Although the movie was close to being universally panned by film critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were among the very few critics to give the movie a positive review. Before his death, Ebert stated that this was the review he had to defend more than any other he had written, and that it was the one most often cited as an example of him being a poor film critic.
Jason Patric only agreed to make the film contingent on some major script changes being made. However, when he eventually arrived onset three months later, he found that the script hadn't changed at all and he was contractually obligated to make the film. He found the whole experience to be thoroughly miserable and depressing.
Susan Barnes plays Constance in this film. In the first Speed film, she plays the frozen-in-fear female executive who is the last one out of the perilous elevator. In this film, her character is seen calmly sitting down smoking while being trapped among others in a life-threatening situation. This may allude to her character's survival from the first film. She is one of four people to appear in both films.
Jason Patric's younger half-brother Joshua John Miller previously appeared as the younger brother of Keanu Reeves in River's Edge (1986) . Coincidentally, that film also featured Dennis Hopper, the villain from the original Speed.
Keanu Reeves passed on the role to star in the horror film The Devil's Advocate (1997), which was filmed at the same time as Speed 2, and subsequently toured with his band, Dogstar. Reeves said that Fox was "furious" with his decision and released "propaganda" against him, falsely claiming that he turned down the role to tour with his band.
Director Jan de Bont initially felt that Speed (1994) had no sequel potential, but he was contractually obliged to direct a sequel when it was green-lit after the success of the first movie. Many ideas were pitched, including a plane which cannot ascend above a certain altitude without exploding. Finally, de Bont used an idea of his own after he had recurrent nightmares about a cruise ship crashing into an island.
When Annie is retaking her driving test at the end of the film, a bus identical to the one in the original Speed passes by on the highway. Annie notes to her instructor about the bus "going way too fast".
When Geiger is attempting to escape with Annie in a seaplane, Annie demands Geiger to let her go. Geiger replies, "I'll let you go - at about 10,000 feet!" One of screenwriter Graham Yost's original ideas for Speed 2 involved a plane flying through the Andes that cannot ascend above 10,000 feet.
A total of 3 different ships were used in this film: Seaborn Legend (actual cruise liner; used for most exterior shots of the ship) "Bridge Ship" (Sturgeon Atlanic frighter ship built with a false hull and bridge; used for bridge scenes and the boat crashes in the marina) "Rail Ship" (false hull built on an underwater rail; used for the island crash finale scene). All other shots of the ship were complete computer graphic effects.