â€œBlue horseshoe loves Anacott Steel.â€ Â More than 20 years after Michael Douglas owned the screen as monstrous business mogul Gordon Gekko in the original â€œWall Streetâ€ comes a new-agey sequel that reeks of a cash cow.
Rather than continue his analysis of the ultra-polarizing Gekko, director Oliver Stone has decided to create a pseudo-narration of the economic crisis and bank bailouts of 2008.
All of the big players are essentially here, in one way or another. Â Stone calls his investment firm Churchill Schwartz, but it is Goldman Sachs at heart. Â The major CEOs are represented here as well, one of whom is the Gekko poser Bretton James, played by Josh Brolin. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Other than an all too brief cameo, Charlie Sheenâ€™s Bud Fox is gone. Â And in his place is Shia LaBeouf as Wall Street upstart/humanitarian wannabe, Jake Moore.
In a disappointing attempt to connect him to Gekko, the movie has Jake marrying Gekkoâ€™s daughter, resulting in Moore talking with him about daddy problems rather than stocks or business deals. Â Their uninspiring scenes of sorting out family issues are a far cry from the raw interactions between Gekko and Fox in the original â€œWall Street.â€ Â Â
The differences between â€œMoney Never Sleepsâ€ and the first â€œWall Streetâ€ movie are clear as day, most apparent of which is Douglasâ€™ limited screen time. Â He had the first movie wrapped around his fingers, and for some reason this new movie throws him to the wayside and focuses on LaBeoufâ€™s career in the struggling business world.
This mistakenly puts Brolin in the menacing role that can only be filled by Douglasâ€™ Gekko. Â
Brolin and LaBeoufâ€™s mentor-apprentice relationship pales in comparison to the tension between Douglas and Sheen in the original film. Â
So I ask, what is the point of seeing â€œWall Streetâ€ without Gordon Gekko? Â
Skip â€œMoney Never Sleepsâ€ and seek out the original â€œWall Street.â€ Â
Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.