Shaft (2019) Recap

Jamie

Shaft! That bad mother-shut-your-mouth is back, Jack! And he is ready to rumble… with his son?! Gulp. Can this odd couple pairing team up to solve the mysterious death of one of Shaft Jr.’s friends (and perhaps even get the girl(s)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Shaft (2019).

How?! After years of estrangement from his private eye father for reasons of safety (and because Shaft is kinda a dick), Shaft Jr. has made his way from MIT (what, what!) all the way to the FBI. But when one of his friends turns up dead under tragic and suspicious circumstances, he seeks out his father to help infiltrate the underbelly of his native NYC. Immediately the elder Shaft is incredibly problematic. Apparently years of unsafe sex and alcohol have rotted his brain and he has been reduced to spewing constant “kids these days” style humor mixed with homophobia. Truly a sad state of affairs. But despite his clear brain disease elder Shaft is still able to help Shaft Jr. (who also kinda sucks) figure out what’s going on. In fact his friend didn’t die of an accidental overdose, but instead was killed as part of an elaborate cover-up for a drug ring. Locking and loading and showing everyone just how cool guns are (ladies love ‘em), they go in and not only get all the evidence of this drug ring, but also blow away everyone. Murder is fun and so is being a man. He then tells the man to suck it and goes to work with his dad and grandpa in the private eye business. Shaft! Big Question: Like… what happened? Like… seriously?

Why?! Shaft Jr. actually goes way above the call of duty to solve the mysterious death of his friend. He could have just accepted the accidental overdose story, but he keeps digging and I guess that’s because he’s a Shaft and because he loved his friend (awww). The bad guy is a drug dealer. He likes to deal drugs. Because it makes him money.

Who?! Method Man shows up in a fairly minor part. The part’s more like something that would go to a character actor than a cameo for a musician-turned-actor. But I guess that’s what Method Man is at this point. He’s an actor getting regular work in TV and movies.

What?! It’s hard to say that all the techmology in the film is even product placement. The amount that Shaft Jr. uses his iPhone and Apple laptop is probably reflective of how much a person actually would be using it. And yet I don’t think it can be said enough just how much advertisement Apple gets from films like this where they just want a generic snazzy tech storyline to “update” an old classic for the new generation.

Where?! NYC all the way. That would have been the biggest slap in the face if the film opened and it’s revealed that Shaft has moved to Atlanta. Or like is vacationing there and is always like “I’m on my vacation!” whenever something bad happens. But no, still NYC thank god. A.

When?! The toxicology report for Shaft Jr.’s friend is dated 10/29 for when the sample was collected. So everything takes place around then, which makes sense given the attire that everyone is wearing. But it’s tough. Wouldn’t be surprised if that is contradicted elsewhere in the film. C+

I enjoyed the original Shaft and then surprisingly had a lot of fun watching the 1999 version with Samual L. (bolstered by a stellar cast). As a result my brain pretty much melted when I started watching this film. They turned what was a fun and funny action film into a modern comedy like Central Intelligence. The acting is dire. The script is dire. My outlook on life was dire. When Samuel L. finally showed up I was relieved. Unfortunately his character, while occasionally still fun, was often reduced to unpleasant jokes that made me feel bad (since they were the only remotely funny things in the film). He became the butt of the joke, but also not enough to totally write off the fact that you have an incredibly problematic character as your hero. It is tragic and I did not like it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I secretly love 1970s hard-boiled detective films. The other thing I like? Remakes/sequels to those 1970s films that make me regret liking the original film! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – A few months ago I went to Brighton Pride with a friend of my wife’s and it was very fun. People naturally know I love bad movies (because I tell them this constantly), and so this friend, who also likes bad movies, had a huge recommendation: Shaft (2019). He described it as Boomer Humor distilled. Which obviously made me excited. Also there was a ludicrous The Guardian review about precisely that. What was I expecting? I mean … that? Homophobia, out-of-touch, unpleasant humor that made me sad. That’s just about it.

The Good – I think if this was just Ride Along 3 and they didn’t feel the need to explain how a stereotype from the 70s could still exist in the modern world then the film would just be “meh”. The film looks good, and it wasn’t as unpleasant as I expected. That is actually the big shock. I fully expected to feel the same was as with Death Wish, and I didn’t. The film is silly, and they make it abundantly clear that Shaft is an asshole who pushes away everyone around him and can barely have a relationship with his adult son. So that’s a positive.

The Bad – This movie is terrible before Shaft plays a big part in it. The acting is awful. The storyline is tired. And the entire thing might as well be Ride Along 3, or CHIPS 2, or whatever. There is very little besides the presence of Samuel L. Jackson to even suggest it is a Shaft film. And then you can list off the fact that the film is indeed pretty stupid about generational conflict in general. It isn’t super unpleasant because Shaft Jr. might as well be saying “Ok, Boomer” whenever Shaft says yet another dumb thing, but it is still distressing that maybe people think such jokes could be construed as funny.

The BMT – I think this makes me ever more confident that watching movie series is a rather fun thing to do. Time consuming, but still fun. Otherwise, I guess I’ll throw this in with CHIPS as a kind of weird update to something from pre-90s that doesn’t really seem all that necessary. Did it meet my expectations? Weirdly I think The Guardian slightly overblew how terrible Shaft seems in the film. Sure it is immature how little he thinks of Millennials, but his Millennial son gives as good as he gets and it seems more like they are trying to straddle two different audiences (older audiences who liked the 70s Shaft, and younger audiences they are hoping to draw into the action/comedy bit).

Roast-radamus – You can make a decent argument for Setting as a Character (Where?) obviously for NYC. I also think the Apple advertisements in the film is just enough to sneak in consideration for Product Placement (What?). I wish there was a better MacGuffin or a hilarious Planchet to deal with. It’ll maybe get consideration for Live, but I bet there are five better 2019 films as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – Now that we are so close to December there has to be a few lists of bad movies to populate. The main credit I think comes from the eviscerating reviews that came out at the time. That Guardian piece went semi-viral, people are my workplace specifically mentioned it to me. Other than that it gets a shout out in some YouTube videos and the Looper piece which has mentioned most of the films we’ve been watching so far for the 2019 cycle.

You Just Got Schooled – There are a lot of Shaft to deal with. There are three original films, a film from 2000, and also a television show (which in reality was a series of television movies that ran in the 70s). For this specific film I decided to watch the original, the 2000 sequel, and save the other Shaft-canon for another time. I very much enjoyed the original, which indeed had the feel of The French Connection, and Roundtree is great. But I also agree with Ebert, the weakest part of the film is that at times Shaft seems to go out of his way to bait the white cops around him for no real reason. Apparently the other original films ends up shedding this specific characteristic of Roundtree’s character. The 2000 sequel is also pretty good. At times it is pretty silly and very 90s, with a particularly poor performance by Lee Tergesen (of Oz fame), but Samuel L Jackson is pitch perfect in the role, and Christian Bale ends up as an amusingly smarmy racist real estate heir. I liked both of those movies and no doubt will like the other films once I get around to them. B+ as far of BMT homework goes I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Shaft (2019) Quiz

Alright, last thing I remember I was macking the mack with all the sweet ladies down in NYC (ballllllllin’), and then I just knocked out by the shenanigans of my millenial (ugh!) son! I’m sure I have a concussion, can you help me remember what happened in Shaft (2019)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Back in the 80s Shaft went and had himself a beautiful baby boy, Shaft Jr. … and then they moved away and he basically never saw him again for 30 years. What event caused his girlfriend and son to move away?

2) Now that his son is all growed up he’s living in NYC as well. What is his son’s job? Bonus point if you can tell me where his son went to college as well.

3) But uh oh! Jr.’s bestest friend contacted him out of the blue and wants to reconnect, but before they can he died tragically. What is his friend’s job, and how did he die?

4) Through thorough and definitely not completely illegal and inappropriate investigations, Jr. and Shaft discover something nefarious going on with the local mosque and grocery store. What is the plot and why is this a huge problem for Jr.?

5) In the end, who was responsible for all of the events of the film, and why? Why did he hate the Shafts oh so much?!

Answers

Shaft (2019) Preview

Adam Banks, the producer of the latest Rich and Poe film, sits sweating as he watches Jamie and Patrick rant and rave around his office. Having already relented in allowing them to star in the film, he is shocked to hear that they now want to do their own stunts too. These stunts involve jumping between two helicopter cruise ships hovering over the blue waters of the French Riviera and Banks just isn’t sure he can insure it. He’s also not sure helicopter cruise ships exists. “Then invent one,” Jamie screams, “how much did our last film make?” He remarks with crossed arms waiting silently for a response. Banks mumbles the well known 2.3 billion dollar figure. “Then use is,” Jamie snidely remarks. There have been grumblings at the studio that this is some elaborate scheme set up by the auteurs to get out of there 20 film contract early, but Banks isn’t so sure. It seems to him that they have simply gone insane. Finally he relents and orders the helicopter cruise ships to be constructed. Once Jamie and Patrick are safely on the corporate jet back to the French Riviera he buzzes his secretary to set up a meeting ASAP. A few hours later Banks sits with a man dressed in dark glasses and a leather duster. “Rod, I need your help. I’ve got a delicate matter that needs some… discretion.” The man smiles, “Well Banks, you know that there’s only one thing I do better than discretion,” Banks nods and Rod finishes, “Sex is what I’m referring to.” And Banks nods again, “great well, really just discretion needed on this one.” At that they rise and shake hands. “You know, Rod, you really are one bad mother…” But Rod interrupts him “shut you’re fucking mouth.” That’s right! We are watching the 2019 entry in the Shaft saga that we were all scrambling for. Everywhere we went all we heard was “gee whiz I sure do hope we get a Shaft for a new generation.” Well we asked, they delivered in a neat BMT package. Gives us a chance to watch the original and the Samuel L. Jackson 2000 entry to get uptodate on the franchise, which is exciting. Let’s go!

Shaft (2019) – BMeTric: 19.6; Notability: 31

ShaftIMDb_BMeT

ShaftIMDb_RV

(Genuinely strange. Usually things go the other way. Usually fans of the film come in hot with above average ratings during the initial theatrical run, and then it drops afterwards. This time people seeing it in theaters seem to hate it, but then it has stood steady at a pretty above average 6.4. I don’t really know what to make of that. Probably just need to wait a little longer for things to clarify.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  This movie is “ruin your childhood” bad, right down to the hideous auto-tuned end credits song they chose to use instead of the original “Theme From Shaft.” I say this flick Shaft is a bad movie. Shut yo’ mouth.

(Somehow this review is a lot kinder than I imagined it would be. Most reviews can be boiled down to “Ok, Boomer”. Mainly because whole scenes are (apparently) devoted to women lusting over Shaft shooting a bunch of people and making fun of Millenials … so just ruining your childhood seems like a step up in that context.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD41XdWcmbY/

(Sigh. So I know someone who’s seen this and he describes it as Boomer Humor. Now, I don’t hold prejudices against any movie. I’m happy to watch any film no matter how far from the intended audience I am. As Shaft says, I’m an equal opportunity stare-in-stony-silence-at-not-funny-films … person. But so far that guy seems right, so this is going to be one long film. Sigh.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; Future BMT: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; BMT: Taxi; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Shaft; Notes: He kind of has an amazing career. Everything from small indie films, to giant comic book blockbusters, and now he’s attached to Tom & Jerry, Ride Along 3, and Monopoly in the next few years! I look forward to watching many Tim Story films for the next decade to come.)

Writers – Kenya Barris (written by) – (Known For: Girls Trip; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; BMT: Shaft; Notes: Childhood friend of Tyra Banks, he created the whole Black-ish series.)

Alex Barnow (written by) – (BMT: Shaft; Notes: A television writer almost exclusively. He wrote for a ton of shows including Family Guy and The Goldbergs.)

Ernest Tidyman (based upon the character John Shaft from the novel by) – (Known For: Shaft; The French Connection; High Plains Drifter; Shaft; Shaft in Africa; Shaft’s Big Score!; BMT: Shaft; Notes: I … did not realize it was a book series. He wrote seven Shaft novels between 1970 and 1975.)

Actors – Samuel L. Jackson – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Spider-Man: Far from Home; Pulp Fiction; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain Marvel; Goodfellas; Jurassic Park; Inglourious Basterds; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace; Django Unchained; Kong: Skull Island; The Hateful Eight; Coming to America; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Avengers Assemble; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Unbreakable; Future BMT: Cell; The Spirit; Freedomland; Kite; Barely Lethal; Meeting Evil; Oldboy; Reasonable Doubt; Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Home of the Brave; The Samaritan; No Good Deed; Sphere; Amos & Andrew; Cleaner; The Legend of Tarzan; Loaded Weapon 1; Zambezia; The Exterminator; The 51st State; Rules of Engagement; Johnny Suede; Basic; Strictly Business; Glass; Country of My Skull; One Eight Seven; Life Itself; Gospel Hill; BMT: xXx²: The Next Level; Twisted; Jumper; Shaft; Notes: Still going strong at 70. He’s only a little younger than Richard Roundtree who plays his father in the film. He’s starring in a film called The Banker this year as well which will get a limited theatrical release in December.)

Jessie T. Usher – (Known For: Almost Christmas; Beautiful Boy; Future BMT: InAPPropriate Comedy; When the Game Stands Tall; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Shaft; Notes: Kind of came up with guest spots in television, and then broke out with Independence Day: Resurgence. Also starred in the critically acclaimed The Boys television show this year.)

Richard Roundtree – (Known For: Seven; What Men Want; Brick; George of the Jungle; Shaft; Speed Racer; Shaft; Maniac Cop; Q; Shaft in Africa; Original Gangstas; Shaft’s Big Score!; Man Friday; Once Upon a Time… When We Were Colored; Future BMT: Boat Trip; Corky Romano; City Heat; Earthquake; Antitrust; Inchon; BMT: Steel; Theodore Rex; Shaft; Notes: There was a Shaft television “show” from 1973-1974 as well which he starred in. In actuality they were seven television movies, which is rather intriguing.)

Budget/Gross – $30–35 million / Domestic: $21,360,215 (Worldwide: $21,360,215)

(That isn’t good. But it released internationally on Netflix which was probably worth a few million … I don’t know, I’m not in the business. I guess I’m saying this probably lost money, but just not that much.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (38/119): Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting — or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.

(“Uncomfortably outdated”. That right there is 100% the reason we are watching this film. I am very intrigued by the reactions people have had to this film, it is all over the place. Reviewer Highlight: Ultimately, the only truly retro thing about this weirdly reactionary potboiler is its politics. – Keith Watson, Slate Magazine)

Poster – One Bad Mothersklogger (B)

shaft

(I like how artistic it is down the font and coloring. A little weird that they are apparently introducing a new generation of shaft but he’s pushed all the way off to the side. I also deduct it some points for an inordinate amount of whitespace. Looks odd.)

Tagline(s) – More Shaft than you can handle. (B+)

(I do appreciate a dick joke, particularly when used to advertise a multimillion dollar product. Really elevating the medium of dick jokes. Otherwise it is fine… better than average.)

Keyword – surname as title

Shaft_surname as title

Top 10: Hook (1991), Shaft (2019), Tolkien (2019), Constantine (2005), Snowden (2016), Lincoln (2012), Rambo (2008), Winchester (2018), Zoolander (2001), Salt (2010);

 Future BMT: 47.2 Winchester (2018), 34.1 Sgt. Bilko (1996), 22.6 Youngblood (1986), 14.7 Hook (1991); 

BMT: Shaft (2019), Rambo (2008), Gigli (2003), Jobs (2013)

(Nothing super big pops out in the graph, but the keyword kind of tickled me. I did it for Rambo as well, but not with the new expanded keywords section. Shocking that there are only eight examples. You can’t even make a cycle yet, but you are actually shockingly close if the Transitions and Chain Reaction films lined up.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Samuel L. Jackson is No. 1 billed in Shaft and No. 3 billed in Jumper, which also stars Michael Rooker (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 4 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 13. If we were to watch Amos & Andrew we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – There is only a 6 year age difference between Richard Roundtree (Shaft I) and Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft II). This is humorously acknowledged in the film when Roundtree rhetorically asks, “How come you look 20 years older than my gray ass?”

This film will be released on Netflix streaming services internationally.

In Shaft (2000), Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft I was referred to as John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson)’s uncle. In the 2019 movie, John Shaft I is John Shaft II’s father.

At one point in the film Samuel L. Jackson tells his son that he got a real Super Bowl ring from L.T., referring to former NFL player Lawrence Taylor. This is also likely a reference to the previous Shaft (2000) in which Taylor appeared, although he was not playing himself but an actual character in the film.

At the time of the film’s release the main three actors ages are as follows: Roundtree 76, Jackson 70, and Usher 27.

In 2019, as the trailer made clear, all three generations of the family members named John Shaft exist in the Warner Bros-New Line Cinema-Netflix sequel confusingly also entitled “Shaft”. Further to add confusion, with three lead characters sharing the same name, from the original MGM version, the family tree relationships are broken down as; Richard Rountree as (uncle/great-uncle) John Shaft, Samuel L Jackson as (nephew/father) John Shaft (Senior/II from RR version), and Usher as (great-nephew/son) John Shaft (Junior/II from SLJ version/III from RR version).

Black Dog Recap

Jamie

Jack Crews, truck driver extraordinaire, is fresh out of jail and trying to make ends meet. When he is offered an illegal smuggling job he wants to say no, but needs the money for his family. The job immediately goes awry as everyone from criminals to the police are after him. Can he stop the bad guys (and not go back to jail) before it’s too late? Find out in… Black Dog.

How?! Act I: Jack Crews is a man just trying to do right by his family. He was the best (the best!) truck driver around, but fell asleep at the wheel and went to jail for manslaughter. Now he just wants to make sure his family is fed, has a roof over their heads, and gets all the basketball shoes and free throw practice they need. Aw shucks. In a wild coincidence he is offered a $10,000 illegal smuggling job the same day that he learns that he owes $9,000 on his mortgage. How about that! So while he wants to say no, the pressure from his smarmy boss and debt force him into the criminal lifestyle. Oh, woe is the American justice system! Look upon ye institution that has failed such an honest family man in Jack Crews. Look at his chiselled chin! Oh, what a chin!… Act II: He totes goes and takes over the big rig like the boss that he is. Even when the bad guys attempt to set him up as a patsy and steal the goods back from under him, Crews is like “no way, Jose,” and outdrives them (duh). From there we learn that not only is one of the crew a rat, but another of the crew is an undercover cop! Oh boy, Jack Crews may as well drive right back to jail, right? Wrong! Act III: That’s because he sets up the big bad guys (who have kidnapped his wife and kid) to be caught by the police. Happy and laughing he totally hugs his kid and smooches on his wife and they all climb right into the truck for a little joy ride over to the impound lot (lol, what?). But, uh oh! Another bad guy is ready for one last intense chase culminating in a giant explosion and more smooches for Crews (naturally). THE END. Big question: is this the quintessential film about the pressure on parolees towards recidivism due to lack of adequate reentry programs?… name me a better one. 

Why?! Right in line with the big question, the motivation for Jack Crews is obvious. He is on parole for a felony manslaughter conviction. He needs a job to provide for his family, but the only person who will hire him is a smarmy criminal who is looking to exploit Jack’s lack of opportunity to use him for his nefarious deeds. Feeling like he has no way out, Jack takes the job. The criminals want that sweet, sweet money and they need Jack to take the fall in order to obtain it.

Who?! Randy Travis has a major role in the film, which is quite the coincidence seeing as he is also in next week’s Friend, T.N.T…. which also stars the star of Driving Force, Sam J. Jones. Additionally, Meat Loaf also has a prominent role in the film… but I thought he was less good than Randy Travis to be honest. There are also some great Special Thanks on this film, but definitely wanted to point out that the UNC burn center got a thanks as a result of an on-set accident that led to the firing of a few of the crew members. 

What?! “Well I better make sure to find a good product placement in Black Dog starring Patrick Swayze because god knows there won’t be any props for sale,” says Jamie as he checks the internet, “What thuuuu….” That’s right, you too can look just like Patrick Swayze… wearing a flannel shirt (probably while being told that he needs to commit crimes to make ends meet). In terms of actual product placements though, I only noticed a number of Ford motor vehicles.

Where?! Road Trip Alert! The beginning and end of the film take place clearly in New Jersey and the trip starts in Georgia. So I would put those at the top of the list of settings. But Tennessee is in there along with North Carolina. Obviously there are others, but would have to watch a bit closer to get his exact route clear. B

When?! Uh, basketball season? Seriously, though, you can put the pieces together on this one. Swayze’s file says he applied for a job at where he works in October 1998. In the beginning of the film his boss says he’s been working there for three weeks. I would put this in the beginning of November. Even the beautiful fall foliage matches this window. C.

Up until the end of the film, it was pretty ho hum. I liked the big stunts and explosions. Swayze’s background and motivations were tragic and made me sad, but I guess that’s a good thing since it made me feel an emotion (?)… although I don’t typically look for sadness in my action films. But otherwise the script was pretty tough, hinging on a hilarious coincidence where Jack gets his job offer the very day that he stumbles upon the foreclosure notice his wife has hidden from him. How fortunate for our narrative momentum. That should have been a hint for what the end of the film would bring because once the bad guys are dispatched our hero (?) is informed that he is not in fact going to jail at all! The police all recognize his innocence despite the many bodies Jack has left in his wake while driving a big rig across the United States without a license. No worries about that, they’ll help him get that license back. Also don’t worry about your house, they’re paying for it. Great! Also, does Jack and his family want to bip and bop about in the truck (a crime scene) for a bit before delivering it to the impound lot? Of course they do. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. As for Driving Force, it was exactly as billed: a Mad Max ripoff. I thought the story was pretty good despite that, as was Don Swayze. My biggest problem was actually a weird throughline that despite living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape the main character refuses help from the many wealthy individuals in his life in order to work as a tow truck driver/murderer to support his daughter… like what’s wrong with getting a safe job in your girlfriend’s corporation that she owns and runs? But no, he needs to earn a living like a man… that’s pretty dumb, bro. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Here I was thinking I was going to watch an action packed Swayze smash ‘em up, and instead we got a PSA about driving while tired. Well, I know I’m not going to drive while drowsy, lest I end up like Jack Crews. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know what to expect with this one. It is a movie I never heard of, with a clearly over-the-hill Patrick Swayze way past his 80s action prime, involving things I’m not sure I care about, namely big rigs. But hey, it is always fun to learn new things right? What were my expectations? Let’s get some sweet Swayze action, some things about fambly, and big rig action and call it a day. What more could I really expect?

The Good – The big rig action was actually a lot better than I expected. A bit slow moving, and a better movie would have adjusted the speed a bit instead of trying to provide realistic explanations about how big rigs are actually really hard to stop and dangerous, even when you think you’re under control (rainbow, piano ditty, The More You Know). The acting is … fine actually. I was fine with it, along with the ragtag group of heroes Swayze kind of accidentally accrues around him.

The Bad – The FBI story with Tobolowski is nonsense. I could have done without so much Meatloaf. I get it, he wants to jack the load and get away with the loot, but he keeps on coming back like the Terminator. He owns a transportation company, he isn’t a super human, it was weird. Swayze looks oooooooold in this film. It is pretty surprising considering he was only like 46 at the time, but it makes the film feel like a Seagal film, a last gasp of an era where a producer could just shout “Swayze, big rigs” and get a movie made. The end is terrible and basically kills the rest of the film. Spoiler, but the FBI absolves our ex-con from any legal repercussions, pays for his house, and get his trucker license back in one fail swoop, and then asks Swayze to drive the load to the impound himself with no escort … like WHAT?

The BMT – I don’t think so. If this was what BMT was every week I think we would have quit doing it years ago. I’m not joking. It is kind of a novelty I’ll give it that, but there just isn’t much meat on that bad movie bone. It’s a movie that kind of sucks, the end. Did it meet my expectations – As minimal as they were yes it did. I got to see old Swayze drive some big rigs with a heavy dose of him talking about his family. Doesn’t mean I enjoyed it, nor that it was that bad, this time I kind of knew what we were getting ourselves into prior to watching the film.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong case for Brian Vincent’s Wes being a Planchet (Who?) because his sole purpose in the film seems to be to be a slob and to be ripped on by everyone else. Unless your daughter’s basketball game is a holiday it doesn’t get that. I could believe that the cache of guns that Swayze is running is a MacGuffin (Why?), but in the end that is probably all you can make a strong case for. It really isn’t a bad, good, or BMT in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – I really can’t find anything with this on it. Not for 1998 or even for Swayze rankings (which mostly don’t count as they just use the Rotten Tomatoes score). I would say this would likely make a top five worst Swayze film. I think it is a top 5 worst Trucking film. And I think this could mix it up on some lists for the last film a major film star made prior to making a bunch of straight-to-video films as well. It has a pedigree of some sort, just not one you’ll find listed online.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For this Sibling Rivalry we had to look for a classic Don Swayze film. And Driving Force … well, it’s a Don Swayze film. Set in a dystopian future it really reminded me of a knock off Mad Max. A future where the bad guys rule, and the good guys can only take so much before they lash out at those that tried to take their loved ones. It is definitely the kind of film someone would be like “oh, Don Swayze, there is no way this isn’t entertaining!” And then you’d watch it and be like “Yeah … that was garbage, why did I watch that?” Also supremely weird because Flash Gordon himself is the lead actor and he is not good at acting. Grindy grungy film which could be entertaining if you’re into that style. I am not. C.

Originally I was going to watch Flash Gordon, but I straight up ran out of time. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Black Dog Quiz

Man I must have fallen asleep at the wheel there. One minute I was watching this movie, the next I remember a big black dog come out of nowhere and attack me! I can’t remember a thing. Can you remember what happened in the movie Black Dog?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Jack Crews is a fambly man with a heart of gold. One problem, he’s also an ex-con without a license to do the one thing he knows in all this damned world: drive. So what exactly is Jack doing to make ends meet?

2) But before Jack can retire for good he’s got “one last job”. What is the job precisely?

3) And when he gets down to the job Crews meets the crew who’s going to help him cruise up to New Jersey. How many people are in the crew, what are their jobs, and what are each of their deep dark secrets?

4) When the job gets a bit bigger than Jack expected you might think he’d maybe slow walk it back home. One problem: he promised his girl he was going to be back in time for what? So he’s kind of stuck between a rock, and a crazy-Meatloaf place.

5) Finally, Jack gets to loot, saves the girl, smashes some baddies, and shows off a bit of dat bod to boot. What does he get in return from the very grateful FBI?

Answers

Black Dog Preview

Patrick sits nervously on his couch. “Can I get you officers anything,” he asks politely to Detectives Lost and Found. ‘Thank you, no,” says Found, “we just wanted to ask you a few more questions about the missing dog we’re looking for.” Patrick is all ears, but Lost appears agitated and butts in. “Where’s the other one of you two? Aren’t you two supposed to be crafting some new work of genius?” he asked aggressively, looking suspiciously around the apartment. “Uh… no… well, yes. But he left. He’s a real dumbo anyway, you wouldn’t want to talk to him,” Patrick responds glumly. “That’s too bad,” says Found, just as he whacks Patrick over the head with an elaborate candlestick. Rolling him up in a very expensive and classy Persian rug they sneak Patrick out of the apartment. “Too bad we couldn’t get both. Hope our… friend… holds up his end of the bargain,” Lost wheezes as they toss Patrick’s limp body into the back of a tractor trailer. That’s right! We’re heading on a cross-country, action-filled trip with Patrick Swayze a.k.a. The Swayze. I’ve actually had my eye on this one for a while since it was the last major release of Swayze’s career and seems to me like it’s been largely forgotten. Let’s go!

Jamie brushes the dust out his eyes as he squints at the dark figure approaching through the wasteland. At first glance he looks like a famous actor, but on closer inspection he is not… not at all. He doesn’t like the look of this at all, but just when he turns to hide he’s surrounded by a group of marauding mailmen.  “Not these guys again,” Jamie thinks, remembering how he and Patrick barely escaped them with their lives the last time they were in the waste… but Patrick’s not here now. Just when the mailmen approach to pummel Jamie, though, the dark figure appears at his side. That’s right! We’re buckling up for a high-octane thrill ride with Driving Force starring none other than *squits* Sam J. Jones… is that right? Also appearing in the film is Don Swayze. He of course plays the bad guy because… well, he kinda just looks like a bad guy. We chose it because I couldn’t believe that Don Swayze also had a truck driving movie. Let’s go! 

Black Dog (1998) – BMeTric: 36.8 

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(I’m a bit stunned by how many votes this has. I’ve never heard of this film, according to the rating it is considered quite bad by people who’ve watched it … and yet it has nearly eight thousand IMDb votes. Must be some sort of swayze effect.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  An ex-con trucker with a suspended license makes one last run to avoid foreclosure, and his rig turns out to be full of concealed assault weapons that his corrupt boss is planning to sell. There’s no dirty dancing for Swayze here but lots of dirty driving. Heavier on crashes than coherency.

(Did Leonard miss a comma before the last “but”? … nevermind. This review sounds suspiciously like “meh” which is … foreboding.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5FHxF0KqdA/

(Come to papa! This looks old school. They really don’t make theatrical films like this these days. As a matter of fact, that’s a fact. Seagal, Swayze, and Van Damme would all be relegated to straight-to-DVD by 2000 because these films just didn’t fly as “action” films anymore.)

Directors – Kevin Hooks – (Future BMT: Fled; Passenger 57; Strictly Business; BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Was an actor, particularly in The White Shadow, but now he only directs and produces. His father was also an actor, specifically in Star Trek III.)

Writers – William Mickelberry (written by) – (BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Directed the show Super Force, which sounds super rad. An astronaut in the future comes back to Earth and becomes a vigilante after learning his brother was murdered.)

Dan Vining (written by) – (BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Exclusively wrote TV Movies right up until this film … which was his last credit on IMDb.)

Actors – Patrick Swayze – (Known For: The Outsiders; Dirty Dancing; Point Break; Donnie Darko; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Ghost; Red Dawn; The Player; Next of Kin; 11:14; Uncommon Valor; City of Joy; Keeping Mum; Tall Tale; Green Dragon; Future BMT:Waking Up in Reno; Father Hood; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Christmas in Wonderland; Youngblood; Powder Blue; Three Wishes; BMT: Black Dog; Road House; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1990 for Next of Kin, and Road House; Notes: The Sexiest Man Alive in 1991, died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.)

Randy Travis – (Known For: The Rainmaker; Future BMT: National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Frank & Jesse; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Fire Down Below; Black Dog; Texas Rangers; Notes: A world famous country singer, he has won six Grammys. He had a stroke in 2013 which has permanently left him unable to fully perform.)

Meat Loaf – (Known For: Fight Club; The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Wayne’s World; Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny; The Salton Sea; The Mighty; Leap of Faith; Beautiful Boy; Motorama; Focus; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Stage Fright; The 51st State; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Crazy in Alabama; The Squeeze; Roadie; BMT: Spice World; Black Dog; Notes: A true singer-actor. He’s been part of a number of bands, but throughout he’s also performed theatrically and in film. Specifically he got his start performing in a travelling production of Hair.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $12,951,088

(Yeah a bit unclear, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a fine success. Clearly this is well after Swayze’s peak as a film star, and the stunts / sets seem like they could have been done reasonably on the cheap.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (2/20)

(Let’s get a consensus. If you like trucks, red meat, and country music? Well we made a terrible film that we hope you’ll spend money on. I do appreciate that almost all of the reviews note that this is basically an exploitation film. Exploiting trucks, and exploiting the audience who they think are demanding to spend money on films about them. Reviewer Highlight: Forget the Mortal Kombat movies–this trucksploitation flick is the closest the movies has come to video games. – Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com)

Poster – Black Sklog (C-)

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(While I 100% want to frame this and hang it in my home, I also think it’s absolutely crazy. Is the entire poster a dutch angle? Is the poster half fire? Why is there a tiny helicopter next to Swayze’s godlike face? So many unanswered questions and terrible font to boot. I won’t put it all the way in the trash because I also think it’s what I want out of a poster. Some love and care.)

Tagline(s) – The only way to stay alive is to keep moving. (D+)

(This is also the tagline for Shark: The Movie. This is the classic type of tagline that sounds like a tagline but then seems to peter out. Like you could imagine a film with the tagline “The only way to stay alive is to die” and it creates the unexpected twist. This just… doesn’t. It’s actually pretty bad when you think hard about it.)

Keyword(s) – betrayal by a friend; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.1 Bodyguard (2011); 53.6 View from the Top (2003); 47.4 Little Black Book (2004); 40.8 The Alphabet Killer (2008); 37.9 Chasers (1994); 36.8 Black Dog (1998); 34.1 The Keeper (I) (2009); 34.0 Another 48 Hrs. (1990); 33.1 Broken Arrow (1996); 33.1 Drive Me Crazy (1999);

(I am shocked that betrayal by a friend isn’t more common … but maybe people don’t bother to add it to a bunch of films? Anyways, it is a bit unfortunate that the one I’m most interested in is Broken Arrow and it doesn’t qualify.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Patrick Swayze is No. 1 billed in Black Dog and No. 1 billed in Road House, which also stars Sam Elliott (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 5 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Father Hood, The Rich Man’s Wife, and Killer Elite we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – On January 6, 1998, three Special Effects crew members were injured, preparing a gas-based explosion in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. Two of the crew were hospitalized with serious injuries, and the third was treated and released. Improper safety measures that went against industry standards, allowed for a premature explosion as the crew was setting up the shot. The battery used to trigger the explosion was stored inside a truck engine compartment, rather than in the open. The battery was not disconnected when a cable touched the electrical contacts, causing detonation. Black Dog Productions was fined sixteen thousand eight hundred dollars by the state. These scenes that were filmed in downtown Wilmington, were not used in the final release. (This was definitely the opening scene. They were definitely in Wilmington, NC for that film and it makes sense that they wanted to have the truck his a big gas station or something … although they do end up blowing that truck up).

Patrick Swayze went through a real truck driving school to earn his Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license). (Awesome)

The bridge where the F.B.I. pull the truck over, is the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, one of the few “center span” drawbridges left in the U.S. The bridge opens by the entire center section being lifted straight up in the air between the two towers.

Kevin Sorbo was originally signed to star, but had to pull out due to medical problems. (Wow, what a miss there)

The “F.B.I. Headquarters” shown in the film, is actually the Georgia-Pacific building in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Vic Armstrong, the stunt crew, including Second Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator Gary Hymes, were fired from the film by the producers. They then called in Vic Armstrong, to film the truck chase, and finish the stunt scenes. Parts of the stunt crew remained on the set, and was rehired by Armstrong.

When Jack talks to his wife he mentions moving out of Newark. However, when you look at the cars and trucks there are no front license plates. (Okay? That’s standard. Everything in the movie points to them living just outside of Newark, it is on his job sheet when he gets extorted by his boss in the beginning)

Gone in 60 Seconds Recap

Jamie

Memphis Raines was out of the game until he’s pulled back in for one last heist in order to save his little bro from a ruthless criminal. Faced with the seemingly impossible task of stealing 50 cars in one night Raines is undaunted because he’s just that good. Can he overcome the curse of Eleanor and save his bro before it’s too late? Find out in… Gone in Sixty Seconds.

How?! In a wholly original concept we are introduced to Memphis Raines, the best car thief history who is out of the game after watching too many of his friends go to jail or get killed. Unfortunately he’s about to be pulled right back into the game when he learns that his little bro is on the hook for a botched job and will be killed by ruthless furniture maker Raymond Calitri… he makes furniture… and boy is he angry about it. Anyway, Memphis gets the gang back together, including some young hotshot additions thanks to his bro, and start to scope out all fifty (!) of the cars he’ll have to steal in one night. Unfortunately Memphis is also super well known to the cops given that he’s the best car thief in history and they are also tagging along ready to nab him when he takes a wrong step. But this is Memphis Raines, best car thief in history, he don’t take wrong steps. On the night of the heist, things are going swimmingly: they are stealing cars and looking dope doing it. But when they attempt to steal a few “unstealable” cars tagged by the police Memphis’ Memphis-sense gets a-tinglin’ and he’s like “No way,” and basically they go and totally steal the cars from the police impound instead (take that, 5-0!). By the end of the night they start to hit some bumps in the road and one of his little bros’ best buds gets shot, so it’s all up to Memphis, the best car thief in history, to grab the last car dubbed Eleanor. He goes out and totes steals it, but the fuzz are all over him. He leads them on a giant chase and is basically the man and only survives by the skin of his teeth by jumping a million feet over an accident on a bridge. He arrives mere minutes late so Calitri, being ruthless, is ready to kill him, but his little bro comes to the rescue. In a climactic fight set in Calitri’s furniture warehouse/factory/office, Memphis and the police join forces to kill Calitri and then laugh about it. THE END.

Why?! Family, duh. Ever heard of it? Memphis was out of the game, man. He was the best, but he was out of the game. He wasn’t gonna come back, but gets pulled back in to save his little bro. As for the bad guy, he seems to have so little motivation it’s comical. He just kills willy-nilly and cares mostly for the beauty of wood and the craftsmanship of solid furniture.

Who?! Master P went uncredited as Johnnie B. in the film, the gangster angry that Memphis has returned to his turf. Interesting that he ended up uncredited in the role given that he has a number of lines and I mean, I wouldn’t think he would be embarrassed by the film or anything. Maybe his part was supposed to be bigger and he got mad about it? Or maybe it was always supposed to be an unbilled cameo. Hard to say with these things.

What?! For some reason in my head it’s way more common for a film to have the main characters quenching their thirst with the unequaled refreshment of a delicious Coca-Cola. But here our main characters are apparently a bunch of bozos as they can’t get enough Pepsi… gross.

Where?! Nic Cage is the king of Long Beach and he ain’t afraid to remind you. It’s LA all day, bro. But don’t worry about our boy Nic showing up in his old stomping ground, Det. Delroy Lindo, he just came in to catch a Lakers game *electric guitar*.

When?! I believe in my heart of hearts that you can get an exact date on this film. It’s just that my DVD copy I got was of such low quality that it actually hindered my efforts. My gut is telling me that it’s August. It feels like August… in the citaaay. F

I’m going to have to be honest here and it’s painful to say: this film is terrible. I really thought it was super dumb and bad and had so many characters and things going on that it all became a jumbled mess. There are only two good things about this film: 1. The music is actually really banging and sounds like Nic Cage is saving the Earth from an asteroid when he’s just stealing a bunch of cars. 2. Nic Cage. That’s it. It’s actually amusing that Angelina Jolie is so prominently featured in the advertising of the film because her part is miniscule and really poorly developed. But still better developed than almost everyone else. One problem for me I think is that I watched the original before this one and while that film is super low budget, poorly acted, and poorly written, the final 40-minute chase is way way better than any of the car action in this film. So that certainly didn’t help. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Gonna get them cars bro! And we’re going to look sweaty and dirty and gross while doing it. It’s about the fambly, bro. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This is Nic Cage all day every day. I’ve seen the film before, it is just ludicrous from top to bottom. But it is vintage Cage, so any revisit is well worth the price of admission. I remember … mostly just that they have fake fingerprints at one point. And they have to hack some ultra-sophisticated anti-theft device. Otherwise, I’ll go in as a clean slate (kind of, since I’ve seen the film at least three times). My expectations for the film: I needed one of two things to happen, either Nic Cage needed to be acting b-b-b-b-bonkers, or the film needed to have wall-to-wall absurd car “hacking” nonsense. I just didn’t want to be exhausted with the premise 30 minutes into the film.

The Good – The film is actually very well paced. It quickly gets into the action, Nic Cage assembles an interesting team, and we get to stealing some cars. This film is The Fast and the Furious before The Fast and the Furious. Legit, the second film would have seen Patton get killed during a job and Nic Cage seeks revenge, the third they get recruited by the detective to perform a sting, and from the fourth onward they are international spies. We’ll forget about Gone in 62 Seconds: Bangkok Hijinx. Nic Cage is right on the correct side of insane for me, I thought he was great in this film.

The Bad – The crew is so big. It is maybe four people too large. It is unclear what the point of several of them are, and you don’t really see most of them actually stealing cars. Speaking of which there really is too little in the way of interesting car stealing. Where’s the hacking and other magic nonsense they could have invented? There is a really dumb superfluous story about a rival gang, they don’t give Jolie or Duvall enough to do, and the detective story hinges on the police being genuinely dumb. The movie is not good … so why do I like it so much?

The BMT – Hmmmmm. I like the film. I think if someone wants to watch a really really dumb film starring Nic Cage, this is a pretty good choice. It isn’t a good movie like National Treasure, The Rock, and Con Air, but this is pretty close if you don’t mind it being aggressively dumb. So would I recommend it as a bad movie? No, but I would watch it again in a heartbeat. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but just barely. Nic Cage was just b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers enough to get me to where I needed to be.

Roast-radamus – You know, this film could have really used a Planchet. It did have a great Product Placement (What?) with Patton in particular grabbing an ice cold Pepsi when talking with Nic Cage. You can definitely say this is a Setting as a Character (Where?) for California and Long Beach in particular. Is Elanor, the Shelby Mustang, a MacGuffin? … I don’t think so, it isn’t the thing they are going after, they are stealing 50 cars to save Kip’s life. And I could believe this gets a nod for Good in the end, just because that category is usually pretty sparse.

StreetCreditReport.com – Nice, we finally got one that actually made a top ten Worst Of list, this time for Rolling Stone. Also it made a more specific worst car films ever list. And in general the film has a multitude of fun articles online, from people arguing about how they actually like the film, to more specific takedowns involving minutiae of the film. A truly divisive film. BTW, the first thing there, “why steal Elanor in broad daylight?”, was my number one pet peeve in the film. The car is incredibly conspicuous and the police are spotting it from miles away whenever Cage made an escape.

You Just Got Schooled – And guess what? This is a remake. The original is something of a cult classic. The 1974 film was directed, written, financed, starred, stunt coordinated, etc. etc. by  H.B. “Toby” Halicki whose own cars (including both cars used as all four Eleanors seen in the film) were also used in the film. Notable for its 40 minute chase finale, the film itself is actually a lot more fun that you’d think, and it makes a lot of sense that it is a cult hit among car aficionados. Cheap looking, poorly acted, and poorly written, Halicki would eventually aim to remake the film himself in 1984 with more money, but he sadly died during a stunt before the film could get finished. The premise of the original is actually a lot more solid than the remake, but I can see why the destructive and truly criminal nature of Halicki’s character was thrown out in favor of a redemption story. Still, fun to see what a true independent film of the 70s looked like. Kind of amazing what he was able to do it totally out of the studio system at the time. D remake, the new one just didn’t have the same heart or love of cars to serve as a proper remake of the original.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs