Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Stars: Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Shermar Moore & voices of Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Colleen O'Shaughnessey
The second big screen outing for the popular Sega video game character sticks to the first’s recipe of caffeinated brash mayhem with lachrymose interludes.
A prologue has evil scientist Dr Robotnik (Carrey) breaking out of his exile on the Mushroom planet after doing a deal with spikey warrior echidna (yes, it’s a real animal) Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba, whose accent alternates between English sonorous rumble and US sonorous rumble.
Meanwhile on Earth, extra-terrestrial hedgehog Sonic (Schwartz) is enjoying his new life in the sleepy town of Green Hills in the loving bosom of his adoptive family, mild-mannered cop Tom (Marsden) and his veterinarian wife Maddie (Sumpter). In-between goofing around with the family dog, Sonic has been making sneaky trips to the big city to crime fight as his alter ego, Blue Justice. Worried about his young charge getting into trouble, Tom gives Sonic a Pa Kent-style speech about the true nature of heroism, before leaving for the wedding of Maddie’s sister Rachel in Hawaii. Shortly after, Robotnik turns up in Green Hills bent on revenge with Knuckles as his henchman.
Midway there’s a detour to frozen Siberia in which Sonic has a dance-off with a musclebound Russian drunk in a Russian alehouse, and a ski chase in which the otherwise shameless Carrey inexplicably does not use the line ‘It’s snow time!’
The breakneck pacing and everything turned up to eleven vibe, along with Knuckle’s convoluted backstory and blatant placement render this a challenging watch for non-fans, although Ben Schwarz’s Sonic’s banter is easier to digest if you squint and pretend it’s his ‘Parks and Recreation’ character Jean-Ralphio up there on the screen.
Surprisingly it’s the Hawaiian wedding subplot with the bland Tom and blander Maddie which offers up the most substantive laughs, mainly thanks to Natasha Rothwell as Maddie’s fearsome and increasingly manic bride-to-be sister.
The over-extended final battle scene in which Robotnik’s giant robot stomps over Green Hills is a real patience tester, and the mid-credits sequences hints at what’s in store for the inevitable third part.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is released 1st April
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