Virtuosity Recap

Jamie

Sometimes I dream of a world where everyone has the very niche interests that Patrick and I have such that a flood of content would exist in those microgenres. It’s like point-and-click adventure games (King’s Quest 37, anyone?), Wheel of Time (Seanchan spin-off series, anyone?), or 90’s erotic thrillers starring Jeff Fahey (sex on a motorcycle, anyone?). Like I want to see the alternate dimension where Sierra Studios is crushing out the SCU and Leisure Suit Larry is played by… well… Jeff Fahey, obviously. The point is that Virtuosity belongs in that world. After Lawnmower Man and Hackers stole our hearts (and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace stole our brains), I could just gobble up VR films like candy. Delicious Virtuosity candy.

To summarize, Denzel Washington is a former cop serving hard time for killing the terrorist who murdered his family. One of his cop buddies has got him into a secret police training program that is trying to perfect virtual reality, but it’s not going perfectly. In fact, the prisoners are dying. The plug is pulled, but the psychotic serial killer simulation convinces the developer to get him out before he does. Inexplicably this total idiot listens to the bot. Seriously… this computer program had no power and the guy is like “OK, sure” and then after using nanobots to create a body for the dude he’s like “oh, wait, shit that was a bad idea” and runs away. It’s crazy. Anyway, he goes on a crazy crime spree so naturally the police get Denzel and psychologist Dr. Madison Carter on the case… as vigilantes, I guess. Soon they are tracking him across LA as he takes numerous people hostage. They realize that he is enthralled by the limelight and so they are able to track him to a wrestling event, but he somehow sets up Denzel to look like he kills an innocent hostage. He’s sent back to prison, but freed by the killer in an attempt to set off a fail-safe the police put in his body in case he tried to escape (you following this?). But the police don’t fall for it and Denzel and Madison are able to track down the killer who has taken Madison’s daughter hostage. There they take out the killer and use a simulation to trick him into revealing where he’s hidden the girl. Denzel saves the day then smooches Madison (probably, although maybe not right away since that would be in bad taste). THE END.

I kinda dug this movie. It’s a little convoluted with a lot of plot points and motivations flying around in 106 minutes, but I like the vibes. It’s a vibes movie. Crowe is ridiculous and it’s a little hard to see how he got from this to three consecutive Best Actor nominations. But maybe not. The best way to describe him in this film is “game” and another actor that I’ve always thought about that way is Tommy Lee Jones, who is great and definitely hasn’t shied away from being a little wild and crazy in a film. Everything else is fun and looks interesting. My main critiques would be the way they got the killer out of the computer was clever but a little clunky. The motivations didn’t make a lot of sense. And then the end was clever, but it didn’t seem like they could figure out how to successfully pull it off. Could it be?… Not that bad? As for River of Death, I love Dudikoff. Seems like a guy genuinely happy to go out and make these straight-to-video action films that I love. This one, though, is a bit meh. It’s almost too competently made to the point where it hits an uncanny valley between theatrical release and video schlock. Not enough funny dumb stuff… or even just having a little fun with it… you gotta have fun when you’re in the video realm. This didn’t feel like much fun.

Hot Take Clam Bake! I leave a little taste of a Dudikoff hot take I’m working on (and maybe will deploy in the future): Dudikoff should have played Batman. You’re welcome. As for Virtuosity, switch the roles, baby! Oh you’re thinking I mean switch Denzel and Crowe? Oh, no no no. Denzel is perfect in his role as cop-turned-convict-with-a-heart-of-gold. No I mean switch Crowe and Kelly Lynch (who played Dr. Madison Carter). Make the killer a smoking hot blonde. The point is that they can do anything with VR. Most serial killers are big ol’ gross people. Not when you got a computer wizard behind the console. This serial killer is a temptress. Did I just make Virtuosity an erotic thriller? You bet your ass I did. Crowe is now the bookish criminal psychologist who ends up a little too intrigued by the sexy killer. Classic psychologist-killer dynamics at play just before Denzel gets to bust in a blow up the show. I’m loving this. I just paid myself $20 million for this script. Hot Take Temperature: Caribbean Jerk. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Virtuosity? More like Viciosity … get it? Like virtuous versus vicious? Whatever, I didn’t like it anyways. Let’s go!

  • I feel like my impression of this film was mostly that it had notoriously outdated special effects from that Lawnmower Man era of almost being able to do full CGI landscapes, but now it would just look ridiculous. Weirdly, that isn’t really the case. When they are in the virtual world it looks like the regular world. And when they do do full landscapes it looks fine and actually is kind of an interesting contrast between these old school graphics and, basically, the zoot suit Crowe wears prior to him coming to the real world.
  • This film also feels like a film where it is a bit confusing as to how a sequel series hasn’t been considered. Consider this. The generation of artificial life is completely possible. From advanced neural nets which are, for all intents and purposes, perfectly human in behavior. To the nanobot bodies which were perfected during the course of the film. Already there is an interesting premise. What is humanity? What happens when this “lower” life form is inevitably subjugated by humanity? Basically, it could be Westworld, but in the real world. It could be I, Robot, but built from Virtuosity’s ruined shell of an IP. I think it at least would have been worth a shot, but apparently that IP is ice cold.
  • Crowe is ridiculous in this film. Actually terrible, but I’m sure that was intentional.
  • Washington on the other hand is naturally amazing. And I do dig the serial killer / fugitive thing they had going as far as the story. Decent futuristic noir I think.
  • The movie relies on a strained coincidence that not only is the evil terrorist who killed Denzel’s family inside of Crowe, but that this person is also the dominate personality. If not for that it seems inevitable that Crowe would have killed Denzel in cold blood (he is a robot and pretty much invincible) and killed hundreds before being destroyed.
  • Decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for future Los Angeles. And I’ll throw it a tiny Worst Twist (How?) for the finale whereby it looks like Denzel screwed up again and everyone is going to die, but et voilà, actually he did do it, they were just psyching us out for no reason. This film is closest to Good, it is undeniably entertaining and Denzel is good.
  • Since we swapped things a bit and did a future film for the Achievement cycle, we had to go hunting for a non-qualifying film set in the past. Harder than one would think. Originally we were going to watch Titanic: The Legend Continues … a notoriously bad animated film. But I didn’t want to. Instead we settled into our never ending goal of watching every Dudikoff film ever made. This time it was the bizarrely serious River of Death. It opens with a Nazi doctor killing a bunch of people and then betraying Donald Pleasance to escape to the Amazon. Smash cut to the 60s (I think) where Dudikoff is helping a doctor try and cure a disease that only seems to afflict natives there. Spoiler, it actually isn’t true, in the end after defeating the doctor, Dudikoff still has to leave his lady love behind because she has contracted what is effectively super-leprosy which kills those without pure aryan blood. You see, the film is super duper serious. There are some fun things there, but it is naturally brought down by Nazis, disease, and probably-racist depictions of cannibal natives of the Amazon. D. Dudikoff is usually good for a watch, but in this case it just isn’t as fun as him being drunk and fighting terrorists in a submarine / robot office building / train, you know?

You can read all about the Netflix original series Virtuosity 2.0 in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs 

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Virtuosity Quiz

Oh boy. So I was in this sweet simulation (web 3.0, amirite?), fighting a sadistic super-killer, when it turns out he cranked my neural sensitivity up to 1000% and fried my brain. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Virtuosity?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film Denzel is chasing Crowe in the VR universe. Denzel is obviously an excellent detective. How does he know that Crowe is hiding in the sushi restaurant?

2) Oh wow, actually, what a twist! Denzel is a convict. What was he convicted of (you see this revealed slowly throughout the film)?

3) Double uh oh, Crowe now has a body … kind of? What is Crowe’s body made of?

4) Denzel’s out baby! Well, he is if he can find Crowe for the LAPD. Denzel confronts Crowe at two locales prior to the big showdown in the end. Where?

5) In the end Denzel, spoiler, battles and wins against Crowe (who has taken on the personality of his old nemesis). Where, though, did Crowe hide the child he kidnapped?

Bonus Question: In the mid-credits scene Denzel is back on the force babyyyyyyyyyy! He’s the head of the new Virtuosity division which handles the new frontier of super-virtual-criminals in the now commercialized VR world. Well looks like he just got his first case. Who’s the criminal?

Answers

Virtuosity Preview

As Patrick and Kyle walk around the Natural History Museum, Patrick thinks to himself how he really should read more about dinosaurs cause they are rad. Or maybe now that he’s Stallone he should buy a dinosaur. “I have enough money to buy a dinosaur,” he says in wonder. “You sure do, Mr. Stallone. But that doesn’t explain what we are doing here,” Kyle says, his brow wrinkled in confusion. “Oh right!” Patrick remembers, “Uh… like… what if we bury instructions for whenever Jamie appears in the timeline. Then when he shows up you show him where it is.” Kyle considers this, it’s better than the dumb wormhole idea. “But how would I know it’s actually him? You already said that people are after whatever it is I have that can help you… so how do I know it’s not some bad guy pretending.” Patrick ponders for a moment, “You got a ‘puter?” 

Jamie finishes the Italian hoagie he found in Frank Stallone’s fridge. “So do you remember?” Kyle asks. “Remember what?” Jamie asks through the last mouthful of hoagie. Kyle shakes his head in frustration. He had told Kyle that food usually jogs his memory as they tried to figure out how to get him to prove he was Jamie after all. But just like the last ten things they tried, it seemed that Jamie wasn’t interested in that after all. It turns out he just wanted to eat a hoagie. “Don’t you want to get back to being Jamie?” He asks in frustration and the hesitation that Jamie gives to the question tells the whole tale. “All right, that’s it,” Kyle says, throwing his hands up, “you might not want to save the day, but I sure do, so it’s time for your worst nightmare.”

That’s right! We are diving deep into ‘puter madness by watching the megastar vehicle Virtuosity starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. I’ve never seen this film, which seems impossible, but I swear it’s true. Adding to the blockbuster week is the friend River of Death starring megastar (of my heart) Michael Dudikoff. Dudikoff is like my Charles Bronson. Everything he does is just pitch perfect action to the max. I love it. Let’s go!

Virtuosity (1995) – BMeTric: 45.9; Notability: 67

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 7.6%; Notability: top 1.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 23.6%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Vampire in Brooklyn, Showgirls, Fair Game, Jury Duty, Congo, Batman Forever, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Theodore Rex, Judge Dredd, The Babysitter, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Nine Months, The Scarlet Letter, Johnny Mnemonic, Virtuosity; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Cutthroat Island; Lower RT: The Big Green, National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Delta of Venus, Theodore Rex, Jury Duty, The Walking Dead, Born to Be Wild, Top Dog, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Hunted, It Takes Two, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Bushwhacked, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Fair Game, Vampire in Brooklyn, Canadian Bacon, The Scarlet Letter, Four Rooms, Jade, and 36 more; Notes: Solid notability. This is definitely one of the bigger 90s sci-fi films we were somehow missing. This is Cutthroat Island level which is insane. I should point out that we’ve seen the four bigger ones from 1995. And 12 of 18 films with higher BMeTric. We are really starting to work our way through some year’s top 20 BMeTric films.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Virtuosity” is an example of a struggle that goes on in Hollywood between formula and invention. The movie is filled with bright ideas and fresh thinking, but the underlying story is as old as the hills, right down to a final confrontation on catwalks (there is nothing quite like a catwalk for satisfying scenes in which characters hang by one arm, bash each other with pipes, fall to their dooms, etc.). What redeems “Virtuosity” a little is that even at the end, even in the midst of the action clichés, it still finds surprises in the paradox of a villain that is also a program.

(I like that we’ve hit a lot of films in this cycle that Ebert seems to have some affection for. I wonder if having a definitive time period just makes even trashy films a little bit more entertaining in some way. I don’t know.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEDdaStz4kw/

(Oh boy, they chose the wrong scene to sell the movie IMO. That scene in the mall is horrific. I would, I don’t know, start with indicating that the film stars Denzel Washington. Someday there will be a definitive list of films where someone yells “I am the future!”)

DirectorsBrett Leonard – ( Known For: Man-Thing; The Dead Pit; Triumph; Feed; Future BMT: Hideaway; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Virtuosity; Notes: Still working, although I can’t say I know most of his recent projects. Is tagged for a film called Dark Star which does not seem to be a remake of the more famous 70s film Dark Star.)

WritersEric Bernt – ( Known For: The Echo; BMT: Virtuosity; Romeo Must Die; Surviving the Game; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Really not much about him online. Seems to do kind of futuristic or even like genre bending films in a way?)

ActorsDenzel Washington – ( Known For: The Little Things; Roman J. Israel, Esq.; The Equalizer; Inside Man; Training Day; Remember the Titans; The Tragedy of Macbeth; Flight; The Equalizer 2; American Gangster; The Magnificent Seven; The Book of Eli; Fences; Philadelphia; Safe House; Deja Vu; Much Ado About Nothing; The Manchurian Candidate; Glory; 2 Guns; Future BMT: Man on Fire; Fallen; The Bone Collector; John Q; Heart Condition; BMT: Virtuosity; Notes: Won two Oscars (and has been nominated 7 other times) for Training Day and Glory. Also nominated twice for Emmys. Probably up there as a top 10 living American Actor I would think.)

Russell Crowe – ( Known For: Thor: Love and Thunder; The Greatest Beer Run Ever; Gladiator; Robin Hood; Zack Snyder’s Justice League; Man of Steel; The Nice Guys; A Beautiful Mind; Les Misérables; L.A. Confidential; 3:10 to Yuma; American Gangster; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; Unhinged; Noah; Body of Lies; State of Play; The Quick and the Dead; Cinderella Man; The Insider; Future BMT: A Good Year; Broken City; Mystery, Alaska; Proof of Life; BMT: The Mummy; Virtuosity; Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: From New Zealand, although he grew up in Australia. Won an Oscar for Gladiator, and was nominated for The Insider and A Beautiful Mind. Notably had some anger issues crop up over the years, specifically he threw a telephone at a hotel employee’s head IIRC.)

Kelly Lynch – ( Known For: Charlie’s Angels; On the Rocks; The Jacket; Drugstore Cowboy; Bright Lights, Big City; Kaboom; Passion Play; Homegrown; Three of Hearts; The Slaughter Rule; Normal Adolescent Behavior; The Visitation; The Frontier; Mercy; Imaginary Crimes; Glass Chin; Warm Summer Rain; Dallas 362; The Beans of Egypt, Maine; The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll; Future BMT: Curly Sue; Mr. Magoo; Rock the Kasbah; Desperate Hours; Heaven’s Prisoners; White Man’s Burden; Joe Somebody; BMT: Road House; Cocktail; Virtuosity; Notes: Still works a bit (she was in the television series Mr. Mercedes for example). Born in Minneapolis, and married to writer Mitch Glazer.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $24,047,675 (Worldwide: $24,047,675)

(Disastrous all things considered. At least you can see where the money went: into the advanced computer graphics used throughout the film.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (10/33): Woefully deficient in thrills or common sense, Virtuosity strands its talented stars in a story whose vision of the future is depressingly short on imagination.

(I guess that makes sense. I’m surprised there isn’t more about the acting (either that it is bad for a good actor like Washington, or good all things considered).)

Reviewer Highlight: Though Virtuosity connects all the dots to give audiences a roller-coaster ride, the movie begets nothing new: It’s stillborn. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Poster – Sklogosity

(You’d think I wouldn’t like this poster, but there is something new and yet classic about its look. I kinda love it. The colors don’t make a lot of sense, but it fits the film in that way. Love the font and the framing is beautiful. A.)

Tagline(s) – Justice needs a new program (C)

(I don’t know what that means. The poster was a hit. This is not. It sounds like a tagline, but it doesn’t have any juice to it. Not clever. Not interesting. Not objectively bad, but just blah.)

Keyword(s) – future

Top 10: The Matrix (1999), Interstellar (2014), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Avatar (2009), Back to the Future (1985), V for Vendetta (2005), Avengers: Endgame (2019), WALL·E (2008), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Future BMT: 67.0 Thunderbirds (2004), 63.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 50.8 Johnny Be Good (1988), 48.3 Megaforce (1982), 46.6 Voyagers (2021), 46.4 Mission to Mars (2000), 44.6 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), 42.3 Red Planet (2000), 40.5 Yor: The Hunter from the Future (1983), 37.0 The Time Machine (2002), 35.2 The Ice Pirates (1984), 33.5 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), 33.4 Lockout (2012), 30.4 Mortal Engines (2018), 30.3 Push (2009), 29.9 Jetsons: The Movie (1990), 27.9 Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), 27.8 Total Recall (2012), 25.8 Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)

BMT: Battlefield Earth (2000), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Rollerball (2002), Barb Wire (1996), RoboCop 3 (1993), Ultraviolet (2006), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), After Earth (2013), A Sound of Thunder (2005), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Double Dragon (1994), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Wing Commander (1999), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Stealth (2005), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Cyborg (1989), Doom (2005), Left Behind: The Movie (2000), Supernova (2000), Lost in Space (1998), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Geostorm (2017), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Æon Flux (2005), Theodore Rex (1995), Judge Dredd (1995), Babylon A.D. (2008), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Virtuosity (1995), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Brick Mansions (2014), Freejack (1992), Gamer (2009), Priest (2011), Solarbabies (1986), 2012 (2009), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), RoboCop 2 (1990), Fortress (1992), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Soldier (1998), The Postman (1997), Transcendence (2014), Heartbeeps (1981), Predator 2 (1990), Paycheck (2003), Repo Men (2010), Impostor (2001), The Space Between Us (2017), Event Horizon (1997), Demolition Man (1993), Vanilla Sky (2001)

(No sub-cycle here because we were just switching it up in the end and going back to the future! I was screaming Jack style “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!” and Jamie finally relented.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 5 billed in Virtuosity and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (5 + 5) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch The Bone Collector we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – According to Kelly Lynch, she and Denzel Washington were supposed to kiss. However, Washington had the scene dropped because he felt an interracial love scene would hurt the film’s box-office chances.

The ‘Star Trek’ episode shown briefly is Star Trek: The Original Series: The Enemy Within (1966), an episode about Captain Kirk being split into good and evil sides by the transporter.

Amongst the names of serial killers shown in Sid 6.7’s personality profile are David Koresh, Thomas McIlvane, Frederick Cowan, William Bonin, Harvey Glatman, Peter Kuten, William Bryan Cruse, Charles Whitmore, Aileen Carol Wournos, Peter Sutcliffe, Kenneth McDuff, Jesse James, Dr. Glennon Engleman, Harvey Carignan, Dr. Geza de Kaplany, Norman Selby, Juan Peron, Winnie Ruth Judd, Matthew Grimes, Augosto Pinoche, Carl Panzram, Abu Nidal, Ted Bundy, Wesley Allan Dodd, Roger Dale Stafford, Elizabeth Borden, Mark Essex, Billy the Kid, Lynette Fromme, Larry Eyler, Clem Henderson, David Hendricks, Coral Eugene Watts, William McDonald, Richard Trenton Chase, Sirhan Sirhan, Josef Mengele, Ed Kemper, Edward Leonski, John Collins, Julian Knight, John Haigh, Carlton Gary, Vaughn Greenwood, Nicolae Ceausescu, Randy Kraft, Miguel Rivera, Dean Allen Corli, William Suff, Werner Boost, Thierry Paulin, Richard Trenton Chase, David Burke, Donald Harvey, Vernon Butts, Bruno Hauptman, Ralph Jerome Selz, John Duffy, Carl Weiss, Gerald Eugene Stano, Benito Mussolini, Paul Calden, Richard Farley, Ian Brady, Joseph Harris, Hiro Hito, Lynwood C. Drake, Saddam Hussein, Gilles De Rais, Herman Mudgett, Donald Nielson, Robert R. Diaz, and Joe Ball.

Action editor Billy Weber was brought in by Paramount to deliver a new cut of the film, after the initial cut was rejected. For his efforts, he is thanked in the film’s closing credits.

Paramount Pictures considered casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as Parker Barnes, but his hefty price tag quickly put him out of contention.

The music video of “The Photograph Kills” by Russell Crowe & 30 Odd Foot of Grunts was filmed on the set of the film between scenes, which Russell Crowe appears in the music video in costume and in character as Sid 6.7 and the music videos features inserts from the film itself. The song is featured in the scene which Sid 6.5 arrives at Madison’s house to kidnap Karin.

Russell Crowe was added to the cover of later VHS/DVD editions of the film, since he had become a bigger star since the initial release of the film.

One of the objects shown floating in Sid’s virtual world is a bust made from a ribbon-like spiral. This is a direct nod to the illustration work of the pioneering 4-D artist M. C. Escher.

According to William Fichtner, about 80% of his scenes never made the final cut.

Ken Shamrock can be seen fighting in the octagon. Former ufc and wwf champion

Kelly Cuoco plays Kelly Lynch’s daughter.

Brick Mansions Recap

Jamie

Back in our salad days, Patrick and I fancied ourselves quite the film connoisseurs. We only watched the best (the best!). So of course we gathered up our friends to catch District B13 in theaters and people were pretty impressed. And rightfully so, we were rad… almost as rad as all the parkour we witnessed that day. By the time Brick Mansions came out we were even radder (can you believe it) and in the midst of building our vast BMT empire, but parkour wasn’t nearly as rad, so we let it pass on by, just biding our time until the moment was juuuuust right. That moment is now. Welcome to BMT Presents: The Brick Mansions Post: The Movie.

To recap, Brick Mansions is the story of Paul Walker, an undercover cop trying to live up to the memory of his father, a cop killed in the line of duty. He’s just trying to keep a dystopian Detroit from going down the toilet, but things are made hard by all the drugs and crime in the brick mansions. Oooo, all those drugs and crime. It just makes me so mad. It also makes Lino mad, a parkour madman who gets himself in trouble by trashing a bunch of heroin peddled by Tremaine. Turns out Tremaine owns (almost all) the cops, so even when Lino gets the upper hand it only lands him in jail and his girlfriend held captive by Tremaine. Just at that moment, Tremaine comes into possession of a nuclear weapon (word) and Walker’s gotta get that bad boy back, baby. He teams up with Lino and infiltrates the brick mansions and hold onto your butts, cause they’re gonna parkour… your butts off… that’s why you gotta hold onto your butts. Once all the butts have been parkoured off, Lino and Walker get to the nuclear weapon, but realize that something seems fishy. The code they are given to diffuse the bomb turns out to be the zip code for the brick mansions. Aha! Don’t you see?! It’s so dumb that it’s gotta be a trap! They parkour their way over to the mayor’s office who is like “but…uh… but…uh… what thuuuuu.” And Walker records him and he sounds so dumb that everyone votes him out of office and votes Tremaine in (for realz). We end with Walker all happy and the former drug dealer planting a tree with a jaunty hat on. Not joking. THE END.

Hoooo man. This movie is dummmmmmbbbbb. Like real stupid for real. I could say it doesn’t make any sense, but it does make sense. It’s just very stupid. But that’s OK, cause the parkour was great, right? Eh, not really. The whole venture seems held back by the fact that Walker is just not on the same level as David Belle (obviously) and so everything seems to be done with tricky camera work. Ultimately, it just came off as a bit lame. If you are going to watch the film I wouldn’t even watch it for the parkour. I would watch it for the hilarious dub they put on Belle, which makes him seem American (… maybe?), and the last fifteen minutes, which holds its own in the vast depths of stupidity we’ve subjected ourselves to in BMT. I mean, a drug dealer kidnaps an innocent lady and holds a city hostage with a nuclear weapon and then gets elected mayor! His second in command immediately starts planting trees and wearing fashionable hats! It’s ludicrous.

Hot Take Clam Bake! The bomb goes off. I’m not even sure this is a hot take. Let’s look at the evidence: They think that the bomb is a trick because the deactivation code is the zip code of the brick mansions. That’s stupid. It was the real deactivation code and the bomb exploded. Everything after that is what happens in Paul Walker’s mind the moments before his body disintegrates. He imagines solving his father’s murder, getting the elitist mayor out of office, turning around the city that he loves, and introducing a hardened drug dealer to environmentalism and fancy hats. That is not real. That is an imagined ending by a man who totally screwed up and let a nuclear bomb go off in a major city. Hot Take Temperature: Jammin’ Jalapeno. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Brick Mansions? More like Shit Mansions amirite? I mean, objectively it seems like the area of Brick Mansions is shit though. No hospitals or schools or anything? Seems like a terrible place to live. Let’s go!

  • The code is just the zip code to Brick Mansions? “That seems suspicious Mr. Mayor, doesn’t it?” “Shut up Jonathan, it’s called ‘being poetic’, I want Paul Walker, this person I never met, to think for a split second that he just got got by super genius me after punching in this sweet code. I sure do hope the drug dealers don’t shoot him directly in the face immediately when he gets there, and also the ultra sweet parkour expert doesn’t help him. But again, I have to send the parkour guy back in instead of just killing him in prison because that is also poetic.” Because, for real, if fourteen different things don’t go right then the bomb just merely doesn’t explode in the middle of Brick Mansions. He’s relying on Paul Walker just being so sweet that he obviously finds and sets off the bomb.
  • I guess from the top I should say: just watch District B13 if you want to see this movie. They are exactly the same movie, except instead of Paul Walker explaining why he isn’t doing sweet parkour everywhere, you get another parkour guy doing parkour. So by my calculations that makes it 2x as rad as this film already.
  • Paul Walker is a terrible actor. Sorry.
  • Why did they dub the French guy with a bad American accent? They already try and claim he is Quebecois. So … why do they then go out of their way to give him a not-French accent? Just make him speak French or let him speak with an accent or dub him over with someone with a clear accent.
  • In the end are we supposed to be rooting for the murderous drug dealers who wanted to blow up a bomb in the middle of Detroit to become mayor? So we have back-to-back mayors of Detroit who wanted to set off a bomb in the middle of Detroit? What a wild timeline.
  • Parkour has never looked so bad. Sorry.
  • I’m going to throw out the assistant drug dealer as a potential Planchet (Who?) even though I don’t think he gets made fun of enough, I think he’s some other trope, like Incompetant Number Two or something. Some minor Product Placement (What?) for things like BMW. An excellent Setting as a Character (Where?) for Detroit Rock City. A very good MacGuffin (Why?) for the bomb that is in desperate need of disarming. And a Worst Twist (How?) candidate for the reveal that the bomb would only go off once the code was punched in (not the opposite). Definitely a BMT film.

There was already an original Brick Mansions, and a sequel to that … doesn’t mean I can’t make my own sequel Brick Mansions 2: Sins of the Father. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Brick Mansions Quiz

Oh man, so I was doing some sweet parkour (regular Sunday, natch) when I did this sweet flip and landed directly on my head, whoops! Now I have a major concussion and can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Brick Mansions?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Why is Brick Mansions so shit? It is, init?

2) Our boy Lino is running from some baaaaad m-fers in dystopian Detroit. Why?

3) Paul Walker then is sent into ultra-shit Brick Mansions. Why?

4) What happened to Paul Walker’s father? But then … like what really happened?

5) What is the keycode for the bomb and what was the big baddies plan all along?

Bonus Question: RZA’s the King of Detroit! Well the Mayor of Detroit. But now someone has come to his new swanky office for a little favor. Who and what favor?

Answers

Brick Mansions Preview

As Patrick and Jamie skulk behind the numerous wicker chairs populating Wicker Park, they try to come up with a plan. Could they stand in for Past Jamie and Patrick and trick the G-Men into giving them the task instead? No. As Jamie notes, rulez are coolz and when given a very important job they aren’t ones to drop the ball like a couple of unprofessional idiots. But that gets them thinking, what if they did follow through? At that they jump out of the bushes and right in the path of the G-Men. “Yo, G-Men, you looking for us?” The G-Men are a bit confused. These Bad Movie Twins look at least ten or eleven years older than the studs in the photos they have. But they shrug their shoulders and agree that since only the secret Time Cop Corporation has the technology of time travel there isn’t anything to worry about. Jamie and Patrick yawn as the G-Men go into intricate detail about the mission they already know everything about. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, high level terrorists in Budapest. Right? We got it,” Jamie says, trying to hurry them along. Now they look double confused and a bit suspicious. “No, not terrorists in Budapest. How did you…” they ask, eyeing Jamie sideways, but eventually shrug again and continue, ‘It’s actually pretty low level terrorists in Paris. Some much higher level terrorists broke down on their way to Budapest. They were carrying a powerful weapon that every baddie in the world would want. It was stolen from the truck and we need to get it back. You up for the job?” Jamie and Patrick gulp and nod their heads. “Oh and one more thing,” the G-Men say, “Hope you guys brought some Mountain Dew.” That’s right! We’re watching Brick Mansion starring Paul Walker. It’s a remake of District B13 that I remember seeing in theaters in college… we didn’t see this one in theaters for obvious reasons. Let’s go!

Brick Mansions (2014) – BMeTric: 44.4; Notability: 29

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 10.4%; Notability: top 19.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 20.6%; Higher BMeT: Left Behind, The Legend of Hercules, Ouija, God’s Not Dead, Devil’s Due, The Pyramid, A Haunted House 2, Tammy, Sex Tape, I, Frankenstein, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Behaving Badly, Outcast, Annabelle, Everly, Annie, Vampire Academy, Pompeii, Addicted, Seventh Son, and 6 more; Higher Notability: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Transcendence, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Dracula Untold, Dumb and Dumber To, The Monuments Men, Annie, Seventh Son, Winter’s Tale, Think Like a Man Too, Horrible Bosses 2, Need for Speed, The Expendables 3, Men, Women & Children, Ride Along, The Nut Job, Vampire Academy, Pompeii, and 28 more; Lower RT: Behaving Badly, Left Behind, Cam2Cam, Outcast, I, Frankenstein, The Legend of Hercules, Ouija, Some Kind of Beautiful, Addicted, A Haunted House 2, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, The Cobbler, Search Party, God’s Not Dead, The Best of Me, No Good Deed, Seventh Son, Winter’s Tale, Taken 3, The Nut Job, and 31 more; Notes: Middling across the board. Part of the problem, as I see it, was the competition in the mid-2010s was stiff. Left Behind? Legend of Hercules? Devil’s Due? It is kind of impossible this film could compete with those heavy hitters.

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – The action may be serious, but “Brick Mansions” doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a ridiculous movie that has the decency to acknowledge that it’s ridiculous.

(So … good for what it is? Roger Ebert would be proud. Especially in the 2000s he was all about the self-aware bad film actually being good. I think the problem is that this was already made from a self-aware film that also happened to be pretty good.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CzcsN4k9FM/

(I mean, it looks kind of cool I suppose. The only issue is the French actor (who was in the original) doesn’t seem like he can keep up with the dialogue. But we’ll see.)

DirectorsCamille Delamarre – ( Future BMT: The Transporter Refueled; BMT: Brick Mansions; Notes: Not much about him. Presumably French. Has directed a film called Assassins Club with Sam Neill.)

WritersLuc Besson – ( Known For: Léon: The Professional; The Fifth Element; Taken; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; Lucy; The Transporter; Transporter 2; Revolver; The Big Blue; Arthur, malédiction; Transporter 3; Nikita; Taxi; District B13; Bandidas; Point of No Return; Unleashed; American Renegades; Kiss of the Dragon; Enter the Warriors Gate; Future BMT: Anna; 3 Days to Kill; The Family; The Transporter Refueled; Colombiana; Taken 3; Taken 2; Lockout; The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc; Arthur and the Invisibles; From Paris with Love; BMT: Taxi; Brick Mansions; Notes: French. Probably most well known for Fifth Element among many other films that have managed to cross international borders. Kind of amazing this is only our second of his films.)

Bibi Naceri – ( Known For: District B13; The Code; BMT: Brick Mansions; Notes: He wrote the original. Really has no other credits in the US. Everything else is pretty much French productions across the board.)

Ryan Amon – ( BMT: Brick Mansions; Notes: Credited as Ruff Argonauts apparently? Mainly a composer, but I would guess he does uncredited rewrites on the side or something, which is kind of wild.)

ActorsPaul Walker – ( Known For: Furious 7; She’s All That; Fast Five; Furious 6; Joy Ride; Pleasantville; Varsity Blues; Flags of Our Fathers; Running Scared; Eight Below; Tammy and the T-Rex; The Lazarus Project; Hours; Pawn Shop Chronicles; Vehicle 19; Bobby Z; Noel; Monster in the Closet; Stories USA; Future BMT: Into the Blue; Brokedown Palace; Takers; Meet the Deedles; BMT: The Fast and the Furious; Fast & Furious; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Timeline; The Skulls; Brick Mansions; Notes: Sadly died in 2013, prior to this film being released. The song, “See You Again” was made as a tribute for the Furious 7 soundtrack.)

David Belle – ( Known For: Femme Fatale; District B13; Rogue City; District 13: Ultimatum; Divine Intervention; Super Express; Future BMT: The Family; BMT: Babylon A.D.; Brick Mansions; Notes: His father, to some degree, is credited with inventing Parkour. Really, Belle probably actually did, as his father apparently mostly forgot everything and only really “invented” it in that he used his skills to not get beat up in a Vietnamese orphanage as a child.)

RZA – ( Known For: Minions: The Rise of Gru; Nobody; American Gangster; The Dead Don’t Die; Clean; Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai; The Next Three Days; Mr. Right; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Life in a Year; Funny People; The Man with the Iron Fists; A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas; Coffee and Cigarettes; Mutafukaz; The Protector 2; Hard Luck Love Song; Life Is Hot in Cracktown; Thriller; Gospel Hill; Future BMT: Scary Movie 3; Due Date; Derailed; BMT: G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Be Cool; Repo Men; Brick Mansions; Notes: Has been nominated for an Emmy for the soundtrack to Wu-Tang: An American Saga. He has also directed a few things, including the pretty well received The Man with the Iron Fists.)

Budget/Gross – $28,000,000 / Domestic: $20,396,829 (Worldwide: $71,416,730)

(Actually not too bad once you consider international money. The domestic haul is obviously much lower than they would have probably hoped though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (26/100): Choppily edited and largely bereft of plot, Brick Mansions wastes a likable cast on a pointless remake of the far more entertaining District B13.

(Yes, this is what I felt like at the time. I saw the original in 2006 (I think)? This coming out eight years later seemed odd since District B13 is good.)

Reviewer Highlight: Follows the bog-standard formula perfected by Besson: combining functional storylining with competent action highlights and an occasional air of whimsy. – Trevor Johnston, Time Out

Poster – BM2: Smooth Moves

(Wow… that is not good. Like supreme lameness. I would see that in a theater and be like “See you at BMT.” Color scheme is terrible and just too much going on. Interesting artistic choices but really that’s a mild positive in a sea of not good things. D.)

Tagline(s) – N/A

(There are some taglines on imdb but I don’t know where they come from. There isn’t one on the poster, so that’s an F. Give us something to work with.)

Keyword(s) – European Remake

Top 10: 12 Monkeys (1995), The Italian Job (2003), Insomnia (2002), Scent of a Woman (1992), Clash of the Titans (2010), Some Like It Hot (1959), Vanilla Sky (2001), True Lies (1994), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Tourist (2010)

Future BMT: 54.5 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 54.0 Downhill (2020), 49.2 The Omen (2006), 44.8 Catch That Kid (2004), 43.1 Diabolique (1996), 43.0 Village of the Damned (1995), 41.8 I Think I Love My Wife (2007), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 41.2 Mixed Nuts (1994), 39.8 Intersection (1994)

BMT: The Wicker Man (2006), Taxi (2004), The Haunting (1999), Get Carter (2000), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Pathfinder (2007), Fathers’ Day (1997), Nine Months (1995), The Big Wedding (2013), Brick Mansions (2014), Sleepless (2017), The Blue Lagoon (1980), School for Scoundrels (2006), Blame It on Rio (1984), The Loft (2014), Vanilla Sky (2001), Wicker Park (2004)

Best Options (future): 44.4 Brick Mansions (2014), 8.9 The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

(Yup, this was basically the only option. If not for this I think we maybe could have managed the full French cycle (in that it needed to go elsewhere for that to work)? Although maybe not, it is possible we’d still be missing a Dimension transition at the top. Regardless, we’d effectively killed any possibility of another Merde de la Merde. There are plenty left, but in reality the genre specific options are clearly too thin.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Paul Walker is No. 1 billed in Brick Mansions and No. 1 billed in 2 Fast 2 Furious, which also stars Eva Mendes (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 2 billed) which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 1) + (3 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 15. If we were to watch Into the Blue we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Paul Walker’s last fully completed performance (although his final film performance was in Fast & Furious 7 which he was filming at the time of his death).

This film is a remake of the French film “District B13” (Banlieu 13) which stars David Belle in the same role as in this movie. Additionally, plot & other action elements are used from Luc Besson’s treatment of B13: Ultimatum, the French follow up to the first film.

The Gate 38 location was also used in Death Race (2008) as a part of the race track.

Tremain AKA RZA tells Damian and Leno that “Cash rules everything around me.” Which is the title to a hit song by the Wu-Tang Clan which RZA was a member of.

The film takes place in 2018.

In the scene where they show the prison holding Lino, it is actually the Montreal Biosphere.

Imposter Recap

Jamie

I keep on wanting to write, ‘Saboteur!’ when thinking about this film. But alas, this is just about some dumb bum imposter played by Gary Sinise. Our boy Gary gets his star turn in this film that can be best summed up as a one-note story streeeetched veeerrrry looooong. May as well get into a short recap with that, because the entire film is about that one note: is Gary Sinise an imposter? 

So Gary wakes up with his beautiful wife after a weekend camping trip relaxed and ready to show off a hot new weapon he designed for the big war with humanity’s intergalactic foes. Don’t worry about that camping trip. Sure there was a big ol’ fire but Gary is like “huh, what? Oh yeah we’re fine,” so the viewer can rest assured that the camping trip was no big deal and won’t play a role in the plot in the least. Just as he prepares for the big day Vincent D’Onofrio walks in and is like “Imposter!” and arrests him. He explains that the aliums have developed a new weapon and it’s real cool. Basically they send replicas of humans to Earth who don’t even know they’re replicas. They kill their doubles, assume their lives, wake up with all their memories, and go on with their lives… that is until they get switched on and assassinate someone. Sinise is like bullshit and springs free with his classic Gary Sinise strength. He’s able to contact his wife and attempts to get a body scan to prove he’s not an imposter, but is again chased off by D’Onofrio. He and his wife realize the key to all this is the camping trip (woah, what?) and so they head into the forest where D’Onofrio assures Sinise that he believes him. That’s because in the forest is an alien spaceship and inside is bum bum bum his wife’s body! (What a twist!) They kill the imposter wife but then find bum bum bum Gary Sinise’s hot bod in there too! (What a double twist!) He explodes. THE END.

There was a moment very early in the film (when they kept on droning on and on about the camping trip) that I thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if Sinise just turned out to be an imposter?” Like a whole movie set up around someone being like “I’m not an imposter!” but then he is. You’ve just watched an entire movie where the main character is an alien but doesn’t know it so it’s not even fun in an alien kind of way. And then they did it! It’s pretty dumb and makes the majority of the movie meaningless. If I rewatched it now Gary would be whining “but I love my wiiiife,” and I’d just shrug and be like ‘no you don’t cause you are just some alien drone so why should I listen to you? Sure you have all the memories of Gary Sinise. You’ve got those abs for days, for sure. I appreciate all that… but you’re also just gonna blow up and you’re not really Gary Sinise… no one is. Only Gary Sinise is. He’s a one of one.”

For a Hot Take Clam Bake I’m gonna come out and say it: the aliens’ plan was dumb and bad and failed. Sinise was supposed to blow up a giant weapon he designed and kill the leader of Earth (or something like that). Instead he blows up Vincent D’Onofrio in the middle of a razed forest. Guess what happens next? Big Gary’s weapon blows up the aliens. Because he’s got a big ol’ brain and knew how to kick their asses. Maybe the aliens should have just blown up the weapon when Fake Gary was hanging around the weapon all day. Nope. Let’s just blow up nothing cause we’re dumb. Dumb aliens. Dumb weapon. Dumb plan. You lose.

Hot Take Temperature: Day Old Wildfire. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Imposter? More like Low-cost-er! Amirite? Gary Sinese v. Vincent D’Onofrio babbbbby! YEAH! What? You aren’t jazzed for that CSI: NY vs. Law & Order: Criminal Intent clash? The Battle of the Second Spin-off Stars? This is huge! Let’s go!

  • Throughout the years we’ve established nice concise phrases for certain types of films. Our most internationally famous one is obviously Dog Poo In Our Face for those films that are so bad they make us irrationally angry. This film ain’t that. This film is the second-most-popular classic Nothing Film. It is a film you’ve seen one-thousand times which feels like no one remembers and if it never existed the world wouldn’t change even a little bit. This film is a Nothing Film.
  • Basically this film feels like a less well known Phillip K. Dick short story that was squashed between The Minority Report and We Can Remember It for You Wholesale so no one remembers it until someone was like “do we have any more Phillip K. Dick stories to adapt”, and someone opened wikipedia and was like “only one … it’s called Imposter?”
  • To be clear this is actually based on a Phillip K. Dick story, I’m not making that up. It was first published in the magazine Astounding in June 1953 and can be found in some of his collections. That being said ain’t no one running out of Phillip K. Dick short stories to adapt, there are a billion of them.
  • Oh the movie, I almost forgot (because it is a nothing film). It uh … well, it um … D’Onofrio is suitably crazy in this I suppose? The whole thing seems to take place at night. The ultimate twist is so obvious that they felt the need to make the twist even twistier … but even then it was really obvious, and they didn’t have the guts to change the actual ultimate twist enough for me to really care that I kind of got it wrong.
  • I guess what I’m getting at is that this is a poor man’s Minority Report, and even that isn’t really considered very good anymore, so what really does that make this? Bad, I suppose. It makes it a bad movie.
  • Obviously a great Future Setting (When?) for a film that is sorely lacking in any superlatives. Well except for one of the worst Worst Twists (How?) ever in that it was obvious from the beginning that you are following around an evil android who is going to blow everyone up at the end (and he does). It is closest to Bad I think, just a Nothing Movie.

Check out the Quiz for my sequel Impo2ter. You kind of know it would be stylized like that right? Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Imposter Quiz

Oh jeez, imagine this, I just got accused of being an alium spy and am to be killed immediately. No trial? No problem for this future hellscape! Well, good thing I escaped, although I did get bopped on the head by a guard and now can’t remember a thing (like whether I’m a spy or not …). Do you remember what happened in Imposter?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) It’s the future and the world is at war! With whom though?

2) And our hero is a heroic military weapons manufacturer … wait, that can’t be right (checks notes). Yeah, he’s a weapons manufacturer. Anyways, why did this heo join the military with only mass genocide of our enemies on his mind?

3) Well, boy is Vincent D’Ononfrio’s face red! Or, well, it will be once he realizes his terrible mistake in accusing this heroic hero of being a spy. But why does he think he’s a spy?

4) Yada yada yada, our boy is on the run and trying to prove that the spy is really the one armed man (or something like that, he’s a fugitive on the run). He gets some help from Mekhi Phifer. Why is he willing to help this spy, what is he getting in return?

5) Ah, well in the end who ends up being the imposter and spy?

Bonus Question: In the mid-credits sequence Sinese wakes up in a lab, strapped to a table. But how? And who else is there to greet him?

Answers

Imposter Preview

“You senseless idiot!” Patrick says in dismay. Kyle was their last chance to save the world. He had already come to the conclusion that the HoE dimension was so powerful that it would burn out any time machine that found its way there. Kyle’s story only confirmed it. Now they were all stuck here. “Well that’s OK, Patrick, it’s really not so bad here. Unexpectedly pleasant in fact,” Kyle says, sharing a sweet moment with his beloved Rachel. Rachel smiles back, but after a second her smile starts to waver and she begins to weep. Kyle is shocked. “It’s just so wonderful here. What if we go back and our family can’t…” Rachel’s voice breaks. Kyle reassures her that they don’t have to go anywhere, but Jamie and Patrick have a job to do. “We have to help them if we can. Isn’t that why we went back in the first place?” She nods and tells them about the Hallston Academy building. Kids come and go, real baseball games during the day, imaginary baseball games at night. “Classic high school stuff, go on,” Patrick encourages. But when Rachel picks up the kids at school she’s noticed another building. One down by the lake. No one ever comes. No one ever goes. “And armed guards are always nearby,” Rachel finishes, her voice now a whisper. But Kyle sadly shakes his head, “it’s been fifteen years, Rachel, I can know when you are holding back. You need to tell them.” She takes a deep breath. “There are two people I’ve seen come and go. I’m sorry I never told you, dear, but I didn’t want to spoil our dream. Those people were…” and suddenly she looks straight at Jamie and Patrick, “the bad movie twins!” Kyle turns to them, enraged. “Imposters!” That’s right! We are watching the classic *checks notes* Gary Sinise vehicle… wait, that can’t be right… alright, well the Gary Sinise sci-fi vehicle we all know and love. He’s an imposter… or is he? You better believe they’re gonna try to twist us up. Let’s go!

Impostor (2001) – BMeTric: 23.7; Notability: 67

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 25.6%; Notability: top 1.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.2%; Higher BMeT: Glitter, Jason X, Freddy Got Fingered, Driven, The Animal, Ghosts of Mars, Black Knight, Valentine, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Soul Survivors, Monkeybone, The Musketeer, Corky Romano, Scary Movie 2, The Wedding Planner, Bones, Summer Catch, The Order, Say It Isn’t So, The Wash, and 44 more; Higher Notability: Pearl Harbor, Monkeybone, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Hannibal; Lower RT: Texas Rangers, Soul Survivors, Glitter, Corky Romano, The Forsaken, Summer Catch, The Wash, Out Cold, Say It Isn’t So, Joe Dirt, Head Over Heels, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, What’s the Worst That Could Happen?, Freddy Got Fingered, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Perfume, The Musketeer, Valentine, Double Take, Original Sin, and 33 more; Notes: I’m not surprised at how high the rating is here. I am shocked by how high the Notability. Jeez Louise! It is on Hannibal or Tomb Raider levels! That’s nuts.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Is Sinise an alien spy impersonating a scientist married to Stowe in 2079? The movie’s distributor apparently didn’t think anyone cared enough to find out, because this malnourished Philip K. Dick adaptation sat on the shelf for more than a year. Most interesting features are the near home appliances in the early scenes, which include a voice-activated wall-screen TV that shuts off on command. You should be so lucky when watching this movie at home.

(Wow! Harsh. I would have never expected this to get a BOMB from Leonard. It seems maybe light-fare or boring, but he’s given really terrible horror films 1.5 just being like “I didn’t vomit while watching this film which is a plus.” But this is malnourished? A BOMB it is I guess.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh6xFG7l8ss/

(The trailer is very weird. It makes it look incredibly cheap and poorly put together. Which is maybe why Leonard gave it a BOMB I suppose.)

DirectorsGary Fleder – ( Known For: Runaway Jury; Homefront; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; The Express; Future BMT: Don’t Say a Word; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Impostor; Notes: Hmmm, he still does a lot of television (and maybe movies, although I’m skeptical his In Production work will be actually released in the end). In particular he did a Lincoln Rhyme television series which is basically the Bone Collector, which is rather intriguing … although me having never heard of it is probably a bad sign for its quality.)

WritersPhilip K. Dick – ( Known For: Blade Runner 2049; Blade Runner; Minority Report; Total Recall; The Adjustment Bureau; A Scanner Darkly; Radio Free Albemuth; Natural City; Morning Patrol; Barjo; Future BMT: Next; Screamers; BMT: Paycheck; Impostor; Notes: Probably a top ten most famous sci-fi writers ever. He won a Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle, and was nominated for five Nebula Awards. Given that we’ve almost completed his BMT filmography with two films, his work tends to produce good films as well.)

Scott Rosenberg – ( Known For: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Jumanji: The Next Level; Con Air; High Fidelity; Beautiful Girls; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; Highway; Future BMT: Venom; Disturbing Behavior; BMT: Gone in 60 Seconds; Kangaroo Jack; Impostor; Notes: He mostly does blockbusters, and he did a lot of television from 2000-2015. Good friends with Fleder who he went to Boston University with. Somewhat notably was the “other person” involved in a bar brawl where Steve Buscemi was stabbed three times.)

Caroline Case – ( BMT: Impostor; Notes: Was a television writer on The Tom Show and The Army Show, but besides that she mostly did script and continuity work on Gary Fleder films. He also produced her documentary on William Goldman.)

Ehren Kruger – ( Known For: Top Gun: Maverick; The Ring; Ghost in the Shell; Scream 3; Dumbo; Arlington Road; New World Disorder; Future BMT: Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; The Skeleton Key; The Brothers Grimm; Blood and Chocolate; BMT: Transformers: Age of Extinction; The Ring Two; Reindeer Games; Impostor; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2010; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: The writer of the biggest movie of the year! He is a blockbuster machine, and that will likely continue to be the case given that Top Gun 2 is going to make more than a billion dollars.)

David Twohy – ( Known For: The Fugitive; Waterworld; Pitch Black; Riddick; G.I. Jane; A Perfect Getaway; The Arrival; Below; Warlock; Grand Tour: Disaster in Time; Arrival II; Future BMT: The Chronicles of Riddick; Warlock: The Armageddon; BMT: Critters 2; Terminal Velocity; Impostor; Notes: Wait they got the writer of the Fugitive to get involved with this? That’s nuts. He has a film coming out called Ice Moon Rising which seems insane.)

ActorsShane Brolly – ( Known For: Spread; Room 6; Flypaper; Rennie’s Landing; Devil’s Highway; 48 Angels; Future BMT: Underworld; Underworld: Evolution; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; BMT: Impostor; Notes: Wow, it’s been a while since we got someone who is definitely not a lead actor sneaking into a preview. I’m going to leave it. He wrote a book called “You’d Think There Would Be More Suicides Around Here”.)

Vincent D’Onofrio – ( Known For: Jurassic World; Full Metal Jacket; The Magnificent Seven; Sinister; The Unforgivable; The Eyes of Tammy Faye; Men in Black; Ed Wood; Adventures in Babysitting; JFK; The Cell; Escape Plan; The Judge; The Player; Mystic Pizza; Strange Days; Run All Night; The Salton Sea; Chained; Kill the Irishman; Future BMT: The Break-Up; The Thirteenth Floor; Dying Young; Feeling Minnesota; BMT: Death Wish; CHIPS; Rings; Impostor; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Somewhat notable now as Kingpin and being one of the rare examples of an actor crossing from the Netflix Marvel series (Daredevil) into the Disney canonical series (Hawkeye). He was nominated for an Emmy for Homicide: Life on the Street, and then spent a decade as the lead in Law & Order: Criminal Intent.)

Gary Sinise – ( Known For: Forrest Gump; The Green Mile; Apollo 13; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; The Quick and the Dead; Joe Bell; Of Mice and Men; Ransom; I Still Believe; Open Season; Snake Eyes; The Human Stain; Albino Alligator; The Big Bounce; A Midnight Clear; A Wedding; SGT. Will Gardner; Bruno; All the Rage; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; The Forgotten; Jack the Bear; BMT: Reindeer Games; Impostor; Notes: I’m willing to bet a huge number of people know his exclusively from Forrest Gump (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), but he is an extremely notable actor (from things as lauded as Of Mice and Men for example). He was nominated for two Emmys (and won one of them) for Truman and George Wallace as the titular characters in both. He was the lead in nearly 200 episodes of CSI: NY and for the single season of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $6,285,176 (Worldwide: $8,694,320)

(Horrible. It sat on the shelf for a year, probably because they didn’t know what to do with it or how to advertise it. I bet the $30 million figure it accurate given the behind the scenes stuff I saw, it seemed really expensive from a set perspective. But I’m sure they just dumped it with no advertising campaign at all as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (23/96): With its low production value and uninspired direction, Impostor comes off as a mixture of The Fugitive and Blade Runner, only not as good or as involving.

(Yeah, it does seem like it is just a future Fugitive with less compelling leads. And if the trailer is to be believed it definitely looks cheap as well. So fair all around.)

Reviewer Highlight: Pushes the same old cliches in Blade Runner packaging. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Poster – Alium Copycat

(I find this poster both nicely made and hilarious. Nicely made because the artistry of it is interesting, the color scheme is good, and it hits in a nice “classic poster” kind of way. Hilarious because of the tiny Gary Sinise running out of an explosion. If I wanted a funny poster based project to embark on it would be posters like this where an actor appears more than once. Double Sinise. Font is bad, which is a shame. B-.)

Tagline(s) – In the Future, not everyone is who they seem to be. (F)

(My God, unacceptable. Usually something that is total nonsense is at least fun cause it’s nonsense. This is boring nonsense. Booooo.)

Keyword(s) – dimension

Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 86.6 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.5 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 77.0 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 59.0 Apollo 18 (2011)

BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Boys and Girls (2000), Texas Rangers (2001), Reindeer Games (2000), Halloween (2007), Senseless (1998), Impostor (2001), Mindhunters (2004)

Best Options (future): 33.0 Fortress (1992), 23.7 Impostor (2001)

(The question kind of is whether we’ll ever watch a 2005 or 2006 film … Looking at the list the prognosis is negative. We just love the 90s and early 2000s so much! You might be shocked (shocked!) that we didn’t pick the Christopher Lambert future prison movie classic, Fortress, but no worries, that is next week.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gary Sinise is No. 1 billed in Impostor and No. 2 billed in Reindeer Games, which also stars Ben Affleck (No. 1 billed) who is in Gigli (No. 1 billed) which also stars Al Pacino (No. 7 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (7 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 17. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Young Spencer Olham is played by Mac Sinise, Gary Sinise’s son.

The adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story “The Impostor” was originally planned to be one segment (about forty minutes) of a three-part science fiction movie. The production company liked the early “dailies” so much, that the idea was fleshed out into a feature-length film. The other segments grew into the features Mimic (1997) and Alien Love Triangle (2008).

In the opening scene of the movie, footage of soldiers is taken from the 1997 film Starship Troopers (1997); and footage of a crater, with other explosions is taken from the film Armageddon.

A street scene is filmed in a courtyard of Cal Poly Pomona’s administration building, the same one used for Jude Law’s apartment building in Gattaca (1997). Several students and staff of Cal Poly Pomona were used as extras for this scene.

Spencer Olham is said to be “very good at integral and differential calculus.” This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical “Pirates of Penzance” from the famously silly patter-song “Modern Major General.” (The line from the song is, “I am very good at integral and differential calculus, I know the scientific names of being animalculus…”)

The operating room set was also used in Logan’s Run.

Maya Olham watches a televised news report that refers to a Ballard space institute – a reference to J.G. Ballard, the British science fiction writer.

The helmets that security forces wears are also the helmets worn in Starship Troopers (1997).

The film takes place in 2079.

Originally intended to be Miramax’s big Christmas movie for 2001, the film got delayed to January just days before it was set to open due to last-minute edits on Kate & Leopold (2001), which forced that film to take this film’s original date.

Surviving the Game Quiz

So get this, I was a bit off my game … by which I mean homeless, when a nice guy offered me a swish gig at his hunting cabin. The next thing I know I’m in a very dangerous game and one of them knocked me on my noggin to boot! Well, needless to say I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Surviving the Game?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film our hero Ice-T tries to kill himself before he gets convinced to become a wilderness guide instead. This is instigated by two events. Name them.

2) Awwww, Ice-T doesn’t seem too keen on their plan to hunt the amnimals. But they did bring a “special guest” animal. What kind (bonus if you remember his name)?

3) The Most Dangerous Game is afoot! What are the rules of the game?

4) We got Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey, Charles Dutton, F. Murray Abraham (and his son), and John C. McGinley. They gotta die! How and in what order do they die during the hunt?

5) Well all of his hunting clients are dead and there is a seriously pissed Ice-T after him in Seattle, so time for Hauer to escape. What does he disguise himself as in order to escape?

Bonus Question: In the mid-credits scene we are treated to a bit of a cameo. Who appears?

Answers