Cobra Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Cobra (1986) – BMeTric: 42.3

Cobra_BMeT

Cobra_RV

(This is a movie which I think is becoming more popular as the years go on. I can say this straight out: the movie is nuts, but in a very 80s “this is nuts, but maybe also brilliant” kind of way. To be honest, I’m a little surprised the film hasn’t reached 6.0 yet.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Once more, Stallone wraps himself in the American flag and fights for the greater glory of mankind by going after criminal vermin; this time, he’s a cop. Typical low-grade action fare, where all the other cops are stubborn dummies, and all the bad guys are repellent creeps. Some good action sequences.

(The last throwaway line of “Some good action sequences” feels like an insult. Like Leonard is pitying them and throwing them a bone after this complete evisceration. Also, Leonard … you know I love semicolons. Don’t tease me like that, you devil.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoGoSu4NEyo

(I’m in. Although I have to say that the trailer is way too serious for its own good. Like obviously the film took itself too seriously, that’s the fun of it, but you can at least make it seem like it’s not just Sly mumbling to people the whole time and slamming Coors. Also, his license plate says AWSOM 50. Gotta mention it because it’s so stupid.)

Directors – George P. Cosmatos – (Known For: Tombstone; Of Unknown Origin; Future BMT: Shadow Conspiracy; Leviathan; Rambo: First Blood Part II; The Cassandra Crossing; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Rumor is that Sly actually directed the film and Cosmatos ended up as more of a producer. No info as to whether the same might be true of Rambo II.)

Writers – Paula Gosling (novel) – (BMT: Fair Game; Cobra; Notes: Fair Game and Cobra are adapted from Gosling’s novel A Running Duck. Cobra is crazier and better, Fair Game might as well not exist.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay) – (Known For: Creed II; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; First Blood; Homefront; Cliffhanger; The Lords of Flatbush; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rambo III; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Notes: From ‘82 to ‘88 Stallone didn’t star in a film he didn’t also get a screenwriting credit for. And a ton of the films are brilliant. And then he stumbled and is basically just an old man action star at this point, although he is writing Rambo 5.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Creed II; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Escape Plan; Rocky II; First Blood; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Cliffhanger; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Cop Land; Death Race 2000; The Lords of Flatbush; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Rambo III; Daylight; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Backtrace; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Rhinestone; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Notes: Still smashing the gym at the age of 72, this time to prep for Rambo 5. A bad movie legend if there ever was one.)

Stallone Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999;

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Rocky IV; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Married Sylvester Stallone a year prior to this film, likely around the time Rocky IV came out. The Great Dane, she was Danish and noted for her height.)

Reni Santoni – (Known For: Rain Man; Groundhog Day; Can’t Hardly Wait; Dirty Harry; The Brady Bunch Movie; Private Parts; Doctor Dolittle; Bad Boys; Bright Lights, Big City; The Package; Dr. Dolittle 2; The Pick-up Artist; The Pawnbroker; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Cat Chaser; Enter Laughing; The Battle for Anzio; Future BMT: 28 Days; Summer Rental; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Cobra; Notes: His IMDb claims he was a professional baseball player prior to becoming an actor, although there are no stats concerning his career (which makes it unlikely it would have been in the United States at least). Played a cop in a Murder She Wrote episode centered around a baseball team though.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $49,042,224

(Basically broke even I would think. Makes a bit of sense it didn’t get a sequel, although that would have been fun.)

#19 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre

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(Vanilla Sky, Cobra, The Marrying Man, Gigli, and Shanghai Surprise are the BMT films that fit the bill. Stunt casting might have become more of a thing in the late 90s with the advent of the 24-hour news channel, and again in 2010ish although that was just Twilight basically. Nowadays it seems to more likely be couples just deciding to do it instead of an actual stunt, like with A Quiet Place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (3/18): No consensus yet.

(The film is structured around an idea of super criminals which has since, rightfully, become a dirty word. The criminal which claims that they are the future, and that the justice system cannot stop them, and the cop who says “I am the law” and murders them all the same, screw due process, the process is broken! It is pretty disgusting if the entire thing didn’t play out like a joke half the time. Reviewer Highlight: The film trades on the same technique used by books that attack pornography by printing examples of the dirty pictures. Cobra pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it’s really the apotheosis of that violence. – Nina Darnton, New York Times)

Poster – I AM THE LAW (A)

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(I kind of inexplicably love this poster. Something about the matte colors. It feels like a painting, and a painting I want in my house … like, this represented America in all its macho super-violence, this represents something terrible and loveable about us in some way.)

Tagline(s) – Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure. (A)

(Again, I love it, but in a kind of psycho ridiculous way. Like for reals, people used to think super criminals were going to be a thing forever, and that we needed Judge Dredd (for reals) in our lives. That was a thing. And this movie represented that on a mainstream level, and this tagline perfectly conveys this. Somehow it works in both 1986 and 2019 in two totally different ways.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.2 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982); 62.8 The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961); 60.4 Space Mutiny (1988); 59.4 Red Sonja (1985); 57.7 Ghoulies (1984); 53.7 Casino Royale (1967); 52.9 Faces of Death (1978); 52.8 Starcrash (1978); 52.7 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964); 52.7 The Green Inferno (2013);

(What the f-in f! Anyways, that is a crazy keyword. Psychotronicdenoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. This isn’t that really, although it does have the vibe. Not surprisingly most of these are Mystery Science Theater 3000 films and do not qualify.)

Notes – A very rare workprint of the movie is available amongst fans. Although most copies are in poor quality, it has approximately 30 to 40 minutes of footage not available in any other version. It also has all of the X-rated material removed from the final release. (Huh … I’ll just put this here to remind me to check this out later)

When Sylvester Stallone was signed to play the lead in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), he did a lot of work on the screenplay, turning it into an action extravaganza that the studio couldn’t afford. He eventually left Beverly Hills Cop and channeled his ideas for that project into this movie.

Body count: 52, and 41 of them are killed by Cobra. (Jesus Christ!)

Most 1980s action heroes were called John (ex. John Rambo, John Matrix, John McClane). The hero of this film is named Marion, after John Wayne, the epitome of the cinematic tough guy.

Some of the cuts made to avoid an X-rating include: the first murder victim having her hands severed; an extended autopsy scene, including lingering shots of naked and mutilated bodies; a longer death for Ingrid’s photographer Dan, including a shot of him slipping on his own blood while trying to escape; more deaths of the townspeople during the climax, including a person getting hit in the face with an ax. (Wowza, and here I thought it was going to be a 20 minute hardcore sex scene starring Sly)

The film was considered a box-office disappointment at the time, especially compared to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Rocky IV (1985). However, it grossed $12,653,032 on its opening weekend, which was the largest opening weekend in the history of Warner Brothers and The Cannon Group at the time. It also earned over $160 million worldwide, against a budget of $25 million dollars (along with marketing costs). That opening weekend was the 2nd best for any film in 1986, trailing only that for _Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)_. It also got lumped together with Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), which also opened wide on May 23, 1986. (That worldwide number is pretty nuts considering it apparently only make $50 million domestically. I can’t imagine it was very common for the international yield to outstrip the domestic yield in the 80s)

At one point during filming Sylvester Stallone complained to cinematographer Ric Waite that they were falling behind and that he and his crew needed to work harder. Waite responded by saying that maybe if Stallone “gets his hands off Brigitte Nielsen ass and stops showing off to his bodyguards maybe they wouldn’t have problems with time”. Although Stallone was shocked that somebody would talk to him that way he did tone down his ego but after a few weeks he returned to his old egotistical behavior. In the same interview where he mentioned this, Waite also said that despite his huge ego Stallone had a great sense of humor. He also confirmed a rumor that Stallone was the true director of the film, calling credited director George P. Cosmatos a good producer, but a bad director. (Oh shit)

The original rough cut was over two hours long. Due to concerns it might not be a hit, the final cut was 87 minutes, thereby increasing the number of screenings per day. Some of the more violent scenes were also cut to avoid an X-rating. A great deal of plot detail was either removed or sped up while most of the violence and nearly every death was edited or depicted off-screen, resulting in numerous continuity errors.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn is a huge fan of Cobra. In Refn’s cult movie Drive (2011), the main character has a toothpick in his mouth in some scenes. This is Refn’s homage to the opening scene of Cobra where Cobretti has a matchstick in his mouth. (The first part sounds correct, the second part sounds like there is a toothpick in someone’s mouth which is totally normal and not usually a “homage”)

The custom 1950 Mercury driven by Cobretti in the film was a car actually owned by star Sylvester Stallone. The studio produced stunt doubles of the car for use in some of the action sequences, such as the jump from the second floor of the parking garage. (Cool)

The movie was based on a novel “Fair Game” by Paula Gosling. In 1995, William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford made Fair Game, which was based on the same novel by Gosling. Just like Cobra, Fair Game was re-edited by Warner Bros. in post production, but in Fair Game’s case it was due to the test audience disliking the original cut. (Because it is a garbage film)

The knife used by the Night Slasher character was made for the film by knife designer Herman Schneider. Sylvester Stallone had asked Schneider to create a knife that audiences would never forget. (I don’t recall what it looks like, so … didn’t work)

Brian Thompson auditioned seven times for his role before he was hired. On his fourth audition he met Sylvester Stallone and both he and the director thought that Thompson was too nice to play the role of Nightslasher. But after a screen test he immediately got the job. Thompson repeatedly asked Stallone about his character Nightslasher, like how Stallone would want Thompson to play him, character’s background, his reasons for doing what he’s doing, but Stallone wasn’t interested in explaining Thompson’s character and he basically told him that he is evil because he is evil. In an unfortunate surprise for Thompson, when filming of the movie was finished, director George P. Cosmatos told Thompson, “You could have been good if you had listened to me.” (He is right and wrong. Sly was correctly reading the times with the psychopath killer and the fascination the public had with such things. It is seen in slashers like Michael Myers, and rolled into some of the erotic thrillers in the early 90s as well. But Cosmatos is ultimately correct, a psychopath is a psychopath which is pretty boring.)

The first draft of Sylvester Stallone’s script had lot of differences from later drafts and the film. These include opening shootout taking place in movie theater instead of a grocery store and lot more people getting killed, Cobra mentioning how some psychopath he was trying to catch killed his girlfriend, additional big action sequence taking place during night on a boat where Cobra and Ingrid are hiding when they get attacked by Nightslasher’s cult members but Cobra and Gonzalez manage to kill them all, and different ending in which it’s revealed that Monte was actual leader of the New Order cult and when he tries to kill Ingrid he gets shot and killed by Cobra.

The Stan Bush song “The Touch” from The Transformers: The Movie (1986) was originally written for this film. (Whaaaaaaaa?)

The Paula Gosling novel ‘Fair Game’ on which “Cobra” is based is also called ‘A Running Duck’. When the movie came out Sylvester Stallone allegedly wanted the novel reissued with himself credited as the author. Ms. Gosling declined the offer. (Oh, I can’t imagine why …)

Sylvester Stallone was a fan of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band and approached them about doing a song for the film. The song “Voice of America’s Sons” was written for the film, and John Cafferty had contributed to the Rocky IV (1985) soundtrack as well. (Jam out to this)

Sylvester Stallone said he got the idea for the LAPD’s “Zombie Squad” from a real-life Zombie Squad in Belgium, comprised of cops who go out at night and handle crazed criminals on their own terms. (WHAT. I can’t find anything about that shit online)

The submachine gun used by Marion Cobretti in the final showdown with biker gang is a Jati-Matic. Cobretti uses a custom Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 in 9mm using Glaser Safety Slugs, a frangible bullet.  (These notes were much much longer before I cut them down, look up the details yourself if you are interested)

Santiago Segura has claimed that this movie was the inspiration for his well-known character Jose Luis Torrente, main star of Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley (1998) and sequels, that he conceived as a parody of the 80s action movies. In fact, the title is a spoof of Stallone’s movie, since then in Spain Cobra was titled as “Cobra, el brazo fuerte de la ley” (Cobra, the strong arm of the law). (Huh, this would be a great homework opportunity. According to wikipedia, José Luis Torrente is an ugly, bald, overweight, dirty, corrupt, lying, fascist, racist, and chauvinistic retired cop … sounds about right.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Thompson, 1987)

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Highlander: The Final Dimension Recap

Jamie

Connor MacLeod is back, Jack! Oh and he’s ready to forget the second film ever happened and kill another Immortal. That’s because Kane is back and ready to declare once again that there can be only one. Can Connor get the girl and cut off Kane’s head before it’s too late? Find out in… Highlander III: The Final Dimension.

How?! We are reintroduced to the Connor MacLeod we know and love as he explicitly explains that contrary to popular belief there was never a sequel to The Highlander and in fact this is the direct sequel. We then get treated to a large sequence set in Medieval Japan where Connor learns the sword from a magician, Nakano. An evil Immortal, Kane, dead set on killing all the other Immortals, finds Nakano and is able to kill him, but The Quickening caves in the mountain and buries Kane preventing him from taking part in the events of the first film. In the present day an archeological dig unearths Kane and he uses one of his cronies to find MacLeod and kills the other in order to sap on his sweet sweet Quickening. When MacLeod sees the effects of The Quickening in the skies over Marrakesh he knows that he’s basically the only hope that Earth has and that Kane will be after him regardless. So to protect his family he decides to head off the threat and head back to his old stomping grounds of NYC. There the police are still suspicious about all those murders a few years back (God, let it go, right?) and there is also a pretty lady archeologist, Dr. Alex, to fall in love with, so he’s pretty busy. Eventually Kane catches up and nearly defeats MacLeod, but is stopped at the last moment when they venture onto sacred ground. Knowing that he was too close to defeat he heads to Scotland to make a new sword, bone the lady archeologist for hours, and eat haggis probably. When he is informed that his adopted son is unexpectedly heading to the US he runs back and confronts Kane in a petroleum refinery or power plant or factory or something (classic 80’s). They battle and shit but obviously MacLeod wins, endures The Quickening, and then probably has his own quickening with Dr. Alex. THE END.

Why?! Kinda spelled it out above. Kane wants to be the last Immortal and use the power to rule Earth, while MacLeod (who has loved the peaceful life of being the only Immortal left) just wants to protect the adopted family he has surrounded himself with. Unfortunately for the franchise this means that every sequel has to reveal exactly why this turns out to not work out for MacLeod. The first one decided to make it all about aliens and it was terrible. The second now has decided that he actually didn’t kill all the other Immortals, psych! I tried reading the plot synopsis for the fourth film and my eyes fell out of my head. This series is hilariously awful.

Who?! Not your typical Who here as there isn’t anything to note in the traditional categories. The best thing I found was that the young actor who played Connor’s adopted son was played by Gabriel Kakon. World famous actor? No, but he did co-found a high-end furniture and lighting store called Gabriel Scott.

What?! You always hope that a film like this can deliver with a Sword of Power or something, but alas. I did enjoy the moment where Connor undergoes a Quickening and the sheer power makes a large number of cans of delicious Mountain Dew explode. Now that’s what I call doing the dew, right?… right?

Where?! We get three different major settings. Primarily this is a New York City film like the first one. We also get some significant scenes in Japan and Scotland and some less significant portions in England, France, and Morocco. I do wish they did a bit more with NYC in this one. Just a violent backdrop for the battle between Immortals. B.

When?! This may be my favorite of all time. Early in the film Connor decapitates a fellow Immortal in the basement of a hospital and, seeing as that is unusual even for crime-ridden NYC, we get a glimpse of the front page of the New York Post. At the top there are a series of news stories about Tanya Harding, Bill Clinton, and… Mayor Rudy Giuliani getting yelled at by hecklers at a MLK event… because it was MLK Day… Super Secret Holiday Film Alert! C+++.

This is clearly a much better concept for a Highlander sequel than the second one ever was, no matter the cut. Unfortunately they really bungled the film as a whole and it’s almost laughably poorly constructed from a narrative point of view. The film has zero flow. It’s almost like the director had never done anything other than commercials and music videos and wasn’t equipped to make a feature length film… which was the case. It really makes it hard to have fun watching Mario Van Peebles eat entire set pieces and, although I’m sure Patrick will mention it, probably the greatest sex scene in BMT history. Seriously… you could just watch the film for the sex scene. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Highlander III is like if they decided to make like … Under Siege 3: Submarine Saboteur, but instead of getting an actual director they got … me? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The main thing that was weird about the entire preview was that the director had done nothing except music videos prior to this film. Combine that with an especially cheap looking trailer (with Mario Van Peebles acting off the chain) and you have a recipe for disaster. And that, for BMT, is interesting.

The Good – I have to admit. If I were to outline to you what the best plan of action for Highlander after the successful first film … well, this film would be it. I would say that the film should either be a prequel (and thus The Gathering wouldn’t have happened yet), or make it a sequel with something about a hidden Immortal, or some way in which new Immortals are created. This, from a story perspective, is kind of exactly what I envisioned. The sex scene in this film is genuinely great, and it is profoundly sad that that is the only good thing from this film.

The Bad – The film is a trainwreck. It is so ludicrous that it stands right beside Highlander II: The Quickening as a just off the wall crazy installment to this series. And the reviews are correct. This film stops the franchise right in its tracks. It looks cheap, Van Peebles is absurd in scenery chewing glory, the film makes no sense, and it just exhausts you of any tolerance you might have had for the now very muddled lore. Top to bottom, an absolutely terrible installment to a franchise which should have never been. And everything kind of comes down to the director being totally out of his depth. It feels like even a halfway competent director would have managed something … anything better with the material.

You Just Got Schooled! – I went ahead and watched the pilot for the Highlander television series which started as a syndicated series in 1992 starring Adrian Paul of Love Potion No. 9 fame. Man … 1992 was a wild time. Adrian Paul is legit one of the worst actors I’ve ever seen. And he headlines 6 seasons of a show! In the positive I will say the expansion and exploration of the lore behind Highlander certainly should be done in a television program, and they immediately start on the proper foot by retconning The Gathering from the first movie. In the end, the tv show as a tv show is a D, but the tv show as a sequel to the first movie is probably a solid C+. Helps that the acting in the original movie was pretty trashy in the first place. Do yourself a favor and watch the opening sequence though. For real, it is just … amazing.

The BMT – Back to back with Universal Soldier: The Return is … something else. I think these are both great examples of what BMT tries to be on its good days. Terrible, but not boring, with a lot of weird and wild stuff. Both captured the mid-to-late 90s in their own terrible franchise glory. Two early standards for the best bad movie of the year in my opinion.

Welcome to Earf – I now have a program to do this! The ideal (and BMT) path is: Deborah Kara Unger is in this and 88 Minutes, with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! We now have the ability to calculate a Here on Earth number, which is the shortest path (based on billing according to The Movie Database) through the BMT movie web. Unger was 3rd billed here and 6th billed in 88 Minutes (for a total of 9) and then Leelee Sobieski was 3rd billed in 88 Minutes and 1st billed in Here on Earth for a total of 4. I’ll probably eventually put this in the preview instead and figure out a new thing to do in the recap in its place. Here on Earf Number – 13 (Ideal: 13).

StreetCreditReport.com – It is fairly obvious that this was never going to actually make any lists since, you know … it isn’t a real movie. Instead I’ll take the opportunity to mention that this is literally the worst reviewed franchise in Metacritic history. It seems weird to me to see Highlander getting such bad reviews to be honest. I mean, according to Metacritic it is worse than Highlander II. That’s literally impossible.

I think watching all of these franchises is melting my brain … Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

 

Highlander: The Final Dimension Quiz

There can only be one! This movie is obviously the worst because it begs the question: What happens if there were twin Highlanders? Huh? One would have to kill the other? Bullshit. Quiz time.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open by completely ignoring Highlander II: The Quickening, and instead blast to the past to join up with Conor McCloud (he’s back jack!) after the death of his wife. What does McCloud decide to do after this unfortunate event?

2) Meanwhile our heroine Alexandra arrives in Japan circa 1994. What is her job and why is she there?

3) How many Highlanders die in the film?

4) Why does McCloud go back to the Scottish highlands?

5) Name at least three things Kane transforms himself into during the course of the film.

Answers

Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

Jamie and Patrick are excited to take part in the Super Duper Commando Project… sounds pretty rad. Unfortunately when they show up there seems to have been a mix up. A gust of wind blew their applications from the accept pile into the reject pile. What a mistake! They are informed that the only open positions are as security guards. Jamie and Patrick shrug. You take what you can get. As they walk around the building they are super duper bored. “If I wanted to be a security guard I would have joined the Security Brigade,” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Super Duper Commando backflips his way into their path. “What thuuuuuuu…” Patrick says before they are both kicked out of a window. Shaking off the serious trauma inflicted on their non-Super Duper bodies they return to the security center and find the place in disarray. Turns out a rogue general bestowed the Sword of Power upon one of the Commandos giving him the power of the gods. Sounds totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I know, but like… you better believe it’s happening. Jamie and Patrick look at one another. The head of security is curious, “You boys look like you know something. Out with it.” They look sheepish. “It’s just,” Jamie begins and takes out an ancient scroll, “when we were born it was foretold that we would face a super soldier equipped with the Sword of Power. It was oddly specific to this exact situation.” The head of security is in awe. “Did it say anything else?” Patrick and Jamie look at each other again. “Yes,” Patrick whispers, “It said ‘There can only be one.’” That’s right! We’re getting another notch in the Highlander Franchise belt with our Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the cycle, Highlander: The Final Dimension… or is it Highlander: The Magician… or is it Highlander: The Sorcerer? Impossible to tell with the third entry in the series. I’m sure you’re all like ‘But Jamie, don’t you mean last entry in the series. There can’t possibly be a fourth major release in the Highlander series.’ Well you’d be wrong. Highlander: Endgame exists and it is foretold that we will watch it… someday. But not today. Let’s go!

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) – BMeTric: 69.4

HighlanderTheFinalDimension_BMeT

HighlanderTheFinalDimension_RV

(Quite low, but is getting that regression to the mean as one would have expected. Nearly 70+ BMeTric, which is obviously extremely impressive. High hopes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Conor McCloud, the wanderer from medieval Scotland, does battle in today’s N.Y. with evil fellow immortal from the past, the Mongol magician Cane (Van Peebles). Foolish, badly written piffle is a sequel only to the first film, ignoring the second and the TV series. Lambert is glum, Van Peebles shamelessly hammy. Dozens of unexplained elements, starting with Cane’s perfect English.

(Leonard hates Highlander. The films are rated: 1.5, 1.5, BOMB, BOMB for the first four. Which is insane. The first is actually halfway decent, at least compared to the second! I’m looking forward to the performances now. Seems like it could be something truly to behold.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW_HzYMNOng

(I guess it is called “The Sorcerer” in this case. Anywho, this looks terribly cheap. And they kind of give away that he quickens again there. And they also give away that there is a pretttttty sexy sex scene … it’s a wash, this could go either way now.)

Directors – Andrew Morahan – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: British. Still is a music video director mostly. His father was a director as well, and his half-sister is an actress.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Worked as a firefighter for three years. Witnessed a friend killed by a deadly backdraft which became the basis for the script.)

Brad Mirman (story & screenplay) (uncredited) – (Known For: Forsaken; The Shadow Dancer; Crime Spree; Future BMT: Knight Moves; Resurrection; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Body of Evidence in 1994; Notes: Mostly a writer-director now, including a television mini-series called The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland.)

William N. Panzer (story) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Was the producer for basically every single Highlander property over the years. Died in 2007.)

Paul Ohl (screenplay) – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: French, but lived mostly in Quebec. Was in public service most of his life, and wrote multiple novels which I suppose is how he ended up connected to this.)

René Manzor (uncredited) – (Known For: Monsieur N.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Caught the attention of George Lucas and Spielberg early in his career and wrote on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Fortress; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Mortal Kombat; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Born in the US, although he is French as his father was a diplomat. Was married to Diane Lane, and had a daughter with her.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Son of the famous director Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrays in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

Deborah Kara Unger – (Known For: The Game; Thirteen; Crash; Payback; The Way; The Hurricane; Sunshine; The Salton Sea; A Love Song for Bobby Long; The Alibi; Fear X; Stander; One Point O; Shake Hands with the Devil; Hollywood North; Signs & Wonders; Emile; Future BMT:White Noise; The Samaritan; Jackals; A Dark Truth; Keys to Tulsa; Whispers in the Dark; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Silent Hill: Revelation; 88 Minutes; Silent Hill; Notes: Canadian, but she started her career in Australia where she became quite a famous actress before returning to North America.)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $12,303,080

(Absolutely absurd budget. I understand there is a level of set design and special effects involved, but it would have been ludicrous to think they’d recoup that number. It has to involve funny math.)

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

highlanderfinaldimension_liveactionfantasy

(Around Dungeons & Dragons. The genre really took off in 2000, likely because they were able to put together films that otherwise would have been impossible to produce with practical effects with the cheaper CGI that had been developed by then.)

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

highlanderfinaldimension_swordandsorcery

(Only In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale did worse among BMT films. The chart gets a bit skewed because The Lord of the Rings made so much money all within a few years of each other. The genre has never really be huge in the number of films produced.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (1/20): No consensus yet.

(My god the consensus would be something else: Cheap looking with absolutely ridiculous performances by Lambert and Van Peebles. Literally like watching a franchise crash and burn in front of your eyes! Reviewer Highlight: As for Van Peebles, he’s quite the ridiculous sight and sound. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Skloglander: The Final Dimensional Sorcerer from Space Probably (B-)

highlander_the_final_dimension

(I have to say I like the clock and how the poster is laid out. The coloring is crazy though and the font is just meh. Tone it down a little and get some sweet Highlander brand font and we might be off to the races.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries ago one man was chosen to protect all that is good. But an enemy from the past has travelled through time to challenge him in the present. (F)

(Bahahahaahaha… … … hahahahahahaha… ha… ah… well that sounds stupid.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 The Room (2003); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 82.0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 81.2 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 78.7 Jason X (2001); 77.6 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 77.0 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 75.8 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 74.9 Species II (1998);

(Kind of unbelievable there are still films on the table here. Given the number of films with the keyword it isn’t that surprising that all of them are basically above 75 BMeTric which is incredible. All three Fifty Shades films make this list.)

Notes – Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with Christopher Lambert herself, declining to use a body double. (Good for her I guess)

The original script for the film was radically different from the finished product in that the flashback sequences to place in early 17th century Scotland and early 18th century England. MacLeod had an Immortal friend in the script named Cavanagh who had similar aspects like Ramirez, The main villain in the script was named Kilvera. The script started depicting what happened with Connor after he buried Heather as well as a scene that revealed that he kills Jack the Ripper who was an Immortal as well. (I understand none of this)

The film is true to the original Highlander (1986) and ignores Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). In Highlander 2, Connor, Ramirez and the Immortals were aliens from the planet Zeist. In the original Highlander, Connor and Ramirez were not aliens from another planet and Highlander 3 takes place 8 years after the original film and is true to the original story and mythology. (Cool? They’re going to fuck it up anyways, so what does it really matter, y’know?)

Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles had both previously starred in Gunmen (1993) and had become good friends.

In early development this was going to be a prequel about Connor arriving in New York at the start of ‘The Gathering’. (That would have been kind of cool. If I recall correctly the original kind of starts as the battle for The Quickening is coming to a close)

Mako plays a similar role to the role he played in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). (M’man Mako is in this? Hell yeah)

For the UK VHS and DVD releases, the title was changed to Highlander 3: The Sorcerer, with no extended cut (renegade cut). (This title keeps on coming up and it annoys me. There are like fifty goddamn names for this film)

Universal Soldier: The Return Recap

Jamie

Luc Devereaux is back, Jack! And boy howdy is he ready to fight more Universal Soldiers. When the Universal Soldier program’s AI computer, SETH, goes rogue, Luc and his new reporter friend Erin have to figure out how to take it out. Will they stop SETH, save Luc’s daughter, and perhaps find love before it’s too late? Find out in… Universal Soldier: The Return.

How?! Luc Devereaux is living his life in Texas working for the Universal Soldier program. He was still totally a dead person at one point but apparently was cured of that and his junk apparently still works because he even has a daughter. She seems fine with having a dad that was dead for a very long time. Anyway, the UniSol program is told that they are being shut down because the government is a little wary of this whole bringing-people-back-to-life-as-soldiers thing and Luc and his colleagues are shocked (shocked!). None more than their AI computer system SETH. He’s like “fuck that” and starts going rogue. He kills a whole bunch of people, make a new set of soldiers, and even gives himself a rad new body with some killer abs and karate skillz. SETH knows that a safe guard will shut him down in eight hours unless he can crack a code that only Luc has. Luc is like “Over my dead body” and along with a reporter that was snooping around, Erin, heads out to figure out what they can do. They end up going to a strip club because obviously that place will have internet and he is able to figure out that SETH has been in contact with a disgraced elite hacker. They head over to Squid’s place where it is revealed that SETH is going to use Luc’s daughter as a pawn to get the code. They head to the hospital where Luc’s daughter is being taken care of but they are too late and know that a direct confrontation is their only chance. Back at Universal Soldier HQ, Luc and SETH totally battle with martial arts skills and punch and kick each other for a while. SETH cracks the code and is like “guess I didn’t need you after all. Time to die,” and Luc is like “when Hell freezes over” and whatever other puns you can think of and is able to quick freeze SETH and shatters him into a million pieces. THE END.

Why?! This time the driving force of the film is not the snooping reporter but the Universal Soldier program itself. The government gets cold feet about their crazy morally bankrupt dead soldier venture and SETH can’t handle rejection. I think SETH wants to take over the world at this point but it’s actually hard to tell. I’m not entirely sure what his end game is… perhaps creating a Universal Soldier utopia in Texas? Whatever it is Luc wants to stop it and save his daughter and smooch on that reporter’s face.

Who?! I can no longer say someone gave us the worst acting performance we’ve ever seen because we’ve seen so many terrible acting performances, but WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg gifts us an all-timer. I also didn’t realize he was a legit NFL football player. He actually played for the Falcons for a number of years and started a game and everything.

What?! I think there is an argument to be made that the super secret code that turns off the safe guard against SETH is a MacGuffin of sorts. It is what SETH needs and he will do whatever necessary to get it. The only problem is that we know exactly what it does and it’s not some random piece of magic or technology. You know what it needed to be? It needed to be on a dongle. And perhaps that dongle could be made of some important material… say… I don’t know, obsidian?

Where?! When JCVD is jet skiing about from minute one I thought perhaps they had moved the Universal Soldier program to Louisiana so he could be near his folks. Nope, shortly thereafter they mention explicitly that this is all occurring in Central Texas and then JCVD ends up at the famous strip club in Dallas, The Clubhouse. B.

When?! I almost hoped there wouldn’t be an exact date for this one because they used intertitles to tell you unnecessarily specific times. So it would flash on screen like “9:22 PM CST” in case you might be confused as to whether they meant Greenwich Mean Time or something. Unfortunately computer whiz JCVD realized that SETH must be communicated with an elite haxor on the outside and we see that he called said haxor on October 3rd 1999. Since we see SETH make this last call this almost definitely sets the exact date of the film. B+.

Alright so I’ll let Patrick tell you about the two Universal Soldier made-for-TV films that preceded this one. Rest assured that they made me sad and curiously thirsty for some delicious Labatt Blue. As for this film, it did not make me sad. It made me BMT happy. Universal Soldier: The Return is bonkers from the jump. We open with a jet ski chase and head right into a HAL rip-off eeeevil computer. Goldberg is terrible at acting but somehow better than JCVD. There are explosions and full body burns everywhere because it was directed by a stunt man. An elite haxor shows up who is straight up off the chain and played by the middle aged actor who played The Sidler in Seinfeld. I could go on and on and on. This film was pedal to the metal for 90 minutes and never let up. It’s like they knew the BMT formula and took it to the extreme. The only problematic thing about its perfection is that an argument could be made that this is just a straight-to-DVD film that somehow made it onto a release schedule. That it can’t be judged the same way as other films because it was never meant to be consumed by a mass audience. That it only ended up in theaters because an evil magician put a curse on a producer (probably). These are all things that will have to be judged as part of next year’s Smaddies Baddies and perhaps the retrospective look will turn it into a pumpkin. Until then I’m just enjoying all the memories we had together. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I know after watching the two television films in the Universal Soldier series we were all a-clamoring for more Universal Soldier. Or my brain melted and I in a daze I accidentally turned on The Return. Either way I watched the second (or fourth depending on what you consider canon … actually The Return isn’t canon either) Universal Soldier film. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The trailer for this film is bonkers, so I kind of knew it was going to be nuts in the first place. But the main thing that obviously sticks out is that they decided to retcon the television movies. It is obvious why you do that but still … it isn’t like the films did anything drastic with the story really. They could have vaguely had the story continue from where the third left off. But you know the series isn’t getting taken care of properly when the original production company went bankrupt, sold it to Showtime, and then yada yada yada they make a direct sequel in 1997. Doesn’t bode well.

The Good – Hmmmmmm. Unfortunately I don’t think you see many buns in this film. They even cover up Michael Jai White’s buns, do what am I supposed to do with that? Plenty of cyborgs though. A weird peak into what a strip club in 1999 might have looked like. A really big ‘splosion, and some full body burns. You could ask for less, right?

The Bad – The movie is nuts. There is an AI called SETH, and a l33t h4XX0r names Squid. And JCVD isn’t a cyborg anymore (he’s a regular human who apparently isn’t sterile despite being legit dead for like … 25 years at one point, because he has a human child). The AI bit really does it. You immediately can’t take the movie seriously the instant they introduce it, and the reasoning behind its existence is non-existent. It really is just a masterstroke of terrible filmmaking.

You Just Got Schooled – Right when it looks like we took a step forward it is time to take a step back with a recap of the third film, Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business. In this film our two heroes Luc and Veronica are back on the trail of the Universal Soldier program and trying to take it down. It killed his brother Eric, and boy is he steamed about it. Meanwhile the eeeeevil scientist and Burt Reynolds are a-scheming to create a little Eric clone to fight Luc (boy oh boy, how eeeevil). Ultimately Luc karate chops all the other cyborgs, and they self destruct Eric after he magically gets his memory back (oh did I forget to mention that they give him super-aging serum to make him precisely the same age as when he died …). In the end Burt Reynolds kills himself and the Unisol program continues to operate in the shadows in season 1 of the smash hit Showtime series Universal Soldier … what’s that? That didn’t happen? Oh, then they totally leave us hanging forever since this garbage film was retconned out of existence. F——.

The BMT – Now we’re cooking with fire! Frontrunner for most BMT film of the year right here. The main thing that will hold it back in the future? It’s a bit too small maybe? Like it qualifies and everything, but it feels a bit like punching down when you pick JCVD’s last theatrical release (literally). But we tend to ignore such things, and the film is pretty entertaining. I’m sure it will be just as entertaining in 5 years (wait … are we going to still be doing BMT in 5 years … surely not …).

Welcome to Earf – With the new found knowledge I gained with my own SETH (a python shortest path script and cast lists from The Movie Database) I think the likely best path is something like JCVD was in Universal Soldier with Dolph Lundgren, who was in Expendables 3 with Jason Statham, who was in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – A little disappointing, but somewhat expected I think that the few lists wouldn’t necessarily acknowledge this one. It is, as I said, a bit too small. Almost straight-to-DVD. Still, you can find it on random blogs like this, and that is good enough for me.

The Universal Soldier marathon is complete. My life, what am I doing? Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Universal Soldier Recap

Jamie

When Luc Devereaux is killed in Vietnam by the crazed Andrew Scott they are both secretly reanimated as super soldiers. Years later, Luc  and Scott begin to regain their memories and Luc has to help a snooping reporter escape from Scott’s clutches. Can they stop Scott and perhaps find love before it’s too late? Find out in… Universal Soldier.

How?! Luc Devereaux is an all-American hero with an all-American Cajun accent (duh). In Vietnam one of his fellow soldiers, Andrew Scott, goes insane and kills a bunch of villagers before turning the gun on Luc. They end up killing each other and are regenerated in super soldiers as a part of a secret military project.They are used to great effect until Luc and Scott begin to regain their memories. At the same time a reporter, Veronica, discovers the secret to the program and to the shock of the military Luc helps her escape. Now in hot pursuit, the Universal Soldiers leave a wake of destruction while Luc relearns all the basic functions of life and Veronica ponders whether falling in love with a dead guy is A-OK because he’s not really dead… right? Luc and Veronica try to find out more about the program, always staying a step ahead of Scott, who eventually goes completely rogue. Finally, in the bayou of Louisiana, Luc is reunited with his mother and father. Happiness is short-lived, however, as Scott finds them and an all out brawl ensues resulting in Luc pushing Scott into a farm machine. He is gruesomely murdered but he was already dead so through a loophole in the law Luc isn’t tried for murder. He is crowned champion of the Universal Soldiers and he and Veronica probably get married but never (NEVER) talk about how he’s actually a dead person. THE END.

Why?! A lot of this is pure coincidence really. The main thrust of the plot is driven by Veronica wanting to get the big scoop about the UniSol program. She just got fired and wants to really stick it to her bosses. By sneaking into the top secret Unisol base she becomes a fugitive whose only hope is a totally confused Luc. He just wants to figure out what the fuck is up because he’s pretty sure he’s a dead person but everyone else is telling him he’s not a dead person. Andrew Scott is crazy and acts accordingly.

Who?! There is so much for the who in this. Basically every Unisol GR unit is notable in some way. One is Tiny Lister, former wrestler and POTUS in The Fifth Element. One is Eric Norris, youngest son of Chuck Norris and race car driver. One is Ralf Moeller, who was a professional bodybuilder and competed in Mr. Olympia. And finally one is Simon Rhee, who is a big martial arts stunt actor. Added bonus is JCVD’s son Kris appeared uncredited as a younger version of his dad.

What?! Solid product placement with Pepsi where we get JCVD, relearning all the pleasures of life, sitting down to eat at a restaurant and tasting a delicious Pepsi for the first time. Next thing you know and he’s slammed twenty Pepsi’s because who can resist such refreshment? No one. It’s a universal pleasure.

Where?! Veritable Road Trip Alert with this guy. We get an opening in Vietnam that transitions to the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Once JCVD and Veronica are on the run they travel to Arizona, Utah, and eventually Louisiana for the climax (all with specific intertitles). The best part is that I’m not sure what I would classify as the dominant setting… Louisiana I guess, but Utah has an argument too. B+.

When?! The grades for these sections aren’t exactly set in stone (shocking I know), but if I were to make a hard and fast rule I think the “Present Day” intertitle is a good example of a D score. Sure it’s telling you something, but as vaguely as possible. Otherwise I didn’t catch any other specifics about the date and time. But that’s on me.

I enjoyed this movie plain and simple. I can understand the bad reviews. It’s a knock-off of a Sly Stallone or Schwarzenegger film with worse acting. There is just no way this actually gets good reviews… because it’s bad. But there is something fun about the movie (not surprising as it’s early Emmerich) and I think this is also probably the best you’ll see JCVD in terms of acting. Unlike other films where he has to act like an actual person here he gets to act like a robot person who doesn’t remember he’s human. He barely talks and mostly just has a vacant look in his eyes. I was like “woah, he’s actually doing a good job.” Until I saw the sequel to the film and realized it was only made possible by constraints of the script. Made me think that the rest of the series would just be boring rehashes of the same shit… boy was I wrong.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes you just get that feeling, that JCVD feeling, JCVD … feeling, baby, JCVD feeeeeeling. And when you get that feeling you get to watch Universal Soldier! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The instant I saw this was an early Emmerich I knew it was going to be kind of good. Combine that with pre-straight-to-DVD JCVD and Lundgren in peak Rocky IV shape and you got a stew going, baby. Honestly, this is exactly the type of film critics at the time would have dumped on, and now people (like me) will pick up and be like “rad”, so I went in expecting to like it.

The Good – And like it I did. One thing that can always save terrible actors like JCVD? Making him play a robot. The role he was meant to play to be honest. The idea of intentionally creating controllable zombies as soldiers is oddly unique and appealing. It immediately made me think about how in some sort of Evil Scientist Extended Universe they’d be making werewolves (gene splicing), and mummies (preserved sentient corpses) and stuff. Fun idea even if it is a bit wasted in the end. Oh, and of course … JCVD’s bodacious buns.

The Bad – I mean these guys aren’t good actors. The film felt a bit cheap, especially in the set designs which kind of just look like they were left over from the 80s to be honest. And the story is very derivative (JCVD’s Loc-bot 2000 might as well learned to give a thumbs up he’s such a rip off of The Terminator) and road trippy (although it mostly works). And finally the ending was telegraphed and pretty dumb with the super soldier serum. But all of these are either completely tolerable or very minor critiques of what is ultimately a pretty not-bad film that got dumped on at the time.

You Just Got Schooled – Well lucky for me there were two television films, so let’s discuss the first one a bit. Basically this was a sort of pilot for Showtime it seems. The main character is played by Matt Battaglia and … woof, he is just awful. He alone makes the film almost unwatchable. The main storyline is that Gary Busey is in charge of the Universal Soldier program and he’s going to sell it to the highest bidder (mercenaries!). Meanwhile Luc’s never-before-mentioned brother Eric has been activated and is helping Luc take Busey down. The film is boring, incomprehensible, and extremely Canadian (complete with retconning Luc’s hometown as being in Pennsylvania to excuse the obviously cold shooting temperatures). Straight hot garbage F——-.

The BMT – This one will get nothing, but will likely get a shout at the end of the year for being one of the genuinely decent films we watched in the course of 2019, it’s got that going for it. And it’ll be thrown onto the JCVD pile. I think of all the martial artists turned actors JCVD is on top of the second tier. The first tier might only have Jackie Chan in it BTW.

Welcome to Earf – This gets pretty easy. Dolph Lundgren is in both Universal Soldier and Expendables 3, which also stars Sly Stallone who was in Zookeeper with Kevin James, who was also in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 with Neal McDonough, who was also in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li with Chris Klein, who was also in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earth! (BTW I’m creating a program that does this now. It isn’t complete, but even in its current form it would have suggested I go straight from Expendables 3 through Statham to In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale which stars Leelee. Idiot! I’ve actually used that path before).

StreetCreditReport.com – It shouldn’t really be that big of a surprise that it didn’t get much notice in 1992. It was considered bad, but not that bad. And it has its charm. This well and truly is just along for the ride with The Return. It is too bad there isn’t a better resource for this stuff though, it feels like the instant you venture away from the 2000s there is basically no worst-of lists to speak of. At least not online.

I’ll see you soon with the recap of The Return, the second (er … fourth?) in the Universal Soldier series. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Universal Soldier: The Return Quiz

Woooooooowheeeeee. If you’re like me and just watched four Universal Soldier films in 48 hours you’re probably a bit loopy. Why buckle up then, let’s test your knowledge.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) The universal soldier program has zombie soldiers who come back to life … oh, yeah and now for some reason a supercomputer that runs the whole thing called SETH. Why does SETH (inevitably) go insane?

2) Next SETH contacts the l33t h4x0r Squid to get him a body. Why does Squid want to help SETH?

3) What is SETH’s goal at this point? What is he trying to do inside the research facility? HINT: It is the most vague nonsense possible.

4) At this point the army kind of looks like goobers. But they decide to send in the Unisol OG Van Damme one last time. What’s the plan?

5) There is then an extended period of, oh, like 30 minutes where nothing much happens. I mean, action scenes happen, but the only real thing of consequence that happens is SETH kidnaps Van Damme’s daughter. So now you know he has to die. How does SETH die?

BONUS QUESTION: Why did mommy have to die?

Answers