Half Past Dead Recap

Jamie

Sasha Petrosevitch is deep undercover with the FBI. How deep? Well he’s sent to the advanced prison Alcatraz 2 ahead of the execution of Lester McKenna. Low and behold a gang of terrorists take over the island and hold a Supreme Court Justice for ransom. Can Sasha make sense of all this craziness and stop them before it’s too late? Find out in… Half Past Dead.

How?! A lot is going on in this film. A LOT. At first we see Sasha as the partner in crime of Nick, a criminal in deep with the mob. When they are caught, Sasha takes a bullet for him and is dead for like five minutes… not sure why that’s important actually. Anyway, eight months later they find themselves back together in Alcatraz 2 just before the first major execution at the prison. Lester McKenna is ready to die for stealing $200 million in a bank robbery that left five people dead. He’s real sorry for everything and even the Supreme Court Justice who sentenced him comes to see him because she knows he changed… There’s even some weird sexual chemistry between the two and I was into it. Lester wants to talk to Sasha for some reason and while they are chit chatting about life and death a bunch of terrorists led by 49er One, who works for the prison, parachute in. They take down the security protection and with a big storm brewing isolate the prison. As they grab Lester and the Justice as hostages they nearly kill Sasha, but he escapes in time to start doing his classic Steven Seagal Under Siege shit. He’s moving around the prison all nimbly bimbly, kills a bunch of the terrorists, and even manages to get Lester away from the terrorists. After gathering an army of fellow prisoners with Nick, they set up a trade: Lester for the Justice. Lester even tells Sasha where all the gold is because he recognizes that Sasha doesn’t want it for himself. But the switch is actually a switcheroo! The terrorists get both Lester and the Justice and, after a major fire fight between the prisoners and the terrorists, manage to escape in a helicopter. Sasha is like “FBI, get me a helicopter.” They chase after them and when they catch up the terrorists push the Justice out of the helicopter. Sasha leaps out after her while the terrorists realize that they were also victims of a real twist-em-up. Lester is wearing a bomb! They explode just as Sasha is able to parachute down and save the Justice. Later we see that Sasha found the gold and helped get Nick released. Hooray! THE END.

Why?! This is almost an 80’s/90’s film in its motivations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a bad guy talk about how doing good pays shit and he’s going to get what he deserves by doing bad. Blah blah blah. Have fun being a fugitive, Morris Chestnut. As for Sasha, he’s really in it to get revenge for the death of his wife. It’s such a minor aspect of the film that I didn’t even mention it in the recap, but yeah, he’s undercover and using Nick to get closer to his boss who was responsible for her death. At the end he offhand mentions that, oh, by the way, I got him. As always it feels like Seagal is just riffing some of these things at times and the director just has to be like, “whatever, sure his wife died, fine.” 

Who?! Obviously Ja Rule is a principal actor in this guy, but he’s not the only musician-turned-actor. Kurupt is also featured for a little comic relief and had a surprisingly substantial acting career. The only interesting credit here (besides a rare Supreme Court Justice character) is that Michael Bay got a Special Thanks for allowing the use of some establishing shots from The Rock… apparently he was good friends with the director of this that directly ripped off his own film. Didn’t seem to care, which is kinda cool of him.

What?! A little bit of a MacGuffin twist since Lester is more the MacGuffin himself. They need his sweet, sweet knowledge of where the treasure is and so the Supreme Court Justice is used as a pawn in the game. All kinds of trades and switcheroos going on, not to mention Seagal being such a bro that Lester willingly gives up the treasure location (thus removing his MacGuffin status) and blows himself to smithereens. Word up to Lester.

Where?! Alcatraz 4 Life, baby. I actually wonder whether this could be the only film set on Alcatraz (so not just shown briefly) that qualifies for BMT. It’s possible, but I’ll have to do my research. This obviously makes the film an A… pretty fundamental to the plot that this all takes place at Alcatraz 2. But it’s also not really a great California or even San Francisco film. Funny that there are places that can transcend their surroundings.

When?! The film has an excessive number of intertitles, so we are informed that the events take place, in total, over 9 months. Likely from early Spring to Fall. However, the more interesting aspect is that this clearly takes place in the future. Not only is there an Alcatraz 2, but news reports we are shown say that giant sharks are being caught and the ice caps have completely melted. That bumps you to a B-.

I cannot believe this was released to theaters. There was a very brief moment at the beginning of the film where I thought, “wait, are Steven Seagal and Ja Rule actually acting? Is this going to be a better than expected film?” The answer came fast and furious in the very next scene where they are both being sent to Alcatraz 2… nuff said. After that it is a blatant The Rock rip-off cranked up to 12 (only because The Rock was already cranked to 11). It’s only fitting that Seagal and his band of merry prisoners take on parachuting x-treme terrorists hell bent on taking a Supreme Court Justice hostage. It’s also fitting that this lunacy was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back of Seagal’s career. It is a very, very fun (and very, very, very dumb) action film, which make it a prime candidate for BMT. This should be making some noise at the Smaddies Baddies this year. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Steven Seagal is back!!! We are very very slowly moving through his filmography. In another ten years we’ll be through them I think. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – With this film we will officially be more than halfway through Seagal’s BMT filmography! BMT! BMT! BMT! Watching the preview and stuff just got me amped to watch Steven Seagal in a durag in prison. It is everything a little boy could dream of. What were my expectations? I guess rap music and Steven Seagal shooting guns because he’s too lazy to do much real fighting anymore since he was already fat at this point? Those were my expectations. If I recall correctly Exit Wounds in particular was pretty boring, and this came out after that, so there was definitely some risk we were officially seeing a direct-to-video Seagal film by accident.

The Good – The setting of Alcatraz is genuinely hilarious. To come out in 2001 and posit an idea where the U.S. Government / California decided a good use of money was to revamp the island prison of Alcatraz into a super duper max prison where they have a specialized highly efficient execution machine … I’m at a loss for words. The absurdity makes it go all the way past bad and it becomes good again. I love it. I’m in love with it. In a weird way I was also kind of into both Nia Peeples and Ja Rule. The energy they bring to the movie works well for what it is I think. Best Bit: Alcatraz babyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

The Bad – Steven Seagal? Steven Seagal is bad. It is ludicrous what he was doing with himself and his characters at this point in his career. I have no idea what he is thinking with these choices. There is zero doubt in my mind he was the one who said he was going to wear a durag. The entire end scene where Seagal blows up a helicopter at what appears to be 10,000 feet and then skydives with one parachute to save a Supreme Court Justice … yes, all of this happened!! The movie is absurd, and in a way it is delightful. But there is no doubt about it: this is a terrible film by almost any standard. Morris Chestnut as television-level sociopath spouting on about how he “feels nothing and could kill everyone in this room without feeling anything” isn’t helping matters. Fatal Flaw: Late stage Steven Seagal. This film has terminal Steven-Seagal-itis.

The BMT – Heeeeeeeeeeell yes. And I’m as surprised as anyone. I kind of had a feeling it was going to be pretty fun to watch because of the setting (Escape Plan-level nonsense prison films are almost always highly amusing to watch), but there was always that I-don’t-know-what-is-happening-in-Exit-Wounds possibility for this film. But no, they stuck to the (escape) plan and kept us in crazy-Alcatraz-2.0 and everything worked out for the better in my opinion. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them! And that is a shock. I think this is the last Steven Seagal film that was released to theaters, so I was very much expecting it to actually be secretly boring.

Roast-radamus – There is such a good Planchet (Who?) named Twitch (played by the rapper Kurupt) that he becomes the star of the direct-to-video sequel (more on that later)! A very very good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Alcatraz 2.0, the super duper max robot prison Steven Seagal is sent to. Huge MacGuffin (Why?) film with the $200 (or whatever) million dollar bounty of gold the soon-to-be-executed prisoner hid somewhere. And a solid Worst Twist (How?) for the not-so-subtle twist that Steven Seagal is an undercover agent, and not, in fact, a hardened criminal mastermind (who’da thunk it?!). Obviously closest to BMT and a spectacular list of superlatives to boot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I mean, there are so many possibilities. Steven Seagal’s character is a deep cover agent for the FBI, so I’m thinking Prequel. It would star Kellen Lutz as a young Sasha Petrosevitch, a master of Akito, and FBI agent extraordinaire as he attempts to infiltrate a gang who is trying to pull off the biggest heist in history: steal all of the gold in Fort Knox. The plan is to set off a large-scale attack in the area, all while getting themselves sealed in Fort Knox posing as army officers. But how will they get out? Tunnels and motorcycles of course. Petrosevich has posed as their explosives expert (because he is … an explosives expert I mean), and is now on the inside. But is he willing to blow the tunnels, bury the gold, and kill his new found friends in the process? Nope, but is he willing to get into a high speed boat chase down the Mississippi River once they all successfully escape and bring his buddies to justice. In the end he gets the gold (and the girl, is that wedding bells and foreshadowing I hear?) and accolades galore … but the celebration is cut short when the news reports that Lester McKenna just stole a boatload of gold in a simultaneous heist across the country. Lutz looks at his captain like “here we go again” and laughs. Quarter Till Dead is maybe the best title in the universe and no one can tell me otherwise.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, after watching this film I was just jonesing for more of that sweet Half Past Dead action with Half Past Dead 2. The film starts off with crackling energy by featuring Twitch and the warden from the first film exchanging words on Alcatraz 2.0 and I’m like “wait, are they actually going to set it on Alcatraz, that’ll be expensive”. But alas, my fears were realized when Twitch intentionally gets himself sent to a supermax prison in (checks notes) Missouri so that they no longer have to pay for a single ocean vista. The storyline is basically that Twitch wants to escape to find the second half of the aforementioned gold stash, and Bill Goldberg (from the WWE) is a prisoner with a heart of gold who needs to save his daughter during a prison riot. Yada yada yada, they save the day, Twitch gets paroled, Goldberg gets $80 million in gold, everyone lives happily ever after. Well, except for me, since I wasted two hours watching Half Past Dead 2. C+. The film is garbage, but saved by the setting. Like a homeless man’s Prison Break, there is something fun about cheesy prison movies, what can I say.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Half Past Dead Quiz

Well, it’s a long story, but let’s just say I am in deep cover with the FBI and had to get beat up in prison to get my cred with the inmates up enough to find a big bounty of gold. And I did it, I learned where the gold was! Except … when getting beat up I sustained a massive concussion and now can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Half Past Dead?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Sasha Petrosevitch (Seagal) is an FBI agent in deep cover with some bad dude criminals (including his friend Ja Rule). What crimes are they committing specifically before they all get pinched by the cops?

2) When Seagal goes to Alcatraz 2.0 he’s called on specifically to talk with Lester McKenna the day he is set to be executed for stealing a bunch of gold and getting some FBI agents killed in the process. Why does Lester want to talk to Sasha in particular?

3) On that same day, the opening day of Alcatraz 2.0, there is also a Supreme Court justice visiting. Why?

4) Morris Chestnut is on the scene though and he wants that gold aaaaaaaaaaall for himself. What is his plan to get the gold?

5) In the end how does Seagal and Lester conspire to save the Supreme Court justice, foil Chestnut, and get the gold?

Bonus Question: Ja Rule got out of prison two years after the events of the film, what job does he get afterwards?

Answers

Half Past Dead Preview

Kyle sits nervously outside the house of his estranged son Niall. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he says despondently when Patrick asks what came between them. Jamie smirks, as if anything could shock them at this point. “Well…,” Kyle begins, “there was this cursed Egyptian amulet of immense power. Niall stole it using his hacking skillz. Everyone wanted it and so they went after him. In the end he put it on and… the power… it felt good. I guess it drove him a little crazy. So like I said, a bit of a wild card.” Jamie and Patrick nod in understanding. Gathering up courage they boldly stride to the door and knock in unison. As the door opens techno music blares and Niall dances his way to the doorstep looking pretty dope in his hacker clothez and a funky fresh ancient Egyptian amulet hanging from his neck. He slides his wildly fashionable sunglasses down his nose, “Daddio? That you?” Kyle nods sheepishly and looks closely at Niall. “How are you? Still a little wild?” he asks hesitantly. Niall waves him off and explains that he learned that “with great power comes great responsibility.” (Jamie and Patrick write that wholly original phrase down). Niall then ushers them into the house where he introduces his beautiful baby boy. It’s all very touching and they are on the verge of tears. Kyle and Niall go in for a hug when a shot rings out only to be blocked by the immense power of the amulet. “My god they’ve found me!” Niall yells, “Quick take the child. I’ll juke Miles’ stats, just keep little Niles safe.” The three of them look frantically at the child as Niall flees. What are we just three men and a baby or something? That’s wrong! We obviously aren’t watching the hit comedy classic Three Men and a Baby, but if Niall doesn’t get out of there quick he is gonna be… Half Past Dead. Starring Steven Seagal in pretty much his last starring role in a theatrical release this film looks bonkers and it’s no wonder it got a big ol’ BOMB by Leonard. Let’s go!

Half Past Dead (2002) – BMeTric: 63.0; Notability: 36

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.0%; Notability: top 48.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.4% Higher BMeT: Crossroads, Rollerball, Halloween: Resurrection, The Master of Disguise, Pluto Nash, Feardotcom, Scooby-Doo, Boat Trip; Higher Notability: Men in Black II, Scooby-Doo, The Time Machine, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Master of Disguise, Dragonfly, John Q, Unconditional Love, Collateral Damage, Showtime, Queen of the Damned, I Spy, Rollerball, The Country Bears, Bad Company, The Truth About Charlie, The Sweetest Thing, The Tuxedo, Pluto Nash, Analyze That, and 21 more; Lower RT: The Master of Disguise, Deuces Wild, Feardotcom; Notes: Pretty incredible the rating is rising at all if I’m being honest. It should absolutely stick below 5.0 I would think. The notability is about where I would expect, maybe even a bit high. It is a theatrical action film with a ton of rappers and stuff, but they almost definitely skimped on the crew.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Seagal is an undercover FBI agent who arrives as an inmate in prison on the same day a team of crooks – get this – break into the joint, to get a condemned man to tell them where there’s a hidden stash of gold bars. To call this bad is an understatement … even by Seagal standards. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel.

(There is a reason I’m pretty sure this is the last theatrical release by Seagal. I don’t know why all of the martial artists all went away at the same time, I wonder if someone wrote a book on it. Market corrected by Jackie Chan? The realization you could get actual actors like Nic Cage to star in weird action films? I don’t know, seems weird though that nearly all martial artists became straight-to-video at the same time.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNYoAd02Uo/

(My god the opening with Seagal spinning Ja Rule out of the car. Let’s see if they are going to give it away. Please give it away. Please. Oh shiiiiiiiit they didn’t do it! That’s impressive. Spoiler alert, but Seagal isn’t a convict, he’s an undercover agent. It isn’t hard to guess.)

Directors – Don Michael Paul – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop 2; The Scorpion King: Book of Souls; The Garden; Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; BMT: Half Past Dead; Notes: He was an actor to some degree, even starring in a television series called The Hat Squad with Billy Warlock. He’s directed a ton of straight to video action sequels basically.)

Writers – Don Michael Paul (written by) – (Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; BMT: Half Past Dead; Notes: He’s mostly been writing the straight to video stuff he’s directed over the last two decades. He sold his freshman script which became Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, although he was originally an actor.)

Actors – Morris Chestnut – (Known For: Boyz n the Hood; The Last Boy Scout; The Call; Girls Trip; Think Like a Man; G.I. Jane; Like Mike; Heist; Higher Learning; The Inkwell; The Best Man; Ladder 49; The Best Man Holiday; Confidence: After Dark; Scenes of the Crime; Two Can Play That Game; The Brothers; Future BMT: The Cave; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Identity Thief; When the Bough Breaks; The Perfect Holiday; The Perfect Guy; Breakin’ All the Rules; Kick-Ass 2; Not Easily Broken; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Half Past Dead; The Game Plan; Notes: Won the 1998 Madden Bowl which was a video game tournament between celebrities and professional athletes. Mostly does television now, like the title role in Rosewood.)

Steven Seagal – (Known For: Under Siege; Machete; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Beyond the Law; China Salesman; General Commander; Sniper: Special Ops; About Time; Code of Honor; The Onion Movie; Attrition; Killing Salazar; End of a Gun; Contract to Kill; The Foreigner; The Asian Connection; Maximum Conviction; The Perfect Weapon; Ticker; Future BMT: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Out for Justice; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Half Past Dead; Fire Down Below; The Glimmer Man; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: Famously a Bhuddist, he was even announced as a tulku (to some controversy) by his advisor. Has Serbian and Russian citizenship, both granted to him after visiting both countries.)

Ja Rule – (Known For: Assault on Precinct 13; Shall We Dance; Pauly Shore Is Dead; I’m in Love with a Church Girl; Goat; Back in the Day; Don’t Fade Away; Furnace; Future BMT: Scary Movie 3; The Cookout; Turn It Up; BMT: Half Past Dead; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Born in Queens as Jeffrey Atkins. He apparently has a feud with 50 Cent and was born on Leap Day.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $15,567,860 (Worldwide: $19,233,280)

(Yeah that is some Hollywood accounting. There is no way they spent $25 million on a Seagal film in the mid-2000s. He was basically toast at this point career wise.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/88): Seagal is now too bulky to make a convincing action hero, and Half Past Dead is too silly and incoherent to deliver any visceral kicks.

(Oh snap, they actually call him fat in the Rotten Tomatoes consensus! That is coooooooold blooooooooded. Reviewer Highlight: It goes through the motions of an action thriller, but there is a deadness at its center, a feeling that no one connected with it loved what they were doing. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Half Past Sklog

(I’m glad they put all those colors on there or I wouldn’t know how rad this is. Seriously, though, if I saw this poster in a theater today I might just live there until it came out. Look at that tiny little Alcatraz in the corner! Nice font, interesting spacing, and pretty horrid colors. Comes out a little bit of a wash but I’ll give it a C+ just for funsies.)

Tagline(s) – The Good. The Bad. And the Deadly. (C+)

(It’s a little generic, but it does hit a lot of the right beats. It’s short and is trying to be clever. Basically, it sounds like a tagline and does its job adequately. I was gonna give it higher than it deserved, but then I looked and found another film with the same tagline… and it looks pretty amazing.)

Keyword – prison

Top 10: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Boogie Nights (1997), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The Goonies (1985), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Dark Knight (2008), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 68.7 Gulliver’s Travels (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 64.6 102 Dalmatians (2000), 57.5 The Counsellor (2013), 56.0 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994), 54.3 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), 54.3 Honey (2003), 51.9 Blackhat (2015);

BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Over the Top (1987), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Assassin’s Creed (2016), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Tango & Cash (1989), Pixels (2015), Gamer (2009), Battlefield Earth (2000), Need for Speed (2014), Rambo III (1988), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Gangster Squad (2013), Judge Dredd (1995), Pompeii (2014), Zoolander 2 (2016), American Outlaws (2001), 10,000 BC (2008), Hudson Hawk (1991), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Lock Up (1989), Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory (1990), A Haunted House 2 (2014), Problem Child (1990), xXx²: The Next Level (2005), Twisted (2004), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Mortdecai (2015), 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Old Dogs (2009), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Romeo Must Die (2000), Alex Cross (2012), Exit Wounds (2001)

(If I’m being honest, none of the future BMT films are very appealing. Street Fighter maybe, but I’ve seen the film a number of times. I guess Supergirl given it is apparently one of the worst films of all time, but I wish there were more terrible prison films you know? Just make one film set in future Alcatraz a year and I’d be pretty down to watch it.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Steven Seagal is No. 1 billed in Half Past Dead and No. 1 billed in Exit Wounds, which also stars Isaiah Washington (No. 3 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 5 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 3 = 15. If we were to watch Out for Justice we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In an article for the German publication Berliner Kurier, Wolfgang Lindner recalls the eccentricities of Steven Seagal on the set. Reportedly, Seagal traveled everywhere in the company of a Buddhist adviser whose verdicts on the state of Seagal’s karma would be reason enough for Seagal to halt filming for a day. (Sounds about right)

Some aerial shots in this film were originally shot, but ultimately unused, for Michael Bay’s film The Rock (1996). Bay is very good friends with director Don Michael Paul and allowed him to use the footage in this film.

The shot of the skydivers jumping out of the airplane is footage from Navy Seals (1990).

Although writer/director Don Michael Paul praises Steven Seagal in the “making-of featurette” on the DVD, he has since gone on to give interviews saying that Seagal was a disruptive force on the set and that he would constantly turn up late and delay production for no apparent reason.

All indoor prison scenes were shot in an old STASI prison in Berlin, Germany.

The script to this film was written ten years prior to filming as The Rock (1996) but there was another script with the same title that was filmed so this one had to wait ten years later to be done (I don’t think that’s why it took 10 more years …)

Although many industry publications stated that the film’s budget was in the mid $20 million range, the actual figure is closer to $15 million. (I knew it!)

Near the beginning while the PST news report is running, the scroll at the bottom is either ridiculous or reflects the politics of the writers/producers and also in one case contradicts itself. As follows: Middle East Crisis Escalates, Stock Prices Surge – Pessimism Ebbing, Economy Sluggish-Gross National Product Flatlining, 27 Foot Great White Shark caught off Barrier Reef, Polar Ice Caps Melt-Global Warming to Blame.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Steven Seagal, 2003)

Highlander: Endgame Recap

Jamie

Kell is the new immortal on the block gaining power by quickening up the wazoo. But Conner MacLeod and his best bro Duncan have plan. Can’t get killed by Kell if you’re already dead (think about it) and if you’re dead then the other can gain your quickening skillz. Can Duncan stop Kell (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Highlander: Endgame.

How?! This shall be my greatest challenge ever. Remember the whole prize thing, well once again forget that Conner ever won that. Instead let’s start at the beginning where Conner, newly immortal, returns to his hometown. Considered a monster he is captured and his mother is burned at the stake. Enraged, Conner escapes and destroys the whole village, including the local priest, Kell. Years later he befriends a fellow immortal from the clan MacLeod, Duncan, and they begin decades of adventure together, obviously never mentioned in any previous installments of the franchise. Anywho, they meet up in NYC and are best bros, but tragically Conner’s adopted daughter is killed in an explosion set off by *gasp* the also immortal Kell (what a twist!). A grief stricken Conner then hides away in The Sanctuary, a place where The Watchers lock away immortals to keep Kell from winning the ultimate prize. But that doesn’t exactly work as Kell breaks into The Sanctuary and murders everyone (or does he?). Our boy Duncs goes to investigate but has to battle Kell and his army of immortals and is nearly killed. Instead he is captured by The Watchers who want to compel him to stay locked away like Conner. Duncs is like no way and with the help of some friends he escapes. Once freed he finds that Conner is actually alive, being saved for last by Kell as a form of revenge. Duncan also now knows that his former boo Kate is amongst Kell’s army and they flirt and stuff, but Kate can’t forgive him for the eternity of pain Duncan inflicted on her by turning her immortal (wait, what?). While Kell gathers strength by Quickening to the x-treme via the beheading of his army, Conner and Duncan fight one last time so that Conner, tired of his immortal life, can sacrifice himself to give his Quickening strength to Duncan. In a final climactic fight, Kell and Duncan face off and, duh, Duncs tots wins for sure. In the end we see that Kate has also survived and is ready to bone Duncan for the next 1000 years or whatever. THE END.

Why?! To win the prize allegedly. Although no matter how many times someone wins the prize they don’t seem to actually win the prize and then eventually they die. Makes you wonder whether there is even a prize… or is the ultimate prize really the friendships Conner made along the way (awww).

Who?! Two interesting casting choices here. Damon Dash, cofounder of Roc-A-Fella Records, made his screen debut in the film as one of Kell’s immortals. Probably ended up being his biggest film too, which is interesting. The wrestler The Edge also made a brief appearance in his feature debut… also the biggest thing he ever did.

What?! The Prize and the general immortal storyline is vague enough to probably constitute a MacGuffin on their own. Although not in the traditional sense. And hold up… you’re seriously telling me that Kell’s fake decapitated head went up for auction and didn’t get sold?! I can’t wait until I’m rich enough to need subjects of conversation for my rich person cocktail parties. “You know what this is?” I will say, pointing to a prop head that looks startlingly like Damodar from Dungeons & Dragons.

Where?! A lot of the film is set in New York City and Scotland, like the original. Some brief moments in Europe, but really the NYC aspect of Highlander is fun to have preserved. I have such nostalgia for the first one and the kinda grimy Madison Square Garden wrestling match in the beginning and stuff. It’s great. B

When?! Superb Secret Holiday Film Alert as this is explicitly set during Christmas. At first I was like “hmm, is that a Christmas tree in the background?” and then a minute later a character was quipping “Merry Christmas” to a dude just before he killed him. It is glorious. It’s just too bad that the film is such a piece of shit or I would say pair it up with Cobra and Turbulence and have a very merry Christmas trilogy. Also interesting the Highlander wiki has the film set in 2004… probably something to do with the TV timeline or whatever. A- just for Xmas sake.

I cannot accept that this film was actually released to theaters. It is straight up incomprehensible. Even for giant Highlander fans it would be incomprehensible. I have watched the critically reviled second entry enough to have actual opinions on it… like I have a whole theory that a good cut of Highlander 2 could be made, but in fact has never been made. But despite how much I have thought about the franchise, this fourth entry had me scratching my head wondering whether I was supposed to already know the subtle nuances of highlander lore they seemed to take as a given. Had I overestimated my Highlander acumen? Well I soon learned this was supposed to bridge nearly a decade of the Highlander tv series and finally bring Conner and Duncan MacLeod together. Ah! What everyone across the country was clamoring for! A continuation of the straight-to-syndication show that people probably caught momentarily while taking a sick day that one time. No wonder they released it to 1500+ theaters. Anyway, the movie makes no sense and looks exactly like what it is… a 90’s straight-to-syndication TV series. On a positive note, I actually didn’t mind the final Conner and Duncan fight, it was kind of sweet to show how Conner was ready to die for the fate of humanity after years of losing so many people he loved, and there was some surprisingly good martial arts, but I just can’t shake the fact that they thought this was a good idea. Highlander’s greatest strength was rising from the ashes to reset and forget the tragically misguided last entry in the series… it’s the only way you can get through something like Highlander 2 to claim the vaunted prize: a syndicated TV show. And yet once that prize was attained they decided we must remember everything forever. No wonder the immortal series finally died. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! There can only be one! … left, there is only one Highlander movie left to do, and it is Endgame. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – There can only be one! Or four or whatever. The most intriguing thing about the film was just how much of the film seemed like Highlander: The Series: The Movie. That, that seems crazy. Because there was six seasons of that show and it ended two years before this film was made … so they wouldn’t actually do that right? What were my expectations? Totally incomprehensible nonsense. There is no other way you can make a Highlander sequel and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Good – There is a genuinely good martial arts scene in the middle of this film. So good, in fact, that I’m fairly convinced that Donnie Yen choreographed it. This isn’t the worst of the bunch, surprisingly. Luckily I brushed up on the lore from the television series so I didn’t have too much trouble following what was actually an impossible to follow plot. And Lambert and even Adrian Paul I think were quite good, or at least, it wouldn’t have really felt like a Highlander film without them. Best Bit: That one fight scene.

The Bad – The madmen did it, they made a movie that was the fourth in a franchise, but also the direct sequel to a six season syndicated television series, and then they released it to 1500 theaters. How is such a thing possible? What were they doing in the 90s where they thought releasing a sequel to a television show to kick off another television show required a theatrical release. Bananas. As a theatrical film it looks bad, it is directed poorly, most of the actors are bad, most of the fight scenes are bad, and the whole thing makes no sense unless you had happened to watch the television show. What the hell is happening?! That’s some wild stuff. Fatal Flaw: Six seasons of television as required viewing for a sequel to an 80s film …

The BMT – In many ways this film is legendary. A late sequel to a series we’ve done in three parts to finish it off. It is maybe the only direct sequel to a television series where you have to watch the show first or else it makes no sense. Martial arts, and Christopher Lambert, and quickenings. The whole thing is just a wild ride while also impossible to recommend. How do you tell someone “man, if you think about just how weird it is that the television show is required to watch this movie … then you’ll get it.” Hard sell. Did it meet my expectations? I think it exceeded them in every way. And after all that you want to hear a wild thing? I kind of dug the film! Or at least I liked it better than the third, and it is more well put together than the second. Really weird.

Roast-radamus – A for real deal Secret Holiday Film (When?) because the climax of this film is set during Christmas in maybe the best way possible! There is an extremely quick moment where a guy is going to interfere with the immortals, and you can see Christmas decorations in the background, and then another guy shoots him and is like “Merry Christmas”!!!!!!! Great stuff. Highlanders are always good for a MacGuffin (Why?) because you know they all are looking for the sweet Quickening. And also a genuine Worst Twist (How?) for Conner sacrificing himself to Duncan to give him a level up Quickening right before his super Kell Quickening at the end. Duncan is a super Highlander now I think. Definitely right in there for BMT, it is a highly amusing film.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I don’t think you necessarily need to remake anything, it would be more like a retcon to fix the lore (I do love lore). But let’s call it a Remake for clarity. I think the first film is perfect, even though it makes it a bit more complicated. MacLeod versus the Kurgan to become the last Immortal. But here’s the twist. He’s won the game, and the final quickening happens, and then … the game starts anew with MacLeod as an Immortal outside of the game, a new batch of Immortals born into the world. Being outside of the game he founds The Watchers, an organization which observes and reports on the happenings of the game to gently help good Immortals (like Duncan, whom Conner takes under his wing as an apprentice), hoping to prevent another Kurgan from gaining the ultimate immortality. Eventually, as the game cycles, new Immortals win the game (Duncan being the second), until a final film where a fourth is set to join and it is revealed (much to our heroes’ chagrin) that they are, in fact, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and that is the point of the game, to mark the end of the Earth. So it becomes a race to prevent the completion of the last game. There must be two! The end. Tight stuff, I’m open to discussing the option terms Netflix.

You Just Got Schooled – Lots of good stuff here as well. First, the film was supposed to tie in heavily with Highlander: The Raven which was running in 1998-1999 when the film would have at least been in pre-production (but it was then canceled). I did watch the pilot called Reborn. Have to say … kind of okay, better than I remember the original series being, which I think makes sense, one was a syndicated show from 1992 and the other from 1998. This was cheesy, but mostly seemed like it was going to be a procedural cop show involving Immortals and all that jazz which is a pretty cool idea actually. I’m going to give it a B-, entertaining for a syndicated show from the 90s.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Highlander: Endgame Quiz

Oh boy, so here’s the thing. I’m an immortal and I’m just chopping off heads and quickening and stuff all the time. Like, I quickened maybe twice last week (not to brag). Anyways, I was fighting this guy and do you know what he does, he hits me right in the head! I chopped his head off, but also sustained a severe concussion and now can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Highlander: Endgame?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Conner MacLeod’s daughter is murdered most foul. How is she killed?

2) Why does Jacon Kell want to Kill Conner MacLeod … well beyond that there can only be one?

3) What is the purpose of the Sanctuary which is run by rogue watchers?

4) How does an Immortal become immortal?

5) Why does Conner let Duncan kill him (basically forces him to)?

Bonus Question: I do love relationship questions. So how long do Kate and Duncan version 2.0 stay together?

Answers

Highlander: Endgame Preview

Having woken from their slumber, Jamie and Patrick rush to the computer. The internet is poppin’ and full of newly minted reviews for The FMV Rich & Poe: The Music Video Game VR Experience: Legends Never Die starring Jason Derulo. They hold their collective breaths and sigh in relief as they gather the consensus: it’s a smash. “This ironic twist on the tragedy that was the monster cat themed previous entry in the Rich & Poe saga certainly has this reviewer singing a different tune when thinking about the latest entry. While definitely not canon, no matter how much the creators insist, we welcome even more ironic sendups of these beloved characters we had thought wore out their welcome.” Jamie and Patrick predator high five, tears shimmering in their eyes. But wait, what’s this other chatter burning up the R&P message boards? “Release Date Postponed!” it screams and Jamie and Patrick’s shoulders slump. All this work on the hype machine and their cyborg nemeses got ahead of it. “The end of August,” Patrick says in despair, “classic dump month.” Jamie slams closed the internet window and falls heavily into a chair. “What do we do now? We can’t just keep pumping out FMV gold!” But Patrick’s mind is already turning. If the FMV game isn’t canon, then maybe only films are… and if only films are then… “Preemptive sequel,” he mutters and Jamie sits up straight in his chair. They’ll turn the new movie into a prequel and show that Rich and Poe never died. If their film is bad, Rich and Poe survive. If it’s gold, like usual, they keep the hype machine going. “So we have a plan. Now we just need an endgame,” Patrick says cryptically, leaning on the entirely useless box that’s not even worth mentioning. That’s right! We’re taking the final (?) baby step on the journey of finishing Highlander with the fourth entry in the series, Highlander: Endgame. With a title like that you are assured it’s the last Highlander ever released (hint: this is not true). Or at least the last one you’ll have to watch for BMT (now that is true). Let’s go!

Highlander: Endgame (2000) – BMeTric: 64.3; Notability: 34

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.6%; Notability: top 46.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 7.2% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth, Dungeons & Dragons, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Urban Legends: Final Cut, 102 Dalmatians; Higher Notability: Little Nicky, Gone in Sixty Seconds, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Coyote Ugly, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Lost Souls, Proof of Life, 102 Dalmatians, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Reindeer Games, Rules of Engagement, Bless the Child, Hollow Man, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Isn’t She Great, Final Destination, Pay It Forward, Supernova, Dude, Where’s My Car?, and 25 more; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, Circus, The Skulls, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Dungeons & Dragons, Supernova, I Dreamed of Africa, Ed Gein, Screwed, The Ladies’ Man, The Watcher; Notes: Loving the sup-5.0 on IMDb, that is obviously a huge number. It is astonishing that Highlander IV is above 30 Notability. At this point it was borderline straight-to-video and they were still pumping money into it, just amazing.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Tedious sequel in which 500-year-old Lambert goes up against fellow immortal Payne, a vengeance-seeking, power-hungry rogue. Also involved is Lambert’s clan brother (Paul, from the TV series). Of interest only to die-hard series fans.

(Another BOMB?! We are racking them up now. Of interest only to die-hard Highlander fans … great, so this movie was made for us.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7mqpGNx8FI/

(Basically this is Highlander: The Series: The Movie!!! The television show is terrible, and this looks just as terrible. And then they bust out what appears to be the Hackers soundtrack at the end? Just incredible. Looks like nonsense.)

Directors – Douglas Aarniokoski – (Known For: Nurse; The Day; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Notes: He wrote the fourth and fifth Puppet Master films, and currently he produces a ton of television (including Star Trek: Picard). Was previously married to producer Suzanne Todd.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; OtherLife; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Wrote the sequel to Backdraft as well. He wrote the original Highlander while in school. Still writing, he’s attached to an upcoming film called Yasuke.)

Eric Bernt (story) – (Known For: The Echo; Future BMT: The Hitcher; Virtuosity; Surviving the Game; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Romeo Must Die; Notes: Was a writer and producer on the television show Z Nation in the mid-2010s.)

Gillian Horvath (story) – (Known For: On the Other Hand, Death; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Was a creative consultant on the Highlander television. She seems to have been a freelance sci-fi writer for a ton of shows including Xena.)

William N. Panzer (story) (as Bill Panzer) – (Known For: Steel; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Was the original producer of the series and has been executive producer on basically all of the Highlander stuff forever. Has a story credit on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th films.)

Joel Soisson (screenplay) – (Known For: Piranha 3DD; Cam2Cam; Trick or Treat; Children of the Corn: Genesis; Blue Tiger; The Supernaturals; Pulse 2: Afterlife; Pulse 3; Hambone and Hillie; BMT: Dracula 2001; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Has written dozens of films, mostly straight-to-video horror sequels, has directed a number of films, and was a producer on Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Clearly very involved in moviemaking.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Beowulf; Hail, Caesar!; Southland Tales; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Sobibor; Subway; Bel Canto; White Material; Resurrection; The Sicilian; Knight Moves; Nirvana; Fortress 2; Un + une; 10 Days in a Madhouse; Why Me?; Vercingétorix; Future BMT: Fortress; Gunmen; Loaded Weapon 1; The Hunted; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Highlander: Endgame; Mortal Kombat; Notes: By all accounts and incredibly nice person. Apparently he has a puppet on the satirical French show Les Guignols de l’info.)

Adrian Paul – (Known For: Love Potion No. 9; Black Rose; Susan’s Plan; Outpost 37; Merlin: The Return; Apocalypse Pompeii; Last Rites; The Heavy; Nine Miles Down; Eyeborgs; The Breed; Dikaya liga; Kids vs Monsters; War of the Worlds: Goliath; Nemesis Game; Seance; Moscow Heat; Masque of the Red Death; Throttle; Code Hunter; BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Has become involved in a few different production companies and also has written several scripts (although from what I can tell they weren’t produced, or he wasn’t ultimately credited on them). Started as a dancer and appeared in a few music videos in the 80s.)

Bruce Payne – (Known For: The Keep; Necronomicon; Absolute Beginners; Sweepers; Creators: The Past; For Queen & Country; Vendetta; One Point O; Steal; Prowl; One Tough Bastard; Ripper; Re-Kill; Pyrates; The Rizen; Brothel; Breakdown; Age of Kill; The Fruit Machine; Privates on Parade; Future BMT: Passenger 57; Switch; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Getaway; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Apparently was considered for the lead role in Burton’s Batman, which usually I wouldn’t mention, but he would have played Bruce Wayne … and his name is Bruce Payne. That’s crazy.)

Budget/Gross – $25,000,000 / Domestic: $12,811,858 (Worldwide: $15,843,608)

(No, that is no good. Something tells me this film did not, in fact, cost $25 million to make though. Although, then again, maybe that is why the sequel went straight-to-video. It is pretty unbelievable this ended up in thousands of theaters in the first place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (6/54): The fourth and supposedly last Highlander movie is a confusing mess, complete with bad acting and dialogue.

(So, I guess at the time maybe they were claiming this was going to be the conclusion to the franchise? Didn’t happen, they made a fifth which apparently is worse than even the second one! Reviewer Highlight: Highlander: Endgame looks sensational, moves like lightning. But its script (by Joel Soisson) makes no pretense about being logical or even comprehensible. – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Highlander 4: Found Another Highlander

(Hmmmm, this does the job. The framing and stuff is good and the big ol’ sword is fun. Got a slight highlander font to boot. Not bad. B.)

Tagline(s) – It will take two immortals to defeat the ultimate evil. But in the end, there can be only one. (D)

(You literally keep saying that but it hasn’t been true yet. The highlander doth protest too much and we are three entries past the point where they should have just rewritten the lore. It should just be that a bunch of highlanders crop up periodically to fight evil that threatens the Earth. Once the evil is gone the highlanders compete to be the only one left for the centuries between the next evil. Is that so hard? Anyway this is trash and it’s too long. I hate it, but it is comprehensible so not the worst.)

Keyword – immortality

Top 10: Wonder Woman 1984 (1984), Suicide Squad (2016), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Death Becomes Her (1992), Deadpool 2 (2018), Deadpool (2016)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 89.1 House of the Dead (2003), 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 71.1 The Spirit (2008), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 52.0 Green Lantern (2011), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 44.0 Fred Claus (2007), 42.2 Pan (2015);

BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Gods of Egypt (2016), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Mummy (2017), Hellboy (2019), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Dragonball Evolution (2009), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Queen of the Damned (2002), Dracula 2001 (2000), I, Frankenstein (2014), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Bulletproof Monk (2003), The Medallion (2003), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(Lots of vampire stuff here. Humans really fear death huh? Look at all these things which posit the consequences of a lack of mortality. Anyways, The Spirit is a giant piece of garbage, I’ve seen like thirty minutes before and it is astonishingly bad, so I can’t wait to see that one in full.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christopher Lambert is No. 1 billed in Highlander: Endgame and No. 1 billed in Mortal Kombat, which also stars Robin Shou (No. 2 billed) who is in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li (No. 6 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 14. If we were to watch Passenger 57, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The film’s trailer contained many sequences and elements not in the film, including scenes suggesting that the villain Jacob Kell possessed supernatural abilities, and a scene showing Connor and Duncan leaping through a “magical portal.” It was later revealed that certain scenes were shot exclusively for the trailer, to make the film look more interesting.

The original trailer featured Connor MacLeod splitting Jacob Kell in two with his sword and becoming two people. This never happened in the film.

Billy Idol and Jean-Claude Van Damme were both considered for the role of Jacob Kell.

As Duncan travels toward his rendezvous with Connor, there is a shot of his vehicle passing Silvercup Studios, the scene of the final battle between Connor and Kurgan in the original Highlander.

The interior of the Sanctuary was an abandoned salt mine 200 yards underground in Romania. The only access was a single elevator, and the crew had to be transported down a few at a time.

The film was intended as a bridge between Highlander (1992) and Highlander: The Raven (1998). The TV series was cancelled, and cast availability problems caused production delays. Dimension Films soon realized that their plans for the film were not going to meet expectations, and scaled back on its release.

Other titles at various stages of production included “Highlander IV: The Immortals” and “Highlander: The Search for Connor”.

Connor MacLeod’s “Trophy Room” from the first film was reconstructed in detail here, though the hardwood floor is different. The original set had a radial central floor which supported the weight of MacLeod’s old blacksmith’s anvil in the middle.

Earlier drafts of the script differed greatly from the final cut in several aspects. The character of Kate was originally named Alexis, most of the flashbacks occurred in Shanghai instead of Ireland. Methos and Duncan were living in Paris rather than London as they did in the end of the TV series. Hugh Fitzcairn and May Ling Shen were to appear in the Shanghai flashbacks.

Lucy Lawless was unable to take the role of Kate/Faith due to her commitment on the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess (1995).

Not screened for critics prior to release.

Earlier versions of the screenplay had a subplot whereby Kell would gain an unholy power when he had killed 666 immortals, and would become too strong for any immortal, or even an army of immortals, to kill. In this version Kell’s wiping out his own followers was an attempt to quickly reach that number, but he was foiled after Jin Ke took his own life before Kell could behead him, leaving him needing to kill Duncan in order to reach 666 kills. This subplot was deleted from the final version of the film, though allusions to it remain, with Kell’s kill count halfway through being 661.

Cutthroat Island Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cutthroat Island Quiz

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

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

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

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

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

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

5) Where is the treasure hidden on Cutthroat Island?

Bonus Question: What ultimately happened to Cutthroat Island?

Answers

Cutthroat Island Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – Pirates of the Cutthroat Island

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

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

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

Keyword – pirate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stone Cold Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (3/9)

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

Poster – Frosted Tips

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

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

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

Keyword – undercover cop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lance Henriksen wrote his own lines for every scene.

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

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

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

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

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

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