The Last Witch Hunter Preview

Alright, well this week we have a very special interlude in our Razzie cycle. While normally we would be watching something that came out earlier in the year in one of our genres, this week we are watching an IN-THEATERS BMT SPECIAL!!!! That’s right, every once in a while a movie comes out that is just too crazy/beautiful to resist. The last one we were so fortunate to catch was Hitman: Agent 47, this time it’s a little Vin Diesel doozy that we’ve been waiting for with great anticipation. It’s finally here! The Last Witch Hunter! And just in time for Halloween! I love it. I can’t remember a film I would have been more disappointed to find that it didn’t end up qualifying for BMT. But it did. And it’s here. Hooorrraaayyyy! Let’s go!

The Last Witch Hunter (2015) – BMeTric: 25.0 (February 24, 2016)

LastWitchHunter_BMeT

(Ooooooo pretty stuff. Obviously generated after the fact, this is a very nice plot. First, you can seem to make out different release dates in the initial fast increase, but you can definitely see the VOD/DVD release near the end of January beginning of February. Beautiful stuff. A BMeTric of 25 feels right, right there on the cusp of being a BMT shoe in.)

RogerEbert.com – 3 stars – Many films try and fail to pull off the kind of densely over-plotted action-fantasy that director Breck Eisner (“The Crazies,” “Sahara“) nails in “The Last Witch Hunter.” The secrets to Eisner’s success are confidence and patience, both of which compensate for the film’s script whenever it becomes embarrassingly thin (especially during its rushed finale).

(I’m glad to know that a densely-plotted film with a (paradoxically) embarrassingly thin script can still make it in this world. It does kind of hit an idea that Patrick and I have stood by since the beginning of BMT, though: plot is just plot is just plot. As long as the film looks good, is acted well, and the script is well written then pretty much anything can be forgiven about how ridiculous the plot of a film is. So maybe we’ll like this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsuG2JUgs_8

(“Do you know what I’m afraid of?… nothing” Just perfectly sums up how much garbage this looks to me. Just bad writing that somehow Vinny D has to try and sell. The entire plot is so trite and overplayed. Haven’t we seen this is Blade? Underworld? I, Frankenstein? Men in Black? Even Juptier Ascending, which we just watched! Maybe we won’t like this after all.)

Director(s) – Breck Eisner – (Known For: The Crazies. BMT: Sahara; The Last Witch Hunter. Notes: He’s the son of Michael Eisner, the much criticized Disney executive who kinda fucked up the company in the late mid-late 90s. Wow.)

Writer(s) – Cory Goodman (written by) – (BMT: The Last Witch Hunter; Priest. Notes: Apparently co-wrote Apollo 18 but didn’t get credit for it… or didn’t want credit for it.)

Matt Sazama (written by) – (BMT: Dracula Untold; The Last Witch Hunter; Notes: Writing partners with Burk Sharpless. I like that this exists. Also says that plot data is not available without IMDBPro, except they don’t block the IMDBPro from google bots. Dumbos. It’s apparently ‘Described as a futuristic “Jungle Book.”‘ Hahahahahaha.)

Burk Sharpless (written by) – (Known For: ; BMT: Dracula Untold; The Last Witch Hunter; Notes: Son of John Sharpless a history professor at U of Wisconsin. Fun.)

(Murderers row right there).

Actors – Vin Diesel – (Known For: Pitch Black; The Fast and the Furious; Riddick; Saving Private Ryan; The Iron Giant; Guardians of the Galaxy; Find Me Guilty; Boiler Room; XxX; Furious 7; Fast Five; Fast & Furious 6. BMT: Fast & Furious; The Chronicles of Riddick; Babylon A.D.; The Pacifier; A Man Apart; Knockaround Guys; The Last Witch Hunter. Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). Bullshit. Actually discovered as a writer-director. Willing to bet he’ll return to that role as some point.)

Also stars Michael Caine, Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie

Budget/Gross: $70 million / $19 million ($57 million) – (Editor’s Note: Ultimately $27 million / $140 million worldwide)

(Hard to say where this will land. Hasn’t been out too long, but did terribly opening weekend. Ended up as the 54th worst opening by a supersaturated film (3000+ theaters). Just ahead of… wait for it… Abduction staring Taylor Lautner. The company you keep. Editor’s Note: The $27 million domestic is bad, but if you squint then doubling the budget overall might be construed as a modest …. push. But probably not, no incentive to make a sequel at least.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 14% (11/74), Critics Consensus: Grim, plodding, and an overall ill fit for Vin Diesel’s particular charms, The Last Witch Hunter will bore and/or confuse all but the least demanding action-fantasy fans.

(I think Patrick and I are becoming experts at decrypting even the most boring and/or confusing films that Hollywood has to offer. After watching Jupiter Ascending nothing can phase me. This will probably be as clear as a mountain lake in comparison.)

Poster – The Cheap Witch Hunter (C+)

last_witch_hunter_ver10

(Even though I think the poster is too dark, at least it’s consistent. Don’t like the car headlights. Too bright. Looks a little cheap too. Otherwise hits the right marks. Symmetry. Simplicity. Editor’s Note: I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is a terrible poster.)

Tagline(s) – Live forever. Hunt forever. (B)

(I can only give it so much positive. I like the symmetry. I like the brevity. It just doesn’t do it for me in terms of providing insight into the film. Not clever enough either. Just good.)

Notes – The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year. (Take this with a grain of salt. A lot of stuff ends up on the blacklist. Case in point? The Last Witch Hunter earned seven votes from executives contributing to the list. Another film that earned seven votes? The aforementioned Abduction).

Vin Diesel had been a Dungeons and Dragons player for many years. The main character in this movie was partly based on his old D&D character (Melkor) who was a Witch Hunter. He used one of the 3rd party D&D books to create the character class as he loved being a Ranger type but also like to use a few spells too. (N-n-n-n-n-n-erd alert. Get out of here nerd with your nerd books).

Plans to film The Last Witch Hunter (2015) were announced in 2012 and initially Timur Bekmambetov was to direct the film based on a script written by Cory Goodman. Bekmambetov was later replaced by Breck Eisner and Goodman’s script was re-written by Dante Harper before Melisa Wallack was brought on work on the film’s script. (Neither of those writers ended up with a credit on the film).

Hitman: Agent 47 Recap

Jamie

Through our time doing BMT, Patrick and I have done several in-theater BMT’s. They have ranged from packed-houses (Grown Ups 2) to empty theaters (Pompeii). From the crowd loving it (us not included) to a number of people walking out. Through all that, I’m not sure I’ve quite experienced something like Hitman: Agent 47. In most every movie, no matter the genre, there are generally jokes. Sometimes the theater laughs uproariously, sometime they don’t, but almost always people laugh (cause they’re jokes and characters are saying them). Hitman: Agent 47’s script was so bad (and continued to get worse throughout the film) that the number of jokes increased to unbelievable levels. And yet, nothing was funny. Nothing was a real joke. And no one laughed. Still the characters continued to say phrases that sounded like jokes (but I assure you, they were not) at an ever increasing clip. Presumably this was to fill the void left by the black hole that was the rest of the film. It was very confusing and combined with a plot that was paper-thin and yet incomprehensible, made for a near abstract art experience where these character walked around doing things and saying things and yet did nothing and said nothing. It’s hard to describe what it was like. If only we had a go-to phrase for something like this…. oh yes! It was dog poo in my face.

Love the new format and since we could get any MonoSklog from the film seeing as it was in theaters (and no one actually said anything of significance) I’m going to go for a nice new game that I thought up while reading Transporter Refueled reviews. It’s where I try to think of a punny one-liner about the film for my RT review caption so people know how clever I am (e.g. “The Transporter Refueled should be put up on blocks.” – New York Daily News. Guffaw). For the first Hitman I would say: “Let’s address the Olyphant in the room: this film is firing blanks.” For Hitman: Agent 47 I would start my review with “Bach hits all the wrong notes with this Hitman adaptation that misses the mark.” Ooof, those puns are killer. Both play on the name of someone involved with the film and yet has nothing to do with the film and then strikes fast with a second pun about the film itself. The punsters on RT should watch out. I’m coming for yah. Double puns are the new single puns.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone, this week was Hitman: Agent 47 (too easy, Shitman). More like 4 out of 7 people walked out of Jamie’s showing (true story, not even making up those numbers). Welp, it seemed like the UK audience liked it a bit more as there were probably 12 other people sitting in stony silence enduring this complete pile of garbage with me. Is it? Wait for it …. dog poo right in my face? yes it was! Right in my face (and wallet). I’m going to change things up a bit at this point (for fun), so here is a Brief Two Point BMT Recap (BTPBMTR):

  • The movie was incomprehensible, the acting was terrible, and the dialogue was horrible. Triple threat. I’m going to refer to such adaptations as “aggressively adapted”. If fans of the Hitman series think the Olyphant version was incompetent with regards to the video game, then this can only be described as intentionally antagonistic.
  • Add unpleasant to the bunch. This movie could be called Human Bodies Falling Several Stories Onto Banisters. Or maybe People Getting Killed By A Horrible Person In Terrible Ways. Or in a meta way A Movie Where You Hate Everyone. In other words: Instant BMT Classic (IBMTC).

See, short and sweet. Now, in the vein of Patrick’s Rules I wanted to look at some of the things from the Hitman news / advertising campaign that should have made Jamie and I very suspicious that this movie was BMT bound. I will call you BMT:CSI:SVU (the special victims are me and Jamie):

So all the way back nearly a year ago we should have immediately penciled this guy right on into the BMT calendar. The trailer companion (and reception, whoa nelly, the response by fans was vitriolic, I remember) was just a final confirmation. Ahhhh, a little BMT Forensics (BMTF) going on. This is all building to the application of statistical techniques to sniff out bad movies, and then ultimately the BMT Awards which will be like the BCS: a computer generated set of the worst movies of the year that everyone hates. I literally cannot wait.

Cheerios ,

The Sklogs

Hitman Recap

[Editor’s Note: This “recap” was originally found within the Into the Storm recap as a part of preparation for Hitman: Agent 47. Jamie did not provide an official recap. While short, in order to complete the official record of BMT for historical posterity this short section is included here]

Patrick

I wanted to mention that in preparation for BMT Live! (Hitman: Agent 47) I also watched Hitman (the original). Some brief thoughts: It is completely incomprehensible and riddled with inane dialogue. The entire movie is told as a flashback, Olyphant clearly doesn’t want to be there, and it has the classic: Hey, filming in Prague is cheap let’s set the movie in … rural Russia? It at least touches on what made the video game famous (Agent 47’s ability to get in, kill, and get out without being detected), although he is obviously less stealth while being framed and chased by other agents. In other words: I am now fully prepared for Agent 47. Are there any two movie combo with a worse combined RT score? I smell some data analysis coming.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hitman: Agent 47 Preview

So from the title of this email you may wonder, “hey Jamie, why are you doing Hitman: Agent 47? Isn’t the cycle mapl.de.map? Seeing as I keep up with the latest bad movie news in depth, doesn’t that movie take place in Germany and Singapore? Last time I checked those weren’t states. Also, knowing the cycle as well as I do, this is certainly not a horror/thriller. What’s going on? BMT is the rock around which I base my life and this change is concerning.” All valid points average BMT email reader. We are in fact taking a week break from the cycle to do a super special in theaters edition of BMT. The release of one of the worst reviewed films of the year required action and seeing as it was nearly simultaneously released in the US and UK, me and Patrick thought it was a no-brainer to go ahead and catch Hitman: Agent 47 on the big screen. So without further ado: Let’s go!

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) – BMeTric: 38.6 (November 14, 2016)

hitmanagent47_bmet

hitmanagent47_rv

(A very classic and nice graphic for a recently released film. We got a sweet theatrical/VOD regime separation, and this is also quite a high BMeTric. Reaffirms or BMT Live! choice from oh so long ago. Commentary generated on November 14, 2016)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star – “Hitman: Agent 47” is aggressively awful, the kind of film that rubs its lackadaisical screenwriting, dull filmmaking and boring characters in your face, almost daring you to ask the theater operator for your money back. It is a film that feels made out of contractual obligation instead of artistic venture, or even a remote desire to entertain.

(This sounds like our jam. Lackadaisical screenwriting? Yes, please. Dull filmmaking? We expect nothing less (more?), boring characters? I want them to be paper thin. Also, wasn’t this made out of contractual obligation? I just assumed cause there were literally ZERO people asking for this film to be made.)

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

(That plays more like a music video than a movie with an actual plot. Don’t like Rupert Friend as 47 right off the bat. Also at least two helicopters in the film (one that blows up and another than crashes into a building) so that’s a plus. Though Into the Storm promised a helicopter crashing into buildings and that turned out to be cut from the film. Just another reason not to like that film.)

Director(s) – Aleksander Bach – (BMT: Hitman: Agent 47. Notes: Feature debut. Mostly has worked in music videos and commercials till now. Back-to-back winner of the Cannes Young Director Award for Orange I Love You and Stars in 2008 and 2009, respectively.)

Writer(s) – Skip Woods (screenplay, story) – (Known For: The A-Team. BMT: X-Men Origins – Wolverine; Swordfish; Hitman; Sabotage; Thursday; Hitman: Agent 47; A Good Day To Die Hard. Notes: Legendary BMT writer. Hitman and Hitman: Agent 47 will be the fifth and sixth BMT films we’ve watched from him. Somehow never nominated for a Razzie. Impossible! (said in a French accent).)

Michael Finch (screenplay) – (Known For: Predators. BMT: The November Man; Hitman: Agent 47. Notes: We shall see him again. He is the writer for the upcoming sequel Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 2. Wait… what?! Who the fuck was scrambling for that?!)

Actors – Rupert Friend – (Known For: The Young Victoria; Pride and Prejudice; Starred Up; Chéri; The Zero Theorem; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. BMT: The Last Legion; Outlaw; Hitman: Agent 47; The Libertine. Notes: Probably best known right now for his work on Homeland.)

Hannah Ware – (Known For: Shame; Oldboy; BMT: Cop Out; Hitman: Agent 47; Notes: Also best known for her work on tv with starring roles in Boss and Betrayal.)

also stars Zachary Quinto.

Budget/Gross: $35 million / $15 million ($25 million Worldwide)

(Still out in theaters so it will probably recoup its base budget with worldwide gross. Still will go down as a big bomb given it has the 24th worst opening ever for a film released in 3000+ theaters. Just behind this week’s release No Escape! Haha, not even the worst 3000+ opening of August 2015.)

#36 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

hitman_36

(Generated on November 14, 2016; Nearby 2016 BMT smash hit Mechanic Resurrection. I can’t quite see any specific trends, but perhaps the 90’s boom was helped along by Pulp Fiction in 1994? Really unclear beyond that it has become a major genre in the 00’s and beyond. Little bit of waves, a little decrease in monetary yield in the past 5 years. We’ll see if there is a collapse a bit.)

#22 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

videogameadaptation_22

(NOTE: Generated on November 14, 2016. Analysis partially borrowed from Warcraft; The genre is surprisingly consistently produced considering literally no video game adaptation has ever reached even the modest benchmark of 50% on rotten tomatoes. The best ever reviewed? Final Fantasy Spirits Within (I saw that in theaters, go me) at 44%. The best on metacritic was Mortal Kombat by the way. It really is quite dire, over 15 years that RT record has stood. #22 for this genre is impressively poor, near Super Mario Bros!!!!)

Rotten Tomatoes: 8% (7/82), Critics Consensus: Hitman: Agent 47 fails to clear the low bar set by its predecessor, forsaking thrilling action in favor of a sleekly hollow mélange of dull violence and product placement.

(Still gathering votes on RT, but seems safely below 10% which is quite the accomplishment. Hitman’s bar is quite low indeed, but I think the consensus forgets that the first one also forsook thrilling action for sleekly hollow melange. So that’s nothing new. And yes, forsook is a word.)

Poster – Sklogman: Agent 4Life (F)

hitman_agent_forty_seven_ver4

(I can’t remember the last time I’ve hated a poster more than this. Unaccompanied Minors probably. Way, way, way too much white. The cutout of 47 is unnecessary and distracting. Can barely tell he’s holding a gun. And no tagline! Boo, boo, boo.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F-)

(I hate you already you garbage movie made for trash people! Unacceptable. I do not accept this.)

Keyword(s) – Based on a Video Game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.7 Street Fighter (1994); 81.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 78.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 78.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 78.4 BloodRayne (2005); 77.4 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 70.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 64.0 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 62.6 Wing Commander (1999);

(Obviously incredible. We will watch all of these films without a doubt. If anyone needs a bad movie to watch for whatever reason spin around, point your finger at this list, and watch with horror and joy.)

Notes – Paul Walker was previously attached to play the lead role in this film before his sudden death in late November, 2013. (Oh, sad)

Hitman Preview

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This entire preview was generated on November 14, 2016. I apologize for any mind-bending anachronisms that may inadvertently occur while reading this]

Hitman (2007) – BMeTric: 20.6 (November 14, 2016)

hitman_bmet

hitman_rv

(Classic regression to the mean, solid 2011 inflection. If you recall that comes about for popular movies. And look at the number of votes! Very impressive Hitman. Bravo. It is kind of crazy how flat the entire BMeTric plot is, but I kind of comes from being only borderline bad from an IMDb rating perspective)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Every bit as visually flashy and dramatically sketchy as you would expect a video-game-inspired action-adventure to be. Still, some genuinely rousing run-and-gun sequences – enhanced with rapid-fire editing, slo-mo flourishes, and very loud music – generate interest as prolifically lethal buut increasingly self-doubting Agent 47 (Olyphant), a bald-pated, bar-code-tattooed assassin, dashes about Russia after being betrayed by his employers.

(Alright, I think that Leonard might have been attempting to win a bet here concerning exactly how many hyphens he could put into a single review. An even dozen. Congrats. Either way, seems like a solidly drab romp through Russia, exciting.)

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

(While I kind of dig the quiet and contemplative style with the music, it doesn’t really get me jazzed up for the movie, and it certainly, I think, misleads about the eventual product shown in theaters. If a movie that relfected that trailer was produced I’m not sure people would have been pissed. And people were piiiiiiiiiissed.)

Directors – Xavier Gens – (Known For: Frontière(s); BMT: The ABCs of Death; The Divide; Hitman; Notes: French director. Rumor has it that the studio did not like the extreme level of violence presented in his original cut of the film and effectively fired him. They hired outside help to edit the film and conduct reshoots while Gens was out of the country. Interesting stuff. I’m skeptical because an unrated version exists which is by all accounts just as bad as the theatrical cut, but maybe that was still heavily edited. Got to wait for that director’s cut.)

Writers – Skip Woods (written by) – (Known For: The A-Team; BMT: A Good Day to Die Hard (BMT); Hitman: Agent 47 (BMT); Sabotage (BMT); Hitman; Swordfish (BMT); X-Men Origins: Wolverine (BMT); Thursday; Notes: Wow Skip Woods, just wow. How he’s avoided a Razzie nom among all of that trash is beyond me. In addition to writing he also owns a tactical weapons consultancy firm which inspired him to become an action movie writer in the first place.)

Actors – Timothy Olyphant – (Known For: Snowden; This Is Where I Leave You; The Girl Next Door; Scream 2; Die Hard 4.0; Go; Rango; The Crazies; A Perfect Getaway; Rock Star; Stop-Loss; The Broken Hearts Club: BMT: Dreamcatcher; Head Over Heels; Elektra Luxx; Mother’s Day; I Am Number Four; A Man Apart; Catch and Release; Hitman; The First Wives Club; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Notes: Probably most well known for Deadwood. He is apparently a keen tennis player and huge LA sports fan.)

Dougray Scott – (Known For: Mission: Impossible II; London Town; My Week with Marilyn; Deep Impact; EverAfter; Enigma; Dark Water; Last Passenger; Ripley’s Game; Twin Town; Princess Caraboo; New Town Killers; BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Taken 3; The Truth About Love; Hitman; Notes: Maybe most well known for famously turning down the role as Wolverine due to conflicts with Mission: Impossible II. Some fans maintain his build made more sense at the time, but I would doubt anyone would argue that now.)

Also Stars Olga Kurylenko

Budget/Gross – $24 million / Domestic: $39,687,694 (Worldwide: $99,965,792)

(Solid hit, enough to warrent a sequel at least. Way more than I would expect, although with a setting in Russia and a French director I imagine the European cut was probably pretty solid.)

[See Hitman Agent 47 Preview for additional box office notes]

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/101): Hitman features the unfortunate combination of excessive violence, incoherent plot, and inane dialogue.

(Check. Check. Check. Alright Jamie, pack it in, this one will do. Sounds perfect to me, not sure why any of that is a problem …)

Poster – Sklogman (B+)

hitman_ver2_xlg

(I like it. Jamie would probably say all the black hurts it by making it bland, but I think it is appropriate for the video game it is adapting. There was a better poster actually, but this is the one I remember from when it came out.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F)

(Boo no tagline. I’ll make one up: You’ll never see him coming. Boom. Not the best maybe, but at least it is something. Better than nothing.)

Keyword(s) – hitman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.5 The Avengers (1998); 70.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 66.2 Kangaroo Jack (2003); 62.9 Abduction (I) (2011); 60.3 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 58.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 58.0 Tekken (2010); 57.4 Daredevil (2003); 52.8 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 52.8 Alex Cross (2012);

(That is a sick list bro. Bro … sick list. I would also gladly watch the other … except for Tekken. That is not a real movie. Look it up, not a real movie. For reals.)

Notes – While Dougray Scott often pulls a cigarette out, he never actually manages to light one. (fun fact)

During the restaurant sequence, the scene in which Nika (Olga Kurylenko) talks about owning a squirrel/chipmunk when she was young was actually true for the actress, and the scene was improvised during filming. (ugh, terrible. I hate that. Not a fun fact. A decidedly un-fun fact)

The scene where Agent 47 sits atop the roof, sniper in hand and red lettering behind him is taken directly from artwork from the game, as is the scene between 47 and Yuri in the bathtub, including the rubber duck. (I remember that scene from literally the only time I played that game, weird)

When Agent 47 jumps through the hotel window into the kid’s room, they’re playing Hitman: Blood Money (2006) for the PlayStation 2. (They’re playing through “Death of a Showman”, the training level.) (HORRIBLE, I’M OUT!)