Men in Black II Recap

Jamie

This movie is good. Patrick?

Oh right, I should probably elaborate. This is the same movie as the first Men in Black, which is a good film. On rewatch I found the first film to be a lot weirder than I remembered. There was a strain of 90’s indie film in it mixed with the broad Will Smith action and Danny Elfman score. D’Onofrio is nuts and it’s not at all what you would expect from a Will Smith vehicle after Independence Day. I probably shouldn’t have worked a la Wild Wild West, but it did and we got a second film.

That second film is basically them finally getting the gang together after five years and running it back. Not exactly a way to get reviewers on your good side. But as far as I can tell that is pretty much the only reason this qualified for BMT. They looked at the film and said “we expect more from you Men in Black II.” It’s all expectations at this point. That is unless they got really hung up on Johnny Knoxville getting a role that was just too substantial for his talents at the time. He needed a bit more time to warm up and was pretty annoying. You could also nitpick the plot, but really you could probably say that about the first film too. Men in Black is all MacGuffins and aliens. So to all of a sudden be like “your MacGuffin and alien plot isn’t well thought out,” seems like a weak critique.

I feel like I’m going too strong on this. I’m not a big time MIB 2 fan or something. I’m not staking my reputation on this film. I’m not even sure what will happen come Smaddies Baddies time. I think my problem is that I was surprised to even see MIB 2 on the list of qualifying films. It’s right on the boundary. Usually those borderline films come out as just that: borderline BMT. This doesn’t even really feel borderline. Should have been a 50-60% RT score probably. It offends my BMT senses that we watched it.

I think if I were to do an in depth Wrong Analysis (patent pending) for this film I would go all in on the second film actually being better than the first. Here is my evidence:

  • Much improved special effects. You can accomplish a lot in five years, particularly when the five years run from 1997-2002 and special effects are making leaps and bounds by the day. But it’s not just the CGI I’m talking about. Even the puppet work is better. Case in point are the worms. They play a minor role in the first film, but by the time we are part of a smash hit they are all over the film and doing some real cool practical effects to bring them alive.
  • The best scene in the movie. Aliens in the locker is all you need to know. It’s great and nothing in any of the films beats it. So how can this be bad when that is so good?
  • They imply Tommy Lee Jones had sex with an alien. Strike that. They didn’t even really imply it. It seems pretty clear that Tommy Lee Jones had a love child with an alien.
  • It’s the same move as MIB with better effects, the best scene in the franchise, and the implication that Tommy Lee Jones is getting down with aliums on the regular. Case closed.

But that analysis is probably wrong. Patrick?

Patrick 

‘Ello everyone! Men in Black II? More like Men in Black Too … like as well. Because it is the same movie as the first one. Whatever, let’s go!

  • Much sillier than the first film I can see why it got relatively poor reviews.
  • BUT I also watched the first film, and while fun it is basically an exercise in how something novel can blind you to how poorly put together it is. Both films feel a bit like they are barely held together by Will Smith’s charisma alone.
  • Bar none this has the funniest scene in the entire franchise with the little weirdo aliens in the locker. The ending is the best part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9sd10CHAP8
  • This film suffers most in just feeling like a fun movie (J and K following clues around New York) bookended by the barest of all possible introductions and endings. The movie literally opens with an intentionally shoddy fake tv show (which they play again later to better effect) and then a really poorly done introduction to Serleena in Central Park. And then the film ends with a half-assed battle in MIBHQ stretched out to the twist ending.
  • And ultimately isn’t that the issue? They actually did have a MIB television show. I forgot about it, but they had a decently long running animated program (53 episodes). But the film feels like a television show that would exist now. A comedic version of The X-Files. Forcing it into a $100+ million budget blockbuster mold seems ultimately like a waste. And too bad, because you obviously can’t do anything with the original cast, and MIB: International was a colossal bomb, so they are kind of stuck.
  • Although it is a little funny to say that considering the Men in Black comic has six issues … total. Like there were only ever six issues of this property. If they work at it they could get more feature films than issues of the original source material. Bring back the MIB/21 Jump Street crossover! You know that would have been amazing.
  • There was a lot of product placement I’m sure, but my favorite Product Placement (What?) was when Rosario Dawson is asked to go get a whole mess of Mountain Dew from the basement (Do the Dew!). Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City which they use to excellent effect. Really incredible MacGuffin (Why?) work on the Light of Zartha. Which then rolls right into a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Dawson herself is the Light of Zartha. Closest to Good, the film is undeniably fun to watch.

No sequel in the quiz this week, but I do outline my mid-credits scene / short film involving J going on a hot date. Check it out. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Men in Black II Quiz

Oh man. So I definitely saw this alien running around NYC and then some Men in Black as well … but then, I guess I didn’t because they pointed a flashy thing at me and now I can’t remember a thing. Bummer. Do you remember what happened in Men in Black II?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Our bad guy, Serleena, is actually like an itty bitty plant thing. Why does she then become the supermodel-esque Lara Flynn Boyle?

2) They need K back Jack! Why?

3) K’s having a hard time remembering stuff (for some reason), so they need to de-neuralize him. We see two de-neuralizers in the film. Where are they and what is the explanation for there being multiple versions of them?

4) Hey, K’s got his memory back. One problem … he still can’t remember anything. What clues does he leave himself that leads him to remember what’s up?

5) What alien power does Rosario Dawson have, on full display as she floats off to her home planet?

Bonus Question: In the after credits scene we see Will Smith preparing to go somewhere. Where?

Answers

Men in Black II Preview

Jamie, Patrick, and LePumice lounge poolside in Vegas. Just one stop on the tour couldn’t do any harm. Besides, LePumice brought his time machine along disguised as a vintage 2003 PT Cruiser, so they can jet at a moment’s notice back to the present. “Suns out, sipping drinks with the bros, our PT Cruiser is looking sweet (duh). Cheers!” Jamie says, luxuriating. Nothing could spoil this day, for sure. Suddenly, Mikey Myers (of Mikey Mike and the Mikey Mikes fame) comes hurrying over. “Vegas, we have a problem,” he says and they all laugh because that’s his catchphrase. But this time he’s serious. “I… uh… just came from the gift shop. Not to freak anyone out, but… uh… I was there.” They laugh again. Silly Mikey, of course he was there because he just said… Patrick shoots up looking startled. “Shit, shit,” Jamie says, picking up the vibe. Future Mikey Myers has found them and is ready to settle the score. Mikey Myers starts to leave with them, but Jamie and Patrick stop him. With hands on his shoulders they tell him how proud they are. By the end of the beautiful speech tears are streaming down all their faces. “We obviously want you to help us, Mikey, but you have a gift.” They turn away ashamed, knowing deep down that selfishly they don’t want Mikey to come because this tour is the key to their Bad Movie Twins empire. LePumice taps his watch, indicating that it’s time to get their PT Cruise on, but as they head away from the pool they stop short at the sight of Future Mikey, dressed in the standard issue black suit of the time cops. They turn back and are aghast at the sight of another Future Mikey. “What thuuuuu…” Jamie says dumbly. That’s right! We’re going classic with Men in Black II. Hard to remember that this film was a critical failure at the time, but it did qualify. Good enough for us and our neverending Chain Reaction which takes us from Walking Tall to Men in Black II through Johnny Knoxville. Let’s go!

Men in Black II (2002) – BMeTric: 31.1; Notability: 129

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 22.4%; Notability: top 0.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 35.3%; Higher BMeT: Crossroads, Rollerball, Halloween: Resurrection, The Master of Disguise, Feardotcom, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Boat Trip, Half Past Dead, The Sweetest Thing, Derailed, Scooby-Doo, Queen of the Damned, Swimfan, Maid in Manhattan, They, Full Frontal, The Truth About Charlie, Snow Dogs, The Tuxedo, and 36 more; Lower RT: Killing Me Softly, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Derailed, Hansel & Gretel, State Property, Ritual, Try Seventeen, Hard Cash, The Master of Disguise, Deuces Wild, Feardotcom, Half Past Dead, Rollerball, Darkness, Serving Sara, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, New Best Friend, Boat Trip, The New Guy, Dragonfly, and 64 more; Notes: Notability off the damn chart! See this is what I’m talking about. A 100+ Notability BMT qualifier? They literally barely exist!

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – Some sequels continue a story. Others repeat it. ”Men in Black II” creates a new threat for the MIB, but recycles the same premise, which is that mankind can defeat an alien invasion by assigning agents in Ray-Bans to shoot them into goo. This is a movie that fans of the original might enjoy in a diluted sort of way, but there is no need for it–except, of course, to take another haul at the box office, where the 1997 movie grossed nearly $600 million.

(Yeah, I do kind of remember the film was just kind of the same except with J and K just swapped since K lost his memory at the end of the first film. So that makes a lot of sense.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4NJHqoojOU/

(Yeah … odd trailer. You don’t see any of the actual bad guys from the movie. One good thing is they don’t spoil the big joke of the movie, so that’s nice. Still, how many aliens did you see in that trailer? Just the worms basically. Weird choice.)

DirectorsBarry Sonnenfeld – ( Known For: Men in Black; Men in Black 3; The Addams Family; Get Shorty; Addams Family Values; Big Trouble; Future BMT: RV; For Love or Money; BMT: Wild Wild West; Men in Black II; Nine Lives; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Won an Emmy for Pushing Daisies. He is directing television, specifically episodes of Schmigadoon! for which he is also a producer.)

WritersLowell Cunningham – ( Known For: Men in Black; Men in Black 3; Future BMT: Men in Black: International; BMT: Men in Black II; Notes: Writer of the original comics which was published by Aircel Comics (which was later bought out by Malibu Comics which in turn was also bought out by Marvel Comics). There were, amazingly, only six issues ever published.)

Robert Gordon – ( Known For: Galaxy Quest; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Addicted to Love; Future BMT: Wonder Park; BMT: Men in Black II; Notes: He is tapped to write the upcoming Galaxy Quest TV movie … sequel? Remake? Hard to tell.)

Barry Fanaro – ( Known For: Kingpin; Future BMT: The Crew; BMT: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Men in Black II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry in 2008; Notes: Was the executive producer and writer on The Golden Girls for its first four seasons for which he won four Emmys. He has apparently written five movies since 2009 which have been options, none of which, evidently, have ultimately been produced.)

ActorsTommy Lee Jones – ( Known For: No Country for Old Men; Captain America: The First Avenger; Men in Black; The Fugitive; Ad Astra; Jason Bourne; Lincoln; Men in Black 3; Natural Born Killers; JFK; Love Story; Small Soldiers; Under Siege; The Comeback Trail; Space Cowboys; Wander; In the Electric Mist; The Client; Volcano; The Homesman; Future BMT: U.S. Marshals; Criminal; Double Jeopardy; The Family; Blown Away; The Hunted; Man of the House; Rules of Engagement; Just Getting Started; Nate and Hayes; BMT: Batman Forever; Men in Black II; Mechanic: Resurrection; Fire Birds; Notes: Went to Harvard where he was roommates with Al Gore and was part of the undefeated 1968 football team.)

Will Smith – ( Known For: King Richard; Independence Day; Men in Black; Bad Boys for Life; I Am Legend; Enemy of the State; Aladdin; The Pursuit of Happyness; Ali; Bad Boys; Focus; Hancock; Men in Black 3; Bright; I, Robot; Hitch; Six Degrees of Separation; Concussion; Spies in Disguise; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Gemini Man; Shark Tale; Bad Boys II; Seven Pounds; Collateral Beauty; Made in America; BMT: Wild Wild West; After Earth; Men in Black II; Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for After Earth in 2014; Winner for Worst Screen Couple, and Worst Original Song for Wild Wild West in 2000; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for After Earth in 2014; Notes: Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh … well, you know Will Smith, Oscar Winner for King Richard. He somewhat notably (I’m not sure you would have heard this) was suspended from the Academy for slapping Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars. Little known fact.)

Rip Torn – ( Known For: Men in Black; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Hercules; Men in Black 3; Marie Antoinette; The Insider; Bee Movie; The Beastmaster; Wonder Boys; The Man Who Fell to Earth; The Legend of Awesomest Maximus; King of Kings; Airplane II: The Sequel; Coma; Defending Your Life; Sweet Bird of Youth; How to Make an American Quilt; A Face in the Crowd; Canadian Bacon; Extreme Prejudice; Future BMT: Zoom; Down Periscope; Summer Rental; Senseless; City Heat; BMT: Men in Black II; Yours, Mine & Ours; Freddy Got Fingered; RoboCop 3; Welcome to Mooseport; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Freddy Got Fingered in 2002; Notes: Died in 2019. Somewhat sadly/amusingly he was arrested for robbing a bank, but in reality he was drunk and, since his residence was in the same building, he broke in merely thinking it was where he lived.)

Budget/Gross – $140,000,000 / Domestic: $193,735,288 (Worldwide: $445,135,288)

(Yeah maybe not what you want domestically after the first made about $50 million more and overall the first made over $100 million more. Still a decent blockbuster though. I imagine TLJ was the big sticking point since they eventually wrote him out of the series.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (76/197): Lacking the freshness of the first movie, MIB 2 recycles elements from its predecessor with mixed results.

(Yeah, there it is. Still a bit stunning at the drop from the prior installment. I just watched the original, it ain’t that good. And I imagine MIB II isn’t thaaaaaat much worse.)

Reviewer Highlight: After five years, the chemistry has curdled. – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

Poster – The Notorious MIB

(I like the stark black and white. Funny they brought back the weird egg chairs from the first one for this poster. It is certainly a distinctive scene, but not notable and I don’t think they ever show up again. Good font. Good poster. A-.)

Tagline(s) – Back in Black. (C-)

(I can’t be too hard on it. It’s short and honestly that’s where my mind would go too. Hard to shake the similarity between the words Black and Back and so I would be stuck making something like this too. Still, just not very good.)

Keyword(s) – alien

Top 10: Dune (2021), Eternals (2021), Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Don’t Look Up (2021), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016), The Suicide Squad (2021), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Future BMT: 80.6 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 71.5 Supergirl (1984), 66.3 Max Steel (2016), 65.4 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 63.4 Meet Dave (2008), 61.1 Space Chimps (2008), 59.0 Suburban Commando (1991), 58.9 Apollo 18 (2011), 55.8 The Stupids (1996), 54.5 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

BMT: The 5th Wave (2016), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Battleship (2012), Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), Pixels (2015), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The Predator (2018), Species (1995), After Earth (2013), Men in Black II (2002), I Am Number Four (2011), Howard the Duck (1986), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Lost in Space (1998), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Battle Los Angeles (2011), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Masters of the Universe (1987), Predator 2 (1990), Mac and Me (1988), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Battlefield Earth (2000), Ghosts of Mars (2001), The Host (2013), Doom (2005), Dreamcatcher (2003), Skyline (2010), The Darkest Hour (2011), The Space Between Us (2017), Species II (1998), Alone in the Dark (2005), Virus (1999), Critters 2 (1988), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Escape from Planet Earth (2012), Wing Commander (1999), Meatballs Part II (1984)

Matches: Eternals (2021), The Fifth Element (1997), Venom (2018), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Man of Steel (2013), The Avengers (2012), Starship Troopers (1997), Captain Marvel (2019), Aliens (1986), Arrival (2016), Annihilation (2018), The Tomorrow War (2021), Transformers (2007), Independence Day (1996), A Quiet Place Part II (2020), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), The 5th Wave (2016), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Cosmic Sin (2021), Green Lantern (2011), Oblivion (2013), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Thing (1982), War of the Worlds (2005), Mars Attacks! (1996), They Live (1988), Ender’s Game (2013), Men in Black: International (2019), The Faculty (1998), Galaxy Quest (1999), Megamind (2010), Power Rangers (2017), Men in Black 3 (2012), Krull (1983), Pixels (2015), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), The Watch (2012), Alien 3 (1992), Paul (2011), Riddick (2013), Lilo & Stitch (2002), We Can Be Heroes (2020), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), Species (1995), Slither (2006), Men in Black II (2002), The Abyss (1989), Treasure Planet (2002), Alien: Resurrection (1997), I Am Number Four (2011), Predators (2010), Cocoon (1985), … (an many more)

(So many alien films. And I suppose amusingly since we did What Happens in Vegas last week that first movie in the Future BMT section (The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) also technically takes place in Vegas! The alien is the Great Gazoo, obviously the thing you want to bring to the Flintstones movie franchise is the huge mistake they introduced in like season 7 right before they got canceled. That makes sense.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 11) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tommy Lee Jones is No. 2 billed in Men in Black II and No. 3 billed in Mechanic: Resurrection, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 11. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The original pug from Men in Black (1997) was used to play Frank again, but since the pug was now seven years old, they used makeup to hide the gray fur around its nose.

J’s line on the “driver airbag” (“Actually it came with a black dude, but he kept getting pulled over.”) was improvised by Will Smith. The producers liked it so much it even made the theatrical trailer.

Famke Janssen was originally cast as Serleena, and even completed some of the filming, but was forced to drop out of the project due to a death in her family. Lara Flynn Boyle was then cast in her place.

The extra head attached to Scrad is called a ‘symbiote,’ and was first developed in Men in Black: The Series (1997). It is the most obvious development of the animated series to be carried over into the movies.

Linda Fiorentino was originally intended to reprise her role as Agent L, before eventually being dropped from the script.

The children of the cast/crew make an appearance in the film: the little girl at the post office who wants to buy Rugrats (1991) stamps is Barry Sonnenfeld’s daughter Chloe Sonnenfeld.Tommy Lee Jones’s daughter appears in the film as the little girl in the apartment where J, K, and the worms acquire weaponry. and the two children who look up as the MiB car flies overhead are Will Smith’s kids.

Reputedly Jack Nicholson insisted on the casting of Lara Flynn Boyle. Sony were keen to get Nicholson for their Adam Sandler comedy “Anger Management”, and Flynn Boyle was Nicholson’s girlfriend at the time.

The beatboxing alien in the post office is played by the rapper Biz Markie, who also has a recurring role on the kid’s TV show Yo Gabba Gabba! also showing off his beatboxing talents

Barry Sonnenfeld took issue with the producers wanting to focus on the love story between Agent J and Laura: “I learned on Wild Wild West (1999) that audiences didn’t want to see Will Smith as the straight man. And until Tommy Lee Jones comes back into the movie, by definition, Will’s the straight man.”

The locker that holds the tiny aliens who worship K is numbered C18, the same number of the locker used in the film Get Shorty (1995) that contains the “dirty” money. Both films were directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.

Though Linda Fiorentino’s character was prepped to co-anchor in the sequel alongside Will Smith, it has been reported that Tommy Lee Jones only agreed to return under the direct stipulation that Fiorentino wasn’t invited back.

Fire Island Lighthouse, New York, serves as a stand-in for the Truro, Massachusetts, Post Office.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Lara Flynn Boyle, 2003)

Walking Tall (2004) Recap

Jamie

Boy oh boy. I do believe Walking Tall is a secretly very solid BMT film. I might even entertain the possibility that it’s even better than very solid. Why? They took a very basic plot and twisted it until the main character literally became a monster. You see, the Rock arrives home and looks around and is like, “Why is the lumber mill closed? What is this tiny, tiny casino? And how did I lose a football game to Neal McDonough?” He becomes enraged by these facts (particularly the last one) and destroys everything in sight while visiting the tiny casino. The original at least then gave him a reason to go back and take further vengeance. This one? Not really. The Rock just works out a bunch and is good to go until he hears a rumor that maybe, possibly, kinda, vaguely someone in the vicinity of the casino sold some drugs to his nephew. A matter for the police, right? And maybe at least confirm a few facts? Nope. The Rock has no time for that. He instead just smashes up the casino like a crazy person. When they show his trial I was like ‘good, he’s a menace to this small town.’ They don’t even have the decency to make it all that clear that the local cops are in cahoots with our boy Neal. Besides it’s not like The Rock does much better when he becomes sheriff. He just kicks them to the curb for his own style of cronyism as he installs his woefully underqualified BFF as his deputy. Justice!

None of this makes sense, particularly as they zoom to a conclusion which consists of The Rock immediately finding out that it’s not just small-time drug deals coming out of the casino. They’re actually using the old mill as a place to make drugs in bulk! My god! He then beats up Neal, arrests him for the drugs, and reopens the apparently totally economically feasible mill. Woah! Neal, my man. You’re saying you had the entire infrastructure for a profitable lumber mill at your disposal and you closed it down for a little tiny meth lab? And the whole town was just sitting around unemployed ready to run the mill for you? Honestly you probably could have run the meth lab in a number of other places and made a bunch more money as the lumber mill/casino/meth mogul of the Northwest US. I guess I could see the argument of really beating down the town so you can run it, but don’t you want to run a thriving town? Who wants to go to a weirdo tiny casino in a dead mill town filled with meth. I just don’t think Neal thought this whole thing through.  

I think you can tell from my obsessive recounting of the very plot of the film that I very much enjoyed it. It’s like a child wrote it. A big monster man just beats people up with only vague notions as to why he’s doing it. Anywho, one of the enduring mysteries of the franchise is what the term “walking tall” really means. Well, as far as I can glean from this film these are the rules for “walking tall”:

  1. When you observe some low level employee at a legitimate place of business doing something illegal do not alert the owner or call the police. Instead, punch the employee in the face and cause thousands of dollars in property damage.
  2. If you ever hear any rumors of illegal activity at a legitimate place of business, particularly from witnesses like children, do not alert the owner or call the police. Instead, grab a giant stick, hit as many employees as you can in the face with it, and cause thousands of dollars in property damage.
  3. If you don’t like a legitimate place of business because it’s bad, find out if the owner is doing anything illegal and don’t arrest him. Instead, engage in hand-to-hand combat and bloody him up real good so you can let him know that you now own the town.

So there you have it, in just three easy steps you too can walk tall. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Walking Tall (2004)? More like Shocking Fall, amirite?! Watch in amazement as the enormous Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson squeezes himself into a teeny tiny 75-minute movie. Let’s go!

  • You heard that right, the film is 75 minutes long. Don’t be deceived by IMDb, or Amazon, or the runtime of the film. The film comes to a very quick conclusion and then there are 10 minutes of credits. A full 10 minutes.
  • The most anxiety inducing part of the film wasn’t the gaudy casino, or the fights, or the exciting drug plotline. Oh no. It was wondering how The Rock’s poor family could afford to feed him without having jobs. Do you see him? He must eat like 5000 calories a day.
  • Neal McDonough is a national treasure. The best bad movie bad guy ever.
  • The film has a five minute montage of The Rock watching television and eating, and that is also just about how long they spend explaining (and concluding) the ultimate drug plotline of the film. When they were like “we need to find the bad guy’s drug cook site” I was sitting there wondering why they thought he must be producing the drugs himself … surely the head security officer at the casino could handle a small-time drug operation servicing a rural Washington community by himself. Apparently they needed McDonough’s Big Bad Bad Guy Brain to crack the code on getting people addicted to meth.
  • Knoxville was fun though. Much like the original used Obra as a method for Buford to break down the moonshine businesses (which used poor black men as cheap labor), they used Knoxville as a tweaker who knew the ins and outs of the meth business.
  • Borderline Planchet (Who?) for Knoxville who does his best to get beat up real good throughout the film. Product Placement (What?) for Miller Genuine Draft which The Rock drinks up at every opportunity. Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Washington state. And a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate obvious conclusion that the drug cook site was the closed down mill. Solid BMT film.

I did watch the original film and really liked it. I get the concern about the glorification of revenge storylines which a lot of the bad reviews mentioned, and the ending is more than a bit wonky, but the film is a pretty fun early 70s actioner. I don’t think we need any other remakes or television series or sequels to this film, there are more than enough already.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Walking Tall (2004) Quiz

Oh man, so I was running this crazy gaudy casino when this crazy person came in and started beating everyone up with a 2×4! Well, he whacked me in the head pretty good, and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Walking Tall (2004)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When Chris Vaughn returns home things have changed quite a bit in Hamilton. What happened to the previous sheriff who was then replaced by Sheriff Watkins?

2) How does Chris know Ray Ray?

3) Why does Chris get into a fight at the Wild Cherry? And why does he get into a fight a second time?

4) How many years was Chris facing in his trial? What was the plea deal? And how did he win the case?

5) Where is Hamilton’s crystal meth operation?

Bonus Question: In the mid-credits scene Chris is seen at the new and improved Sheriff station when he gets a call. From whom and about what?

Answers

Walking Tall (2004) Preview

Having agreed that secrets are for sharing and that what is yours is mine (and ours), Young Mikey leads the whole gang over to his house. He seems quite nervous and understandably so. Young Jamie and Patrick explain that they have been less than nice to Mikey in the past. “We were bullies,” Young Jamie says ashamed. Jamie and Patrick remember. Like the time they put cement on his seat at school. “Ha, right. He was stuck there for days,” chuckles Patrick. Or the time they kept swapping his hat for an identical one a size larger. “Until he was convinced he was shrinking,” Jamie says with a snort. Or the time they put a fish in his overalls and the cats from all across town followed him around. “Yeah, and his dad was allergic to cats,” Patrick says, tears now streaming down his face in laughter. “Right, and then his dad was sneezing all the time and it drove his mom crazy so they started fighting and they almost got divorced,” Jamie finishes, his laughter petering out. “But that wasn’t really all that funny at that point.” Patrick nods. “Yeah, not really funny at all actually and they had other stuff going on… like not just the sneezing part… which you have to admit was funny, but not great given the circumstances of their marriage.” By the time they finish contemplating things that are funny (sneezing, cement, etc.) and things that are definitely not funny (fighting, potential divorce, etc.) they arrive at Mikey’s. Mikey flings open his cellar door and the gang gasps. A full blown illegal casino is being operated in the basement. “See, my parents need me to run the craps table tonight,” Mikey says sadly, but Jamie and Patrick are already halfway down the stairs.That’s right! We’re watching another remake of a classic (of sorts) with the early The Rock vehicle, Walking Tall. The original is more like a smash low-budget hit of the 70’s. The remake? Not so much. Let’s go!

Walking Tall (2004) – BMeTric: 23.8; Notability: 54

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 30.4%; Notability: top 10.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 25.6%; Higher BMeT: Catwoman, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, You Got Served, Torque, Taxi, Soul Plane, Seed of Chucky, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Thunderbirds, Envy, Godsend, Garfield, Fat Albert, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, Exorcist: The Beginning, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, New York Minute, The Stepford Wives, First Daughter, and 56 more; Higher Notability: Shark Tale, Catwoman, The Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing, King Arthur, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Alexander, After the Sunset, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Blade: Trinity, She Hate Me, Fat Albert, The Stepford Wives, Man on Fire, Around the World in 80 Days, The Phantom of the Opera, Alien vs. Predator, Along Came Polly, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Meet the Fockers, and 6 more; Lower RT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, Twisted, My Baby’s Daddy, The Whole Ten Yards, Godsend, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie – Pyramid of Light, The Cookout, Christmas with the Kranks, Johnson Family Vacation, Envy, Surviving Christmas, First Daughter, Catwoman, Taxi, House of D, Exorcist: The Beginning, New York Minute, Employee of the Month, A Cinderella Story, Against the Ropes, and 42 more; Notes: I can’t believe this has a 6.3 on IMDb. Really high Notability though … for a film that is like 75 minutes long that is impressive I guess.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – I didn’t see the original “Walking Tall.” I was “out of town at the time,” I explained in my review of “Part Two Walking Tall.” Sounds reasonable. But I suspect the earlier film was tilted more toward populism and less toward superhero violence than the new “Walking Tall,” which is “dedicated to the memory of Buford Pusser” but turns the story into a cartoon of retribution and revenge.

(It took me a few times of reading this review to realize exactly what Ebert was suggesting. He had never seen the original Walking Tall, but did end up reviewing the sequel. As this was prior to home video to at least some extent Ebert just reviewed the sequel without seeing the original … and now he’s reviewing the remake without (maybe) having (still) ever seen the original. That’s kind of crazy.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edR_niqKp1Q/

(They are really going for The Rock in the previews, nary a mention of the previous film which I guess for some reason I find interesting. A veritable Who’s Who of early 2000s bad guys though, so that is exciting.)

DirectorsKevin Bray – ( Known For: Linewatch; Future BMT: All About the Benjamins; BMT: Walking Tall; Notes: Directs a ton of television. The Morning Show, The Game, Insecure, Black-ish. There is surprisingly little about him on IMDb, but he hasn’t directed a feature since 2008.)

WritersMort Briskin – ( Known For: Walking Tall; The Second Woman; Framed; A Man Alone; The Magic Face; BMT: Walking Tall; Notes: He wrote the original. He died in 2000, four years prior to this release. He also wrote 30 episodes of U.S. Marshal among other things.)

David Klass – ( Known For: Emperor; Future BMT: Desperate Measures; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Walking Tall; Notes: Hasn’t been credited as a writer since 2012, although he is clearly still working as he was a consultant for Between Two Dawns. Was a producer on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.)

Channing Gibson – ( Known For: Lethal Weapon 4; BMT: Walking Tall; Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Was exclusively a television writer until Lethal Weapon 4 (writing on things like L.A. Law and NYPD Blue). Was nominated for five Emmys for St. Elsewhere, NYPD Blue, and Murder One. He won for NYPD Blue.)

David Levien and Brian Koppelman – ( Known For: Rounders; Ocean’s Thirteen; Runaway Jury; The Girlfriend Experience; Future BMT: Knockaround Guys; BMT: Walking Tall; Runner Runner; Notes: Famously wrote Rounders and maybe gambled semi-professionally (I don’t remember). Writers on Billions, I mostly know Koppelman for his appearances on the Bill Simmons Podcast.)

ActorsDwayne Johnson – ( Known For: Free Guy; Red Notice; Jungle Cruise; Moana; Jumanji: The Next Level; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Fighting with My Family; Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw; The Other Guys; Furious 7; Furious 6; The Fate of the Furious; The Mummy Returns; Central Intelligence; Pain & Gain; San Andreas; The Scorpion King; Fast Five; Skyscraper; Future BMT: You Again; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Tooth Fairy; Planet 51; Jem and the Holograms; Reno 911! Miami; BMT: Baywatch; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Game Plan; Be Cool; Doom; Walking Tall; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: The Rock! Not quite the last film he was credited as The Rock (that would be Doom). A mega-super-star at this point, but back then he was a mere four years out of bit parts on television shows like Star Trek: Voyager and doing pretty much only WWE stuff.)

Ashley Scott – ( Known For: Jumanji: The Next Level; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; S.W.A.T.; Just Friends; Secret Obsession; The Kingdom; Puff, Puff, Pass; Lost; Future BMT: Into the Blue; 12 Rounds; BMT: Walking Tall; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Incredible she is considered one of the main three actors in this film (uh … where Neil McDonough?). Started as a model, and was married to actor Steve Hart.)

Johnny Knoxville – ( Known For: Mainstream; Polar; Lords of Dogtown; Above Suspicion; The Last Stand; Bad Grandpa; The Ringer; We Summon the Darkness; A Dirty Shame; Big Trouble; Skiptrace; Half Magic; Elvis & Nixon; Small Apartments; Rosy; Father of Invention; Nature Calls; Grand Theft Parsons; Daltry Calhoun; Future BMT: Coyote Ugly; Men in Black II; The Dukes of Hazzard; Action Point; Fun Size; Deuces Wild; BMT: Movie 43; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Walking Tall; Notes: You know Knoxville. Jackass was really how he became famous, another of which (and probably final) came out this weekend. His real last name is Clapp, he was born in Knoxville.)

Budget/Gross – $46,000,000 / Domestic: $46,437,717 (Worldwide: $57,223,890)

(Not really what you want. I’m sure there would have been another one if they could have gotten to maybe $75 million? Instead the series lives on with Kevin Sorbo …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (35/136): The Rock makes a competent hero, but the movie is content to let a 2×4 do all the talking.

(Yeah, and really that isn’t what the original is really about. It is and it isn’t. A huge part of the original was about how his one-man crusade ruined his life in reality. You just know they weren’t going to have that be part of the remake.)

Reviewer Highlight: One mediocre, ploddingly predictable film, loaded down with cheesy Hollywood tactics – Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Poster – Rocking Tall

(No no no no no.. no! No! No!… … … no. No. I don’t accept this. Look at all that white space. No! Look at that dumb font. No no no! No F. It’s an F. I could have made this in high school. The only curiosity here is that The Rock looks like a normal sized human being in it. But otherwise. No!)

Tagline(s) – One man will stand up for what’s right. (D)

(Boooooo. Come on. Sometimes bad posters will have good taglines. This is just generic and not clever and doesn’t even really help with the plot. Oh really? The main character will be the good guy and he’s fighting some bad guys?)

Keyword(s) – sheriff

Top 10: Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), Scream (1996), Scream 4 (2011), The Unforgivable (2021), Antlers (2021), Wind River (2017), Halloween Kills (2021), Django Unchained (2012), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Little Things (2021)

Future BMT: 90.0 Vampires Suck (2010), 79.1 Shark Night (2011), 77.9 Jeepers Creepers III (2017), 74.8 Psycho (1998), 70.6 Halloween II (2009), 70.1 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 65.4 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983), 63.6 The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), 59.5 Witless Protection (2008), 56.7 Robin Hood (2018)

BMT: The Postman (1997), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Battleship (2012), Friday the 13th (2009), I Am Number Four (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), Wild Hogs (2007), House of Wax (2005), Young Guns II (1990), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Walking Tall (2004), Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009), Halloween II (1981), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Raw Deal (1986), Phantoms (1998), Fire Down Below (1997), Alone in the Dark (2005), Hard Rain (1998), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), American Outlaws (2001), Say It Isn’t So (2001), The Odd Couple II (1998), Bats (1999), Here on Earth (2000), Chill Factor (1999)

Matches: Scream 4 (2011), Antlers (2021), The Little Things (2021), True Grit (2010), Den of Thieves (2018), I Spit on Your Grave (2010), First Blood (1982), House of Sand and Fog (2003), Bone Tomahawk (2015), Winter’s Bone (2010), Planet Terror (2007), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Rango (2011), The Silencing (2020), Robin Hood (2018), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), Red Headed Stranger (1986), The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), The Gift (2000), 30 Days of Night (2007), Cop Land (1997), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Premonition (2007), Walking Tall (2004), The Last Stand (2013), Life (1999), Powder (1995), Heaven’s Gate (1980), Leap of Faith (1992), The Kid (2019), Shimmer Lake (2017), … (and many more)

(Ah Jeepers Creepers III, the film I will never watch for BMT. I’ll stick with things like Smokey and the Bandit Part 3.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Neal McDonough is No. 3 billed in Walking Tall and No. 3 billed in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => (3 + 3) + (2 + 2) = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – At the beginning when Chris Vaughn asks the sheriff what happened to the former sheriff it is said that the guy was a great man but they found one day he had mysteriously skidded off a deserted road and died hitting a tree. This is a reference to how the real Buford Pusser died.

Johnny Knoxville executed co-star Dwayne Johnson’s signature WWE finisher, “The People’s Elbow”

Dwayne Johnson’s stunt double in this movie was his cousin Tanoai Reed. (I think that’s his longtime stunt double).

Debut movie of Cobie Smulders. (She shows up for about 5 seconds and doesn’t say anything)

The film takes place in Kitsap County, Washington. The Kitsap Penninsula is across Puget Sound from Seattle, and is home to both the Bremerton Naval Shipyards and the Bangor Submarine Base. A large part of the population are military personnel. The movie was actually filmed in Squamish, B.C. The opening scene was filmed on the Bowen Island ferry to Horseshoe Bay

As a young man, Buford Pusser, the real-life sheriff who this remake is based upon, wrestled professionally across the South as “Buford the Bull”. Dwayne Johnson, who plays the character inspired by him, began his acting career as a professional wrestler.

Bulletproof (1996) Recap

Jamie

Archie and Keats are BFFs and small-time criminals. Turns out though Keats was actually Carter, an undercover cop looking to use Archie to get to drug kingpin Colton. Now Carter is tasked with bringing Archie to LA to testify against Colton and oooohhhhhh boy… there will be hijinks. Can Carter and Archie beat the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Bulletproof.

How?! Archie is a small-time crook and Keats is the only man he trusts. So of course he wants to get him in on the easy money he can make working for drug kingpin Frank Colton. When the first job rolls around, though, Archie is shocked and dismayed to find out that Keats is Jack Carter (not to be confused with John Carter… who is from Mars), an undercover cop. Things go south quickly and Archie accidentally shoots Carter in the head and escapes. After years of intensive rehab where we see Carter meet and fall in love with his physical therapist (sure that won’t be relevant in any major way), Carter returns to the force. His first job? Escort Archie back to LA to testify against Colton. Carter is pissed, of course. Archie shot him in the head after all. But what should be a simple flight back to LA turns into a fiasco when Colton’s men ambush their plane which ultimately leads to a crash landing in the desert. Carter isn’t having any of Archie’s shenanigans, even though Archie insists that he didn’t mean to shoot him in the head. Ultimately they are able to make their way to a local motel where they spend the night in the honeymoon suite waiting for Carter’s reinforcements. But there must be a mole! Cause Colton’s men catch up with them no problem and only with the help of the motel’s kooky manager are they able to escape. Carter insists that they need to rely on law enforcement, but Archie is sure that Colton has bribed everyone. Archie is proved right when they meet up with the FBI in LA only to have them turn out to be dirty too. They escape again and Carter is finally able to deliver Archie to the police station. A short time later he gets a call from Carter informing him that they’ve kidnapped his GF and to bring Archie if he wants her back. Carter takes Archie to Colton only to find that mole was his GF the whole time! What a twist! There is a climactic battle and Archie takes a bullet for Carter and then kills Colton. Assured that they have enough evidence without Archie and their friendship having been mended, Carter lets Archie go. THE END.

Why?! Huh, I guess I really didn’t think about this when I was watching it. Carter is just doing his job. Colton is a bad guy who wants money and doesn’t want to go to jail. Archie… well he is a criminal because he doesn’t know how to do anything else (according to him). There isn’t any crazy scheme or motivation for anyone. Even Carter and Archie aren’t really looking to mend their friendship. That’s more circumstantial.

Who?! We got a Pro Wrestler Alert! Colton’s main thug is played by Jeep Swenson Jr. who wrestled in the 80’s. He has all kinds of fun trivia about him. Like how he was brought in for a widely panned WCW pay-per-view event as part of the Alliance to End Hulkamania as The Final Solution, and then had to be hastily renamed The Ultimate Solution due to the Nazi context of that name. He also had the Guinness Book record for bicep size. Sadly he was a big time steroid user and died very young.

What?! I do enjoy figuring out what soda is sponsoring our movie of the week. We got ourselves a Pepsi product in Bulletproof. Most prominently we see Carter and Archie sapping on some Slice and Mug Root Beer respectively, while watching a TV with a large Pepsi logo propped up next to it. I love the choices. Too obvious if they are drinking Pepsi, give them something different.

Where?! Solid enough LA movie and made a bit more solid by a clear “Arizona Highway Patrol” arrest for Archie which leads to him having to be transported across state lines to California. Other than the general cop business, though, I wouldn’t say this is a super setting or anything. Just solidly clear. B

When?! The whole story takes place over an unspecified (but probably pretty long) time since Carter has to recover from being shot in the head. But even beyond that I believe we are left in the dark about when everything takes place. Doesn’t help that we are in Arizona and LA where there aren’t any seasons to anchor ourselves to. F

Bulletproof is a shockingly paint-by-numbers buddy cop(ish) film. It’s very similar to 48 Hrs. in the set up, with a cop teamed up with a criminal making for some hijinks. But instead of pairing a foul-mouthed, offensive, not funny cop with a comedian criminal, here they pair two comedians up and it’s just more generally offensive. It is a relic of its times. The homophobic jokes come fast and furious, mostly from Sandler, although some of it seems a little winking. Still, it certainly makes your head spin to see how much of the script relies on something as mundane as the possibility that Wayans and Sandler might have to share a hotel room. Woooaaah. The twist is pretty dumb too, relying on the audience to forget that Wayans happens to always tell his (not so) random physical therapist girlfriend everything that he and Sandler are up to. Although I did kinda like the fakeout where Sandler reveals that he knows the police chief is dirty, prompting Wayans to punch him in the face, only for Sandler to later admit he misheard his name. Anyway, the film is 25 years old, but feels 35, and not nearly fun enough to make up for its problems. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everyone! We got Sandler! We got … wait, I’m getting this strange sense that he’s supposed to be Charles Grodin. Eh, whatever, Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Jamie name dropped 48 Hrs. but I watched Midnight Run a few years ago and as I was watching it I thought “what a second … isn’t there an old Sandler film with an eerily similar premise.” Yes, yes there is. This is one of three Sandler films from the 90s I hadn’t seen. A true rarity. What were my expectations? An unfunny carbon copy of Midnight Run … if I had read Jamie’s thing beforehand maybe I would have thought of 48 Hrs. though.

The Good – There are some Sandler classics in the film. It is a bit bizarre how late into the 90s it came out and just how off the radar it is as a “Sandler” comedy in that regard. Uh … oh man. Here’s the issue. This is a very actor driven film. And I like all of the actors in the film in general. But there might actually not be a film in which these people are given less to do. So I literally think that is it. Best Bit: There are some okay Sandler improvs.

The Bad As usual with bad comedies from the 90s this is mostly a nothing movie that is kind of saved by some EXTREME gay panic. And by saved I mean it is very offensive, but much like The Medallion you can study this film in a museum and be like “yes, quite. Comedy was horrible in the 90s.” That gives it the tiniest bit or worth in the end. But just watch 48 hrs. or Midnight Run. Both are far better and are “80s problematic” which can be a lot more fun that “90s problematic.” Fatal flaw: An unfunny nothing movie.

The BMT – This is a pretty rare breed: I would recommend this to no one. For some people it will be extremely offensive. For those that aren’t offended, the movie isn’t funny and is maybe the worst Sandler film of the 90s (and there are a lot of them). So it does something pretty incredible: it really couldn’t possibly satisfy anyone. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly, yes. It really is just an unfunny version of three different better comedies from the 80s.

Roast-radamus – This must be where Sandler learned his mastery of Product Placement (What?) because there were sodas all over this thing (just kidding, he was always a master, just look at his co-star Snack Pack from Billy Madison). A solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for both Arizona and LA and arguably a decent roadtrip film as well. There actually is a funny MacGuffin (Why?) with the mysterious documents or whatever that Sandler knows about and just so happens to know exactly where in Caan’s mansion they are as well. Amusingly bad Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that the girlfriend was the leak the whole time. And yeah, this is definitely a Bad in my book.

Sequel, Prequel Remake – I mean I can’t resist! We got a BMT Crossover Episode! Because you know that since Wayans was shot in the head that Sasha Petrosevich wants him on the Half Past Dead team. But this is going to be an issue, because you see, Moses isn’t half past dead. So he’s tagging along, and everyone is like “who is this jabroni and why is he here?” So Moses takes it into his own hands and shoots himself in the head … but whoops, he actually killed himself! But God, knowing the Half Past Dead team needs him, sends him down to be the literal angel on Keats’ shoulder. And with the combined one-and-a-half powers of the afterlife on their side they kick some serious butt. Sasha, though, can’t stand Moses, and relegates them to their own division in Seattle. It’s called Half Past Dead: Holy Moses! and it is also a spin-off television series (obviously).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bulletproof (1996) Quiz

Oh man. So I was undercover (because I’m a cop, did I never mention that?) and my best friend / prime suspect got a tad bit angry with me and accidentally shot me in the head! Obviously, I don’t remember a thing now. Do you remember what happened in Bulletproof (1996)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we see Moses and Keats getting themselves in a bit of trouble? What kind of trouble and how do they get out of it?

2) A year later and on the run Moses is caught in Arizona. How was he caught?

3) The bad guys catch up to our heroes three times during the film. Where and how did they know they were there?

4) Why does Keats leave the precinct with Moses and why does he punch his boss in the face?

5) What are they looking for at James Caan’s house?

Bonus Question: Does Moses ever make it back to LA?

Answers

Eraser Recap

Jamie

John Kruger is The Eraser tasked with protecting Lee Cullen from a vast conspiracy of eeevil weapons developers, arms dealers, and *gasp* maybe even his own colleagues in the witness protection agency (spoiler alert). Can he stop all the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Eraser.

How?! John Kruger is a witness protection agent who is all about protecting the good guys and erasing the bad guys. In this case the good guys include Lee Cullen, a whistleblower at a defense contractor who blows the whistle about an experimental rail gun that may or may not be being sold to a big time arms dealer. When she makes off with a copy of the plans all the evildoers get after her real quick. But John won’t let that happen and despite lightspeed bullets flying around is able to get Lee out of there. Erasing her identity, John helps Lee get to a safe house in NYC while he goes off to try to figure out what’s going on. Returning to WITSEC, his friend and colleague Robert tells him their witnesses have been compromised by a mole and they go off to protect them. Little does John know that Robert is in on the conspiracy (what a twist!) and he gets drugged, but not before sending an alert to Lee. Waking up on the plane as it heads into NYC, John is able to get himself and parachute and chute his way out of there. Running off to the Central Park Zoo, where he told Lee to go in case of emergency, he is able to kill a bunch of baddies and get Lee out of there. With the help of one of John’s other witnesses they infiltrate Lee’s workplace where they are able to hack the mainframe and reveal that the big gun deal is going on that night in Baltimore! Luckily they got an in at the docks and they infiltrate the deal. They take down the bad guys in a big climactic scene and bust the conspiracy! But that’s not all, they also kill the guys at the top just when it seems like they might get away with it all. Hooray. THE END.

Why?! I think how Arnold explained it was that they needed a weapon that audiences would understand is real scary. Enter the EM rail gun that totally, definitely shoots aluminum bullets the speed of light… like for sure. The bad guys want to sell it for money. John and Lee want to stop them cause it’s scary (and I get that). Thanks, Arnold.

Who?! While I’d like to make the case that this is the best portrayal of the Deputy Secretary of Defense ever put to film, I think the obvious primary note here is that Vanessa Williams was really a musician-turned-actress. Her debut album was a giant hit and she continued to make music for decades. She didn’t really make her big acting splash until the 90’s.

What?! I feel like Pepsi has been crushing it in the BMT product placements lately. This is a pretty good one too cause it kinda plays into the plot. You see, James Caan hands Arnold a water and he’s all like “oh, thanks.” Then another guy, suddenly feeling parched and liking Arnold’s water drinking moves, swoops in for a bottle of his own and Caan is like no, no, no have this refreshing Pepsi instead. And that’s how the audience knows something dastardly is afoot. More interesting than this rail gun prop, right?

Where?! We jet around a little. Most of the action takes place in Washington D.C. and nearby locations, including Virginia and Baltimore. We get a few scenes in NYC, highlighted by a romp through the zoo. Overall it’s really not bad given the high level advanced weaponry and corruption that is at the heart of the plot. Does feel like D.C. is at least somewhat vital. B+. 

When?! Sometimes you get a sense that it’s not worth pursuing the temporal setting of a film. When I saw that Arnold typed in the command for a computer to tell him when a weapons deal was going to occur and the computer responded “TODAY,” that’s a clue that I need to call it a day on figuring this film out. F… for now.

This movie is real dumbo for sure… but also kind of fine in a big dumb way. Like everything about it is pretty much the stupidest thing you could imagine. To the point where you start to think they were in on the joke. But then you watch an interview with the director and he seems pretty serious about it all. The fact that it was unironically made is incredible and kind of beautiful. The last vestiges of the 80’s crossing the finish line before things started to get a bit tongue in cheek. So thank you Eraser. You are a beautiful masterpiece that the world needs more of… no wait, I’m not finished. Arnold seriously delivers one-liner after one-liner and no one is rolling their eyes at him. I saw Jungle Cruise recently and The Rock does the same thing except everyone has to comment on how bad the lines are. No thank you, give me this pristine piece of unspoilt art. Big fan of Eraser. As for Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe? Hugely disappointed. I was really anticipating this movie but it comes off pretty cheap and while Jesse Ventura is indeed insane, it’s got a whiff of White Comanche about it. Just a one trick pony centered around a robotic, rattail wearing Jesse Ventura. Everything else is just… a cheap movie. Not even a single laser beam shot out of his eye either. Sigh. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Arnold! With got magic lightspeed rail guns! We got a conspiracy that goes right to the … Under Secretary of Defense? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – It is pretty stunning that I had never seen this film. With the enthusiastic review of “super dumb film” by Jamie it was time to pop some popcorn, pop in Eraser, and go on a datenight! Sorry boo, it’s my birthday and we are watching Eraser tonight! What were my expectations? The dumbest movie of all time, but outside of that Arnold being Arnold and flexing and shooting people and making me laugh.

The Good – Arnold flexed, and quipped, and was an American hero, and stopped the lightspeed guns from getting in the Bad Guys’ hands. The second film in a month where someone falls out of an airplane without a parachute and survives. Bad CGI Alligators. A conspiracy. Plausibly offensive caricatures of Italian Americans. Did I mention magic lightspeed guns … at one point I swear to god the person mentions the gun speeds up bullets to nearly the speed of light. THE SPEED OF LIGHT! I think if that were true the Earth’s atmosphere would instantly ignite when it was shot. I’m not joking. Back of the envelope, even pushing the definition of “nearly” and using a normal sized bullet the result would be a large nuclear explosion if the bullet hit the Earth. That’s a bad gun Arnold, you better stop it! Best Bit: Lightspeed guns which somehow don’t destroy all life on Earth in an instant.

The Bad – Nothing, did you read the previous paragraph? This movie is perfection. But I guess if I haaaaaaave to say something bad about the film. The CGI alligators, in addition to being rad and having major ‘tudes, look terrible, and some people might say that that is bad. And yeah, fine, the whole “let’s kidnap the damsel in distress just to make sure the good guy HAS to come and stop us for sure” is a terrible plan. And yes, the idea that the Under Secretary of Defense wants to sell magic guns which can kill instantly at range to literal terrorists … I mean, how could that possible bite the US in the ass, right? In other words, fine … this is the dumbest film of all time. But is that actually bad? Fatal Flaw: You will lose IQ points watching this film, but sacrifices must be made in the name of art.

The BMT – The film is extremely amusing, and quintessentially 90s action schlock. In that sense it is great. In another sense it definitely makes you think “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.” And in a final sense, I miss vintage Arnold, we really don’t get action stars like him and Sly anymore, pumping out ridiculous one-off hits on their personal brand. It’s great. Did it meet my expectations? Exceeded them. I think it helps that the film isn’t actually that bad. Even critically it was pretty well received. It is just exceedingly dumb. But that’s fine. I’m pretty convinced this movie would get in the 50s or 60s on Rotten Tomatoes today. People had higher standards for films back then.

Roast-radamus – Literally wall to wall Product Placement (What?) with AT&T, Pepsi, and multiple random water companies, which was really some wild stuff. Unfortunately this is practically a roadtrip film. I would have liked it to get a good DC setting, but it doesn’t really qualify in that regard. Same goes with the MacGuffin, if they had kept the guns a secret instead of busting it out early it would have worked better. I will give a Worst Twist (How?) nod for the reveal of James Caan as the bad US Marshal. BMT for sure.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – We have to do it, it’s a BMT Crossover Episode! Sasha Petrosevitch is in trouble, he might be half past dead, but he would really like to not be whole past dead after he witnesses the murder of the President of the United States by the Vice President himself! Well, here comes Anold and Vanessa to save the day! They put Sasha into witness protection … in future Alcatraz! Whoa, deja vu! But Arnold then learns that the Vice President has put out a black market full amnesty for anyone who can kill Sasha, which means it is an all out war among the death row inmates to kill Sasha first! Arnold and Vanessa need to infiltrate the island prison a la The Rock, and meanwhile Sasha needs to survive a prison riot a la Half Past Dead 2! At the end of the film they take down the president and Sasha reveals that Arnold and Vanessa are half past dead due to the exploits of Eraser, and they become the Erasers for the crew. Half Past Erased: Back to the Rock. I have to start compiling this into a set of films, because in reality once I hit around 23 I’m going to pitch it as a television series to CBS.

Bring a Friend Analysis – A pretty interesting one it would seem with Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe. It stars Jesse Ventura who is absolutely awwwwwwwwful in the film. I was shocked, because wasn’t he in other actual films like Predator? I don’t remember thinking he was especially bad in the beginning of that. But here he may have already crossed the rubicon to insanity, because his choices in this film are not the choices of a normal human being. The film is surprisingly low budget for what I had imagined prior to watching. And in the end it is a simplistic Terminator knock-off. There is really not much to it. The cameo by Belushi (who was married to the star of the film) is off the wall, he plays a principal who is very insensitive while trying to pull the mute child out of school because people are bullying him … okaaaaay. That is pretty much how we thought of things in the 90s huh? Fun Christmas film though, and slightly amusing to watch Ventura “act”. C+. Mostly it suffers by not living up to expectations. How can Jesse Ventura and Arnold’s stunt double both be so bad at acting?

You Just Got Schooled – Incredibly this film doesn’t have a television remake. Even more incredibly it does have a really really bad Full Motion Video rail shooter released in 1998 that barely works! It’s called Eraser – Turnabout, and once again I had to obtain cd iso rips from the original game. This time I had to very specifically get a Pentium MMX chip, and also (and this is important) turn off the DirectX hardware acceleration! It took me ages to figure that out. It doesn’t break the game, but it does make the images/movies flash weirdly and makes the game very unpleasant to play. Well … the game is always unpleasant to play. There are a series of different bits to the game. It starts off a little like a standard arcade shooter, but then moves into a rail shooter (more like Area 51 if you remember that game). Very much like the Virus game for the Playstation it is mindbending that anything like this would have ever been made. Who is the audience? People who can be tricked into buying it by accident? It only ever got reviewed in German magazines, so maybe it was literally just a fake tie-in to leverage the mega-stardom of Arnold in second markets … but he isn’t even in it? F. Would not recommend it on any level (unless you are trying to teach yourself about emulating old-school PCs from the late 90s).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Eraser Quiz

Oh man, so here’s the thing. I went into witness protection, which was great because I have this really fun handler named John Kruger. He’s great. But then some high up government people broke into my house and bopped me right on the head! Now I can’t remember a thing … my memory has been erased! Wait, is that why they call this movie Eraser? I honestly can’t remember. Do you remember what happened in Eraser?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams) is working with the FBI to take down Cyrez, a defense contractor. What weapon has Cyrez developed and what illegal thing are they doing with it?

2) John Kruger (Arnold Schwarzeneggar) is a U.S. Marshal for the Witness Security Protection Program (WITSEC). Where does Kruger stash Lee, and where are they to meet if something bad happens?

3) Welp, something bad happened! A bunch of witnesses are getting killed across the country. Why, and who is doing it?

4) Why do Lee and Kruger have to break back into Cyrez and how do they do it?

5) The final showdown is in what city, and how does the witness Johnny Casteleone help Kruger to take down the bad guys? What ultimately happens to the bad guys?

Bonus Question: Where does Lee end up after the final testimony in the treason trial against the Under Secretary of Defense?

Answers