Everyone remembers how the 1996 classic Trainspotting ends. Having survived all kinds of crazy adventures together, Mark ‘Rent Boy’ Renton (Ewen McGregor), Daniel ‘Spud Boy’ Murphy (Ewan McBremner), Simon ‘Sick Boy’ Williamson (Gerald Butler), Franco ‘Franc Boy’ Begbie (Robert Carlyle), Thomas ‘Tommy Boy’ MacKenzie (Robbie Coltrane), and Diane ‘Diane Boy’ Coulston (Kelly MacDonald), agree to reunite in twenty years to do heroin together for old time’s sake no matter where life takes them in the meantime. As much as I loved this feel good ending, I never once expected the filmmakers would make good on their promise to deliver a sequel twenty years later. I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life.
T2 Trainspotting picks up exactly twenty years later, with Simon ‘Sick Boy’ Williamson and Franco ‘Franc Boy’ Begbie sitting in the Crosslands Pub counting down on their watches to the exact minute when the old ‘Trainspotting’ gang is supposed to get together for one last ‘score.’ (‘Score’ is street slang for ‘Time to do a bunch of heroin!’). Thomas ‘Tommy Boy’ MacKenzie arrives exactly on time just as ‘Sick Boy’ and ‘Franc Boy’ look up from their watches. But that’s just ‘Tommy Boy’ for you, he’s always right on time.
The three men start to reminisce about the old days, but become increasingly anxious when the other members of the old ‘Trainspotting’ gang don’t show up as planned. “I wonder where they could be?” asks ‘Franc Boy’ as he finishes his second beer. In a moment of pitch perfect comic timing, Mark ‘Rent Boy’ Renton enters the pub at this very moment, which caused the whole audience I saw the movie with to burst out in laughter and applause.
‘Rent Boy’ tells his old ‘mates’ that Diane ‘Diane Boy’ Coulston is running late because she’s currently on a date but will meet up with them later. But no one knows where ‘Spud Boy’ is, so they all decide to go on a search for him.
At this point, I was worried the whole movie would be about the search for ‘Spud Boy,’ which would have been a wasted opportunity in my opinion. Luckily, the old ‘Trainspotting’ gang finds its missing member very quickly at another pub nearby. Apparently ‘Spud Boy’ was confused about which pub the gang was supposed to meet at which is just like ‘Spud Boy,’ he always got details mixed up especially when he was feeling the effects of heroin withdrawal.
The movie really takes off when ‘Franc Boy’ takes out a gun and insists they immediately fly to the ‘Golden Triangle’ in Burma to partake in some fresh heroin on the cheap. ‘Sick Boy’ gets very excited about all the different types of heroin they’ll get to try including brown, white and black tar.
Setting the majority of the movie in Southeast Asia was the best decision the filmmakers could have made because Scotland is a very boring country. The first movie is about how the characters adopted heroin habits to cope with ‘Scottish boredom’ so it’s only natural the characters fly the coop in the sequel. It also follows in the tradition of similar successful sequels such The Hangover Part II.
I won’t reveal too many spoilers about the ‘Trainspotting’ gang’s adventures in Southeast Asia. Suffice to say that ‘Rent Boy’ finally perfects his infamous ‘toilet dive’ after twenty years of tireless practice and pulls off convincing impressions of Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig finally making him the foremost James Bond actor impressionist in the entire world. There’s also an unforgettable twenty-minute sequence where the characters try every method imaginable to cure their perpetual constipation.
TL;DR – T2 Trainspotting fulfills the promise made by the original movie to revisit the characters twenty years later for one last heroin binge, this time in Southeast Asia.
What the rest of the critics are saying:
“All great sequels take place in Southeast Asia, and T2 Trainspotting is no different.” – Turissa Plicksen, Uproxx
“T2 Trainspotting follows in the globetrotting footsteps of many sequels that are better than the original such as The Hangover Part II and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. These movies teach us the secret of sequel success is moving the action to Southeast Asia.” – Todd VanDerWoof, Vox
“Danny Boyle, James Cameron, and Todd Phillips all have one thing in common: they all realized audiences hungered to see their beloved characters travel to Southeast Asia for another adventure together.” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com
“It’s heartwarming to watch these characters gaze into each other’s eyes with such warmth, nostalgia and heroin-induced euphoria.” – Kyle Smith, New York Post
“The movie turns hard drug use into just another lifestyle choice for the middle aged bourgeois.” – Nathaneal However, Guernica Magazine
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