Mile 22 Recap

Jamie

CIA operative James Silva is totally smart. Way smarter than anyone else so when the US government needs someone to escort a highly valuable source out of an unstable country in order to locate some radioactive material they know who to call. Can Silva and his team find the material before it’s too late? Find out in… Mile 22.

How?! James Silva leads a team of total assholes/badasses. They don’t have time for character development, they’re a little busy saving the world. You OK with that? No? Then fuck you. His team leads a raid on a secret Russian spy bunker where they kill a whole bunch of people including a young guy who’s ominously like “you’ll regret this,” and Silva is like “I regret nothing… ever… because I have no emotions.” Anyway in the process they lose critical information on locating a dangerous radioactive material. Months later they are still trying to find that material and one of the team’s sources seems to totally bone them with a false lead. This dude shows up and claims that everything he has said is correct and if they get him out of the country he’ll give them the location of the rest of the material. He shows them proof that he knows where the material is and then proves that he’s pretty important by showing off some ninja moves against a couple of assassins. They decide to move him and need to get him 22 miles to the nearest airbase. You know what happens next. That’s right, they are compromised and their caravan is attacked. They then head to a safe house that is also compromised and they are attacked. They head into an apartment building which is compromised and they are attacked and the source demonstrates his loyalty by helping them escape. Finally they blow up everyone and crush their enemies only to find out that the source is a triple agent! Oh no, what a twist! He is actually working for Russia who wanted to nail Silva’s team for the death of that young guy that Silva killed who was also the son of a general. We end on a cliffhanger where Silva is all alone and he’s like “I’ll 100% kill you, triple agent, in the sequel. No need to resolve anything here.” THE END.

Why?! For a film predicated on the idea that you don’t know who to trust or what is real in this cat and mouse game of CIA trickery it sure does airmail a couple of things. We get an extended opening where Silva is shown killing a young man who utters the ominous prediction that he will regret his actions. Are we then supposed to forget this happened for the rest of the film? Because (surprise, surprise) this turns out to be the ENTIRE MOTIVATION for the enemy in the film. Yeah, duh. You may be wondering what Silva’s motivation is in the film. Simple: he has no motivation because he is a crazy obsessive who just screams and swears at everyone all the time.

Who?! God imagine if this film had a Planchet. Just some super helpful chubby dude that Silva spends the movie yelling at and calling an idiot. What I wouldn’t give. But obviously the main thing is that this is the second Ronda Rousey film we’ve done for BMT after Expendables 3. Soon to be three when we watch the Entourage film.

What?! As noted in a number of reviews for this film it has one of the weirdest product placements I can remember. One of the members of the team is a divorced mom and is shown using a shared custody app called OurFamilyWizard. I had assumed it was fake since they even made up the country they were in but nope. Real thing. Don’t ask me why this was featured so prominently. And I can’t imagine they paid for it since the character spends the whole movie talking about how much she hates it.

Where?! Opens in the United States and ends with some brief scenes in Colombia, but spends a vast majority of the film in the fictional country of Indocarr. I loved how specific they were with this fictional country that I think we’ll eventually do a cycle where we travel from fictional country to fictional country. Not sure there are enough of them, but we can find out. Incomplete.

When?! We can see on the surveillance cameras that Silva’s team uses that it’s 9/6/2018. There was some question of whether month or day comes first, but considering this is equipment used by a US black ops force I would guess that it’s indeed September. Nice exact date, although not super obvious or anything. B.

I actually somewhat enjoyed Mile 22. I guess I can understand why people were made uncomfortable by the semi right wing undertones of the film (similar to how the television show 24 just wouldn’t work the same way today as it did in the early 2000’s). But this is no Death Wish who’s foundation is built on the positives of vigilante justice and veiled racism. It’s fantasy spy shit with characters who have a license to kill. I liked the action, I liked how shockingly short it was, and I liked the balls to 100% without a doubt set up a sequel. There is literally no resolution to the story. They dared audiences not to gobble this up and ask for more (and they did not). They really misjudged the appetite in today’s world for this kind of stuff. Anyway, I think the film is a fine suspense action film despite an intensely unlikeable main character and a final “twist” airmailed from miles away. Though, I can understand the difficulty for the reviewers who have to review films that have morals they do not agree with. Much like every show on CBS this proposes a world where national security justifies any amount of violence and criminal actions. If you don’t agree with that are you supposed to ignore it… seems impossible. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Mark Wahlberg is a totally badass foul-mouthed off-the-radar agent who is super good at (1) his job and (2) being totally duped by Russia … wait a second! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Naturally I couldn’t get that RogerEbert.com review out of my head. Is is just jingoistic nonsense? It is downright gun-loving super violence? Is it just the film we’ll point to where Peter Berg started to direct straight-to-VOD Seagal films? It did take this from “ho hum, another Mark Wahlberg film” territory, to “wait a goddamn second am I about to watch alt-right propaganda?” which was I guess … interesting.

The Good – Almost nothing. If martial arts and gratuitous violence is your thing then go for it, this movie was made for you. But, it is not my thing and I hated basically every moment of this film. So let’s just skip to the next section.

The Bad – Almost everything! So am I supposed to think Mark Wahlberg is good at his job? Because if he isn’t I’m not sure why everyone puts up with his garbage ‘tude to be honest. He’s a stone cold asshole. And I think I’m supposed to think he’s good at his job … but then he is totally duped by Comrade Martial Arts? It all felt like a “whoops, our movie feels like a shitty Seagal film, well what about we make a little twist?”, but is kind of fails because the twist completely sacrifices the invincibility of the Wahlberg character, which is the only trait that would make him remotely tolerable! I’m going to say it: dog poo in my face. Probably specifically for me, but I found the film intolerable from start to finish.

You Just Got Schooled – Looking over the list of fictional countries (as Jamie points out this film takes place in Indocarr, a fictional country not yet on this list) it is interesting that we have seemingly not watched a single BMT film set in a fictional country. Now, this is unlikely, but possible. Interestingly for Expendables (not BMT, only Expendables 3 is BMT qualifying) we did visit the island nation of Vilena (also weirdly not on the list). But hey wait a minute … Expendables 3 has some sort of involvement with the government of Azmenistan … which isn’t as place. This list is hoooooorseshiiiiiit.

The BMT – Berg and Wahlberg films I think are now on the radar for future projects, just like Wahlberg comedies are all pretty terrible these days. It adds nicely to the repertoire of gun-loving action films as well, which is always an interesting sub-genre/culture to explore for me.

Welcome to Earf – Ronda Rousey is in Mile 22 and Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – Genuinely I am shocked that I can’t find 22 Miles on any worst of lists. I think in retrospect it might get some play because of the big names, although now looking at Jamie’s review perhaps people just tolerated it more than me? It also has an almost zero percent chance at a Razzie since it isn’t even on the shortlist (and write-ins never work). I would smash Wahlberg for Worst Actor and Berg for Worst Director if I was still a voting member, but I am not.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mile 22 Preview

Jamie and Patrick argue over the twist ending for their YA novel, The Platonic Solids Series Part 1: Outside the Box. They know they’ve transformed Briggs’ has-been crime novel into a totally lit YA banger for the gucci crowd, but they need the ending to really pop. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone has been forced to conform due to a rash of deaths caused by kids not conforming. They all live in small, boxy apartments when they turn 18 and they get assigned a job. But Jewel is different. She wants to conform but like… can’t. And when she gets assigned a blank card on job day the government comes for her. Oh no! Leaving her box she finds safety in a small army of revolutionaries just like her… but still totally different. They want her to lead, but she can’t, right? She’s just little ol’ Jewel. And she definitely can’t have two smoking hot dudes totally into her for all the right reasons, right? WRONG, because it turns out she’s got all the right moves! Also one of those dudes is a swamp monster. Anyway, Jamie definitely wants Gregor (the non-swamp monster) to turn out to be the son of the Job Decider thus tearing the revolution apart and bringing home astute points about prejudice and individualism. But Patrick is Team Kelton (the swamp monster) and loves the danger he brings to the story, so he wants Jewel and Kelton to succumb to their desires only for him to lose control and kill Gregor’s sister. Suddenly they look at each other. “Why not both?” And with their twin brain powers combined they finish their masterpiece and set up nicely for a trilogy. “It will be my greatest book yet,” Patrick says with tears in his eyes. Suddenly he turns serious. “Jamie, we must succeed. There are spies everywhere, but we cannot fail in getting this book to my publisher.” Shaking, Jamie asks how far they must get this most valuable asset to safety. That’s right! We’re watching Mile 22 starring America, babbbby. It’s about a bunch of badasses doing badass things… honestly I have no idea what this is about. It seems like just an excuse for Wahlberg to shoot and punch things. I’m in. Let’s go!

Mile 22 (2018) – BMeTric: 27.5

Mile22_BMeT

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(Staying steady at 6.1 which isn’t exactly average (for big movies it is decidedly below average), but I consider anything below 6.5 to be borderline. This is boosted by being pretty popular given it was released less than a year ago.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars –  The action is intercut with shots of Wahlberg in a suit and tie, speaking in a conference room, talking about “chaos” and how none of you know what the word “collusion” really means. It seems that in the aftermath of this mission, Jimmy decided to try and compete with Jordan Peterson’s YouTube videos. No, that’s not it. … Also interesting is that Malkovich is compelled to trot out an old H.L. Mencken quote about raising the black flag and slitting throats, which is also the motto of well-known pseudonymous right-wing blogger. … So the movie often felt to me like “The Gauntlet” as rewritten by a Breitbart News bot. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. But what if I were? I guess I’d hear about it in comments.

(Wait … what the fuck? Did we just stumble into Death Wish 2? I know I shouldn’t be surprised that what amounts to action gun porn might also tend towards right-wing talking points, but what is this reviewer talking about exactly? And he gave it 2.5 out of 4! He basically says: this might dog whistle a bunch of alt-right bullshit, but eh … above average [NOTE: As a note below indicates, the quote is in the book Friday Night Lights, and thus is likely where Peter Berg got it from. Although not a great look to put it in your movie in 2018 IMO]. What is happening? Anyways, hopefully it is just kind of “yeah the show 24 goes out of its way to defend torture and sometimes feels like propaganda but … it is pretty rad.” Or the reviewer is making a joke … it does kind of read like he just hated the film for personally reasons and wants to make his distaste abundantly clear while admitting it is an average film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJU6S5KOsNI

(Huh, I think this is just the second Ronda Rousey film we’ve seen for BMT after Expendables 3. But quite the shock to see her in this. I think I’m going to hate this film. Him saying “I get shit done” while being portrayed as a badass psycho makes my skin crawl.)

Directors – Peter Berg – (Known For: Deepwater Horizon; Lone Survivor; Patriots Day; Hancock; Friday Night Lights; The Kingdom; Welcome to the Jungle; Very Bad Things; BMT: Battleship; Mile 22; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Battleship in 2013; Notes: Quite a good track record all things considered. Was actually a pretty big actor back in the day starring in Fire in the Sky and was on Chicago Hope for four years. Still acts, he’s the Dolphins coach in seven episodes of Ballers.)

Writers – Lea Carpenter (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Wrote her first book, Eleven Days, on a dare. Seems like she currently works for the New York Public Library.)

Graham Roland (story by) – (BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Wrote the recent Jack Ryan television series in addition to on other television series like Lost. A former Marine.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: Instant Family; The Departed; Boogie Nights; Shooter; All the Money in the World; The Other Guys; Ted; Deepwater Horizon; Lone Survivor; The Fighter; Patriots Day; Pain & Gain; 2 Guns; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Ted 2; Planet of the Apes; The Basketball Diaries; The Gambler; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home Two; Mojave; Daddy’s Home; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Max Payne; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Mile 22; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; and in 2018 for Daddy’s Home Two, and Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: A subtle BMT all-star. Marky Mark back in the day, Entourage is somewhat based on his life moving to LA and becoming a mega-star. Ridiculously successful person.)

Lauren Cohan – (Known For: Casanova; Future BMT: Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj; All Eyez on Me; The Boy; Collection; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Probably most well known for The Walking Dead where she appeared in 113 episodes. Was born in New Jersey, but lived in England most of her life and has a British accent.)

Iko Uwais – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; The Night Comes for Us; The Raid; Beyond Skyline; Serbuan maut 2: Berandal; Headshot; Man of Tai Chi; BMT: Mile 22; Notes: Star of The Raid, he maybe played pro soccer in Jakarta … it is hard to tell whether he was a professional or not.)

Budget/Gross – $35–60 million / Domestic: $36,108,758 (Worldwide: $66,308,758)

(Very not good. Looking through his recent box office performances the big ones tend to be either comedies like Daddy’s Home, or Transformers films, so I imagine there will come a time where Wahlberg features will cease to be. Unless he turns out another hit in the next few years)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (39/168): Mile 22 lets the bullets fly — and not much else — in a thrill-deficient action thriller whose title proves sadly fitting for a film that feels close to a marathon endurance test.

(No. Not thrill deficient! Anything but that. I want it to actually be just too much thrills. 0%: Too much thrills, I was too thrilled, I hated it. That would be the perfect score. The reviewers seem to agree it is super confusing which might be fun. Reviewer Highlight: …gruesome, action-packed, explosion-filled and [a] convoluted mess… – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Pixel Art: The Movie (B)

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(I wish it wasn’t so drab, but it gives me a lot of what I want. Stylized font, overall balance and feng shui, and telling me what it’s all about (Wahlberg with a gun). I just need more of that red to pull it all together.)

Tagline(s) – Option 1: Diplomacy. Option 2: Military. Meet Option 3. (C+)

(Wow. That really doesn’t flow at all. You can see why they wanted to make it work, pretty well sums up the film in a clever way, but it doesn’t sound right in my brain. I think all the words don’t match correctly with what they are trying to say. Like shouldn’t it be diplomacy vs. war or force… not military? Also is “option” even the right word? Kinda implies that they are all on the table at once rather than attempted in succession. Finally the word “meet” sounds a little cute for a lethal military force… Everything is right about this tagline in the worst possible way.)

Keyword(s) – hand grenade; Top Ten by BMeTric: 91.9 Son of the Mask (2005); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.8 House of the Dead (2003); 87.8 Street Fighter (1994); 84.9 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 82.6 Barb Wire (1996); 73.3 Far Cry (2008); 71.0 The Spirit (2008);

(Son of Mask has a hand grenade in it? … Cool I guess. The rest of these films are garbage except for maybe The Spirit which I’ve seen part of and is honestly one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. We have to do that one at some point, it is so bad.)

Notes – On March 28, 2017 at CinemaCon, Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg announced that they were planning Mile 22 (2018) to become a trilogy, describing “an action franchise at STX Entertainment.” (I imagine that isn’t happening anymore. It didn’t do as well as it needed to do I don’t think)

On February 5, 2018, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos showed up during filming in one of the locations in Colombia. Director Peter Berg even had President Santos try to shoot one of the action sequence of the film.

Mark Wahlberg’s character stated, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” The quote is attributable to English author George Orwell.

The script was written with Mark Wahlberg in mind. (It is Peter Berg after all)

During Dougie’s last stand, Bishop quotes “A Man Must Sometimes Spit On His Hands, Raise The Black Flag, And Begin Slicing Throats”. This is from the 1990 book Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger, which Peter Berg adapted into the 2004 film and 2006 TV series. The quote, from Mencken’s 1919 Prejudices (First Series), is in full: “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” (Oh … Why is the Roger Ebert reviewer concerned about this then? If it is directly from a previously-adapted book-to-film by Berg?)

At approximately 24 min, a shot shows “Moscow, Russia” and a view of an airport. The latitude/longitude indicated are roughly that of the Kremlin. The presumably Russian airfield is actually Long Beach Airport (LGB) There are 3 C-17s in the center of the shot and 2 JetBlue A320/A321 aircraft in the upper right. In the upper left is the moored Farmers Insurance airship. The airship, with an actual name of Eureka, was operated by Airship Ventures, which shut down in 2012. The airship was disassembled and returned to the manufacturer shortly thereafter. This suggests that the shot is stock footage from 2008 – 2012, depending on when Farmers was using the particular livery on the airship in the scene (there were several). Lastly, the footage runs in reverse (note the direction the vehicles are driving) to make the shot pan back rather than forward. (Holy shit. Facts!)

Some of the sentences heard from the screams of the antagonists are in Bahasa Indonesian, a national language of Indonesian Republic. The movie setting is “Indokarr,” a fictional analog of Indonesia. (Wait … it is set in a fictional country … but why?)

The film was pushed back two weeks from its original release date of August 3, 2018 to August 17, 2018. (That isn’t being pushed back. That is tactically moving your movie out of the path of other films I would think. Either trying to get on the other side of The Meg, or clearing out of The Spy Who Dumped Me which could be thought of as having a similar spy theme)

Exit Wounds Recap

Jamie

Orin Boyd is a Detroit police officer sent to the beat after one too many police brutality complains (coooool). He starts to have run-ins with crime lord Latrell Walker, but soon realizes that it’s actually a group of corrupt cops he has to worry about. Will he be able to stop the bad guys (and perhaps get a new best friend) before it’s too late? Find out in… Exit Wounds.

How?! Orin Boyd don’t take guff from nobody, plays by his own rules, and is a lone wolf unwilling to compromise in taking down the bad guys. When he saves the Vice President from a major terrorist assassination attempt he is demoted and sent to the 15th precinct (ugh, the 15th. The worst, right?). Read that again… there is a major assassination plot against the VP that is pretty much successful except Boyd rides up and saves the VP and kills the bad guys… and this is a problem. Anyway, when he gets to the 15th he ends up breaking up a drug deal which turns out to be a sting operation (or is it?) and immediately butts heads with the big dogs in the department. Despite another demotion he starts hot on the trail of Latrell Walker, the guy involved in the drug deal. He tracks Latrell back to a meeting at the local jail with his brother and finds out that he isn’t a criminal at all but a computer genius who is independently collecting evidence against the cadre of corrupt cops. These cops attempt to kill Boyd, but he escapes, strikes a deal with Latrell to help take them down, and meets with his boss to tell her what’s up. At this meeting they are attacked and his boss is killed so Boyd decides it’s time to take out all those MFers out. They go to a warehouse for The Big Deal where everything goes wrong and there are several double crosses (what a twist!). They fight it out with karate, all the bad guys are killed, Latrell gives them all the evidence, and his brother is freed. THE END.

Why?! Boyd operates under the common film cop matra that all is fair in taking down the bad guys. We literally see a meeting where his boss laments the multiple police brutality complaints he has gotten in the last year and the fact that he ignores the law in the line of duty… that ain’t good, bro. Latrell’s motivations are more interesting, although still pretty simple. His brother was framed for a large drug deal gone wrong when the crooked cops involved needed a fall guy. Latrell, being a dotcom billionaire computer genius, pays for a new identity and gets involved with these cops in order to exonerate his bro. The cops want to make money because they are tired of all the bad guys getting rich while they toil away and don’t get rich… this is also a very common crooked cop trope which we recently saw in The Underclassman.

Who?! Anthony Anderson’s character T.K. is a pretty solid example of a Planchet. He is kinda chubby, well-meaning, helps out his bro and what does he get in return: near constant ridicule. Also an unexpected Secret Twin Film with a cameo by The Tiger Twins as a couple of twin street thugs. Interestingly they choose not to use their twin powers to easily dispatch Seagal. How kind. Finally, on a sad note, this is one of a number of films we’ve come across marred by a major stunt accident. In this case Chris Lamon was killed during a stunt where he was supposed to roll out of a speeding van. Something went wrong and he ended up dying and another stunt man got a concussion. These stories always make me sad.

What?! Big shoutout to a primo example of a Hollywood badass bar run by T.K. It’s bright, it’s got girls dancing in cages, it looks like it was built in a bank, it’s everything. There is also a bunch of product placement (Latrell is identified in a video by his fancy TAG watch, Boyd’s new partner has trouble getting his nice refreshing afternoon pepsi when he’s first introduced, etc.). But my personal favorite thing in the film was probably the first and only Chekov’s Industrial Paper Cutter. We are briefly shown a very large paper cutter in a warehouse where the climax of the film is certain to take place and I thought, “Someone is fighting with that paper cutter like it’s a samurai sword.” Correct on all counts. Perfect.

Where?! Detroit through and through (although filmed in Canada). The film even opens with the Vice President of the US welcoming everyone to Detroit in a speech he’s giving… you know before Seagal saves him from a crazy huge assassination attempt that legitimately involved a couple dozen armed assailants. B+.

When?! Prepare yourself, because this is the greatest time setting of all time. While tracking DMX, Seagal finds a county jail pass in the garbage that explicitly says that DMX visited his brother on 9/9/01… two days prior to the events of the majority of the film. Let that sink in. The film takes place on September 11, 2001… and no one notices in the Detroit Police Department. Seagal certainly wouldn’t have had the time to track down corrupt cops in the wake of the most significant terrorist attack in US history. Gotta be an alternate timeline. B-.

Exit Wounds is silly and a lot of fun to watch. Steven Seagal is straight-up ridiculous and it’s crazy that all the way up to 2000 he was considered an actual actor that you would put in a major motion picture. His character continually makes light of police brutality and is legit a bad guy (except that all the other cops are much worse). He’s more like a workaday, punch-in punch-out kind of bad person. It’s funny too because from the start DMX is a much more likable and good person, to the point where when it is shockingly revealed that he is actually a good person I was totally unsurprised. It was obvious, but perhaps not as obvious in 2000?… or maybe it was just very poorly written. Hard to tell. Anyway, a little dumb fun for BMT can go a long way. As for Samurai Cop, I was definitely getting a distinct The Room vibe from it. There is crazy art on the wall that’s super distracting, offices that are supposed to be hospitals, terrible sound issues, crazy reaction shots by a plethora of terrible actors, boobs everywhere, lots of dick jokes (on a positive note), and a strain of racism that after watching a number of Z-movies for this cycle seems more or less standard. It’s kooky to the point where I actually started to wonder whether The Room was inspired by it or some kind of parody… but then I remembered that Tommy Wiseau is a crazy person and so that’s almost definitely not the case. Anyway, it was super weird. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Steven Seagal plays a badass cop who likes to beat people up and teaches us a valuable lesson: violence is awesome. DMX is a tech billionaire just looking for justice. It is the buddy cop pair you’ve been waiting for! Let’s go!

The Good – Seagal is a lot more normal than one would expect … like he seems like an actor, not a fake person wearing a Steven Seagal suit. The twists and turns are on occasion interesting (like Seagal’s boss getting killed in a car crash is shocking and brutal). The entire story isn’t as gross as you would expect. By the early 2000s I actually expected Seagal already going full blown “the only people who watch these films just want to see me literally blow someone’s head off with a gun so … there we go”. It is not, frankly it is pretty much about police corruption with a dash of “this guy just wants to do right and just can’t catch a break”. Which … is fine I guess.

P’s View on the Preview – Steven Seagal baby. We rarely watch JCVD or Seagal films. Partially because anything after … well Exit Wounds really, is 100% going to be trash. This is the last Seagal film released to theaters, which is astonishing given it made like $80 million, so I was ready to realize why they dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

The Bad – The more I think about the film the more I realize that it is profoundly terrible. Seagal’s character is ridiculous, basically someone who loves to beat the shit out of people, and people love to love him for beating the shit out of people. The story really makes no sense, with DMX being some tech billionaire pretending to … commit horrible felonies to prove cops are corrupt? Great plan bozo. The final fight is just straight bonkers. And the cast makes me upset. Seagal is a Russian shill. DMX went to prison for tax fraud. Isaiah Washington is likely a bigot. Anthony Anderson proooobably raped some people. And Tom Arnold … is weirdly the best of the bunch. WTF bros!?

You Just Got Schooled – There isn’t much about this film as far as online footprint is concerned. So let’s do a little analysis. There are 173 films listed under Martial Arts on Box Office Mojo. Of those 59 films officially qualify by having <40% on Rotten Tomatoes for an astonishing 34% rate. That isn’t the whole story though, there are only 105 wide releases, of which 55 (!) qualify, that’s over 50% of wide release martial arts films! That is nuts. For Seagal he has an interesting career. He made a few terrible films in the early 90s before hitting it semi-big with Under Siege. He then released a terrible film every year from 1994 to 1998, only releasing Executive Decision in 1996 as a good film. He was evidently forced into a break before releasing a flurry of films in the early 2000s (including Exit Wounds). Since then he only recently started to get his straight-to-VOD garbage reviewed again, but that is almost as a fat-seagal irony at this point. Known for his aikido, rumors fly of his actual martial arts acumen, but everyone generally agrees concerning his films: they are garbage. Like most of the martial arts films in general.

The BMT – I think we are working through Seagal films. I don’t think there is much more to say about it. There are certainly better Seagal BMTs. And in general his films don’t really need to be watched. This was fine. I was fine with it. I was just fine with it! Stop asking jeez.

Welcome to Earf – Steven Seagal is in On Deadly Ground with Michael Caine, who is in Get Carter with Sly Stallone, who is in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who is in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who is in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!!!!

StreetCreditReport.com – So it certainly is not considered his best … otherwise this doesn’t even come up. The previous link even mentions how indeed no one ever remembers this film which is also not well regarded. And yet this film made $80 million worldwide. … $80 million.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For this friend we watched another martial arts cop film, Samurai Cop. Fact, Samurai Cop is strangely entertaining. Fact, Samurai Cop is genuinely racist and disgustingly misogynistic. Fact, it looks like crap. And yet … weirdly entertaining. It actually kind of hits all of the boxes, it just isn’t really consistently entertaining to get the full A, but a clean A-. It is weird enough to be entertaining. But not unpleasant enough to make me want to never watch it again. Just lags a bit near the end. I’ve been very very impressed with our slate of friends this cycle. I think we’ve have mostly A’s and B’s … those are films we are willing to watch again! That is crazy. These films are barely there, and yet I would show them to friends. That’s saying something.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Exit Wounds Preview

“Where are we going?” Jamie says as he drags the corpse of Frang through the forest with hologram wolves nipping at his heels. Captain Chip strides boldly where he has presumably gone before with The Predator snacking on some Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell behind him. Suddenly a massive spaceship comes into view. “Here it is. Now tell me where to point this thing,” Captain Chip says, one arm slung over the shoulder of his new bro, The Predator. “We’re trying to find a Little Old Librarian before she can use a weapon called the Ivory Socket.” Captain Chip’s mouth falls open, “did you say Little Old Librarian? Finally revenge shall be mine,” he exclaims with a gleam in his eye. We all pile into the spaceship and off zoom into the stratosphere. Focused for mere moments, Captain Chip and The Predator are soon competing to see who can zoom the fastest across the nighttime sky. While they are preoccupied Jamie wonders to himself how the world has turned so upside down. Could the impact of the Obsidian Dongle’s destruction have caused more problems than first imagined? Also, why are these hologram wolves so sexy? Suddenly there are flashing lights behind the spaceship and a police rocket pulls them to the side. When the Space Cops approach the window and ask why they were going so fast Jamie spills the beans about their urgent mission to defeat the Little Old Librarian. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Says one of the Space Cops to the other, “That sounds like our girl, Jacobs.” Jacobs leans closer, “you may know her as the Little Old Librarian, but we know her as Officer Libby… the dirtiest Space Cop in the universe.” That’s right! We’re watching Exit Wounds starring Steven Seagal and DMX. I honestly have no idea what it’s about. All I know is that it stars a soon-to-be past his prime Steven Seagal and DMX and Tom Arnold and seems to have been created in a BMT lab. This is the Games portion of the cycle as this film is on the Calendar for March 16th. Oh, glorious day. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones ride out into the desert. “It is weird that we don’t really see anyone else around, right? People have to live here, like … actors?” Patrick still didn’t really understand how the Z-movie multiverse worked. Stones’ eyes well up with tears. “Gosh dern it, they do. But they all end up like us. They can’t help but end up like us.” Sticks growls a woeful assent. “You mean, cops?” Patrick says dumbly, like a real dummy he has no idea. What a fool! Just then glowing alien ships begin to descend. “There they are, aliens for sure” says the truck driver. Large spotlights roam the sky, clearly projected from a nearby airbase, a group of people dance a mesmerizing dance a few hundred yards away. As the truck driver whoops and howls, stripping his clothes off to frolic in the desert, Patrick begins to follow. “Naw, it ain’t worth it son.” Stones says, “We just need to get to LA. No time for fake alien gobbledygook. Gosh dern it, it is enough to drive a man insane I tells ya.” Patrick begins to scramble back into the truck. “No. We don’t need that anymore” Sticks growls. Sticks and Stone gaze at Patrick with an insane look. “Use your twin powers,” they say in creepy unison, their eyes glazing over, doll-like and hard. Patrick laughs, “You guys are real weird,” and zap, they are in Los Angeles on a police precinct set, papers blowing around them, the din of the criminals raging against the overwhelmed cops ringing in the distance. Outside there is a very tall black police officer, and a white officer with a katana. “Gosh dern it, it’s Wash and Hoops. I … I, uh, owe them money, let’s go around the back.” Sticks says quickly. That’s right! We’re also watching Samurai Cop!

Exit Wounds (2001) – BMeTric: 45.8

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(The fact that it went down first is pretty amusing. It is basically: Phase 1 – Seagal-heads watch it and think “this is pretty bad”, Phase 2 – Regular action fans get a hold of it and think “this is really bad”, Phase 3 – Regular people get a hold of it and basically think “a bad rating is 6 stars right? I’ll give it that”.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Blah actioner with aging, ever-wooden Seagal playing a tough loner cop who tangles with some on-the-take colleagues. Rapper DMX adds life to the proceedings as a mysterious drug entrepreneur. All too familiar, but the target audience might not mind.

(Give me ‘dem hyphens Leonard!! I’m heartened to hear DMX brings some life to the film. There is a reason we tend not to do Seagal films (they are usually garbage), so maybe there is some special sauce here.)

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

(Wholley spoils the twist of the film! WHAT THE HELL BRO?! Also they frame the story incorrectly. When he says that DMX worked for internal affairs he isn’t actually talking to DMX, he’s talking to someone else. Such a weird trailer.)

Directors – Andrzej Bartkowiak – (BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Doom; Exit Wounds; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Notes: We did it boys, we finished Andrzej Bartkowiak’s BMT filmography. Seems to be a very accomplished cinematographer when he isn’t directing garbage.)

Writers – Ed Horowitz (screenplay) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Notes: You can see his full resume online, he did a bunch of theater more recently in California, so possible that is kind of what he does now.)

Richard D’Ovidio (screenplay) – (Known For: The Call; Future BMT: Gallows Hill; The Forger; BMT: Thir13en Ghosts; Exit Wounds; Notes: Went to UMass where he got a degree in Economics.)

John Westermann (novel) – (BMT: Exit Wounds; Notes: I don’t understand. The book this movie is based on is free, doesn’t have any reviews on Amazon, and doesn’t have a plot summary anywhere … why was this even optioned?!)

Actors – Steven Seagal – (Known For: Machete; Under Siege; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Future BMT: The Patriot; Half Past Dead; The Foreigner; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; The Glimmer Man; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Out for Justice; Contract to Kill; China Salesman; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Fire Down Below; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: He is effectively a Russian citizen now … somehow not at all shocking.)

DMX – (Known For: Top Five; Future BMT: Belly; BMT: Exit Wounds; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Never Die Alone; Notes: Just got released from prison having served a one year sentence in a tax fraud case.)

Isaiah Washington – (Known For: Out of Sight; Dead Presidents; True Crime; Clockers; Bulworth; Crooklyn; Love Jones; Welcome to Collinwood; Dead Birds; The Washington Snipers; Get on the Bus; Stonewall; Go for Sisters; Future BMT: Girl 6; Strictly Business; The Moguls; BMT:Hollywood Homicide; Ghost Ship; Exit Wounds; Romeo Must Die; Notes: My God, this cast is just filled with amazing people. Anyways, Mo’Nique just released a video where she claims she has evidence that Isaiah Washington was blackballed from Grey’s Anatomy based on a lie. Juicy. I’ll save judgement until I see the evidence I guess.)

Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $51,758,599 (Worldwide: $79,958,599)

(Pretty good. Kind of surprising this ended up being Seagal’s last theatrical release considering it did fine. But then again, he sounds like a nightmare to work with so who knows.)

#19 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Ah, I yearn for the days of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Alas, I think Martial Arts films are a bit out of fashion, and when they are made I bet they go VOD. Someday we might just have to search those out.)

#4 for the Cop – Dirty genre

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(This made more money than Cop Land which is a travesty. Not many qualify it looks like. The next one down is Street Kings.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (21/65): It probably goes without saying that Exit Wounds is loaded with plotholes and bad dialogue. Critics also note that Seagal has aged rather badly.

(Ha! The subtle “critics note” there feels like Rotten Tomatoes covering their asses. Like, people are saying … we’re not saying, we’re just saying that other people are saying you look broke down, Steven. Reviewer Highlight: It doesn’t take long to see that Seagal has not spent his layoff getting buff and into fighting trim. – Todd McCarthy, Variety)

Poster – What if Like … People Were the Real Guns, You Know? (A+)

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(This is what I’m talking about. We got some polish, some bold colors, some distinctive font. We got a gun with faces in it and people at the muzzle. This literally checks off every box on what I want out of a poster. I don’t care what you think, I’m a big fan.)

Tagline(s) – What Can Two Men Do Against A Gang Of Crooked Cops? Whatever It Takes. (F)

This Is Gonna Hurt (C-)

(The first is long and not clever and makes my head hurt when I think about it. The second is short and sweat. Still not clever or very interesting, but I appreciate it. Especially compared to the first one.)

Keyword(s) – heroin; Top Ten by BMeTric: 70.5 The Animal (2001); 56.5 The Lords of Salem (2012); 54.3 The Informers (2008); 52.5 Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010); 52.0 Bangkok Dangerous (2008); 49.1 Abandon (2002); 45.8 Exit Wounds (2001); 44.8 Contracted (2013); 41.9 What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004); 38.8 Observe and Report (2009);

(I wonder if What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? Actually has a story related to heroin, or … if they misspelled heroine when plugging in the keyword. Regardless, no joke, these are all garbage. The Animal has one moment where he finds heroin in a guys butt and it gets the keyword? It is just terrible.)

Notes – Eva Mendes (who called this a “terrible movie”) said her dialogue in this film was entirely re-dubbed by another actress. Mendes says she learned of this when she attended the premier with her family and realized “…Something was wrong. Something was just off.” She says the producer later explained to her that her voice was replaced because she “didn’t sound intelligent enough.” Mendes told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (1996), “A Steven Seagal film, and I didn’t sound intelligent enough?!” (Ha, that’s misogynistic. Mainly because DMX is supposed to be as or more intelligent than her in the film, both of them are millionaire computer scientists)

In an interview with Huffpost Live, Tom Arnold claimed that Steven Seagal fell into the water while filming a scene on his character’s houseboat: Seagal had opted to shoot the scene without rehearsal and mistakenly exited through the wrong door, leading him to drop into the bay.

DMX did not enjoy working with Steven Seagal, describing him as a “dickhead”. (HA! I wonder what he thought of Jet Li)

Filming in Toronto was delayed again when David Vadim was arrested and charged with committing a sexual assault on a wardrobe technician on the set. (WHAT. Gross.)

According to Stephen Quadros, the fight scene between Steven Seagal and Michael Jai White was not choreographed in advance; Seagal and White ad-libbed it during production. (Wait … the one with the swords? Yeah … I don’t believe you)

During filming in Hamilton, a van was being towed along a street upside-down as part of a chase scene; stuntman Chris Lamon and another man were supposed to roll safely out, but Lamon apparently struck his head, and died six days later. Todd Schroeder suffered a concussion in the same incident. The scene was re-shot with the van moving slower and the stuntmen placed differently. (What?! Someone died on this film too? What a mess)

The opening action sequence which was actually part of the re-shoots was inspired by similar action sequence from screenwriter Jeffrey Boam’s rejected script for fourth Lethal Weapon film which he wrote in 1995, and which had main heroes of Lethal Weapon films, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, fighting against neo-nazi terrorists in L.A. Producer Joel Silver remembered the action sequence from the script and he was the one who decided to add it in Exit Wounds.

Anthony Anderson joked that his main purpose in the film was to make DMX look good. (As per usual m’man. Anderson is another guy accused of sexual assault multiple times. What a gem of a cast we have here)

Michael Jai White and Steven Seagal first worked together in 1993, on a Japanese soup commercial. (I wish I would find that commercial but alas I cannot)

Steven Seagal’s last film to have a wide theatrical release. (Noice)

Jill Hennessy said being in this film was “one of the best times in my life.” (Not Law and Order. Tough look for Law and Order)

The bridge attack scene; with the Happy Face helicopter, was shot on the Centre Street Bridge in Calgary, Alberta. The 85-year-old bridge had been closed for close to a year for restoration when the Exit Wounds crew came to town, so there was much concern from nearby residents when things started blowing up on the bridge. About six months later, long after the bridge had been re-opened, there was a major controversy in Calgary when the producers requested the bridge be closed again for retakes.

This was Steven Seagal’s return to movies after a three-year absence. It was a new Seagal – he slimmed down, updated his wardrobe, and ditched his trademark ponytail. (He did look much more reasonable and not ridiculous I thought)

Andrzej Bartkowiak, Isaiah Washington, DMX and Anthony Anderson all worked together in Romeo Must Die (2000). (And DMX and Anthony Anderwon and Tom Arnold and Bartkowiak also made Cradle 2 the Grave!)

The film bares little resemblance to the novel it is based on by ex-cop-turned-novelist John Westermann. (Not surprising)

This was Steven Seagal’s first go at wire work in a movie. (Well, it was made in 2001, prime time for wire work)

Cannonball Run II Recap

Jamie

Remember those bozos from the last movie? Well they’re back, Jack! And ready to ride their way to victory in a cross country road race. When the Sheik is kidnapped by some mobsters the cannonballers gotta pull out all the stops to help him. Will they free the racist caricature (and perhaps win the big race) before it’s too late? Find out in… Cannonball Run II.

How?! The Sheik is pretty embarrassed about losing the last race due to an unforeseen plot hole so he sets up a second one to prove his worth. While everyone is gathering, however, it is revealed that the goofball son of the Mafia don has gotten in deep with a rival mob. He comes to collect from Jamie and Morris (the priests from first film) and they point to the Sheik as a way to get the cash. A plan is in motion to kidnap the Sheik and ransom him for the large sum that the rival mob is asking for. If this sounds terrible and in no way related to a film about car racing you are correct. Anyway they all get new gimmicks. J.J. and Victor are now impersonating Army generals, Jackie Chan is back with a new robot car, the drunk priests are now impersonating cops, the hot ladies are still just hot ladies, and the good ol’ boys are back except now one of them is Tony Danza and they have a car driven by a orangutan… yeeeeessh. Basically nothing happens for a while except J.J. and Victor pick up a couple of actresses dressed as nuns and Jackie Chan’s car goes into a lake and turns into a submarine (best scene of the film). Eventually the Sheik is kidnapped and our heroes hatch a plan with Frank Sinatra to infiltrate the Mafia’s hideout and get him back. This culminates in a big fight which they win. They then finish the race off screen and we are treated to seeing the orangutan declared the winner. THE END.

Why?! More like Whhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy??!!! Amirite? The motivations are the same. J.J. and Victor want glory and fame, the priests/cops are in it to clear their gambling debts, the hot ladies just want to go fast, Jackie Chan is back to prove the superiority of Japanese racing technology and talent, and the good ol’ boys just want to have a good time (but the orangutan sure is making it tough)… god, writing about this is making me sad.

What?! Someone switched sponsors! Last film everyone was crushing Budweiser. This film? Miller High Life (the champagne of beers) is in everyone’s hands. Also want to note that back in 2011 there was a lot of buzz for a remake of The Cannonball Run series starring Brad Pitt which was supposed to birth a new generation of product placement as it was funded by GM. It never came to fruition and now the remake seems to be in the works sans Pitt and GM.

Who?! Victor played by Dom DeLuise is probably the best example of a Planchet we’ve seen in quite some time. The man is generally a good guy, a great friend, and a bumbling chubby idiot at the same time. So of course J.J. treats him like shit. He is always hitting him and calling him names. Congrats Victor, you are a very good BMT thing coming out of a truly terrible film. Frank Sinatra makes one of his final screen appearances in a bizarre set of scenes where it’s obvious that he was never in the room with any of the other actors. On top of that they all more or less grovel at the feet of Blue Eyes. Joe Theismann followed in Bradshaw’s shoes and appeared in this film. Finally I have to give a big shoutout to Don Knotts who made a cameo appearance here as a highway patrolman who gets attacked by an orangutan (this is real).

Where?! Road Trip Alert! Still a roadtrip movie, but no nearly as good as the last film. It starts in Redondo Beach, California, but then almost immediately spends most of its time hanging around Las Vegas. It finally jumps to CT at the end. So not a great road trip but better focus on a single place. B-.

When?! Better chance this time to see an actual date as there were fliers for the race, but I couldn’t make out the date on any of them. Maybe if I had an original print of the film or happened upon a large cache of props. Until then… F.

This movie is terrible, terrible, terrible. It is just a knock-off of the first one with a lot of the good stuff removed. It’s barely even a racing movie anymore as they mire themselves in a Las Vegas mobster plot that is real tedious to get through. It’s amazing that both the first one and the second one were so bad considering their success, but this one makes the first one look like a masterpiece. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oh snap, you remember that crappy movie you made a few years ago on a shoestring budget? It made boatloads. A sequel is going to be easy. I mean … the jokes write themselves! Well, actually, if we do it right the jokes are literally already written … Let’s get into it!

The Good – Oof. Uh … Jackie Chan’s story is a bit better this time around. I was mentally prepared for watching this trash because I had seen the first one. That’s it.

P’s View on the Preview – Now having watched the original I knew what I was getting into. The first was garbage. The second is considered worse so … double garbage, all the way, oh my gosh. Otherwise I guess I was most interested in seeing Frank Sinatra play himself a bit? I wasn’t looking forward to watching this to say the least.

The Bad – This film is totally and utterly unnecessary. They don’t even do a cross country race. They go from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (an afternoon jaunt) and then animate the entire thing at the end! It is crazy. Burt Reynolds and DeLuise are particularly bad in this one, I’m skeptical they even had a script. If they did it said “Burt and Dom improv for 15 minutes, end scene” at times, I guarantee it.

Get Yo Rant On – In the previous recap I talked about Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise’s comic stylings. This time let’s get a little shout out for everyone else involved. Jamie Farr plays a truly racist caricature (and not in a “the times they are a-changin” kind of way, he’s in blackface in 1984). In back-to-back films they inexplicably cast Terry Bradshaw and Joe Theismann. The main pair of ladies basically just show their breasts the entire time. Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin … the less said the better. And … who knows I can’t remember anyone else. Like an orangutan. These characters are neither interesting or funny and on most occasions offensive. So congrats Cannonball Run II, you managed to make a not-funny film even less funny and more offensive.

The BMT – Now this! This is a real Razzies-Calendar-Smellements film, it ticks the games off like crazy. It is one of those classic bad movies we just had to watch. Would I want to watch it again? Never. But maybe just show the opening scene and turn to whomever you are talking with and say “You see? You see this garbage? Do you want more of this? Didn’t think so” and shut it off.

Welcome to Earf – Not surprisingly The Cannonball Run and its sequel have the same chain: Burt Reynolds was in Cannonball Run II and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – At one point in time Gene Siskel suggested this film was the worst film ever made. There aren’t many lists from the time, but do yourself a favor and watch the Siskel and Ebert review:

They absolutely destroy Burt Reynolds, that man had a family! Presumably, I don’t know. I think it would be a few years before he got married and adopted his son.

Besides the BONUS of The Cannonball Run there was no homework. Turns out that despite Speed Zone being referred to as Cannonball Run III in the literature, it is not in fact a sequel. Good for me since I’m not sure I could have watched a third version of this trash.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Cannonball Run Recap

Jamie

A bunch of bozos get together for the annual (?) Cannonball Run, a cross country road race where rules are not coolz. They all have their gimmicks and celebs galore as they race for the coveted cup. Can [insert favorite character] win the race before it’s too late? Find out in… The Cannonball Run.

How?! In the flimsiest of plots our heroes, J.J. and Victor, enter The Cannonball Run disguised as ambulance drivers in an attempt to evade police suspicion. Added to the mix are: some hot women, a gambler and a washed up race car driver turned drunk disguised as priests, Jackie Chan in a Japanese robot car, good ol’ boy Terry Bradshaw, a Roger Moore lookalike played by Roger Moore, and a very racist depiction of a Middle Eastern Sheik. There are others but those are the major players. Anyway, J.J. and Victor kidnap a photographer lady and have a rivalry with the priests, but otherwise it’s just zany antic after zany antic for our heroes. The whole time there is an attempt by a politician to shut down the race, but that comes to nothing except sadness for the politician. The film culminates with a fight at a gas station where all the cars end up stuck waiting for construction to clear. We get some Jackie Chan moves and Victor becomes a weird superhero or whatever and it’s obviously hilarious. They then all sprint for the finish line (even though it was a staggered start) ending with the hot ladies winning the prize. THE END.

Why?! It is interesting to think about the motivations for the characters. J.J. and Victor want money and fame, the priests placed a large wager on themselves, the ladies seem to just want to go fast, Roger Moore is for the thrill of it, Terry Bradshaw wants to whoop it up and have fun, Jackie Chan wants to show the superiority of Japanese technology, and the Sheik doesn’t want to bring shame to his family’s name. I think that’s pretty accurate.

What?! There are certainly product placements to note (like Terry Bradshaw crushing Budweisers left and right), but I’m gonna take the rare opportunity to note a rare plot hole in this film. Plot holes are hard to spot, but in this case it’s pretty clear that the creators of this film just didn’t care. It’s explained that the race is run using time cards. Each team punches their card in a staggered start and then whoever has their timecard show the lowest elapsed time is the winner of the race… and yet the film finishes with all the major teams in the film running to the finish line to try to cross first. The time card is never mentioned, nor is it noted that the declared winners (the hot ladies) started earlier than several of the teams shown and should have lost to them. Congrats. That is truly terrible writing.

Who?! There is a classic Planchet in this film, but I’ll use the recap of the second film to discuss that. Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin are in both films and both had major singing careers. Peter Fonda has a cameo as the head of a biker gang in a nod to Easy Rider. Football player Terry Bradshaw is a character in the film. Finally, Jamie Farr plays the Sheik in arab-face which is problematic to say the least. It’s pretty offensive in a very they-made-this-in-the-80s kind of way.

Where?! We get another Road Trip Alert! The Cannonball Run starts in Darien, CT (confirmed by several signs). We get scenes in New Jersey, Ohio, and Missouri in the very least (probably more could be definitively determined). It ends in Redondo Beach, California. Not as good as Crossroads, but solid. B.

When?! My guess would be that the film takes place in the Spring, but it’s not something that I could figure out for sure. Maybe it’s noted somewhere in the film but I sure in hell ain’t going back and watching it again to find out. F.

This movie is surprisingly terrible and useless for being one of the biggest hits of 1981. Let me count the ways. The production is ramshackle, exemplified by the plane stunt where cameras and police barricades are clearly visible. The Middle Eastern character is one of the most racist depictions I’ve seen in a BMT film… his name is Sheik Abdul ben Falafel! Even though I can to appreciate the charm of Dom DeLuise, the film is just not funny. Finally, it has one of the most glaring plot holes I’ve ever witnessed on film. It is just not a good film… and yet America seemed to not be able to get enough. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Time to pack up your ambulance, grab a disgusting doctor character, and unleash your inner Captain Chaos, because The Cannonball Run is starting. Mad antics like this just haaaave to be funny, right? … Right? Let’s get into it!

The Good – If you like cars, Burt Reynolds, or both this film might just be for you. Farrah Fawcett is like … super attractive. The fact that this is as true to the original race as you’ll see is pretty fun. Some of the others are funny in their own way, Jackie Chan and Roger Moore in particular are fine.

P’s View on the Preview – I told Jamie that I wondered if this would be like Anaconda. If this is one of those films which have bad reviews now, but didn’t really back then (at least not as bad) and that once I watched it I would think it wasn’t nearly as bad as the rating suggests. He told me to watch the movie. But you can kind of see my mindset going into the film. I expected it to be a cult-classic (which was always my perception of it). Boy howdy was I wrong.

The Bad – This movie isn’t funny. Seeing Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin doing … this, just isn’t a good look. The movie is just not funny, not a single moment of it. It is a totally mess from a storytelling perspective, less of a three act structure and more of the loosey goosey meandering scripts from the decades before. There is some complicated sexual assault / drugging / disgusting garbage behavior played for laughs which you just couldn’t get away with now. The movie just isn’t funny, it is boring.

Get Yo Rant On – For the first film’s rant I choose to highlight the interactions between Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise in particular. Specifically the way they fake laugh with each other and Burt’s kind of … odd improvisational stylings. Perhaps it is my pre-1980 bias showing, but was this normal? Or was it a product of a very quick and very tight shooting schedule. Did Hal Needham just trust Reynolds to get the comic timing correct, or is this a fundamental disaster. I will say: Burt Reynolds doesn’t really come across as funny in the film. He comes across as a very smooth ladies man and straight man playing off of DeLuise’s comedy … but DeLuise isn’t funny either. No one is funny in this film … I don’t get it, am I taking crazy pills? Rant over.

The BMT – Weirdly … I do think this has legs. Cannonball Run films are a very strange as specific sub-genre. Almost exclusively comedies (interestingly enough). I wonder if there is an example of a serious version of Cannonball Run? And if not, why not? I guess it was all played for jokes at the time, but someone who really needs the money or someone who needs to stop another person from getting the money seems like a decent action premise. My point is, completing the Cannonball Run genre will be a thing and this will be part of it. I will never watch this film again if I can help it though.

Welcome to Earf – Shockingly easy in light on last week’s run. Burt Reynolds was in The Cannonball Run and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – This one doesn’t have much beyond most respectable critics at the time ragging on it. In particular Siskel and Ebert seemed to think this was a particularly egregious example of lazy filmmaking. Maybe Lennon and Garant can fix it the next time around …

Phew, one Cannonball Run down, one to go. The second couldn’t possibly be as bad as this right? … Right?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cannonball Run II Preview

As we enter the bar to put our names in for the high stakes karaoke competition, Patrick and I get a glimpse of the crowd and can see in their eyes that they want a sexy show. Time to pull out all the stops! We fit ourselves into the snuggest jean shorts we can find and show off the goods. Despite our jorts-limited range of motion, the crowd is pleased by the sensual and yet classy dance routine/karaoke masterpiece we perform in perfect unison. Never before has John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland” rung so true. With chests heaving and jorts soaked with sweat, we exit the stage to raucous applause. The next singer approaches the stage only to have garbage and rotten vegetables thrown at them. “Jamie and Patrick! Jamie and Patrick!” The crowd chants in ecstasy. We return to the stage and perform a three hour encore show. We are showered with record deals, but the big road race awaits and we have no time for overnight success. The emcee of the show approaches and hands us the prize: a golden microphone and enough money for one way tickets back to the States. We look longingly at the stage, but know that this dream will fade, but the friendship we’ve forged fighting to save the world from the Obsidian Dongle, that… is forever. We board the plane and arrive in Delaware just in time for The No Rulez Road Race where rulez are decidedly not coolz. That’s right! We’ve got another double feature this week as we partake in the classic The Cannonball Run series of films. This is part of the chain reaction going from Underclassman. We’re using Cheech Marin to get from that film to Cannonball Run II as he was *check notes* “Tire Store Employee (Uncredited)”… … … hmmmm, stay tuned next week to find out if we have to mend this chain because it sounds like he’s not even in Cannonball Run II. Great. Let’s go!

Cannonball Run II (1984) – BMeTric: 54.8

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(If The CannonBall run rises in such a way that it floats about the transition point from good-to-bad, this is just on the other side, managing to rise up enough to become a significant bad movie choice. Given it was released in the early 80s this is actually a pretty solid achievement.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Sequel to the 1981 box-office hit looks like someone’s bad home movies. Amateurish action comedy with tons of tacky guest-star cameos. What a waste! Final film roles for Martin and Sinatra.

(That last bit is a bit sad. The entire thing is also amusing in that is can be summed up as: this is barely a movie. Coincidentally, that is our most common criticism of films like this, that they are barely-movies and I don’t really know why we watch them.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vT8_gg7VU8

(Joe Theismann! Anyways, this looks like complete garbage as you would expect. Although, I do enjoy that they put Burt Reynolds’ terrible fake laugh into the trailer. It is an important part of his character in these films I feel like.)

Directors – Hal Needham – (Known For: Smokey and the Bandit; Hooper; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Megaforce; Stroker Ace; Cactus Jack; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1983 for Megaforce; in 1984 for Stroker Ace; and in 1985 for Cannonball Run II; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: His run in the early 80s (aided and abetted by Burt Reynolds apparently) is astounding as his Razzie nominations (back when that meant something goddamnit!) indicate.)

Writers – Brock Yates (characters creator) – (Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Notes: Wrote the original screenplay and created the actual Cannonball Run race. It is interesting he doesn’t have a credit on Speed Zone which is often referred to as Cannonball Run III.)

Hal Needham (written by) – (Known For: Smokey and the Bandit; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Megaforce; Stroker Ace; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1983 for Megaforce; in 1984 for Stroker Ace; and in 1985 for Cannonball Run II; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: He wrote four television (prequel) movies for Smokey and the Bandit. They claim to all have been released in 1994 … so perhaps some sort of vague mini-series.)

Albert S. Ruddy (written by) – (Known For: The Mean Machine; Cloud 9; Future BMT: Bad Girls; Megaforce; The Longest Yard; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: Huge producer. He created Hogan’s Heroes and Walker, Texas Ranger as well.)

Harvey Miller (written by) – (Known For: Private Benjamin; Future BMT: Protocol; Getting Away with Murder; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: A famous comedy writer he was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Private Benjamin)

Actors – Burt Reynolds – (Known For: Boogie Nights; Deliverance; Smokey and the Bandit; Bean; Dog Years; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; All Dogs Go to Heaven; The Player; The Mean Machine; Hooper; Sharky’s Machine; Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask; White Lightning; Silent Movie; The End; Semi-Tough; Citizen Ruth; Hustle; Best Friends; Switching Channels; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; Smokey and the Bandit Part 3; Cop & ½; Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Delgo; Without a Paddle; City Heat; Stroker Ace; Hotel; Deal; Meet Wally Sparks; The Crew; Rent-a-Cop; The Man Who Loved Women; The Longest Yard; Gator; Physical Evidence; Malone; At Long Last Love; Heat; Stick; Mystery, Alaska; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Striptease; Driven; Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Cop & ½ in 1994; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Striptease in 1997; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1985 for Cannonball Run II, and City Heat; and in 1989 for Rent-a-Cop, and Switching Channels; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1997 for Striptease; in 2002 for Driven; in 2006 for The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Longest Yard; and in 2009 for Deal, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Notes: Y’all know Burt Reynolds. He at one point owned a USFL team (the Tampa Bay Bandits) and ran a NASCAR Winston Cup team with Hal Needham (Mach 1 Racing).)

Dom DeLuise – (Known For: Blazing Saddles; Spaceballs; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; History of the World: Part I; Johnny Dangerously; The Secret of NIMH; Oliver & Company; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; An American Tail; All Dogs Go to Heaven; The Muppet Movie; An American Tail: Fievel Goes West; Fail-Safe; Silent Movie; The End; The Twelve Chairs; The Glass Bottom Boat; The Cheap Detective; Fatso; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; The Silence of the Hams; Loose Cannons; A Troll in Central Park; Haunted Honeymoon; All Dogs Go to Heaven 2; Wholly Moses!; Happily Ever After; Sextette; Girl Play; The World’s Greatest Lover; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Haunted Honeymoon in 1987; Notes: Had three sons who all became regular television actors one shows like 21 Jump Street, seaQuest DSV, The Wizards of Waverly Place, and 3rd Rock From the Sun.)

Dean Martin – (Known For: Robin and the 7 Hoods; Airport; Some Came Running; Ocean’s Eleven; The Sons of Katie Elder; Rio Bravo; The Young Lions; Kiss Me, Stupid; Road to Bali; Artists and Models; Bells Are Ringing; Come Blow Your Horn; Toys in the Attic; The Caddy; Scared Stiff; Future BMT: 4 for Texas; BMT: Cannonball Run II; The Cannonball Run; Notes: One of the original Rat Pack, the three main members (Sinatra, Davis, and Martin) all appear in this film.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $28,078,073

(One-third of the gross of the original which … isn’t great. So not surprised they didn’t go for a third.)

#21 for the Car Racing genre

cannonballrun2_carracing

(Lower than Need for Speed and Driven! The only BMT film which grossed less in Redline, ooooooooooooooof. Died in the 90s, resurrected by The Fast and the Furious among other things.)

#89 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

cannonballrun2_comedysequel

(Around Duece Bigelow: European Gigolo. The Highest grossing film we’ve ever seen in this genre is Grown Ups 2. We are still in the process of coming down from a heady high in this genre, we’ll see in the next few years if we rebound. The fact that the only real comedy sequel this year had to be Kickstarted (Super Troopers 2) probably doesn’t bode super well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (2/15): No consensus yet.

(I’ll just have to make a consensus: An anachronistic, lazy, laugh-free embarrassment. Are you waiting for a punchline? That’s it, this film is garbage. Reviewer Highlight: Cannonball Run II is one of the laziest insults to the intelligence of moviegoers that I can remember. – Roger Ebert)

Poster – The No Rulez Race II: Even Less Rulez (A-)

cannonball_run_ii

(Despite the number of things happening on the poster, I think this kind of works. Nicely balanced, nice yellow adventure film coloring, and some font to boot. Pretty good.)

Tagline(s) – The popcorn is in the lobby. The nuts are on the screen. (A+++++++++++)

(Ahahahahahahaha. Can something be so wrong that it’s right? My god do I love this tagline. When/if Patrick and I write a fake movie about the bad movie twins and their underwater adventure to save the world this will 100% be the tagline. Copyright laws be damned!)

Keyword(s) – chase; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.5 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 89.5 The Wicker Man (2006); 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 88.7 House of the Dead (2003); 86.0 The Avengers (1998); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.8 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011);

(Smashing chase films. Not even a joke. Just House of the Dead … can we bear another Uwe Boll film?)

Notes – Frank Sinatra’s cameo was his final acting role in a theatrical film, though he would make one final appearance in the television movie Young at Heart (1995). All his other appearances from here on would be in documentaries and retrospectives. (Not a super great conclusion to a career … playing yourself in Cannonball Run II)

Sir Roger Moore later regretted his decision to turn down a role in this film, after finding out Frank Sinatra was appearing. In his autobiography, he states of this, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but too few to mention.”

Final of the 1970s to 1980s action car stunt comedies for Burt Reynolds. These films included the Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run film franchises, as well as Stroker Ace (1983) and Hooper (1978). (Box office bomb did it in I assume)

As this movie features Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Shirley MacLaine, it is arguably the final ever “Rat Pack” movie (original Rat Pack members Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford are not in this film). For this movie, it was the final film for Martin and Sinatra. (Don’t call it that …)

Final “Cannonball Run” movie for all of the cast except Jamie Farr, who appeared in the third movie, Cannonball Fever (1989). (I had to look this up … this is called Speed Zone, and is not related to the other films I don’t think)

Jackie Chan appeared as part of a contractual obligation to Warner Brothers. (Ah that makes sense)

Bobby Berosini’s orangutan and Tony Danza appeared in Going Ape! (1981). (Oh …. That makes sense)

Hal Needham, on the first film’s commentary, talked about how Frank Sinatra showed up very early on the set of this film to get his parts shot, and then left before the other actors even showed up. If you watch closely during the office scene, Sinatra is never on film with the other actors. A few times his back is shown with the other characters facing him, but this is a double. (WHAAAAAAAAT)

Burt Reynolds said in 1982, a couple of years before this picture, that he wasn’t going to make any more “car chase” movies. (Then he was shown the big bucks)

On certain original Beta video covers, it stated this movie was the debut of the monster truck Bigfoot in a motion picture, cashing in on the popularity of the truck in the mid 1980s. It’s not true, as Bigfoot first appeared in Take This Job and Shove It (1981). (LOL)

Aside from playing Victor Prinzim, Dom DeLuise also played mob boss Don Cannelloni, who behaves and speaks similar to The Godfather (1972)’s main character, Don Corleone. DeLuise played a similar character in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), a film directed by his long time collaborator Mel Brooks. He also played a similar character in The Godson (1998). (Yeah, it is the same as in Robin Hood, I recognized that)

Frank Sinatra was not happy with the movie, asking how his character was supposed to win the Cannonball Run after joining it on its final leg. He was under the impression it was a race where the first person across the finish line was the winner, and no one explained you clock in at the start, and clock off at the end. (Wait … did he win? They suggested Tony Danza and the ape did I thought)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Albert S. Ruddy, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Burt Reynolds, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Shirley MacLaine, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Sammy Davis Jr., 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Susan Anton, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Marilu Henner, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Hal Needham, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Harvey Miller, Hal Needham, Albert S. Ruddy, 1985)