Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Wallstreet 2) Movie Review

by on December 29, 2010

in Entertainment, movie reviews

This is a movie review from a pay-per-view cable viewing of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. I finally got around to watching Wall Street 2! In a word, it’s compelling to a degree because of the subject matter and a great watch, but bring popcorn and get ready to be confounded in the end.

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps movie poster

Oliver Stone once again brings us Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), twenty-three years after we first saw him in Wall Street. The movie starts out with Gekko getting out of prison and to make a point to the uninitiated as to how long he was in, when he retrieves his belongings from prison one of the items is his cell phone from 1987, that looks the size of a small book!

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps Gekko's phone cameo

The sad part is that no one is there to pick him up while all the other released folks meet friends and family.

We’re then introduced to Jake Moore (Shia LeBeouf), a young and aggressive Wall Street trader, then to Gekko’s daughter, Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan) and one of the focal points underlying the movie, Loius Zabel, played by Frank Langella, who is the head of a long-established Wall Street bank. Josh Brolin plays a key part as Bretton James, a well connected competitive banker, whom we see, had a hand once in a bad spell for Louis Zabel’s company, and doesn’t help it any now, during the financial crisis that’s coming as Zabel’s company starts to go under.

Gekko’s daughter wants nothing to do with Gordon as she blames him directly for things that happened in the family while Jake Moore, who is dating Winnie, is very fascinated with her dad. That sounds like a fine mix for a dramatic relationship.

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps scene

When I had turned on Wall Street 2 to just check it out and I wasn’t going to watch it with any serious intent, but as the early plot developed it dragged me in and I couldn’t get out. You don’t have to be a fan of the stock market to enjoy this movie but it helps a bit if you do have an appreciation of the market and my appreciation of the market is what first dragged me into the story.

This movie is what I expect for most, is/was a great sequel to the original that starred Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen. Both reprise their roles, though Sheen is just a pass-through bit. Though this is a great sequel that uses the bank meltdown as it’s underlying deed that causes various events in the film, I was a little distracted by how some characters were portrayed as not seeing the crash coming. In early to mid 2006, it was clearly evident to those in the real estate industry what was going to happen and I couldn’t imagine it wasn’t such to these folks in the movie.

Wall Street 2 Money Never Sleeps with Josh Brolin

The movie itself shows some great inside angles on the banking industry and takes a moment to explain to some who may not have known, in Stone’s perspective, why the bank bail-out had to happen. In the movie, it’s a real eye-opener what is suggested would happen if the bank bail-out did not happen.

There were a few points that stuck out as confounding for me. Near the beginning when Gordon Gekko is giving a lecture, the audience laughed a lot… and I didn’t get why. There was almost too much laughter, as if we’re being shown how witty Gekko is. The other aspect that hit/confounded me was how the closing third act and resolution just left me wondering why? It shot off from the first two acts with an ending and a set of character decisions that just came out of the air. The last huge box office hit movie I’ve seen where the story made absolutely no sense was impacted by the infamous writers strike. Maybe that’s what happened here!?

The movie still grabbed my attention and kept it throughout because I enjoy the underpinnings of the financial market. It was also nice for me to see Shia LeBeouf in a new role (for me) that wasn’t running from huge, angry GM motor vehicles. Though what I saw, I could possibly say, wasn’t that far off from Sam in the Transformers franchise. Though LeBeouf’s character focus was on his girlfriend, Carey Mulligan did not stand out for me, at all. Yea, she’s the daughter, and yes, in the end the character is justified, but the story could have moved along without her. Michael Douglas delivered as always and I found that I enjoyed Josh Brolin’s rather suave and evil character portrayal.

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps is a fine stand-alone movie and sequel. It wasn’t a heart stopping ending. As far as I’m concerned, the end of a movie is what galvanizes our emotions about a movie, but here, the end neutralized my experience when all was said and done.

IMDb reviewers, over 16,000 of them, weighed in with a score just over 6. I’d only lean towards a 7 out of 10 because I found the financial aspects of the film fascinating.

Roles Reprised & Other Bits

The movie title, Money Never Sleeps, was a line from the original movie.

I found it interesting that aside from Michael Douglas, a few roles were reprised for Wall Street 2, from the first film.

  • Charlie Sheen shows up as Bud Fox at a party.
  • George Blumenthal was a broker in the first film, while he now plays a bank president. (Sounds like a nice organic career path!)
  • Sean Stone played Rudy Gekko in No. 1 and plays a hedge fund trader in No. 2.
  • Sylvia Miles has the more humorous role between the two films. She played a realtor in both.
  • Oliver Stone, who wrote & directed both, played a trader in the first film and an investor in the sequel.
  • Gordon Gekko’s cell phone: I doubt it is the original, but in form, makes a cameo!

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Wall Street 2 Movie Trailer

(note: I have my own trailer, but Fox instantly restricts the ability to embed the trailer from YouTube. I think it’s some kind of anti-success formula Fox tries to perform! Just fooling of course. If for some reason the above vid goes awry, you can always catch the movie trailer on my own YouTube channel.)

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