Godzilla (1998) Recap

Jamie

Godzilla is back, Jack! And boy is he… something. When a series of disasters are tracked to a nuclear-mutated giant lizard a military/scientific team follow it to NYC where it has gone to lay its eggs. Will they be able stop Godzilla (and perhaps get the girl (and perhaps advance their journalistic ambitions)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Godzilla.

How?! A giant lizard is on the loose, a product of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific, and as they track it across the globe they recruit a nuclear scientist/biologist expert, Nick, to figure out what’s going on. When the lizard, called Godzilla, shows up in NYC and starts to wreak havoc, Nick figures out that it’s using the island as a nest to hide its eggs until they can hatch. Meanwhile his ex-girlfriend, Audrey, is an aspiring journalist who uses her connection to Nick to get the big Godzilla egg scoop. Unfortunately she ruins everything because this leak gets Nick kicked off the team, his theory discounted, and she doesn’t even get credit for the story. Damn… because I was really invested in this aspiring journalist storyline you spent 45 minutes on. Anyway, Nick isn’t ready to give up and teams up with some French special forces to infiltrate the city and find the eggs. Audrey also isn’t ready to give up (hmmm, seems like they have a lot in common… particularly regarding giving up and whether they are ready to do something like that) and follows Nick into the city. There they find that Godzilla has laid his eggs in none other than Madison Square Garden. Ready to blow that place to smithereens and eviscerate a species they are just a second too late and the eggs hatch into a million velocirap… I mean, baby Godzillas. Using Audrey’s journalistic skillz they broadcast from the announcing booth and alert the army to what needs to be done: blow up an NYC landmark (eeesh, how very 90’s). Managing to escape just in time, the army blows all those baby animals apart, but are surprised to find an enraged Godzilla emerge from under the city and start a rampage. Acting the hero again, Nick and his team lure Godzilla to the Brooklyn Bridge where it becomes entangled and is finally subdued. THE END… or is it? (it is).

Why?! I actually enjoyed the motivations for Godzilla. While I remember it kinda being made fun of at the time I actually think the idea that this large lizard just chilled for a while eating fish in the pacific until it was time to lay eggs at which point it found a nest in a city because the buildings allowed it to hide is kinda cool. I don’t really understand the whole “asexual reproduction” thing they came up with… seems a little Jurassic Park and unnecessary. I would have preferred for the male Godzilla to show up and be a garbage shrimpy lizard that the female Godzilla immediately eats or something… but I digress. The motivations for the human characters though are trash. Audrey is a one-dimensional, poorly written character that wants to be a journalist and that basically motivates everything she does and Nick is supposed to be a former hippy dippy nuclear activist turned scientist that then mostly just wants to destroy Godzilla off the face of the Earth. Just very strange.

Who?! Dedicated to the memory of Tomoyuki Tanaka, the long time producer of the Godzilla franchise who died from a stroke the year before this film. Additionally, while we always note Presidents and the such, I do think that city mayors are probably fairly common in their own right, particularly of NYC. This had Mayor Ebert, named after critic Roger Ebert as a dig by the director. Nice one, Roland.

What?! The product placement comes at you in this film fast and furious. Broderick is glancing at his swatch, the French secret service are holed up in their UPS van, Godzilla attacks a ship full of delicious Bumblebee tuna, etc. But my favorite is a joke where Broderick buys a Kodak disposable camera (like the type used by a stereotypical NYC tourist) to take pictures of Godzilla… right before that stereotype went out the window and completely dates the film.

Where?! This is as perfect an A as you can get. Doesn’t reach A+ because they didn’t go with the Godzilla Attacks New York title, but Manhattan is pretty much a starring character as the buildings are described as the perfect Godzilla habitat. Add on top that Godzilla uses iconic MSG as a nest and they have to blow it up (that wouldn’t fly past-2001) and you got gold.

When?! This was obscure for sure. The only thing I really saw that would potentially help with this was a poster on a wall in NYC for a concert in the beginning of March… but like those posters probably go up well before the concert and stay up for long after so not great. I bet it’s discoverable considering how much NYC shit was visible while Godzilla was rampaging about, but it would take a full reviewing of the film and that ain’t happening. F.

This movie is not good and it’s interesting that you can find articles written claiming that it’s not as bad as people remember. Sure I think the basic premise is actually pretty good but it stop at that point. The film looks bad, is about 50 minutes too long, and they spent most of the filler time between Godzilla sightings rehashing the professional motivations for the characters. Are we supposed to care that Audrey wants to be a journalist but feels like she can’t make it in a male-driven world. A Godzilla monster is attacking! Why not just make her a successful and ambitious journalist and be done with it? Seemed like a big disservice to Maria Pitillo who took a lot of heat and ended up being the only actor to get a Razzie nomination (and she won). It’s not her fault really. I think she plays the character well, it’s just that the character is trash. I think this stands as a nice part of 1997-9 trilogy with Batman & Robin and Wild Wild West. Wild Wild West is crazy and fun, this is drab and bad, and Batman & Robin is BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ah, remember simpler times. Bill Clinton is in the process of being impeached. The dot com boom is a chugging with no (discernible …) end in sight. And the US was swept by Godzilla-mania! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – When Patrick was a young child he had a terrible affliction. That affliction? Godzilla-mania. Or at least I remember when this film came out, I remember the secrecy surrounding what Godzilla looked like, and I distinctly remember thinking it looked dumb when it was finally leaked. Very specifically I didn’t really get why it didn’t look like Godzilla. This rewatch was a long time coming.

The Good – The main actors are all fine given what they are given to do. It was an interesting premise: the idea of Godzilla just being a new species (focused less on the consequences of nuclear proliferation) and very specifically an animal, and using a biologist angle to figure out how to deal with it. The CGI is not good, but it certainly was big, and that’s something. The first half hour is that of a genuinely good film, I was supremely entertained by the first half hour.

The Bad – The next one and a half hours? Woof. I feel bad for Maria Pitillo who was fine, but got a load of shit for this film because whoever wrote it seemed to just have “Audrey looks confused” written into every scene. The side romance story ropes in a strange journalist plot that makes NYC seem rather small. The entire Madison Square Garden plot down to them blowing the building up is something that could have only happened in 1998 very specifically. Oh yeah, and who could forget what genuinely might be the worst song ever created. My god, my ears! P Diddy why?!

The BMT – Yeah, of course. It might actually be the quintessential big-budget creature feature for BMT. Most creature features are terrible, but they are also mostly low-budget and get away with it (sometimes coasting on irony alone), or they are like the fifth sequel to an originally good feature. This is a pretty rare misfire right out of the gate. And for a remake of a beloved franchise no less.

Roast-radamus – Hmmmmmm, it could sneak in for Where (Setting as a Character) for sure for New York City. And there is an outside shot it will age like a fine wine and it’ll get a nod for BMT in general. Otherwise I can’t think of an in your face product placement. I would love to say How (Worst Twist) for the baby egg hatching at the end, but I don’t really think that was a twist. More of a sequel set up. And I think Godzilla laying eggs in Madison Square Garden isn’t a notable terrible twist either.

StreetCreditReport.com – It occasionally gets onto lists of worst remakes (well deserved I think). Additionally MovieFone and Siskel and Ebert put it on their worst of lists of 1998. It has serious cred for the late 90s, although a bit of it is washed out by how bad Armageddon was received that same year. That is one I find mentioned more these days, although partially out of a kind of cult love for its jingoistic cheesiness.

You Just Got Schooled – One more bad film watched, one more animated series to sample. Godzilla (1998) indeed had a sequel in the form of Godzilla: The Series. Opening exactly where the film left off our heroes (plus a few new friends) discover the egg teased at the end of the first film which promptly imprints on Nick and escapes to New York Harbor. Quickly growing in size and displaying intelligence, loyalty, and an oh-so-important sterility, Godzilla 2.0 is chased around by the military until the gang finds a new monster in Jamaica. After Godzilla battles and defeats the beast everyone realizes that Godzilla could be the only thing standing between humanity an apocalypse at the hands of other mutated monsters. Godzilla … The Series! Honestly for a late 90s cartoon it actually was pretty good I thought. They still gave Audrey nothing to do, which would have been funny if it weren’t so sad. I would say A for adaptation because I genuinely think this was the vision for the sequel. For actual cartoon maybe a B? I would give it higher, but I don’t think people will go back and be like “this is great!” like they’ve done with Gargoyles. But this is serviceable.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Godzilla (1998) Preview

Jamie and Patrick crawl through the wasteland, no civilization in sight. “What are we going to do, Patrick?” Jamie cries through parched lips. “We’ll never find a police station.” Patrick meditates on this possibility while looking in his backpack of supplies. Only one delicious five-dollar footlong from Subway left. They each get a half-foot and sit against a rock to snack. Without warning Jamie stands up, his eyes ablaze, and throws his remaining sandwich to the ground. “This Subway sandwich is delicious, but what’s the point? We’re going to die anyway!” Suddenly they hear a faint buzz in the distance as a police car approaches… or is it a car? As it nears they notice that it’s a rocket skateboard. Rad. The police officer hops off his board, dark visor down, and gets right up in Jamie’s face. “Littering, dirtbag? Do it again, scum, I dare you. You are a weed. And I’m a weedkiller.” Patrick tries to interrupt, but the police officer pushes him back. “You want to get blown away too, filth? Both of you are coming with me and you’re lucky to be alive.” Jamie and Patrick look at each other in shock and shrug. Guess they’ll make it to the police station after all. After a super cool ride on the police issue rocket skateboard they enter the station, loose paper blowing around their feet and dangerous looking punks attempting escape at every turn. Almost immediately they hear a loud roar from up ahead “Fultz! Get in here, you no-good, rule-breaking piece of shit!” Other police officers whistle and clap as the officer, apparently Fultz, drags Jamie and Patrick into the sergeant’s office. “You wanted to see me Sarge?” He asks, looking annoyed. When the desk chair turns Jamie and Patrick are shocked… is that… Godzilla? That’s right! We’re watching the 1998 smash hit Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick and directed by Roland Emmerich. A bit of a surprise that it is on the rejected list given that it had such anticipation and star power and is still known today as a giant critical failure. People were basically laughing at it. But perhaps it didn’t quite reach the depths of Batman & Robin. Let’s go!

Godzilla (1998) – BMeTric: 58.7

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(I guess it makes sense … a little weird that it would drop to almost below 50. This film should be a classic bad movie and thus immune to regression to the mean. Then again, mid-5.0s probably makes sense. A rating in the 4s is incredibly low for a blockbuster no matter how bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Giant lizard monster moves swiftly from the Pacific to N.Y. harbor, and terrorizes the Big Apple. Biologist Broderick hooks up with mystery man Reno and his team to stop it. Giant-scale fx-driven no-brainder doesn’t make much sense, has shallow characters, and goes on too long – but still offers a surprising amount of fun. Followed by an animated series.

(Did I just hear “animated series” … I think I know what I’m doing for the You Just Got Schooled section. Anywho, quite a mild review to be honest, but also a little bit like how I remember it. I saw this in theaters almost certainly, and I remember thinking it was fine. I was 12 at the time … but still, I distinctly remember thinking it was silly but fine.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt6bMHUoE6I/

(Ooooof that Hank Azaria shot at the end. I just watched a video where he went through his filmography and he said this film was a terrible experience, that they were just soaking them with water the entire time and he got sick like four times.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: Stargate; The Patriot; The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; White House Down; Anonymous; Future BMT: Stonewall; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; 2012; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017, and for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: We literally just watched Universal Soldier which he directed. For all intents and purposes we’ve finished his filmography, Stonewall is too small to qualify. So good for us I guess.)

Writers – Dean Devlin (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Stargate; Independence Day; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: Good friends with Mel Gibson.)

Roland Emmerich (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Stargate; The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; 2012; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017, and for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: I think I mentioned this in the Universal Soldier preview as well, but he was one of the first openly gay directors in Hollywood.)

Ted Elliott (story) (credit only) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; The Mask of Zorro; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: Godzilla; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: He used to spell check reviews for Roger Ebert. Collaborates with Rossio frequently.)

Terry Rossio (story) (credit only) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Deja Vu; The Mask of Zorro; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: Godzilla; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: Was at one point a Machine Parts Inspector. The writing partner of Elliott for the most part, although their filmographies differ slightly.)

Actors – Matthew Broderick – (Known For: The Lion King; Manchester by the Sea; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; WarGames; Trainwreck; Glory; Bee Movie; Tower Heist; The Cable Guy; The Producers; To Dust; Ladyhawke; Rules Don’t Apply; Election; You Can Count on Me; The Tale of Despereaux; Margaret; The Freshman; Addicted to Love; The Road to Wellville; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; Deck the Halls; The Stepford Wives; Family Business; She’s Having a Baby; Dirty Weekend; Finding Amanda; Diminished Capacity; BMT: Godzilla; New Year’s Eve; Notes: He’s done a lot of random guest spots on television more recently. He’s been married to Sarah Jessica Parker for over 20 years now.)

Jean Reno – (Known For: Leon; The Promise; Mission: Impossible; Hotel Rwanda; Ronin; Flushed Away; Nikita; The Big Blue; French Kiss; L’immortel; Margaret; La ragazza nella nebbia; The Crimson Rivers; Subway; Wasabi; Armoured; Al di là delle nuvole; Comme un chef; La rafle; Future BMT: Couples Retreat; The Pink Panther; The Pink Panther 2; The Last Face; Just Visiting; Xia dao lian meng; Flyboys; The Da Vinci Code; Days and Nights; BMT: Rollerball; Godzilla; Alex Cross; Notes: One of the more notable french actors to have transitioned into an international film star. He worked with Luc Besson early in his career.)

Maria Pitillo – (Known For: True Romance; Natural Born Killers; Chaplin; She-Devil; Bright Lights, Big City; White Palace; I’ll Do Anything; Spike of Bensonhurst; Future BMT: Dear God; Wise Guys; Bye Bye Love; Frank & Jesse; BMT: Godzilla; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Godzilla in 1999; Notes: She got married in 2002 and has a daughter, so it is likely because of that that she seems semi-retired. Sang in The Lost Capone.)

Budget/Gross – $130–150 million / Domestic: $136,314,294 (Worldwide: $379,014,294)

(That seems … fine-ish. They were certainly expecting much higher, but that is kind of shockingly high for a film without a sequel. I guess how badly it was critically panned might have done it in.)

#24 for the CGI Star genre

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(Below a Transformers or two, and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles … so this is basically the Michael Bay category. Still quite high considering it came out in 1998. People loved their CGI star in 2010.)

#11 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Highest grossing creature feature we’ve seen for BMT, right at the late-90s peak. This is indeed the highest grossing bad creature feature available.)

#15 for the Disaster genre

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(Somehow beaten out by 2012 as far as BMT goes, and the highest we can get is Armageddon. An interesting genre. There was a set of exploitation films in the 60s and 70s (like Towering Inferno), which I have to say I find rather distasteful. Then as CGI blew up it came back in the late nineties, and then it surged again around 2010-15 … it certainly seems like when things are “going well” in the US people like to see some big disaster films, and when things aren’t … well then reality will suffice I suppose.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (12/75): Without compelling characters or heart, Godzilla stomps on everything that made the original (or any monster movie worth its salt) a classic.

(Yeah, a complete catastrophe considering this is a beloved cult franchise. It was supposed to break out a whole new world of remakes for Hollywood, but alas, they had to stick with garbage J-Horror adaptations instead for a bit. Reviewer Highlight: You have to absorb such a film, not consider it. But my brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Sklog Does Matter (A-)

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(Kinda working for me in an old school kind of way. Needs a bit more green maybe. You could image a version of this being the poster for a 1982 Godzilla reboot, although that font is straight 90’s and I love it. Artistic, nice framing, font, and tells a story. I dig it, what can I say?)

Tagline(s) – Size Does Matter (B+)

(Short and sweet and can’t help but love a blockbuster that uses a dick joke as a tagline. I think the biggest problem for me is that it’s not really clever… just kind of using the dick joke and having that be the joke. Still, it’s working.)

Keyword(s) – giant monster; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.2 Skyline (2010); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 64.3 Max Steel (2016); 62.3 Ghostbusters (2016); 62.3 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997); 62.0 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016); 59.9 Monsters: Dark Continent (2014); 58.7 Godzilla (I) (1998); 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 54.6 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995);

(Wowza, there are a lot available. The Ghostbusters one is fake though, at least, it doesn’t qualify by a country mile … you know what, I’m going to bold that because I’ve seen it, so there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jean Reno is No. 2 billed in Godzilla and No. 5 billed in Rollerball, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Despite the less-than-expected box office performance, this film still made more money worldwide than any other American movie based on a foreign film. It held this record until Godzilla (2014) claimed it 16 years later, although accounting for inflation, this movie still made more. (Yeah it is kind of crazy. Imagine if the movie was halfway decent!)

Godzilla has only about 11 minutes of screentime. (I guess, having watched it he is still all over the film even if you aren’t seeing him)

Mayor Ebert and his assistant Gene are spoofs of the late film critics Roger Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel (who would pass away less than a year after the film’s release). This is in response to the duo giving negative reviews to Emmerich and Devlin’s earlier films Stargate (1994) and Independence Day (1996). (That’s pretty funny)

An animated series called Godzilla: The Series (1998) was made which continued the storyline of the film. In the series, Tatopoulos accidentally discovers the egg that survived the destruction of the nest. The creature hatches and imprints on Nick as its parent. (Great ….)

Toho Studios gave the American creators a 75-page dossier of what they can and cannot do with Godzilla’s character. This included the following rules: Godzilla cannot eat people, only fish, he has to have three rows of dorsal plates, no more or less than three toes on his feet and four fingers on his hand, she cannot be made to look silly, he cannot die in the movie. Almost all of these points were disregarded, and according to Patrick Tatopoulos, the only specific instructions Roland Emmerich gave him was that Godzilla should be able to run incredibly fast and that it shouldn’t resemble a dinosaur too closely. (WTF)

The lead role was written specifically for Matthew Broderick. Indeed, the actor committed to the film without reading a finished screenplay. (Kind of cool)

Dean Devlin aggressively defended the movie on internet message boards, at times telling the Godzilla fans “to hell with you” if they had a negative opinion over it. The official Godzilla message board was shut down soon thereafter due to all the heated arguing. Years later, Devlin has admitted to recognizing the movie’s faults and apologized to the fans in various interviews. (Internet forums are poison Devlin)

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin abandoned Godzilla’s iconic atomic breath in favor of a “power breath”, where their Godzilla would simply blow objects away by exhaling a strong wind-like breath. However, news of the power breath leaked before the film’s release, which outraged fans and forced Emmerich and Devlin to make last minute changes on scenes involving the power breath, effects supervisor Volker Engel stated, “Dean and Roland wanted this monster to retain a certain menace and credibility, but Godzilla’s breath is something everyone expects to see at some point, So they came up with instances in which you would see something like the old breath, but with a kind of logic applied to it. We make the assumption that something in his breath, when it comes in contact with flame, causes combustive ignition. So you get this flame-thrower effect, which causes everything to ignite.” Creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos added, “We were creating an animal. We weren’t creating a monster.” (Actually pretty good reasoning, but completely makes sense that fans would be annoyed as well)

The number of the cabs used in the chase at the end of the movie is MN 44. Moon 44 (1990) is the title of an earlier film that was directed by Roland Emmerich and in which Dean Devlin appeared. (Fun fact)

Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the new Godzilla, states that the creature design mixes elements of various reptiles; also, he wanted the creature to be imposing and to inspire respect. To achieve that, he was inspired from the character Shere-Kan featured in The Jungle Book (1967); the tiger had a noticeable chin and Tatopoulos applied this characteristic on his design, taking the appearance of it from what he refers to be a “Selfin Dragon.” He also gave the creature humanoid shoulders and hands, very similar to the features included in the original design. (It … actually does kind of look like a tiger chin)

Godzilla’s design is based off a marine iguana as they originated in the Galapagos which is in the South Pacific. (It isn’t in the South Pacific, it is on the equator, but yeah, you can see a marine iguana in the opening)

The tanks used in the fish feeding scenes were actually big plastic/fiberglass mock-ups that were wheeled around on big dollies. (Movie magic)

When a cross-promotional deal with Anheuser-Busch was cancelled, visual effects artists had to digitally “erase” all Budweiser labels seen on beer bottles in the film. (Ha, when product placement goes wrong)

Was meant to be the cinematic debut of actress Maria Pitillo. The movie immediately “won” her a Golden Raspberry Award as the Worst Supporting Actress and she stopped receiving movie roles some years later. (Ridiculous since the film gives her absolutely nothing to do)

Roland Emmerich wanted his Godzilla to be fast. He can run about 200 mph. (Huh, that seems … too fast)

In a 2014 interview for the British film magazine Empire, Roland Emmerich admitted that he wanted to make a disaster movie about meteors rather than a Godzilla flick. However, Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998) had already been made by the time he was done directing this movie, which frustrated him as he wanted to make one first. (Ha)

Razzie Notes

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Maria Pitillo, 1999)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dean Devlin, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Roland Emmerich, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, 1999)

Beverly Hills Cop III Preview

The figure standing in front of Jamie and Patrick pulls back his hood. “Nic Cage?” Patrick exclaims. The figure looks contemplatively upon them. “Perhaps. I am and have always been. That is a name I have used to touch humanity. One of many.” He winks and pulls out a $5 bill. “Woah, you were also Abraham Lincoln?!” Jamie says in awe. Nic Cage shrugs his shoulders as if to say “Don’t worry about it.” He turns serious, “I have brought you here to tell you that the fate of the world is in your hands. A great tournament is upon us, one in which one of the realms of this world has the opportunity to conquer Earth. And let me tell you, that would not be very cool.” Jamie nods his head, “We can do it. I know we can win for you… for Earth.” Nic Cage steps back, “You misunderstand. That is not your fate. Rich and Poe. They are the true champions. You must find them.” Jamie and Patrick are totally confused. Rich and Poe? The titular police officers of their smash blockbuster hit? Are their own ninja skillz not enough, they wonder with concern, but Patrick gathers himself and nods. “We’ll do it. We will find these warriors and help them save the world.” Nic Cage smiles briefly before teleporting away. Jamie angrily turns to Patrick. “Bro, we can do this. We are the champions. Look at these muscles, bro.” Jamie flexes but Patrick waves him off. “There is more to this. I can feel it inside. We must find Rich and Poe… if they even exist.” Jamie scoffs, “So what do we know about Rich and Poe? They like Parkour and dogs.” Now it’s Patrick’s turn to scoff, “That describes literally everyone. We wrote them as cops right?”. Jamie turns to looks at the blasted landscape. “Well, I guess we better start walking if we hope to find the nearest police station.” That’s right! We are watching Beverly Hills Cop III. On the wikipedia page Murphy’s lack of effort, how boring the film is, and the fact that this marked the beginning of the end of Murphy’s career (debatable) are the reasons given for why it should be considered amongst the worst of all time. This was not enough because it was rejected. Let’s find out if we reject it as well. Let’s go!

Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) – BMeTric: 49.7

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(It might just make it back to 50 BMeTric. It is very unusual for a film to claw its way back from around 60, usually they kind of float around 50 and never quite make it. Seems like the rating has settles around 5.5 and it is just dependent on more votes coming in. It is very weird that people would watch this and be like 6/10 for sure. I don’t think it is supposed to be good at all.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Detroiter Murphy goes back to L.A., site of a theme park whose in-house security cops have hatched a counterfeiting ring – right under the nose of the sweet old gramps figure (Young) who’s nominally in charge. Fast pace and inspired setting can’t camouflage the bankruptcy of the concept. Gags are subordinate to action here – which, given the gags, may not have been such a bad idea. As usual, Landis features a number of prominent directors (including George Lucas, Joe Dante, Martha Coolidge, Arthur Hiller, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Medak, George Schaefer, Barbet Schroeder, and John Singleton) in cameo roles. Pinochet makes a welcome return from the original Cop movie as Serge.

(I might not have needed a full list of cameos. That sounds like a Zoolander 2 situation, but I haven’t heard much about that being the actual problem with the film elsewhere. He gave it a better review than the second one, which I’ve seen and thought was awful.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUjD5uKWxcg/

(Oh shit that song though gets me amped. Like honestly … that’s a pretty good trailer. The amusement park setting seems fun, the action seems fun, Murphy seems fun. I can’t wait to see why this is a catastrophe.)

Directors – John Landis – (Known For: Coming to America; The Blues Brothers; Animal House; Trading Places; An American Werewolf in London; The Kentucky Fried Movie; Twilight Zone: The Movie; ¡Three Amigos!; Blues Brothers 2000; Amazon Women on the Moon; Schlock; Future BMT: The Stupids; Burke and Hare; Spies Like Us; Innocent Blood; Oscar; Into the Night; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for Beverly Hills Cop III; and in 1997 for The Stupids; Notes: His career was marred by the on-set deaths of Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen in a special effects accident during filming of The Twilight Zone: The Movie. His son, Max Landis, is a screenwriter.)

Writers – Danilo Bach (character) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Someone to Watch Over Me; Future BMT: April Fool’s Day; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: Very little about him available. This is just a character credit, he just wrote the first film, and he’s definitely retired at this point.)

Daniel Petrie Jr. (character) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Turner & Hooch; The Big Easy; Deadly Pursuit; Future BMT: In the Army Now; Toy Soldiers; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: He father was a big time director in the 60s, and his brother Donald is a big time director now. Literally his whole family is in the biz.)

Steven E. de Souza (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; Die Hard 2; Commando; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Knock Off; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: Somewhat well known as the director of Street Fighter as well, which was his only major directorial effort.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Coming to America; Trading Places; Shrek; Shrek 2; Boomerang; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; The Nutty Professor; Dreamgirls; 48 Hrs.; Tower Heist; Life; Beverly Hills Cop II; Doctor Dolittle; Bowfinger; Imagine That; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; Pluto Nash; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Y’all know Eddie Murphy. Rumor is that the sequel to Coming to America is starting production soon for a 2020 release.)

Judge Reinhold – (Known For: Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Gremlins; Beverly Hills Cop; Stripes; Beverly Hills Cop II; Ruthless People; The Santa Clause; The Santa Clause 2; Vice Versa; Homegrown; Clifford’s Really Big Movie; Rosalie Goes Shopping; Checking Out; Future BMT: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Zandalee; Swing Vote; Head Office; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: His birthname is Edward, he was nicknamed Judge by his father as a baby.)

Hector Elizondo – (Known For: Pretty Woman; The Lego Batman Movie; The Princess Diaries; Overboard; The Book of Life; Runaway Bride; American Gigolo; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Frankie and Johnny; Nothing in Common; The Flamingo Kid; Go for Sisters; Cuba; Being Human; The Landlord; Tortilla Soup; The Fan; Entropy; Pocket Money; Frankie and Johnny Are Married; Future BMT: Exit to Eden; Turbulence; Getting Even with Dad; The Princess Diaries 2; Private Resort; The Celestine Prophecy; Leviathan; Raising Helen; Dear God; Young Doctors in Love; How High; Necessary Roughness; Love in the Time of Cholera; The Other Sister; Filofax; Born to Win; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Mother’s Day; Georgia Rule; Notes: His star-turning role in Pretty Women was only available because Al Pacino turned it down.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $42,614,912 (Worldwide: $119,208,989)

(That … is fine actually. A little surprising. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the film is supposed to be so bad I had figured it had stopped the franchise in its tracks.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (5/50): No consensus yet.

(Really really bad for a beloved franchise. I’ll try and make a consensus: A joyless, cynical, simply awful final outing for a beloved franchise. Reviewer Highlight: It’s one of the most cynically engineered sequels ever. – Peter Rainer, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – I’m a Cop! (D+)

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(This is of course the logical conclusion to a trilogy of posters. By the end it’s just the star looking at you saying “come watch me be whatever this poster tells you I am.” I could have done without the weird rollercoaster and it feels a little amateurish given it’s a massively popular franchise. But kept the font and not a total disaster.)

Tagline(s) – In for the ride of his life! (B+)

(Is this really about an amusement park or something? Why would they make this? This sounds awful. I guess this tagline performs its task… it is short, plays off the rollercoaster aspect of the plot, and is somewhat clever. But it is giving me anxiety thinking of all the people who were working on a Beverly Hills Cop film set in an amusement park and making posters and taglines related to amusement parks when that’s a terrible idea.)

Keyword(s) – woman with a gun; Top Ten by BMeTric: 69.5 Postal (2007); 60.8 Legion (2010); 60.7 Ishtar (1987); 56.5 Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986); 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 53.7 Killers (2010); 53.6 Pandemic (2016); 53.0 Spy Hard (1996); 52.8 Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010); 49.7 Beverly Hills Cop III (1994);

(Ugh Nude Nuns with Big Guns. Gross.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eddie Murphy is No. 1 billed in Beverly Hills Cop III and No. 1 billed in Harlem Nights, which also stars Richard Pryor (No. 2 billed) who is in Superman III (No. 2 billed), which also stars Annette O’Toole (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 7 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 = 18. If we were to watch Showtime, and Killer Elite we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – As Axel Foley jumps onto the Spider ride at Wonder World, the man that he jumps in front of was George Lucas. (Coooooool)

Production was temporarily shut down to allow the Paramount top brass the chance to get to grips with the film’s spiraling budget. Originally estimated at fifty-five million dollars, it was soon in excess of seventy million dollars. Of that budget, fifteen million dollars was Eddie Murphy’s paycheck. (Oof, so yeah … not really a financial success then.)

Initially, the plot for this film would’ve concerned Foley, Rosewood, and Taggart (John Ashton) going to London to rescue Captain Bogomil (Ronny Cox), who was being held hostage by terrorists during a International Police Convention. However, numerous problems, such as scripting issues and the budget, caused pre-production to drag out to the point that John Aston and Ronny Cox had to drop out, due to obligations to other pending film projects. (Awww international sequels are the worst, and thus that would have been the best)

The Alien Attack ride that Janice (Theresa Randle) demonstrates to Axel when he first comes to Wonder World, is actually the Earthquake section of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The alien robots are the Cylons (from Battlestar Galactica (1978)) from a section of the old Universal Tour “Battle Of Galactica”. (WHAT)

In an interview with The A.V. Club in 2009, Bronson Pinchot claimed that Eddie Murphy “was really depressed” at the time the movie was being filmed, claiming that Murphy was low-spirited and had a low energy level. He was depressed that most of his most recent star vehicles had either underperformed or bombed. (Yeah, this is a year before Vampire in Brooklyn which really tanked his career. Ebert says on his program that at that point he should have done a few small parts with a great director … instead he bounced back with The Nutty Professor which sent his career in a whole other direction before cratering)

In a 2005 interview, John Landis claimed that Eddie Murphy worked against the comedy of the film by deliberately not being funny. Landis said that the film “was a very strange experience”.

The Annihilator 2000 shown off by Serge at the security convention is actually a dressed up 5.56mm Colt M16, with extras. (Gun facts)

Among the rejected ideas for “Beverly Hills Cop III” included a Robert Towne screenplay idea (one in which Axel Foley has to deal with his celebrity cop status), a scenario teaming Eddie Murphy with Sir Sean Connery as a Scotland Yard detective, and another Axel Foley-in-London idea, where his Scotland Yard counterpart would have been played by John Cleese. The last story would have involved a British gangster loosely based on the real-life Kray brothers, who was captured in Detroit and transported to London by Paul Reiser’s Jeffrey, and Axel would have gone overseas after the gangster’s henchmen broke him out of custody and murdered Jeffrey. This concept was scrapped, because producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer decided it was too close to the storyline of Black Rain (1989). (All sound terrible to be honest, although Connery would have been bonkers)

Disney Composers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who wrote the Wonder World song for the movie, both filmed cameos. Robert was among the old men discussing the murder at the bar, but Richard’s cameo as the Grand Marshal of the Wonder World parade was cut out.

Eddie Murphy said he thought “Beverly Hills Cop III was infinitely better than Beverly Hills Cop II (1987).” He then later claimed during an interview in 2006 on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) that he felt the third film was “atrocious” and such a disgrace that “the character was kind of banished for a while (from Hollywood).” He said he felt the third film did not reveal enough of the “edginess” of Axel that was present in the first two films. He also said he hopes to return the edgy qualities to the character when he reprises the role next time, and is going to pay more attention to the development of the project, and its quality. (Hmmmm actually makes me more interested in a Beverly Hills Cop IV)

One idea for the film came from Brandon Tartikoff who suggested a crossover film, with Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee, but the idea was rejected by Eddie Murphy. (WHAT)

The Land of the Dinosaurs ride is the closed ride called Kingdom of the Dinosaurs from Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA.

The location of Wonder World according to Rosewood’s map is in Encino, California. (Got to keep an eye out for that)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (Robert Rehme, Mace Neufeld, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Landis, 1995)

Cobra Preview

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

Cobra (1986) – BMeTric: 42.3

Cobra_BMeT

Cobra_RV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cobra_offscreencouples

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

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

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

Poster – I AM THE LAW (A)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predator 2 Recap

Jamie

In the crime-ridden 1997 hellscape that is LA a don’t-play-by-nobody’s-rulez cop, Mike Harrigan, comes up against a new breed of criminal that is taking out the local gangs. Turns out the Predator’s back, Jack, and LA in a heat wave is looking mighty tasty. Can Harrigan stop the Predator before it’s too late? Find out in… Predator 2.

How?! Mike Harrigan don’t play by nobody’s rules, especially when it comes to policing the streets. You don’t want him to contaminate a crime scene? Too bad, because there are some bad guys that need to pay… with blood, babbbbbby. Now that you know who Harrigan is you know that when a new danger appears on the streets taking out some of the toughest street gangs he is not ready to give the investigation over to the feds. Something seems fishy and he and his team are gonna do everything to find out what. Through solid police work and ingenuity they are able to find that something dangerous is afoot in their fair city and as a result of their sleuthing they are being taken out one-by-one. Just when it seems like Harrigan has cornered the bad guy he is confronted by the feds who reveal that in fact a Predator is what is afoot and he better back off while they go after it with cryogenic plasma guns (don’t worry about it). They of course are a bunch of dopes and Harrigan has to go in and show this Predator what’s what. He chases it across the rooftops in the dangerous dance of the hunt eventually chasing him all the way to its hidden ship. Facing off mano a mano Harrigan is able to one-up the Predator and its colleagues gift him a trophy and tell him to scram. They then zoom away in the spaceship because they are space aliens who honestly don’t give a fuck about our human problems. THE END.

Why?! I think what I’ve learned from analyzing the motivations of BMT characters is that the good guys are usually the more uninteresting characters. Harrigan is just a good cop. Yeah, sure he’s got a ‘tude, but he also gets the job done and mostly does it without bending the rules too badly. Usually the bad guy is more interesting, but when that adversary is a Predator the motivation is still pretty flat. It’s a Predator… it’s for the thrill of the hunt. Really the feds have the most interesting motivations. They want to capture the Predator and have been looking to do so for years. They want to freeze it, study it, and improve our technology using it and really don’t care how many people die in attaining that goal.

Who?! Both Ruben Blades and Maria Conchita Alonso are singers in addition to being actors. Blades in particular is pretty famous and has won eight Grammy’s over his career. Alonso less so, but she also has a Grammy nomination to her name (but who doesn’t). I find it more interesting that they chose to give Morton Downey Jr. a cameo in the film as a crazy trash TV host reporting on the rampant crime in future LA. He sounds like a terrible person, really, and surprisingly this will probably not be the last time we see him in a BMT film.

What?! I don’t recall any specific product placement for the film that knocked my socks off or even a MacGuffin. There was a crazy pirate gun that the Predators gave Harrigan on the end for defeating their colleague in hand-to-hand combat. It said that it was from 1718 and belonged to Raphael Adolini. You might wonder what the significance of that is given how specific it is… apparently it was inscribed that way because the screenwriters wanted to set the next film in the past (WWII is the rumor) and wanted to establish that Predators had been doing their thing for a long while. So it is literally just to set up a sequel. Lame.

Where?! It’s explicitly spelled out that this is set in Los Angeles from both context and intratitles. Technically I think this is a B+ since to get an A I feel like the setting should be vital to the plot in some way. Could have easily been set in NYC during a heat wave without issue.

When?! I would have to go back and check if the exact date is shown or mentioned in the film. Often in a police station there will be a calendar hanging on the wall to give a hint. Looking at Predator wiki pages if I were able to figure it out then this would potentially be a novel addition to the Predator history since generally the events of Predator 2 are just marked as “Summer 1997.” For the moment that’s the best we can do. C-.

It’s been a while since I’ve had as much fun watching a BMT film. It is straight up ridiculous. I don’t know how something like this could actually be made except that the late 80’s into the early 90’s was a wild time where some wild people were making some wild stuff. The beginning in particular is a marvel to watch and it’s almost a shame that it’s aged into self-parody. Hard to watch it now and not have part of you think that it was made ironically. But given what we’ve learned about that time in American film I think this is as earnest as could be and I love it very much for that. It’s what I believe makes a truly great bad film: earnestness in its creation. It’s also why making a bad movie on purpose is so hard. You need to truly believe that the best option for the script is to have Gary Busey don a cryogenic suit to battle a Predator and shoot it as seriously as possible. The very end shifts suddenly in order to check off some Predator boxes for the audience: a little more lore for our alien friend and a walk through of its space vehicle, so I think probably the producers thought it was successful for those aims. This also suggested to me that this was in fact just a film adapted from a stereotypical cop action film to include the Predator. Honestly the Predator barely seemed necessary until the very end of the film. I would love to find out this started as some Lethal Weapon sequel and then the screenwriter quickly made it into a Predator film for a last minute meeting. I believe it in my heart. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Watching films you’ve seen before for BMT is an interesting experience. You know the beats, but you lose something as well, that sense of newness I suppose. I’ve seen Predator 2 a few times, but it never gets old. It deserved the Preview / Recap treatment, so I did it with joy. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Previews – I had actually already seen Predator 2 prior to the viewing. From what I recalled the film was ridiculous. There was a police station with papers blowing everywhere which was lovely. And there was like literal voodoo magic. I was kind of secretly hoping all of these things were in the film … but I kind of knew that I was sadly misremembering. A boy can hope.

The Good – The movie is distilled madness. A very 90s sequel to a very 80s film unnecessarily set in the future with voodoo and giant flowing outfits and sweaty actors. The film is undeniably weird in a way that it is totally understandable that people like it. For a sequel to the original Predator I think they get the level of violence just right, at least for the after-the-fact reviews I read online.

The Bad – I think setting the film in the future is a mistake, and I think setting it in a city is a mistake. For the second they could have gone back to the jungle in Cambodia in 1967 Vietnam. And then by the time the third is going to be made you can set it in NYC or LA in 1997 instead of making it a future film. The acting is so over the top it is insane. The film comes across as genuinely racist both with the cocaine guzzingly hispanic gang, and the voodoo practicing Jamaican gang. It is of the time, but a mistake. This isn’t a terrible film in my estimation, it is just … too odd to take seriously, unlike Predator, which is still awesome.

You Just Got Schooled – I did manage to get a sweet director commentary for the film. And by “sweet” I mean very soft spoken and boring. I made a tactical mistake here. Rule number one of commentaries: it is always more entertaining with multiple people. And there was a second commentary with the two writers of the film. Such is life. The commentary was boring, but did have a few fun notes. Like how Predator 2 was the first film to ever receive an NC-17 rating, and so they had to edit it 20+ times to get to an R. And everyone in the film is wearing hats because the costume designer figured ozone depletion and global warming would eventually lead to people wearing loose fitting clothing and hats. I give it a C-. Really too boring, but the director is interesting enough to warrant a watch if you have the time.

The BMT – The Predator franchise is now immortalized in BMT lore with The Predator added to the BMT Live, and now we’ve done all qualifying films in the Predator franchise. I don’t think Predator 2 will make much of a mark though. I think there are better examples of the really-bad-sequel-to-the-really-good-80s-action-film.

Welcome to Earf – Weirdly easy because of Danny Glover, who was in Predator 2 and Proud Mary which also starred Neal McDonough, who was also in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li which also starred Chris Klein, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – It is tough to find real lists from this long ago, but the two I found (Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone) did not include this film for 1990. There is a nice article where Arnold Schwarzenegger just rips through the franchise and especially this film. So that’s fun.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Predator 2 Quiz

You’re a hard-boiled detective that don’t play by no rulez. But uh oh! There is a new criminal in town and he doesn’t play by any rules … not ever space rules! Knowledge is power in this game of predator versus prey!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) This is the dangerous dystopian future of 1997 Los Angeles and there are two rival gangs duking it out for control of the streetz! What are the two gangs?

2) Before our heros can get up to the Columbian hideout though they all get totally Predatored. Meanwhile Gary Busey comes swooping in taking exactly zero guff. Who does he claim to be while yoinking jurisdiction from Danny Glover?

3) In retaliation the voodoo Jamaican gang murders the leader of the Columbian gang, but yet again everyone gets totally Predatored (except for the naked lady, noice). What do our heros discover in the penthouse of vital importance to the case?

4) In the end basically the entire gang besides Glover is killed. The exception is the lady with the rad and bad ‘tude Maria Alonso. Why wasn’t she killed?

5) Finally, Danny Glover kills a Predator and hops into their spaceship. What does the Predator family give him as a reward for being a bad motherf-er?

Answers

Predator 2 Preview

When Jamie and Patrick enter the Police Academy they are immediately approached by the officer in charge. He says that given their perfect physiques and solid references he thought they could keep an eye on the jokester recruits until they quit. Just as Patrick beings to politely decline (they ain’t no snitches) a strong gust of wind results in the freak pantsing of the officer. Looking around he sees Jamie laughing with the rest of the party animal recruits. “You’ll regret this!” screams the officer in charge. “I’ll make sure both of you are run out of this Academy!” Oh yeah? Not when they are the best recruits the Academy has ever seen. They backflip their way through obstacle courses and use their years of experience with heavy weaponry to blow through the simulations. One day as graduation nears they return to their bunks to find 50 kgs of cocaine sitting on our beds. God damn sabotage! “How can we get rid of a shitload of cocaine?” Jamie wails. “Hold on,” says Patrick thinking, “Shitload… load… load of laundry. I got an idea!” Recalling the tight writing of Exit Wounds, Jamie and Patrick quickly soak 3,000 t-shirts in a vat of cocaine water. When the police arrive all they find is Jamie and Patrick and a shitload of t-shirts. “What’s going on here?” Asks the commander, “we got a tip for a drug bust.” “Nope,” responds Patrick, “Just us and our t-shirt business inventory.” The commander is impressed and we graduate first in the class for our mad skillz and entrepreneurship. In disbelief the officer in charge gets wind of a pretty tough first assignment. Precinct 16 has a Predator problem and he’s pretty sure he knows who’s going to be on Predator Duty. That’s right! This week we are taking the opportunity of the Franchise-zzz cycle to finish (?) the Predator franchise with Predator II. We really jumped around that franchise but somehow never got around to the film set in the far crime-ridden future of 1997 that co-starred Gary Busey. Seems like an oversight. No more! Let’s go!

Predator 2 (1990) – BMeTric: 24.4

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(There is almost no logical eplanation in my mind why the Predator 2 IMDb rating would be above 6.0, almost none. The movie is a joke that sidelined quite an impressive idea for a franchise for a decade.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fast-paced (if too derivative) sequel, minus Arnold. This time, cop Glover and cronies take on the title alien in 1997 L.A. Good production design and lots of hit-’em-across-the-face action, but don’t looke for anything resembling inventive dialogue or character development. Then again, you wouldn’t expect either from a film with Morton Downey, Jr., in its cast.

(Wow Morton Downey Jr. was basically a morning zoo guy, but more trash TV. His filmography was dire. Was a weirdly pro-cigarette advocate right up until he got cancer and had to have a lung removed. Sounds like a delight.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPdBVUP5Zw

(Ha “With a few days to kill” classic. Seems just okay. It certainly seems ludicrous. Honestly, they didn’t need to make it a heatwave and have everyone sweating profusely the entire time. Its gross.)

Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: Lost in Space; A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Directed most of the first season of 24, including the pilot for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Won an Emmy for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Has a hilarious quote about Predator 2 where he said that his main mistake was taking it too seriously and trying to add too much depth to the film. Sure man, whatever you say.)

Writers – John Thomas and Jim Thomas (characters & written by) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; Wild Wild West; The Predator; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Predator 2; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: God I kinda love all these films and cannot wait for Mission to Mars now. These two are writing partners and brothers. Just like us… exactly like us… with the exact same level and success as us.)

Actors – Danny Glover – (Known For: The Old Man & the Gun; Sorry to Bother You; Saw; Shooter; The Rainmaker; Lethal Weapon; Witness; Silverado; The Royal Tenenbaums; The Prince of Egypt; Escape from Alcatraz; The Color Purple; Blindness; Dreamgirls; Lethal Weapon 2; Antz; Lethal Weapon 4; Maverick; Lethal Weapon 3; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; Rage; Gone Fishin’; Age of the Dragons; Operation Dumbo Drop; Diablo; Barnyard; Andron; The Cookout; Monster Trucks; Pure Luck; Angels in the Outfield; Flight of the Intruder; Supremacy; Switchback; Legendary; Wild America; LUV; Gospel Hill; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Proud Mary; 2012; Dirty Grandpa; Predator 2; Notes: In 1984-5 he appeared in three Best Picture nominated films, Places in the Heart, The Color Purple, and Witness. He never got a nomination, though. He did get nominated for four Emmys throughout his career.)

Gary Busey – (Known For: A Star Is Born; Point Break; Lethal Weapon; The Firm; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lost Highway; Under Siege; Silver Bullet; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Player; The Buddy Holly Story; Big Wednesday; Bounty Killer; Straight Time; Insignificance; Barbarosa; The Gingerdead Man; Cloud 9; Wild in the Streets; Carried Away; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Behaving Badly; Chasers; Drop Zone; Homo Erectus; Rookie of the Year; D.C. Cab; Black Sheep; Surviving the Game; Entourage; The Gumball Rally; BMT: Soldier; Predator 2; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for The Buddy Holly Story. Father of Jake Busey who was actually in the latest Predator film. Nearly died in a motorcycle accident in 1988 when he crashed while not wearing a helmet. Strangely not long before the accident he had appeared at a rally aimed at preventing a law requiring people to wear helmets when using a motorcycle. Sad.)

Kevin Peter Hall – (Known For: Predator; Harry and the Hendersons; Future BMT: Big Top Pee-wee; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Sadly died very young after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion received following a car accident.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $30,669,413 (Worldwide: $57,120,318)

(Eh. If you squint your eyes you can only kind of tell that this lost millions of dollars for the studio. Yeah, killed any hopes for a franchise for a while.)

#46 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Right in the original creature feature boom from the 80s, although given it looks like dogshit compared to Jurassic Park it isn’t that much of a surprise it would take a while to figure out how to transition from mega expensive animatronics to CGI like that film did. Alien Vs. Predator is the highest grossing BMT film we’ve done.)

#45 for the Future – Near genre

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(Right in the sweet spot where the genre was punching above its weight a bit. Predicting the future in film has been around for about as long as film and follows the technological advancements as well. A Sound of Thunder is the lowest grossing, but probably most entertaining example we’ve done)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (7/26): No consensus yet.

(A lot higher that I personally would have expected, but people do love Predator. Reviewer Highlight: [T]he film’s greatest loss is one of spirit. We live on a speck in a corner of a vast universe, and what makes us human is our ability to wonder about what’s out there. Since we do not know, the fables we create serve only to inspire our dreams. “Predator 2” is a movie whose dreams are angry and ugly. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Alium Hunter 2: Aliums in the City (D-)

predator_two_ver1

(My eyes! My god, my eyes! Almost The Avengers (1998) level but that weird slanted predator blocks out most of the jarringly bright colors to mitigate the damage. At least it got that classic Predator font. Last Year’s reboot forgot that to its great detriment.)

Tagline(s) – He’s in town with a few days to kill. (Ha, no.)

Silent. Invisible. Invincible. The Ultimate Hunter. (Warmer.)

This Time… Los Angeles, 1997. (Yes… and…)

(Cocaine is the only explanation for any of this. From the poster to the three wildly different taglines. They must have typed out like 500 taglines in an all night bender and then began yelling and punching each other because of how genius they all were until they fell unconscious from exhaustion and the producers just used all of them because fuck it. They got a party to go to.)

Keyword(s) – alien; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 81.9 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 78.1 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000); 76.3 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 74.8 Species II (1998); 74.8 After Earth (2013);

(My god. Who would have thought the last “alien” film we’d have to do to polish off this keyword is The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. No I.)

Notes – The filming of the alley scene was very troublesome for the filmmakers, due to it being filmed in a very rough neighborhood. The alley was littered with garbage, most of which was used in the film, and plagued with large rats. Local residents angered by the noise created by the film crew, would throw bottles and paper bags filled with feces from windows at the crew in the alley below. Worst of all, the film crew found a dead body hidden amongst the garbage. (This does not sound real. They found a dead body in an alleyway filled with trash that they chose as a filming location? Come on.).

The Jamaican voodoo posse gangs, seen in the film, were based on actual gangs that were terrorizing New York City and Kansas City in the mid to late 1980s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said no to Predator 2 (1990), because he didn’t like the new director, or the new script.

In the backstory behind why Dutch, the main protagonist of the first film did not return for the sequel. Keyes had learned of Dutch’s encounter with the Predator, and he tracked Dutch down to a hospital, in which Dutch was being treated for an illness from radiation sickness, thought to be a result of exposure of the Predator’s Self-Destruct Device. After hearing Dutch’s account of events, Keyes and the O.W.L.F. team were sent to the jungle to investigate, and studied the site where the Predator detonated it’s Self-Destruction Device, and discovered evidence of a spaceship launch in the jungle, and that the deceased Predator’s ship had automatically returned to the Predator homeworld, and Dutch later escaped from the hospital and vanished, and Keyes personally believed he was still alive. (Ugh, it would have been perfect for The Predator this year, to have him having been abducted and then returned to Earth as its savior)

With more time than the original Predator (1987), Stan Winston, Stephen Hopkins, and Lawrence G. Paull came up with ideas and designs with more exotic weapons (the retractable spear, the detachable pincers, the Smart Disc, the net, et cetera.) for the Predator to use, to differentiate this film from the previous one.

The spear weapon, that was used in the film, disappeared and was reported stolen after filming was completed.

The plot underwent a few changes in its earliest stages. Gary Busey’s character, Keyes, was actually intended to be Dutch, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from the first film. Schwarzenegger was very outspoken against the sequel’s concept, feeling that taking it into the city was a bad idea, and declined the role. (I don’t think he’s right, I just think it would have been smarter to go Cambodia 1967 first as that was already mentioned, would have allowed to make LA 1997 not take place in the future as well)

Kevin Peter Hall had studied African tribal dances, in order to get into the feel and flexibility of the Predator, and to give him a personality.

Stephen Hopkins was given the task of directing Predator 2 (1990) after greatly impressing the studio when directing A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989). He had been given just four weeks to shoot, and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage, while the crew dressed the other, allowing them to shoot almost continually.

The film was re-cut over twenty times, according to Stephen Hopkins, because of more graphic shots of mutilated bodies and decapitations by the Predator.

Rubén Blades was giving a live television interview to Good Morning America (1975) from the set of this movie. During the interview, Stephen Hopkins walked on camera, and ordered Blades back to work very loudly. The incident was so embarrassing, Blades and Hopkins did another interview a few days later to apologize.

King Willie (Calvin Lockhart) is said to practice Voodoo, yet Voodoo is not commonly practiced in Jamaica and actually comes from Haiti. King Willie is more likely a Rastafarian, which is a common religion in Jamaica and would explain his dreadlocks and the fact he calls Harrigan “Babylon” (a Rastafarian term for the justice system which they see as oppressive and corrupt).

Elpidia Carrillo, who played Anna in the first film, has her name listed in the sequel’s credits, yet doesn’t seem to appear in the actual film. Look carefully during the scene inside Peter Keyes’ mobile headquarters, and you will spot her. When Keyes (Gary Busey) describes how the creature activated a self-destruct device in Predator (1987), you can briefly spot Anna on one of the video screens. Carrillo filmed a debriefing scene, in which she talks to the camera and describes the events of the first film, but it was cut from the sequel.

The subway attack scene was directly adapted from the first Predator comic book series. The producers thought it was cool, and wanted to use it in the film. (Huh, I honestly didn’t realize the comics came before the second film)

Respirators were required during the slaughterhouse sequence, due to the debris and chemicals that had filled up inside the set.

John McTiernan’s fee after Die Hard (1988) was two million dollars. That’s why he declined to direct this movie, because the executives wanted to keep the budget the same as on the first film.

Keyes is the only character to ever use the word “predator” to refer to the Predator on-screen the word “predators” is also used by Isabelle in Predators (2010) but she uses it to refer to the human characters in the film not the Predator creatures.

According to Screenwriters Jim Thomas and John Thomas, a Predator sequel had not been planned, and they had to wait to see how successful the Predator comic book series would be. After the series was a hit, Producer Joel Silver was finally able to convince Fox to make the sequel, which was immediately greenlit.

The original storyline of the film was to have taken place in New York City, but Jim Thomas and John Thomas quickly changed it to Los Angeles, because of budget concerns. The scene where the Predator raises the skull during the lighting storm, was to have taken place atop the Chrysler Building.

This was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the U.S. for its graphic violence, before it was re-cut to its final theatrical length. (Huh. I was actually rather skeptical of this when I read it, but as it makes sense it was the first. You’d need a load of violence these days to get NC-17 and it would have to be a lot more graphic than this)

Several of the hunting party members were played by players from the Los Angeles Lakers; Danny Glover was a big fan, and when the production needed several very tall people to play the background Predators, he asked them to help out. (Awesome)

The first film Gary Busey made after his nearly fatal motorcycle accident. (He looks good)

The brief scene with the hunting party was the most expensive to make in the entire film. Stan Winstons effects team had to build nine additional, unique Predator suits for just a few minutes of screentime. (That sounds dumb … but weirdly worth it)

John McTiernan was offered the chance to direct, but turned it down to work on The Hunt for Red October (1990). (Smart)

[There were a bunch more notes mostly with info gleaned from either the novelization or comics, but you can go to IMDb for those]