Point Break (2015) Recap

Jamie

Johnny Utah is an FBI agent with a dark and x-treme past. He is tasked with infiltrating a gang of equally x-treme criminals who are pulling off x-treme stunts in tandem with robin hood like criminal activity. Unfortunately he finds himself intrigued by their philosophy and x-treme lifestyle. Can he stop them before it’s too late? Find out in… Point Break (2015).

How?! After the tragic death of his… poly extreme athlete (?) friend… *shakes head* Johnny Utah joins the FBI to find purpose in life. In a wild coincidence, right when they are doubting his abilities, a new breed of… poly extreme athlete… *sighs heavily* bank robbers arise. Seeing all the signs of his kindred spirits (and recognizing the tell tale signs of the Ozaki 8 set of extreme sports trials) Johny correctly predicts their next stop on their global crime spree. Setting out to infiltrate the gang by surfing a giant wave, he inadvertently snakes their leader Bodhi’s wave, who is forced to jump in and save Johnny’s life. Curious about this newcomer, and recognizing him from his past tragedy, he lets Johnny into their crew despite the misgivings of his friends. Soon he is base jumping into their hearts, finding love with the beautiful Samsara, and finding closure with his past demons. Everything is looking up… other than the fact that the FBI is kinda pissed that he’s just palling around with these pseudophilosophical extreme losers (nailed it) instead of getting the evidence they need to arrest them. After one of the group dies attempting a snowboarding trial in the Alps, Johnny is depressed and knows things have gone too far. When they bring him in on the next big robbery, blowing up a gold mine (to save the planet or some shit), he attempts to stop them but Bodhi escapes. The FBI moves in when Bodhi attempts to rob a bank to fund the last few ordeals, but again he escapes and Samsara is killed in the process (noooooo). Down but not out, Johnny uses his beautiful mind to track Bodhi to Angel Falls where he free climbs the shit out of it and confronts Bodhi who jumps off the falls and escapes for a final time. Realizing that there is only one ordeal left, he finally tracks Bodhi to a giant wave in the middle of a hurricane where he lets him surf to his death rather than arrest him. THE END. Big Question: So they didn’t rob anything for money? Just to give it back to the earth?… and instead they had a sponsor who funded this activity… why?

Why?! I mean, this is really the crux of the problem here. In the original film the gang was a bunch of surfers who were legit criminals. They robbed for money. Bodhi was just a charismatic criminal leader. In this case they are actually not at all interested in money. Instead they perform increasingly dangerous extreme sports feats in tandem with extreme sports robberies, after which they give the money to the oppressed workers and/or mother earth. In fact the connection of the Ozaki 8 and the robberies is never fully explained… other than an implied connection through Bodhi’s environmental philosophy. The Ozaki 8 are supposed to demonstrate the power of mother earth. The robberies are supposed to be the resulting punishment against those corporations that dared to betray mother earth… you know what, the more I talk about it the stupider is actually is. So I’m just going to stop. Johnny is just trying to find his place in the world and get over the death of his friend… mission accomplished by the end, I guess.

Who?! There are a tremendous number of cameos in the movie. They were mostly featured at the “rad” parties that the crew threw between bank heists. The best cameo was DJ Steve Aoki, who showed up DJing at a ski chalet a la Deadmau5 in Runner Runner. It’s like these films just ask for the hottest DJ so they can make it very clear just how cool the party they are depicting is. There were also interestingly three in memoriams, but not for deaths that occurred on the set. They just were using such high level stunt people that they literally were doing the most dangerous stuff on earth all the time… and some of them unfortunately died before the film was released.

What?! I mean, it’s hard to imagine that such a recent film (and a critical flop to boot) would have many props for sale. I certainly couldn’t dress up as poly extreme athlete Johnny Utah when he was still jamming out on his dirt bike. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. And only $1300? What a deal! They’re even selling a “Utah” skateboard that I don’t even remember being in the film! I have to stop. There is too much.

Where?! A little bit of a road trip film here as Bodhi starts in the United States and then travels through France, Italy, and eventually Venezuela while undercover. We spend the most time in Italy, but Venezuela also has a major landmark (Angel Falls) play a pivotal role in the film. At the very least this is an A- just for that and how clear they made the places where they went.

When?! In the beginning of the film we see footage from a heist which has an October 13th timestamp. They specifically say that heist happened “last month” so we presume that this mostly takes place at the beginning of November. I won’t even allow myself to think of the possibility that the meal that Johnny shares with the crew could possibly be a super secret Thanksgiving. It’s not made clear and so I can’t get my hopes up like that. C

This movie is straight dumb. It’s x-tremely hard to get over the bastardization of the motivations of the characters as compared to the original, but even without that comparison it’s inane. The idea that they are performing death-defying (and sometimes not even defying) stunts in order to specifically NOT steal money is bad and I don’t like it. Especially when the FBI freezes their assets at the end and they have to rob a bank to get more money… you know what might have helped you there? Some money from those crazy bank robberies you performed for free. All that being said, there are moments that are visually electric. I particularly liked the wingsuit scene. It really is amazing. Too bad the actual story set around the beautiful stunts is trash. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever wonder what would happen if some producers decided to remake a beloved 80s action film, but then made it totally different and lame? Wonder no more! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This has been on the docket for years now (well … since 2015 to be exact), but I now know I really had no idea what the film was ever about. Because x-treme poly-athletes is not really what I would have guessed. I would have guessed it was still about surfing, just that they also did more extreme skydiving stunts and stuff. I do love vistas, so I was excited regardless. What did I expect? Vistas, vistas, and more vistas. Oh, and also a dumb story. If it gave me vistas without slapping fans of the original in the face then I’d be happy.

The Good – The vistas! Some of the more beautiful action scenes I’ve ever seen. You can kind of see the point of the movie right there: get some really nuts action shots, and build a dumb movie around it. That is well and truly the only good thing about this movie, the action stuff. Because the rest of it is terrible.

The Bad – Alright, let’s start with the fact that this is a slap in the face to fans of the original. In the original you got this hippy dippy surfer nonsense, but that is a real thing. But this hippy dippy x-treme poly-athlete nonsense? Yeah, I’m not buying it. They hijacked the name for no good reason, and then the movie doesn’t even bother to have much surfing in it. The acting is top-to-bottom really bad. And the criminal exploits are just weird, like, they don’t even bother to keep any of the money because they have a private backer? That is insane. What kind of private backer funds a series of x-treme sport endeavors which would kill anyone four times over by the end of it. Repeat after me: x-treme poly-athletes don’t exist. No one is that good at free-solo rock climbing and base jumping / wingsuit stunts. I makes no sense!

The BMT – It’ll always hold a place in my heart due to the vistas. And also it is probably going to be one of the worst adaptations we’ve ever seen forever more. It didn’t quite cross into dog poo territory because I respect the action craft and the vistas, but it really is one of the dumbest films you’ll ever watch. Did it meet my expectations? No, it was a slap in the face to fans of the original and I can never respect that.

Roast-radamus – I have to give it up for the Setting as a Character (Where?) category because I love jet-setting films, and this is one of the best from a vistas perspective. It also had amazing Product Placement (What?) for things like Monster Energy which was all over the place. I have to throw this into the MacGuffin (Why?) category for the entire misguided concept of the Ozaki Eight, which is just complete fucking nonsense. This will have a decent shot at getting mentioned for Bad next year, although I think it ends up missing out on the big awards in any case.

StreetCreditRerpot.com – I don’t remember this, but apparently this was also released on Christmas Day! So yeah, it missed out on all of the big lists for 2015, but no doubt it would have made it onto a few if they had released it in January like they probably should have. It is definitely the worst x-treme poly-athlete film ever made, that seems like a given.

You Just Got Schooled – I rewatched the original Point Break (1991) prior to viewing, and it is a true classic. The group of surfers feel authentic, Gary Busey is hilarious, and the cast is pitch perfect for the film. Yeah, some bits are cheesy. And yeah, the hippy surfer vibe you get from Swayze is a little extreme at times, but it ends up all the more shocking once you realize that he’s a fake. He’s a criminal, and his hippy dippy vibe and attitude is cultivated by surrounding himself by other criminals who can do the dirty work for him. He hides behind a code of non-violence, while befriending explicitly violent people for use when he so pleases. It made watching the remake feel like a slap in the face. They really do take one aspect of it (that hippy “we are all leaves in the wind, go with the flow” attitude) and pop it into a trash film about a whole lotta bullshit. B+ for the original, which is only docked for being a little too cheesy at times.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Point Break (2015) Quiz

Alright, this time I’m serious guys. I did like eight different super x-treme things with by x-treme buds, and I got like eight x-treme concussions in the process. I don’t remember a thing about what just happened. Do you remember what happened in Point Break (2015)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with Johnny Utah killing his best friend in an x-treme pol-athletic venture, but let’s just skip that dumb bit. Now he’s a rad FBI agent (sweet), and there are some x-treme athletes committing some crime. What tips Johnny Utah off that the people they are dealing with are x-treme poly-athletes?

2) Johnny and his British contact jet out to the middle of the ocean to catch the gnarliest of all gnarly waves. Why does Johnny know that this is where he can find his x-treme poly-criminal?

3) How are these extreme poly-athletes / criminals funding their venture?

4) How do the criminals / x-treme poly-athletes / Johnny Utah’s new best friends know Ozaki, the inventor of the challenges they are all pursuing?

5) Name the eight Ozaki challenges (generally, I don’t need the actual names).

Answers

Point Break (2015) Preview

“A clue,” Poe says looking closely at the branches of the wicker man, “these aren’t branches at all!” Rich reaches over and breaks him off a piece of the wicker man is stunned to find that Poe is right, “These are pages from tattered books. My god, we’ll be cinders in no time!” But Poe sees this as an opportunity. Calculating the weight of a paper wicker man and it’s probable center of mass and accounting for the fact that it’s burning from the bottom up he guesstimates that with just a quick heave-ho of him and Rich’s well-toned bodies, crafted by years of professional dance, they should topple free and back flip their way to freedom (like they have done so many times before as their alter egos, the Bad Movie Twins). Just before they are to put their plan into action Rich stops Poe and points to what awaits them outside the wicker man. Poe is aghast, “a cliff! What a dastardly tournament indeed. How are we to escape a fiery wicker man and survive the subsequent fall from a cliff. Impossible.” But Rich corrects him, “Nothing is impossible, my dear Poe, just wildly improbable. And while this cliff jump is improbable, it hardly impossible. Don’t you remember what I did before I became a Bad Movie Twin/detective?” Rich prompts Poe. “You were a successful novelist of YA novels,” Poe answers and while true Rich reminds him that even before that he was an extreme sports artist. “That’s how I got this rad scar,” he says pointing to the previously unmentioned enormous scar that adorns his torso. Ah yes, how could Poe forget. Time to get extreme. With that they lovingly craft a hang glider from pieces of the wicker man, slam some Mountain Dew, and get ready to do the dew. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching the ill-advised remake of the action classic Point Break, Point Break (2015). It stars… people that are way less famous than Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze aka The Swayze. We missed it when it came out (for the same reason as Holmes & Watson actually, released around Xmas) but we won’t miss it this time. Let’s go!   

Point Break (2015) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 51 

PointBreakIMDb_BMeT

PointBreakIMDb_RV

(That rating is actually pretty high in my opinion. I would have thought die hard fans would have ruined the rating long ago. It has stayed stock still for years now though, which is usually a good sign. It means people still hate it today, there is something innately bad about the film that crosses generations.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – The idea of remaking “Point Break” was not necessarily a bad idea, I suppose, but whatever charms that film might have had, they are utterly lost on the people behind this embarrassment. Instead, their game plan appears to have been to take a familiar title, throw in a bunch of random action sequences that seem more interested in aping the lunacies of the “Fast & Furious” franchise than Bigelow’s visual poetry and toss it out into a crowded marketplace without any advance screenings (hence the lateness of this review)[.] …The original film, you might recall, was released with the tag line “100% Pure Adrenaline!” This version misses that mark by about 97.5%.

(Fast & Furious is a really good comparison. As a matter of fact there could be an argument that all they really needed to do was make one more (Point Five) set in like Argentina and they could have crossed into the ironically good territory. Too late now though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncvFAm4kYCo/

(Bigger and badder. The is one of the fundamental arguments against things like The Fast and the Furious franchise’s progression: everything doesn’t need to be bigger and badder. If you wanted to remake Point Break, why not just remake Point Break?)

Directors – Ericson Core – (Known For: Togo; Invincible; BMT: Point Break; Notes: He’s the cinematographer for the film as well (and was on The Fast and the Furious as well).)

Writers – Kurt Wimmer (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Salt; Equilibrium; The Thomas Crown Affair; The Recruit; Future BMT: Sphere; Total Recall; Street Kings; BMT: Ultraviolet; Point Break; Notes: Apparently invented “gun kata”, a fictional martial arts discipline used in Equilibrium and Ultraviolet. Nicknamed The Wimmer.)

Rick King (story & 1991 story) – (Known For: Point Break; BMT: Point Break; Notes: Was writing some television through the 2000s, but seems to have maybe retired from credited writing. Had a few smaller films prior to Point Break, but pretty close to a one hit wonder writer.)

W. Peter Iliff (story & 1991 screenplay & 1991 story) – (Known For: Point Break; Varsity Blues; Patriot Games; Under Suspicion; BMT: Point Break; Notes: Basically didn’t work throughout the 2000s, but made a short (Trump’s America) recently and now maybe has two movies in production.)

Actors – Edgar Ramírez – (Known For: The Girl on the Train; Zero Dark Thirty; The Bourne Ultimatum; Joy; Gold; Hands of Stone; Wasp Network; Che: Part One; La quietud; The Liberator; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Wrath of the Titans; Domino; Deliver Us from Evil; Bright; Vantage Point; Time Out; BMT: Point Break; Notes: Played Gianni Versace in American Crime Story. Became famous on the Venezuelan soap opera Cosita Rica appearing in over 270 episodes.)

Luke Bracey – (Known For: Hacksaw Ridge; Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan; Me Him Her; Future BMT: The November Man; Lucky Day; The Best of Me; BMT: Point Break; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Monte Carlo; Notes: Huh, he also became famous on a soap, Home and Away which was broadcast in Australia. He appeared in 224 episodes.)

Ray Winstone – (Known For: The Departed; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Hugo; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Snow White and the Huntsman; Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Noah; Cold Mountain; Rango; Beowulf; Sexy Beast; Edge of Darkness; The Proposition; Quadrophenia; Scum; The Sweeney; Ripley’s Game; The War Zone; Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains; The Legend of Barney Thomson; Future BMT: The Queen’s Corgi; King of Thieves; 13; Reckless; London Boulevard; King Arthur; Breaking and Entering; Elfie Hopkins; Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Cats; Point Break; Fool’s Gold; The Gunman; Notes: Nominated for two BAFTAs, one in 1979 as a newcomer, and then for Nil by Mouth as a lead actor. Was the schoolboy boxing champion of England three times and represented England internationally twice.)

Budget/Gross – $105,000,000 / Domestic: $28,782,481 (Worldwide: $133,718,711)

(That isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The domestic take is shocking, as is the budget, but over $100 million worldwide is pretty solid for a movie with a bunch of nobodies in the cast.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (12/108): Loaded with dazzling action but bereft of purpose, the Point Break remake will be remembered as the first film to make audiences pine for the simultaneous presences of Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey.

(False, I always pine for the presence of Gary Busey. Keanu ain’t a bad bonus. Reviewer Highlight: Boldly reimagining Kathryn Bigelow’s cult favorite as a movie where absolutely nobody seems to be having any fun, the new Point Break drops the original’s Zen-like balance of macho mysticism and camp in favor of dour humorlessness. – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – XXX: We’re Bank Robbers Now (D)

point_break_ver2

(I remember hating this poster when the film was coming out and I still hate it. It’s just not good. Looks like an advertisement for a travel agency or something. The original is beautiful.)

Tagline(s) – The only law that matters is gravity (Whatever is better than A+)

Find your breaking point (D)

(Nooooooooo. If only that first one was on the poster. My face actually melted as I read it. My god, it’s beautiful. Hey everyone! Come see this great tagline they didn’t use. They used this almost hilariously bad one instead. So you went with “Point Break… Find your breaking point” as the tagline?… alright.)

Keyword – surfing

PointBreak_surfing

Top 10: Point Break (1991), Baywatch (2017), Beautiful Boy (2018), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Die Another Day (2002), Pearl Harbor (2001), Jumper (2008), Despicable Me (2010), The Shallows (2016), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008); 

Future BMT: 68.3 The Shaggy Dog (2006), 44.3 Surf Ninjas (1993), 37.1 Meet the Deedles (1998), 34.5 Without a Paddle (2004), 31.0 Pearl Harbor (2001), 20.3 The Allnighter (1987), 18.4 Act of Valor (2012), 16.6 Airborne (1993), 5.8 Chasing Mavericks (2012); 

BMT: Baywatch (2017), Jumper (2008), Point Break (2015), The Gunman (2015), Failure to Launch (2006)

(Surfing is one of those keywords which is applied to any film with even a moment of surf action, but this is actually pretty good. And now I’m really really rethinking these plots. I don’t doubt that “surfing” movies are becoming less popular over time, the early 2000s were the time of Extreme Doritos and Mountain Dew, and since then surfing is just an interesting hobby to have. But it is plausible that 2000s films also just get keywords much much more often. But maybe it is okay as long as we are aware of the issue.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Teresa Palmer is No. 3 billed in Point Break and No. 3 billed in I Am Number Four, which also stars Alex Pettyfer (No. 1 billed) who is in Endless Love (2014) (No. 1 billed), which also stars Bruce Greenwood (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 6 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 6 = 17. If we were to watch Feeling Minnesota, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – While shooting second unit footage at the Jaws surf break in Maui, the crew was fortunate enough to catch one of the largest wave breaks of the last decade, being ridden by the world’s top big wave surfers.

In the original 1991 film, James Le Gros played Roach, one of the ex-Presidents; in the remake he plays an assistant director of the FBI. (Fun)

The Angel Falls sequence is an expensive one, with a structure that cost upwards of $500K to build. It consisted of a platform that was approximately the size of a football field just beneath the summit of the falls where the crew set up camp so as not to disrupt the environment by making camp on the ground. Kosove likened the shoot at Angel Falls to a “full-scale military operation”.

Teresa Palmer did most of her own stunts, despite this being her first acting job after she gave birth to her son Bohdi. (Wait … she named her son Bohdi, like the name of the character in Point Break?)

The wingsuit scene that takes place early in the film, was all choreographed and flown in real life. Taking place at “the crack” in Walenstadt, Switzerland, the sequence is edited together of multiple jumps, all flown by some of the best wingsuit pilots in the world: Jon DeVore, Michael Swanson, Julian Boulle & Noah Banson were doing the formations flying, while Jhonathan Florez & James Boole were flying just next to them as camera-guys. (this sequence was supervised by Jeb Corliss) The crew spent a period of 3½ weeks in Switzerland, and the wingsuit pilots did the jump more than 60 times to get the right shots.

Some of the world’s best athletes worked on this film, including Jeb Corliss, whom Kosove cited as being “the greatest wing suit athlete in the world”. Legendary surfers Laird Hamilton and Sebastian Zietz, and pro skateboarder Bob Burnquist were also involved & also pro rock climber Chris Sharma. (Cool)

Gerard Butler was the first person cast. He was cast as Bodhi but later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. (Noooooooooo)

The film takes place over the period of about a month, and took close to a year to shoot. It was shot in over 10 countries and 4 continents. Point Break (2015) uses physical locations as much as possible, and the producers tried to be judicious when implementing green screens or VFX. (Roooooooooooad triiiiiiiiiiip)

Luke Bracey won the role of Johnny Utah after an extensive audition process, and he got the part due to the fact that he seemed “real” and unaffected, according to Kosove. An added bonus was the fact that Bracey has been surfing and playing rugby since childhood.

The closing credits last for 13 minutes 30 seconds. (I’ll just go ahead and skip those … unless they are so long because of multiple extended dance sequences and bloopie reels. Then I’m watching it multiple times)

Core also acts as cinematographer, a fact that actress Teresa Palmer called “a gift because he is so involved in every single aspect of this film.”

Director Ericson Core worked as the director of photography on The Fast and the Furious, a film very similar to Point Break (1991).

The Ozaki 8 as seen on the chalkboard in the FBI headquarters are as follows: -1. Emerging Force – Navigate the Inga Falls Rapids (Democratic Republic of the Congo) -2. Birth of Sky – Base jump from a high location (Everest, Tibet). -3. Awakening Earth – Penetrate the ground in the Cave of Swallows after skydive (San Luis Potosi, Mexico). -4. Life of Water – Surf giant ocean waves about 20-30 meters high (Biarritz, France). -5. Life of Wind – Fly with a wingsuit after jumping from the top of a mountain (Churfirsten Mountain Range, Switzerland). -6. Life of Ice – Snowboard from the top of an ice mountain to the mountainside (Aosta Valley, Italy). -7. Master of Six Lives – Climb the stone wall of a grand waterfall without using security measures (Angel Falls, Venezuela). -8. Act of Ultimate Trust – Jump off the waterfall after climbing it (Angel Falls, Venezuela).

Shaft (2019) Recap

Jamie

Shaft! That bad mother-shut-your-mouth is back, Jack! And he is ready to rumble… with his son?! Gulp. Can this odd couple pairing team up to solve the mysterious death of one of Shaft Jr.’s friends (and perhaps even get the girl(s)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Shaft (2019).

How?! After years of estrangement from his private eye father for reasons of safety (and because Shaft is kinda a dick), Shaft Jr. has made his way from MIT (what, what!) all the way to the FBI. But when one of his friends turns up dead under tragic and suspicious circumstances, he seeks out his father to help infiltrate the underbelly of his native NYC. Immediately the elder Shaft is incredibly problematic. Apparently years of unsafe sex and alcohol have rotted his brain and he has been reduced to spewing constant “kids these days” style humor mixed with homophobia. Truly a sad state of affairs. But despite his clear brain disease elder Shaft is still able to help Shaft Jr. (who also kinda sucks) figure out what’s going on. In fact his friend didn’t die of an accidental overdose, but instead was killed as part of an elaborate cover-up for a drug ring. Locking and loading and showing everyone just how cool guns are (ladies love ‘em), they go in and not only get all the evidence of this drug ring, but also blow away everyone. Murder is fun and so is being a man. He then tells the man to suck it and goes to work with his dad and grandpa in the private eye business. Shaft! Big Question: Like… what happened? Like… seriously?

Why?! Shaft Jr. actually goes way above the call of duty to solve the mysterious death of his friend. He could have just accepted the accidental overdose story, but he keeps digging and I guess that’s because he’s a Shaft and because he loved his friend (awww). The bad guy is a drug dealer. He likes to deal drugs. Because it makes him money.

Who?! Method Man shows up in a fairly minor part. The part’s more like something that would go to a character actor than a cameo for a musician-turned-actor. But I guess that’s what Method Man is at this point. He’s an actor getting regular work in TV and movies.

What?! It’s hard to say that all the techmology in the film is even product placement. The amount that Shaft Jr. uses his iPhone and Apple laptop is probably reflective of how much a person actually would be using it. And yet I don’t think it can be said enough just how much advertisement Apple gets from films like this where they just want a generic snazzy tech storyline to “update” an old classic for the new generation.

Where?! NYC all the way. That would have been the biggest slap in the face if the film opened and it’s revealed that Shaft has moved to Atlanta. Or like is vacationing there and is always like “I’m on my vacation!” whenever something bad happens. But no, still NYC thank god. A.

When?! The toxicology report for Shaft Jr.’s friend is dated 10/29 for when the sample was collected. So everything takes place around then, which makes sense given the attire that everyone is wearing. But it’s tough. Wouldn’t be surprised if that is contradicted elsewhere in the film. C+

I enjoyed the original Shaft and then surprisingly had a lot of fun watching the 1999 version with Samual L. (bolstered by a stellar cast). As a result my brain pretty much melted when I started watching this film. They turned what was a fun and funny action film into a modern comedy like Central Intelligence. The acting is dire. The script is dire. My outlook on life was dire. When Samuel L. finally showed up I was relieved. Unfortunately his character, while occasionally still fun, was often reduced to unpleasant jokes that made me feel bad (since they were the only remotely funny things in the film). He became the butt of the joke, but also not enough to totally write off the fact that you have an incredibly problematic character as your hero. It is tragic and I did not like it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I secretly love 1970s hard-boiled detective films. The other thing I like? Remakes/sequels to those 1970s films that make me regret liking the original film! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – A few months ago I went to Brighton Pride with a friend of my wife’s and it was very fun. People naturally know I love bad movies (because I tell them this constantly), and so this friend, who also likes bad movies, had a huge recommendation: Shaft (2019). He described it as Boomer Humor distilled. Which obviously made me excited. Also there was a ludicrous The Guardian review about precisely that. What was I expecting? I mean … that? Homophobia, out-of-touch, unpleasant humor that made me sad. That’s just about it.

The Good – I think if this was just Ride Along 3 and they didn’t feel the need to explain how a stereotype from the 70s could still exist in the modern world then the film would just be “meh”. The film looks good, and it wasn’t as unpleasant as I expected. That is actually the big shock. I fully expected to feel the same was as with Death Wish, and I didn’t. The film is silly, and they make it abundantly clear that Shaft is an asshole who pushes away everyone around him and can barely have a relationship with his adult son. So that’s a positive.

The Bad – This movie is terrible before Shaft plays a big part in it. The acting is awful. The storyline is tired. And the entire thing might as well be Ride Along 3, or CHIPS 2, or whatever. There is very little besides the presence of Samuel L. Jackson to even suggest it is a Shaft film. And then you can list off the fact that the film is indeed pretty stupid about generational conflict in general. It isn’t super unpleasant because Shaft Jr. might as well be saying “Ok, Boomer” whenever Shaft says yet another dumb thing, but it is still distressing that maybe people think such jokes could be construed as funny.

The BMT – I think this makes me ever more confident that watching movie series is a rather fun thing to do. Time consuming, but still fun. Otherwise, I guess I’ll throw this in with CHIPS as a kind of weird update to something from pre-90s that doesn’t really seem all that necessary. Did it meet my expectations? Weirdly I think The Guardian slightly overblew how terrible Shaft seems in the film. Sure it is immature how little he thinks of Millennials, but his Millennial son gives as good as he gets and it seems more like they are trying to straddle two different audiences (older audiences who liked the 70s Shaft, and younger audiences they are hoping to draw into the action/comedy bit).

Roast-radamus – You can make a decent argument for Setting as a Character (Where?) obviously for NYC. I also think the Apple advertisements in the film is just enough to sneak in consideration for Product Placement (What?). I wish there was a better MacGuffin or a hilarious Planchet to deal with. It’ll maybe get consideration for Live, but I bet there are five better 2019 films as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – Now that we are so close to December there has to be a few lists of bad movies to populate. The main credit I think comes from the eviscerating reviews that came out at the time. That Guardian piece went semi-viral, people are my workplace specifically mentioned it to me. Other than that it gets a shout out in some YouTube videos and the Looper piece which has mentioned most of the films we’ve been watching so far for the 2019 cycle.

You Just Got Schooled – There are a lot of Shaft to deal with. There are three original films, a film from 2000, and also a television show (which in reality was a series of television movies that ran in the 70s). For this specific film I decided to watch the original, the 2000 sequel, and save the other Shaft-canon for another time. I very much enjoyed the original, which indeed had the feel of The French Connection, and Roundtree is great. But I also agree with Ebert, the weakest part of the film is that at times Shaft seems to go out of his way to bait the white cops around him for no real reason. Apparently the other original films ends up shedding this specific characteristic of Roundtree’s character. The 2000 sequel is also pretty good. At times it is pretty silly and very 90s, with a particularly poor performance by Lee Tergesen (of Oz fame), but Samuel L Jackson is pitch perfect in the role, and Christian Bale ends up as an amusingly smarmy racist real estate heir. I liked both of those movies and no doubt will like the other films once I get around to them. B+ as far of BMT homework goes I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Shaft (2019) Quiz

Alright, last thing I remember I was macking the mack with all the sweet ladies down in NYC (ballllllllin’), and then I just knocked out by the shenanigans of my millenial (ugh!) son! I’m sure I have a concussion, can you help me remember what happened in Shaft (2019)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Back in the 80s Shaft went and had himself a beautiful baby boy, Shaft Jr. … and then they moved away and he basically never saw him again for 30 years. What event caused his girlfriend and son to move away?

2) Now that his son is all growed up he’s living in NYC as well. What is his son’s job? Bonus point if you can tell me where his son went to college as well.

3) But uh oh! Jr.’s bestest friend contacted him out of the blue and wants to reconnect, but before they can he died tragically. What is his friend’s job, and how did he die?

4) Through thorough and definitely not completely illegal and inappropriate investigations, Jr. and Shaft discover something nefarious going on with the local mosque and grocery store. What is the plot and why is this a huge problem for Jr.?

5) In the end, who was responsible for all of the events of the film, and why? Why did he hate the Shafts oh so much?!

Answers

Shaft (2019) Preview

Adam Banks, the producer of the latest Rich and Poe film, sits sweating as he watches Jamie and Patrick rant and rave around his office. Having already relented in allowing them to star in the film, he is shocked to hear that they now want to do their own stunts too. These stunts involve jumping between two helicopter cruise ships hovering over the blue waters of the French Riviera and Banks just isn’t sure he can insure it. He’s also not sure helicopter cruise ships exists. “Then invent one,” Jamie screams, “how much did our last film make?” He remarks with crossed arms waiting silently for a response. Banks mumbles the well known 2.3 billion dollar figure. “Then use is,” Jamie snidely remarks. There have been grumblings at the studio that this is some elaborate scheme set up by the auteurs to get out of there 20 film contract early, but Banks isn’t so sure. It seems to him that they have simply gone insane. Finally he relents and orders the helicopter cruise ships to be constructed. Once Jamie and Patrick are safely on the corporate jet back to the French Riviera he buzzes his secretary to set up a meeting ASAP. A few hours later Banks sits with a man dressed in dark glasses and a leather duster. “Rod, I need your help. I’ve got a delicate matter that needs some… discretion.” The man smiles, “Well Banks, you know that there’s only one thing I do better than discretion,” Banks nods and Rod finishes, “Sex is what I’m referring to.” And Banks nods again, “great well, really just discretion needed on this one.” At that they rise and shake hands. “You know, Rod, you really are one bad mother…” But Rod interrupts him “shut you’re fucking mouth.” That’s right! We are watching the 2019 entry in the Shaft saga that we were all scrambling for. Everywhere we went all we heard was “gee whiz I sure do hope we get a Shaft for a new generation.” Well we asked, they delivered in a neat BMT package. Gives us a chance to watch the original and the Samuel L. Jackson 2000 entry to get uptodate on the franchise, which is exciting. Let’s go!

Shaft (2019) – BMeTric: 19.6; Notability: 31

ShaftIMDb_BMeT

ShaftIMDb_RV

(Genuinely strange. Usually things go the other way. Usually fans of the film come in hot with above average ratings during the initial theatrical run, and then it drops afterwards. This time people seeing it in theaters seem to hate it, but then it has stood steady at a pretty above average 6.4. I don’t really know what to make of that. Probably just need to wait a little longer for things to clarify.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  This movie is “ruin your childhood” bad, right down to the hideous auto-tuned end credits song they chose to use instead of the original “Theme From Shaft.” I say this flick Shaft is a bad movie. Shut yo’ mouth.

(Somehow this review is a lot kinder than I imagined it would be. Most reviews can be boiled down to “Ok, Boomer”. Mainly because whole scenes are (apparently) devoted to women lusting over Shaft shooting a bunch of people and making fun of Millenials … so just ruining your childhood seems like a step up in that context.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD41XdWcmbY/

(Sigh. So I know someone who’s seen this and he describes it as Boomer Humor. Now, I don’t hold prejudices against any movie. I’m happy to watch any film no matter how far from the intended audience I am. As Shaft says, I’m an equal opportunity stare-in-stony-silence-at-not-funny-films … person. But so far that guy seems right, so this is going to be one long film. Sigh.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; Future BMT: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; BMT: Taxi; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Shaft; Notes: He kind of has an amazing career. Everything from small indie films, to giant comic book blockbusters, and now he’s attached to Tom & Jerry, Ride Along 3, and Monopoly in the next few years! I look forward to watching many Tim Story films for the next decade to come.)

Writers – Kenya Barris (written by) – (Known For: Girls Trip; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; BMT: Shaft; Notes: Childhood friend of Tyra Banks, he created the whole Black-ish series.)

Alex Barnow (written by) – (BMT: Shaft; Notes: A television writer almost exclusively. He wrote for a ton of shows including Family Guy and The Goldbergs.)

Ernest Tidyman (based upon the character John Shaft from the novel by) – (Known For: Shaft; The French Connection; High Plains Drifter; Shaft; Shaft in Africa; Shaft’s Big Score!; BMT: Shaft; Notes: I … did not realize it was a book series. He wrote seven Shaft novels between 1970 and 1975.)

Actors – Samuel L. Jackson – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Spider-Man: Far from Home; Pulp Fiction; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain Marvel; Goodfellas; Jurassic Park; Inglourious Basterds; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace; Django Unchained; Kong: Skull Island; The Hateful Eight; Coming to America; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Avengers Assemble; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Unbreakable; Future BMT: Cell; The Spirit; Freedomland; Kite; Barely Lethal; Meeting Evil; Oldboy; Reasonable Doubt; Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Home of the Brave; The Samaritan; No Good Deed; Sphere; Amos & Andrew; Cleaner; The Legend of Tarzan; Loaded Weapon 1; Zambezia; The Exterminator; The 51st State; Rules of Engagement; Johnny Suede; Basic; Strictly Business; Glass; Country of My Skull; One Eight Seven; Life Itself; Gospel Hill; BMT: xXx²: The Next Level; Twisted; Jumper; Shaft; Notes: Still going strong at 70. He’s only a little younger than Richard Roundtree who plays his father in the film. He’s starring in a film called The Banker this year as well which will get a limited theatrical release in December.)

Jessie T. Usher – (Known For: Almost Christmas; Beautiful Boy; Future BMT: InAPPropriate Comedy; When the Game Stands Tall; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Shaft; Notes: Kind of came up with guest spots in television, and then broke out with Independence Day: Resurgence. Also starred in the critically acclaimed The Boys television show this year.)

Richard Roundtree – (Known For: Seven; What Men Want; Brick; George of the Jungle; Shaft; Speed Racer; Shaft; Maniac Cop; Q; Shaft in Africa; Original Gangstas; Shaft’s Big Score!; Man Friday; Once Upon a Time… When We Were Colored; Future BMT: Boat Trip; Corky Romano; City Heat; Earthquake; Antitrust; Inchon; BMT: Steel; Theodore Rex; Shaft; Notes: There was a Shaft television “show” from 1973-1974 as well which he starred in. In actuality they were seven television movies, which is rather intriguing.)

Budget/Gross – $30–35 million / Domestic: $21,360,215 (Worldwide: $21,360,215)

(That isn’t good. But it released internationally on Netflix which was probably worth a few million … I don’t know, I’m not in the business. I guess I’m saying this probably lost money, but just not that much.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (38/119): Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting — or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.

(“Uncomfortably outdated”. That right there is 100% the reason we are watching this film. I am very intrigued by the reactions people have had to this film, it is all over the place. Reviewer Highlight: Ultimately, the only truly retro thing about this weirdly reactionary potboiler is its politics. – Keith Watson, Slate Magazine)

Poster – One Bad Mothersklogger (B)

shaft

(I like how artistic it is down the font and coloring. A little weird that they are apparently introducing a new generation of shaft but he’s pushed all the way off to the side. I also deduct it some points for an inordinate amount of whitespace. Looks odd.)

Tagline(s) – More Shaft than you can handle. (B+)

(I do appreciate a dick joke, particularly when used to advertise a multimillion dollar product. Really elevating the medium of dick jokes. Otherwise it is fine… better than average.)

Keyword – surname as title

Shaft_surname as title

Top 10: Hook (1991), Shaft (2019), Tolkien (2019), Constantine (2005), Snowden (2016), Lincoln (2012), Rambo (2008), Winchester (2018), Zoolander (2001), Salt (2010);

 Future BMT: 47.2 Winchester (2018), 34.1 Sgt. Bilko (1996), 22.6 Youngblood (1986), 14.7 Hook (1991); 

BMT: Shaft (2019), Rambo (2008), Gigli (2003), Jobs (2013)

(Nothing super big pops out in the graph, but the keyword kind of tickled me. I did it for Rambo as well, but not with the new expanded keywords section. Shocking that there are only eight examples. You can’t even make a cycle yet, but you are actually shockingly close if the Transitions and Chain Reaction films lined up.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Samuel L. Jackson is No. 1 billed in Shaft and No. 3 billed in Jumper, which also stars Michael Rooker (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 4 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 13. If we were to watch Amos & Andrew we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – There is only a 6 year age difference between Richard Roundtree (Shaft I) and Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft II). This is humorously acknowledged in the film when Roundtree rhetorically asks, “How come you look 20 years older than my gray ass?”

This film will be released on Netflix streaming services internationally.

In Shaft (2000), Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft I was referred to as John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson)’s uncle. In the 2019 movie, John Shaft I is John Shaft II’s father.

At one point in the film Samuel L. Jackson tells his son that he got a real Super Bowl ring from L.T., referring to former NFL player Lawrence Taylor. This is also likely a reference to the previous Shaft (2000) in which Taylor appeared, although he was not playing himself but an actual character in the film.

At the time of the film’s release the main three actors ages are as follows: Roundtree 76, Jackson 70, and Usher 27.

In 2019, as the trailer made clear, all three generations of the family members named John Shaft exist in the Warner Bros-New Line Cinema-Netflix sequel confusingly also entitled “Shaft”. Further to add confusion, with three lead characters sharing the same name, from the original MGM version, the family tree relationships are broken down as; Richard Rountree as (uncle/great-uncle) John Shaft, Samuel L Jackson as (nephew/father) John Shaft (Senior/II from RR version), and Usher as (great-nephew/son) John Shaft (Junior/II from SLJ version/III from RR version).

Black Dog Recap

Jamie

Jack Crews, truck driver extraordinaire, is fresh out of jail and trying to make ends meet. When he is offered an illegal smuggling job he wants to say no, but needs the money for his family. The job immediately goes awry as everyone from criminals to the police are after him. Can he stop the bad guys (and not go back to jail) before it’s too late? Find out in… Black Dog.

How?! Act I: Jack Crews is a man just trying to do right by his family. He was the best (the best!) truck driver around, but fell asleep at the wheel and went to jail for manslaughter. Now he just wants to make sure his family is fed, has a roof over their heads, and gets all the basketball shoes and free throw practice they need. Aw shucks. In a wild coincidence he is offered a $10,000 illegal smuggling job the same day that he learns that he owes $9,000 on his mortgage. How about that! So while he wants to say no, the pressure from his smarmy boss and debt force him into the criminal lifestyle. Oh, woe is the American justice system! Look upon ye institution that has failed such an honest family man in Jack Crews. Look at his chiselled chin! Oh, what a chin!… Act II: He totes goes and takes over the big rig like the boss that he is. Even when the bad guys attempt to set him up as a patsy and steal the goods back from under him, Crews is like “no way, Jose,” and outdrives them (duh). From there we learn that not only is one of the crew a rat, but another of the crew is an undercover cop! Oh boy, Jack Crews may as well drive right back to jail, right? Wrong! Act III: That’s because he sets up the big bad guys (who have kidnapped his wife and kid) to be caught by the police. Happy and laughing he totally hugs his kid and smooches on his wife and they all climb right into the truck for a little joy ride over to the impound lot (lol, what?). But, uh oh! Another bad guy is ready for one last intense chase culminating in a giant explosion and more smooches for Crews (naturally). THE END. Big question: is this the quintessential film about the pressure on parolees towards recidivism due to lack of adequate reentry programs?… name me a better one. 

Why?! Right in line with the big question, the motivation for Jack Crews is obvious. He is on parole for a felony manslaughter conviction. He needs a job to provide for his family, but the only person who will hire him is a smarmy criminal who is looking to exploit Jack’s lack of opportunity to use him for his nefarious deeds. Feeling like he has no way out, Jack takes the job. The criminals want that sweet, sweet money and they need Jack to take the fall in order to obtain it.

Who?! Randy Travis has a major role in the film, which is quite the coincidence seeing as he is also in next week’s Friend, T.N.T…. which also stars the star of Driving Force, Sam J. Jones. Additionally, Meat Loaf also has a prominent role in the film… but I thought he was less good than Randy Travis to be honest. There are also some great Special Thanks on this film, but definitely wanted to point out that the UNC burn center got a thanks as a result of an on-set accident that led to the firing of a few of the crew members. 

What?! “Well I better make sure to find a good product placement in Black Dog starring Patrick Swayze because god knows there won’t be any props for sale,” says Jamie as he checks the internet, “What thuuuu….” That’s right, you too can look just like Patrick Swayze… wearing a flannel shirt (probably while being told that he needs to commit crimes to make ends meet). In terms of actual product placements though, I only noticed a number of Ford motor vehicles.

Where?! Road Trip Alert! The beginning and end of the film take place clearly in New Jersey and the trip starts in Georgia. So I would put those at the top of the list of settings. But Tennessee is in there along with North Carolina. Obviously there are others, but would have to watch a bit closer to get his exact route clear. B

When?! Uh, basketball season? Seriously, though, you can put the pieces together on this one. Swayze’s file says he applied for a job at where he works in October 1998. In the beginning of the film his boss says he’s been working there for three weeks. I would put this in the beginning of November. Even the beautiful fall foliage matches this window. C.

Up until the end of the film, it was pretty ho hum. I liked the big stunts and explosions. Swayze’s background and motivations were tragic and made me sad, but I guess that’s a good thing since it made me feel an emotion (?)… although I don’t typically look for sadness in my action films. But otherwise the script was pretty tough, hinging on a hilarious coincidence where Jack gets his job offer the very day that he stumbles upon the foreclosure notice his wife has hidden from him. How fortunate for our narrative momentum. That should have been a hint for what the end of the film would bring because once the bad guys are dispatched our hero (?) is informed that he is not in fact going to jail at all! The police all recognize his innocence despite the many bodies Jack has left in his wake while driving a big rig across the United States without a license. No worries about that, they’ll help him get that license back. Also don’t worry about your house, they’re paying for it. Great! Also, does Jack and his family want to bip and bop about in the truck (a crime scene) for a bit before delivering it to the impound lot? Of course they do. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. As for Driving Force, it was exactly as billed: a Mad Max ripoff. I thought the story was pretty good despite that, as was Don Swayze. My biggest problem was actually a weird throughline that despite living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape the main character refuses help from the many wealthy individuals in his life in order to work as a tow truck driver/murderer to support his daughter… like what’s wrong with getting a safe job in your girlfriend’s corporation that she owns and runs? But no, he needs to earn a living like a man… that’s pretty dumb, bro. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Here I was thinking I was going to watch an action packed Swayze smash ‘em up, and instead we got a PSA about driving while tired. Well, I know I’m not going to drive while drowsy, lest I end up like Jack Crews. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know what to expect with this one. It is a movie I never heard of, with a clearly over-the-hill Patrick Swayze way past his 80s action prime, involving things I’m not sure I care about, namely big rigs. But hey, it is always fun to learn new things right? What were my expectations? Let’s get some sweet Swayze action, some things about fambly, and big rig action and call it a day. What more could I really expect?

The Good – The big rig action was actually a lot better than I expected. A bit slow moving, and a better movie would have adjusted the speed a bit instead of trying to provide realistic explanations about how big rigs are actually really hard to stop and dangerous, even when you think you’re under control (rainbow, piano ditty, The More You Know). The acting is … fine actually. I was fine with it, along with the ragtag group of heroes Swayze kind of accidentally accrues around him.

The Bad – The FBI story with Tobolowski is nonsense. I could have done without so much Meatloaf. I get it, he wants to jack the load and get away with the loot, but he keeps on coming back like the Terminator. He owns a transportation company, he isn’t a super human, it was weird. Swayze looks oooooooold in this film. It is pretty surprising considering he was only like 46 at the time, but it makes the film feel like a Seagal film, a last gasp of an era where a producer could just shout “Swayze, big rigs” and get a movie made. The end is terrible and basically kills the rest of the film. Spoiler, but the FBI absolves our ex-con from any legal repercussions, pays for his house, and get his trucker license back in one fail swoop, and then asks Swayze to drive the load to the impound himself with no escort … like WHAT?

The BMT – I don’t think so. If this was what BMT was every week I think we would have quit doing it years ago. I’m not joking. It is kind of a novelty I’ll give it that, but there just isn’t much meat on that bad movie bone. It’s a movie that kind of sucks, the end. Did it meet my expectations – As minimal as they were yes it did. I got to see old Swayze drive some big rigs with a heavy dose of him talking about his family. Doesn’t mean I enjoyed it, nor that it was that bad, this time I kind of knew what we were getting ourselves into prior to watching the film.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong case for Brian Vincent’s Wes being a Planchet (Who?) because his sole purpose in the film seems to be to be a slob and to be ripped on by everyone else. Unless your daughter’s basketball game is a holiday it doesn’t get that. I could believe that the cache of guns that Swayze is running is a MacGuffin (Why?), but in the end that is probably all you can make a strong case for. It really isn’t a bad, good, or BMT in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – I really can’t find anything with this on it. Not for 1998 or even for Swayze rankings (which mostly don’t count as they just use the Rotten Tomatoes score). I would say this would likely make a top five worst Swayze film. I think it is a top 5 worst Trucking film. And I think this could mix it up on some lists for the last film a major film star made prior to making a bunch of straight-to-video films as well. It has a pedigree of some sort, just not one you’ll find listed online.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For this Sibling Rivalry we had to look for a classic Don Swayze film. And Driving Force … well, it’s a Don Swayze film. Set in a dystopian future it really reminded me of a knock off Mad Max. A future where the bad guys rule, and the good guys can only take so much before they lash out at those that tried to take their loved ones. It is definitely the kind of film someone would be like “oh, Don Swayze, there is no way this isn’t entertaining!” And then you’d watch it and be like “Yeah … that was garbage, why did I watch that?” Also supremely weird because Flash Gordon himself is the lead actor and he is not good at acting. Grindy grungy film which could be entertaining if you’re into that style. I am not. C.

Originally I was going to watch Flash Gordon, but I straight up ran out of time. Cheerios,

The Sklogs