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 – Who What Where When Why How – 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

Red Sonja Preview

“How… how are we talking to you?” Rich asks the small squirrel that has appeared in front of them. “Destiny,” it whispers in importance, dancing excitedly on its tiny feet, “it is foretold in the ancient scroll. Come.” Its eyes are shining and it hurries off, occasionally turning back and beckoning them forth. Rich and Poe shrug their shoulders. What’s one more adventure? Besides, Nic Cage needs saving and this, however bizarre, is their best lead. Upon arriving at the squirrel’s tree they see that word has already spread, for hundreds of squirrels are there chattering amongst themselves. A gray, wizened squirrel waddles up with a little tiny knobbly cane and it’s all very sweet and Rich and Poe both think it’s very cute. “It has been foretold,” the old squirrel wheezes, “in the ancient scroll,” it continues pulling out the cutest, tiniest scroll and unrolling it. Thank god they don’t have to read it themselves because it’s so little and tiny and they’d need tiny cute glasses to read it, which the old squirrel has. He clears his throat and reads, “It is foretold in this ancient scroll that there will come a time where the great one will fall ill and a pair of twins will arrive to seek out the cure. The Great Nut that will be broken and through its shattering will clear the bowels of humanity.” The bad movie twins frown. “And with a mighty expulsion of putrid air and waste, which is foretold in this scroll, the world will be empty and the movement satisfactory.” The old squirrel hacks and coughs with the effort of speaking and really this whole thing is a little less cute once it’s all laid out like that. Recovering, it squeaks out a final, “Destiny,” before waving them away. That’s right! We’re watching the Conan the Barbarian adjacent sword and sandals film Red Sonja starring a new-on-the-scene Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold (but not playing Conan for some reason). Let’s see if 35 years have aged this fantasy action film into a fine wine. Let’s go!

Red Sonja (1985) – BMeTric: 60.0; Notability: 33 

(Surprisingly low. I guess I’m not surprised it has been rising with the number of votes though. I feel like these cheesy 80s properties are ripe for cult status. Very high notability given though considering it looks like garbage.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Spectacularly silly sword-and-sorcery saga with female lead, based on pulp writings of Robert E. Howard (of Conan fame). Might amuse juvenile viewers, but only point of interest for adults is deciding who gives the worse performance, Nielsen or villainess Bergman. Schwarzenegger has a brief guest spot.

(I don’t think Arnold’s guest sport is all that brief. I think he’s in like half the film. This feels like a review that was written much closer to the time of the film’s release. Somewhat interesting that he gave the same score to Conan the Destroyer, which was a genuinely terrible film from what I can recall.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUHsZEo4I24/

(They basically go all out on “THIS IS A CONAN FILM” … but he’s Lord Kalidor don’t worry about it. Man they really don’t make films like this anymore. It is basically a pulp novel come to life!)

Directors – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; 10 Rillington Place; Compulsion; Mr. Majestyk; The Boston Strangler; Barabbas; See No Evil; The Last Run; The Narrow Margin; Violent Saturday; Future BMT: Amityville 3-D; The Jazz Singer; Doctor Dolittle; Mandingo; Million Dollar Mystery; The Incredible Sarah; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Jazz Singer in 1981; Notes: )

Writers – Robert E. Howard (based on the character created by) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Sadly killed himself on the night his mother died when he was 30 years old. Was friends with H. P. Lovecraft and one of the Lovecraft Circle.)

Clive Exton (written by) – (Known For: 10 Rillington Place; Isadora; Future BMT: The Awakening; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: His last major motion picture. He wrote 21 episodes of Poirot, which is great and I highly recommend.)

George MacDonald Fraser (written by) – (Known For: Octopussy; The Three Musketeers; The Four Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Created Harry Flashman, the bully of Tom Brown’s School Days. The character appeared in the film Royal Flash starring Malcolm McDowell.)

Roy Thomas (comic book) (uncredited) – (Known For: Logan; Fire and Ice; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote for a bunch of comic companies, but probably most notably Marvel. Credited on Morbius, and Captain Marvel among many others because of that. Wrote three sword and sorcery films in 1983, 1984, and 1985.)

Barry Windsor-Smith (comic book) (uncredited) – (BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Notably wrote on the Weapon X storyline for Marvel comics in addition to the Conan the Barbarian comics.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Total Recall; Commando; Predator; Dave; True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Twins; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Maggie; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; Jingle All The Way; End of Days; Cactus Jack; The Iron Mask; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; in 2000 for End of Days; and in 2001 for The 6th Day; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Batman & Robin; in 2001 for The 6th Day; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; and in 2015 for The Expendables 3; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day in 2001; Notes: A little odd he gets top billing in the film. Anyhoo, he just had heart surgery, but is in recovery and feeling “fantastic”. Arnold is the best.)

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Rocky IV; BMT: Red Sonja; Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Famously was engaged to Sly Stallone during Rocky IV and then married soon after. She’s famously 6’1’’ which is part of the reason they approached her for this film.)

Sandahl Bergman – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; All That Jazz; Airplane II: The Sequel; Hell Comes to Frogtown; Future BMT: Xanadu; The Singing Detective; Mame; BMT: Red Sonja; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Red Sonja in 1986; Notes: Oddly, much like Arnold, she played two different characters in this and the original Conan the Barbarian. Apparently she was originally asked to play Sonja … I wonder with Arnold and her in the two leading roles whether they would have more explicitly suggested they were Conan and Valerie.)

Budget/Gross – $17.9 million / Domestic: $6,948,633 (Worldwide: $6,951,415)

(Yeah that’s a disaster. I’m not sure I believe the nearly $20 million budget though, but perhaps that explains why they pumped the brakes on King Conan, the third film that was eventually turned into Kull the Conqueror … oh yeah I forgot we have a final Conan film to watch!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (4/26): Dull, poorly directed, and badly miscast, Red Sonja is an uninspired conclusion to Schwarzenegger’s barbarian trilogy.

(Most reviews appear to lament how miscast Nielsen is, and how if she were the least bit charming or funny the film would end up being a light romp. Instead it is a deathly serious disaster. Reviewer Highlight: Red Sonja returns to those olden days when women were women and the menfolk stood around with funny hats on until called forth to be whacked at. – Variety)

Poster – Red Skloga

(Yes. … … oh you want more? This fits a mold that makes my brain happy and I wish I could go back in time, ask for a large poster for my room, and hang it there because it’s cool. It feels like the cover of a book I’d read and it would be kinda terrible but also I’d like reading it. So I don’t even think I can give an unbiased opinion on this so I’ll rate it J. Stands for “Jamie likes this.”)

Tagline(s) – A woman and a warrior that became a legend. (C-)

(Bringing me down to Earth. I can judge this without bias and I don’t like it because it’s bad. It’s too long and doesn’t flow. It isn’t clever and is kinda vague.)

Keyword – sword and sorcery

Top 10: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Troy (2004), Dune (1984), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Princess Bride (1987), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), 300 (2006), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Stardust (2007)

Future BMT: 65.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 44.4 Wrath of the Titans (2012), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983);

BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Hellboy (2019), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Last Airbender (2010), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Masters of the Universe (1987), Seventh Son (2014), The 13th Warrior (1999), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Season of the Witch (2011), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(I mean … I wouldn’t count the Harry Potter films personally. But certainly the genre had a moment with Lord of the Rings in the early 00s. And now they are having a big moment on television with Game of Thrones and now the upcoming Wheel of Time (which I hope is good), a reboot of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and things like The Witcher. NeverEnding Story II is a wild one from the BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Arnold Schwarzenegger is No. 1 billed in Red Sonja and No. 4 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 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character was originally intended to be a reprisal of Conan, star of the comic book in which Red Sonja first appeared, but the film did not have the rights to this name. An unofficial explanation endorsed by fans is that Kalidor is one of Conan’s “traveling names,” a common feature of multi-national mythical/legendary heroes such as Zeus (a.k.a. Jupiter) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gandalf (a.k.a. Mithrandir). (Oh, I just thought they were trying to get that Conan sheen while not having to deal with it being a Conan movie explicitly. Weird they didn’t have the rights)

Arnold Schwarzenegger eschews this movie as one of his worst, yet he (laughingly) claims that it’s an excellent disciplinary tool for his children. “I tell them, if they get on my bad side, they’ll be forced to watch Red Sonja (1985) ten times in a row. It must be working, because none of my kids has ever given me much trouble.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger signed up for a glorified cameo, as a favor to producer Dino De Laurentiis. Much to his surprise, he was on the set for four weeks, three weeks longer than expected. He discovered after watching a rough cut of the movie that his role had been expanded to co-star, thanks to crafty angles and multiple cameras. Soon after, Schwarzenegger decided to terminate his 10-year contract with De Laurentiss. (Ha! See I knew the Maltin note was kind of wrong. He’s in like half the movie.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen had an affair during filming. (Future wife of Sly … I wonder if there is any bad blood about that stuff)

Sigourney Weaver was considered for Red Sonja. (That would have been amazing)

It is commonly believed that Robert E. Howard created the character of Red Sonja in one of his Conan short stories. He actually created Red Sonya, who appeared in “Shadow of the Vulture,” a story set in 16th-century Turkey with no Conan connections. She was the namesake of the famous “Red Sonja” who first appeared in a Conan comic book written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith.

A remake was announced in 2009, with Robert Rodriguez directing and Rose McGowan to star as Red Sonja. When Conan the Barbarian (2011) failed at the box office, Rodriguez and McGowan backed out of the project. As of 2015, the remake is in development hell. (… but Rose McGowan was the bad guy in the 2011 Conan film … I don’t get it)

Sandahl Bergman was initially cast as the title character. She decided to portray Queen Gedren to help avoid typecasting. (Poor decision, would have been cooler with the Conan connection there)

It took Dino De Laurentiis almost a year to find an actress “Amazonian” enough to play the title character. Eight weeks before production was set to begin, he saw Brigitte Nielsen on the cover of a fashion magazine. The 21-year-old native of Helsingør, Denmark, in Milan for a modeling job, soon found herself on a plane heading for Rome and a successful screen test.

On a 2015 episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, soap opera actress Eileen Davidson revealed that she auditioned for the role and was actually runner-up to Brigitte Nielsen.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Sandahl Bergman, 1986)

Bad Company Recap

Jamie

CIA operative extraordinaire Kevin Pope is killed while in the middle of trying to obtain a dirty bomb. Realizing that they only have one option, his partner Oakes recruits Kevin’s street hustling, separated-at-birth twin Jake to join the squad. Can he learn to be a spy and get back that dirty bomb before it’s too late? Find out in… Bad Company.

How?! Kevin Pope is a dapper CIA operative with a flair for high class. A real James Bond type. But when our boy Kev goes down moments after making a deal for a dirty bomb the CIA are in a tough spot. Lucky for them (and that’s an understatement), Kevin had a twin that was separated at birth, Jake. Jake is a hustler on the streets of NYC and Kevin’s partner, Oakes, considers it impossible that they could get him up to speed in time. Despite this Jake takes the money the CIA is offering in order to prove that he can provide for his girlfriend. Things… actually go pretty well from there. Jake is a genius like his bro and just never applied himself. In short order the CIA wants to test him and sends him to NYC to impersonate Kevin. Unfortunately he is attacked while there and goes on the run. Only when Oakes lays out the case for why they really need him does Jake rejoin the team and head to Prague. There Jake is shocked to meet up with Kevin’s beautiful girlfriend, Nicole. Going out to dinner with her he realizes that he only has eyes for his girlfriend back home and breaks up with her. At the same time, he is attacked by rival buyers and is able to only narrowly escape. When he meets up with the sellers they are ambushed by the rival buyers and the bomb is stolen. Fortunately they were able to lock it with Jake’s retinal scan, which now is the only thing standing in the way of disaster. Realizing this, the terrorists grab Jake’s girlfriend and hold her hostage. Jake and Oakes go after her and are able to get into an action-packed thrill ride of a shootout with the terrorists and they save everyone thanks to Jake’s big ol’ brains. Later we see Jake and his girlfriend getting married and everything is great. THE END.

Why?! To save the world, duh. Really this is as straightforward as a Bruckenheimer film can be. The bad guy wants money. The good guys want to stop them, despite all the obstacles in the way. Jake also wants to prove to his GF that he’s a man worth marrying and boy howdy, does he ever. So I guess what I’m saying is love isn’t dead and the motivation for this film is love. Awwwww.

Who?! I really do love speculating on uncredited performances. Apparently Charlie Day was in this as a stoner but was uncredited… which makes sense considering I think his scenes were cut. But shockingly Shea Whigham was uncredited despite having a fairly sizable role, particularly at the end where he was one of the heroes. I wonder if maybe there was also something about the cuts to his part that ended up with him going uncredited? Because he clearly was significantly cut out of the film until near the end (where I think it started to be infeasible to do so).

What?! Solid enough MacGuffin in this one, although I often wonder about the strict definition of a MacGuffin. The stereotype is represented best in Pulp Fiction: a briefcase that contains… something of great importance. The audience never even becomes aware of what it is, just that people want it. Sure this is a briefcase, but we more or less are in the know that it’s a dirty bomb and it functions, well, as a bomb. So is that a MacGuffin. I still say yes, but maybe not the best of the best.

Where?! Good settings here with Prague to NYC to Langley, back to NYC, and then back to Prague. Everything is made pretty clear throughout and honestly, I thought Prague looked beautiful. Made me want to go there. Good use of NYC as well considering Jake is a hustler talking about the Knicks, Yanks, etc. all movie. B.

When?! For some reason I had the impression that it was the spring… like April or something. Can’t exactly remember if that was made clear, but Rock is talking up selling Yankees, Knicks, and Rangers tickets I think. And mentions the Masters. Then after he saves the world it’s three months later that he’s getting married on what looks like a beautiful summer day. That’s a solid… D.

Bad Company is a fun, dumb action film that can scratch an itch if you need it to. It really has two fatal flaws. You saw them in big letters on the poster: Rock. Hopkins. I don’t want to be unkind to Chris Rock, but this wasn’t really the movie for him. He seemed a little out of his depth in a role that I think could only have been salvaged by someone like Will Smith. I’m talking Will Smith level star power and charisma and unfortunately there aren’t many people on the planet (ever?) with that. As for Hopkins, this may as well have been billed as Weekend at Bernies 3. I kinda dug his relaxed, seen-it-all CIA attitude at times but… my man, perk up once in a while so we know you’re alive. This could have been salvaged by bigger, more interested stars, but the material was pretty flat for this cast. As for Dragon Hunt, this classic from Up North was probably the first time in my life that I thought, “actually… twins are kinda creepy and real weird.” I didn’t conceive of the possibility that there was a line you could cross with twinness, but the mustachioed martial artist McNaramas were certainly toeing it, if it does exists. The saddest part? Apparently this was a sequel to a film and we weren’t aware of it when we watched it! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo. We’ll eventually have to watch another one! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember back in 2002 when everyone was clamouring for that classic action-comedy team up of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I distinctly remember the trailer to this film, because I remember thinking exactly what I was thinking nearly 20 years later when I watched the trailer in the preview: it is so weird that Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock were in an action-comedy spy film together. It truly makes no sense. It is like they put every major Hollywood star, put them in a hat, and pulled out two random names as Joel Schumacher looked on asking “uh … can we rechoose the leads to my film?” and Jerry Bruckheimer just shook his head no. What were my expectations? Pure lunacy I suppose. Although in reality I kind of just imagined that Chris Rock couldn’t hold down a semi-serious spy role and the film would end up just sinking under his performance.

The Good – The actual spy bit of this film is halfway decent. During the first half of the film I definitely was entertained and if it wasn’t for the two leads I would have wondered about why exactly the film was so reviled at the time. If this film was an Amazon Original television show with the premise that the twin of a CIA agent has to be quickly trained up to become a CIA agent himself after his brother is killed (don’t worry, it turns out the brother faked his own death, but that’s season 2) they I think it actually works really well. For real though … how haven’t they remade Bad Company into a television show, it seems like a perfect premise, like Chuck. Despite being completely out of his depth, I do like Chris Rock and he’s faintly amusing in the film. Best Bit: Premise.

The Bad – The performances of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock are something to behold indeed. Anthony Hopkins appears to have been awoken from a deep slumber just prior to filming each scene he is in. He looks so tired and disinterested, and he’s also just chomping on gum half of the time, it’s insane. Chris Rock on the other hand is just not a good actor. His jokes on occasion land, but mostly it seems surreal that you are watching an actual Joel Schumacher spy film and Chris Rock is just plopped into scenes as if directly off of a stand up set next door. The entire thing is so standard fare, that indeed, the bad performances by the leads end up sinking what would otherwise be … let’s say Safe House. It is like a poor man’s Safe House. Fatal Flaw: Lead performances.

The BMT – It’ll be one among many BMT twin films in the end. I think it’ll have some legs as a bad buddy cop film, a bad Joel Schumacher film, and of course as a film primarily set in Prague (which is awesome and extremely rare it turns out). So it has some BMT notables. That being said, I doubt I would recommend this film or watch this film again beyond telling someone that it is kind of okay if you don’t mind bad acting. Did it meet my expectations? Kind of. It was completely sunk by the performances, but in the end ended up being a bit too coherent to really be a truly great bad film.

Roast-radamus – I’m going to give a rare Prop I Really Want (What?) to Anthony Hopkins’ Harvard University Police hat that he wears throughout the film … I just don’t get it, but I love it. A definitely great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Prague, a rare bad movie locale. A solid MacGuffin (Why?) for the suitcase nuclear bomb that Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins are chasing throughout the film. And just like last week I think this is surprisingly closest to a Good film as far as the superlative categories.

StreetCreditReport.com – For the most part this film missed out on top ten lists for the worst of 2002. But I did manage to find it on a few blogs / listicles websites for worst spy films. So it has a bit of cred there. Obviously it’ll make a list for worst twin films, but I think its biggest claim to fame is as the worst film set in Czechia. So that’s some decent cred.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week as another twin action film, we brought along a very obscure film called Dragon Hunt starring the McNamara twins aka the Twin Dragons. The film appears on a lot of Canuxploitation film lists (see here), and is apparently notable for being the first Canadian martial arts film released to theaters (although I found no evidence it was, in fact, released to theaters). Elsewhere on the internet it was suggested that it is a remake of Twin Dragon Encounter, but a flashback at the beginning of the film makes it clear that it is merely a sequel with a very similar story. A vanity project through and through, the film is oddly much more of a survivalist film than a martial arts film. While the twins do show off kickboxing on occasion, most of the fighting is done with traps, weapons, and eventually firearms. I can’t really say the film is particularly entertaining, it is the kind of small VHS trash that is faintly amusing for about 15 minutes. But the actor known simply as B. Bob, who plays the main villain Jake (who would comfortably fit into any post-apocalyptic straight-to-video film) somewhat saves the film with his strange catchphrases and voiceovers that punctuate what would otherwise be a pretty boring film. C-, it would have been a D without Jake, but it is certainly not a film I’ll ever willingly watch again or recommend. Perhaps the original Twin Dragon Encounters is better. Only time will tell.

Twin Analysis – Alright, As far as Bad Company is concerned I’m going to dock some points because Chris Rock never gets to meet his twin brother in the film, he is killed prior to the CIA picking up his streetwise character. I’ll give some bonus points for the fact that people can kind of tell he’s not actually his brother, and because they play off of the Opposite Twin trope and also the Rich/Poor Twin Separated at Birth trope. Those are some nice trops. A- I think, if only Chris Rock could have got in on some split screen action I think I’d have given it an A, but it has to get a ton of credit for the twin element being so vital to the plot. As for Dragon Hunt the twin aspect isn’t super vital to the plot, and the twins are absolutely dire actors. There aren’t many twin tropes either … it is just incidental that the main actors are twins, it isn’t even in the title of the film. For all that I’m going to give it a B+, just because of how weird these twins obviously are. They’re both martial artists and obviously extremely into their Twin Dragon brand, so much so they made multiple terrible Canadian martial arts films to prove just how awesome they are as people (and twins). If they didn’t come across as the second weirdest twins in the world (after us) the movie would definitely get like a C- twin grade.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bad Company Quiz

Oh boy, the last thing I remember my twin brother turned out to be in the CIA and then I was recruited to complete his mission. But you know how it is, I got bopped on the head and now I don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Bad Company?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What is the job that Kevin Pope (and later Jake Hayes, both played by Chris Rock) is pretending to have for the Prague mission?

2) What job does Jake Hayes have prior to being recruited into the CIA?

3) What object are Hopkins and Rock supposed to recover from Peter Stormare and where did it come from?

4) Uh oh, the object is then stolen by another set of Yugoslavian terrorists. Luckily they can’t use it without Jake. Why? And what do they need from Jake to get it to work?

5) Ultimately what is the target of the Yugoslavian terrorists and how does Jake disarm the bomb?

Answers

Bad Company Preview

Rich flexes his muscles, his glistening skin growing taut again the ropes that bind him. With a snap he is free and he leaps from the ceremonial table and jumps through a stained-glass window. Looking around he realizes he’s in a maze. “Heh heh heh, rats in a maze,” a Nic Cage says to his left, but when he turns no one is there. “Men in a cage,” the other responds to the right, but Rich is already off running. Suddenly he comes to a stop. “Fa… Father?” he stutters in astonishment. His father, long dead, is up ahead, beckoning him forward. He follows, but each turn he makes his father is already making the next turn. “Father!” he calls, “we have to find Poe. We have to find my… my brother.” Suddenly, he finds himself in a police station. He tries to tether himself to reality to stop himself from slipping back to bashing heads amidst the swirling papers.Yet he finds himself grabbing a stale slice of za from a box, readying himself to launch into his latest diatribe against those goddamn rulez when he hears “Poe! Get in here!” Poe! He looks around, but he doesn’t see his partner. When he looks back at the Chief he’s staring right at him. “Poe! Get a move on or I’ll have your ass.” Confused, Rich walks into the office and sits down. “I know it’s been hard since Rich has been killed, Poe, but we need your help,” the Chief sighs, “we need you to go undercover as Rich. Given your… similar… physical characteristics, you’re the only one that can pull it off.” Rich nods. “We also got you a little company. Meet your new partner.” Rich turns. His blood runs cold. That’s right! We’re watching Bad Company starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. Rock plays twins separated at birth who are all mixed up in some spy shit. Let’s go!

Poe comes to love and respect his monstrous twin protectors as they nurse him back to health. Eventually, having gained strength from their delicious Dr. Pepper infused lasagna, he asks them where they are. They looked confused, “We are here,” they say. “So how do we get there?” Poe asks. They nod and point up. Poe’s eyes travel up the mountain to the swirling storm clouds above. His blood runs cold. That’s right! As a partner for Bad Company we are diving head first into Dragon Hunt, one of the action films made by the Twin Dragons, Canadian twin martial artists with moustaches for days. Let’s go!

Bad Company (2002) – BMeTric: 44.6; Notability: 51 

(My god, a 50+ notability film! And it’s Bad Company, how odd. The bad rating on this is really sticking right around 5.5. And you can definitely see the inflection there. The votes rising right around 2011 (when IMDb when mobile) and now tailing off again as the new user base saturates their ratings. I wonder if IMDb is going to be in trouble at some point as people finally stop having old movies to rate … I guess they only really make money off of IMDb Pro anyways.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Hard on the heels of “The Sum of All Fears,” here’s Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Bad Company,” another movie about an American city threatened by the explosion of a stolen nuclear device. This one is an action comedy. There may come a day when the smiles fade. To be sure, the movie was made before 9/11 (and its original autumn 2001 release was delayed for obvious reasons), but even before 9/11 it was clear that nuclear terrorism was a real possibility. While “The Sum of all Fears” deals in a quasi-serious way with the subject (up until the astonishingly inappropriate ending), “Bad Company” is more light-hearted. Ho, ho.

(Well … this review just makes me want to watch Sum of All Fears. Or more realistically read some trash Clancy books. Oh, and yeah, I didn’t think about the impact of 9/11, but this one is one of the more wild versions of the story, all the way down to it maybe being the last film featuring a true blue Yugoslavian terrorist (it is hard to tell).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h8wWFqwmcA/

(The “hand me a towel” joke is all I distinctly remember from the trailer when this came out. The trailer is interesting because it doesn’t indicate that the main character didn’t know he had a twin brother, but I suppose that is a minor point. The Saddam Hussien comment is also interesting considering it was released in June of 2002.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; Falling Down; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Client; Phone Booth; Flatliners; Flawless; Blood Creek; Tigerland; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Twelve; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; Street Fleet; Dying Young; 8MM; The Phantom of the Opera; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; Bad Company; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: A stalwart director from 1980 through 2005, after which he semi-retired. Directed a few music videos like The End is the Beginning is the End by The Smashing Pumpkins. Died this year.)

Writers – Gary M. Goodman (story) (as Gary Goodman) – (BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Mostly a producer. Directed a single episode of the Police Academy television show in 1998.)

David Himmelstein (story) – (Known For: Power; Future BMT: Village of the Damned; BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Wrote a television movie called Soul of the Game about the players trying to break the color barrier in baseball.)

Jason Richman (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Swing Vote; BMT: Bangkok Dangerous; Bad Company; Notes: Was a professional musician. The creator of a few television shows including Stumptown.)

Michael Browning (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Six Days Seven Nights; BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Is also a producer on Bad Company. This is the last thing he is credited for in any category on IMDb.)

Actors – Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: The Silence of the Lambs; Thor: Ragnarok; Thor; Red Dragon; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Legends of the Fall; A Bridge Too Far; Thor: The Dark World; Meet Joe Black; RED 2; Mission: Impossible II; Fracture; The Two Popes; Noah; The Elephant Man; The Mask of Zorro; Howards End; The Bounty; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Beowulf; Future BMT: Alexander; Misconduct; Freejack; Go with Me; The Wolfman; Slipstream; Desperate Hours; Collide; The Rite; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; The Innocent; Surviving Picasso; The Trial; Hannibal; The City of Your Final Destination; August; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Bad Company; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2018 for Collide, and Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Born in Wales, he was inspired by Richard Burton to become an actor. He’s now an American citizen and was allowed to keep his knighthood.)

Chris Rock – (Known For: Bee Movie; Madagascar; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dolemite Is My Name; Dogma; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa; Death at a Funeral; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Beverly Hills Cop II; Doctor Dolittle; Osmosis Jones; Lethal Weapon 4; Boomerang; New Jack City; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Top Five; CB4; Krush Groove; Nurse Betty; Future BMT: The Week Of; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; Sandy Wexler; Nobody’s Fool; Pootie Tang; Beverly Hills Ninja; Down to Earth; Head of State; I Think I Love My Wife; Paparazzi; Sgt. Bilko; The Longest Yard; Panther; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Bad Company; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Grown Ups; Notes: Came up through SNL and into a supporting comedic actor in the 90s. He became a starring lead in the 2000s. Notable for his friendship with Adam Sandler and his participation in many of his recent films.)

Peter Stormare – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Fargo; Constantine; Minority Report; John Wick: Chapter 2; 22 Jump Street; Awakenings; Pain & Gain; Chocolat; The Last Stand; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Dancer in the Dark; Fanny and Alexander; The Zero Theorem; Penguins of Madagascar; Clown; How I Spent My Summer Vacation; Damage; Henry’s Crime; Future BMT: Tokarev; Witless Protection; Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Rupture; Eye for an Eye; Horsemen; Dark Summer; Nacho Libre; The Brothers Grimm; Premonition; Anamorph; Every Thing Will Be Fine; The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature; The Million Dollar Hotel; Playing God; Lockout; Windtalkers; Strange Magic; Birth; Jewtopia; I Am Here; Small Apartments; Autumn Blood; 8MM; Circus; Unknown; Bad Boys II; Spun; BMT: The Tuxedo; Bad Company; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Mercury Rising; Armageddon; Notes: A fun “that guy” since the mid-90s. He’s Swedish, but he tends to play a variety of nationalities, particularly Russian and Eastern European.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $30,160,161 (Worldwide: $66,200,782)

(That is slightly better than I would have expected, but pretty bad considering the listed budget. You obviously are hoping a Joel Schumacher film is a blockbuster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (14/135): Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins fail to generate the sparks necessary to save the movie from a generic and utterly predictable script.

(Just a shade over 10% sadly, I do like collecting sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films. Yeah, everything I remember about the film when it came out was how much of a miscast the pair of Hopkins and Rock were. Reviewer Highlight: Bad Company is a bad movie with really bad timing. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sklog Company

(It is quite amusing that they have this big poster and are like “Hopkins”… “Rock” as if this is the teamup that we’ve all been waiting for. “Oh, when will I be able to see the dynamic action/comedy duo of Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins?! When will Hollywood finally deliver what we’ve all been clamouring for?!!! Pretty good poster though. Only critique is them riding that star power a little harder than it deserved. Get me a little taste of the plot please. B+)

Tagline(s) – The World is in Good Hands (D)

(Hands… hands… is this a pun I’m not picking up on? Why can’t these movies just figure out how to do a decent twin pun. Back-to-back weeks where the tagline has been merely lame or worse. This is boring fluff.)

Keyword – twin

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), The Prestige (2006), Gone Girl (2014), Stand by Me (1986), Octopussy (1983), Avatar (2009), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), A Simple Favour (2018), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), There Will Be Blood (2007)

Future BMT: 71.1 The Spirit (2008), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 68.1 Seed of Chucky (2004), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 52.2 The Divorce (2003), 51.2 Scary Movie 3 (2003), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 48.6 The Real Cancun (2003), 47.5 Dumb and Dumber To (2014);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Snowman (2017), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), The Forest (2016), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Old Dogs (2009), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Bad Company (2002), 88 Minutes (2007), New York Minute (2004), Babylon A.D. (2008), Grind (2003), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

(So indeed there aren’t really twins in this film I don’t think, so I went with the “twin” keyword instead. This is a pretty good keyword as well. The Forest was a great twin film, as was I Know Who Killed Me, Old Dogs, New York Minute, and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. Most of the other ones (like 88 Minutes) are more tenuous, in that one the first death in the film involves two twins who live together, although it is easy to forget that.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Chris Rock is No. 2 billed in Bad Company and No. 3 billed in Grown Ups, which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Spirit, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – This was one of the last movies filmed in the World Trade Center (some of the subway scenes).

One of several movies that had its release date changed after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. This movie was originally set for release in November 2001, but was not released until June 2002.

Originally written as a sequel to Blue Streak (1999). (Huh that is actually super interesting)

When Jake (Chris Rock) is dining with Nicole (Garcelle Beauvais) in Prague, he says, “I’ll eat a pig’s ass if they cook it right.” This is a line from his 1996 HBO special. (Weird)

Originally titled “Black Sheep” until it was discovered that there was already a movie with that title, Black Sheep (1996). (Oh did they discover that? Did they dig into the archive and be like “Oh, Chris Rock, you’re friends with David Spade and Chris Farley right? Did you know they had a film called Black Sheep?! Get out of here with that.)

The Musketeer Recap

Jamie

D’Artagnan is back, Jack! And boy is he ready to karate chop you in the neck. Coming to Paris to become a Musketeer, our boy Lil D is shocked to find them in disarray. But that doesn’t stop him from doing one for all and all for one. Can he stop the eeeeevil Cardinal Richelieu and his henchman before it’s too late? Find out in… The Musketeer.

How?! D’Artagnan is just a young boy when he witnesses his parents’ deaths at the hands of Cardinal Richelieu’s henchman Febre. Trained by his father’s loyal friend Planchet (yeeeaaaaah boy) Lil D grows up to be a backflipin’, rope swingin’, ladder climbin’, barrel rolling swordsman extraordinaire. Arriving in Paris ready to become a Musketeer he finds the group disbanded and Aramis, Porthos and Athos bitter men ready to give it all up. But Lil D says nay! Not in the face of a nefarious scheme by Cardinal Richelieu to kickstart a war between France and England. And not in the face of a beautiful young woman, Francesca, who he wants to woo with his daring deeds. He convinces them to help free the imprisoned head of the Musketeers and take him to safety. Then, catching wind of a scheme to attack the King of France and the English dignitary Buckingham to show the weakness of the throne, he recruits them to help kung fu the King and Queen to safety. Hoping to keep peace, d’Artagnan is recruited to organize a meeting between the Queen and Buckingham only to be betrayed and the Queen, Francesca and Buckingham are kidnapped. In a stirring climax, LilD4Life jumps all over some ropes and ladders and owns Febre like he’s never been owned and saves the day. Cardinal Richelieu is actually relieves, as the scheme had gotten quite out of hand, but our man Lil D ain’t having it and basically implies he better watch his back. Then he and Francesca smooch a whoooooole bunch. THE END

Why?! Uh, for all and for one? Duh. Specifically, all for one and one for all. Truly for the honor of the throne and for the honor of d’Artagnan’s legacy and his daddio and even the King of France who kinda sucks. The bad guys just want power… but they can’t handle it… they can’t handle the power because it’s a corrupting force and only someone pure of heart and mind and with abs for days like d’Artagnan can resist it.

Who?! I always do like noting when nonfictional or fictional Kings and other important historical figures are shown in film. This obviously has a huge number. It’s also funny to think how a figure like Louis XIII, who would likely have rarely been seen in films, would end up being portrayed over and over again due to The Three Musketeers. And probably in many of them, this included, the role is fairly minor. Here he was portrayed by Daniel Mesguich… you know. That guy.

What?! I mean, obviously this adaptation takes the bold step of changing the main Musketeer slogan to One for All and All for a Refreshing Coca-Cola to which they all cheers some classic Coke’s and play beach volleyball. But I mean, that’s hardly a product placement. That’s just life. And honestly we’re about 15 years too late to pick up props online for this guy. So just take solace in the fact that the full Cardinal getup from the 2011 classic is going for $10,000.

Where?! France for days. In fact I’d be hard pressed to find another film that was more French than this film. From Paris with Love starring John Travolta, sure, but that barely qualifies. Oh wait, I got it. The Three Musketeers starring Planchet… God, what a great adaptation. No wonder we’re going back to Paul W. S. Anderson next week. A.When?! The beginning is similar to the classic Three Musketeers storyline in that d’Artagnan is going to Paris to join the Musketeers at the time that Caridinal Richelieu is trying to stoke war between France and England. This would place this film in 1625. Although they don’t make this clear in the film I don’t think. They just say the events take place 14 years after d’Artagnan’s parents were killed which is unhelpful. D.

When?! The beginning is similar to the classic Three Musketeers storyline in that d’Artagnan is going to Paris to join the Musketeers at the time that Caridinal Richelieu is trying to stoke war between France and England. This would place this film in 1625. Although they don’t make this clear in the film I don’t think. They just say the events take place 14 years after d’Artagnan’s parents were killed which is unhelpful. D.

This movie is shockingly boring for a film that is based entirely on the premise “Three Musketeers but with some martial arts.” It’s actually pretty well made and all that, but everything is real dark and they seemed to have trouble editing it together in the end so it feels pretty choppy. Also Justin Chambers was just not ready to carry a film and he is unfortunately quite bad. Not great for someone who is in approximately 100% of the film, especially when I think Roth and Rae are both pretty good. Overall, I just wish it was a little more over the top. As it is, it’s merely a subpar adaptation of The Three Musketeers with some fun fight scenes and some bad filmmaking and acting. Also, they needed more Planchet. Disappointing really. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The legendary literary badass d’Artagnan has had maybe like … 400 films made about him. But this ain’t your dad’s d’Artagnan. This time he’s attached to wires and doing kung fu. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I was very excited for this film. The trailer is one of the craziest things you’ll ever watch. It seems like a normal Three Musketeers film … but then the wire-fu parkour magic starts. It is almost immediately obvious that it was a bad idea, but we could never really figure out a way to fit it into BMT … until now! What were my expectations? Just the craziest thing you’ll ever see. Anything less would be a disappointment. I want The Three Musketeers starring Jackie Chan basically, I want them to throw out everything that makes the Three Musketeers the Three Musketeers and just make them martial arts masters!

The Good – The film is shot beautifully … if you ignore the fact that it was clearly too dark. If you cut out the Hong Kong fight choreography this would actually be a pretty okay (if poorly acted) Three Musketeers film. Somehow the direction ends up being both the strength and weakness of the film. A strength in that the set design and general look are really interesting. A weakness because I think it ends up being structurally a mess, which by all accounts was the director’s fault. Best bit: Set design.

The Bad – Let’s start with the acting. I have nothing against Justin Chambers and the rest of the main actors in the film, but overall it does come across as a tv movie because of the people involved. The action scenes are too much and too little at the same time. They are too stylized and jarring if you only have a few of them, which I think is what happened here. If you are going to go that big and shocking, you should just go balls to the wall and have every scene be an action scene. Finally, the story is just boring and confusing. It may have worked better using a very simple story and focusing a lot more on the action element. Fatal flaw: Action scenes are too much, and occur too infrequently.

The BMT – Sadly I think this will go down as a near miss for BMT. A “oh, what could have been!”. In an alternative universe this film is wall to wall parkour with people dressed as musketeers! But alas, within the film there is hiding a dimly lit earnest telling of the story of d’Artagnan. Somehow, against all odds, the 2013 Three Musketeers film (complete with Planchet) is actually a much better BMT in my estimation. Did it meet my expectations? Oh you couldn’t tell from that? No. It certainly is a pretty bad movie, mostly due to the acting and falling short in the action set pieces. But it should have been oh, so much more.

Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – Naturally this is a great Setting as a Character (Where?) and Period Piece (When?) for the clear 17th century Paris setting. Otherwise there isn’t much there, and it is closest to being a Bad film in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – It is a bit surprising maybe, but the bad movie lists weren’t really happening in 2001. I don’t know why really, but whatever. This is probably the second worst Musketeer film though. I would call it the worst, but if you look anywhere all critics consider the 2011 film to be the worst (and I generally agree). Still, that combined with the bizarre genre mash-up is street cred enough.

You Just got Schooled – I was very much looking forward to this because I ended up figuring out that there have been multiple Three Musketeers cartoons throughout history. First, I watched the Hanna Barbera version which debuted as part of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. Released in 1968, this seems like an odd time for Hanna Barbera, after their big hits in The Flintstones and The Jetsons ended in the mid-60s, but before Scooby-Doo which would premiere a year later in 1969. I ended up watching the first episode of Banana Splits (which had an Arabian Knights cartoon and weird live-action cliffhanger-based shorts called Danger Island) and the Three Musketeers part of the second episode. The Banana Splits are brutally unfunny characters meant to entertain 5-year-olds (maybe). Meanwhile both Arabian Knights and Danger Island are genuinely racist garbage. So against all odds the cheaply made and boring Three Musketeers ended up being the best bit from that. D-, very little to recommend from this Hanna Barbera catastrophe. Additionally, I watched the first episode of The Three Musketeers anime (Anime Sanjūshi) from 1987. Directed by the guy who would end up directing all of the pokemon anime, it shows. It very much reminds me of the pokemon show in that it is probably too boring to sustain a binge watch, but was entertaining enough that maybe I’ll end up watching another one eventually. B-. I kind of fell into a rabbit whole with animation recently. The history of animation I think is endlessly fascinating. So being able to watch two not-very-good old-school Musketeers animated shows was a delight, even if neither ended up being particularly good.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Musketeer Quiz

Oh man, the last thing I remember was being legendary literary badass D’Artagnan. I was really just dunking on the Cardinal’s men (it was frankly an embarrassment), but then I think Porthos bopped me on the head because I don’t remember anything else … do you remember what happened in The Musketeer?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open the film with a young D’Artagnan and his family enjoying a meal. But then here comes mean, old Febre. Long story short, D’Artagnan’s family is killed, D’Artagnan slices up Fabre’s eyeball, and Planchet comes to take care of the boy. But why did Febre and D’Artagnan’s father get into a fight?

2) Oh my, how you have grown D’Artagnan! Now a dashing young medical doctor at Seattle Grace Hospital swordsman, he’s ready to get his revenge on the eeeeevil Febre. But first he must join the Musketeers, who have been disbanded and their leader, Treville imprisoned. How does D’Artagnan break into the prison to free Treville?

3) They know something is up because a Spanish ambassador is murdered on the way to gran Paris (by Febre, natch), so the Musketeers figure something is about to go down like Charlie Brown at the big bash at the palace. What was going down, and how do the king, queen, and British Lord Buckingham escape?

4) And now for one more grand plan to rule them all, D’Artagnan and his sweet parkour skillz are employed by the Queen to help her get where and to do what? This is much to the Musketeers’ chagrin as they could use D’Artagnan’s parkour skillz in their own plan.

5) Finally, all of The Musketeers go and rescue the Queen and Buckingham from Febre, hooray! But how do they know where to find them?

Answers

The Musketeer Preview

Wha-wha-wha… Sirs Sklogsalot? Where, and more importantly when, are they? “It’s… it’s August 12th, 2031, right?” Rich asks earnestly, stating the exact date very clearly. But their fellow knight Sir Bangarang just guffaws, “Right. 2031. As if, bro. It’s totally September 23rd, 1326. Pretty rad, right?” Rich and Poe’s heads are spinning. 1326? Why does it feel like… not that. Like this is all so fake… as if someone made it. “It’s falling apart,” Poe whispers to Rich, “we’re near the end and it’s all crashing down.” Rich nods and the end will be a battle for everything within them. Their souls, but most importantly the Obsidian Dongle and thus… Earth. “Where are we going?” Rich asks Bangarang, walking besides his horse. “Ha. Classic Sklogsalot. The castle, duh. The King is waiting and he’s none too happy. Nope. Better to just bite the bullet and get it over with. Face the music and all that. Lame, but I’m not the one who tried to kill him, amiright?” Rich and Poe’s faces blanch. This ain’t sounding so good. Maybe time to scram, but just when they are looking to book it Bangarang turns on them and pulls an uzi from under his armor. The gamemasters really half-assed this one. “Just come along quietly, Sklogalots. I’m getting too old for this shit.” Just then a whistle is heard from the surrounding trees. Bangarang looks around, suddenly concerned, and then turns and breaks out into a trot as several people backflip their way out of the forest. “Who are you?” Rich and Poe ask, admiring their flashy blue velour suits. “We are French,” they say matter of factly. “We saved you, so you are part of our crew. You are our… how do you say… Planchet?” That’s right! We are finally watching the Justin Chambers vehicle The Musketeer. This is the super rad martial arts interpretation of the Three Musketeers that literally everyone was clamouring for. We flooded the streets for calls for more Musketeer IP but now with karate! Swing around on ropes, we begged. Can they fight while on ladders? We asked. And so we received. The Musketeer. Let’s go!

The Musketeer (2001) – BMeTric: 55.7; Notability: 29 

(You can see the nice inflection in ‘11 and indeed, it seems like over the last few years films have reached a different stable point in vote growth. I feel like I need to do a new meta analysis on notability, because I would have thought this would have been a bit higher … but it also seems like most major films get between 25 and 35. But it is hard to tell.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Peter Hyams’ “The Musketeer” combines traditional swashbuckling with martial arts in a movie where the men wear plumes in their hats but pounce like crouching tigers and scheme like hidden dragons. No wonder; the choreography of the fight scenes is by Xin-Xin Xiong–not a name on every tongue, I grant you, but he is one of the top action designers in Hong Kong. … I cannot in strict accuracy recommend this film. It’s such a jumble of action and motivation, ill-defined characters and action howlers. I am not even quite sure if Richelieu and Febre are on the same side, or if there are three or even four sides in the story. But the banquet scene is a marvel of art design. The action scenes are wonders to behold. And when Tim Roth vows vengeance on the man who blinded him, I for one believe him.

(An amazingly ok review from Ebert here. I think by 2001 he had fully entered his “it’s good for what it is” phase, which I personally rather appreciate. Watch the old “Worst of” shows for Ebert from the late 80s and early 90s and you’ll see him tear a film like this apart. By 2000 I think he became more appreciative of people just doing their thing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFnSmS-SUXQ/

(This is one of the best-bad trailers ever made. If you show this trailer to anyone without pretense I have to assume their minds would melt. It doesn’t seem real. The moment where the narrator says “with fight choreography by …” as if I’m supposed to know who that is, and (worst yet), as if I’m supposed to think bringing wire-fu to The Three Musketeers is the most incredible idea ever conjured into existence … I love it. I’ve been waiting to watch this movie just based on this trailer for literally years.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: Stay Tuned; Timecop; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Hanover Street; Outland; Running Scared; Capricorn One; The Presidio; Sudden Death; Narrow Margin; Enemies Closer; The Star Chamber; Future BMT: End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; The Musketeer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: Has three sons. One was the director of Universal Soldier: Regeneration (for which Peter was cinematographer). One is the CEO of Indeed. And the last is the rap battle promoter Lush One. Read the notes on him below, this film was legitimately his career’s last gasp.)

Writers – Alexandre Dumas (novels) (as Alexandre Dumas père) – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; La Reine Margot; The Four Musketeers; The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Iron Mask; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; The Musketeer; The Three Musketeers; Notes: I don’t think I need to explain who Alexander Dumas is … but let’s appreciate that he is, in fact, credited as writing the novel that Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is “based on”. Snooping around this seems potentially fake, but some places suggest maybe it is a vague adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo? Bizarre.)

Gene Quintano (screenplay) – (Known For: Police Academy 3: Back in Training; Sudden Death; Future BMT: Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach; Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Operation Dumbo Drop; King Solomon’s Mines; Loaded Weapon 1; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Was a salesman who worked with the director Tony Anthony which is how he got into film. Wrote a good number of the Police Academy films. The Musketeer was effectively his last major production. Hyams and him worked on Sudden Death together.)

Actors – Justin Chambers – (Known For: Lakeview Terrace; Liberty Heights; Leo; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; The Zodiac; Broken City; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: You would know him as reformed bad-boy Dr. Alex Karev on Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show this year, and you would not believe the arc they gave his character! No spoilers, but it is juicy drams, and fans are NOT happy.)

Catherine Deneuve – (Known For: Dancer in the Dark; Belle de Jour; The Brand New Testament; The Truth; The Hunger; Repulsion; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Pola X; Persepolis; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort; 8 Women; Tristana; Indochine; A Cop; Hustle; Mississippi Mermaid; Once Upon a Time; The Last Metro; Time Regained; A Christmas Tale; Future BMT: O Convento; BMT: The Musketeer; Notes: Chosen as one of the 100 sexiest stars in history by Empire magazine in 1995, and from 1985 to 1989 she was the model for Marianne, the national symbol of France.)

Mena Suvari – (Known For: American Pie; American Beauty; American Pie 2; American Reunion; Slums of Beverly Hills; Becks; Stuck; Edmond; Brooklyn Rules; The Dog Problem; Future BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2; Loser; Beauty Shop; Trauma; Domino; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Sugar & Spice; Live Virgin; The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Sonny; Caffeine; The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson; Standing Still; Factory Girl; Nowhere; Spun; Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children; BMT: The Musketeer; Rumor Has It…; Kiss the Girls; Notes: She now does mostly television (like American Woman and American Horror Story) and non-theatrical / television films. Notable for the sheer number of works with the word “American” in them that she’s been in.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,073,640 (Worldwide: $32,533,802)

(For the actual production company I imagine this was a disaster, and I also imagine they totally blamed the director in the end. According to the notes the distribution was sold for $7.5 million so cleary the companies that distributed it did fine. That is a lot more money, especially domestically, than I would have thought.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (11/99): Hong Kong inspired action sequences take center stage in this latest Three Musketeers adaptation. Unfortunately, the oversimplification of the story and an uncharismatic lead character leave the movie flat.

(How dare you slander Justin Chambers like that! He’s Grey’s Anatomy mega-star Justin Chambers!! Reviewer Highlight: Musketeer’s fight scenes are underlit, overmiked, and appallingly edited, with none of the spacious grace that even routine Asian action flicks get right. Worse, the narrative scenes make less sense. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Câble-fu

(This ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers. I think that comes across in this poster, although a bit busy. Nice font, nice color scheme. Needs a little bit more of an artistic touch to get the feeling of motion across. But not the worst. B.)

Tagline(s) – As you’ve never seen it before. (C)

(Why not just go with The ain’t your daddy’s Three Musketeers? It is what you’re trying to say and at least people would have been like “lol, WTF” rather than just shrug at the cliche of it all. I need more from my taglines. This is short and gets the point across, but there isn’t any heart… no love… you know?)

Keyword – historical fiction

Top 10: Django Unchained (2012), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Titanic (1997), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dunkirk (2017), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Wonder Woman (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Future BMT: 55.6 Robin Hood (2018), 41.8 Young Einstein (1988), 37.2 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 36.9 The Great Wall (2016), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 21.8 Yellowbeard (1983), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 20.4 The Three Musketeers (1993);

BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Three Musketeers (2011), Wild Wild West (1999), Red Riding Hood (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Musketeer (2001)

(I think next on the docket had to be Robin Hood. Like The Three Musketeers it is a story that just gets made and made and made, presumably because the rights are in the public domain or something. There must be hundreds of versions of Robin Hoods. That peak at 2016 is interesting, there does seem to be an inordinate number of historical fiction films that came out then. I wonder why.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mena Suvari is No. 4 billed in The Musketeer and No. 8 billed in Rumor Has It…, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch The Wedding Planner, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – D’Artagnan did really exist. His name was Charles de Batz and was called D’Artagnan when he arrived in Paris probably because he was coming from the south-west of France (where the movie was partly shot) and where there is a little city called Artagnan.

The first film that Director Peter Hyams had directed without his long time editor Steven Kemper, who vowed not to work with the Director after the last few films he had directed which included End of Days and The Relic were too darkly lit and shot causing editorial problems. (Wow!)

The first film the Director Peter Hyams did not work with his usual composer John Debney. Debney had composed the music for Sudden Death, The Relic and End of Days for Hyams.

Universal Pictures teamed up Miramax Films to buy the film’s North American and U.K. rights for only $7.5 million, and the film was very profitable for both companies.

Knock Off Recap

Jamie

Marcus Ray is a Hong Kong counterfeiter trying to go legit in the fashion world. But when a plot to use knock off products as bombs puts him in the crosshairs of his business partner/CIA operative Tommy he finds himself wrapped up in trying to stop the scheme. Can he stop the scheme (and perhaps uncover a larger conspiracy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Knock Off.

How?! Everyone loves Marcus. He’s super cool and got muscles and stuff. So he sees a way to use this charm to get out of the illegal business of counterfeiting and straight into the business of high fashion (a.k.a. jeans). But when some of his fellow counterfeiters are getting knocked off, he comes to find out that his business partner Tommy is actually a CIA agent trying to stop a dangerous international terrorist plot. Teaming up they use all of Marcus’ underworld contacts to start piecing together what’s going on… which is… uh… I guess that there are bombs and stuff in these knock off products and also everyone is getting killed and Marcus has to kick and punch people. Honestly it’s a little vague. At this point they find that their fashion world contact, Karen, is also CIA (is anyone actually working in fashion? Who is designing these dope jeans?!) and it’s revealed that the Russian mob is orchestrating the plot (or are they?). The mob kidnaps Tommy and Karen and Marcus has to go rescue them. It’s revealed that Tommy’s handler at the CIA is actually the puppetmaster pulling all the strings on the plot and Marcus and Tommy are like “what a twist?!” A big fight ensues and I mean, come on… It’s JCVD. He wins. THE END.

Why?! In a weird turn of events the good guy, JCVD, actually has somewhat interesting motivation. That’s because he just wants to be a legit fashion mogul and sell jeans to all the dope tweens of the world. Unfortunately a terrorist plot is getting in the way. As for the bad guy, why would a CIA operative turn around and orchestrate a terrorist plot. That sweet green, baby. He wants to have all these products with bombs in them distributed around the world so that then he can threaten governments with blowing them all up if they don’t pay him a ransom. “Crime pays” is almost a default motivation for every bad action film that needs a twist.

Who?! You would think that Rob Schneider would be a Planchet here. He certainly fits the bill, but not nearly to the extent that I would like. They barely make fun of him for doing a merely OK job in the investigation… you gotta really ramp up those Planchet vibes when you got a Planchet talent like Rob Schneider on hand.

What?! I do enjoy a fake product here and there. This one has a number of them, since it deals with knock off products (some real, some not). For example during the very exciting rickshaw race JCVD dons a pair of Pumma running shoes. The extra ‘m’ gives away the fact that those shoes explode off his feet midrace. We also have their main company, V-Six jeans, which apparently markets itself as jeans that specifically won’t fall apart… the knock offs obviously do.

Where?! Exclusively Hong Kong. It’s actually less common than you’d think that we get a film set entirely in one city. Usually we have people jet-setting around or schemes being concocted in remote locations. Not here. Just Hong Kong. It also plays a role in the plot due to the prevalence of knock off merchandise in the city. A.

When?! Not So Secret Holiday Film Alert. It’s not even a subtle point that the events of the film are leading up to the handing over of Hong Kong to China on July 1st, 1997. Images are shown of the event and it’s talked about a lot, but it pretty much just functions as a backdrop for the events of the film… I honestly can’t remember if it plays a role in the plot beyond that. A-.

As you can tell from the brief plot description this film seems like it was mostly written on a napkin. The parts that make sense are just standard action fare, while the rest is so incomprehensible that it slips right off your brain. It left an impression that I watched a film, but my brain assures me I did not. It really is like you’re watching a movie in an entirely different language… and yet it’s in english. I think there is a temptation to forgive a lot of this craziness on my own inexperience with Hong Kong cinema. There were moments where I had to stop and think “is this bad or do I just think this is bad because it’s different than what I’ve come to expect.” By the end I came to the conclusion that it was just bad… but I’m not sure where and how it actually went wrong. Maybe everything. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Knock Off? More like Knock It Off! Amirite? We watched … well I think it was a movie. Jean Claude Van Damme was in it, so I assume it was a movie. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t know very much about this beyond that it was a classic team up of *checks notes* Jean Claude Van Damme and Rob Schnieder? Oooof, that can’t end well. Anyways, during the prep I found out it takes place in Hong Kong and specifically during the handover to China on July 1, 1997. The Hong Kong director was also intriguing as I hadn’t seen much Hong Kong cinema (unless you count like … Hard Target or Face/Off, but I don’t). What were my expectations? I guess a Hong Kong martial arts film? Whenever there is a heavily asian cinema inspired film (see Ecks vs. Sever) there can be a bit lost in translation, so I was really hoping it was just bonkers direction instead of a rote Hong Kong action film with bad acting.

The Good – Oh man, I mean … nothing? This film is a complete mess. It is such a mess it made me wonder whether there were even people on set who could give direction to the main three leads of the film. Alright, calm down Patrick, you have to say something nice about the film, that’s the rules. … Jean Claude Van Damme kick boxes and isn’t the worst actor in the film. They use Hong Kong well I think, playing up a bunch of different aspects of the city and the transition that was happening at the time. And I think the B-story of the jean company is hilarious. At least two of those things are genuinely good things.

The Bad – Ah back in my element. Here’s the thing, the film is directed insanely. Which, after watching A Better Tomorrow which I’ll discuss below, is very odd because Hark is a titan of HK cinema. It makes me think that some Hollywood exec gave him complete control over the film, to the extent that JCVD just had to fly to Hong Kong, and the production was probably run via a multi-lingual crew, and … then some Hollywood guy got this film back and was like “Oh no, I don’t know how we are going to edit this into a releasable product.” Spoiler alert, it isn’t releasable. This film is crazy. There are like insets at one point, you’re flying through CGI shoes and computers and stuff, there’s a rickshaw race, everyone is a CIA agent by the time the film ends … what is happening!? Reminds me of Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever in the end.

The BMT – I think this film is incredibly amusing. For a JCVD night? I would definitely think of throwing this on. As a matter of fact, a line up of Universal Soldier (Emmerich), Hard Target (Woo) and this (Hark) would be pretty funny. And close out with The Quest which was directed by JCVD himself. It was basically the last major release for JCVD prior to him occasionally showing up for smaller parts like The Expendables. It has a lot of cache and is so so weird. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, I think it exceeded them in the end. I cannot overstate how weird the direction is. It was a different time in US cinema, at the tail end of a decade where any martial artist could get at least a straight-to-video release under their belt. And this really closed that era out with a bang leaving basically just Jackie Chan standing.

Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – I certainly think Rob Schneider’s character fits in as a Planchet (Who?) which is fun. There is also a strong argument for Product Placement (What?) for Puma which gets mentioned multiple times via a counterfeit version of the shoe called Pumma. Obviously an amazing Setting as a Character (Where?) for Hong Kong, which dovetails nicely with a Temporal Setting / Not-so-Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the entire film taking place during the week of the handover of Hong Kong from British control to China on July 1, 1997. There is a strong MacGuffin (Why?) for the search for an elusive set of counterfeit jeans fitted with explosives. And then a solid Worst Twist (How?) with the “reveal” that the higher up CIA character played by Paul Sorvino was the bad guy all along (for reasons …). And then it will get consideration for BMT as well … wait, was this a clean sweep?! This film qualifies for all the potential awards. I think that is just a testament to how badly this film is written, it is just one giant cliche.

StreetCreditReport.com – Once again, despite all of the potential cred described above, this film is the kind of film which would have flew under the radar of critics and audiences alike. It seems to rarely get mentioned as even a bad Van Damme film, or a bad martial arts film. I think all of the cred just comes from it being a Van Damme film, and hopefully once Bad Movie Twins goes global we’ll be able to give it the recognition it deserves.

You Just Got Schooled – I have to admit, I’m just really not that familiar with Hong Kong cinema. The closest I’ve come is that I have seen Drunken Master with Jackie Chan. So what better time to familiarize myself with a true classic: A Better Tomorrow. Directed by John Woo, and starring Chow Yun-Fat, the film tells the story of two brothers on opposite sides of the law, both fighting against the criminal underworld that threatens to overwhelm their lives. This film is a bit of a revelation. It is no wonder Woo would find success in Hollywood, as this film draws from the greats of both Hong Kong cinema and US cinema to create a pretty compelling blend of both. A kind of western film set in the criminal underworld of Hong Kong. Weirdly apropos as both Knock Off and this deal with the counterfeiting criminal underworld of Hong Kong. But then the director of Knock Off produced A Better Tomorrow, and ultimately directed the poorly received A Better Tomorrow 3 and failed miserably to kick off his US career. Hark is objectively a good director, he has five films on a list of the 100 best Hong Kong films ever … perhaps Woo was just better at absorbing and reproducing elements of western cinema in his work, and that’s why things like Face/Off work so well. I don’t know, I’ve seen a grand total of three films made in Hong Kong, so I’m far from an expert. Maybe I’ll watch Police Story next though. A. An extremely good film I would recommend to anyone interested in Hong Kong cinema or gangster films like The Departed. 

Cheerios,

The Sklogs