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Nostalgia is a drug, nearly as powerful as heroin, and one that threatens to consume the not-so-young characters of "T2 Trainspotting," Danny Boyle's energetic follow-up to his 1996 movie "Trainspotting."

After a minor heart attack at 46, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) leaves Amsterdam to return home to Edinburgh, a place he thought he had left behind him. Renton has a job and a wife, and has replaced his old heroin habit with an addiction to running — or at least that's what he tells his old mate Daniel, aka Spud (Ewen Bremner), who is still struggling to stop shooting up.

"You ruined my life!" Spud tells Renton when they reunite. It goes back to the drug deal Renton and his buddies orchestrated at the end of "Trainspotting," and how Renton took off with the full 16,000 pounds. Renton left Spud his share, which Spud, being a junkie, soon spent on drugs.

His other former colleagues are even less happy to see Renton. Simon Williamson, alias "Sick Boy" (Jonny Lee Miller), is running his aunt's old pub and pulling the occasional bit of sexual blackmail on local officials — using his Bulgarian girlfriend, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova), as bait. Then there's the ultra-violent Frank Begbie (Robert Carlyle), who escapes from prison intent on revenge on Renton for screwing him over 20 years earlier.

There are some side trips on the way to the inevitable reunion of these four former friends. Renton encounters his old girlfriend Diane (Kelly MacDonald), now a high-powered lawyer. Renton and Simon try to swindle the EU, and go behind the back of a local gangster, to turn Simon's bar into the brothel of Veronika's dreams. Begbie sees that his son, Frank Jr. (Scott Greenan), is college-bound and has no interest in following Dad's criminal footsteps. And Spud, at Veronika's urging, writes down his stories of addiction and crime.

Boyle and screenwriter John Lodge, adapting Irvine Welsh's novels (the original "Trainspotting" and his 2002 novel "Porno"), haven't lost a step on their game. Boyle's visual panache and rapid-fire storytelling bounce around the characters, while Lodge keeps the mile-a-minute dialogue sharp. (One drawback: recycling the "Choose Life" mantra of the first film, this time in an unnecessary rant on the evils of social media.)

And even though they themselves don't appreciate the reunion, it is cool to see the band back together. McGregor is mellowing in middle age, but he still has that maniacal twinkle. Miller and Carlyle still exude menace, undimmed by their American TV gigs ("Elementary" and "Once Upon a Time," respectively). And Bremner remains the sad, pathetic heart of the "Trainspotting" crew, the walking reminder of the costs of their heroin-fueled youths.

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'T2 Trainspotting'

The four Scottish thugs are brought together in middle age, still nursing grudges and demons, in this follow-up to the 1996 neo-classic.

Where • Area theaters.

When • Opens Friday, March 31.

Rating • R for drug use, language throughout, strong sexual content, graphic nudity and some violence.

Running time • 117 minutes.