Gordon Gekko is back and the sequel to Oliver Stone’s 1987 mega-hit, “Wall Street”, brings us up to date on his earlier shenanigans and their consequences. Michael Douglas does a fine job of acting but the script has him shifting character traits in a way that is ultimately unsatisfying. In fact, the acting is strong throughout, but Stone can’t seem to decide which tack to take with this timely tale of Wall Street greed, is this a love against all odds story between young trader Jacob ( an effective Shia Labeouf) and Gekko’s estranged daughter Winnie ( Carrie Mulligan, with yet another fine performance, catch her in this week’s “Never Let Me Go”), or the seemingly never ending tale of man’s need to repeat financial chicanery.
The replay of the 2008 financial crisis forms the basis of the plot with the names changed to protect the innocent (guilty?). Where this will leave the supposedly chastened Gordon is what the viewer will be wondering until the last scene. There are lots of cameos, ranging from Stone himself, to Charlie Sheen and most of your favorite CNBC money hosts playing themselves. John Voight is shown for about a second and a half; they add to the sense that Stone was having a little fun with the project, yet it made me think he could have made a more realistic indictment of the country’s inability to get a handle on the controlling behavior of unregulated Big Money without giving it the big budget Hollywood treatment. PG 13 for strong language.