The oddest thing about "Another Nine & a Half Weeks" is the almost complete absence of any genuinely heat-inducing action in this lugubrious follow-up to Mickey Rourke's steamy 1986 hit. There's hardly a smidgen of chemistry between Rourke and Angie Everhart, what little erotic fun there is arrives too late, and the fully clothed dramatics are almost painfully uninteresting.

The oddest thing about “Another Nine & a Half Weeks” is the almost complete absence of any genuinely heat-inducing action in this lugubrious follow-up to Mickey Rourke’s steamy 1986 hit. There’s hardly a smidgen of chemistry between Rourke and Angie Everhart, what little erotic fun there is arrives too late, and the fully clothed dramatics are almost painfully uninteresting. The sequel to “Nine and a Half Weeks” is not going to be raising temperatures in theaters anytime soon, as it has already debuted on cable in the U.S., with a probable OK video career to follow.

Overwhelmed by memories of gal-pal Elizabeth, John jets over to Paris to try to locate her. After outbidding everyone else at an art auction for a bunch of paintings owned by Elizabeth, he meets a mysterious, beautiful fashion designer named Lea (Everhart) and her assistant, Claire (Agathe de la Fontaine); it turns out that Lea was Elizabeth’s best friend in Paris.

At Lea’s studio, John pesters her with questions about their mutual friend. Lea, flirting openly with John, is not forthcoming, though she finally claims that Elizabeth has married and moved to Tangiers.

Their next meeting is at La Conciergerie, an ancient prison on the Ile de la Cite; when John arrives, Lea is lounging against the wall with shackles on her arms. She removes the chains and begins passionately embracing John, but when he returns the warmth, she starts yelling “rape,” making it clear that she is intent on tormenting her new acquaintance. But John continues to follow Lea and Claire around Paris, getting into fights in a local disco, having his pocket picked at an Arab gambling den and, finally, having rough sex with Lea in the middle of the night on a dingy street corner.

After a fashion show and a party highlighted by the spectacle of a dominatrix pouring hot wax on a nearly naked young woman tied to a spinning wheel, Lea’s dour business partner, Vittorio (Steven Berkoff) turns up to break the news to John that Elizabeth is actually dead. At this, Lea and John begin to make out with a little more passion, most notably in a self-conscious homage to the infamous fridge scene in “Nine and a Half Weeks” that involves pouring red wine and honey over Lea’s flower-covered nude body. In spite of further torrid encounters, John makes it clear this will be yet another doomed relationship.

Helmer Anne Goursaud shows little aptitude for generating onscreen sparks, and pacing is downright erratic. But, to be fair, she is working with a turgid script (by Michael Davis) that makes Adrian Lyne’s original outing seem like “Last Tango in Paris” in comparison. From the first shots of John with a gun to his head to the last melancholic moments, he comes across as a relentlessly mopey guy, and it is impossible to maintain any sympathy for him.

Rourke, looking tired and puffy-faced, is in some ways ideal for the part; he appears suitably depressed and uninterested in what’s going on, just like his character. Everhart is reasonably sexy but delivers her lines in a strangely monotonous voice throughout. De la Fontaine is even less of a presence, while Berkoff at least is allowed to camp it up as the bitchy fashion guru.

Lensing relies on dark interiors to underline the bleak, nocturnal mood. Music is a mix of upbeat, generic Euro-disco tracks and gloomier instrumental segments. Pic was shot in Paris and Vienna.

Another Nine & a Half Weeks

Production

A Jones Film/Saga Pictures production. (International sales: MDP Worldwide, Los Angeles.) Produced by Staffan Ahrenberg, Yannick Bernard. Executive producers, Barry Barnholtz, Mario Sotela, Don Carmody, Bastiaan Gieben. Directed by Anne Goursaud. Screenplay, Michael Davis, based on characters created by Elizabeth McNeil.

Crew

Camera (color), Robert Alazraki; editor, Goursaud, Terilyn Shropshire; music, Stephen Parsons, Francis Haines; production design, Robert De Vico; costumes, Maxine Van Cliffe Arakawa; choreography, Gabor Normann, Katalin Fodor, Rita Lengyel. Reviewed on videocassette, Montreal, Sept. 24, 1997. (In World Film Festival, Montreal, Cinema of Today.) Running time: 105 min.

With

John - Mickey Rourke
Claire - Agathe de la Fontaine
Lea - Angie Everhart
Vittorio - Steven Berkoff
Charlie - Dougray Scott
With: Werner Schreyer, Faisal Attia, Philippe Beglia, Christine Brandner, Sandra Cervik, Lana Clarkson, Cyrille Cohen, Sophie Dolce, Carolin Dichtl.
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