US / 94 minutes / color / Rainforest, Symmetry Dir: Aaron Courseault Pr: Vivica A. Fox, Lita Richardson, Will Packer, Rob Hardy, Dianne Ashford, Angi Bones Scr: Kelsey Scott Cine: Kenneth Stipe Cast: Vivica A. Fox, Brian White, Sean Blakemore, Sharon Leal, William L. Johnson, Mel Jackson, Joe Torry, Drew Sidora, L. Warren Young, Wayne Hardnett, Daya Vaidya.
The sequel to Motives (2004 DTV). Three years after the close of the earlier movie, Emery Simms is murdered in prison; Emery’s ex-wife Connie (Fox) is now married to the man who framed him, Brandon Collier (Blakemore), although, partly because of their inability to conceive, the marriage isn’t quite the bed of roses they’d anticipated—indeed, Brandon’s having an affair with his colleague Nina Welch (Leal).
Emery’s lawyer Ray Wallace (Johnson) has always been convinced Emery was innocent of the murder of Allannah James; now he brings Emery’s estranged brother, high-flying realtor Donovan Cook (White), in on the act, hoping to expose Brandon for the crook and killer he is. Soon Donovan has recruited Allannah’s widower, petty criminal Derrick Thompson (Torry), into helping their efforts. What at first the three don’t realize is that one of the cops on the Allannah James case, Detective Morgan (Jackson), was part of the coverup . . .
Rather slow-moving in its first half—sometimes it seems as though cast members had been asked to pause between their lines to pad the length out a little—this picks up later; by then, however, we’ve become aware that this sequel is intent on repeating almost exactly the formula of the original, remixing the same ingredients, complete with a trick-instigated meeting between Connie and her husband’s mistress (a mirror of the meeting between Connie and Allannah in Motives) and especially a near-concluding scene of Brandon being led struggling away from Connie that’s almost a replica of the one in which Emery was dragged away from her at the end of the earlier movie. The lazy lacing of the dialogue with hackneyed profanity—”You’re a lyin’-ass murderin’-ass piece of shit” is one gem—doesn’t help matters.
A point of interest is that Donovan isn’t pictured as a saint—far from it, he shares many characteristics with Brandon, including that he’s cheating on his partner Rene (Sidora) with colleague Saundra (Vaidya). The transformation of Brandon from the charming, superficially guileless snake in the grass of the first movie to the more overt (to the audience) and brutal villain here is a credit to Blakemore’s skills. There’s a nice minor role from Young as Morgan’s straight-arrow superior officer, Captain Abraham.
In the closing credits, Allannah’s name is spelled Allanah. Go figure.
On Amazon.com: Motives 2 – Retribution