T2 Trainspotting, review: ‘A shadow of the original’

T2 Trainspotting, Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller. Picture: Jaap Buitendijk

T2 Trainspotting, Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller. Picture: Jaap Buitendijk - Credit: Archant

Nobody had to do this, unless it was worth doing. It wasn’t, but it is well made and fitfully entertaining

T2 – we know another film called that, don’t we? Terminator 2 took a miniscule original and skillfully blasted it up into blockbuster scale; this T2 though is a catching-up-with-the-old-gang kind of sequel, with Renton (Ewan McGregor) returning to Edinburgh to face the people he ripped off and ran out on.

So how is everybody twenty years on? Older and slower obviously, so much so that it now takes them an extra half an hour to get through a whole Trainspotting movie.

There’s been lots of speculation about the music: will they use Ignacious Pop or the lager, lager song again? They should’ve just gone with the theme to Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads because the film is all, oh what happened to Ewan, whatever happened to Lee?

It starts, just like the first film, with Renton running – in a gym, on a treadmill. And that’s the pattern for the whole film, a nostalgic trip around the old haunts and hang outs, contrasting the then with the now, the T2 to the T.


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There’s a sequence a third of the way in, when Renton and Sick Boy visit a Protestant social club, where the film seems to spark into life, looks to become it’s own thing but that doesn’t go anywhere. It can’t outrun the past.

So it’s a shadow of the original, but that’s probably all it should be; being a shadow of what we once were is the whole point of the film.

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The hope held out for this was that nobody was coming to it with their hands out; nobody had to do this, unless it was worth doing. It wasn’t, but it is well made and fitfully entertaining: it is exactly the shadow of the original that Trainspotting deserves.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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