Terminal Velocity Recap

Jamie

Ditch Brodie plays by his own rules. This gets him mixed up with a beautiful lady who happens to also be an ex-KGB spy. She enlists Ditch to help stop a group of her fellow spies who are trying to steal a planeful of gold from the former Soviet Union. Can he stop the baddies (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Terminal Velocity.

How?! Ditch Brodie is a rebel without a cause. So even in the midst of an FAA investigation you better believe he’s ready to give a skydiving lesson to a mysterious lady who shows up out of the blue. On their way up for the dive Ditch is shocked to find that she has jumped out of the plane without a parachute! He attempts to dive after her but is too late and she crashes to the ground. Shaken up, Ditch is convinced something is off. He begins to investigate and goes to her apartment in Tucson where he’s attacked by a couple of thugs. Back at the skydiving center he is approached by an Assistant DA who is investigating the death and Ditch brushes him off. As he rides the desert in thought he notices a small plane similar to a plane seen in footage of the incident. He chases it to a gas station where he discovers that the woman, Chris, is still alive. She’s an ex-KGB spy who is trying to escape a group of her fellow former spies. Using the incident as leverage she forces him to do a night dive with her in order to infiltrate the industrial plant she worked at. Inside he retrieves a MacGuffin and barely gets away from the same group of thugs he encountered before. He retreats to the skydiving center where he arranges for a meeting between him, Chris, and the Assistant DA. But it’s a trick! The Assistant DA is actually one of the ex-KGB thugs! Chris and Ditch use a rocket car (for real) to escape and end up in the desert expositing about their histories as spies/olympic level gymnasts (also real). Chris takes the MacGuffin back and is able to track where the ultimate treasure, a planeful of Soviet gold, is hidden. The ex-KGB thugs are aiming to steal it, but Chris wants to stop them as it’ll spell doom for Russia as it tries to get its footing. They find the plane and confirm the treasure, but have to retreat when the thugs show up. Ditch is having second thoughts and lets Chris go off alone (and immediately get kidnapped). Feeling bad, Ditch chases after them with the help of a biplane, boards the treasure plane, damages it, and saves Chris. After parachuting to the ground they dispatch the last of the thugs. Ditch is now an American and Russian hero and he and Chris get medals and smooch. THE END.

Why?! Pretty good motivation film. Ditch doesn’t have much other than survival and getting hot ladies. Chris’ motivation, though, is real interesting. Her group of ex-KGB operatives find themselves a bit lost after the fall of the Soviet Union so her colleagues plan to hijack and steal a bunch of gold for their new capitalist lives. Chris is like, no way. She still has family in Russia and crippling the young country by stealing all their wealth isn’t in the cards for her. It’s pretty interesting to see how movies made their way through a changing world.

Who?! Nothing super interesting here. There was some thanks and an In Memory credit for a make-up artist on the film. I couldn’t find out much about his passing, though. Some interesting actors show up in bit parts though. Melvin Van Peebles, who just passed away, is there, as is Rance Howard, father of Ron Howard.

What?! Put this squarely on the Coke side of the Coke-Pepsi debate. I wonder if it’s because we are focusing on the 90’s that it seems like every film had to have a fridge full of soda. Gandolfini’s character also has a funny quirk of chewing Certs when he’s nervous… at least when he’s in the guise of a lowly assistant DA and not a ruthless ex-KGB agent.

Where?! This appears to mostly be set in Arizona. Several times they orient themselves around Tucson and Phoenix as they drive and dive their way around the state. Years after mapl.de.map it’s always fun to find another one that would have been a good choice for a state. Interesting that American Anthem was our choice for Arizona back in the day as that also is gymnastics centric… I wonder if that is how Sheen’s character ended up there. Was at the gymnastics training facility and eventually drifted out to the skydiving area.

When?! Patrick helpfully noted the presence of a calendar flipped to March in one of the scenes. Otherwise I didn’t note anything in particular about when this might be taking place. That’s good enough for a C, with some room for improvement if they were to at some point enjoy some green beer or whatnot.

Fun movie with some real bad acting by the main players, some good acting by Gandolfini, and some Christopher MacDonald acting from Christopher MacDonald. It’s also pretty confusing if you were simply trying to watch a glossy 90’s action flick about skydiving. At times it’s like they assume the audience wrote the movie or something. Sheen is skydiving into a smokestack and then running away with something in a coat rack while being chased by Russians (who don’t sound Russian) as he does the bidding of a Russian (who kinda sounds Russian). At a certain point you just have to let the movie flow, and indeed it slowly coalesces over one of the several necessary exposition scenes. I got it by the end, but it does throw you for a loop in the moment. All that said, it’s exactly what I want out of my 90’s action. I’d call the genre Electric Guitar Action and it was perfected in the 90’s. As for Crackerjack, hoooo weee. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I loved watching this film. A perfect Die Hard knock-off… and somehow also starring Nastassja Kinski! It’s just a perfect combination of weird sets, weird lines, explosions, and a laugh-out-loud hilarious flashback scene.One of my absolute favorite Bring a Friend entries thus far. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Charlie Sheen acting like a mad man! We’ve got skydiving! We’ve got a cold war storyline for post-Soviet American politics! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had to do a double take when combing through the keywords and plot details … KGB agent? We’re talking about like 1994 right? Once you watch the film it all makes a bit more sense, but it does, in some ways, all feel like a script that was leftover from the heady days of Rambo III which they forgot to make until three years too late (oddly, a lot like Police Academy: Mission to Moscow). Watching the trailer it also seemed very weird to see Charlie Sheen in a genuine action role … it was hard to tell how much this film was actually a comedy. What were my expectations? I really don’t know. I guess I expected there to actually be very little skydiving in the end and a whole lot more of a convoluted political plot.

The Good – I got it half right, there is actually quite a bit of skydiving and in the end the skydiving was the best part of the film (by far). Sheen being a former-Olympian-turned-bad-boy-skydiver is quite good and I kind of wish they had done Terminal Velocity 2 just to see how wild they would get with it. He does come across as a weird early-90s American James Bond in a way, all the way down to the overly complex story involving the dissolving KGB in a Russia teetering on the brink of civil war. Best Bit: The skydiving duh.

The Bad – The overly complex political plotline was just a tad bit too overly complicated. It takes quite a bit of effort to untangle who are the bad former KGB, who are Russian mafia (were they all former KGB, just working for the mob remotely?), and who are the good former KGB. Perhaps it all made a lot more sense at the time, but for a while I was skeptical the plot synopsis could possibly be right because it all seemed very under-explained. Sheen was a bit too jokey for my taste in action, personally (admittedly it probably struck the right tone for an American-in-a-James-Bond story, it just isn’t my cup of tea). Fatal Flaw: Really hard to understand, and I usually am quite good at parsing even the most ludicrous of bad movie plot lines.

The BMT – Unfortunately, beyond the usual “extreme sport” bad movie subgenre, or “skydiving” subsubgenre I don’t really see why this could get any play in bad movie circles. It is actually pretty good if you can understand the plot at all. It looks good and has great skydiving action. I kind of dug it. Double feature with The Chase for sure. Did it meet my expectations? Half and half. There was a lot more skydiving action than I expected (good) and, yeah, it was a little too convoluted as far as political intrigue (bad).

Roast-radamus – Really fun Product Placement (What?) for a few things, but my favorite is Certs which Galdofini nervously chomps on just prior to the movie’s twist. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Arizona, which is actually a pretty rare setting (and one we also saw recently with Fire Birds). And a genuine MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious plane which, it turns out, contains a boatload of gold. Closest to Good I think, I like the movie and I think I would like it even more on subsequent viewings when I understand better what it is about.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – In our continued adventures in Half Past Dead BMT Crossover Episode this seems ripe for it. Because guess where Shasha Petrosevitch is from? Well … he’s American, but it seems like he must have some connection to Russia. In this sequel to Terminal Velocity, the Half Past Dead team come to recruit Krista (and Ditch) whom they’ve heard just might be Half Past Dead. Disappointed when he realizes that she merely faked her own death, Sasha goes to leave when over the wire it is revealed that that boatload of gold from the first film is missing in Russia once again. “Missing gold, that’s my speciality ,” Sasha says, “looks like I’m having a homecoming.” Flying to Russia with the Half Past Dead Team, Sasha reveals that he too was once high level KGB, deep-cover in the US and given a burn notice (which he evaded) in the early 90s prior to becoming a bonafide American hero. It turns out that the gold was stolen by a dissident looking to start their own Siberian kingdom. Doing a sub-zero skydive (“I invented sub-zero skydiving!” says Ditch), they get the gold, Ditch still has the lady, and Sasha gains two friends. “We could use your skydiving skillz on our team, problem is … you have to have seen the other side.” He shoots them both in the chest, black screen, cheers from the audience. Half Past Cold: Temperature Drop. The sequel series would establish that they indeed both survived and started the Russian branch of the Half Past Dead Team, in Half Past Dead: Moscow.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched Crackerjack (which I pronounce Crackerjack!! with a double exclamation point). It’s about a police officer named Jack who’s become reckless after his family is murdered by the mob (thus his nickname Crackerjack), who then gets himself into a real Die Hard situation at a remote mountain resort. He has to defeat the terrorist Getz (played by Christopher Plummer (!)) who wants mob diamonds to start maybe like a fascist utopia (?), and also he was the one that killed Jack’s family (!) and also he’s rigged the surrounding glacier to explode and bury the resort (!). It’s a lot to absorb, and yet as far as a straight-to-video feature it might be one of the best ones I’ve ever seen in its own way. Lots of hand-to-hand action, but because it’s Die Hard Thomas Ian Griffith also gets beat up a lot which is fun. The plot is kind of convoluted, but there are a lot of explosions and model work and as far as lightweight background noise it is really really enjoyable. Maybe don’t sit down in earnest to watch this thing, but do you have some mindless work you need done? This is a great diversion. A. I love it. I want to watch all of TIG’s films now. This is what I always wanted with Bring a Friend, but somehow we always watch things like A Talking Cat?! which are garbage.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Terminal Velocity Quiz

Oh man, so get this, I decided to go on a skydiving adventure, and got this real rad instructor called Ditch. Then I fell out of the plane and smashed into the ground killing me instantly … or so I thought, actually, I just broke all of the bones in my body and suffered a massive concussion. Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Terminal Velocity?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we see Charlie Sheen, skydiver extraordinaire, flying into a city and landing at a party. What is the part for? What did he think the party was for?

2) Spoilers, Kinski has come to the skydiving place to fake her own death. Initially she’s attached by cable to Sheen, but unclips herself and dives without him. How does she distract Sheen in order to get away from him?

3) The DA comes and threatens Sheen with jailtime for the negligent manslaughter of Kinski, but aha! She’s still alive!! Amazing. She wants him to do one more thing for him and then she’ll help him out. What does he need to do, and what will he get in return?

4) Charlie holds up his end of the bargain, and brings the DA to meet Kinski to get out of his hot water and back to his life. But uh oh! It’s a trick. Who is the DA really, and how do they get away?

5) So … what was on the plane?

Bonus Question: It’s a classic, but how long do Ditch and Chris stay together?

Answers

Terminal Velocity Preview

“Just a teensy little wish, Patrick, before you watch your beloved Rich & Poe die when I send you back to the BMTverse… forever,” the piece of shit hack Manfred Long says with a smirk, fondling the Obsidian Dongle the cyborgs stole for him. “The power, it feels good,” he whispers to himself… or as if he’s in conversation with someone. Patrick scoffs, “you always did have to steal everything you got from me,” and staring daggers he approaches Manfred and tears his cable knit sweater asunder. Manfred gasps and shaking with furor points the Obsidian Dongle at Patrick. The power Manfred holds could destroy not only Patrick’s physical being, but erase his memory from existence, and yet he never even blinks. Manfred wrestles to regain control of himself. Patrick can see how much he desires making Patrick watch his creations die. “Fine,” he finally says, brow damp with sweat, “no wishes. So how about you grant me one final wish and perhaps we make it interesting. A write-off. One story. You make a better one and I spare your friends. I make a better one and you all are doomed to walk the wastelands of BMTverse forever.” Patrick smirks and immediately tears off his black jumpsuit to reveal a cable-knit sweater underneath. Manfred grits his teeth and Patrick shrugs, “I guess I just had an inkling things might be going this way,” and with that pulls his collapsible typewriter out of his previously unmentioned stylish and useful fanny pack. “Subject?” Patrick asks, adjusting his glasses and Manfred thinks for a second. He begins to speak and Patrick can tell he wants to say Swamp Monster Romance, his genre of choice, but pauses… originality is the word of the day, “how about something rad… something x-treme.” Patrick nods. That’s right! We’re getting super rad AND x-treme with Terminal Velocity starring Charlie Sheen. Not to be confused with Drop Zone, the other 1994 skydiving thriller, which, alas, does not qualify for BMT. To be honest, when we chose this I kinda thought we were going to watch Drop Zone. Oops. Let’s go!

Jamie, Kyle, and Lindsey jump onto Rachel’s hang glider and turn laughing at the big, dumbo cyborgs. Their laughter dies as they see rocket packs and metal wings extend from the cyborg’s bodies. Gulp. “Woooah! Those cyborgs are crackerjack,” Kyle exclaims, using very cool lingo of the day. That’s right! We are watching Crackerjack as the friend. It’s basically Die Hard at a mountain resort… really most of our friends are Die Hard. Let’s go!

Terminal Velocity (1994) – BMeTric: 39.4; Notability: 41

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 14.4%; Notability: top 16.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 19.6%; Higher BMeT: Street Fighter, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, Double Dragon, The Flintstones, It’s Pat: The Movie, On Deadly Ground, North, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, The Fantastic Four, Exit to Eden, Color of Night, Ri¢hie Ri¢h, Car 54, Where Are You?, In the Army Now, Getting Even with Dad, Blank Cheque, and 16 more; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, The Shadow, Beverly Hills Cop III, Love Affair, Prêt-à-Porter, North, Frankenstein, I Love Trouble, Radioland Murders, The Pagemaster, Exit to Eden, Little Giants, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Street Fighter, Junior, Thumbelina, Speechless, The Specialist, Major League II, Blue Chips, and 22 more; Lower RT: Wagons East, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, House Party 3, It’s Pat: The Movie, Death Wish 5: The Face of Death, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Car 54, Where Are You?, The Silence of the Hams, Holy Matrimony, Erotique, Getting Even with Dad, Major League II, Trapped in Paradise, Exit to Eden, Lightning Jack, In the Army Now, Leprechaun 2, The Specialist, The Next Karate Kid, Trial by Jury, and 25 more; Notes: 1994 must have been a bomb year for bad movies. Over 20 films with <10% on Rotten Tomatoes! Not all of them will qualify, but still, that is just excellent stuff for the top 250 films on IMDb for the year.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – You’ve gotta hand it to “Terminal Velocity:” This movie may be dumb as a box of shredded wheat, but it has the damnedest action sequence I’ve seen since Arnold Schwarzenegger blasted the bad guy with the missile in “True Lies.” Nastassja Kinski is locked in the trunk of a red Cadillac, which is taken aboard a cargo plane. Charlie Sheen pursues in another plane, walks on its wing, hauls himself aboard the cargo plane, and then finds himself, Kinski and the Cadillac all falling through the air – with a villain on the hood shooting at him. This is an assignment for Houdini.

(I really like this review. A fun mix of “it is good for what it is” and “also BTW just in case I wasn’t clear, it is also garbage. Just good for being garbage.” Watching the trailer I honestly have no idea how Charlie Sheen ended up being a comedy-action star. It seems really weird seeing him be not-very-good at acting.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMzjb5OeYng/

(“What happened to 3?!” Oooooooooof, that is a bad line. So is “pack the bags, we’re going on a guilt trip.” 1994 must have been the heyday of the WTF script readings. We used to get them in BMT all the time, and haven’t for a while. This is going to bring that back. I can tell.)

DirectorsDeran Sarafian – (Known For: Alien Predator; To Die For; Roadflower; Interzone; Back in the U.S.S.R.; Future BMT: Death Warrant; Gunmen; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Notes: Interesting career. Went from a director of features, to a long time director of television, and now is a producer for television including getting two Emmy nominations as a producer of House M.D.)

WritersDavid Twohy – (Known For: The Fugitive; Waterworld; Riddick; G.I. Jane; Pitch Black; A Perfect Getaway; The Arrival; Below; Warlock; Timescape; The Second Arrival; Future BMT: The Chronicles of Riddick; Impostor; Warlock: The Armageddon; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Critters 2; Notes: He has genuinely written a ton of the Riddick stuff, including being attached as a writer on the upcoming show Merc City.)

ActorsCharlie Sheen – (Known For: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Platoon; Major League; Wall Street; Young Guns; Being John Malkovich; Red Dawn; Badlands; The Wraith; Hot Shots!; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Grizzly II: The Concert; Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; 9/11; The Arrival; Lucas; Catchfire; Foodfight!; Eight Men Out; Mad Families; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; Scary Movie 3; Due Date; Scary Movie 4; Machete Kills; The Rookie; Men at Work; Major League II; Loaded Weapon 1; Madea’s Witness Protection; Navy Seals; Money Talks; Shadow Conspiracy; All Dogs Go to Heaven 2: Charlie’s New Adventure; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Terminal Velocity; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Scary Movie 5 in 2014; Notes: The son of Martin Sheen and brother of Emilio Estevez. He’s had a crazy life we don’t have to get into, but it involves drugs and he seemed like he has gone through some seriously hard times over the years. Was nominated for four Emmys for Two and a Half Men.)

Nastassja Kinski – (Known For: Paris, Texas; Cat People; Inland Empire; One from the Heart; Tess; Stay as You Are; Playing by Heart; The Hotel New Hampshire; Faraway, So Close!; To the Devil a Daughter; An American Rhapsody; Revolution; Maria’s Lovers; One Night Stand; Savior; The Claim; Wrong Move; Cold Heart; Your Friends & Neighbors; Il sole anche di notte; Future BMT: Fathers’ Day; Unfaithfully Yours; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Town & Country; Notes: The daughter of Klaus Kinski obviously. Had a child with Quincy Jones in 1993 and has two others including Sonja Jones who appears to act a bit.)

James Gandolfini – (Known For: Zero Dark Thirty; True Romance; The Last Boy Scout; Fallen; Killing Them Softly; Crimson Tide; The Drop; The Last Castle; Get Shorty; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Taking of Pelham 123; Enough Said; Where the Wild Things Are; Romance & Cigarettes; The Man Who Wasn’t There; The Mexican; In the Loop; Not Fade Away; Welcome to the Rileys; Dance with the Devil; Future BMT: 8MM; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; All the King’s Men; The Juror; Surviving Christmas; Close to Eden; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Notes: Died in 2013. His son is playing his character in the Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $16,487,349 (Worldwide: $16,487,349)

(That is a pretty brutal return. The notes seem to suggest the film went over budget by a huge degree, so maybe they were planning on a svelte $25 million film or something, but no matter how you cut it that isn’t what you want for you action film in 1994.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (5/26): More of a string of formulaic set pieces than an actual action thriller, Terminal Velocity ends up going nowhere fast.

(That’s all I really want I think. Some of the good reviews seem to claim it wins the “skydiving” war of 1994. The other would appear to be Drop Zone, and the critics evidently disagree, that has a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes and doesn’t qualify.)

Reviewer Highlight: Some of the comic writing undercuts the preposterous story. – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

Poster – Terminal Sklogocity

(I LOVE THIS. My god. Sometimes the worst, most forgotten films have the best looking posters. I’d buy this for my house, have my wife tell me “hell no,” and put it into storage… that’s how much I love this. A++)

Tagline(s) – It is not the fall that kills you (C-)

(I think I understand what they are going for (parachuting is the safe part of the film, right?), but these words really don’t make much sense together. Sometimes I have to stop thinking too hard about a tagline because my head starts hurting.)

Keyword(s) – kgb

Top 10: Munich (2005), Anna (2019), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Bridge of Spies (2015), The Terminal (2004), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Atomic Blonde (2017), Gorky Park (1983), Eastern Promises (2007), The Good Shepherd (2006)

Future BMT: 50.4 Spy Hard (1996), 30.9 Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), 29.6 Firefox (1982), 28.8 The Sentinel (2006), 24.1 A View to a Kill (1985), 21.5 The Jackal (1997), 20.4 Spies Like Us (1985), 18.8 Gotcha! (1985), 16.2 Anna (2019), 10.9 Rocky IV (1985)

BMT: Terminal Velocity (1994)

Matches: Munich (2005), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Living Daylights (1987), Spy Hard (1996), Terminal Velocity (1994), Black Eagle (1988), Best Defence (1984), The Experts (1989), A Different Loyalty (2004), Scorpion (1986), Zits (1988), Dead Aim (1987), Keeping Track (1986), Comrades in Arms (1991), KGB: The Secret War (1985), A Lonely Place for Dying (2009), Scavengers (1988)

(A View to a Kill, Rocky IV, Gotcha!, and Spies Like Us all came out in 1985, wowza. I really like this plot, funny just how few films came out in the 90s with the KGB involved in any way, and then looking at the full matches sooooo many are from ‘85 to ‘90. Amazing this is the first, we have a lot of work to do on action/comedy films from the 80s it would seem.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nastassja Kinski is No. 2 billed in Terminal Velocity and No. 6 billed in Town & Country, which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 9 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (2 + 6) + (9 + 3) = 20. If we were to watch Surviving Christmas, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – The news anchor that reports on the arrest of Ditch Brodie in downtown Phoenix is Martha Vazquez. She was then and still is a news anchor at KVOA News 4, Tucson.

Although the movie didn’t do particularly well in the box office, Charlie Sheen says it was one of his favorite movies to make.

Many scenes were filmed at an airfield near Marana, Arizona. This field has been used for civilian skydiving, aircraft storage, military training, and CIA functions. Evergreen International Aviation, a sometimes CIA contractor based in McMinnville, Oregon, has had operations at this field.

Ditch drives a white 1970 Dodge Challenger, an homage to the iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger in Vanishing Point (1971), which was directed by Richard C. Sarafian, the father of this movie’s director, Deran Sarafian.

The scene where the plane makes an emergency landing is taken from Air America (1990).

In making this movie, they used 23 Cadillac Allante automobiles, destroying nine completely.

Kazaam Recap

Jamie

Shaq’s Kazaam, baby! And all our wishes come true. When Max finds a magic boombox with a genie inside he’s ready to use his wishes to try to get his dad back in his life. But an eeeevil nightclub owner has different ideas. Can Shaq and Max team up to stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Kazaam.

How?! Max is a trouble maker who’s always being hassled by the older kids in his class. Add a mom who just got engaged to a firefighter who WILL NEVER BE HIS REAL DAD and Max is having a bit of a tough time. One day, while escaping from the school bullies, he stumbles upon a magic boombox and *poof* out pops Shaq, ready to slam dunk and shatter the backboard of all his dreams. That’s because he’s a genie and until Max gives him three wishes to grant he’s stuck with him. Max is like “yeah, whatever,” and lets the supposed genie tag along to visit his dad, who’s back in town after bailing on him when he was just a baby. The dad is thrilled to see Max and sets him up with some VIP passes for a big concert that night. Riding high off this reunion, Max finally entertains the possibility that Shaq is a genie and Shaq in turn entertains us with some totally dope raps and BMX bike races. Finally Max asks for his first wish: junk food to the sky and *poof* there it is. Man, now Max has a father and a genie. What more could a kid wish for? Well, not so fast, cause that night they sneak to the big concert and Shaq is instantly a star, rapping his way into the show to everyone’s delight (particularly the eeevil club owner). Max tries to see his dad, but happens upon him in the midst of a shady deal with the club owner and is yelled at instead. Sad, Max tips off the school bullies about the shady deal and they end up stealing a valuable tape that could mean trouble for Max’s dad. Feeling bad, and getting yelled at by his dad again, Max sadly asks for Shaq to conjure a replacement tape, leaving him with only one wish. Later that night Shaq is distracted by his burgeoning music career so doesn’t notice that the eeevil club owner murders Max and steal the magic boom box. Enraged, Shaq breaks free of his bonds and slam dunks the club owner (literally… like actually does that). He then transforms into a djinn and brings Max back to life after which he grants his father a second chance since now he is all powerful and can do that shit. Max lives happily ever after with his new family while his father repents the error of his ways. THE END. 

Why?! Love and family. That’s all the kid wants. Fortunately Shaq goes all djinn on him and is able to grant him an ethereal wish, am I right? Everyone else is driven by greed, other than Shaq… he mostly wants freedom (naturally)… the freedom to have a crazy big rap career and to get down with the ladies again. High five.

Who?! Shaq is a supreme athlete-turned-musician-turned-actor and boy does he show his rapping skillz… … … anyway, Da Brat also shows up and everyone is like yo, she’s all that. I also have to point out that the main child actor in this, Francis Capra, grew up to play Weevil in Veronica Mars. Kinda mind blowing.

What?! A fun project would be to categorize all films by Coke vs. Pepsi. In this case, Shaq saps on Pepsi while he wait for his big concert to start. I feel like we’ve been on an insane Pepsi run (although the main series of Police Academy is squarely in the Coke camp). Really the most fun aspect of this would be when you get that random Tab film and are like WTF, mate?

Where?! This is pretty obviously set in NYC. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a great NYC film other than the fact that Max’s mom’s fiance is a New York city firefighter, which seems pretty classic. Given the setting I wonder whether you would characterize Shaq as an East Coast rapper. Born in New Jersey, grew up in Texas, playing basketball in Orlando, and about to move to LA. But obviously playing an NYC-based rapping genie trumps all that. East Coast. B.

When?! School year. I’ve started to think that this section of the email is too much work unless we are dealing with a holiday film (secret or otherwise). I think my main goal here will be to mostly promote the idea of finding out when random films take place rather than actually putting in the effort myself. Either that or insist we only watch secret Christmas films from now on. This is an F, but maybe one of our many fans will find differently and correct me (please?).

I’m going to start with some positives. The main kid is pretty good actually and I’m a bit of a sucker for kids films with some nice messages mixed in there. Troublemaker comes to respect his all-around-good-guy of a future stepfather while also realizing his biological father is flawed and helps steer him towards redemption? Sign me up. Also the raps are entertaining, although silly in a kids movie kind of way. As for the rest of the film? Well, it’s nonsense of course. It’s so “rad” that it is immeasurably lame and Shaq appears to have little interest in anything but showing off his rap skillz. I would guess that this movie could have been about anything, but if they let him rap and paid him the big bucks he would have said yes. “Rapping Paul Bunyan? I’m in.” Eventually it gets a little repetitive and boring that even when a crazy Middle Eastern stereotype kills Max by throwing him down an elevator shaft I barely batted an eye. I was like “sure, sure, just get on with it.” So overall I’d say solid, but not spectacular for a BMT kids film. As for Getting Lucky, I don’t have all that much to say. You can see what Troma was up to. Kind of an indie horror/comedy grindhouse production house that made films attuned to the vision of the head of the studio. You really get a sense that he made exactly what he wanted to see, which is interesting, but also comes off as on the same level as a college film production. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Shaq! We got Da Brat! We got a B-story that goes for miles and results in the cold-blooded murder of a child! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything about this film revolves around the B-plot. The B-plot is all I really remember about the film. The B-plot is one of the main things that perplexed reviewers at the time. The trailer actually makes the film look fun, but I know that’s a trick because there is nary a mention of music piracy, so it must only be showing half of the movie. As I said in the preview: recut Kazaam into just the B-plot. I dare you to, you cowards. What were my expectations? To like Shaq and also to love this B-plot. If this B-plot doesn’t go for days then I’m going to be furious.

The Good – I think with distance (and a whole lot more Shaq in our lives) his entire section of the film is pretty delightful. The kid actor is good, his interactions with him are fun, the way they dance around him being able to grant wishes and other silliness is amusing. The actual kids’ movie (complete with cameo by Da Brat, somehow a staple of the time) in the movie is actually not the worst thing in the world. Throw in a healthy dose of teaching kids that divorce isn’t their fault and step-dads can be pretty cool, and what’s now to love? Best Bit: Shaq, he’s a cheesy actor, but oozes charm.

The Bad – I remembered the B-plot of the film (and also that the kid falls a few stories multiple times during the film) … but no matter what I remembered I still couldn’t help but burst out laughing when Max’s father mentioned his “million dollar tape” and “music piracy” scheme. I guess the screenwriters must have known Shaq was coming on board, and they knew Shaq wanted to rap in the film, and so they needed some reason for Max to be in danger because of that … but music piracy? So weird. Without that the film is just a bog-standard kids film. With it it transcends B-plots and becomes something else entirely. Oh, and yeah, the kid actually is killed at the end which was pretty confusing for a hot second before you remember there is a genie who can bring him back to life. Fatal Flaw: A B-plot so ludicrous it blinded everyone to any virtue the film otherwise might have had.

The BMT – This is like Nine Lives on steroids. Nine Lives wishes it had the B-plot of Kazaam. Here’s the thing, Kazaam isn’t that entertaining. At times it is mostly just Max crying about his father and is somewhat sad (and the bullying in the film is off the chain, Max gets the shit kicked out of him a bunch). But the B-plot? It is the quintessential example. I could be misremembering something, but this has to be the best B-plot ever made, right? And it wasn’t by accident they definitely added it in after Shaq was attached. Legendary. Did it meet my expectations? And more, but I should be clear: I never want to watch Kazaam again. It just has the best B-plot in children’s film history.

Roast-radamus – I have to say, a legendary Cameo (Who?) by Da Brat (who, you might remember, was the musical guest on the second episode of All that, so yeah, lot’s of appearances of Da Brat in my life at the time). In the end I decided it was a really solid Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi in particular, although there are arguments for Jif and M&Ms among many others. And the Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC is really good as Max’s obvious failure by the New York City public school system is a subject of much consternation by his mother. I think closest to BMT, mainly, again, for the B-plot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Imagine if they made a Sequel? And I got the perfect plot. Kazaam, an all powerful Djinn is now doing his thing in LA. He’s rapping, producing music, starring in movies, the works. But one day his powers start fading. What could it mean? Reading up on Djinn lore, he realizes that the moment he saved Max’s life it created a connection, as long as Max’s bloodline is doing well, he keeps his powers, but if he fails them he becomes mortal. Going back to NYC he finds Max, a famous inventor, but his family isn’t doing well. His son has fallen in with a gang, and Max just doesn’t know what to do. Well, Kazaam knows what to do. He makes Max into a genie, and tasks him with helping his son out of his predicament. There is a fun montage of Kazaam showing Max how to make wishes, and Max is disguised as Shaq so his son won’t know (double the Shaq!). And in the end, Max learns a valuable lesson in love, and his son stands up for himself and comes back home. And Kazaam? Well, he’s back to full power baby! Ka2aam. You know that is how it would be stylized and you hate it. Look into your heart, you know it to be true!

Bring a Friend Analysis – We really went with a curve ball this week and watched Getting Lucky a 1990 Troma distributed film made guerrilla style with nary a professional actor in sight. The film is pretty weird, but because it is Troma it also somehow manages to be weird enough to be interesting. To really boil it down, a boy finds a leprechaun in a beer bottle and gets three wishes and uses them to get the girl of his dreams. After the first attempted rape scene, I was like Tony should be in prison. After the second, I was like man the 90s were wild, Tony should be in prison. But then after the third when Tony DOES go to prison? I was blown away. The film knowingly winks at the camera with the final horseback chase scene and shish kabob fight, and barely has a plot, but something about it is compelling. It is a little like a Neil Breen film in that you eventually acclimate to Michael Paul Girard’s weird vision and enjoy it on some level beyond what the actual movie provides. But I’m still giving it a B-. It is just a hard sell considering the subject matter and the script which seems like it was barely written by a 12-year-old boy. Maybe someday I’ll be able to put it into better context within the Troma oeuvre.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Kazaam Quiz

Oh man, so while I was in this abandoned building I fell three stories and I’m pretty sure I’m dead and this entire movie is a dream … regardless I at least have a massive concussion and can’t remember anything. Do you remember what happened in Kazaam?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Max meets the genie Kazaam in an abandoned building. Why did he go into the building?

2) Max goes to meet his long lost father Nicholas Matteo. How does he find out where he is?

3) What is Max’s father’s job and why is he in trouble?

4) What three events make Max’s father’s eeeeeeeeeevil boss suspect that Kazaam is a genie?

5) What are Max’s three wishes?

Bonus Question: How many years in prison did Max’s father get for the concert fire?

Answers

Kazaam Preview

Jamie and Lindsey turn a corner heading for the stairs to the rooftop only to stop short at the sight of the cyborg bad movie twins. They are talking with a man hidden in the shadows who shouts for the cyborgs to stop them. Scrambling up to the roof, Jamie follows the steamy water pipe until finally he and Lindsey stand by two dials. “Here goes nothing,” they say, initiating the emergency electronic wash. With a loud boom they are blown backwards across the rooftop, landing at the feet of the cyborgs. But before they can destroy Jamie and Lindsey with their fearsome robot strength a voice rings out, “not so fast!” Freed from their computer simulation prison by the water and returned to their young, super athletic bodies, Patrick and Kyle stand ready for a fight. The shadowy figure approaches, slowly clapping. “Impressive,” he says softly, “I knew you were clever Patrick, but I didn’t think you had it in you to match wits with me. Certainly not your meathead brother there and his sad bunch of friends. But I guess there was some reason you always were our publisher’s favorite.” And with that he steps from the shadows and Jamie and Patrick gasp. That piece of shit Manfred Long. “You goddamn hack,” Patrick spits, “I should have known if there was anyone who would shamelessly rip-off the BMT brand it would be you.” But Manfred just chuckles at that and waves the Cyborgs over to Jamie, Kyle, and Lindsey. “Take them,” he says, “I want to have a little chat with Patrick here. See if we can’t make a deal. I now have the power to make any wish you want come true… as long as you play ball.” And with that he holds up the Obsidian Dongle. That’s right! It’s the original Wishmaster of the NBA (as everyone called him) Shaq and the 90’s rapping genie classic Kazaam. I think probably this was just a bit past prime time for Patrick and I so I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. Let’s go!

The cyborgs approach Jamie, Kyle and Lindsey with their evil dead eyes glowing red. Gulp! Looks like the end for our heroes, that is until they hear a whistle from above and they see Rachel the Pretzel Girl soaring in on one of their hang gliders. “You feeling lucky, punks?” she shouts and Kyle pumps his fist at her wholly original quote. Let’s go! We are taking a risk with a Troma film for the Kazaam pairing and watching Getting Lucky about a Leprechaun that gives a nerd a chance at… well, getting lucky. Let’s go!

Kazaam (1996) – BMeTric: 83.8; Notability: 30

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 28.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 2.5%; Higher BMeT: Barb Wire; Higher Notability: Eraser, The Fan, Spy Hard, Jingle All The Way, Chain Reaction, Daylight, Eddie, The Associate, Up Close & Personal, Mulholland Falls, Dear God, Sgt. Bilko, Eye for an Eye, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Crow: City of Angels, Space Truckers, In Love and War, Joe’s Apartment, High School High, and 50 more; Lower RT: The Dentist, Adrenalin: Fear the Rush, Ed, Big Bully, Ripe, Bio-Dome; Notes: Wow that BMeTric is gaudy. How have we avoided doing this film until now? A sub-3.0 on IMDb is absurd for such a wide release, it is incredible.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Kazaam” is a textbook example of a filmed deal, in which adults assemble a package that reflects their own interests and try to sell it to kids. How else to explain a children’s movie where the villains are trying to steal a bootleg recording so they can sell pirated copies of it? What do kids know, or care, about that? The movie stars Shaquille O’Neal, the Orlando Magic’s superstar center, as Kazaam, a genie who is released from captivity in an old boom box and has to perform three wishes for a little kid (Francis Capra). Right there you have a wonderful illustration of the movie’s creative bankruptcy. Assigned to construct a starring vehicle for Shaq, the filmmakers looked at him, saw a tall bald black man, and said, “Hey, he can be a genie!” At which point, somebody should have said, “OK, that’s level one. Now let’s take it to level three.” Shaq has already proven he can act (in “Blue Chips,” the 1994 movie about college basketball). Here he shows he can be likable in a children’s movie. What he does not show is good judgment in his choice of material. This is a tired concept, written by the numbers. Kids old enough to know about Shaq as a basketball star will be too old to enjoy the movie. Younger kids won’t find much to engage them. And O’Neal shouldn’t have used the movie to promote his own career as a rap artist; the soundtrack sounds less like music to entertain kids than like a trial run for a Shaq album.

(Wow, he cuts right to the core. And yeah, that’s called a great B-plot. This movie sounds kind of amazing for that reason alone, I love B-plots that make no sense for a kids movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFVaxa1UKNg/

(Looks fun. Although now I remember why we haven’t done this one yet … it’s a kids movie. This is definitively a kids movie. Just give me all B-plot. Recut the entire film into just the B-plot.)

DirectorsPaul Michael Glaser – (Known For: The Running Man; The Cutting Edge; Future BMT: Band of the Hand; The Air Up There; BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for directing an episode of Miami Vice. He played Starsky in Starsky and Hutch. He also directed a great Criminal Minds episode starring Jason Alexander called Masterpiece.)

WritersPaul Michael Glaser – (BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Interestingly his only real attempt at writing apparently. I have to imagine he did uncredited stuff previously and probably just did too much tickering as the director and got a credit.)

Christian Ford – (BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Wrote an episode of Deep Space Nine which I can already tell I was probably fuming at since Kai Winn played a big role in it (she was a central long-running villain in the show).)

Roger Soffer – (Known For: Throne of Elves; BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Was Ford’s writing partner. Looks like they must have parted ways at some point since Soffer got his Throne of Elves credit in 2017 well after the bulk of their writing work.)

ActorsShaquille O’Neal – (Known For: Hubie Halloween; The Lego Movie; The House Bunny; What Men Want; Uncle Drew; Thunderstruck; Future BMT: Scary Movie 4; Good Burger; After the Sunset; The Smurfs 2; Blue Chips; The Wash; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Blended; Jack and Jill; Freddy Got Fingered; Kazaam; Steel; Show Dogs; Chairman of the Board; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Steel in 1998; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Blended in 2015; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Blue Chips in 1995; Notes: Y’all know Shaq. Probably the best NBA actor ever, even if he doesn’t always choose the best roles. A four time NBA champion with the Lakers and Heat, he might be the most dominant big man in history (and if not that, he’s at least the most unique given his body shape).)

Francis Capra – (Known For: A Bronx Tale; SLC Punk!; Veronica Mars; Blood and Bone; Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; Rampart; Black Irish; Dishdogz; Future BMT: A Simple Wish; BMT: Crank; Kazaam; Notes: Not related to Frank Capra. Amazingly I recognize him mostly from his adult role as Eli Navarro (Weevil) in Veronica Mars. He looks quite different now obviously.)

Ally Walker – (Known For: While You Were Sleeping; Singles; Happy, Texas; Welcome to Hollywood; When the Bough Breaks; Mischief Night; Wonderful World; Eye of the Storm; The Seventh Coin; Future BMT: Bed of Roses; Steal Big Steal Little; BMT: Universal Soldier; Kazaam; Notes: Has been pretty much continuously employed in major television roles since the mid-90s besides taking a 10 year break while she was raising a family in the early 2000s. Was the star of the show Profiler.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $18,937,262 (Worldwide: $18,937,262)

(Yep, a huge bomb, and likely Ebert is right in this case. There is no way this didn’t derail any cinematic career Shaq could have had (well … until he became a staple of Adam Sandler comedies I suppose, he was in at least four of those).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (2/37): Crafted from a mix of genre clichés, Kazaam doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be, and Shaq’s larger-than-life charisma is stifled by rote filmmaking and an unimaginative story.

(Yeah, sounds about right. Two good reviews, and they basically just say Shaq is charming and the film old-school but fine.)

Reviewer Highlight: Kazaam never brings off the trick we most want to see: It fails to make the jolly, 7-foot-1 Shaq larger than life. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Sha-blam

(Love the font, hate everything else. Like Ebert said it makes you wonder about the choices Shaq was making at the time. Like he can actually act and is charming as hell and yet he apparently was so keen on being a rapper that he did this shit. The poster looks like it’s for a straight-to-video talking cat movie or something. D)

Tagline(s) – The world’s most powerful genie has just met his match. (F)

(The world’s most powerful genie… as opposed to all those less powerful genies we are familiar with? It’s amazing that they were so set on using this generic tagline that they tried to force it. It no longer even makes sense. I think I hate it… yup, I hate it.)

Keyword(s) – genie

Top 10: Aladdin (2019), Bedazzled (2000), Aladdin (1992), Weird Science (1985), Aladdin (2020), Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002), Kazaam (1996), Burying the Ex (2014), The Tale of Despereaux (2008), Five Children and It (2004)

Future BMT: 13.9 Three Wishes (1995)

BMT: Kazaam (1996)

Matches: Kazaam (1996), The Lamp (1987), Miracle Beach (1992), Wishman (1992), Pretty Cool Too (2007), Wish Me Luck (1995), Djinn (2008), Wildest Dreams (1990), The Incredible Genie (1999), Shivers Down Your Spine (2015), Jinn (2016), Wishful Thinking the Series (2015)

(So few films with a genie … that somehow feels wrong, but yet, yeah … an all powerful, immortal being doesn’t leave much original storytelling ideas. The actual matches are mostly pretty small, Kazaam is the only major release. That is, if you want to be specific about the difference between a Djinn and a genie (this movie certainly does …))

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Efren Ramirez is No. 4 billed in Kazaam and No. 4 billed in Crank, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (4 + 4) + (1 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch Blue Chips, and Three Fugitives we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – Despite the fact that this film was a critical and financial disaster, Shaquille O’Neal has not expressed regret for his involvement. He said in a 2012 interview, “I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, ‘Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.’ What am I going to say, no? So I did it.”

John Costelloe plays a firefighter in this movie. In real life, he was a firefighter for 11 years before retiring in 1998. He also played a volunteer firefighter in The Sopranos (1999).

The main villain’s name is Malik, which is the Arabic word for king.

This movie is part of the false memory phenomenon (also called the “Mandela Effect”). According to many people, there was a movie named “Shazaam” starring Sinbad as the genie. This false memory was probably caused by a mix-up with this film and a costume Sinbad wore in 1994 when he hosted a TV broadcast of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). For April Fools’ Day 2017, the team of CollegeHumor Originals (2006) filmed a skit about alleged VHS footage of the Shazaam movie, with Sinbad starring as the genie.

Paul Michael Glaser’s last movie as a director, as of July 2021. He continues to direct television.

Fire Birds Recap

Jamie

Jake Preston is the greatest! Helicopter pilot, that is. After his friend is killed by a South American cartel’s helicopter ace, Jake is recruited to train with Brad Little on the new Apache attack helicopter. Can he get through the training and take down the cartel (and perhaps get the girl?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Fire Birds.

How?! Jake Preston wants only two things in life: to fly helicopters like a mofo and to win the War on Drugs. When his friend dies at the hands of a cartel’s hitman/attack helicopter pilot extraordinaire he jumps at the opportunity to be part of the group trained on the new Apache helicopter to go after him. The teacher is Brad Little. He’s long in the tooth but still the best helicopter pilot the army has ever seen. But he sees something in Jake. Something he never thought possible: a pilot even better than he is. That’s cause Jake Preston is the greatest! He breezes through most of the training and even crushes Little in boxing to boot. He even finds time for a little on-base romance with his former flame Billie who he still has the hots for (and you better believe she still has the hots for him). Things are going swimmingly until the hardest test in the program: a simulation of a night mission. Turns out Jake has a dominant eye problem and only one other pilot ever was able to get over the issue. That pilot? A man by the name of Brad Little. Boom. Little helps Jake get over his problem and soon they are both off to South America to take on the cartel. When they get there they are surprise attacked by the cartel who not only have a helicopter but a couple of fighter jets too. The Apaches take off and go head to head with the cartel’s air force taking them down one-by-one. Little is injured, but remember, Jake is the greatest and so even alone he is able to trick the cartel hitman and take him out. Hooray. With that the War on Drugs is won and everyone high fives. THE END.

Why?! Did you not notice the mention of the War on Drugs? The funniest aspect of all this is the entirely unironic framing of the War on Drugs as an actual war… like… as if direct military intervention in Central and South American countries was a clear and obvious strategy that would be employed across the globe. 

Who?! I have to dive deep on the fact that Dale Dye has a story credit on this film. I know Dale Dye as Captain Lang in Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday. ODF was a series of straight-to-video military action films that started with a Jeff Fahey vehicle set on train and then managed to move into two separate sequels involving submarine hijackings. The one that Dale Dye is in features one of the best (read: insane) characters ever put to film: Flint Lukash. This is all to say that Dale Dye… well… let’s say the man works. And yet this is the only film he ever got a writing credit on. Blows my mind.

What?! While it is obvious to say that this is one long advertisement for the US Army (true), it’s also important to note on occasion that Patrick and I are crazy people. So when I saw Nic Cage guzzling the same black and gold labelled beer throughout the film I know I would have to mention it here. Turns out that they can’t get enough Miller Genuine Draft in Fire Bird. Probably what made Nic Cage the greatest.

Where?! They tell you a little about where the final battle is through an intertitle pointing to the Catamarca Desert. When I watched I was pretty sure that meant Chile, but apparently I was confusing that with the Atacama Desert. Catamarca is in Argentina, but is the name of a province, not a desert as far as I can tell. Where they train is less clear. It seems like Arizona, and Patrick told me he found some evidence for that, so I’m gonna go ahead and given this a C+

When?! Too much of this is made up to really be convinced of any specific time. They do open with a quote from President George H.W. Bush from September 5th 1989 about the War on Drugs, so you can imagine it’s around then, but not much better. Feel like we’ve been on a cold streak in this category. D-.

Great movie to put on at your next Cage-a-thon. Not only will no one have seen it, but it’ll really put into perspective for those that only know late stage Cage that Nic Cage has never really changed. He’s always been late stage Cage. It’s also fun and funny to varying degrees throughout the film. One the one hand you have the ludicrous War on Drugs setting and Nic Cage screaming “I am the greatest!” over and over in your face. On the other you have Tommy Lee Jones doing a pretty solid and even keel performance, which kind of anchors the film a bit. And this was in Under Siege/Blown Away era TLJ, so he really was a wild card. But he channeled his The Fugitive performance here. Anyway, the film was actually not all that bad. The only aspect I thought was just blah was unfortunately Sean Young, who was given a pretty good female character to play and seemed disinterested in it. Weirdly, I almost wish I could see this film with Demi Moore in that role. As for Airborne, we tried something new in how we choose the Friends this year and boy has it paid off so far with Airborne. I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty ludicrous and, while perhaps a little confusing for those that aren’t giant Gutes-heads like Patrick and I, I think most people who are at least somewhat familiar with his work would find the whole concept hilarious. Oh and if there’s one thing I’m a sucker for it’s a film where someone has a lucky coin and Gutes got on. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Nic Cage. We got Tommy Lee Jones. We got Top Gun with Helicopters. We got Fire Birds! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Uh, Top Gun with Helicopters, nuff said, right? Wrong, the cast is also spectacular. So what could have gone wrong? From the reviews it appears it was too gung-ho America for even the most patriotic of critics. And that’s saying something considering critics liked Top Gun. What were my expectations? I think I’ll easily be able to divide my brain into the “well, this celebration of the War on Drugs seems a bit unsavory” side and the “wooooooo mf-ing helicopters! Bro, like … helicopters!!” side. And that means I might just have fun with this.

The Good – It is, indeed, Top Gun with helicopters. And if that is what you are looking for I have no idea why you would go away dissatisfied with this film. It gives you what you want, which is Nic Cage screaming in your face while helicopters do loop-de-loops and shoot things. Tommy Lee Jones is great and plays the veteran who doesn’t want to call it quits perfectly. The Arizona setting is beautiful, and the soundtrack is bumping. I think there is a lot to love here. Best Bit: It’s between Tommy Lee Jones and the sweet red convertible Nic Cage drives around.

The Bad – Now, if you were looking for actual Top Gun level filmmaking then that’s where we go a bit wrong. Mainly, it has to be Nic Cage’s fault in the end. It feels like Tom Cruise manages to ground what is otherwise an absurd jingoistic and homoerotic film into a blockbuster. Nic Cage manages to Nic Cage it up. Which is all well and good now, but then? I think people balked at it. Otherwise the only real complaint was that I knew they didn’t have the guts to kill off one of the main three characters. While this pleased me, you didn’t get the emotional gut check of Goose dying to tell you that you were, in fact, watching a real movie. Instead you are left thinking you watched a feel good family action film. Which isn’t the same. Fatal Flaw: As much as it wants to be, it isn’t Top Gun, not even close.

The BMT – I kind of liked this film and I think there is something to be said about the absurdity of the various forms both Nic Cage and Tommy Lee Jones take within their BMT repertoires. I can respect that. And as an almost-forgotten part of both of their filmographies it is better than it had any right to be, and also was ludicrous. I think there is a ton of room to watch military films from the 80s and 90s like this in the future, I think we’ve left a ton of those on the table over the years. Did it meet my expectations? Yup, I successfully partitioned by brain into two halves and managed to like this film quite a bit.

Roast-radamus – Two solid Product Placement (What?) for Miller (which Nic Cage guzzles throughout) and Tide (in the pivotal laundry room scene). Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Arizona which, shockingly, is not mentioned anywhere on IMDb or Wikipedia as the location of this film (but it is definitely set there, you can see it on a map). I think that is it amazingly, no MacGuffins or Twists this week. Closest to BMT I think, although it is getting close to Good as well, I did genuinely like this film a lot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I mean, we definitely need a Sequel. This time it is Nic Cage’s turn to be the grizzled veteran. And who’s a nice young star around 25-30 years old to be the hot shot? Maybe someone like Joe Keery from Stranger Things could work, he has that irreverent charm, but also comes across as too cool for school most of the time. And what better way to kick this film into the 21st century than to make Joe Kerry an ex-professional video game player who, after his father died, decided to follow him into the military to become the pilot he could never be. Operating drones, the new frontier on the war on terror is drone-to-drone warfare, and my god, Joe if the mf-ing best! He shoots everything down left and right, but alas, he never did tell them why he actually quit video games. He sustained nerve damage in his video gaming hand after a drug fueled night on the town and car crash. Well, Nic Cage can help with that. With a little bit of practice on the road, he helps Joe switch his dominant hand from the right to left. And in the end Joe gets the girl, destroys the drones, foils a terrorist plot, and high fives with everyone! Fire Birds 2: Drone Warfare. Sounds terrible, but also like something I would see on Netflix next to The Ice Road starring Liam Neeson.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the Steve Guttenberg classic Airborne (nope, not the one with Seth Green, the one from 1998). Why? Well, obviously this is also a movie about flying and aircraft, right? … Right? WRONG! In an amazing twist of fate there is an airplane for approximately 5 minutes total of the film near the beginning and right at the end, the rest definitely has its feet planted firmly on land. The tagline is even “Pray it doesn’t land”!!! How does that happen? Is it just a trick to try and pull in that sweet sweet Turbulence money? The movie is pretty run of the mill, a standard Steel Sharks affair (complete with lucky coin), and is almost exclusively notable for Guttenberg playing a hardcore special ops soldier. Sean Bean being in it (for maaaaaaaaaybe 5 minutes of total screen time?) is truly bizarre as well. It is one of those films where there are seven weird things just floating around in a mostly boring story. Reminds me of a Dudikoff film. If not for it being called Airborne with barely a plane in sight it would be a C, but with that I’ll promote it to a B. Goes along at a good clip with a weird hook to legitimize watching it, plus the twist at the end is hilarious.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fire Birds Quiz

Oh boy. So get this, I’m training to be a sweet helicopter pilot and I was just about to definitely kill this drug lord when I got shot down, broke both of my legs, and got a massive concussion. Now I don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Fire Birds?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When the movie opens Nic Cage is testifying to an investigative committee about an incident he was involved in. What happened during the incident?

2) What kind of gum is Nic Cage’s absolute favorite? 

3) Nic Cage has an issue (and it isn’t that he’s the greatest). What is it and how do they find out about it?

4) How does he get over this issue?

5) During Operation Fire Bird our Fire Birds get off the ground and go after the bad guys. How many bad guys get got, and how many good guy casualties do we see from the three birds?

Bonus Question: How long does Nic Cage’s a Sean Young’s relationship last this time?

Answers

Fire Birds Preview

Patrick sips his mai tai and looks lazily around the bar in Party Town, USA. He and Kyle could no longer say how long they had been trapped in this never ending stream of party fun. For a while he kept reassuring Kyle that it was all a simulation, but his long bushy beard was now snow white and he had given up. They’d probably die here. Just like how the Vice President (who they rescued the day they arrived) had grown old and died peacefully a few years back. “Come on out here and party, dude,” Kyle yells to him, all the while dancing with one of the numerous bodacious bades that populated the city. Patrick waves him away with a sigh and gets back to his mai tai. Kyle plops down on the stool next to him. “Bro, I can always tell when you’re ready to poop on a party. You get that sad, party-pooper look in your eyes. You feeling blue?” Patrick nods. “Is it because we’ve been trapped in this party bar for 30-50 years?” Patrick nods again and sighs, “Yeah, sorry, man. I hate to rain on your parade.” Kyle shrugs and pats him on the shoulder, “You could never rain on my parade, bro. In fact, it never rains here at all. That’s what makes Party Town so great, right?” Suddenly Patrick looks around… that’s true. In 30-50 years it has never rained. Rain… water… mainframe. My god! He suddenly leaps up and looks around frantically before he sees it. The alarm. He looks up and sees the sprinklers Kyle had installed when he took over ownership of the bar. Just practical business sense he said… or a stroke of genius! “Fire,” Patrick whispers and Kyle just looks at him quizzically. “FIRE!” He screams. That’s right! We’re watching the Nic Cage/Tommy Lee Jones/Sean Young classic that we all remember, Fire Birds. It’s the helicopter knock-off of Top Gun that we were all clamouring for at the time and I can only assume it delivered on those points. Let’s go!

“Fire.” Jamie hears the whisper and pulls away from his steamy make out session with Lindsey. Was that Patrick he heard? Fire.. water… mainframe. “Where does that pipe lead?” He asks Lindsey, pointing at their steamy water pipe. “Uh,” she thinks, “up, I guess.” That’s right! We are starting in on our Bring a Friend cycle (the best cycle) with a little Guttenberg special, the 1998 film Airborne which is about a plane… or maybe a virus… I don’t know, but it def got the Gutes. Let’s go!

Fire Birds (1990) – BMeTric: 45.8; Notability: 25

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.4%; Notability: top 21.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.6%; Higher BMeT: Captain America, Look Who’s Talking Too, Rocky V, Ghost Dad, Graveyard Shift, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Repossessed, Soultaker, Problem Child, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection Higher Notability: RoboCop 2, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Predator 2, Days of Thunder, Jetsons: The Movie, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Air America, Captain America, Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory, Marked for Death, The Rookie, Rocky V, 3 Men and a Little Lady, Stella, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Revenge, Bird on a Wire, Ghost Dad, Another 48 Hrs., Mr. Destiny, and 33 more; Lower RT: Problem Child, Death Warrant, Graveyard Shift, Repossessed, Coupe de Ville, Loose Cannons, Madhouse, Funny About Love, Soultaker, Ghost Dad, Spaced Invaders; Notes: The BMeTric is a lot higher than I would have expected since it only have around 6K ratings which is amazing low. We have obviously left a lot on the table as far as 1990 films are concerned. Very interesting that Soultaker gets a shoutout.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  High-tech Apache helicopters (with an assist from their pilots) take on South American drug cartels from the air. Standard military issue with a ruptured-duck script and no romantic chemistry between professional rivals Cage and Young. Jones doesn’t evoke memories of Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High when he pep-talks Cage into a “full-tilt boogie for freedom and justice.”

(I’m having a hard time pinning down a definition for “ruptured-duck”. It has to do with a pin given to those honorably discharged in WWII, that much is for sure. So I guess he’s saying the film is ho-hum (standard issue) and the script is either old-school or maybe just bad (i.e. discharged)? Fascinating turn of phrase, Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uOcWJ9ae5A/

(Yeah that is Top Gun for helicopters. All it is missing is Nic Cage buzzing the tower. Also as insane as it sounds that shows the entire climax of the film which is pretty nuts.)

DirectorsDavid Green – (Known For: Buster; Car Trouble; BMT: Fire Birds; Notes: British, he directed a load of Emmerdale Farm episodes (a British Soap). IMDb claims he has two new directorial efforts in production, but somehow I doubt that.)

WritersStep Tyner – (BMT: Fire Birds; Notes: Yeah so if you look around and search his name with Belvoir (Swensson’s production company) you can find that they were West Point classmates and Tyner wrote the original script, and Swensson marketed it. So that is how they are associated.)

John K. Swensson – (BMT: Fire Birds; Notes: I found his profile. It even mentions Fire Birds as just like a three year period of his life, strange.)

Dale Dye – (Known For: Occupation: Rainfall; BMT: Fire Birds; Notes: Apparently a military advisor on a number of films which he often gets bit parts in. This is no different, he plays A.K. McNeil in the film.)

Nick Thiel – (Known For: White Fang; Shipwrecked; The Experts; Future BMT: V.I. Warshawski; The Associate; BMT: Fire Birds; Notes: A producer for a ton of television which he also writes for. From 1987 to 1996 he wrote feature films. Nominated for an Emmy for Magnum P.I.)

Paul F. Edwards – (Known For: Trackdown; High-Ballin’; BMT: Fire Birds; Notes: Wrote a bunch of television including the show Wizards and Warriors.)

ActorsNicolas Cage – (Known For: Pig; Prisoners of the Ghostland; Willy’s Wonderland; The Rock; The Croods: A New Age; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; World Trade Center; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Kick-Ass; Mandy; Color Out of Space; Leaving Las Vegas; National Treasure; Raising Arizona; Face/Off; Snowden; Con Air; Jiu Jitsu; Adaptation.; The Croods; Future BMT: Knowing; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Next; 8MM; Windtalkers; G-Force; Trapped in Paradise; Amos & Andrew; BMT: Gone in Sixty Seconds; Ghost Rider; Drive Angry; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Left Behind; The Wicker Man; Season of the Witch; Trespass; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Justice; Bangkok Dangerous; Fire Birds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for The Wicker Man; in 2008 for Ghost Rider, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Next; in 2012 for Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, and Trespass; in 2013 for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Seeking Justice; and in 2015 for Left Behind; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Snowden in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2007 for The Wicker Man; and in 2012 for Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, and Trespass; Notes: Won an Oscar of Leaving Las Vegas and was nominated for Adaptation. You know Nic Cage, he is apparently going to play Joe Exotic in a tv show about Tiger King, but somehow I doubt that will ever actually be produced.)

Tommy Lee Jones – (Known For: Captain America: The First Avenger; The Client; No Country for Old Men; Space Cowboys; Ad Astra; Wander; Jason Bourne; Men in Black; The Fugitive; Natural Born Killers; The Comeback Trail; Lincoln; JFK; Men in Black 3; Under Siege; Small Soldiers; The Missing; Love Story; The Homesman; Shock and Awe; Future BMT: Criminal; Men in Black II; Double Jeopardy; The Family; U.S. Marshals; The Hunted; Blown Away; Man of the House; Rules of Engagement; Just Getting Started; Savage Islands; BMT: Batman Forever; Mechanic: Resurrection; Fire Birds; Notes: Won and Oscar for The Fugitive and was nominated for three more. One of his first roles was 21 episodes of One Life to Live in the 1975.)

Sean Young – (Known For: Dune; Blade Runner 2049; Blade Runner; Bone Tomahawk; Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; Wall Street; Stripes; No Way Out; Cousins; Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader; Escape Room; Mockingbird Don’t Sing; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; The Pit; A Random Encounter; Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde; Poor White Trash; Darling; The Boost; Parasomnia; Future BMT: Sugar & Spice; Once Upon a Crime…; Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend; A Kiss Before Dying; Young Doctors in Love; Love Crimes; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Fire Birds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, and Worst Supporting Actress for A Kiss Before Dying in 1992; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde in 1996; Nominee for Worst Actress for Love Crimes in 1993; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1993 for Once Upon a Crime…; and in 1995 for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Notes: I kind of wish they had tossed a cameo into the new Dune for her. Instead she is making a film called Planet Dune in which is basically just a horror version of Dune? You can’t make this stuff up.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $14,760,451 (Worldwide: $14,760,451)

(Ooooooof that is brutal. They thought they were getting Top Gun 2?! They were getting like … a straight-to-video Seagal war film.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (2/21): Despite the talent on board, Fire Birds is little more than a subpar military adventure sporting video game-like action, outdated philosophy, and uneven acting.

(Yup, yup, and yup. Much like Tackleberry’s “I can’t believe they won’t let me murder innocent people anymore” speech from Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, the gung-ho jingoism of the military films of yesteryear was never going to play well in the 90s.)

Reviewer Highlight: The action here is more like something you’d expect to pop a quarter in a machine for. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Rage Cage and Tommy Lee Bones

(That poster cannot be denied. Man, that’s fire (birds). Nice orange color, dope helicopters, fading those face sooooo sweet. Hooo weeee. If only they really leaned into some font work. Then we’d really have something. B.)

Tagline(s) – The best just got better. (A+ x 10)

(Ha. Yeah, I mean. Yes. I like that because it sounds like words but in fact is meaningless. You heard about the best? Yeah… well, guess what? They just got better. It gets funnier the more I think about it.)

Keyword(s) – helicopter-pilot

Top 10: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Army of the Dead (2021), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fast & Furious 7 (2015), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), Jurassic World (2015), Kong: Skull Island (2017), Extraction (2020), Spectre (2015), American Sniper (2014)

Future BMT: 44.3 Home Fries (1998), 35.9 Air America (1990), 29.2 Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), 27.6 Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), 27.3 The Thing (2011), 26.7 American Assassin (2017), 19.4 Terminator Salvation (2009), 18.4 Crazy People (1990), 14.8 Angels & Demons (2009)

BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), The Predator (2018), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), CHIPS (2017), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), The Darkest Minds (2018), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Fire Birds (1990)

Matches: Fire Birds (1990), Dance of the Dwarfs (1983), Avalanche (1999)

(Cooool plot. The little lines tell you how many films (and how big they were) basically. Not sure why helicopters were a huge thing in the 10s, I guess it is most likely that just big films got keywords around then. I am very excited to continue the helicopter 1990s train rolling with Air America some day.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 8) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nicolas Cage is No. 1 billed in Fire Birds and No. 1 billed in The Wicker Man, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 8. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – K. Monty Jordan, one of the stunt team, was a real U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and retired as a Colonel after Operation: Desert Storm.

The enemy jet fighter is portrayed by a Swedish SAAB J 35F ‘Draken’ (Dragon).

Some of the exterior shots of “Fort Mitchell” were filmed at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, and the inn, where Billie and Preston go, is actually The Tack Room, also in Tucson which was, at the time, a 5-star restaurant.

The “Scorpion” attack helicopters are actually Hughes MD-500D Defenders.

The bar scene was filmed at VIP Showclub located at 5120 E Speedway in Tucson, which was a topless bar at the time. The club was made to look like a regular nightclub with a live band, as seen in the movie. Filming took place over three days. Location is currently Ten’s Showclub.

The music that plays during the first half of the film’s original theatrical trailer is 80s classic “Nowhere Fast” composed for and made famous by the movie Streets of Fire (1984).

Some of the scenes were built on a set inside the Tucson Convention Center.

The flight simulator motion base is actually a AH1 flight weapons simulator (cobra helicopter) located at the Western Army Aviation Training Site in Arizona.

The original title of the film was “Night of the Apache”

The Catamarca Desert is specifically located in Argentina.

Infamously known among critics as Top Gun (1986) with helicopters.

Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Recap

Jamie

Police Academy is back, Jack! When the city is hit with a crime wave, Lassard and his officers are called in to stop the baddies. Hijinks ensue and it looks like the police will fail until the officers figure out that the robberies are connected to a new train line. Can they find the gang and take them out before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

How?! There is a big ol’ crime wave in the city and the mayor is concerned. He gets Capt. Harris in there to try to take them out, but being the bumbling fool that he is, he totally botches it. The mayor and the commissioner are furious and bring in Lassard and all our favorite former cadets to clean up the mess. Meanwhile we see that the crime wave is being caused by three ridiculous criminals who are really just doing whatever a shadowy figure known as The Mastermind tells them. With Lassard in charge things… go pretty much just as badly. They botch a sting operation and let a giant diamond get stolen on their watch. Despite these failures The Mastermind still wants the police out of the way and plants diamonds in Lassard’s office, leading to their suspension from the case. Knowing that time is running out and wanting to clear Lassard’s name, Nick gets everyone together and tells them that he’s noticed something odd about the robberies: they follow an old bus line. Wait a second! That’s no bus line! That’s a new train line! Knowing where they will strike next they are able to corner the baddies and do battle. Ultimately after a classic Police Academy Chase they subdue the baddies and chase The Mastermind to the Commissioner’s office where he’s revealed to be… the Commissioner? No, really it’s just the Mayor in disguise. With that our friends are once again honored for their bravery. THE END.

Why?! You see, the Mayor had inside information about the train line and knew that the properties along the route were going to be bought for big bucks by the city. By getting the robberies to hit up all the places along the route he could drive down property values and snap them up and make a big ol’ profit. It’s really a classic case of corruption.

Who?! Two interesting things in this one. One is that Robert Folk goes uncredited on the music. I can’t recall seeing that before, but he seems to have done it a number of times in his career. But maybe here it’s more because they just keep reusing the Police Academy music for every film. The other thing is that Billie Bird shows up in this film as Mrs. Stanwyck… just two movies after she was a titular Citizen on Patrol in Police Academy 4.

What?! Dunkin’ Donuts and Coca-Cola have some fantastic product placement in the fifth film and at least Coca-Cola said “sign me up for some more of that Police Academy action.” They show up once again as the drink of choice for our group of misfits. It’s what gives them the power to take out dirtbags while also tickling our funny bones. Put that on the bluray cover.

Where?! Sigh, back in our anonymous city. I think I speculated back in some other recap that this might be set in Jacksonville or something, but it’s all just a mishmash of random places (but mostly Canada). This one had a weird scene at the end where Harris is sent flying into the sky after Nick ties a bunch of balloons to his chair. We then see him float over the skyline of Boston. But, why? F.

When?! Just give me another F. They barely put any effort into giving these films a general plot, let alone putting things together to give an idea of when things are set. Let’s see if we can narrow it down. There is a blackout in the city and people aren’t going absolutely crazy so we can probably rule out summer. That’s all I got.

It’s also a classic case of a film with an actual plot?! Patrick and I were stunned when we watched this film and it read like an episode of Law and Order or something. They were picking up clues, tracking down criminals, and putting the baddies in jail. Where are the pratfalls? Where is Harris getting pooped on by a bird or something? It’s actually kind of amazing how straight it’s all played. I can’t tell if this makes it the best of the Gutesless Trilogy (all rights reserved) or the worst. On the one hand, I followed along with an actual plot. On the other, no one said any jokes. Well I guess at one point Winslow literally got on stage in a comedy club and started doing his act… but as I said… no jokes (zang). It’s a very odd entry in the series. Almost like they momentarily jumped back on the rails and transported back in time to Police Academy 2 or something. As for the poor, sad Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, it totally fell apart. No wonder they attempted a lackluster limited release, but ultimately shuttled it off to straight-to-video. It’s not just barely a movie, you can almost feel the anxiety of the actors as they attempt to carry out their duties. Well, at least Moscow was interesting to look at in the film. Crazy they shot there at that time. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The whole gang is back … uh, again! We have Tackleberry! We have Hightower! Wait … now House is gone? You’re supposed to add more characters to the ensemble cast, not less! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Out of all of the Police Academy films, this feels like the odd man out. You go from taking the gang to Miami (fun!) to … a rehash of the second film? At least let the gang go undercover or something. Police Academy 6: Undercover is not a bad idea actually. That might come up in the Sequel, Prequel, Remake section. Anyways, just thought this was an odd direction for the franchise this late in the game. What were my expectations? I was really hoping this would be the one where I was like “this is kind of okay actually” just to throw a curveball into these recaps.

The Good – The film actually has a storyline which is an interesting departure for the series (zing). There is a bad guy (obviously the Mayor, spoilers), a plot, a police investigation, and the inevitable chase using a silly vehicle (in this case a cherry picker and monster truck). I kind of liked the Three Stooges-esque bad guys. That type of bad guy works really well with the goofy cops. Best Bit: It is interesting to watch a Police Academy film with the plot of a 70s police procedural episode.

The Bad – Still not funny. Weird that they didn’t manage to one up themselves after taking the gags to Miami, instead it is just the second film again (with a plot). The twist … my god, there is literally only one person it could be the entire time. I was very skeptical they would have the Mayor actually be the bad guy because it was so obvious (and he’s a doofus), but there was no one else it could have been! I would have had mad respect for the film if they had Captain Harris steal a bunch of stuff to frame Lassard? That would have been great. Fatal Flaw: Still not funny.

The BMT – We did it boys! This isn’t the most impressive franchise we’ve done (the saga of Friday the 13th is still the best), but it is amazing we did it in like two years. Seven films, and at one point or another all of them qualified for BMT. And the back half is all 0% and BOMB films. It really does set the bar for just how bad a franchise can be, at least for comedies. Did it meet my expectations? Honestly, the film is dull. It is more amusing when the whole thing just explodes in a ball of fire. It was probably the best of the non-Guttenberg films, but that isn’t saying much.

Roast-radamus – Decent Product Placement (What?) for Coca-Cola being prominently displayed (oddly the seventh film was clearly brought to you by Pepsi, what happened?). And this might be the leader out of the gate for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that the only person in the film who wasn’t in a previous Police Academy film was the bad guy … This film is closest to BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You heard it above, let’s make the Remake of the sixth film to make it like it should have been. The gang is going undercover. They are tossing off their blues and donning their sweater vests because they are going to an actual academy to investigate a drug ring on a college campus! Hightower is an astrophysics professor, Hicks is a brash economics professor, tackleberry is undercover as a pacifist political science professor … you get the gist, I’m trying to cast them against types for the goofs, but it is now occurring to me that that is tough. Anyways, they think they know the bad guys are the frat bros, but boy are their faces red when it turns out they are just trying to raise money for the local hospital, and they are “taken off the case”. Not so fast! They figure out that actually it is the math club that is doing it, those dastardly nerd alerts! They have a big chase scene in the school’s solar cars (which run out of juice when a cloud floats by, doh!). In the end they get their guys, solve the case, and prove once again that a rag tag group of goofs can still do good. Police Academy 6: Undercover University.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Obviously, in order to finish up the series we just had to watch the seventh, and final (for now), Police Academy film, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. Interestingly, this is also the only sequel to not officially have the number in the title. I should probably get this out of the way: the film is hot garbage. It is a shadow of the already-not-very-good Police Academy films, and is mostly fueled by bad ADR and sound effects (and not the faintly amusing sound effects from Winslow, sound effects from a 90s morning zoo program). It also very notably was filmed during the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis (you can see the damaged White House clearly during the final chase scene) which caused all kinds of issues with the schedule. If not for that I’m willing to bet the series would have successfully transitioned to straight-to-video and there would have been ten films in total, just based on how cheap this should have been to make. A solid friend though, a trip to see just how much the series fell apart with the four year break. C+. Not amusing to watch, but amusing in the context of the series as a whole. The issue is you have to watch seven films to get there, and the film itself is pretty aggravating.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs