Cutthroat Island Recap

Jamie

Morgan Adams is a mighty pirate cut from a different cloth. When her eeevil uncle vows to find the family treasure by any means necessary, she decides to beat him to it with the help of sexy rogue William Shaw. Can she stop her uncle, find the treasure, earn the trust of her crew (and perhaps get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Cutthroat Island.

How?! Morgan Adams has quite the dastardly reputation in the Caribbean. Already a fugitive from the law, she finds herself in even more hot water when her father is captured by her evil uncle Dawg Brown. Rather than give him the secret of Cutthroat Island, her father chooses to give up his own life in exchange for giving a piece of the treasure map to Morgan. Now on the run, she gets the begrudging acceptance of her father’s crew and sets sail to Port Royal to find a translator for the map. In Port Royal, dashing rogue William Shaw has also found himself in hot water having lied and swindled ladies across the isles. Now a prisoner, Morgan buys him at auction, but not before the authorities recognize her and a major shootout ensues. Across the island they catch up with Morgan’s other uncle, but before they can get the second piece of the map Dawg appears. A fight ensues, Morgan is shot and in the chaos William is able to find and keep hidden the map piece. Shaw, who has claimed he is a doctor, treats Morgan’s wounds and perchance a romantic spark is lit. But before long Dawg is in hot pursuit and they only barely keep them at bay by navigating through dangerous seas. During the storm Morgan finds William attempting to use the map for his own devices and has him locked away, meanwhile the crew revolts and sends Morgan and her loyal crew off in a tiny liferaft. Miraculously they survive and wake up to find themselves at Cutthroat Island itself. On the island they are dismayed to find that Dawg and her former crew have teamed up and also surprised when they find that William is there and has stolen the last piece of the map from Dawg! With all the pieces in hand William and Morgan find the treasure, but are found by Dawg who forces them to jump from a cliff. William survives and is taken captive, while Morgan sneaks aboard her old ship and takes it back. A big ol’ climactic fight ensues on the high seas resulting in Dawg getting killed by a cannon and William and Morgan recovering the treasure. They then smooch and such and set out on another adventure. THE END (or is it? (it is.))

Why?! As Vinny D would say: fambly. Geena Davis comes from a family of pirates who’s patriarch (her grandfather) found and hid the family treasure on Cutthroat Island. Only the whole family could together find the treasure… you know, as long as the crazy evil one doesn’t kill all of them first. So the rest is obvious. Gotta stop that crazy evil one from ruining the fambly plan.

Who?! Renny Harlin appears in the film uncredited, which isn’t all that exciting. What is exciting is that Thor the dog appears CREDITED in the role of Pirate Dog. He had already appeared in a prior Renny Harlin film, Cliffhanger, so they must have had a good rapport. Finster appears uncredited as Morgan’s monkey, which is a travesty as the role was pretty big. He is better known for his star role as the titular monkey in Monkey Trouble.

What?! Whether you think of it as four separate MacGuffins or a single MacGuffin broken into four pieces, this is a pretty good one as the entire plot focuses around getting all the pieces together. It’s also a little unclear why the treasure was hidden in the first place. Maybe to wait out the authorities. But the family had all the pieces the entire time and never cared to get together and get it until Dawg started his own quest? It doesn’t make much sense. I found this to be a little more interesting than the thousands of props for sale online, which honestly probably ended up there because the studio sold it all off trying to make a buck.

Where?! The Caribbean and primarily Jamaica. It got me thinking about mapl.de.map. There have always been some vague parameters on what would “win” the spot on the map for a particular location. Is it how prominently the setting factors into the film or is it the grade (A+ location in title wins). This makes me think the answer is the former. Would rather have a film that best represents the location take the spot. B.

When?! I could probably write a bunch on this, but I think this might be an A film. I’ll keep it short, but they tell us explicitly that the year is 1668. Why? Because at the time Jamaica had just changed from Spanish to British rule, and let’s just say the Spanish weren’t happy about it. As a result the British, aiming to keep control of the island, supported piracy to fend off the Spanish. The island then descended into lawlessness from 1660-1670 after which a treaty was signed and the piracy was reined in. Interesting.

I certainly understand the reviews for the film. It took a big swashbuckling adventure and just filled it with explosions and were like “that’s fun, right?” The complete lack of humor is glaring considering that was a big part of what made Pirates of the Caribbean such a success. They would even say lines that almost sounded like jokes, but I assure you they were not. Just kinda bland explosions most of the time. All that being said, it was still a rollicking adventure if that’s simply all that you were looking for. It also took some shots for the gender reversal with Morgan as swashbuckling captain and Shaw as gentleman in distress, but I actually thought that was deftly done. Matthew Modine plays the pretty boy liar who slithers his way out of trouble with his smile well and Geena Davis was very winning. So I disagree with that. Overall some good and bad things and not the total disaster I maybe would have thought given the reputation it earned at the box office. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Well, shiver me timbers. It is time to raise the Jolly Roger and ogle that 90’s heartthrob … Matthew Modine? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – One of the most notorious box office bombs in history. All of the reviews seem to suggest it is … good? It does seem odd that swashbuckling adventures just were terrible in the 90s, so bad, in fact, that people thought pirate films were just done until Disney breathed new life into it half a decade later. What were my expectations? A good movie I guess. Which I don’t often say. It seemed plausible that the movie was actually pretty good, but it was just a box office catastrophe never seen before.

The Good – So … I wouldn’t call the movie good, which I’ll get to. But Geena Davis was solid, and the film is, indeed, a pretty fun adventure film. Like something like The Three Musketeers (the 90s one) maybe. The main set peces of Port Royal, the bar in Spittlefield, and the final naval battle are all incredible as well. You can definitely see where most of the money went in this financial disaster. And if you watched Masters of the Universe and thought “Man, I wish Frank Langella was allowed to really go over the top, he’s so restrained as Skeletor!”, well, then this is the movie for you. Best Bit: The set pieces.

The Bad – Unfortunately the action looks like absolute garbage. I might be being a bit harsh, but like The Three Musketeers (the 90s one) there is something about 90s films where swashbuckling action looks ultra cheesy and terrible. Something about cannonballs resulting in giant Hollywood explosions just doesn’t sit right. And something about the lackluster sword fighting in this film only serves to remind me how incredible Pirates of the Caribbean really is. And unfortunately Modine constantly feels like a second or third choice for the role, no matter how much good effort he puts in. Fatal Flaw: Bad action for how much money it costs.

The BMT – I don’t know … I kind of dug this movie. If you can excuse that it doesn’t look as polished as Pirates of the Caribbean and the action is kind of lame even compared to other swashbucklers from arond the same time, then there is a pretty entertaining pirate story sitting in there. And Geena Davis and Frank Langella are a solid good/bad team. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, for the most part. I would have thought the movie would look better, but I can excuse that to get my swashbuckler on.

Roast-radamus – There is a halfway decent Planchet (Who?) for Captain Trotter who Ainslee just dunks on the entire film for being a dummy. Obviously a fantastic Setting as a Character (Where?) for Jamaica which, oddly, this film is rarely mentioned as being set there, but a good 50% of the film is very much explicitly in various parts of Jamaica. And then a solid MacGuffin (Why?) for the secret three part treasure map of Cutthroat Island, which isn’t on any maps! This film is very much closest to Good despite looking like garbage and having garbage action because, honestly, who hates a swashbuckling adventure story?

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The obvious one is Sequel since they tease a sequel at the end of the film. Flashforward a few decades and Morgan Adams and William Shaw are married and ruling the roost in Madagascar as pirates extraordinaire! Suddenly, who shows up but their old enemy Dawg’s former first mate, uh … Pound Grisham (Dawg & Pound, get it? That’s the prequel I’m setting up). And who does he have as a prisoner, but Mordachai’s grandson, William Adams. Pound wants Morgan to help him to sail across the Indian Ocean and attack the great eastern pirate stronghold of … let’s go with Gao. Little does she know that this is all a ruse set up by William and Pound to attack her Madagascar fortress himself as her back is turned. Racing back to Madagascar things are bleak as it looks to be too late, but who is coming around the corner but Bowen (Christopher Masterson), and Mr. Glasspool, and all the other Caribbean pirates who now have their own crews. In the final battle blood proves thicker than gold (it makes sense, don’t think about it) and William switches sides to defeat Pound and save Morgan and Shaw’s skins. Looking to the half dozen pirate empires that rallied to her aid, Morgan openly wonders if there is any place that could stand in their way … could she, for example, rule Jamaica like Dawg once hoped? Smash cut to To Be Continued … Cutthroat Island: Escape 2 Africa. After would be Dawg & Pound: Tales from Cutthroat Island. And the third is Cutthroat Island: Black Harry’s Revenge.

You Just Got Schooled – This week’s film had another video game tie-in! Cutthroat Island for the SNES is a pretty basic brawler (think Final Fight) with a notoriously bad minecart level as level number 2. I played about an hour of this, but decided I should probably return to it after playing some brawlers. I never liked brawlers as I never had the patience to “solve” how to beat all of the different characters and things just devolved into button mashing. With this game that definitely happened, although I did eventually get to the point where I was able to get through levels 1 and 2 quite consistently. With only 10 levels there is a possibility I’ll finish this game sometime in the future. For now though I’ll have to give it a D. It is bad for a brawler, and apparently (who can tell these days) looks like garbage even for an SNES game of the time. I’ll get back to you about whether I’ve finished it sometime in the next decade.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cutthroat Island Quiz

Man, wild story. I was looking for buried treasure on an uncharted Caribbean island, when I fell off a cliff and really bonked my head when I hit the water. I don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Cutthroat Island?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Where was the final piece of the treasure map hidden at the beginning of the film? Who has the other two pieces? 

2) What profession does Shaw, played by Matthew Modine, claim to be at the party where he is arrested for theft? Why do the pirates, led by Morgan Adams, break him free?

3) Where did Morgan’s uncle hide the second piece of the map?

4) How do they ultimately get the third piece of the map, the one Dawg carries around throughout the film?

5) Where is the treasure hidden on Cutthroat Island?

Bonus Question: What ultimately happened to Cutthroat Island?

Answers

Cutthroat Island Preview

“It’s gonna be a hell of a lot of work, I mean,” Patrick clarifies as he starts in on a pretty sweet boolean array. Jamie’s head is spinning. “Rabbit. Flu shot. Somebody talk to me,” he exclaims in exasperation. The coding jargon Patrick is throwing around is more suited to a haxxor than little ol’ Jamie. Rachel pats him on the shoulder and suggests that he just work on the rocking tune. No need to say more as Jamie whips out his harmonica, gives it a quick toot, and begins to warm up his angelic voice with a series of complicated and largely unnecessary vocal exercises. The scene is electric. Patrick on one side, his eyes glazing over like dolls eyes as he spits hot fire on the k’board. Jamie on the other, a VR headset strapped to his head and he composes in 3D-4K. “It’s a game about a couple of underdogs who come from behind to save the universe,” Patrick says, coding in their gritty origin story. “Yeah, underdogs with abs for days and it opens with the titular song, Starring Jason Derulo: Just a couple of jokesters living in the bayou making ends meet busking on the street, starring Jason Derulo. Brothers in arms, armed to the teeth, justice and truth are all that they seek, starring Jason Derulo,” Jamie croons, tears in his eyes. “Nice half rhyme,” comments Patrick as his code springs to life. Patrick is in the zone, guided by the lyrical picture that Jamie has painted about the legendary lives of Rich & Poe (who definitely didn’t die). He waves Jamie away. “Go down the street to the local pirate radio stations and start getting some underground buzz going for this game. I got some 1337 coding to do.” Jamie shrugs, “shiver me timbers.” That’s right! We’re watching the notable box office bomb, Cutthroat Island, which had a tie-in video game that was critically panned. It barely qualifies for BMT, but it doesn’t feel that way as the production was such a disaster that a studio collapsed. Should be fun. Let’s go!

Cutthroat Island (1995) – BMeTric: 38.7; Notability: 72

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 12.0%; Notability: top 4.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 33.5% Higher BMeT: Showgirls, Vampire in Brooklyn, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Batman Forever, Congo, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Tank Girl, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, The Babysitter, Judge Dredd, Nine Months, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Operation Dumbo Drop, Jade, The Scarlet Letter, Johnny Mnemonic, Man of the House, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Virtuosity, Money Train, and 1 more; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo; Lower RT: A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, It Takes Two, The Hunted, The Tie That Binds, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, The Pebble and the Penguin, Bushwhacked, Johnny Mnemonic, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Scarlet Letter, Four Rooms, Three Wishes, Jade, Canadian Bacon, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, Houseguest, Man of the House, Reckless, Rough Magic, Two Much and 42 more; Notes: A higher BMeTric than I would have thought considering it is mostly known for being a giant flop as opposed to an actual bad movie. Hugh Notability again! I do love hitting up those Notability films. We’ve seen the other higher ones from 1995 as well it looks like.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – This is, in short, a satisfactory movie – but it doesn’t transcend its genre, and it’s not surprising or astonishing. I saw it because that was my job and, having seen it, I grant its skill, and award it three stars on that basis. But unless you’re really into pirate movies, it’s not a necessary film. Sorry.

(An incredible score from Ebert, coming off the top rope. So let me get this straight … if I like swashbuckling adventure then I’ll like this film. Alright then … it sounds like a good movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV5JD490ZL4

(Oh boy, the 1812 Overture is something else in that trailer. What a very very strange choice. It comes across as cartoonish and cliche, right? Even the trailer looks cheap as far as swashbuckling action is concerned. I guess that’s to be expected when your production company is teetering on bankruptcy.)

Directors – Renny Harlin – (Known For: Cliffhanger; Die Hard 2; Deep Blue Sea; The Long Kiss Goodnight; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; The Dyatlov Pass Incident; Cleaner; Skiptrace; Prison; 5 Days of War; Bodies at Rest; Gu jian qi tan zhi liu yue zhao ming; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; 12 Rounds; Mindhunters; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Driven; The Covenant; Cutthroat Island; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Just inducted his film The Legend of Hercules into the BMT Hall of Fame. Has an extramarital affair with his assistant which resulted in his son Luke and subsequent divorce.)

Writers – Michael Frost Beckner (story) – (Known For: Spy Game; Sniper: Ultimate Kill; Prince Valiant; Future BMT: Sniper; BMT: Cutthroat Island; Notes: Only gets credited for the many straight-to-video Sniper sequels as far as films are concerned, but does some television work, most recently the mini-series To Appomattox.)

James Gorman (story) – (BMT: Cutthroat Island; Notes: Produced Sniper, so I would guess he’s a writing partner of Beckner to a degree. His only writing credit, but he produced a few things like Gunman starring Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles, who would then both star in Highlander III a year later.)

Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon (story) – (Known For: Stand by Me; Starman; Mr. Brooks; Made in Heaven; A Man, a Woman and a Bank; Future BMT: Kuffs; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Cutthroat Island; Notes: Nominated as a team for an Oscar for Stand by Me. They haven’t written anything since 2007.)

Robert King (screenplay) – (Known For: Vertical Limit; The Nest; Under the Boardwalk; Bloodfist; Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge; Dragon Fire; Future BMT: Speechless; Clean Slate; Red Corner; BMT: Cutthroat Island; Notes: Nominated for four Emmys for The Good Wife. His career started with cheap horror and bad martial arts films, but he has a few big budget films made in the late 90s.)

Marc Norman (screenplay) – (Known For: Shakespeare in Love; The Killer Elite; Breakout; The Aviator; Oklahoma Crude; Zandy’s Bride; BMT: Cutthroat Island; Notes: Won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. Wrote a single episode of the original Mission: Impossible in 1970.)

Actors – Geena Davis – (Known For: Ava; Beetlejuice; Thelma & Louise; A League of Their Own; The Long Kiss Goodnight; Tootsie; Stuart Little; Earth Girls Are Easy; When Marnie Was There; Fletch; Quick Change; Stuart Little 2; In a World…; The Accidental Tourist; Marjorie Prime; Accidental Hero; Don’t Talk to Irene; Angie; Me Him Her; Accidents Happen; Future BMT: Transylvania 6-5000; Speechless; BMT: Cutthroat Island; Notes: Was married to Renny Harlin at the time. Won an Oscar for the accidental tourist, and was nominated for Thelma & Louise. Is an Olympic level archer.)

Matthew Modine – (Known For: Wrong Turn; The Dark Knight Rises; Full Metal Jacket; Breaking News in Yuba County; Notting Hill; Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Any Given Sunday; 47 Meters Down; Vision Quest; Transporter 2; Short Cuts; Pacific Heights; Married to the Mob; Memphis Belle; Speed Kills; Backtrace; The Hotel New Hampshire; Birdy; Army of One; Foster Boy; Future BMT: The Divorce; Mrs. Soffel; Gross Anatomy; Fluke; BMT: Cutthroat Island; Jobs; Bye Bye Love; Notes: Probably most notable recently for his supporting role in Stranger Things. Both his son and daughter are in the industry. Ruby Modine in particular was in 20 episodes of Shameless. Boman modine is a director.)

Frank Langella – (Known For: The Trial of the Chicago 7; Red Dragon; Captain Fantastic; Lolita; Superman Returns; All Good Things; Noah; Unknown; The Ninth Gate; Small Soldiers; Draft Day; Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Muppets Most Wanted; Good Night, and Good Luck.; The Box; Frost/Nixon; Dave; 5 to 7; The Tale of Despereaux; Grace of Monaco; Future BMT: Junior; Eddie; Brainscan; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Sweet November; BMT: Body of Evidence; Masters of the Universe; Cutthroat Island; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Frost/Nixon. Was a stage actor, and somewhat notable for taking some specifically weird roles, like Skeleor (in absurd makeup) in The Masters of the Universe.)

Budget/Gross – $98,000,000 / Domestic: $10,017,322 (Worldwide: $10,017,322)

(Yeah it is a notorious catastrophe. I actually think it was considered the biggest financial loss for a motion picture in history for quite a while. It managed to sink a genre (pirate films, until Pirates of the Caribbean) and a production house (Carolco Pictures).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (15/40): Cutthroat Island may aspire towards the earnest thrills of classic swashbucklers, but a distinct lack of charm and stilted script make this adventure a joyless hodgepodge of the pirate genre’s flotsam and jetsam.

(I mean, I don’t really see that many pirate films so I have a district feeling I might just like this one. I can’t say I’m going to scoff at it being like “so trite, I’ve see it all before. Blah.” Because I haven’t … I’ve pretty much just seen Pirates of the Caribbean. Reviewer Highlight: In this $90m revisionist swashbuckler, we get Geena Davis doing the all-action honours, and a hotchpotch script that seems to think pirate movies are so funny in themselves the need for more humour is superfluous. – Trevor Johnston, Time Out)

Poster – Pirates of the Cutthroat Island

(I love this. I would unironically hang this on my wall… alright, there would be a bit of irony involved. But still. Font! Framing! Color scheme! Adventure galore! It’s got it all. A.)

Tagline(s) – The Course Has Been Set. There Is No Turning Back. Prepare Your Weapons. Summon Your Courage. Discover the Adventure of a Lifetime! (F)

(As usual, this travesty of a tagline is not featured on the actually good poster. You know why? Because they knew this was absolute shit and wouldn’t let it get near that poster.)

Keyword – pirate

Top 10: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Goonies (1985), Aquaman (2018), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Princess Bride (1987), Hook (1991), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Moana (2016)

Future BMT: 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 59.6 Virus (1999), 42.2 Pan (2015), 39.4 Into the Blue (2005), 39.4 Six Days Seven Nights (1998), 35.5 Playmobil: The Movie (2019), 35.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 31.2 The Ice Pirates (1984), 29.8 The Pirate Movie (1982);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Conan the Barbarian (2011), The Expendables 3 (2014), Rambo (2008), Epic Movie (2007), Cyborg (1989), Cutthroat Island (1995), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005), Double Impact (1991)

(Nothing says pirate like Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m excited for Virus, which we are actually watching next! So that’s fun. Swashbuckling pirates to space pirates I presume.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Matthew Modine is No. 2 billed in Cutthroat Island and No. 1 billed in Bye Bye Love, which also stars Amy Brenneman (No. 5 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 4 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch The Art of War, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Oliver Reed was originally cast as Mordechai Fingers. He was fired after getting in a bar fight and mooning at Geena Davis.

Matthew Modine described Oliver Reed – “I’d heard these stories about Oliver Reed I think it is all bunk. Oliver was a gentleman. Sure, he had a reputation as a man who enjoyed a drink. But only off set. His reputation as an actor is stellar. Professional. I stand by that. God rest his soul.”

Morgan Adams’s flag was flown by “Calico” Jack Rackham, one of the only Caribbean pirates to have women on his crew (Anne Bonny and Mary Read). He later turned his ship over to them.

Dawg Brown’s flag is the oldest known “Jolly Roger” flag, flown by Captain Emmanuel Wynne.

According to “The Guinness Book of Records”, this film is the biggest financial loss ever. It cost $115 million to make, and made $10 million at the box office, a loss of $105 million.

Several years later, Matthew Modine explained some of the reasons why the film’s costs spiraled out-of-control. Among other things, dozens of cases of V8 juice were shipped out to Malta, expressly for Renny Harlin and Geena Davis. An entire room of V8 was left towards the end of the shoot, so it was served to everybody. Every scene had three cameras in constant use, resulting in yards and yards of film used for every shot.

When Renny Harlin fired the chief camera operator following a dispute, more than two dozen crew members quit.

Michael Douglas originally agreed to do the film on two conditions: filming had to start immediately because he was only available for a limited time, and his character had to have the same amount of screen time as Geena Davis. Douglas eventually pulled out, claiming that Davis’s role was expanded at his character’s expense. Davis wanted to quit when Douglas did, but she was contractually obligated to finish the film. After Douglas quit, Renny Harlin was so preoccupied with trying to find a male lead that set construction and script work were done without his input. Harlin didn’t like what he saw when shooting was set to begin, leading to massive, expensive rebuilding and rewriting.

Renny Harlin is famous for pushing actors to do their own stunts whenever possible. While promoting the film, Geena Davis appeared on talk shows with clips of her doing stunts over and over (including one take where she fell out of the window too soon, rolled down the roof and under the carriage) and explained the bruises and injuries she sustained while filming. (Jesus, that botched stunt sounds terrifying)

Carolco Pictures, which financed the film, filed for bankruptcy six weeks before it reached theaters.

At the time, Renny Harlin was dating Geena Davis, who was known for light comedies. He convinced Mario Kassar to cast Davis as the lead, sure it would turn her into an action-adventure star. The couple married prior to production, and affectionately called the movie their ‘honeymoon’.

Renny Harlin spent $1 million of his own money to rewrite the script. Carolco was in so much debt that they couldn’t afford it.

Frank Langella considers Dawg to be one of his three favourite roles (the other two are Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon (2008) and Skeletor in Masters of the Universe (1987)), because he got to not only be a pirate, but a scenery-chewing over-the-top bad guy pirate.

Carolco Pictures had finished pre-production on another mega production at the time, called ‘Crusade’, to be directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Filming was slated to begin, but the movie was canceled at the last moment, when Carolco could not finance two blockbusters at the same time. They opted to do this film, which was supposed to have been less costly, but which later went massively over budget, and put the already ailing studio further in debt. Verhoeven went on to make Showgirls (1995) instead, largely as a favor to Mario Kassar in an attempt to save Carolco from financial downfall. After both Cutthroat Island and Showgirls bombed at the box office, the studio was bankrupted, and Crusade was shelved indefinitely.

One of a number of pirate movies made between the mid 1970s and mid 1990s which were a flop at the box-office. The other films were Pirates (1987), Yellowbeard (1983), Scarlet Buccaneer (1976), Savage Islands (1983), The Pirate Movie (1982). (None of those are big films. The actual closest to a big budget Pirate film in the 80s/90s is probably Hook)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Renny Harlin, 1996)

Stone Cold Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But wait, this is going in the Hall of Fame? Maybe, it’s going head to head with another film for the final spot in this year’s class. That preview will follow. Enjoy!

Stone Cold (1991) – BMeTric: 21.8; Notability: 35 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 27.6%; Notability: top 31.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.1% Higher BMeT: Cool as Ice, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Problem Child 2, Child’s Play 3, Suburban Commando, Nothing But Trouble, Mannequin: On the Move, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, King Ralph, Double Impact, Zandalee, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Hudson Hawk, V.I. Warshawski, House Party 2, The Butcher’s Wife, Curly Sue, Scenes from a Mall, Drop Dead Fred, Ernest Scared Stupid, and 21 more; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Flight of the Intruder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Life Stinks, The Five Heartbeats, Necessary Roughness, He Said, She Said, The Marrying Man, Oscar, Out for Justice, Rock-A-Doodle, Billy Bathgate, Teen Agent, Driving Me Crazy, F/X2, Another You, King Ralph, and 12 more; Lower RT: Nothing But Trouble, Cool as Ice, Mobsters, Problem Child 2, Drop Dead Fred, Pure Luck, The Marrying Man, Strictly Business, Another You, Oscar, The Hitman, Mannequin: On the Move, Curly Sue, Driving Me Crazy, One Good Cop, Suburban Commando, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Ernest Scared Stupid, Life Stinks, Eve of Destruction and 11 more; Notes: It jumping to 6.0 is pretty weird. Overall, kind of middling on all counts, but that I think it is inevitable with smaller films from the 80s and early 90s. And this … is a small film.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Football’s “Boz” infiltrates a gang of Mississippi bikers whose extortion antics have caught the attention of both the Feds and the Mob. Only some amazing stunts save this silliness from the BOMB scrap heap. Written and executive produced by Walter Doniger, who once directed Mantle and Maris in Safe at Home!

(Good to hear about the stunts. Maybe a bit foreboding that they don’t specifically call out the Boz for his acting. It means they either didn’t give him enough to do to embarass himself, or he is just so blandly boring it wasn’t notable.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNfag1hosI/

(Oh my God … how is this a real trailer? It is the most 90s and worst thing I’ve ever seen. This is for a widely released film, correct? Not for a straight-to-DVD Billy Drago film? Absurd.)

Directors – Craig R. Baxley – (Future BMT: Action Jackson; Dark Angel; BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: A legendary stunt coordinator, and part of the three generation Baxley stunt coordinator family. His grandson is a stunt performer, so it is very possible they will be a four generation stunt family, coordinating stunts for over 70 years.)

Writers – Walter Doniger (written by) – (BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: Nominated for a Golden Globe in 1949 for Rope of Sand. Worked for Universal in the 40s and made U.S. Army films during the war. Directed 173 episodes of Peyton Place.)

Actors – Brian Bosworth – (Known For: What Men Want; Three Kings; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; Do You Believe?; BMT: Stone Cold; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Stone Cold in 1992; Notes: Was a huge college football star and is considered to be somewhat of a bust in the NFL playing for Seattle. Maybe most notable for being trucked by Bo Jackson in a high profile game.)

Lance Henriksen – (Known For: Aliens; The Terminator; The Quick and the Dead; Falling; Jennifer’s Body; Dog Day Afternoon; Alien³; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Network; Tarzan; The Right Stuff; Near Dark; Hard Target; Dead Man; Powder; Mom and Dad; Jagged Edge; Appaloosa; Pumpkinhead; Omen II: Damien; Future BMT: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning; When a Stranger Calls; Harbinger Down; Scream 3; House; House III: The Horror Show; Man’s Best Friend; Phantom; Jennifer Eight; Nightmares; The Slammin’ Salmon; Excessive Force; The Next Man; Modigliani; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Color of Night; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Stone Cold; Notes: Just saw him in X-Files, as he plays Frank Black in the spin-off series Millenium (for which he was nominated for three Golden Globes).)

William Forsythe – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; The Rock; Dick Tracy; Cold Pursuit; Raising Arizona; The Devil’s Rejects; American Me; Extreme Prejudice; The Substitute; Cloak & Dagger; City by the Sea; Patty Hearst; Hell’s Kitchen; Weeds; The Waterdance; The Hollow; Palookaville; Lethal Vengeance; Future BMT: Freedomland; Virtuosity; Hard Ca$h; Halloween; Awake; Career Opportunities; Out for Justice; Blue Streak; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Loosies; War on the Range; Dead Bang; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; The L.A. Riot Spectacular; Run with the Hunted; BMT: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Firestorm; 88 Minutes; Stone Cold; Notes: Firestorm also stars an NFL player, Howie Long. You probably know him from John Doe, the Fox series starring Dominic Purcell … no, you don’t remember that series? 10PM on Fridays, absolutely killer time slot, right after Firefly.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $9,151,887 (Worldwide: $9,151,887)

(Ooof, that budget can’t be right though can it? Unless the Boz was getting paid a ton. No matter how you cut it I don’t think $10 million is what they were hoping for as a return.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (3/9)

(Another consensus for me: The Boz is serviceable in a rote actioner which ends up being too dumb to be fun. Reviewer Highlight: Brian Bosworth’s acting debut in Stone Cold carries about the same wallop The Boz did in the late stages of his very brief career in professional football. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Frosted Tips

(First, I’ll say I like the custom font and I like the color scheme. Maybe a bit on the nose with stone/cold = blue, but I still think it works. It is advertising the film in the only way it knows how: The Boz, front and center, something about bikes. The only odd bit is the tagline is soooo small and just floating in the sky, and it looks a bit cheap. B+.)

Tagline(s) – A cop who enforces his own brand of justice. (C+)

(Generic. That describes about 100 films since the early 80s unfortunately. I don’t think it is necessarily bad, it just doesn’t do anything to add to the film itself, so it gets a medium grade.)

Keyword – undercover cop

Top 10: The Departed (2006), Bad Boys for Life (2020), Batman Begins (2005), Baby Driver (2017), BlacKkKlansman (2018), Scarface (1983), Point Break (1991), The Fast and the Furious (2001), American Gangster (2007), Sin City (2005)

Future BMT: 58.7 The Mod Squad (1999), 49.1 Showtime (2002), 46.7 Cop Out (2010), 44.7 Tomcats (2001), 42.1 Sleepless (2017), 41.6 Boiling Point (1993), 40.7 Brick Mansions (2014), 38.8 Action Jackson (1988), 37.1 Fled (1996), 36.9 Bulletproof (1996);

BMT: Fast & Furious (2009), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Gangster Squad (2013), Ride Along (2014), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Exit to Eden (1994), Ride Along 2 (2016), Stone Cold (1991), Exit Wounds (2001), No Mercy (1986)

(I have to say, not super into most of the films available with this keyword. Action Jackson is maybe notable for having the same director as this film though. He certainly had a type.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 3 billed in Stone Cold and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Michael Douglas was executive producer of the film but received no credit, according to his wishes.

Brian Bosworth has said in an interview that as a keen biker, he had previously built the bike that his character rides in the film and suggested that it be used instead, since he was more comfortable with it.

Lance Henriksen wrote his own lines for every scene.

In a Q&A with the audience after a special screening of the film in Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse in 2014, Brian Bosworth talked about how original director Bruce Malmuth was fired due to some “personal issues that he couldn’t control which poured out on set”, and his firing caused all the original backstory for Bosworth’s character to be removed and changed after Craig R. Baxley was hired to direct. About four weeks was spent filming scenes with Bosworth’s character and his family (wife, child and sister), which in the end were completely axed out after $4 million was spent shooting them.

The meal Brian Bosworth makes for his Nile monitor (the big lizard) is not at all suitable for that animal.

Shooting began June 4, 1990. Craig R. Baxley replaced Bruce Malmuth as director in late June 1990. Production was halted due to an IATSE dispute, resulting in the departure of director of photography John R. Leonetti and other IATSE members of the crew. Completed shooting September 26, 1990. (IASTE = International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)

Chains states, “God forgives, The Brotherhood doesn’t.” This is based on the slogan of The Outlaws Motorcycle Club, an actual outlaw motorcycle club.

The United States Military Academy’s Army football team had adopted GFBD as a team slogan for many years, players having first heard it in this film. The Academy officially removed the slogan in 2019 after learning that the phrase originated with the Aryan Brotherhood.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Bosworth, 1992)

The Legend of Hercules Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well, nothing says “I’m a producer and I have no idea what I’m doing” like making a film starring Kellen Lutz. Enjoy!

The Legend of Hercules (2014) – BMeTric: 83.1; Notability: 33 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 38.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.4% Higher BMeT: Left Behind; Higher Notability: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Exodus: Gods and Kings, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Dracula Untold, Transcendence, Think Like a Man Too, Dumb and Dumber To, Annie, The Monuments Men, A New York Winter’s Tale, Horrible Bosses 2, Ride Along, The Expendables 3, Need for Speed, Men, Women & Children, Walk of Shame, Lessons in Love, Vampire Academy, Blended, and 6 more; Lower RT: Left Behind; Notes: Absurdly low IMDb rating for that number of votes. It is crazy that anything beat it at all, congrats to Let Behind I guess. This is definitely in that same small-but-terrible camp that seems to just churn out Hall of Fame films in the mid-2010s.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – It may or may not be a good thing that summer will bring a second attempt at reviving Hercules on the big screen with Dwayne Johnson in the lead and directed by Brett Ratner. But with the bar set this low, surely the performer formerly known as The Rock doesn’t have to strain himself too hard to pump up the entertainment value.

(It is pretty funny that both of these movies came out, and both were bad. Shockingly the one with The Rock isn’t even close to good, and thus it has been completely forgotten. The complete catastrophe that is this film didn’t really help with that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GMzQwO2l0/

(Holy crap, this looks like such a load of crap. I … just don’t understand. They really don’t make films like this anymore. Hell, they barely made films like this in 2014! This feels like a movie some guy who got rich buying up real estate in 2007 would make before going bankrupt.)

Directors – Renny Harlin – (Known For: Die Hard 2; Deep Blue Sea; The Long Kiss Goodnight; Cliffhanger; The Dyatlov Pass Incident; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; Prison; Bodies at Rest; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; 12 Rounds; Cutthroat Island; 5 Days of War; Skiptrace; Cleaner; Mindhunters; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Driven; The Covenant; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Finnish, and is probably the most successful Finnish director in Hollywood history. Was married to Gena Davis for five years.)

Writers – Sean Hood (screenplay) – (Known For: Cube 2: Hypercube; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Claims to have retired from screenwriting in 2018, but has an announced television series, so perhaps it is just that he is no longer pursuing feature films.)

Daniel Giat (screenplay) – (BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Path to War.)

Renny Harlin (screenplay) – (Known For: Prison; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; in 1996 for Cutthroat Island; in 2002 for Driven; in 2005 for Exorcist: The Beginning; and in 2015 for The Legend of Hercules; Notes: Only wrote a few films including Born American starring Chuck Norris’s son Mike Norris.)

Giulio Steve (screenplay) – (BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Notes: A very prolific Italian producer … I have to imagine this has something to do with cheap production in Europe in some capacity.)

Actors – Kellan Lutz – (Known For: Twilight; Immortals; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; What Men Want; Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child; Experimenter; Future BMT: Prom Night; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Extraction; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Tarzan; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Guardians of the Tomb; Speed Kills; Java Heat; Syrup; A Warrior’s Heart; Accepted; Stick It; As Blood Runs Deep; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; The Twilight Saga: New Moon; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for The Legend of Hercules in 2015; Notes: Naturally started his film career as a model. He was born in North Dakota and moved to Hollywood originally to attend Chapman University to study Chemical Engineering (what what). He dropped out to pursue acting.)

Gaia Weiss – (Known For: Judy; We Are Boats; Future BMT: Overdrive; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Legend of Hercules in 2015; Notes: French. Originally trained as a professional ballerina.)Scott Adkins – (Known For: Zero Dark Thirty; Doctor Strange; The Bourne Ultimatum; Yip Man 4; The Expendables 2; Triple Threat; Avengement; Unleashed; Accident Man; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Ninja: Shadow of a Tear; Close Range; Savage Dog; Future BMT: The Pink Panther; The Accidental Spy; Grimsby; American Assassin; Criminal; Dead Reckoning; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; The Medallion; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Notes: Trained in Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Ninjutsu, Krav Maga, Karate, Wushu, Jiujitsu, Muay Thai, Capoeira and Acrobatic Gymnastics. Dat’s a lotta martial arts.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $18,848,538 (Worldwide: $61,279,452)

(Woof. Who thought a Kellen Lutz film was going to gross like $140 million dollars? In what universe was this going to ever make enough money to be worth it. It just doesn’t make any sense. Is this one of the biggest bombs of 2014?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (4/83): Cheap-looking, poorly acted, and dull, The Legend of Hercules is neither fun enough to qualify as an action movie nor absorbing enough to work on a dramatic level.

(I don’t think they were ever thinking of the drama angle to this stuff. What they were hoping for was maybe Kellen Lutz mugging for the camera while rock music played .. or something. Who knows. Reviewer Highlight: The dialogue isn’t dubbed, but is written and delivered so indifferently that it might as well have been. – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – The Legend of Smirk-ules

(It is definitely of the time. I personally don’t like the blue-toned “grittiness” of posters which I think were popular at the time. I think the weirdest bit of the poster is that it is just a full picture of Kellen Lutz … and yet his name isn’t on the poster. They are advertising it as essentially: Just imagine whomever you want in this role, he barely needs to even have a face to be what we want, which is a generic Hercules person. I’m giving it a C+, I think it delivers what the filmmakers wanted, but I don’t like the bland color scheme. Bumping it up for the font.)

Tagline(s) – Every man has a destiny (D)

(I actually hate it and I’ll explain why. Is Hercules a man? In this movie he might be, I can’t remember. But in the stories he’s the son of a god … so yeah, the son of a god would obviously have a destiny! I can’t think of a good one, but I would have tried to go more with the “legend” part of it, how a mortal man destined to save his people became a legend.)

Keyword – sword and sandal

Top 10: Gladiator (2000), Braveheart (1995), Aladdin (2019), 300 (2006), Troy (2004), The Beastmaster (1982), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Immortals (2011), Legend (1985), Clash of the Titans (2010)

Future BMT: 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 47.9 Alexander (2004), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 42.5 Samson (2018), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 40.8 Ben-Hur (2016), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.9 Immortals (2011);

BMT: Gods of Egypt (2016), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Pompeii (2014), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Red Sonja (1985), The 13th Warrior (1999), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Season of the Witch (2011), Meet the Spartans (2008)

(Every so often they try and bring these sword and sandal films back and it never quite works. I think it is because they try and make them action films. The ones that end up being good seem to hire big name actors and bring the drama to the story. The bad ones hire a Kellen Lutz who looks good without a shirt and go from there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kellan Lutz is No. 1 billed in The Legend of Hercules and No. 15 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 15 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Immortals, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Scott Adkins’s character, King Amphitryon, is seen at two different ages in the film, younger and older, and Adkins created two different looks for the character. He said he wanted to look extremely “lean and ripped” for the younger scenes, showing highly defined eight-pack abs in a shirtless scene, as compared to very “muscular and bulky” for the older scenes, where he just had to show his biceps in sleeveless costumes. He said for the younger scenes, he ate very carefully and trained a lot to achieve the ultra-cut look but for the older scenes, he trained just as hard but ate what he wanted because the focus was on size and not muscle definition, and he did not have a shirtless scene anymore. (This is a very very detailed note)

This was the second Greek mythology movie to star Kellen Lutz. The first was Immortals (2011), where Lutz portrayed Hercules’ uncle, Poseidon. (Whaaaaaaa?)

Director Renny Harlin mandated that all the male actors shave their legs along with their torsos, because the film was being shot natively in 3-D and he said that hair stuck out when you shot with stereoscopic cameras. (Whaaaaaaa?)

Director Renny Harlin said that he chose Scott Adkins for the role of King Amphitryon because of “his acting skills, his incredible physical ability and his incredible physique.” He said that King Amphitryon “had to be the biggest badass the audience had ever seen, and only Scott Adkins fit that bill.”

Kellan Lutz said his co-star Scott Adkins had the body of a god and that his physique was so great, it looked green-screened. He also said it “did not make his Hercules character look too well.”

Kellan Lutz said that because he was shirtless through much of the movie, he could constantly do push-ups and ab-crunches on set before takes without fear of sweating into his costumes and staining them. He said it allowed him to look pumped on camera, greatly enhancing his looks, and he ended up doing more than a thousand push-ups and ab-crunches every day on set for the duration of the shoot. (Jesus, these notes are just like … descriptions of gym workouts)

Due to the heavy armor worn by his character throughout the film, Johnathon Schaech was bitterly disappointed that he was unable appear shirtless in the film. He had been following a punishing bodybuilding and dieting regime to prepare for the role. (Jesus, what the hell are these notes! Was this all from a Men’s Fitness interview or something?)

Hebe, in Greek mythology, is actually the Goddess of Eternal Youth and the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Considering that Hercules is the son of Zeus, that would actually make the two love birds half-siblings.

When Kellan Lutz first landed the role, he said that physique-wise he wanted to get really big to portray Hercules. However, director Renny Harlin told him not to get any bigger as he found it very stereotypical for Hercules to be “a pile of meat.” Instead, he instructed Lutz to “get his abs to pop out more” as he thought it would be a great effect in 3-D. So Kellan Lutz adopted a special Paleo (caveman) diet for the role, ensuring that no fat accumulated on his body and that his abs visibly popped throughout principal photography. (What. The. Hell. Are. These. Notes.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Kellan Lutz, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Gaia Weiss, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Renny Harlin, 2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2015)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Kellan Lutz, 2015)

Solo (1996) Recap

Jamie

Solo is just a robot who feels a little too much. So when his program prevents him from killing civilians as collateral damage, the US military tanks the project. But Solo escapes and makes his home in a peaceful village that needs his help. Can he protect the village and evade capture by the US before it’s too late? Find out in… Solo.

How?! Solo is the ultimate fighting machine… except for the whole part where his advanced AI system has taught itself to care about human life. ‘Dang,’ thinks the US military, ‘we can’t have this weapon caring about humans,’ so they scrap the project and set Solo up for a memory wipe. Sensing that this is the equivalent to a death sentence for him, Solo decides to escape and heads deep into the jungles of [insert anonymous Central American country]. There he finds a peaceful village who helps him get back up and running. The village is constantly terrorized by some anonymous rebels and Solo helps them learn how to defend themselves. This involves mostly montages and laughing. They successfully drive the rebels off, but this gets interest from the military. They send in an eeeevil black ops group who teams up with the rebels to overtake the village and hold Solo’s friends hostage. Returning to the village, Solo basically owns everyone cause he is a killer robot and is way faster and stronger. I mean, come on. He’s got robot muscles and junk… it’s really no competition. That is until the military drops in a new, advanced black ops killer robot and Solo is like ‘oh, shit.’ They do battle in an ancient temple where it looks like the bigger, badder robot is going to win, but they forgot one thing: love. Solo is able to use the uniquely human skills he learned from the villagers (like bluffing) to fool the eeevil android and kill him. Everyone assumes both robots died, but not so fast… methinks Solo may be out there somewhere laughing his robot ass off and loving life. THE END.

Why?! Why indeed. Solo just wants to live and to figure out what living means for him. In the book there is a lot of concern that he’ll end up basically being Skynet once he figures out that all the ills of the Earth are caused by humans so that’s why there is so much urgency to get out and kill him. It’s hinted that Solo loves amnimals and the implication is that if left to his own devices it’s actually more likely he would just become the greatest zoologist of all time because that’s his passion… which is kind of nice… until he figures out that humans are killing all the amnimals.

Who?! Probably the best aspect of the film is that the super duper badass robot they bring in after Solo kills William Sadler’s eeevil black ops character is a… William Sadler robot. First of all, not the most intimidating model of your killer robot. Second, is that a dual role I smell? Not too many films I can think of off the top of my head where someone has a dual role: one human, one robot. Nice.

What?! Is Solo a MacGuffin. That’s the question I have to ask… literally because I can’t think of anything else to do for this section. I mean, he’s an object of incredible power that everyone wants to get their hands on and his capture is central to the plot. That sure sounds like a Solo MacGuffin to me.

Where?! The book is very explicitly set in Nicaragua, but that is not made clear here. It’s definitely Mesoamerica given the spanish speaking population and the ball game that is shown being played, but given that by 1996 it no longer made sense for it to involve the Contras it seemed like they just left it ambiguous. D  

When?! Just like the location, it seems like when this is set is just an ambiguous present. The world is almost like a cartoon… there isn’t much in the way of reality to hang onto. Would have loved for them to give us a Mesoamerican specific holiday to really spice this part up. Alas. F.

Solo is based on a book called Weapon. The film follows the plot pretty closely, although the book goes much more in depth on the philosophy of what an AI machine like Solo might do when confronted with the ethical questions of war and is more of the time, being set during the  American anti-communist efforts using the Contras in Nicaragua. It started off pretty badly, but I rather enjoyed it by the end. Not a half bad beach read if you’re looking for a little techno-action. They really dumbed it down when it came to this (should have been straight-to-video) schlock. 1996 must have really been peak action if this managed to make it into theaters. You can tell a little by Seagal and JCVD. Just a mere two years later and they were in the straight-to-video realm after both releasing two (!) films in 1996. The script is bad, everything looks cheap, and they even whip out a crazy nonsense ending involving a robot William Sadler. At that point it seemed like even the director gave up. At least we had some explosions and the main character was a robot so there wasn’t an unnecessary love interest… although that would have been hilarious and great. In fact, I count that against the film. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When you think of action star, you think Mario Van Peebles. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The thing that really stands out for Solo is that the poster absolutely looks awful. Like, comically bad. Other than that I welcome the return of Mario Van Peebles who we last saw in Highlander: The Final Dimension I think. So yeah … he isn’t a great actor, or at least he was in some wild films in the mid-90s. The film seems like a borderline straight-to-DVD knockoff of Terminator 2. That has to be fun … right? What were my expectations? Basically a straight-to-video film from the mid-90s. Which can definitely be fun, especially with someone like Mario Van Peebles in the lead. But there is an outside shot it is just boring.

The Good – This is the type of straight-to-video film I would dig watching as a BMT Friend. Big robot arm guns, ripping off the plot of Seven Samurai, poorly directed action. Like, yeah, sign me up. Feels a bit like Sudden Death with Van Damme in that regard. There is probably a kind of worthwhile message about the US military-industrial complex hidden in there (as with so many films of the 90s). And the film can be funny at times. Best Bit: Light 90s action.

The Bad – Some reviews suggest Van Peebles is okay, but I really don’t get it. He’s acting like a robot, sure, but it feels like either a play off of Arnold in The Terminator without being an enormous bodybuilder, or just a “beep boop I am a robot” schtick from a cable movie. The storyline is generic and boring, and the twists at the end are obvious. The acting (including Adrian Brody) is awful as well. It is hard to point at a single thing (the explosions maybe?) and say it was done well. This film feels like a straight-to-video film because that is what it is. They just accidentally released it to theaters for some reason. Fatal Flaw: Looks like garbage.

The BMT – In some small way this is exactly what BMT is meant to do, find those forgotten films, resurrect them, and mine them for BMT gold. There is no gold in these hills. I have no interest in watching this film again. I have no interest in recommending this film to anyone. Even trying to search for a related bad movie for the You Just Got Schooled section was basically impossible, the only possible analogues are garbage like Runaway starring Tom Selleck. Did it meet my expectations? No, sadly. Most straight-to-video films from the 90s are amusingly entertaining in some small way. There is nothing here. As I feared, the film is merely boring. Pass.

Roast-radamus – Very very borderline Setting as a Character (Where?) for … Central America I guess? There are definitely some Mayan ruins in the film. It isn’t a great setting, but it is a character. It does have a pretty great Worst Twist (How?) for the eeeevil colonel not being the final boss after all, instead a robot version of him with a gun arm is! That’s fun. The film is a BMT I think, just because of Peeble’s bizarre performance and the improbable elevative of the film above its seemingly inevitable straight-to-video quality.

Sequel, Prequel, Streaming – So after the original’s origin story for Solo I think the sequel needs to get serious. And what could be more serious in these trying times than a hard boiled Washington political drama? Solo is elected as a Senator representing Florida (which is where he settled due to his snake wrangling abilities). Our robot friend is trying to revamp a flagging VA office, but gets wrapped up in a scandal when his field reports are leaked to the press. Can Solo navigate the minefield that is modern political discourse to figure out who is trying to take him down? Find out in Solo Goes the Washington. Twist ending, the President is a robot, the ultimate military weapon: a robotic Commander in Chief, which sets up the finale to the trilogy, President Solo.

You Just Got Schooled – There wasn’t anything that popped out to me that seemed like a good Schooled movie this week. With Hall of Fame inductions coming up I think I’ll start skipping it in lieu of watching some of those during the week.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Solo (1996) Quiz

On man, so get this. I’m a robot, you see, and I decide to escape because they are going to reboot me. But then I crash my helicopter and I totally can’t remember anything! Can you remember what happened in Solo?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What is the first mission the Solo prototype is sent on?

2) What directive is violated in that mission which results in its failure and ultimately the termination of the Solo program?

3) When trying to decide on a face to give Solo what person does the robot see which he ultimately uses to determine which soldier to base him on?

4) What do the villages think Solo is when he comes back to life at his funeral?

5) Solo agrees to help the villagers from the beginning of the film in exchange for what?

Bonus Question: How long does Solo stay in the village after the events of the film?

Answers

Solo (1996) Preview

Jamie and Patrick emerge from the portal to Earth and they breathe in the fresh Brooklyn air. Home at last. Patrick pulls out his emergency cable knit sweater and they begin the hike back to their apartment. He sure is ready to put the Obsidian Dongle away for safekeeping and see his wife and six children, while Jamie just needs a classic NY slice and his MTV. Rad. As they pass by their favorite book store a stray glance stops Patrick dead in his tracks. “J-j-jamie… what is that?” he says in a panic. A large “Bestseller” sign hangs over a large stack of the latest hit: R&P: Rest in Peace: The Death of Rich and Poe. They scramble into the bookstore and buy a copy for themselves. They stare at the glossy cover in disbelief. It’s exactly like the one they saw in the BMTverse. They flip to the back page to see a picture of them… there they are smiling from a picture neither remembered taking. A chill runs down their spines when they turn back to the front and see a small sticker that reads: “soon to be a major motion picture.” “They can’t,” mutters Patrick, “if that movie bombs then…” but Jamie is right there on the same page, “Rich and Poe will die in the BMTverse.” Hearts racing they run back to their apartment and pace the room. “We need to know who stole our identities and what the hell is going on”, says Jamie, “and there’s only one way to do that.” Patrick nods. They have to read that book. “Maybe it won’t be so bad,” says Patrick as he reads the first line: “‘Let’s pound some dweebs,’ says the robot terminator cyborg sent from 1996 to kill Rich and Poe…” Oh boy. That’s right! We continue the based-on-a-book cycle on a lesser known 90’s action film Solo starring Mario Van Peebles. It’s about an AI weapon that fights back against its creators and is based on the book Weapon by Robert Mason. Let’s go!

Solo (1996) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 18 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 7.2%; Notability: top 80.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.0% Higher BMeT: Barb Wire, Kazaam, Striptease, Bio-Dome, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, The Crow: City of Angels, The Stupids, Hellraiser: Bloodline, Mr. Wrong, Spy Hard, Poison Ivy 2, Jingle All The Way; Higher Notability: Eraser, The Fan, Spy Hard, Jingle All The Way, Chain Reaction, Daylight, The Associate, Dear God, Mulholland Falls, Up Close & Personal, Eddie, Eye for an Eye, Sgt. Bilko, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Larger Than Life, Dunston Checks In, The Chamber, Carpool, Girl 6, and 58 more; Lower RT: Bio-Dome, Kazaam; Notes: I’m starting to think bad films come in two flavors. There are the ones where the notability is relatively low but it absolutely crushes BMeTric / RT (which are usually the same as long as critics and audiences don’t disagree). And then there are the soulless films which have huge notability but seem to always hover in that 35-55% range on RT. I think the low-notability ones tend to be the more beloved in BMT, so that’s promising. Also, I can’t believe we haven’t seen either Bio-Dome or Kazaam for BMT yet.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Solo is an android who has a crisis of conscience when he directly disobeys an order that would result in the murder of innocent people. This sets him on a collision course with his creators, particularly a sadistic colonel. Standard action for nondiscerning fans of the genre. Van Peebles is actually quite appealing in the lead.

(Not much to discuss there as it boils down to: pretty much what you would expect, although Van Peebles is better that one would think. I’m shocked, having watched the movie, that he doesn’t mention that it yet again seems to rip off Seven Samurai.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV-4gWRtNxY/

(Oh wow the overlay with the blatant Apocalypse Now rip off. This trailer looks like a direct-to-video garbage fire. What the hell were they thinking?)

Directors – Norberto Barba – (BMT: Solo; Notes: Mostly does television now, including 11 episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.)

Writers – Robert Mason (novel) – (BMT: Solo; Notes: Wrote an autobiography called Chickenhawk about his experience flying helicopters in Vietnam. His only other credit is writing for a documentary on the same subject. His writing is mostly science-fiction, like Weapon, the book Solo is based on.)

David L. Corley (screenplay) (as David Corley) – (BMT: Solo; Notes: Almost exclusively wrote straight-to-video stuff after this, including Executive Power starring Jean Claude Van Damme.)

Actors – Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: Ali; New Jack City; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; Run the Race; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; Stag; The Hebrew Hammer; Future BMT: Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; Panther; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander III: The Final Dimension; Solo; Notes: A director, actor, and producer, the son of Melvin Van Peebles. He directed the film Badasssss! which is about the making of his father’s film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

William Sadler – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Green Mile; Bill & Ted Face the Music; Iron Man Three; Die Hard 2; The Highwaymen; The Mist; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; VFW; The Hot Spot; Kinsey; Freeheld; Freaked; Rush; Project X; Trespass; Being Flynn; Greetings from Tim Buckley; Ava’s Possessions; The Hollow; Future BMT: Grudge; Machete Kills; Bordello of Blood; Disturbing Behavior; Hard to Kill; K-9; The Duel; RocketMan; Living Among Us; The Battle of Shaker Heights; Hanky Panky; Eagle Eye; Man on a Ledge; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Awaken the Night; A New Wave; Freedom; August Rush; Reach the Rock; Frank the Bastard; BMT: Solo; Notes: I never realized he played the Grim Reaper in the Bill & Ted films. Played Sgt. Toomey in Neil Simon’s Tony Award winning play Biloxi Blues.)

Barry Corbin – (Known For: No Country for Old Men; WarGames; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Stir Crazy; Urban Cowboy; The Hot Spot; The Homesman; Planes: Fire & Rescue; In the Valley of Elah; Dead and Buried; Honkytonk Man; Nothing in Common; Permanent Record; All Saints; The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez; That Evening Sun; Provinces of Night; The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez; The Valley; Race to Space; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; Ghost Dad; Who’s Harry Crumb?; Held Up; Career Opportunities; Burning Rubber; Beer for My Horses; Any Which Way You Can; The Man Who Loved Women; Curdled; The Grand; My Science Project; Lake City; Short Time; New Life; BMT: Solo; Critters 2; Notes: Nominated for three Emmys, two for Northern Exposure, and one for the TV Movie Moon Shot. He was in the marines and actually did train at Camp Pendleton in California where they were planning on reprogramming Solo.)

Budget/Gross – $19 million / Domestic: $5,107,669 (Worldwide: $5,107,669)

(Brutal return. But I’m not sure what they expected since the film looks like it was destined to be straight-to-video. I’m not sure why you would spend $20 million on a Mario Van Peebles vehicle in the first place. Where did the money go? Exclusively into pyrotechnics?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/36): Featuring hammy performances and bland characters, Solo is an all too straightforward actioner that’s both predictable and instantly forgettable.

(Sounds about right. I’m still pretty perplexed that of all people Mario Van Peebles was being tagged as a potential action star in 1996. Reviewer Highlight: These escapist showdown movies are only as good as their villains and heroes. The heavies here are more of those ubiquitous gung-ho military types who are due to be dishonorably discharged from further cinematic duty. – Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Solo: A BMT Story

(I’d love to think what would happen if Patrick and I were able to travel back in time and see this poster in the wild. I feel like a graphic artist somewhere threw this together and assumed it would be rejected and then when he was told his poster was chosen he panicked. At least they got that sweet block lettering. D.)

Tagline(s) – Part man. Part machine. Total weapon. Prepare to go Solo! (C+)

(You were going so good there for a while, tagline. Honestly the end is tacked on. Prior to that it’s an OK tagline. It’s got the structure and the plot. Just lacks a little creativity. Really what they have is something that works for any cyborg film… although, I’m not always prepared to go solo for every cyborg film, so that’s helpful to know.)

Keyword – based on novel

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Emma. (2020), Goodfellas (1990), Ready Player One (2018), Jojo Rabbit (2019), Forrest Gump (1994), Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Future BMT: 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 45.7 London Fields (2018), 43.8 Priest (2011), 43.6 Allegiant (2016), 43.4 The Rhythm Section (2020), 42.2 Pan (2015), 41.3 Addicted (2014), 39.7 Eat Pray Love (2010), 39.4 The Princess Diaries 2 (2004);

BMT: After (2019), Dolittle (2020), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), The Circle (2017), The Snowman (2017), Striptease (1996), Conan the Barbarian (2011), The 5th Wave (2016), Hunter Killer (2018), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), Vampire Academy (2014), Jumper (2008), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), A Walk to Remember (2002), A Dog’s Purpose (2017), I Am Number Four (2011), Death Wish (2018), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Poseidon (2006), Eragon (2006), Kiss the Girls (1997), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Along Came a Spider (2001), The Choice (2016), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Something Borrowed (2011), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), The Host (2013), Safe Haven (2013)

(My god, we’ve done so many of them. And we still, confusingly, still have Twilight films to watch? I forget because I actually randomly watched them all years ago for no apparent reason. None of the others in that Future BMT section seem particularly appealing if I’m being honest. Although some of them have to be in a different keyword since we aren’t even half way through this cycle.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mario Van Peebles is No. 1 billed in Solo and No. 2 billed in Highlander: The Final Dimension, which also stars Deborah Kara Unger (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 6 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 6 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – The program on the TV that the people in the village is The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). (I noticed this in the wild. Really good film, would highly recommend even if you don’t typically go for 50s films and that particular brand of special effect artistry)

2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story included the subtitle so as not to be confused with this film. (Well … I would assume it included a subtitle because Solo sounds like it could literally be anything. I doubt many people would be like “I’m going to Solo tonight want to come?” and their friends would respond “Wait, you’re going to go see that 1996 Mario Van Peebles robot film in theaters? That’s weird”)

Red Sonja Recap

Jamie

After her family is killed by the eeevil Queen Gedren, Red Sonja trains to become the warrior destined to kill her. Unfortunately, Gedren has gotten her hands on the Talisman and it’s world destroying power. With the help of her friends Falkon, Tarn, and Cona… I mean, Kalidor, can she stop Gedren before it’s too late? Find out in… Red Sonja.

How?! It was Red Sonja’s destiny to destroy Gedren after she was bestowed with the powers of a warrior by a wizard… you tuned out yet? All you need to know is Gedren was hot for Red Sonja and she was like “no thanks” so Gedren killed her family and thought she killed but, nope, she just made her all the more powerful. Later Gedren steals The Talisman (bum bum bum) from its protectors after they determine it’s too powerful and must be destroyed. Fortunately one escapes and finds Cona… I mean, Kalidor, and tells him to go get Red Sonja. Sonja is a super badass now after years of training and is informed that Gedren has The Talisman (bum bum bum) and she must go after it. She spurns Kalidor’s offer of help and sets off on her own. In the ruins of a city she finds a petulant young prince Tarn and his servant Falkon. She sizes them up as pretty lame and continues on her way. She comes to a gate owned by Lord Brytag, who demands she pleasure him and she’s like “definitely not” and kills him in battle. With the help of Kalidor (who is kinda growing on her) she escapes through the gate and continues on towards Berkubane (I could be making this all up and you wouldn’t know). On the way she rescues Prince Tarn and Falkon and are trapped in a cave by Gedren. There she unleashes a Killing Machine on them and it’s looking pretty dire except that Kalidor swoops in looking fly and helps them defeat it. When they finally get to Gedren’s castle they all split up and methodically kill everyone. Confronting Gedren in a climactic battle, Red Sonja shows that she is the ultimate warrior and kills her and destroys the talisman. Escaping the collapsing castle, the whole gang moves on to their next great adventure (and maybe a little smooching too). THE END.

Why?! Did you not hear me? Gedren has The GD TALISMAN!! It’s a talisman… it’s got great power. Duh. So get off my back cause that’s pretty cereal and needs Red Sonja and our Conan knockoff characters to be pretty focused on it. Oh and Gedren wants to control… or maybe just destroy the world? Even her cronies are like “yo, she’s getting a bit crazy with this talisman business.”

Who?! We got a bunch of options here. Obviously Arnold is a former athlete and Ernie Reyes Jr. and Pat Roach dabbled in professional kickboxing and wrestling, respectively. Pat Roach is probably the most interesting as he was nicknamed “Judo” and “Bomber” and held the European Championship at one time.

What?! MacGuffin alert up in here. The Talisman has all dem powers. It can make lightning and earthquakes and basically destroys everything using the power of light. And not even like a whole bunch of light. Just fill a room with candles and The Talisman is off the hook. Image what it could do nowadays with new light technology. Fuggetaboutit. Alas, Red Sonja destroyed it.

Where?! Where? Where?! In the general vicinity of Hyrkania, Hilidor, Hablock and Berkubane. And no, those are not places I made up on the spot (OK fine, I did make up one of those). It does seem like some of those were made up for the film, but others were seen throughout the series. Still, this is a solid Fictional setting, which is always appreciated here at BMTHQ.

When?! It’s the Hyborian Age from Robert E. Howard. Scholars place it roughly from 30,000-10,000 B.C. (seriously, they do) although I think that’s all balderdash. It clearly exists in a time outside of history and to attempt to place it in reality is a fool’s errand. Also that would be like a D at best if it was supposed to be real.   

Not gonna lie, I kinda enjoyed watching this movie. It’s real silly, sure, but I can dig me a little sword and sorcery action and this delivered on both swords and sorcery. Obviously the weakest point, and why you can’t really seriously consider this anything but a disastrous movie, is the acting. It is not good, to put it kindly. But still, this ain’t no Sorceress and is more than just boring or anything like that. Our boy Arnold even battles a mechanical brute, so I feel like we’re getting some fun in there. I don’t know, I feel like I would be pretty satisfied if every bad movie we watched was on the level of this. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are well on our way to finishing up all of the Conan films. Just a technicality left: Kull the Conqueror which was, by all accounts, originally a Conan film. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The trailer makes this look very much like Conan the Destroyer which was a terrible cheap looking trash film. So until further notice I have to imagine this is the same thing. Everything will hinge on exactly how bad the effects are. Because what really sank Conan the Destroyer was the room of mirrors fight against the wizard Thoth-Amon, once you see that nothing can redeem the film. What were my expectations? The wizard Thoth-Amon fight version two. I have little hope this was anything but a cash grab on that sweet IP with just the laziest possibly execution.

The Good – Watching these old sword and sorcery films is always fun in their own may. The dumb looking puppets. The bad wizard effects. The beautiful Italian vistas. This film is no different. I also think I liked this film more than Conan the Destroyer, which came across as more of a cheap cash grab. This film seemed like it was actually trying to do something. And finally while Brigitte Nielsen was bad I expected her to be terrible, so she actually exceeded expectations. Best Bit: Beautiful Italian vistas.

The Bad – The film. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a Dino De Laurentiis film from the 80s is terrible, but here we are. The effects are bad, the plot is stupid and predictable. I don’t really know what else to say. While I like Arnold his appearance as a totally different character also threw the entire film off kilter. I was sure he was going to eventually reveal that he is, in fact, King Conan, and this was, in fact, a third Conan film for real. But nope. Just really odd decisions, but that’s what happens when you create a movie to cash in on a trend I suppose. Fatal Flaw: Bad acting and effects.

The BMT – If not for the fact that we are going to eventually watch all of the Conan films for BMT I actually doubt we would have watched this film just because it is small and cheap and doesn’t bring much to the BMT table. I do enjoy being able to rank them though: Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Conan the Destroyer, Conan the Barbarian (2011). Easy peasy. Did it meet my expectations? It was slightly better. Throughout the film the effects (with the exception of the mechanical sea serpent I think) weren’t as bad as Thoth-Amon. But it was a cash grab on that sweet IP.

Roast-radamus – Prince Tarn and Falkarn are something. At times Falkarn seems like a Planchet. At others Tarn it. Sometimes they are a bumbling odd couple. I’m going to give it a Planchet (Who?) in general though. Definitely a huuuuuge MagGuffin (Why?) for the Talisman the … thing that created the world and … uh, it going to undo it? Closest to a Bad film in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – This film was big enough at the time to be spoofed 5 years later on on In Living Color! That’s fun, and naturally Jim Carey is amazing. The Hanna Barbarians joke is still solid. … Honestly that’s it though, there isn’t much actual identifiable cred. I was considering doing some analysis of our various cred metrics (BMeTric, a new critic analysis I’m working on, and Notability), but it doesn’t quite feel like we are there yet. Maybe next week.

You Just Got Schooled – Once again this week I had a delightful cartoon to fall back on as far as schooling myself. Conan the Adventurer was a 1992 animated television series produced by Sunbow Entertainment who did many of the Hasbro productions in the 80s (like G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Jem and the Holograms) and was later bought by Sony. I, again, only watched the first episode was created a markedly different origin story for Conan compared to either the original pulp novels (where he is a barbarian wandering around, not much to it) or the movies (where his family is massacred). That is a bit dark for a kids’ television series, so here his family is turned to stone, and he wields a sword made from shooting stars against the evil lizard people (who are I think aliens? That is what it sounded like to me). The show is pretty amusing in how terrible it is at points, specifically the incredibly annoying pet phoenix Needle. And the character of Conan is not a barbarian at all! Rather he is an extremely kind (almost naive) young warrior just trying to save his family (aw shucks!). I vaguely like the ideas with the lizard people from another dimension, but I kind of wish it didn’t involve Conan. Conan could be a cool cartoon given the extensive comic book history he has, but probably not a children’s cartoon. C-. Not a good adaptation in the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Red Sonja Quiz

Oh boy. So hear me out. I was battling Red Sonja in order to win her heart (you see, any woman I bed must defeat me in battle first … you know what the explanation is boring, nevermind), when she bopped me on the head and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Red Sonja?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) After her entire family is murdered Red Sonja is left for dead. A god appears before her and grants her super powers. What powers?

2) Years later a group of faithful women congregated for a ceremony around the mystical Talisman. What is the intention of that ceremony?

3) The ceremony is rudely interrupted by Queen Gedren who steals the talisman. Escaping the massacre is Varna, who enlists Kalidor to find Sonja for her. How is she related to Sonja?

4) Sonja decides she must confront Queen Gedren and destroy the Talisman before it destroys the world. While on this journey she stumbles onto Falkon and Prince Tarn. Why was Prince Tarn’s city destroyed?

5) In the end Sonja defeats Gendren and destroys the Talisman leaving the evil queen’s castle in ruins. How does Gendren die?

Answers