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?
After an unironically promising start to the cycle we finally hit our first stinker. Repo Men is about a couple of former military jackasses who use their skillz to repossess mechanical organs that people fail to pay off. Jude Law ends up getting shocked by a piece of faulty equipment and receives a heart transplant. Aahhh, repossessor has become the repossessee. Quickly realizing he doesn’t have… the heart… for his job anymore and thus can’t pay for the organ he goes on the run with a cyborg lady (more or less). Forest Whitaker is hot on his trail and they get into a big ol’ battle. Realizing that he’ll never outrun Forest, Law and his cyborg friend break into the transplant factory, delete all their organs from the files, and live happily ever after on the beach… or did they? It’s a twist, baby! Whitaker actually totally owned Law earlier and put him in a coma. They then did a brain transplant which gave him a happy life to live out.
So yeah, the biggest issue with all of this is a classic doozy. It’s pretty rare to find an “it was all a dream” plot device in the wild. So well-worn and unsatisfying for audiences, it’s basically a guaranteed ticket to the BMT zone. About 20 minutes into the film Whitaker started talking about a neural transplant he saw at a trade show and I immediately texted Patrick to ask if it was possible we were going to be treated to such a twist. His coy reply was everything I needed to know. It never works and it didn’t here. Particularly given just how weird his “dream” is at the end.
That’s a nice parlay into my second biggest gripe with the film. While Law and Whitaker get to have a bunch of fun, the female characters in the movie are either drugged up weirdos or total wet blankets. This culminates with Law’s “dream” where after getting into an argument with his ex-wife, his son inadvertently shocks her into unconsciousness with a taser. Law can barely contain his glee. He then proceeds Oldboy style into the transplant HQ and has a super super super (super) weird pseudosexual transplant extraction scene with his primary love interest. It is straight out of a deviant art page from the early 2000s. I honestly am having trouble shaking that part of the film. It is startling… and to think that that whole sequence was part of his neural transplant induced life of perfection is upsetting. As for good things, I will say it’s stylish and has some superb acting by Forest Whitaker. That’s as far as I’m willing to go with the complements.
I’m feeling my soon to be trademarked segment of Hot Take Clam Bake, where I stake my claim on a hot take about the film. This time I’m making the claim that a large portion of this film is actually a dream. “But Jamie, we already knew that!” But did you? I’m claiming that even more of the film is a dream! What a twist! My claim is that the shock that resulted in Law’s heart transplant was actually a shock that resulted in Law’s neural transplant. My primary piece of evidence is that the film takes a real weird left turn at that very moment. Law awakens in the hospital with Whitaker and Liev Schreiber giddily telling him he had a heart transplant. Already weird. Then after he has lost the nerve for his job he stumbles upon a lady who he saw singing earlier in the film. Weird, she’s singing the same song now… in the middle of nowhere… and also has had a transplant… and also loves him. It’s all so coincidental and weird. Finally, no matter where he goes Whitaker seems to always find him. It’s like he’s the center of the universe… but he’s not. In the plot of the film he’s just another nobody who can’t pay for his organ. Three things all add up to this being a dream and the original dream being a Wicker Man level dream within a dream. Case closed.
I put that Hot Take Clam Bake at “Steaming.” Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Repo Men? More like Please No, Man! What everyone was a-clamoring for in the post-’08 financial meltdown world: the heartwarming story of people falling behind on payments and literally dying at the hands of repo men … Let’s go!
This movie is bleak. The kind of film that was exclusively made (mainstream) in the late 2000s I feel like. That gritty real nonsense version of sci-fi with in-your-face gore, washed out backgrounds, and a narrator.
SPOILEES! It was all a dream. I honestly didn’t really think movies actually Jacob’s Ladder-ed you. But this is a full blown Jacob’s Ladder. Like half the film doesn’t exist. It is so stupid.
We watched the Unrated version (bully for us) so we apparently got a ton of extra stuff including John Leguizamo who was cut out of the theatrical release. That’s crazy.
As pointed out in the Flophouse podcast on this film (from years and years ago, around when it came out) they posit a world in which basically 60% of people have artificial organs. It is begging for an explanation where it is shown that The Union is also releasing chemicals into the world which is causing people’s organs to fail or something.
What else … the film is entirely narrated, that is a blast from the past. Forest Whitaker is great, like legitimately quite good, that’s a surprise. Everything else you can just give or take.
Solid Product Placement (What?) for Volkswagon throughout. I’ll throw out the Future Movie (When?) for this as this is a very good example of an actual sci-fi future film, which is more rare than you would think. And this might be the runaway winner of Worst Twist (How?) for Jacob’s Laddering us. Definitely closest to Bad just for being a bit boring and weird for my tastes.
Special Features Alert! The DVD (from the ‘brary as I like to call it) was chockablock with special features. We got deleted scenes (B-, a good number, but none were particularly interesting), we got fake commercials (F, not funny and pointless), we got a sfx short documentary (A, funny and interesting to see that some of the shots were entirely CGI), and, of course, we got an audio commentary with the director and both writers of the film. The commentary was fine, a solid B. The director was funny and seemed to be really proud of the film (they recorded it three weeks prior to opening weekend, so they didn’t know how it was going to be received), and overall they told a bunch of interesting production tidbits. It ain’t Ben Affleck dunking on Armageddon, but it was enough for a commentary-head like me to enjoy.
As usual, go to the Quiz to find out about the long lost sequel to Repo Men. Cheerios,
Oh man, so get this. I got bopped right on the head, and now I have to get a fake brain for my head before I die. Luckily it means I’ll be in debt forever and my life will suck. Unluckily I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Repo Men?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) We open with a repo (natch). What organ is he getting back?
2) Where did Jake and Remy meet, and how did they end up in The Union?
3) How and where do Jake and Remy find the first nest?
4) Remy has been knocked out on four occasions. Name them.
5) What is the big plan in the end to get themselves to safety?
Bonus Question: The mid-credits scene shows a fancy new product from The Union. What is it?
“Looks like you didn’t expect this, Bad Movie Twins,” says Future Mikey #1. “Come on, dummies. We’re time cops. There is no limit to our power,” laughs Future Mikey #2. Jamie and Patrick despair. If they escape this, Mikey can just come back with however many time cops he needs. They contemplate their options. But even as they are doing it, a loud crackling screech comes from a nearby stage. Parsons, Ty, and Mikey Myers are up there and launch into an impromptu poolside concert. Suddenly teenyboppers are swarming and the Future Mikey’s are swept away in the crowd. Mikey is crooning his latest hit, “Run, Run From Your Heart” and Jamie, Patrick and LePumice do just that as they dash into the casino. It’s churning with bodies as they weave their way to where they parked the PT Cruiser. They let out a heavy sigh of relief as the purple sheen of the car comes into sight. Just as quickly their hearts fall. On the wheel is a boot labeled Time Cop Industries. They spin around, confronted once again with the two Future Mikey’s. “Poor, pathetic Bad Movie Twins. Did you really think a puny concert like that would stop us? Did you think we wouldn’t see through your sad excuse for a PT Cruiser disguise for your time machine? Sure, metallic purple PT Cruisers are everywhere. Wildly popular for a reason: they are rad. But your license plate is HOE4EVER. Either you’re a very excited farmer or you are the Here on Earth megafans we know you to be.” Jamie and Patrick curse their misfortune. They didn’t even order a vanity plate. That plate came with the car. What bad luck! “Prepare,” the Future Mikey’s say, “because we’re about to rip out your heart.” That’s right! We’re watching the 2010 film Repo Men (not to be confused with Repo Man) starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker and featuring RZA in a minor role. It’s set in the future where people get organ transplants on a payment plan and… well… I think you get it. Let’s go!
Repo Men (2010) – BMeTric: 24.2; Notability: 52
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 25.6%; Notability: top 6.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 20.0%; Higher BMeT: The Last Airbender, Vampires Suck, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Skyline, Sex and the City 2, Furry Vengeance, Jonah Hex, Gulliver’s Travels, Marmaduke, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Yogi Bear, Tekken, My Soul to Take, Tooth Fairy, Legion, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Why Did I Get Married Too?, Passion Play, The Back-up Plan, Killers, and 44 more; Higher Notability: Clash of the Titans, The Wolfman, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Valentine’s Day, Sex and the City 2, The Tourist, Gulliver’s Travels, Marmaduke, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Tooth Fairy, The Last Airbender, Little Fockers, Shanghai, All Good Things, Eat Pray Love, Burlesque; Lower RT: Tekken, Passion Play, Twelve, 6 Souls, Shanghai, Vampires Suck, The Last Airbender, The Tortured, Waiting for Forever, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Furry Vengeance, 13, Crazy on the Outside, Marmaduke, Little Fockers, My Soul to Take, Saw: The Final Chapter, Killers, Grown Ups, Virginia, and 29 more; Notes: Love the Notability (how do you do that on a $30 million budget though?). The IMDb rating is stock still. 6.3 definitely in that “cult classic” territory where this film must have a decently devoted fanbase to it. Interesting, 17 films with higher Notabilities, and we’ve only seen five of them. That is crazy to think about.
RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – There are enough props in this movie to clean out the Organ Department at Moo & Oink’s. When I say they’re up to their elbows in blood, I mean it. This work takes its toll. Remy’s friend at work is a repo man named Jake, played by Forest Whitaker. Like most Forest Whitaker characters and Whitaker himself, he is a warm, nice man. I noticed for the second time in a week (after “Our Family Wedding”) that Whitaker has lost a lot of weight and looks great. I hope the extra pounds weren’t repo’ed.
(Moo and Oink’s funny. But what a weird way to end this review. Just a paragraph complimenting Whitaker for looking svelte.)
(I mean, it isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I can see what people might find appealing about it. Feels a bit like Priest. Understandably interesting premise, but also understandably thin film in the end.)
Directors – Miguel Sapochnik – ( Known For: Finch; BMT: Repo Men; Notes: He’s directed mostly television including 6 episodes of Game of Thrones (for which he won two Emmys, one of which for directing the episode Battle of the Bastards).)
Writers – Eric Garcia – ( Known For: Matchstick Men; Strange But True; BMT: Repo Men; Notes: This book was optioned before it was completed, which makes sense since he had already had a book he wrote (Matchstick Men) optioned for a very successful film.)
Garrett Lerner – ( BMT: Repo Men; Notes: Almost exclusively a pretty big television writer (including for John Doe and Ordinary Joe). Nominated for four Emmys for his work on House M.D.)
Actors – Jude Law – ( Known For: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore; Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Captain Marvel; Gattaca; Contagion; The Talented Mr. Ripley; Road to Perdition; The Aviator; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Closer; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Cold Mountain; Anna Karenina; Hugo; A Rainy Day in New York; Spy; The Holiday; Future BMT: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; The Rhythm Section; King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; All the King’s Men; BMT: Repo Men; Notes: Born in London, and nominated for two Oscars (Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley). Playing Captain Hook in an upcoming adaptation of Peter Pan.)
Forest Whitaker – ( Known For: Black Panther; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; How It Ends; Arrival; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Sorry to Bother You; Platoon; Panic Room; Good Morning, Vietnam; Where the Wild Things Are; The Butler; Southpaw; Bloodsport; The Crying Game; The Color of Money; Respect; Phone Booth; The Last King of Scotland; Out of the Furnace; City of Lies; Future BMT: Taken 3; Street Kings; Vantage Point; Blown Away; Consenting Adults; Ready to Wear; Our Family Wedding; Light It Up; BMT: Species; Battlefield Earth; First Daughter; Repo Men; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Notes: Won an Oscar for The Last King of Scotland. Has said in interviews that he has considered corrective surgery for his eye, but that it was too late as it has become something of a trademark for him.)
Alice Braga – ( Known For: The Suicide Squad; Soul; City of God; I Am Legend; Elysium; Predators; On the Road; Redbelt; Blindness; Crossing Over; The Duel; Kill Me Three Times; Lower City; Journey to the End of the Night; Sólo Dios sabe; Ardor; O Cheiro do Ralo; Latitudes; Future BMT: The New Mutants; The Shack; BMT: The Rite; Repo Men; Notes: Brazilian. Is slated to appear in an upcoming murder mystery show called Retreat which sounds interesting.)
(I mean … disastrous. How a film like this could only make $18 million is beyond me. And a rarity because it feels like $32 million is also a bargain on the budget as well considering the effects that it must have involved. Wild.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (33/153): Repo Men has an intriguing premise, as well as a likable pair of leads, but they’re wasted on a rote screenplay, indifferent direction, and mind-numbing gore.
(Mind-numbing gore sounds about right for 2010. Right on the tail end of probably the worst (reviewed) decade in film history just from the perspective that there was actual junk being put into theaters on a regular basis. And not like Roger Corman junk, like big budget junk released to 2000 theaters. It mostly disappeared after 2010, probably due to streaming becoming a financially viable alternative. This would have definitely been a weird Netflix movie or series these days.)
Reviewer Highlight: There are plenty of moments when the appearance of a flying, green-glow Chevy Malibu would be a welcome distraction. – Keith Uhlich, Time Out
(I dig it. Fun font. Nice color scheme. Showing off your stars. Biggest complaints are that it’s not particularly interesting or artistic and it doesn’t tell me much about the film… so why would I be excited for it? B)
Tagline(s) – For a price, any organ in your body can be replaced. But it can also be repossessed. (F)
Consider them your final notice. (A)
(I feel like they needed these taglines because the poster wasn’t giving much information about the film. So the first one is like an elevator pitch. I hate it. Too long and boring. The second one is actually good. If the poster was better then they could have just used that one and really won the day. Cause it is short and sweet and good.)
Top 10: Dune (2021), The Adam Project (2022), Moonshot (2022), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Interstellar (2014), Dune (1984), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), The Fifth Element (1997), Blade Runner (1982), The Hunger Games (2012)
Future BMT: 52.6 Tank Girl (1995), 51.9 Johnny Be Good (1988), 45.9 Virtuosity (1995), 45.6 Voyagers (2021), 44.4 Brick Mansions (2014), 42.2 Red Planet (2000), 35.0 The Ice Pirates (1984), 33.3 Lockout (2012), 30.4 Mortal Engines (2018), 30.3 Push (2009)
BMT: Barb Wire (1996), 2012 (2009), Event Horizon (1997), After Earth (2013), Demolition Man (1993), Lost in Space (1998), Dragonball Evolution (2009), The Postman (1997), Æon Flux (2005), Battlefield Earth (2000), RoboCop 2 (1990), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Judge Dredd (1995), Priest (2011), Cyborg (1989), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), RoboCop 3 (1993), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Soldier (1998), Repo Men (2010), Double Dragon (1994), Solarbabies (1986), Babylon A.D. (2008), Freejack (1992), Supernova (2000), The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), A Sound of Thunder (2005), Heartbeeps (1981)
Matches: Dune (2021), The Adam Project (2022), Moonshot (2022), Interstellar (2014), The Fifth Element (1997), Blade Runner (1982), Idiocracy (2006), Her (2013), Looper (2012), Black Panther (2018), Prometheus (2012), Starship Troopers (1997), In Time (2011), Alita: Battle Angel (2019), The Tomorrow War (2021), The Lobster (2015), Logan (2017), V for Vendetta (2005), The Terminator (1984), X-Men (2000), Star Trek (2009), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), The Master (2012), Oblivion (2013), 12 Monkeys (1995), WALL·E (2008), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), 2012 (2009), Mortal Engines (2018), Minority Report (2002), Waterworld (1995), Cloud Atlas (2012), The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Mr. Nobody (2009), Back to the Future Part II (1989), I, Robot (2004), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Terminator Genisys (2015), Chappie (2015), Ghost in the Shell (2017), The Giver (2014), The Island (2005), Downsizing (2017), Demolition Man (1993), High Life (2018), Equilibrium (2002), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Lost in Space (1998), Doomsday (2008), Surrogates (2009), Zone 414 (2021), Æon Flux (2005), Push (2009), The 6th Day (2000), Enemy Mine (1985), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Judge Dredd (1995), The Ice Pirates (1984), The Handmaid’s Tale (1990), City of Ember (2008), The Prototype (2022), Cyborg (1989), Paradise Hills (2019), Runaway (1984), Timecop (1994), Red Planet (2000), The Kid Who Would Be King (2019), Repo Men (2010), Double Dragon (1994), … (and many more)
(We have basically watched every “future” film released widely to theaters prior to 2000 according to this keyword except Virtuosity, Tank Girl, and The Ice Pirates. Virtuosity is the only real one left. Amazing we’ve left it so long.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Forest Whitaker is No. 2 billed in Repo Men and No. 3 billed in Battlefield Earth, which also stars John Travolta (No. 1 billed) who is in Wild Hogs (No. 2 billed) which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 3) + (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (6 + 1) = 17. If we were to watch Jakob the Liar, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.
Notes – Moments before the filming of the Chinatown scene a crew member was approached by a local Chinese person who pointed out to him that all the neon signs with Chinese characters were upside down. A frantic rigging crew proceeded to flip all the signs while the shooting crew shot in the direction of the newly flipped signs.
In a scene showing the city a Fast and Furious X billboard can be seen.
The young Remy (Jude Law) seen during the school yard fight was played by Jude Law’s actual son, Raff Law.
Forest Whitaker has been studying Filipino Kali for several years under masters such as Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo. He utilizes his skills in several fight scenes in the film.
Note that Jude Law’s character does not have a name (a similar situation in the book). The mystery effect was somewhat ruined when marketing inserted a name for him in the film’s first trailer.
To secure a product placement deal with Volkswagen, the production was required to feature one of their cars for 9 minutes.
When Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are watching TV the Monty Python sketch about organ repo men is on the TV.
The film takes place in 2025.
There’s a scene showing a sign for Jarvik St. It’s actually Jarvis St. in Toronto. Jarvik is the name of the man who created the first artificial heart.
It has been widely speculated that Repo Men’s premise was lifted heavily from the rock opera/cult movie “Repo! The Genetic Opera”. Both stories center around a character in a dystopian future tasked with reposessing organs for a villainous corporation. The opera predates this film as well as the book it was based on, “Repossession Mambo”. However, apart from this basic premise, Repo! and Repo Men differ wildly, making such plagiarism accusations difficult to substantiate.
Part of the film’s promotion was a seven minute comic released on Apple.com.
Bless me father for they have sinned. It’s been eleven years since they confessed. Here are their sins:
Retroactively stealing the BMTverse from Patrick and I. The entire setting of this film is some alternate universe Earth where megacities are surrounded by a dangerous Waste/Scorch and supercops/priests go around blasting baddies with laser guns. Uh, excuse me? That is quite literally the stereotype that is the BMTverse. We’d like our royalties, father.
Cam Gigantic… I love him… and by love I mean that I love to see him in films because they are guaranteed to be BMT. And he delivers, father, oh boy does he deliver. It’s not like anyone else is throwing the heat here except “Cam Gigantic Forever”. I’m ready to get him into the BMT version of the Expendables right now… no, I didn’t mean the Avengers, why?
They dare (dare!) to set themselves up for a sequel. I guess it wasn’t unfounded. This was the age of Underworld and Resident Evil. Probably felt like we would be lamenting the gritty reboot of the Priest franchise in 2022 after six films that ended with the evil robot Priest turning against his makers and teaming up with the Priest clone army to destroy the werewolf/vampire/frankenstein’s monster horde that has surrounded Light City or some shit. Truly, some weird franchises came out of that time.
They are (probably) sorry for their sins. Amen.
Well that was fun. Kinda flipped the review with the game. Overall, the film seems pretty small. It runs from an opening exposition explaining the origin of our vampire world right into the kidnapping of Bettany’s daughter (what a twist!) and the rest of the film follows linearly from there to the climactic battle scene. To sum it up: the priests are supercops (not to be confused with time cops) born to fight vampires. A priest-vampire hybrid returns and kidnaps Priest’s (secret, shhh) daughter. That got him and Cam Gigantic all riled up. So why did the hybrid kidnap her? Uh, I guess to lure Priest into a battle so he could try to turn him to the dark side. Mostly cause I think he knew he sucked and needed more priests on his side so he didn’t get totally owned like the loser he was. But also, he was a loser and no one liked him so the Priest just owned him instead. The end. In retrospect not much of a plan. I would have gone with a sneak attack rather than the “alert everyone to your plan and hope to convince people to also become gross monsters” attack.
It very much feels like they tried to take a graphic novel to the big screen and ultimately that both worked and didn’t work. Like credit where credit is due, I think there are some fun visuals in the film. The plethora of Renfields are interesting, it’s bookended with some cool cartoons, and it ends with a train battle. But everything still felt a little flat. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Priest? More like Least, amirite?! I think I am!! Remember when Paul Bettany was an action star? I guess he still is, he’s Vision in the Marvel films, but still, there was a brief moment when a slight British man somehow led multiple action films. Let’s go!
Paul Bettany growls his way through this film a la Christain Bale in Batman and it just doesn’t work. I think maybe because Bettany neglected to … you know, look strong. He does attempt to lose his accent (poorly), so he was going for it.
I guess that begs the question though: why did we watch this prior to Legion? Shouldn’t we have gone in true Paul Bettany filmography order for the PBEU (Paul Bettany Extended Universe)? I can’t wait to find out how Priest connects to The Secret Life of Bees.
If you can’t tell by the notes so far the only reason this film exists at all seems to be as a Paul Bettany vehicle … it is hard to grasp that in 2011 that was something that was released to theaters. That new hot Paul Bettany vampire vehicle.
Karl Urban as the bad guy? Marissa’s grandpa from The O.C.? Christopher Plummer getting paid in the shade? CAM GIGANTIC?! How can Gigantic even look Marissa’s grandpa in the eyes, he (SPOILERS) killed Marissa in the show!
The creature designs were kind of cool I suppose, if you were going for a unique moleman kind of idea for vampires.
But then the setting is bizarre. Vampires have been around for a long time, but we are positing it is some unknown point in the future (I think, they have like robot bikes and stuff so it must be, right?). It is all based on a Korean manhwa series, so I suppose you just have to roll with the punches.
If I was more well schooled in Westerns I would be able to do a better job of seeing where the film (and probably comic) copied from more famous works. It seems pretty blatant, I think it is arguably an adaptation of The Searchers in some ways.
Really I can only give this an award for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that Priest is, in fact, Lucy’s father and not her uncle as we’ve been led to believe. Definitely a BMT.
The film in its own weird way reminds me a lot of Jonah Hex. An odd borderline steampunk Western with a gruff anti-hero. All it needed was Lance Reddick crowing “Happy Fourth of Juuuuuly” to me and this would have actually been a four star masterpiece.
Oh man. So get this, the world actually has loads of vampires and they are ultrafast. So one of those sped right by me and bopped me in the head. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Priest?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Our hero (simply called Priest) is having some real spooky nightmares in Cathedral City. What are they?
2) Why does Priest ask the Monsignors for permission to leave Cathedral City?
3) Obviously Judge Dredd is a real bad familiar now. What is his plan to attack the humans?
4) What are Priest, Cam Gigantic, and Priestess going to try and do to stop the train?
5) In the end, how do they actually blow the tracks and save Lucy?
Bonus Question: I know y’all were waiting for that sweet mid-credits sequence to see the big reveal. Priest returns Lucy and Gigantic to the ruins of her family home to collect some mementos, but who is waiting there for them?
Patrick is sweating bullets as he watches the intense hearts game commence between Jamie and the dastardly Donovan LePumice. Jamie always said, “Hearts in the thinking man’s poker,” and boy howdy is he showing his stuff. Hearts are flying left and right as he parries LePumice’s every move. When the dust settles they both look at their cards, chests heaving in exhaustion. “Wha-wha-whaaaaaaa?” Jamie says like a dope. And no wonder, both Jamie and LePumice appear to have simultaneously shot the moon. “Saboteur!” screams Jamie. “I do declare!” swoons LePumice in shock, but he quickly recovers to pull a gun on them. Patrick holds up his hand, urgently begging LePumice to listen. “Don’t you see? It’s a conspiracy. Why are you here, LePumice? Who sent you?” LePumice looks rattled. “Sent me? I just answered a call. A call for all Timecops to take down the Bad Movie Twins, or should I say Bad Movie Terrorists?” he spits. Jamie and Patrick shake their heads in dismay. They explain everything to LePumice, including just how rad they looked showing off on their dirt bikes. “Remember that?” Jamie asks and Patrick nods wistfully, having a pretty sweet audio flashback of that recent memory. LePumice lowers his gun, a look of resolve crossing his face. “I can’t help but believe you, even if the warrant for your time arrest noted that you might try to do something rad to distract me. Like some sweet dance moves or a chilling, ethereal duet. It all seems too… perfect. Let me help you.” Jamie and Patrick try to dissuade him. It’s too dangerous. He won’t be swayed though, and indicates for them to follow him. “We must get to the church. It’s where my time machine is… to take you back to the future.” That’s right! We are heading into the future for this year’s ongoing cycle. We start it off right by choosing Priest, a film that is probably, maybe, almost definitely set in the future… we think. It’s also only 87 minutes long. Works for me! Let’s go!
Priest (2011) – BMeTric: 43.9; Notability: 48
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 13.2%; Notability: top 10.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 9.1%; Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Human Centipede 2: Tom Six Discusses the Story Concept, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Darkest Hour, The Roommate, Abduction, Conan the Barbarian, Zookeeper, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Apollo 18, I Don’t Know How She Does It, The Dilemma, Twixt, Trespass, and 13 more; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, Cars 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Your Highness, Hop, New Year’s Eve, Jack and Jill, The Smurfs, Red Riding Hood, Battle Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, In Time, The Hangover Part II, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, I Am Number Four, Johnny English Reborn, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Season of the Witch, and 6 more; Lower RT: Faces in the Crowd, You May Not Kiss the Bride, Jack and Jill, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, The Roommate, A Little Bit of Heaven, Hick, Abduction, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Dream House, New Year’s Eve, Red Riding Hood, Trespass, Season of the Witch, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Atlas Shrugged: Part I, The Darkest Hour, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, There Be Dragons, Zookeeper, and 2 more; Notes: The era from 2000+ is quite interesting because there were so many bad movies that despite watching a ton of bad movies we still have only watched half of those available. Amazingly stayed stock still at a surprisingly high 5.7 on IMDb.
Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – Director and star of Legion reunite for an equally absurd but more exciting fantasy-thriller with religious overtones. In a postapocalyptic world ruled by the Catholic Church, an ages-old war between humans and humongous vampires has been settled by lethally efficient clerical warriors. But when rogue bloodsuckers kidnap his niece, Priest (Bettany) comes out of forced retirement to save her from a fate worse than death. Violent action-adventue borrows imagery and plot elements from The Searchers and other classic Westerns, and is all the more enjoyable as a guilty pleasure for not slipping into self-conscious campiness. Based on a Korean graphic novel series.
(Long review. And that does seem to be the consensus, that it is at least more enjoyable than Legion, but still terrible.)
(You know, it just occurred to me that Bettany is, for kind of no reason, forced to put on an American accent. They are like “Bettany … what if you character talked like Christian Bale in Batman?” Weird choice. They just let Plummer talk like Christopher Plummer, just let Bettany be Bettany you know?)
Directors – Scott Stewart – ( Known For: Dark Skies; Holidays; Future BMT: Legion; BMT: Priest; Notes: He started as a visual effects artist for Industrial Light + Magic including working on Phantom Menace.)
Writers – Cory Goodman – ( Future BMT: Underworld: Blood Wars; Apollo 18; BMT: The Last Witch Hunter; Priest; Notes: There isn’t much information about him online. This was his first credited film, and he hasn’t been credited since 2016.)
Min-Woo Hyung – ( BMT: Priest; Notes: He wrote the graphic novel. I think he also made one called Ghostface, but Priest is by far his most famous work.)
Actors – Paul Bettany – ( Known For: Avengers: Infinity War; Iron Man; The Avengers; Captain America: Civil War; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Iron Man Three; Solo: A Star Wars Story; Legend; Iron Man 2; A Beautiful Mind; A Knight’s Tale; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; Margin Call; Dogville; Uncle Frank; The Young Victoria; Wimbledon; The Secret Life of Bees; Journey’s End; Bent; Future BMT: The Da Vinci Code; The Tourist; Legion; Inkheart; BMT: Transcendence; Priest; Mortdecai; Firewall; Notes: Most recently seen in WandaVision as Vision for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He directed the film Shelter starring his wife Jennifer Connelly.)
Cam Gigandet – ( Known For: Twilight; The Magnificent Seven; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; Easy A; Without Remorse; Dangerous Lies; In the Blood; The Experiment; Assimilate; Free Ride; Bad Johnson; 4 Minute Mile; Plush; Broken Vows; Red Sky; On the Doll; The Shadow Effect; Future BMT: Never Back Down; Pandorum; The Unborn; Who’s Your Caddy?; BMT: Burlesque; The Roommate; Priest; Trespass; Notes: We call him Cam Gigantic which I’m starting to think is pretty offensive, but whatever. Was credited on the soundtrack of Burlesque for singing Bound to You.)
Maggie Q – ( Known For: The Protégé; Divergent; Mission: Impossible III; Live Free or Die Hard; Rush Hour 2; Death of Me; New York, I Love You; The Con is On; Naked Weapon; Slumber; Operation: Endgame; The Argument; The King of Fighters; The Crash; Gen-Y Cops; Three Kingdoms; Dragon Heat; Lang zai ji; Hainan ji fan; The Trouble-Makers; Future BMT: Allegiant; The Divergent Series: Insurgent; Balls of Fury; Deception; BMT: Fantasy Island; Around the World in 80 Days; Priest; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Fantasy Island in 2021; Notes: Voices Wonder Woman in Young Justice. She was born in Hawaii and is half Vietnamese.)
(Terrible. But unsurprising. Giant weirdo sci-fi nonsense from the 2000s always seemed to be chasing something (The Matrix maybe?) but then never really seemed to make much money.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (15/101): Sleek and stylish, but those qualities are wasted on a dull, derivative blend of sci-fi, action, and horror.
(It really is a mishmash. It looks like a western, but objectively takes place in the future, but then also exists in a fantasy world where humans have been fighting vampires for centuries. Just a weird idea that probably works better as a graphic novel.)
Reviewer Highlight: The God of Aborted Franchises will be pleased. – Keith Uhlich, Time Out
Top 10: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022), Hotel Transylvania (2012), Twilight (2008), Doctor Sleep (2019), Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018), Dark Shadows (2012), The Lost Boys (1987), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
Future BMT: 90.0 Vampires Suck (2010), 88.5 BloodRayne (2005), 51.7 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 49.9 Sleepwalkers (1992), 44.9 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), 43.3 Bordello of Blood (1996), 41.2 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), 40.9 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), 40.9 Blade: Trinity (2004), 40.2 The Forsaken (2001)
BMT: Hellboy (2019), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Vampire Academy (2014), Queen of the Damned (2002), Dracula 2000 (2000), Priest (2011), Ultraviolet (2006), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Dudley Do-Right (1999)
Matches: Twilight (2008), Dark Shadows (2012), The Lost Boys (1987), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Dracula (1992), Night Teeth (2021), Blade (1998), Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012), Let Me In (2010), Underworld (2003), Blade: Trinity (2004), Blade II (2002), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Body Double (1984), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), 30 Days of Night (2007), Vampire Academy (2014), Underworld: Blood Wars (2016), Vampires (1998), Queen of the Damned (2002), Near Dark (1987), Once Bitten (1985), Fright Night (1985), Paris, je t’aime (2006), Fright Night (2011), BloodRayne (2005), Embrace of the Vampire (1995), Underworld: Evolution (2006), Daybreakers (2009), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), Dracula 2000 (2000), Underworld: Awakening (2012), Thirst (2009), The Stakelander (2016), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Priest (2011), Sleepwalkers (1992), Vampire’s Kiss (1988), Ultraviolet (2006), Freaks of Nature (2015), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Stake Land (2010), The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 (2021), Fright Night Part 2 (1988), Vampires Suck (2010), The Little Vampire (2000), Night Watch (2004), Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009), My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1987), Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), … (and many more)
(So many and so many left and even so many solid BMTs left. My god … we haven’t watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! I mean, I have seen it (in theaters). We just haven’t watched it for BMT yet.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Paul Bettany is No. 1 billed in Priest and No. 2 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 3) = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – The animated opening was a compromise solution, since the studios had no interest in going over budget for a live-action version of the centuries-long battle of humans against vampires, so the scene was done by animation which was much cheaper to realize.
The girl Priest is looking for is called Lucy. This is a throwback to the Dracula of Bram Stoker, where there is also a character named Lucy, who is also an engaged redheaded girl in need of saving.
The basic premise of this is the search for a kidnapped girl, the niece of the Priest, who accompanied by her boyfriend set off after the kidnappers [Vampires], at one point the Priest says if his niece is infected he will kill her, to which her boyfriend says he will stop him. This is the same premise as a classic western the Searchers, with John Wayne saying he will kill the niece he and Jeffrey Hunter are searching for because of her being so long with the Indians and Jeffrey Hunter saying he will stop him. In both films both the Priest and John Wayne say “you can try”
The two companies responsible for building the bikes, Cinema Vehicle Services and Ghostlight Industries started with the Suzuki Gladius. The builders took the initial artists’ sketches and made adjustments that would allow them to create fully functioning, usable vehicles. Alloy swing arms were fitted to the rear of the bikes with a strengthened suspension setup similar to that used on sidecars. The front wheels were also extended out from the bikes using completely custom designed front ends. The low stance was then achieved by building custom fuel tanks that could be relocated to beneath the seat in the extra space created by the massively extended swing arm. Using foam and wood the extreme styling from the concept sketches was shaped over the heavily modified Gladius. The final touches including paint, age effects and the weapons were then added by the production’s art department. All the motorcycles produced for the film took around 6 weeks to produce. One builder was quoted as confidently saying that the motorcycles could be road registered and ridden daily.
Stephen Moyer did this film between seasons of playing a vampire in True Blood (2008).
Cam Gigandet played James, a vampire, in Twilight (2008).
Christopher Dubois is an American for sure who just wants to do right by the gang of street urchins under his care. After finding himself sold off to a muay thai trainer in the Far East he becomes determined to get into, and win, a big tournament where the prize is a golden dragon. Can he beat the baddie and win the gold before it’s too late? Find out in… The Quest.
How?! Christopher Dubois is a clown who uses his physical clown training to help the children of New York and not to help the local mobsters who want to use his big muscles for their own devices. When this gets him on the wrong side of the law he accidentally stows away on a boat headed to the Far East on which he becomes a prisoner. When some pirates led by Lord Dobbs and his ally Harry pick him up they immediately sell him off to a muay thai trainer. Meanwhile fighters across the globe are getting invites to the Ghang-gheng, a fighting tournament where the prize is a big ol’ gold dragon. Dubois is determined to get in the tournament and win the dragon for the children back home. Falling back in with Dobbs, they intercept Maxie Devine, a boxer invited to the tournament, and a reporter, Carrie Newton. On the trek to the tournament it is eventually revealed that Dubois meant to steal Maxie’s invite and the two have a brawl and a falling out, with Maxie eventually giving Dubois his invite. At the tournament Maxie shows up again only to ask that Dubois legally take his place as he is the better fighter. They give Dubois one shot and if he falls in the first round then Maxie will pay the penalty. From here a bunch of people punch each other. Mostly Dubois wins through sheer determination and Khan, a Mongolian fighter, totally owns everyone. He even straight up murders Dubois’ muay thai frenemy. Dobbs and Harry get spooked by how monstrous Khan is and decide instead to steal the gold dragon using a zeppelin (for real). They are caught and sentenced to death, but Dubois asks that they allow him to fight for their lives. If he wins, he’ll give up the gold dragon for them. Everyone agrees and of course Dubois ends up beating Khan against all odds. Despite not getting the dragon he explains that everything turned out A-OK. THE END.
Why?! For the children, obviously. Who wouldn’t look at The Quest starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and think, “Well obviously he needs a really good reason to fight in this tournament… perhaps a long introductory scene where he’s a clown who creepily lives with and cares for a gang of street urchins.” All the rest are pretty standard motivations, but JCVD’s are pure insanity.
Who?! There are a number of former fighters and stuff in this, which makes sense. The most interesting is Koji Kitao, the Japanese sumo wrestler. He has kind of a sad story in that he rose to prominence in sumo wrestling at a young age and was granted the title of Yokozuna even before winning a major championship. After that there was a lot of turmoil with him and never did win that championship before getting unceremoniously ejected from the sport. He then became a wrestler and stuff. He later started coaching sumo, but it was a wild journey.
What?! Pretty good MacGuffin action in this guy with a giant golden dragon as the prize for the tournament. The obvious quibble is that it’s not a MacGuffin at all. It clearly has no power other than making someone rich and making waves in the gold market. So it’s no mystery or anything. It’s just money. But whatever, it’s big and gold and everyone wants it.
Where?! The best parts of the film are in NYC where Dubois operates his clown/street urchin business (which sounds a bit sketchy). But that’s pretty brief. The rest are in Thailand then in the Lost City (which is allegedly in Tibet). If I controlled the film I would have had him travel all the way to Thailand and then travel to the Lost City which turns out to be… in NYC?! Whaaaaaa? That’s right in the sewers of NYC and then all the street urchins can come and cheer him on. Three thumbs up from me. A-.
When?! The internet says that it’s set in 1925. I think that must be right because everywhere says it, but I can’t remember if JCVD just says it in his weird old man voice or if it’s given to us as an intertitle. But whatever, that’s the best we’ll do cause the whole film takes place over several months and I don’t think the invitation has a date on it. C because I honestly can’t remember when they mentioned it. When something like that is so pervasive, even in contemporary reviews, it makes me wonder if it was in the press kit or something.
I have always unabashedly loved this movie. From the opening JCVD in old man makeup to the ending JCVD in old man makeup, it’s a feast of JCVD as auteur. I’ve always thought that films like this give you a look into someone’s brain. Just like a book gives you insight into the types of things an author thinks about. Clearly here JCVD thinks “They asked me to direct! Well what do I want to direct? I guess Bloodsport because that was great and made me famous,” and then “wait, it’s too similar to Bloodsport, let’s make it so I have to win the tournament to save some kids.” And the funniest part is that the Bloodsport portion is easily the best part of the film. It’s silly in an 80’s kind of way, which makes sense as it’s just a remake of a 1988 film, but fun. The rest is fun, but mostly because it is so crazy. Even if you don’t watch the entire film, just watch the bookends with JCVD in old man makeup. It’s straight out of a TV movie or something. I love it. Patrick?
Hello everyone! We got Van Damme! We got Van Damme pretending to be American! We got Van Damme directing himself pretending to be American!!! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – You better believe I’ve seen The Quest before. The stories from the preview are pretty funny though. Moore straight up dunks on Van Damme and the entire production and basically says the second unit director did the entire thing. Also they were actually sued by the Bloodsport guy (who won!) for just copying the Kumite. Awesome. What were my expectations? Popcorn stains all over my shirt because I was going to be so entertained by Van Damme’s excellent kickboxing skillz.
The Good – Uh everything? More seriously though, once they get to the tournament having the film devolve into just a guy-from-this-place vs guy-from-that-place as a showcase of fighting styles is a brilliant idea and works super well. This is exactly the same reason Mortal Kombat works as well and it is absolutely how all of these kinds of films should operate. Mini-bosses, boss fights, and tournaments. It rarely fails! Best Bit: This film is just a video game like Street Fighter and you don’t even need to know anything besides that Van Damme has a heart of gold and deserves to win that giant gold dragon.
The Bad – This might actually be the worst directed film I’ve ever seen. Everything from the wonky Dutch angles all over the place, to the cheap looking sets and ludicrous set up in fake-NYC. The whole thing is just absurdly amateurish, as one would expect from the amateur director Jean-Claude Van Damme. Do yourself a favor and watch just the open scene with Van Damme in terrible old man makeup. It is the greatest! Fatal Flaw: They allowed non-director Jean-Claude Van Damme to write a script and direct a film starring himself. The definition of a blank check given to a person who has no idea what to do with that level of power.
The BMT – If I were to choose a single film to embody the Mind of a Madman / Blank Check type of filmmaking … well, I would choose Battlefield Earth. But the second choice would easily be this film. It is the perfect combination of ludicrously entertaining and astonishingly bad. I love this film. I’ve watched it multiple times and will watch it many more times. A future Hall of Fame lock. Did it meet my expectations? There were so many popcorn stains on my shirt I had to just throw it in the garbage. Worth it, I bought a The Quest shirt off of Etsy to replace it.
Roast-radamus – I love it as a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Tibet, although that can’t really go onto the map I don’t think, decently Thailand as well. I’m going to throw it a bone and give it a small MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious not-Kumite invitation / giant gold dragon, even though it really doesn’t meet the definition. Whatever, this film just deserves a lot of awards. BMT for miles and miles, I think it could easily win this year.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Oh I think this definitely deserves a serious Remake for television. Imagine it. You set it up with three episodes of (1) what he needs money for, (2) how he finds out about the tournament, (3) getting to the tournament. Then four rounds of fights are the next four episodes with some serious martial arts action. Then a final episode where Van Damme leaves as the winner (without the money like in the movie) vowing to return the following year to defend his title and win the money. The second season is him winning the tournament and the money. The third he hears his protege has entered and returns to the Lost City to coach him. The fourth is a Tournament of Champions. And the final season is him realizing that he must stop the tournament by banding up with the foes-with-hearts-of-gold he’s met in the prior four seasons to take on the army the Lost City has assembled from the champions of the past. Boom, an easy five season order. Call me Van Damme, we’ll discuss the contract.
Oh man, so here’s the thing. I entered a winner takes all, best fighter in the world Kumite. But then this big bad dude from Mongolia bopped me on the head and now I don’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in The Quest?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning of the film Jean-Claude Van Damme is a clown (literally!) in NYC. Why does he leave NYC and where does he end up?
2) Phew, he’s met a real cool dude played by Roger Moore who promises to help him. Where does he say he’s taking him and what does he do instead?
3) Roger Moore thinks JCVD is in the past, but he meets him again. Where and why is Moore there?
4) How does JVCD get into the Kumite … er, I mean, the Ghang-gheng?
5) Who wins the giant gold dragon in the end?
Bonus Question: In a flashback we see the moment JCVD becomes an orphan, but what really happened to his mother?
Jamie, Patrick, and Kyle stare at Lou Cash in shock. “Lou… don’t do this,” Patrick says calmly and Lou scoffs. “Do what? Return order to the world? Stop the chaos that you’ve brought upon us all. Do you remember where the Obsidian Dongle was before you came along?” Jamie and Patrick remember back to their backpacking trip across Europe where they stole the Dongle from some high level terrorists in Budapest. Sure, things had gone a bit awry since those simple days and maybe they’ve overcomplicated everything a little bit, but surely Lou can’t be suggesting that he’d rather see the Dongle in the hands of some high level terrorists. Lou shakes his head sadly. “I knew you wouldn’t understand. Think!” Patrick and Jamie rack their brains and suddenly their mouths go dry. “No…” mutters Jamie, “that’s not true. That’s impossible!” Kyle is now staring wide-eyed at them and quickly flees into the other room. “Are we…” stammers Patrick, “are we now the high level terrorists?” Lou Cash’s eyes are gleaming. He nods his head excitedly, “And it’s only a matter of time till some government comes along with some shiny new Bad Movie Twins and the cycle will begin anew. But it’s not too late. Come… come with me.” Lou hurries them across the hall to his laboratory/apartment. In the middle of the room is what looks like a shiny blue igloo. On the side are painted the words ‘CAUTION: Deconvoluter In Action. Do not even think about using this machine unless absolutely necessary. In particular if you’ve overcomplicated everything and need to deconvolute it. But also, be careful. It’s a time machine.’ Lou is looking at them eagerly. “You ready?” he asks impatiently. “We have no time… this is your quest.” That’s right! We are heading for the end of the year and gotta hit some of the greatest anniversaries. Perhaps the greatest of them all is also a film I’ve seen many times. Why? Because it’s hilarious and I love it. It’s The Quest starring, written, and directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Nothing more needs to be said. Let’s go!
The Quest (1996) – BMeTric: 41.8; Notability: 33
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 10.0%; Notability: top 24.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.0%; Higher BMeT: Barb Wire, Kazaam, Striptease, Bio-Dome, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Ed, The Crow: City of Angels, Hellraiser: Bloodline, The Stupids, Mr. Wrong, Spy Hard, Poison Ivy II, Solo, The Glimmer Man, Eddie, D3: The Mighty Ducks, Maximum Risk, Jingle All the Way, Bordello of Blood, and 5 more; Higher Notability: Eraser, The Fan, Jingle All the Way, Spy Hard, Chain Reaction, Daylight, Mulholland Falls, Eddie, The Associate, Up Close & Personal, Dear God, Sgt. Bilko, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Eye for an Eye, The Crow: City of Angels, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Space Truckers, In Love and War, Larger Than Life, The Glimmer Man, and 41 more; Lower RT: Big Bully, The Dentist, Ed, Ripe, Bio-Dome, Kazaam, Mr. Wrong, Spy Hard, Bulletproof, Eye for an Eye, Solo, Celtic Pride, House Arrest, Mrs. Winterbourne, Two If by Sea, Larger Than Life, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, The Glimmer Man, In Love and War, Down Periscope, and 9 more; Notes: It is beyond incredible this film has above 5.0 on IMDb. It might actually be the worst directed film ever made. The stats are kind of okay, but I’m surprised it isn’t in the top 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. The 90s were a wild time.
Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – Epic martial-arts story with high-kicking Van Damme as N.Y.C. pickpocket whose efforts to elude police lead him to the Far East and into the most exclusive and prestigious fight in the “world.” Besides Jean-Claude, film features 15 of the world’s greatest martial arts champions. A passable but uninspired directing debut for the star, who also gets story credit.
(My god, the rating is super high as well from Maltin. Also, he’s on a first name basis with “Jean-Claude”? I didn’t know Maltin and him were besties.)
(DuBois!!!!!!!!!! I have to admit, this film has an awesome trailer. Greased up abs, promises serious martial arts action, Roger Moore, Van Damme as a champion. I’m jazzed and I’ve already seen this film multiple times.)
Directors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – ( BMT: The Quest; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: He actually did direct another film. A little film called Full Love (aka The Frenchy aka The Eagle Path), ever heard about it? No?)
Writers – Frank Dux – ( Known For: Bloodsport; BMT: The Quest; Notes: Notorious in the industry for claiming a huge number of impressive martial arts abilities and challenging people to fights. Some people seem to think that these claims might, allegedly, be completely made up.)
Jean-Claude Van Damme – ( Known For: Kickboxer: Vengeance; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Legionnaire; Kickboxer 2: The Road Back; The Order; Future BMT: Kickboxer; Lionheart; BMT: Double Impact; The Quest; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: He ended up with a lot of early story credits because he edited and coordinated things like Bloodsport because he is, it turns out, a kickboxing savant. He wrote a random episode of a French television series called Rani.)
Steven Klein – ( BMT: The Quest; Notes: There is literally nothing about this person in IMDb. Other places seem to suggest he wrote a few more movies, but I bet they are mixing up another person with a similar name.)
Paul Mones – ( Known For: Fathers & Sons; The Beat; Saints and Sinners; BMT: Double Team; The Quest; Notes: Was a small actor, mostly in the 80s, including appearing as J.T. in 6 episodes of The Renegades and the associated television movie (an update of The Renegades))
Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – ( Known For: Last Action Hero; The Expendables 2; Bloodsport; Kung Fu Panda 3; Hard Target; Kung Fu Panda 2; The Last Mercenary; Welcome to the Jungle; No Retreat, No Surrender; Timecop; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Black Water; Sudden Death; JCVD; Desert Heat; In Hell; 6 Bullets; Universal Soldier: Regeneration; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Kickboxer; Nowhere to Run; Lionheart; Death Warrant; Breakin’; Maximum Risk; Missing in Action; BMT: Universal Soldier; Double Impact; Cyborg; Double Team; The Quest; Universal Soldier: The Return; Knock Off; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: A genuine karate champion from Belgium, he is misty well known for kickboxing at this point (and the movie that shares the name with that sport). Loves doing splits and often plays characters who are definitely 100% American but have French accents for some reason.)
Roger Moore – ( Known For: For Your Eyes Only; Live and Let Die; The Spy Who Loved Me; Moonraker; Octopussy; The Man with the Golden Gun; The Wild Geese; The Last Time I Saw Paris; The Sea Wolves; Escape to Athena; Shout at the Devil; North Sea Hijack; Caesar and Cleopatra; Gold; That Lucky Touch; The Naked Face; Crossplot; The Carer; Diane; The Miracle; Future BMT: A View to a Kill; The Saint; Boat Trip; Curse of the Pink Panther; Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; BMT: The Cannonball Run; Spice World; The Quest; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Spice World in 1999; Notes: James Bond! He died in 2017. His career was a little weird after Bond, but was in stuff like For Your Eyes Only.)
James Remar – ( Known For: Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood; Miracle on 34th Street; Django Unchained; The Girl Next Door; The Warriors; Ratatouille; RED; X: First Class; Pineapple Express; 48 Hrs.; The Blackcoat’s Daughter; Horns; The Phantom; What Lies Beneath; Cruising; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; The Long Riders; Lap Dance; Drugstore Cowboy; The Cotton Club; Future BMT: Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Blade: Trinity; The Unborn; Psycho; Duplex; Renaissance Man; Band of the Hand; Persecuted; BMT: 2 Fast 2 Furious; Judge Dredd; Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Wild Bill; The Quest; Fatal Instinct; Notes: Dexter’s dad / the guy who gets arrested in The Warriors. Is a television star, most recently in 58 episodes of Black Lightning.)
(Pretty rough. Maybe I should start gathering more information for this. Given I have all of the data already I could do a comp to the director / writers / stars to try and put it in context a bit. Could be fun.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (3/21): Jean-Claude Van Damme makes a forgettable directorial debut with The Quest, a bland retread of better heroes’ journeys.
(Yup. I mean … this is the same story as Bloodsport right? It is just a Kumite by a different name (and no it doesn’t smell as sweet). You like that? That would have been my short review on Rotten Tomatoes: “A Kumite by another name doesn’t smell as sweet.”)
Reviewer Highlight: Interesting only for being so totally familiar, even if you’ve never seen another film about a Ghan-Gheng martial-arts match in an ancient Lost City in Tibet. – Janet Maslin, New York Times
(I’d hang that on the wall. Nice color scheme and the framing is interesting. I think probably from an advertising point of view they probably would have wanted to make the fighting part of it bigger, but I don’t have too many faults with it. B+.)
Tagline(s) – Go the distance (D)
A lost city, A man of destiny, A test of honor… (B+)
(The first one is funny cause it almost seems like they meant to name the film The Quest: Go the Distance, which would have been great and terrible. The second one is the real tagline and obviously fits a classic tagline structure. Gotta appreciate it.)
Top 10: Dune (2021), Spider-Man (2002), Eternals (2021), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), The Matrix (1999), Red Notice (2021), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Die Hard (1988), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Future BMT: 87.7 Street Fighter (1994), 85.6 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 69.3 Seed of Chucky (2004), 62.1 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 61.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 59.8 Spawn (1997), 58.6 Scary Movie 2 (2001), 55.9 The Karate Kid Part III (1989), 52.1 Green Lantern (2011), 51.8 You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)
BMT: Jingle All the Way (1996), Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021), Snake Eyes (2021), Road House (1989), Sucker Punch (2011), Police Academy (1984), The Fast and the Furious (2001), Gods of Egypt (2016), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Battleship (2012), R.I.P.D. (2013), Fantastic Four (2015), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Queen of the Damned (2002), Batman & Robin (1997), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Hellboy (2019), The Last Airbender (2010), The Predator (2018), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Batman Forever (1995), The Three Musketeers (2011), Angel Has Fallen (2019), The Mummy (2017), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Assassin’s Creed (2016), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Bloodshot (2020), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Demolition Man (1993), Mortal Kombat (1995), Wild Wild West (1999), Hitman (2007), Eraser (1996), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), The Bodyguard (1992), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Dragonball Evolution (2009), The Expendables 3 (2014), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Young Guns II (1990), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), I Am Number Four (2011), Epic Movie (2007), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), The Cannonball Run (1981), Eragon (2006), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Judge Dredd (1995), Gangster Squad (2013), Rambo III (1988), Pompeii (2014), Mile 22 (2018), Predator 2 (1990), Elektra (2005), Meet the Spartans (2008), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Masters of the Universe (1987), London Has Fallen (2016), Universal Soldier (1992), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Doom (2005), Rambo (2008), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Catwoman (2004), The Postman (1997), Alex Cross (2012), Howard the Duck (1986), RoboCop 2 (1990), Jason X (2001), This Means War (2012), Æon Flux (2005), Red Dawn (2012)
Matches: Daredevil (2003), The Karate Kid (1984), Road House (1989), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), The Accountant (2016), Warrior (2011), The Karate Kid Part III (1989), Here Comes the Boom (2012), Mortal Kombat (1995), The Expendables (2010), Charlie’s Angels (2000), Kung Fu Panda (2008), Mission: Impossible II (2000), Street Fighter (1994), Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991), Bloodsport (1988), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
(Jeez, there are a lot of bad films with this keyword. Jingle All the Way … yeah there was martial arts in that. The graph is super fun. I have to imagine the drop off is the same as with any keyword: martial arts films aren’t going to be released to theaters anymore, leaving only films with incidental martial arts getting the keyword.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Roger Moore is No. 2 billed in The Quest and No. 2 billed in The Cannonball Run, which also stars Burt Reynolds (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 5 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 2) + (1 + 5) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch A View to a Kill, and Stand Up Guys we can get the HoE Number down to 13.
Notes – Frank Dux sued Jean-Claude Van Damme over the writing credits of the movie, claiming that Van Damme and he wrote the story under the title “The Kumite: Enter the New Dragon” in 1991. Van Damme denied this, claiming the two projects were unrelated. Dux won his story credit via a ruling of the Writer’s Guild of America, but lost the actual court case. (Wait … so this was literally just a Kumite by another name?)
Producer Moshe Diamant was hoping to get Sir Roger Moore back to work on another of his productions, but Moore declined, after having a difficult time working on this movie.
When the production was running out of money, many of the crew were asked to work for free to keep filming on schedule. The producers promptly found the money for the filming, when said crew laughed at them, and threatened to strike.
Tatum O’Neal claims in her autobiography that she was called personally for the main female role in this movie by Jean-Claude Van Damme, but failed to get the part after a romance between her and Van Damme faltered. (Gross)
In his autobiography “My Word is My Bond”, Sir Roger Moore states that this movie was a disorganized production that was running out of money, due to poor preparation. He credits Second Unit Director Peter MacDonald for bringing it all together. He also wrote that he greatly disliked Jean-Claude Van Damme and producer Moshe Diamant.
Jack McGee broke wind after each take. This drew the ire of Jean-Claude Van Damme, who wasn’t amused, but the rest of the cast and crew, especially Sir Roger Moore, found it hilarious.
Sir Roger Moore was promised “above the title” billing by the producers on the posters, and the movie, but was shocked to see his name was further down in the credits.
The book from which Christopher Dubois is supposedly reading, and closes before the credits roll, has two short paragraphs that seems to resemble the theme of the movie, and then transitions into an ad for luxury yachts. (HA)
Lord Edgar Dobbs (Sir Roger Moore) takes Christopher Dubois (Jean-Claude Van Damme) to Muay Thai Island and sells him. Moore was last on this island while filming the final scenes of The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). These are the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand.
This was the last movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme under his five-movie contract with Universal Pictures.
The French fighter’s martial art in the film is called Savate, and it has an Afro-Brazilian cousin Capoeira (as displayed in the film by the Brazilian fighter facing off against him). Savate has obscure origins, but it is believed to be influenced by Chinese martial arts combined with European and indigenous African fighting arts. One characteristic Savate shares with Capoeira is that the hand was used as a base to kick from. Savate began in southern France in the slums of the port city Marseille. The Greek actor/stuntman Takis Triggelis, who played the French fighter, has trained in Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and Muay Thai. Previously, Triggelis did a western film with French actor and fellow martial artist Olivier Gruner that was eponymous with his character’s martial art Savate (aka The Fighter).
Okinawa, while being part of Japan, has its own fighter due to being where karate originated.