masterful fashion. Regrettably, Charlie Sheen chose not to give life to Budd Foxx, which could have given the movie endless plot twists. He appears briefly in a cameo with a couple of babes, as seems appropriate.

The plot is based on the 2008 derivatives crash, and follows the facts fairly accurately. Gekko emerges poor from prison, and deftly turns a hidden $100 million from a secret swiss account into a $Billion. Naturally, he does it by deftly calling the bottom perfect during the freefall.

The big letdown is the Sharief actor. He is badly miscast. Hollywood needs to keep in in skateboard movies, not this type of role. Other than that it was a decent sequel worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
UK fans of Oliver Stone's 5-star "Wall Street" and its 3-star sequel should note the following if they're buying on BLU RAY.

“Wall Street” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" on 'US' 20th Century Fox BLU RAYS are both REGION A LOCKED - so they won't play on our machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' (which few are).

The obvious option is to go for the 'UK' BLU RAY bundle of both films.

But if you're up for more – the original 1987 "Wall Street" film has also been re-issued Stateside in 2012 by Oliver Stone as a 'Filmmakers Signature Series' edition - and this 20th Century Fox BLU RAY is REGION FREE. It offers the amazing "Greed Is Good" behind-the-scenes extra that runs for nearly a whole hour.

Confusing I know - but that's Region Coding for you...
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Gekko is promoting his book, his estranged daughter Winnie is a political muckraker engaged to Jake Moore, a hot-shot Wall Street trader, and an old nemesis of Gekko's, Bretton James, devours the firm Jake works for.

When Jake's mentor takes his life, Jake wants revenge and Gordon may be the perfect ally. Can Jake maintain Winnie's love, broker a rapprochement with her father, get his revenge, and find funds for a green-energy project he champions?...

A belated sequel to a classic film is sometimes uncalled for, but in this instance, this film is very topical and one feels that it was only made due to the 2008 financial meltdown.

The best thing in the film, Langella, is only in it for the opening act, but sets the whole story moving. And because Langella puts in such a great performance, the rest of the film sadly goes downhill from there, but only slightly.

For once, Labeouf is watchable, and isn't as unlikable as he is in his other movies, but there isn't much chemistry between him and Mulligan, and as they are more or less the central characters, they sub-plot is quite boring and there scenes feel lethargic.

Douglas on the other hand, is what you expect, a little more vulnerable in some instances, but still the man. And you can tell he knows this film wouldn't have been made if it wasn't for him, as he swaggers around in his scenes and is effortlessly cool whenever he utters a line. And kudos to him for making Gekko more human this time around.

Whenever the more seasoned actors are on screen (Brolin et al), the film is electrifyimg and is as good as the original, but these scenes are few and far between and Brolin doesn't get as much screen time as his character deserves.

These are a few minor gripes though, the film is slickly made and has the Stone trademark to the film, but the yuppie thing is missing, and that was a pivotal point of Wall Street.

So all in all, it's a good movie, sometimes pretty pointless, but it's good to see what Gordon did next.

The Sheen cameo is nostalgic, but feels very awkward and is pointless
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Twenty three years have passed since the original 'Wall Street' introduced Gordon Gekko, the insider trader who insisted `Greed is good' and `Lunch is for wimps', and eventually receives a jail sentence. The film stood up on its own, almost defining a whole `Yuppie' generation, so why bring out a sequel now?
My suspicions are that a sequel will do no harm to the careers of Michael Douglas (Gordon Gekko) or director Oliver Stone, and despite the long shadow of the parent film, `Money Never Sleeps' is a worthy enough sequel to likewise stand alone.
Less obvious perhaps, but a serious message is also illustrated here. The current global financial crisis represents a perfect opportunity to explore the human element behind what is happening. Oliver Stone is saying that not only did we fail to learn the lessons of the stock market crash following October 19th 1987, but with an avalanche of toxic debt, economic stagnation, and the prospect of long term recession, the worst could be yet to come.
Why do I give `Money Never Sleeps' five stars? For two reasons. Firstly, and without forgetting the rest of the cast, for putting Michael Douglas's portrayal of Gordon Gekko back in the spotlight, older and wiser, `time is the most valuable commodity I know', and secondly, for sounding a warning over a financial system out of control, government bailouts cushioning bad practice and distorting decision making, the speed at which financial markets can fall, and the folly of unsubstantiated stock growth, and lessons unlearnt. How big will the bubble get before it bursts? Again?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2012
This film fails to deliver on so many levels. The acting was wooden, especially from Carey Mulligan who is unconvincing to say the least. There's a brief exchange between Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox which is simply embarrassing.

The storyline is weak and Gekko is half the man he used to be...and not just because he's been 'away' for several years.

All in all, I strongly recommend giving this film a miss.
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