Speed 2: Cruise Control Recap

Jamie

Annie is back, Jack! And now she has a new boyfriend, Alex, who is in no way similar to her much more famous ex-boyfriend. They decide to go on a cruise, but uh oh! It gets hijacked by a terrorist hell bent on revenge against the cruise ship navigation company that did him wrong (wait, what?). Can Annie stop him before it’s too late? Find out in Speed 2: Cruise Control.

What?! Annie is still the same old girl we knew and loved from Speed. Can’t drive and is always joking around. Boy oh boy, sure do love Annie from Speed. She has a new boyfriend, Alex, who swears he’s a bike cop but is actually a SWAT team member… just like her last boyfriend. Hmmm, almost as if his role was written for someone else. The discovery of this fact throws their relationship into turmoil and you know what that means: vacay time! They hop on a Caribbean cruise ready for some fun in the sun and that’s pretty much all they get…. besides some light international terrorism! John Geiger, a former programmer for the company that makes the navigation system on the cruise ship, is on board and he’s got an axe to grind. That’s because he got sick and the company was like “no way, we don’t like sick people” and dropped him. He plants all kinds of bombs all over the ship and then takes over controls. He forces the captain to abandon ship, but Annie and Alex have a bad feeling about it and throw his plan into flux by being total bosses. Realizing his plan is going awry at the hands of a super cop, Geiger starts to target Alex and try to take him out. Fat chance, jokester. Alex is totes cool and just as famous and awesome as Keanu Reeves, don’t worry about it. They realize that Geiger is controlling the ship and attempt to flood the ballasts to slow them down. They then try to jam the propellers when they realize that the ship is aimed directly at an oil tanker but Geiger ambushes them and escapes with Annie as a hostage. Desperate, Alex used the bow thrusters to turn the ship away from the tanker and crash it into land. He then hops on a speedboat and chases after Geiger who is attempting to fly away in a plane. Fat chance, sucker. Alex is on your tail and he totally takes him out and smooches Annie. THE END.

Why?! Oh boy, this is going to be good. So, our main man Geiger is totes sick because he worked on computers for the navigation system. The electromagnetic waves and prolonged exposure to computer parts gave him copper poisoning. This turned into some kind of chronic condition so in a very Philadelphia-like scenario he is fired by the company. Unlike Philadelphia, though, Geiger doesn’t aim to remediate this through litigation, but rather by becoming a domestic terrorist that will end with him escaping an exploding cruise ship with millions and millions of dollars in stolen diamonds… the whole thing is crazy and pretty much amazing.

What?! In a shocking twist there is not a MacGuffin in this film. There are a bunch of diamonds but not the MacGuffin’s Jewel or some such that is super valuable. There were a couple different movies shown on screen, which is always fun. We saw both The Enemy Below (another film where a boat crashes into another boat) and Lolita (another film where a grown man has an inappropriate relationship with a young girl). I kid of course, as Alex does not in fact have a relationship with the deaf 14-year-old girl in the film but there were all these weird things in the film that made you think that he might.

Who?! No less than three musicians/bands appear in this film. The smallest part goes to Carlinhos Brown, who performs A Namorada in the film. We also see the band UB40, which performs Tell Me Is It True and has a Speed 2 themed music video:

Finally we have the mononymous Tamia who actually appeared in the film as the character Sheri Silver and performed Make Tonight Beautiful… it was her only feature film role ever.

Where?! I thought for a while we would have a vague “Caribbean” setting, but fortunately near the end it’s revealed that the ultimate target of Geiger is the island of Saint Martin where the tanker is docked. Not even the first film we’ve seen set there. The island was also the setting of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

When?! Buckle your seatbelts because this is my favorite temporal setting of all time. That’s because Geiger gets his bombs on board disguised as golf balls. When the cruise temporarily loses his clubs he is freaking out. Alex and Annie see this and are totally confused and a little suspicious when then this apparent golf nut has no interest in The Players Championship at Sawgrass. This would place the events of the film at the end of March… it’s just so good. It’s so randomly vital to the plot. I’m giving it an A-.

This may in fact be the lamest film ever. It’s sooooo 90’s and has like 3 different smooth R&B/Ska bands that play in the beginning of the film. Jason Patric may not have been wearing mom jeans in reality, but I pretty much remember him that way because this film was so lame. I feel like someone made it as a joke… but I don’t think they did. I just think they didn’t really know what made Speed such a success (or didn’t care) so they just made something dumb because they had to make something. Should I even talk about the strange Lolita storyline they had in the film? Nah, I could write a novel about that storyline because it’s bonkers. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Speed 2: Cruise Control? More like Speed 2: Snooze Control amirite? A bunch of people unwisely signed a contract promising a sequel to the smash action hit Speed. Now, I’m not saying they intentionally botched it, but … let’s get into it!

The Good – There is a kernel of a good movie here (see Get Yo Rant On below). Sandy Bullock is as charming and beautiful as ever. Dafoe knows what he’s gotten himself into and acts accordingly. The grand island-crushing finale is satisfyingly grand, even though these days you’d be able to do the same thing for pennies on the dollar using special effects.

P’s View on the Preview – We had both seen this film before (many times in bits and pieces over the years on cable as well). Re-watching films has, up until recently, been a very rare occurrence. I was immediately interested in knowing how BMT would hold up in the face of these prior experiences. Would it end up being kind of boring as I know the beats of the film (which has happened with one or two of the Hall of Fame films), or would the non-stop pulse-pounding Jason Patric action take (cruise) control.

The Bad – This film is straight up nonsense. Dafoe has copper poisoning from working with computer systems for years? He uses leeches to clean his blood? His plan is to steal a bunch of diamonds from a cruise ship? Did he intend to crash it into an oil tanker? Why didn’t Jason Patric turn the boat completely around when they were manually steering it with the bow thrusters? Why didn’t they manually steer the boat initially instead of trying to stop the propellers? What was the point of Bullock or any of the other non-essential characters? Are we to believe the same person who had his car commandeered and crashed in Speed lives in Saint Martin and then also gets his boat commandeered and crashed in Speed 2?! Forget all of the other questions, I’m most concerned about the last one, the man only known as … Tune Man.

Get Yo Rant On – This movie could have been a fine Die Hard knockoff. A couple, a cop who can’t relax and his straight talking girlfriend, go on a cruise. He plans on proposing, but can’t find the right time. During the ballroom show one night the cop gets seasick and goes to his cabin. At that moment a group of criminals take control of the boat. Under the guise of eco terrorists hell bent on crashing the (diesel guzzling) ship into a (environment destroying) tourist island, they are actually after the diamonds stored deep in the belly of the ship. Little to they know that our hero, overlooked initially, is roaming the ocean liner foiling their every move. Can the cop stop the disaster, kill the bad guy, and pop the question? Don’t you know it! All aboard, Cruise Control!

Welcome to Earth – Straight off the dome, this is a long one! Sandy Bullock is in both Speed 2: Cruise Control and Miss Congeniality, which stars Benjamin Bratt who is also in Catwoman, which stars Halle Berry who is also in Swordfish, which stars John Travolta (who by the way is in Battlefield Earth, welcome to Earf) who is also in Old Dogs, which stars Robin Williams who is also in Big Wedding, which stars Robert De Niro who is also in Righteous Kill, which stars Al Pacino who is also in 88 Minutes, which stars Leelee Sobieski who is also in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – The more I think about this film the more enamored I become. The initial watch was just kind of blah. It is pretty dull if you don’t psych yourself into it. But after a lengthy discussion with Jamie about it I came around a bit just because the film itself is so ludicrous. Absolutely nothing in this film makes sense, and it is kind of beautiful. I don’t know if it’ll end up being much more than a I’ve-seen-this-film-a-few-times-and-it-is-dumb-fun film, but I wouldn’t not watch it again if asked. It’s legacy, I think, might end up being that it is the worst sequel ever made and thus was required viewing for any good Bad Movie Twin.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is considered one of the worst films ever made. It is number two on this list for the worst of the 90s! And number twenty on this other one. It is number one on the worst sequels ever made list! Amazingly we’ve only seen 20 of those 50, some outside of BMT even. It mainly gets play on worst of sequels lists, which I think is fair. It is very arguably this is the worst sequel ever made.

Did I re-watch Speed? No, I watched it about a month ago randomly anyways, so it was fresh enough in my mind that I could pull refs like Tune Man on the fly. No regrets. Speed is a good movie, but, in my opinion, it is not a great movie. The last third sinks it hard. You end up wanting to shut it off once they get off of the bus.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Speed 2: Cruise Control Preview

We sit on our perch, chilling with the night security guard, Ed, while he protects the Ivory Socket. We discuss at length his hopes and dreams. His passions, his loves and his greatest fears. He asks if we would like a cracker. Ed, you devil, you always know just what would hit the spot. As we munch on our crackers Ed asks us when we plan to steal the Socket. We freeze… cracker crumbs spilling down out parrot costumes. How did he know? Of course, he always knew (the devil), for we are full grown adult humans in parrot costumes. But he enjoyed our company and thought he’d delay our arrest for as long as he could. Today was supposed to be the day he finally turned us in, but he just can’t. We’ve changed his life (and honestly, Ed has changed ours too). He hands us the Ivory Socket and tells us to go, throwing rocks at us to goad us on. “I never even liked you stupid birds!” He screams with tears streaming down his face and we squawk our way out of the Royal Library. When we attempt to use the Socket to destroy the Dongle we find it’s port jammed with a note. “Before you make two pieces one, a sacred liquid must be found. Venture to the isle of sun, and find it deep within the ground.” Wait… another MacGuffin? Or is the Socket still the only MacGuffin and the sacred liquid is like… part of it that helps power it? Regardless, the riddle is trash (suspiciously so, hmmmmmm) and obviously points to the Isla del Sol in Bolivia. Time to catch a boat and get some R&R on a relaxing cruise where nothing super crazy should happen along the way. That’s right! We’re watching Speed 2: Cruise Control. This is one of the most critically reviled sequels in film history with an well deserved place on our Calendar. We’ve obviously seen it before, but probably not since its release so I remember almost none of it. Let’s go!

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) – BMeTric: 89.5

Speed2CruiseControl_BMeT

Speed2CruiseControl_RV

(Notorious, but I think it gets a bit of a pass as an action film with a charming and still-loved lead in Bullock. It’ll rise steadily with more votes, although I’m not sure it’ll ever actually get to 4.0 … I mean, it would need people to give it a 5/10 at least … are people giving Speed 2 ratings of 5 or above? That would be crazy.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Mind-numbingly stupid action yarn opens with a chase scene that makes no sense, and never improves. Bullock (whose character here is especially annoying) agrees to go on a Caribbean cruise with boyfriend Patric, an L.A.P.D. officer. When a madman Dafoe takes control of the ship, Patric feels it’s his duty to try and stop him. Did anyone read the script before signing on for this one?

(Keanu Reeves did. That’s why he then skipped out on it. The director had to do it, and I think Bullock was at an early point in here career where she still needed the job/money. Patric … well this kind of derailed whatever career he had I think, so yeah, he should have thought this guy through.)

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

(My word. Loud, choppy cuts, one liners out the wazoo. C’mon now, this is going to be amazing. Dafoe is also just completely ridiculous as well. Get hyped.)

Directors – Jan de Bont – (Known For: Twister; Speed; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; The Haunting; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: There is very little explanation as to why he basically retired after Lara Croft 2. He was a cinematographer for years before becoming, briefly, one of the most in demand action directors of the late 90s.)

Writers – Graham Yost (characters) – (Known For: Speed; Broken Arrow; The Last Castle; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Hard Rain; Notes: Writes and produces television now. Only credited because he wrote the original Speed screenplay.)

Jan de Bont (story) – (BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: The only film he has a story credit for, presumably because it is based off of a dream he had (? Read the notes below).)

Randall McCormick (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Titan A.E.; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: This was his first screenplay after getting the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.)

Jeff Nathanson (screenplay) – (Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; The Terminal; Rush Hour 2; Tower Heist; The Last Shot; Future BMT: Rush Hour 3; New York, I Love You; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Apparently was an uncredited screenwriter on Twister (also directed by de Bont) along with Joss Whedon, which I imagine is how he got attached to this film. Is somewhat famous for uncredited rewrites of many notable projects.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; The Proposal; Gravity; Crash; Minions; The Heat; Miss Congeniality; Speed; While You Were Sleeping; The Prince of Egypt; A Time to Kill; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Two Weeks Notice; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; The Thing Called Love; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; In Love and War; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: She’s opened up recently about sexism and other tough subjects in Hollywood. But she does give a good shout out to de Bont whom she credits with giving her her big break when no one else would.)

Jason Patric – (Known For: The Yellow Birds; The Lost Boys; Sleepers; The Losers; My Sister’s Keeper; In the Valley of Elah; Rush; Narc; Geronimo: An American Legend; The Confines; Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound; Your Friends & Neighbors; After Dark, My Sweet; The Journey of August King; Keyhole; Expired; Three Days of Rain; Future BMT: The Prince; Cavemen; The Outsider; The Alamo; Downloading Nancy; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Solarbabies; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Was a sort of child actor in things like Solarbabies. His father was nominated for an Oscar for The Exorcist.)

Willem Dafoe – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; John Wick; Finding Nemo; Spider-Man 3; The Florida Project; What Happened to Monday; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Spider-Man; Finding Dory; American Psycho; Platoon; The Fault in our Stars; Inside Man; Spider-Man 2; Death Note; John Carter; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Aviator; Antichrist; The English Patient; Future BMT: New Rose Hotel; Anamorph; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; The Great Wall; Tomorrow You’re Gone; Flight of the Intruder; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; Fireflies in the Garden; Lulu on the Bridge; A Family Man; Adam Resurrected; The Reckoning; Miral; Odd Thomas; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; xXx²: The Next Level; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Body of Evidence in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: He’s playing the villain in the upcoming Aquaman film. There are tons of rumors about him as the Joker as well, although that obviously seems pretty unlikely … since he’s the villain in Aquaman.)

Budget/Gross – $110 million (official) $135–160 million (estimated) / Domestic: $48,608,066 (Worldwide: $164,508,066)

(That is pretty catastrophic. Ultimately that is likely in the $30-50 million write off range if my admittedly amateur box office math works correctly. Although, this movie was a pretty long time ago so who knows how this all worked back then.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (2/69): Speed 2 falls far short of its predecessor, thanks to laughable dialogue, thin characterization, unsurprisingly familiar plot devices, and action sequences that fail to generate any excitement.

(One of the worst reviewed films ever I would presume, 3% is quite low. Given the first has a RT score above 95% this also certainly qualifies as one of the worst sequels of all time (if not the worst sequel ever made). Reviewer Highlight: An ear-splitting amusement-park attraction posing as a movie. – Jamie Bernard, New York Daily News)

Poster – Speed 2: Sklog Control (D)

speed_two_cruise_control

(Wow. A true tragedy nearly on the level of 1998’s The Avengers, which has become my watermark for how bad a poster can be. Look at those two electric colors and… like, rain or something across everything. Truly misguided. Does have unique font though and it’s not super cluttered like some posters can be, so just above the bottom of the barrel.)

Tagline(s) – Rush hour hits the water. (D+)

(Ha! For some reason this is very amusing to me. The idea that this would deal with some kind of boat traffic or whatever. It’s got fine construction, but is just so stupid that it’s funny.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.5 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 85.4 Spice World (1997); 83.6 RoboCop 3 (1993); 78.9 Torque (2004); 78.0 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 70.3 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.2 Double Team (1997); 64.4 Fair Game (1995);

(Awesome. We do have to go back and smash Street Fighter at one point. We stupidly didn’t do it when we did Legend of Chun Li or again when we inducted that into the Hall of Fame. Although that would have required a outside of the box Bonus, which we’ve never done … this is some pretty niche BMT behind the scenes talk)

Movie Stub – Speed 2: Cruise Control (GA-class) – Look at this beauty. There isn’t much in the talk page, although there is a pretty thorough review commentary which I plan on looking at as some point. No specific public notes on improvements, nor do I think it needs any, so I’ll leave it be for now.

Notes – The original script was intended to be the third film in the “Die Hard” series. After the success of the first film though, the script was reworked into a Speed sequel instead. (Huh. Vengeance is a much better idea for that (and Vengeance’s script was supposed to be a Lethal Weapon sequel)).

In a 2000 interview, Sandra Bullock jokingly referred to this movie as “the biggest piece of crap ever made.” (Not really, but it isn’t great)

Gary Oldman turned down the role of the villain, and instead chose to make Air Force One (1997). (Great choice)

Although the movie was close to being universally panned by film critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were among the very few critics to give the movie a positive review. Before his death, Ebert stated that this was the review he had to defend more than any other he had written, and that it was the one most often cited as an example of him being a poor film critic. (Ebert was a rare critic who could make a convincing argument for “it’s good for what it is”. It worked for him because he rarely deployed it for really dire films and also didn’t tend to bump films up that much using the excuse. It is understandable he’d be criticized here though, it is quite a leap to call this movie anything but garbage IMO)

Keanu Reeves turned down the movie to go on tour with his band Dogstar. (FAKE NEWS. According to Keanu. See the note below)

Matthew McConaughey was one of the male stars considered once Keanu Reeves bailed. (Would have been 1000x better. Sorry Jason)

Sandra Bullock’s character Annie was not given a last name at all in Speed (1994). movie. Here, it is revealed to be Porter. (Coooool)

Sandra Bullock agreed to star in this film in order to get financing for her pet project Hope Floats (1998). (Get yo money Sandra)

Jason Patric only agreed to make the film contingent on some major script changes being made. However, when he eventually arrived onset three months later, he found that the script hadn’t changed at all and he was contractually obligated to make the film. He found the whole experience to be thoroughly miserable and depressing. (Awwwww)

Susan Barnes plays Constance in this film. In the first Speed film, she plays the frozen-in-fear female executive who is the last one out of the perilous elevator. In this film, her character is seen calmly sitting down smoking while being trapped among others in a life-threatening situation. This may allude to her character’s survival from the first film. She is one of four people to appear in both films. (Nooooooo)

Jon Bon Jovi, ‘Patrick Muldoon’, and Christian Slater were also considered for the male lead. (Jon Bon Jovi might have worked, especially if they recast Bullock as well)

The oil tanker bears the name “Eindhoven”, the Dutch hometown of director Jan de Bont. (ooooo fun fact)

The device labeled “Fiber Optic Converter” used by the hacker is really a mechanical KVM switch (a device used to operate several PCs with one set of keyboard, mouse and monitor). (Who knows these kinds of things?)

Keanu Reeves passed on the role to star in the horror film The Devil’s Advocate (1997), which was filmed at the same time as Speed 2, and subsequently toured with his band, Dogstar. Reeves said that Fox was “furious” with his decision and released “propaganda” against him, falsely claiming that he turned down the role to tour with his band.

The sequence where the Seabourn Legend rams into port was, at the time, the most expensive stunt ever filmed, accounting for $25,000,000 of the film’s $110,000,000 budget. (holy shit)

Director Jan de Bont initially felt that Speed (1994) had no sequel potential, but he was contractually obliged to direct a sequel when it was green-lit after the success of the first movie. Many ideas were pitched, including a plane which cannot ascend above a certain altitude without exploding. Finally, de Bont used an idea of his own after he had recurrent nightmares about a cruise ship crashing into an island. (Oooof. The airplane idea is much better. Should have also recast once Keanu dropped, would have made it a bit more believable maybe.)

When Annie is retaking her driving test at the end of the film, a bus identical to the one in the original Speed passes by on the highway. Annie notes to her instructor about the bus “going way too fast”.

When the oil tanker explodes, what looks like a cow can be seen flying out with the rest of the debris from the tanker, possibly a reference to the flying cow from Twister (1996). (Noooooooo)

A total of 3 different ships were used in this film: Seaborn Legend (actual cruise liner; used for most exterior shots of the ship) “Bridge Ship” (Sturgeon Atlantic freighter ship built with a false hull and bridge; used for bridge scenes and the boat crashes in the marina) “Rail Ship” (false hull built on an underwater rail; used for the island crash finale scene). All other shots of the ship were complete computer graphic effects. (Super interesting. This is what I live for)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sandra Bullock, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson, Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (1998)

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever Recap

Jamie

Ecks is a former FBI agent broken by the loss of his wife, Sever is a former assassin hell bent on getting revenge on the boss who betrayed her. Are they working with or against each other to save a kidnapped child? Find out in… Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.

How?! If that introduction makes this film sound coherent then I’m sorry, I have misled you. For it is laughably incomprehensible. Almost to the point where Patrick and I disagreed over exactly what happened in the end. But… I’ll give it a shot. Gant is a dangerous weapons dealer who has used his child (or is he? Bum bum bum) to transport a dangerous nanobot assassin across international borders. However, once in the US a rogue assassin, Sever, abducts the child (nanobots and all) with some rad martial arts. Needing someone to help find the kid the FBI approach disgraced FBI agent Ecks. At first resistant, he eventually relents when told that his long presumed dead wife is actually alive and they will lead him to her in exchange for his help. Working against Gant’s goons, Ecks and Sever play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In order to get Ecks out of the way he is framed for a crime and arrested. While being transported to jail, though, Sever frees him and leads him on a ho-hum but very lengthy motorcycle chase. This culminates in Sever revealing that she is actually a good guy (what a twist!) and that Ecks’ wife is actually Gant’s wife (what a double twist!) and the missing child is actually Ecks’ child (what a… wait, none of this makes sense anymore). They team up to lead Gant to a train yard where they set off giant explosions and kill a whole mess of people. In a final showdown Sever shoots Gant with a nanobot infused bullet leading to his death. Ecks then lives happily ever after with his wife and child who he’s never met. Cool. THE END.

Why?! By all accounts the motivations for Ecks and Sever are what got this film in trouble in the first place. According to the director the producers wanted the leads to have clearer motivations. They rewrote it so that Ecks didn’t just want to help find a kid but that he was doing it to find his not-actually-dead wife and that the kid turned to be his kid… which would be great if it actually made any sense. Patrick and I still aren’t exactly sure what was going on. Was she Gant’s wife, but Ecks’ lover? Was she actually Ecks’ wife and then Gant put together a super elaborate scheme so that he could get with Ecks’ wife and become an international criminal? All I know is that it sure does seem extra dumb.

What?! We do have a nice MacGuffin in this guy with Softkill, the assassin nanobot. Complete with absurd computer graphics showing how said nanobot can totes inject you with dangerous chemicals, Softkill is something that every bad guy can’t wait to get his hands on.

Who?! Little did people know that this film actually completed a mononymous director tril-o-geez for BMT. That’s because we previously watched This Means War directed by McG and Catwoman directed by Pitof. This of course was directed by Kaos. Sweet trilogy bro. Next up Into the Sun directed by mink.

Where?! At first I thought for sure this was one of those classic films set in American City for American Action, but filmed in Canada. However, it wasn’t long before it was clear that this was actually set in Vancouver… which really throws everything for a loop. So the DIA director (a component of the DoD) just lives in Vancouver full time? And several different American law enforcement agencies just waltz into Canada and take over an investigation? Cool. B+.

When?! I cannot recall seeing a date thrown around anywhere, but it might have been because my brain died halfway through watching this film. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. F.

Usually when the reviews for a film say that a film is nearly incomprehensible what they actually mean is that they didn’t feel like paying attention because the film was bad, but in reality if you pay attention the film is coherent enough. Not Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. It’s legit hard to follow. And for that it must be commended. At the same time its incompetence gets in the way of truly enjoying the film as the worst reviewed of all time. It’s a great example of a truly bad film that I wouldn’t love to watch again. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oooo what’s this, the first cut of that new sweet wife-fu film we commissioned from that up and coming director Kaos. What a sweet name, Kaooooos. The next John Woo I was told. Let’s just pop this guy in … oh, my God. May the lord have mercy on my soul. Let’s get into it!

The Good – There are moments in this film which look good. A specific shot in the rain is a little out of date, but not much different than something you’d see in Max Payne or Sin City. And a shot of a police officer falling off a building, specifically how they did it, is pretty impressive I think, and I think looks good. Like … the good parts make you kind of believe Kaos’ story that the movie was doomed by the production issues, because he filmed at least a few shots amazingly well I think.

P’s View on the Preview – This is the worst film ever reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes. So obviously exploring why that is and the interesting notability there was the number one priority. I also had seen the film once before over ten years ago. The only things I remembered was there is a crazy bus crashing scene, and the movie was so confusing that at one single point the storyline abruptly made no sense. To the point where I was confused as to why it was considered so bad and then all of a sudden I was “ah … there it is”.

The Bad – For the first half of the film it is just kind of confusing (more silly than anything), but then they try and pull Ecks’ wife into the mix and woooooof. It dials the confusion to eleven. Like … was he married to her? If so why did she subsequently get into Gant’s car? What happened to the other lady at lunch? It is fairly obvious that the initial intention was to not make Talisa Soto Ecks’ long dead wife (at least I think so), but they kind of reshot things to add the storyline in to makes things more personal … uh, that’ll be a mistake dawg. Besides that the action looks corny and/or shitty more often than not, the stunts look legit dangerous which makes me sad, and the soundtrack is bonkers. So really it is kind of top to bottom an impressive mess. Also shout out to Antonio Banderas’ character whitesplaining the One Child Policy to an Asian actor in the middle of the film.

Get Yo Rant On – It is kind of sad that it is likely that nothing will ever beat this film from a Rotten Tomatoes perspective. Nothing. There is just no way a film gets 100 reviews and all of them are bad. There was a sweet spot in the early 2000s where there were enough online reviewers for a kind of minor release like this to get 100 reviews, but these days someone out there would give it an ironic “so bad I vomited all over myself in the theater and missed the second half of the movie. Three out of four stars, good for what it is” for anything that a production company would even bother releasing. Something like this probably has a 50-50 shot of being shelved no matter the budget at this point just because of the crowded release schedule. What a time to be alive.

The BMT – So is this the worst movie ever? I wouldn’t personally go that far. It actually kind of reminds me of Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li. And legit, if you recast the film with Chris Klein it would have been a legend and probably made the Hall of Fame. As it stands it probably is the most confusing film I’ve ever watched, and not in the way critics often use the term, as a synonym of messy, I mean like I still don’t know the interpersonal relationships described in the film. That’s just one piece of making a film legendary, and instead I think this will have to settle for merely being a quintessential example of that one particular movie trait.

StreetCreditReport.com – Oh yeah. On a worst-of list here, here, and here. Funny, for a film that was a little too forgettable to get noticed by the Razzies it sure did get noticed by the critics. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. I revise any previous statements and I think that it didn’t get any nominations because despite being on the early ballot people just hadn’t seen it and couldn’t be bothered to vote. Although, how they could resist voting for a man named Kaos would be beyond me.

No homework, unless you count not playing the Nintendo DS game of the same name … you don’t? Excellent, then cheerios,

The Sklogs

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever Preview

As world famous bad movie scientists, we obviously have a high powered lawyer on retainer to fix the many jams we find ourselves in. Unfortunately he’s far too busy cleaning up our latest scandal to help up set up the BMT Productions, LLC. “No probs, bro,” we say and hop right onto LawyerHelpPleaseAndThankYou.net to find a new lawyer the old fashioned way. We obvs crush it on the message boards and soon snare a lawyer who says she will do it for free (and she sounds pretty cute to boot). When she shows up though we are shocked to find that she’s no lady… she’s a dog! And our country club is no dogs allowed (gulp). But we’re in a jam and we need this LLC quick or else the Obsidian Dongle is doomed. We just got to get it done, dog lawyer or no. Surprisingly, our journey with Ruffles is marked by startling personal growth. Patrick’s rambunctious children realize their Dad can still be pretty cool sometimes and Jamie finally learns to live and love again. Ruffles has changed our lives and become this man’s… best friend. Just as we are about to sign the final papers for the company an assassin jumps through the window and knocks us out cold. When we awaken Ruffles is gone and all that’s left is a note that says “I’ve taken your dog lawyer to Vancouver. Follow if you dare. Signed, Aitch.” While this seemingly makes no sense and veers wildly away from our original plan of creating a film company, we only have one choice. The fate of Ruffles is in our hands. That’s right! We’re watching Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (Produced by Elie Samaha who also produced Battlefield Earth). This is the worst reviewed film of all time and is one that Patrick and I have both seen before (I’ve actually seen it a few times). However recently we decided that we’re going to revisit such gems and give them the full BMT treatment. This one deserves it. Let’s go!

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) – BMeTric: 77.2

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(Stock still baby. No regression = super ultra everyone-agrees-this-is-garbage film. Which makes sense considering this is the worst reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes in history.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Idiotic action film boasts what may be the worst movie title ever coined. Banderas plays an ex-FBI agent still mourning the death of his wife after seven years; his former boss recruits him for a kidnapping case by telling him his wife is still alive, and the kidnapper can lead him to her. But even that sliver of logic dissolves as the story unfolds. Only devotees of cars exploding into fireballs will find any value here.

(If this got anything other than a BOMB my head would have exploded. I remember this movie not making a lick of sense. There is a crazy bus scene, but I don’t remember an inordinate number of car explosions. I think the people who would find value in it are more likely to be wire-fu completionists. I’m loving that semi-colon in the middle of the review as well, you always give your audience what they want Leonard, I love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tme_SdRv2gk

(A microdevice! Oh no! Two main things. First, them dropping what is the worst like in the film (“I told her you just got beat up by a girl”) and blowing their load with the kind of sweet overhead shot of the guy falling off of the building is just premo marketing. They also give away the plot of the film, like beginning to end. I’ll give them this: the trailer looked a lot better than the actual film is.)

Directors – Wych Kaosayananda – (BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Notes: The son of a Thai diplomat he broke out with Fah in 1998, which had the largest budget for any Thai film to that point. Ballistic basically destroyed his career in the US, although in interviews he chaulks many of the issues it has up to its disastrous production.)

Writers – Alan B. McElroy (written by) (as Alan McElroy) – (Known For: Wrong Turn; Future BMT: Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings; Tekken; Spawn; Thr3e; Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers; The Perfect Guy; Rapid Fire; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Marine; Left Behind; Notes: Interestingly in interviews the director claims the script was heavily rewritten by Peter Lenkov without credit. Amazing career focusing heavily on horror. He was probably in the last wave of people who literally just up and moved to Hollywood with a single script in hand and was hired onto the Columbia screenwriting program based off of that.)

Extra Note: Peter Lenkov wrote Son in Law and Demolition Man. He mainly does tv now, and is notably the writer of the original R.I.P.D. comic book!

Actors – Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Shrek 2; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Shrek the Third; Spy Kids; Shrek Forever After; Bullet Head; The Mask of Zorro; Frida; Acts of Vengeance; Desperado; Knight of Cups; La piel que habito; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Philadelphia; Black Butterfly; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; The 33; Puss in Boots; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Future BMT: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D; Machete Kills; Play It to the Bone; Never Talk to Strangers; The Other Man; The Legend of Zorro; The Body; The Big Bang; Original Sin; Two Much; Gun Shy; Autómata; Assassins; Of Love and Shadows; Justin and the Knights of Valour; The 13th Warrior; Four Rooms; Imagining Argentina; Black Gold; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Expendables 3; Notes: Most notable as the bee in those Nasonex ads (j/k). Zorro, Puss in Boots, Spy Kids, Expendables. You know Antonio Banderas! Spanish actor who successfully crossed over into American films.)

Lucy Liu – (Known For: Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Chicago; Kung Fu Panda 3; Jerry Maguire; Charlie’s Angels; Kung Fu Panda; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Lucky Number Slevin; Kung Fu Panda 2; Payback; Detachment; The Man with the Iron Fists; Shanghai Noon; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Kaguyahime no monogatari; True Crime; Gridlock’d; Cypher; City of Industry; Future BMT: Code Name: The Cleaner; Rise; Play It to the Bone; Domino; Hotel; The Trouble with Bliss; Molly; Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Notes: American, she is fluent in Mandarin Chinese however. Has played Watson on the long running television series Elementary.)

Talisa Soto – (Known For: Licence to Kill; Don Juan DeMarco; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Mambo Kings; La Mission; Piñero; Spike of Bensonhurst; Future BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Spy Hard; Mortal Kombat; The Sunchaser; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Notes: Basically retired from acting after this film. Not because of the film, she happened to marry Benjamin Bratt and have her first child around the same time … but I like to think her experiences on Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever helped her decide.)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $14,307,963 (Worldwide: $19,924,033)

(There is a note below claiming this is the biggest bomb ever, which is obviously false. Yes, $70 million is a lot, but I’m pretty sure at this point films that have cost of $100 million have ended up not being released. It is impossible for this to be the worst ever I think. But this is catastrophic stuff, the whole budget is a write off at that point.)

#20 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre

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(Amazing. It really was in that in between period when you could spend the money on this stuff, and when it probably was all replaced with CGI instead. Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave, The Tuxedo, Bulletproof Monk, The Medallion … we’ve seen a lot of these films. A very funny genre with a delightful mix of amazing and trash films as well.)

#64 for the Action Heroine genre

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(A bit ahead of the curve there which is interesting, especially considering none of the other combinations in the notes had the character played by a woman. The genre is obviously booming now. Fun fact: We’ve seen the lowest grossing movie on this list, Barb Wire, which is indeed barely a movie.)

#89 for the Spy genre

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(Right in the thick of the peak. The huge dive is, I think, because Pierce Brosnan was James Bond for the last time then (in a terrible movie), so it kind of put a damper on the genre which was kind of subsequently taken over by Bourne for a bit.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/116): A startlingly inept film, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever offers overblown, wall-to-wall action without a hint of wit, coherence, style, or originality.

(From what I remember, this sounds about right. Noteworthy, still, for being the only movie with over 100 reviews all of which were rotten. I don’t think this will ever be broken in the age of ironic viewing and good-for-what-it-is-itis. Which I guess makes this all the more amazing. Reviewer Highlight: Ballistic is a generic blur of metallic blue and fireball orange set to the contrapuntal sounds of throbbing techno and eardrum-puncturing noise. – Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Sklog-llistic: Rich vs. Poe (B+)

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(I like this poster, but I don’t love this poster and I’m not totally sure why. It’s got everything: blue tone, unique font, nice enough framing. I guess it just doesn’t tell a story to me. Like if I saw this poster would I want to go see it? Nope.)

Tagline(s) – Your most dangerous enemies are the friends you’ve double-crossed. (D)

(Lol, wot? They talk about this film being a convoluted mess. Same goes for the tagline. Also, I don’t think this has anything to do with the actual plot of this film.)

Keyword(s) – fbi; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.7 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 78.8 Torque (2004); 77.2 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 76.0 Death Note (2017); 74.8 Taxi (I) (2004); 73.7 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); 71.9 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 70.3 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 68.7 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 67.1 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009);

(Death Note doesn’t count (Netflix original), but the rest of those I am down for. I’m surprised Speed 2 doesn’t have this keyword. It definitely has a higher BMeTric than 67.)

Notes – The film is #1 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of “The 100 Worst Reviewed Movies of All Time”. (Indeed, I believe it is the only film with over one hundred reviews that are all rotten)

The film grossed less than 30% of its budget at the box office, making it one of the biggest box-office failures in film history. (Weeeeellllllll, not sure I believe that one)

Agent Sever was originally written to be played by a man. The film’s original stars were Wesley Snipes and Jet Li, then Vin Diesel and Sylvester Stallone. (I would have watched any of these three versions)

While filming a large-scale action scene that involved explosives, a detonation occurred too close to Antonio Banderas, who escaped with minor burns. (Scary)

The 2001 Game Boy Advance game “Ecks vs. Sever” was actually based on an early script draft for this film, not the other way around. The game’s producers later made a sequel to that game that was based on the finished version of this movie. (Apparently the one based off of the script is quite good as well. The one based on the movie is less well regarded)

According to director Wych Kaosayananda, co-star Antonio Banderas suggested Lucy Liu come on for the role of Sever after having previously worked with her on Play It to the Bone (1999). When the director had earlier read the script, he felt that it was rather similar to the films The Killer (1989) and Leon the Professional (1994), while actually visualizing that Chou-Yun Fat and Jean Reno could be perfect square-off leads. Franchise Pictures didn’t find either Fat and Reno financially viable though. (… Wait, Chow-Yun Fat and Jean Reno were too expensive … that’s weird. I wonder if it has to do with where they were filming)

The film started in the 1980s as a spec script by Alan McElroy, titled ‘Legion’, then ‘Gunner’. Vestron Pictures tried to make the movie in 1988, with Dwight H. Little directing and Dolph Lundgren starring, but Charles W. Fries didn’t want to do it. (Jesus, there are like seventeen version of this film billed as X vs Y, and all of them sound pretty amusing to be honest)

Roger Ebert included the film on his “Most Hated” list. (No doubt)

Some critics, bloggers and other movie viewers have compared this film to War (2007) due to it containing a similar storyline (disgruntled federal agent figuring out a conspiracy), people varying on the action scenes being exciting or not, both films being advertised as a versus film only for both lead stars to square off briefly on-screen and due to overwhelming dislike with both films. (Another film we have to watch)

“After casting, the real challenges started. We were going to shoot everything in Bangkok while we retouched the script to fit the location. Then the notes came in, and I won’t get into the details but there are only two things anyone needs to know about the changes that were made by request from the studio. One: In the original draft, Sever kidnaps Ecks’ son, and the whole time, the boy is basically kept in a kid-sized glass box just big enough for him to sit in, placed on top of a kilo of C4. That was changed. Two: There was no other motivation for the characters. It was all about family. Gant “kills” Ecks and takes his wife, Vinn, and their son, with both believing each other to be dead. Meanwhile, Sever wants revenge for the death of her family at the hands of Gant and his men. So, believing it was Gant’s son, she kidnaps him and Ecks springs into action. It was all about love and family and nothing else. The nano technology included in the final draft had nothing to do with what I wanted for the story. Granted, we had a fantastic writer. Franchise Pictures brought Peter Lenkov to rewrite Alan McElroy’s script and he did a great job with the instructions he was given. Yes, there were changes made that watered it down to my chagrin, but it was as satisfactory as it needed to be at the time and everybody was on board. Then, tragedy struck in September 2001 and we had to relocate from Bangkok to Vancouver for safety reasons. Those moving expenses ended up in cutting more action scenes out, but thankfully our terrific crew made things feel much easier.” (Wych Kaosayananda on changes made to the film) (Yeah, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising the production was a mess. To be honest, it sounds like 9/11 had a bigger impact that any of the production notes. I understand he wasn’t something different, but it doesn’t really sound like making a note of “don’t put a kid in a glass box on some C4” is that big of a deal)

“Well, I’ll try to explain this as best as I can: I did my first cut which as I understood it was just that-my first cut which was the script as shot and fine tuned. There were scenes I wasn’t sure of, but liked. And we also tested the movie; One scene in particular lost the audience and the experience wasn’t very good. It was a little heavy on melodrama, and I own that. I loved the scene, but also was afraid it wouldn’t work and could easily be cheesy. But again, I honestly felt that was what the tests were for, and I was wrong. We didn’t score well and based on that test, two producers who I was already having issues with for various reasons basically just took over the movie. I found out as I was on my way to the editing room two days after the test screening and just a day after having a big meeting with Warner Bros. executives and marketing people, who were terrific by the way. By the time I got to the edit suites, my editor was Caroline Ross, a wonderful person and a great editor, was also fired and replaced, after all those hours and weeks I spent with her. And I wasn’t too pleased to say the least. So, after consulting with my agents at CAA, it was decided it was best to just walk away quietly and they’d focus on getting my next job. I still had a great relationship with the executives at Warner Bros. I had things in development with Fox 2000 and RKO and we’d just move on. The problem was, I couldn’t. I’d shot an old school actioner in 2002 with the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt as my template. My DP and I had specific needs to be met with the way we shot it, especially when it came to all the action scenes I choreographed while working with Joel Kramer – one the best stunt coordinators in his field. But despite our best efforts, the movie was butchered to the point where certain shots were flipped because the edit no longer made sense. And yes, this also affected the sequencing and pacing of the action – it was horrible to watch. Just so you know, I had only ever seen the theatrical cut once with no audio, during the colour grade with Julio, my DP. At the premier I waited until the movie had been playing for thirty minutes before taking my seat. I did this because I knew the movie was bad. I pretty much hyperventilated for the whole evening.” (Wych Kaosayananda on producer’s interference with the film and his reaction with how it turned out) (Jesus. So the note is a bit confusing, possibly because of a language barrier. But, it seems like he couldn’t walk away because some of the action scenes were specifically templated a certain way, and without him they would have been butchered and nothing would have made sense and it would have besmirched his good name. Whoooooowwwweeeeeee)

Talisa Soto’s last acting role for 7 years until she appeared in La Mission (2009).

Part of Rotten Tomatoe’s Bottom 10 films that were poorly rated. The other nine are One Missed Call (2008), Pinocchio (2002), King’s Ransom (2005), National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers (2004) Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004), Strange Wilderness (2008), 3 Strikes (2000), Redline (2007) and Witless Protection (2008). (This will be our sixth, although this list is quite out of date. I can’t find an updated list)

Despite making several “bad movies of all time” lists, this film has never been nominated nor won any Razzie awards. (It was too unknown to be poked fun at … that isn’t a compliment)

The possibly only good review recorded to dare by a professional critic (yet wasn’t recorded on Rotten Tomatoes’ site) was a review for the Daily Herald by film critic Jean Carey. It was recorded on Sept. 20, 2002 and the headline was ” ‘Ballistic’ a great time at the movies.” (Ha, there is a whole article on this. So it looks like it isn’t on Rotten Tomatoes because the editor wrote it, not the movie critic, and they basically “covered” it with a new terrible review when they realized what they had done. Amazing stuff)

Extreme Ops Recap

Jamie

You ready to get X-treme!? When an extreme sports film crew stumbles upon the hiding spot of a war criminal high in the Alps they must use all their X-treme skillz to escape. Can they escape, beat the baddies, and maybe get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Extreme Ops.

If you’ve seen the movie and are feeling Xtreme you can test just how Xtreme you are by taking the Extreme Ops Xtreme Pop Quiz (Hot Shot)! I’m basically an Xtreme savant, so don’t fret if you don’t get them all. Back to this Xtreme recap!

How?! An X-treme commercial film crew is x-tremely excited to go to Austria and film a new skiing and snowboarding commercial. Unfortunately their producer has promised a real life avalanche will be used in the filming and a real life olympic gold medalist will make an appearance. Oh no! The most dangerous stunt of their lives and they got a total n00b in here! When they make their way to Austria a couple of the particularly X-treme crew members get in trouble with their hotel leading to them staying in a partially finished resort at the top of a mountain. Unbeknownst to them a war criminal is hiding there after faking his own death. While they film and make fun of the Olympian for totes being terrible at skiing, the war criminal gets wind of their presence. Oh no! Confronted by armed mad men on the mountain they stage an avalanche that results in the death of the war criminal’s son. Double oh no! They attempt a daring escape but are pinned in a crevasse by the baddies. The next morning they make their way out and blow up the bad guy’s helicopter. This explosion causes an avalanche that the Olympian successfully skis away from, fulfilling the requirements of the commercial they were creating. Back home their commercial is a great success and they all swear to never reveal the dark secrets of their past and how they killed a war criminal but they are fine with it because it’s fine… it’s fine… it’s totally fine… I’m fine… I SAID IT’S FINE! Oh and the main character gets the girl, duh. THE END.

Why?! The war criminal has faked his death because he was going on trial at the International Court. Like any good war criminal he pretends to be flying to his trial but blows up the plane that he actually wasn’t on. He then heads to the unfinished resort atop an Austrian mountain top to wait out a plot to blow up the court and then allow for the heat to die down. His discovery and accidental filming by the crew requires that he kill them to preserve his secret. The film crew really does only want to make a commercial. They seem like consummate professionals and really good at their jobs and we get an inordinate amount of commercial filming shop top given that this is a film about X-treme athletes escaping from a crazed war criminal.

What?! Just to really hammer home where this film was meant to take place we get an entire scene of our heroes getting extreme with a drunken game of truth and dare while chugging bottle upon bottle of sweet, sweet Edelweiss.

Who?! Not many actors to highlight but perhaps a hint of Planchet in both the producer (who is derided hard by the entire film crew despite being “the boss”) and Will, who spends the film trying to get with the lady of the crew only to be made fun of as a chubby loser at every turn… that is until he parachutes off a cliff to save everyone’s life. For real.

Where?! Austria babbbb-yyyy. Everywhere you look this film screams Austria. The back of the DVD, wikipedia, imdb synopsis, etc. etc. etc. Even if you had none of that you still have them saying that they are in Austria like 5000 times and doing everything Austrian they can find. It is still slightly strange when they have an orgy on a pile of wiener schnitzel. I was into it, but a bit heavy handed (is that real? You’ll just have to watch Extreme Ops and find out). A.

When?! I went back through and didn’t find even a little hint at the timing. They even had a perfect opportunity with a close up of a newspaper but chose not to. Too bad Extreme Ops because that gives you an… F.

I found the first half of the film to be oddly technical with large parts of the film spent discussing how they were going to get a shot, how hard it would be to teach the Olympic skier to ski, and trying to coordinate the shooting schedule. It was very informative, but odd for a purported thriller. The only thrills they gave us were rididididiculous wire-aided stunts that mostly just looked funny. Then there was a thirty minute section in the middle that was a surprisingly well done survival thriller as the extreme athletes used their skillz to avoid capture and certain death. Fortunately for us right when I could have been like, “you know what? I’m digging this,” It threw us an ending that was just flat out stupid looking. Fun BMT film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When you’re all out of Mountain Dew and you have a few terrorists to handle who do you call? The extreeeeeme operations (ops for short) obviously. They’ll get it done and look gnarly doing it bro. Let’s get into it.

The Good – I thought when you actually watched people snowboarding and skiing the film was pretty cool. Like, you actually get to see people going down some incredible powder (broooo, alright I’ll stop) and it is … well it is like a documentary and that is actually pretty fine. I cared about all of the characters as well, which is stunning, and was quite glad that they decided not to kill anyone off … would have put a damper on their commercial too if they had. The vistas though, the vistas!!!

Ps View on the Preview – So we are recording a test episode for a Bad Movie Twins podcast today (exciting stuff for the one person who reads this far, hi Lou!) and for that we rewatched the BMT classic Getaway. And like Getaway, which is injecting a film directly into the veins of gearheads, I was most intrigued to see how they served up what would be, nowadays, a direct-to-VOD film exclusively for extreme sports enthusiasts. Plus, it came out the same year as xXx, so seeing how much of a knock off of that weirdly entertaining film this was would be interesting as well.

The Bad – Well it is a knock off, and the terrorist plot line is just gloriously ludicrous. The acting is terrible, and it is pretty stunning that they apparently sunk this amount of money into a film which was basically guaranteed not to make its money back. The CGI was absolutely horrible, as were the accents. But if you can look past all of that … the movie is actually not half bad. As crazy as that sounds. I make fun of the budget, but considering the success of xXx I really shouldn’t. You definitely need someone like Vinny D piloting your film if you expect to make a $40 million budget back, that’s just common sense. But really the biggest crime? Well, I think this needs its own coined phrase.

Sklogcabulary Quiz – Wire-faux (n.) – Applying high wire acrobatics to replace a film’s actual stunts in something other than a kung fu movie.

We make fun of it when it is done in a kung fu movie, but in an extreme sports film? It just looks crazy and makes no sense. I’m here to watch some people cut that sweet powder (brooo, alright, this time I’ll really stop), so having them flip around on obvious high wires is just … disappointing.

The BMT – I liked this movie in a weird way, it was very BMT. If it didn’t have the weird wire-fu though it would just be a borderline direct-to-DVD garbage film, but with it it is kind of special. I wonder how many genres have been Wire-fu-ified. Like … historical actioner in The Musketeer has very strange acrobatic action scenes I remember. Now that is a movie I’m interested to see.

StreetCreditReport.com – I think this flew under the radar a bit because it is so low budget. I found a blog which had it third worst of the year right above Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (which is impressive). And this possibly fake extreme sports blog mentions it among the worst extreme sports films (along with Gleaming the Cube and Surf Ninjas which is genuinely impressive). So street cred in the extreme sports genre, but not for bad films of 2002 in general it seems.

No homework here either.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Extreme Ops Preview

Wild success on our first official trek of the cycle. It was a tough hike from Norway to The Netherlands, but well worth it as we arrived in Amsterdam to the sweet stench of dog poo. But our time in this dog poo location was only too brief and we must pack up our stuff and take a literal hike to the mighty Alps. That’s right! We’re watching Extreme Ops, the extreme sports action thriller set in Austria. Wiener schnitzel and Edelweiss awaits our arrival, but one can only hope that we are instead served up another steaming pile of dog poo instead… have I said dog poo enough times? Let’s go!

Extreme Ops (2002) – BMeTric: 46.5

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(The fact that this keeps climbing up probably means it isn’t legendarily bad. But it is pretty stunning that the film opened as low as it did. Below 4.0 for a film that should only really be watched by the people it was designed to please? That is pretty nuts.)

Leonard Maltin – 2  stars –  Ho-hum actioner in which a wild-and-crazy film crew, shooting a commercial in the Austrian Alps, tangles with a Serbian war criminal in hiding. The genetic snowboarding/skiing/kayaking sequences look as it they’ve been lifted from a sports video.

(Jesus, drop the mic a bit more Leonard. This movie is boring and the scenes with actual extreme sports look boring too! That is what it boils down to, and yet two stars? That might be the most stunning part of all. That Leonard Maltin seemingly didn’t mind Extreme Ops.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZoACTYqwbg

(It starts looking like a horror film? And the terrorism parts looks crazy, I have a hard time believing that is actually how it ultimately looks like, because the minicam footage looks like cinema quality. It also looked like they just gave up the end of the film with the helicopter blowing up … like how wouldn’t that be the end of the film?)

Directors – Christian Duguay – (Known For: Un sac de billes; The Assignment; Belle et Sébastien, l’aventure continue; Future BMT: The Art of War; Live Wire; Screamers; BMT: Extreme Ops; Notes: Canadian, started his career as a camera operator across commercials and documentaries and film. He’s more recently done a string of French films.)

Writers – Timothy Scott Bogart (story) – (Known For: The I Inside; BMT: Extreme Ops; Notes: He started a production company, Boardwalk Entertainment Group, at some point around 2013, but there is very little information about the productions they have done.)

Mark Mullin (story) – (BMT: Extreme Ops; Notes: The note from variety shows that he was at some point attached to an Untitled Smokejumpers Project. That is literally a fake movie from Entourage, Smokejumpers. Vinny and the director get into such a big fight they end up cancelling the production entirely.)

Michael Zaidan (screenplay) – (BMT: Extreme Ops; Notes: Again, not much about him, but you can read the Variety blurb which describes, presumably, this film, originally entitled The Extremists apparently.)

Actors – Rufus Sewell – (Known For: Hercules; Dark City; A Knight’s Tale; The Holiday; The Illusionist; Hamlet; Paris, je t’aime; Dangerous Beauty; Amazing Grace; Carrington; Blinky Bill; The Sea; Vinyan; A Man of No Importance; Twenty-One; Future BMT: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; The Legend of Zorro; The Tourist; All Things to All Men; I’ll Follow You Down; Downloading Nancy; Tristan + Isolde; Hotel Noir; Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Bless the Child; Extreme Ops; Notes: Son of the animator who did the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds segment from Yellow Submarine. Raised in Twickenham with an impressive London theatre resume.)

Devon Sawa – (Known For: Casper; Little Giants; SLC Punk!; The Guilty; 388 Arletta Avenue; A Cool, Dry Place; Future BMT: Slackers; Life on the Line; Idle Hands; Wild America; Final Destination; Now and Then; BMT: Extreme Ops; Notes: Kind of came from a Hollywood family, his mother was a production designer. Did all of his own stunts in Extreme Ops.)

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras – (Known For: Billy Madison; Shopgirl; Higher Learning; Nixon; Unhook the Stars; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; House on Haunted Hill; Mortal Kombat; Just Visiting; The Suburbans; Beautiful; Last Action Hero; Love Stinks; The Real Blonde; BMT: Extreme Ops; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Married to Pete Sampras obviously. At one point you could get the (terrible) 150-1 odds that their first son Christian would win Wimbledon … I’m not even sure he plays tennis so that would have been a waste of money.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $4,842,259 (Worldwide: $10,959,475)

(A complete disaster, although I’m a bit skeptical of the budget. It feels like one of those things where the more they report the larger the tax break from Austria or wherever this was actually filmed. I have a hard time believing they managed to sink $40 million into this for reals.)

#20 for the Sports – Extreme genre

extremeops_extremesports

(Oh my right at the peak. xXx: State of the Union, Out Cold, Rollerball were previous BMT films. There really was a moment though. xXx, this, and Blue Crush all came out in the same year. I do think this is exactly the type of niche genre that, like movies made for car or gun fanatics, inevitably made more sense to release to VOD.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (5/67): The various stunts in Extreme Ops don’t compensate for the inane storyline and bad dialogue.

(All. day. Long. I love inane storyline and bad dialogue, so I watch this all day. Reviewer Highlight: The impossible plot and laugh-out-loud dialogue would have been tolerable if the tricks were impressive. – Christy Lemire, Associated Press.)

Poster – Extreme Sklogs (B+)

extreme_ops

(I actually dig this poster. Bold blue with an artistic bent to presenting the extreme sports the film is meant to promote. Also nice unique font. Not perfect, but pretty… rad.)

Tagline(s) – Fear is a trigger (F)

(I literally don’t know what this means. Does this actually have something to do with fear being a trigger… like this is a trigger warning that they will be afraid and have trouble watching the film. I seriously don’t understand.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.4 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.5 Street Fighter (1994); 85.2 Spice World (1997); 83.5 RoboCop 3 (1993); 78.8 Torque (2004); 77.9 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 70.2 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.0 Double Team (1997); 64.2 Fair Game (1995);

(Fun fact: having watched the movie, there isn’t a time bomb in it. So good job random IMDb user, you completely botched that one. And that is why I don’t totally trust IMDb keywords. It was probably inserted by some guy who was like, “wait, there was a time bomb in this right … totes, otherwise why would I think this is so gnarly”. WRONG)

Notes – The closing credits begin with ‘To Werner’ – Werner Koenig had died in an avalanche in 2000 while location scouting for this movie. (Oh wow, that is terrible)

Max Payne Recap

Jamie

Max Payne is a detective with pain deep in his heart due to the pain caused by the painful deaths of his wife and baby. Forever searching for those responsible, can he track down their killers before it’s too late? Find out in… Max Payne.

How?! We are introduced to our titular character May Payne, an unstable detective broken by the murder of his wife and child and relegated to the cold case squad. Convinced that drug addicts were responsible for their deaths he spends his free time kicking ass and taking names of those on the periphery of the drug trade. One night he’s introduced to Natasha, sister of a Russian mobster who is involved in a new street drug Max is investigating. After she leaves his apartment she is brutally murdered, throwing suspicion on Max. Max don’t give a shit because he’s a crazy person and only cares about two things: solving crimes and chewing gum and guess what? Gum doesn’t exist in Max Payne (neither does sunshine and laughter apparently, this film is grim). But when his ex-partner is also killed for investigating Natasha’s murder, he suspects he’s getting close to something explosive. After finding that some work documents of his wife’s have been stolen he tortures one of her coworkers and finds out she was involved in the development of a military drug. Tracing this all back to a homicidal maniac named Lupino, Max confront him and is nearly killed, only to be saved by the real killer of his wife: his good friend BB. BB throws Max into the frozen Hudson River but Max survives by consuming some of the drug. Transformed into a super soldier he goes after BB and kills him… now read all that back and see if it makes any sense. I actually had to rewatch parts of this film because I couldn’t piece together the film’s plot. It’s nonsense. THE END.

Why?! Max Payne mostly just wants to chew bubblegum in peace, but since that doesn’t exist he is obsessed with solving the murders of his wife and child. Pretty boring and straightforward. The bad guy on the other hand is much more interesting. He used to be a police officer, but took over security at the pharmaceutical company Max’s wife worked at. After the failure of the trials of the super soldier drug he started dealing it on the streetz for profit. Max’s wife got wind of it so she had to go. Weirdly the police don’t seem suspicious that a bunch of super soldier drug is being sold. You even see the logo of the pharma company on the vials… now that I think about it Max Payne is a really bad cop. Should have been obvious.

What?! Mila Kunis certainly liked her Maserati in the film, but my favorite by far is from the post credit sequence (setting up a sequel that never came to fruition… yet). In it Max meets up with Mila Kunis’ character at a bar to discuss things. He goes to the bartender and grabs two nice cold refreshing bud lights. Hardly any product placement in the entire film and then this shows up at the end. I’m convinced Wahlberg must have something in his contract requiring it. Seeing how Bud Light will be incorporated into the plot is the best part of his Transformers films.

Who?! Apparently the voice actor for Max Payne appears uncredited as a background actor in a scene… but that’s not confirmed by imdb. Better than that is while scrolling through the cast list I saw that Nelly Furtado, famous singer and bird enthusiast, appears as the wife of Max Payne’s former partner. She appears for one second, says a line, and isn’t visually recognizable for me to have noticed until now. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! NYC Babbbbyyyyyy! At first I thought maybe we were in Generic Big City, but then the police cars all had NYPD on them and the game is explicitly set there so why wouldn’t they. Pretty obvious but not essential. B-.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! Everything is bleak, cold, and snowy in the film so my setting sense was a-tingling. Could we be looking at an Xmas film. Unfortunately no. But this seems to end on New Years Eve. Right in the beginning we are told that the events of the final showdown occur a week before the start of the film. At some point in the beginning of the film Max’s buddy is reviewing a case file which is listed as being transferred to him on 12/28/2008. This would seem to indicate almost exactly that the we are being treated to a super secret New Year’s Eve film. A wonder we didn’t see Max watch the ball drop after totally murdering a bunch of people. That’s a pretty nice B.

This film is nonsense which seemed to aim squarely at style rather than substance (and succeeded at having almost no substance at all). Felt a little Zach Snyder-ish, with parts that looked good but when you drill down there is just fluff there. In reality if you think about it this film is not too different than Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li other than it looks a lot better. The plot is just as hilariously bad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Max Payne was what you’ll be in if you watch this movie, aaaaayyyyyyyyyoooooooooo, hit it Jamie! Ah, but I should probably talk about the movie a bit … fine, let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I like Mark Wahlberg, I can’t help it. I barely even know why at this point given how he has betrayed me with the Transformers franchise. The film kind of looked cool at times. The story was kind of interesting at times. I even kind of liked it at times. Those times were just too few and far between. Obviously I would want a Remake. Video game films are having a moment. People are trying all kind of new things with them. Young directors. Serious stories. Higher budgets. Nothing seems to help, they still kind of suck. I think, and this might be an unpopular opinion, part of the problem is fanservice. With comic books you have limitless material to draw on, thousands upon thousands of pages of Batman has slowly made his character beloved and authentic feeling stories are fairly simple to develop out of the archetype. Max Payne though? You have a few games, and honestly, the stories in video games are rarely good. Just make this a revenge cop drama. Don’t worry about the fanservice. If you make it good the fans will come back to it and it will become Max Payne (not the other way around). Maybe it works, maybe people slam it for not being an “adaptation” as they expect it. But it is better than having stupid goat transformation scenes in Warcraft, I’m telling you that much. Rant over.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – This film is a little too stylized. The story is very generic, so much so that you sit there and think “well obviously that guy is the bad guy! Haven’t I seen this somewhere else?”. It also, and I’ll get into this a little below, kind of betrays the game it is adapted from. It is kind of fun, but mostly it is drab, dreary, and sad. The Sklognalogy I think has to be Sucker Punch in a way. I feel like it and Sin City 2 and 300 2 (I haven’t seen either of those) all suffer from the same thing: it missed the boat on a style, but went ahead and did it anyways. The style gets boring though after you’ve seen it once or twice. You might think making a Matrix knock-off would be cool, but it probably would just look stupid these days and make people think “ugh, this is a knock off of the Matrix”. Same thing here.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I do think Max Payne has a legacy, mostly in an unyielding march towards watching all video game adaptations (almost all of them qualify after all). This isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but it came out at a time when people were sure video game adaptations were going to happen. They didn’t. The same people are sure this year is the year as well … welp, the new Lara Croft trailer doesn’t look so good to me, but we’ll see. They’ll figure it out someday. There isn’t much for being the worst of 2008, but it fourth on a list of worst Mark Wahlberg films by Rolling Stone. And made a list of the 15 worst video game films by Screen Rant. Pretty solid.

I’ll keep the adaptation analysis short because I haven’t played the game. But, based on the outcry by the developers themselves it is clear that the hallucinations that Mark Wahlberg sees, a major plot point in the movie, either play very little or no part in the film. I wish I had the time to play through the game to give a better analysis, and someday I’m sure I will, but that day is not today. This seems to be mid-level though as far as staying true to the game itself, so let’s give it a C with an option for extra credit later to bump up that grade.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs