Medicine Man Recap

Jamie

Dr. Rae Crane is tasked by her company to find Dr. Robert Campbell, who has holed up deep in the rainforest. When she arrives, he claims to have found a cure for cancer so she decides to give him a chance… but they may not have that long with a new road being built nearby. Can they find the cure (and perhaps love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Medicine Man.

How?! Dr. Crane is looking for Dr. Campbell at the behest of a pharmaceutical company. He has requested a new assistant and gas chromatograph deep in the Amazonian rain forest. When she shows up he’s all like “you aren’t qualified,” but that’s sexist and Dr. Crane ain’t having any of it. She shows her stuff and duly impressed Dr. Campbell shows her what he has: a cure for motherf’n cancer made from a rainforest flower, babbbby. So we all kinda forgive him for being a total asshole. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to replicate his initial findings, called compound 37. In their quest to find the secret they learn to live and love again… but also that a logging road is getting dangerously close to the village and they don’t have much time. To add to the pressure, a child in the village gets cancer and needs the last sample in order to survive. Not willing to give it up Dr. Crane convinces Dr. Campbell to seek out the old Medicine Man. That Medicine Man totally gives them the secret, but they are a couple of dopes but don’t get the hint and use the sample on the child anyway. Just when everything seems lost they discover the secret: it wasn’t the flower at all but the bugs that lived in them (what a twist!). But then everything is still lost because a bunch of bulldozers come into town and start a fire and burn down everything. Noooooo! Not willing to give up Dr. Crane and Dr. Campbell go with the tribe in search of the flower and leave their lives behind. THE END.

Why?! Uh, to cure cancer, duh. Nice MacGuffin alert for Compound 37 here, but there is also the underlying theme of protecting the indiginous populations of the rainforest. Not only from the people building the road, but also from disease if too many people move into the area. That’s why, in the end, Dr. Campbell decides to be so secretive about the cure for cancer. Even though the company would give him everything he wants (and probably pay the logging company to stall the road building in the area) if they knew about it, he already knows from experience that it would be even more devastating to the tribe if he allowed that to happen. He had that happen before and the guilt he felt for bringing disease to the tribe destroyed his life and marriage. So basically he’s not an asshole at all, just a lovely curmudgeon looking out for the well-being of all. Hooray.

Who?! Very small cast and unfortunately Sean Connery doesn’t have to call up the Prez to get the road through Brazil delayed. Just him and Bracco chumming it up. The only truly interesting thing is that concurrent to its release it seemed like it was pretty well known that Tony and Academy Award winning playwright Tom Stoppard did uncredited rewrites on the script (which he did fairly frequently apparently). This normally makes its way into IMDb at some point, but not in this case. But by all accounts it’s true. 

What?! All of these latter categories are going to be so boring because the film is set in the middle of nowhere and is so tiny. Like obviously they aren’t snapping into some Slim Jims in the middle of a jungle. But for the low low price of $450 you can get the bird mask that Sean Connery is wearing when we are introduced to his character. Complete with a certificate of authenticity. Wonder why Planet Hollywood is willing to part with such a gem.

Where?! It actually isn’t explicitly stated that this film is set in Brazil, I don’t think. But it’s pretty obvious for a number of reasons. I’m sure based on some of the towns mentioned by Connery that it’s for sure (and obviously the location is somewhat necessary to the plot), so I’ll still give this a C.

When?! I actually think this might be the first film where I could honestly say that there might be absolutely no indication of when it takes place in the entire film… literally no chance of figuring it out. I just can’t even imagine why they would have needed to let you know what the date was… it’s in the jungle. Don’t even have newspapers. Time is totally irrelevant. I guess maybe if I got one of their prop lab notebooks. F.

I can totally understand why this film was made and why Sean Connery and Lorrainne Bracco made it. It’s a classic character study and actor-driven film in the same vein as The African Queen. Exotic location, main love interest (?) who is kind of a dick, and a strong woman protagonist who is a little bit out of her element (a fish out of water, you might say. I just coined that). So I can see why people wanted to make this film and really sink their teeth into a role like this. However… there are some flaws (gasp). FIrst of all, both of their characters are kind of caricatures. She’s a loud and brash New Yorker that is more stereotypical than necessary (given that she’s a very well qualified scientist) and he’s pretty much a bore. Second, and probably the most BMT thing about the film, the twist regarding the bugs being the actual cure is so airmailed and obvious that it borders on ridiculous. Other than those two things, though, I found the film to be pleasant enough to watch… the location in itself was interesting enough for me to be engaged throughout. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Let’s hop into a time machine to when people fundamentally didn’t understand cancer and thought we’d find just like … some random chemical that cures what is effectively like a hundred different diseases. Like that makes sense. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I was very surprised to see this was a McTiernan film. Die Hard, Predator, The Hunt for Red October, he’s smashed out some classics in his time. As a matter of fact there are only three films he directed that I haven’t seen. The most interesting is Nomads which appears to be a horror film that was not released widely, only 500 or so theaters in total. But we are on track to finish his filmography, and this is just a step along the way. Quite a different project to his three famous films though, and not surprising that apparently audiences were annoyed that it wasn’t an action or thriller, but instead a romantic drama.

The Good – I think the first half of the film is very interesting. It is a pretty rare genre, the medical genre. Lorenzo’s Oil comes to mind. Concussion. I Already Work Around the Clock: The Movie (I think it was released as Extraordinary Measures in the States). If you can excuse the overacting from Bracco a bit, I actually think it is quite good. Inverts the White Savior trope as well. Instead of Connery ultimately saving the tribe, he is hoping the tribe can help him save humanity. I like the medical stuff even if it was all a bit nonsense.

The Bad – They completely telegraph the ending of the film, to the point that you wonder if these literal genius-level scientists are in fact dumb people. They aren’t, but the twist is. Also, I could be wrong, but I think the kid who got cancer near the end was eating ants earlier in the film, which, if I know my fake-Medicine-Man-biology means he should have been immune to cancer. Whatever. Bracco’s character is written to be incredibly brash, and I don’t think it works the way it was intended, instead it just results in Bracco yelling a lot for mostly no good reason. A more clever twist and I think this film would have been fine though.

The BMT – I think this is a very specific genre, and could maybe be mentioned alongside Extraordinary Measures eventually as far as bad medical dramas. At the same time I don’t think I would really recommend the film as a bad movie in any capacity, which is usually how I judge these things. I can’t even think of a scene I would show anyone.

Roast-radamus – This is certainly a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Brazil and the Amazon rainforest in general. And arguably a great MacGuffin (Why?), with the cure for cancer (all cancer!) being the Maltese Falcon that the protagonists are going for. And definitely a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate conclusion of ants being the cure for cancer … a full half hour after they give you a close up shot of ants crawling all over the magical cancer curing plant. Pretty good line up there, but nothing for good, bad, or BMT I think.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly the only cred here is, again, from Siskel and Ebert’s worst of list for 1992. There is this bizarre list from IndieWire which puts it at the 52nd best movie of the 90s … that’s a stretch. I’m actually not sure if Reverse Shot is supposed to be a joke of some kind? Johnny Mnemonic at number 4 feels a tad bit high. I also found it on a list of Left-Wing films for its environmental message. Doesn’t seem to be on any worst or best of environmental lists either.

You Just Got Schooled – There isn’t really a good movie to do alongside this one, so let’s highlight a little fun fact. On the Medicine Man wiki page the first citation is an LA Times article concerning someone suing the production for stealing their film idea. The person suing was, in fact, Wilburn H. Ferguson, a 1930s Amazonian explorer and doctor who came back from the Amazon claiming to have found a cure for cancer (called the Jivaro Head Shrinking Compound, and indeed the Jivaro tribe is one of the few well known head shrinking tribes in the world). Ferguson alleged that he sat down with executives in 1988 and described his story Tsanza, which is the native term for head shrinking, but they passed and independently produced Medicine Man. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence that the concoction that Ferguson sold in the 50s treated cancer. Interestingly the wiki page seems to suggest the film is instead based on the exploits of Richard Evans Schultes, who is considered the father of ethnobotany.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Medicine Man Quiz

Uh oh. In addition to forgetting the cure for cancer, I also drank too much native Amazonian alcohol during the celebration last night. Can you help me remember what happened in Medicine Man?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When Bracco finds Connery in the rainforest he’s celebrating with his Amazonian friends. He’s decided to get shit faced and dress up as an animal. What animal?

2) The problem is that Connery has forgotten the cure for cancer! Whoops! He keeps making the solution, but none of them have the mystical peak 37 which is, of course, everything. What is the serum made from? In the end what was the actual source of peak 37?

3) Connery is naturally a tragic hero. What is he beating himself up over, so badly that even his wife is like “for reals, get over it”?

4) In addition to the frustrations that forgetting the cure for cancer poses (again, whoops), there is also an increasingly pressing issue facing Connery and the tribe. What is it?

5) In the movie two people in the tribe get cancer, despite the fact that Connery specifically sought out the tribe because they had an unusually low cancer rate. Why did these two people get cancer then?

Answers

Medicine Man Preview

“My son?” Poe gasps as he gazes upon Jim McBrawn. Now that he’s looking closer he can see his own features reflected back at him and the features of… “my God, Teri,” he whispers. He looks up at Rich who nods. With that Poe and Jim McBrawn embrace, “I’ve missed so much,” Poe says with tears in his eyes. “There’s… there’s still time,” Jim McBrawn says, eyes glistening as he pulls out a baseball mitt. We see them play some catch. We see Poe teach Jim how to ride a bike. We see them team up to karate chop Dark Gruber into submission. With his dying breath he gasps, “you… you defeated me. I never thought you would discover my only weakness… the power of love.” No time to gloat, though, Rich needs their help. They hop onto the computer system and dual hack their way into the shuttle’s mainframe. “Rich, the shuttle is compromised. You’ll never make it back… unless.” They hack some more and discover that the shuttle has an onboard helicopter-submarine. “Rich,” Poe says, “you think you can drive this thing?” With that Rich smiles, “I can drive anything.” With that he begins an uncontrolled descent to Earth. Only through fancy maneuvers and Tokyo drifts is he able to aim the helicopter-submarine for the New Orleans aquarium. Putting on the reverse thrusters just at the right moment he is able to crash dive his way into the penguin tank and comes out unscathed. Worldwide heroes, Rich and Poe stand contemplatively, looking into the distance. “I think I kinda like this,” Poe says, “I might just unretire… partner?” But Rich shakes his head and looks back at Jade. “Nah, I think it’s time for a change myself. Jade and I are getting married… but I’ll give you a ring if I ever need any help… partner.” And with that they clasp their hands. THE END

Jamie and Patrick look at each other. The script is horrible. But a part of them is still worried. “We need something to make sure people hate this… you thinking what I’m thinking?” And Jamie nods, “let’s destroy some rain forest.” That’s right! We’re transitioning from Siskel and Ebert’s worst of the year into a cycle centered around Hackers. The cycle will feature actors from the film Hackers and starts with Medicine Man which features Lorraine Bracco. It was also one of Ebert’s worst of 1992. Let’s go!

Medicine Man (1992) – BMeTric: 28.3 

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MedicineManIMDb_RV

(Standard regression to the mean thee. And I think that is likely just because the film is mostly forgotten? Who in the world besides absolute lunatics is like “man, I want to see Medicine Man starring Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco, I haven’t seen that in years!”?)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Connery plays a research scientist, sequestered in the Brazilian rain forest, who’s found the cure for cancer – but can’t duplicate it. Bracco is his brainy superior from the U.S. who’s come to check up on him. Connery carried this movie singlehandedly, and as usual he’s commanding to watch, but the film is weak, and Bracco’s abrasive performance (and poorly written character) practically sinks it.

(There are a lot of weird choices here. Not conjoining “rain forest”, and not splitting singlehandedly in some way in particular just seems odd. Connery carried this review, the odd spelling / grammar choices almost sink it (heyoooooooooo, love you Leonard).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQs9NrHc7qo/

(Ooooo looks exciting. I’m not joking. I’m actually pretty excited to watch this weird film.)

Directors – John McTiernan – (Known For: Die Hard; Predator; The Hunt for Red October; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; The Thomas Crown Affair; Future BMT: Nomads; Last Action Hero; Basic; BMT: Rollerball; Medicine Man; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: We’ve been kind of all up in John McTiernan recently with Jamie doing a submarine podcast (Submersion) and specifically The Hunt for Red October, and watching the Predator remake last year. And why not: notable for going to prison for a year for illegal wiretapping.)

Writers – Tom Schulman (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Dead Poets Society; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; What About Bob?; Future BMT: Holy Man; 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag; Second Sight; BMT: Welcome to Mooseport; Medicine Man; Notes: Won an Oscar for Dead Poets Society, it was his former teacher, Sam Pickering, that was the inspiration for Robin William’s character.)

Sally Robinson (screenplay) – (Known For: A Far Off Place; BMT: Medicine Man; Notes: Mostly known for television work. Appears to have retired to some degree in 2014.)

Actors – Sean Connery – (Known For: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; The Longest Day; Highlander; The Rock; The Hunt for Red October; The Untouchables; A Bridge Too Far; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Goldfinger; Thunderball; The Name of the Rose; Dr. No; Murder on the Orient Express; Never Say Never Again; Diamonds Are Forever; From Russia with Love; You Only Live Twice; DragonHeart; Time Bandits; Zardoz; Future BMT: Meteor; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Family Business; Rising Sun; A Good Man in Africa; Entrapment; Just Cause; The Man with the Deadly Lens; Sir Billi; BMT: The Avengers; Highlander II: The Quickening; Medicine Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Avengers in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Entrapment in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Sean Connery. Former Mr. Universe turned actor, he is nearly 90 years old.)

Lorraine Bracco – (Known For: Goodfellas; The Basketball Diaries; Sea of Love; Riding in Cars with Boys; Someone to Watch Over Me; The Dream Team; The Pick-up Artist; Being Human; Sing; Death of a Dynasty; Future BMT: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Switch; Hackers; Traces of Red; BMT: Medicine Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1993 for Medicine Man, and Traces of Red; Notes: Was married to Edward James Olmos for years. She moved to France to become a model at 20, and was once asked to pose nude for Salvador Dali (she refused).)

José Wilker – (Known For: O Homem do Ano; BMT: Medicine Man; Notes: An extremely accomplished Brazilian actor who is often cast in Soap Operas and brought in to comment on film festivals in his home country. I like when they snap up actors like this for American films when opportunity arises.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $45,500,797

(Not nearly as bad as you would think … like how did Medicine Man manage to make $45 million again? That makes no sense to me.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (4/21)

(Noice, let’s make one: Great vistas, fine Connery, awful Bracco. A weak rip off of Indiana Jones. Reviewer Highlight: If this had been some dumb adventure movie, it would probably have been terrific. Alas, it is a “relationship” movie, told along lines of timeworn weariness, and since that is not bad enough, it also throws in several Serious Issues for the characters to discuss. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Romancing the Sklog (C-)

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(Oh boy. I mean, that actually makes me sad. I can’t even imagine who this is meant to entice. Nice font though… unique font goes a long way for me.)

Tagline(s) – He turned his back on civilization. Only to discover he had the power to save it. (C-)

(Too long but has a small amount of cleverness mixed with plot. But are we sure this is the plot of the film? Isn’t more that he turned his back on civilization because he has the power to save it? The curse of having already watched the film.)

Keyword(s) – deforestation; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.3 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 52.9 The Green Inferno (2013); 37.5 Fire on the Amazon (1993); 37.1 Forest Warrior (1996); 34.4 The Hallow (2015); 32.9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016); 32.8 The Green Berets (1968); 28.3 Medicine Man (1992); 23.8 Rio 2 (2014); 21.3 The Lorax (2012);

(Amazing this film is on this list. And amazing we haven’t seen any of the other films! Although I’m seen TMNT 2. Fire on the Amazon looks ridiculous … doesn’t qualify.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sean Connery is No. 1 billed in Medicine Man and No. 2 billed in Highlander 2: The Quickening, which also stars Virginia Madsen (No. 3 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 3 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 16. If we were to watch Rising Sun, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Sir Sean Connery’s hairstyle in this movie was based upon Composer Jerry Goldsmith’s well-known ponytail. Meeting him at a cocktail party, Connery started the conversation by saying, “I want your hair.” Goldsmith replied, “You can’t have it, it’s mine.” Connery, and even the producers, felt Goldsmith’s “pulled back ponytail” fit the character of Robert Campbell very well. (Noice)

Lorraine Bracco turned down the role of Catwoman/Selina Kyle in Batman Returns (1992) to do this movie. (Well … good, Michelle Pfeiffer is the greatest character ever put to screen in a Batman film. Fact.)

Sir Sean Connery’s salary for this movie was ten million dollars.

While promoting the movie on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Sir Sean Connery stated that he would start each day playing a round of golf. He carried his own club and played at such a pace that the younger cast and crew members playing with him could not keep up. (His own “club” … I hope that isn’t a mistake and Sean Connery literally plays golf using a single club. Probably what? A five iron?)

This script became the subject of a heated bidding war when it was simply titled “The Stand”.

Tom Schulman was paid three million dollars for his script.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lorraine Bracco, 1993)

Vampire in Brooklyn Recap

Jamie

Maximillian is the last vampire in the world and he’s in search of a mate. Turns out Detective Rita Veder is the gal for him and half-vampire to boot. Can her and her partner stop Max from seducing her to the dark side before it’s too late? Find out in… Vampire in Brooklyn.

How?! Maximillian is a vampire in the Caribbean. Looking for his half-vampire bride, he travels to Brooklyn, killing a boat-full of people along the way. These deaths are investigated by Det. Rita Veder who, unbeknownst to her, is a half-vampire (what a coincidence!). Realizing she is his one true love, Max set out to woo her with his dancing skillz. Unfortunately Rita’s partner, aptly named Justice, is in love with her too and cock-blocks Max at every turn. Frustrated and angry Max starts to pull out all the tricks. In a really dark psychological turn, he employs manipulative tricks to try to isolate Rita to the point where she would want to give up everything and go with him (to the world of the undead, but he doesn’t tell her that). He seduces and kills her roommate and convinces Rita that her partner actually had sex with her. He transforms into a preacher and convinces her that her faith wants her to be evil. He transforms into a stereotype of an Italian gangster to further convince her that Justice is bad. Finally, he pretends to save her from a runaway cab and at her lowest convinces her to go to dinner with him. This dinner ends up being the first step to Rita becoming a vampire as she dances the night away. The next night Justice is shocked to find Rita all over him… but, like, in a vampire way, and he finds out that he’s got one last chance to save her. He’s got to stop her from feeding. Confronting Rita and Max, Justice is subdued, but at the last moment Rita retains her humanity and kills Max with a magic dagger (oh I forgot, there’s a magic dagger). With that Justice and Rita kiss (and presumably make some ¼ vampire babies), while Max’s ghoul, Julius, turns into a vampire for a sequel. THE END.

Why?! For love, baby. Or at least for trying to bring vampires back from the brink of extinction. Max is actually the last vampire in the world and needs to find his bride in order to help make more vampires. Apparently this will allow him to speed up the process… or perhaps they actually will just have a whole bunch of vampire babies. Hard to tell because at the end we see Max’s ghoul become a vampire without Max having to procreate in any way. As for Rita and Justice it’s both for love, but also to bring closure for Rita. She has always thought her mom was insane and feared that she would go insane too, but is probably relieved to find that it’s just because her mom boned a vampire and she’s half-vampire. Phew.

Who?! Obviously this stars major singing superstar Eddie Murphy. Seriously though I would hear an argument that Julius was actually a Planchet, although I don’t think he’s really competent enough. There has to be an element of unjust hate to a Planchet. There is an odd cameo in the film as Ray Combs, host of Family Feud, actually filmed a short spoof of the show specifically for this film.

What?! I do love looking for props. If this were 2013 I could be sporting a sweet black and red vampire coat worn in the film. Damn. I’d look real rad in that. Also, like Julius above, I think there is an argument that the magic dagger could mean something for BMT, but just not prominent enough to be notable.

Where?! It’s been a second since our last A+ Setting Alert! This obviously starts and end entirely in Brooklyn and it is a very large and essential part of the plot. I give it a bing thumbs up. A+.

When?! I searched twice through the film trying to find this, but alas could not. I’m not going to say it’s impossible since portions of the film take place in a police station (and there are always calendars floating around those sets), but it would be very hard and probably would take a while for me to figure out. F.

Meh, I mean the film is not very good. It’s much more a horror film than any other genre and Murphy seems to be unwilling to be even remotely funny in his role as Max. Likely purposefully so as this was also reportedly the case for Beverly Hills Cop III. Sounds like he was just trying to get out of his studio deal at that point. Only when he transforms into the preacher or Italian gangster does he let loose and both of those characters are offensive and have hands down the worst makeup jobs I’ve ever seen. It’s actually crazy just how bad the makeup is in this film. You know how bad it is? It’s so bad that I’m talking about the makeup. Anyway, I had high hopes for this film, but it’s hard to get excited when Murphy is so flat. The only good thing I can think about it is the kinda crazy psychological tools used by Max in the film… which was actually real creepy the more you think about it. The true horror was within humanity the whole time! *gasp* Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Watching Eddie Murphy films is just part of the life of any bad movie aficionado. You tick them off like a list of chores. Time for the Dracula one … let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – By far the most fascinating thing going into the watch was the directing / acting combination. The notes provide a contradictory story of Wes Craven either being annoyed with Murphy for making it too comedic, or being the one that insisted that it not be so serious. So dissecting which seemed to be right was going to be priority number one. This is also is another Murphy film where he plays multiple characters, so the makeup was also of great interest. I always go to bat for the make up in Norbit which is incredible.

The Good – I think there is a solid story deep within this film. The story of a desperate vampire facing mortality for the first time in hundreds of years, and the danger that poses to not only civilians, but also “creatures” like a half-vampire who wouldn’t really know who she was unless this situation arose. Julius and Silas showed what the silliest version of the film could be, and honestly the biggest crime is that they didn’t choose a side. The silly Julius / Silas version wasn’t that bad if it was actually funny.

The Bad – The movie is kind of a blah nothing film. Very very straightforward, nothing really complicated, and shockingly nothing to add to the vampire films that came before it. It either should have been funnier or scarier, but much like most genre mash-em-ups it manages to merely be poor examples of both genres. Murphy really doesn’t do much, but I think that is intentional, I think he was intending on playing a serious role and only punched things up after Craven asked him to be more “vulnerable”. For whatever reason he seemed to take that to mean “add jokes” when in reality I think Craven had an idea of playing it as a different type of vampire. A vampire facing death and acting recklessly. Craven was right, but I don’t think Murphy’s acting was poor per se. Oh … the makeup is atrocious, I’m not sure how that happened when they would end up making Nutty Professor the next year. Jesus, how could I forget Guido! Just another in a long line of genuinely racist caricatures played by Eddie Murphy. Fantastic. Now that you string them all together you can see why this is considered a terrible film …

The BMT – It has to be a BMT film because it is a poorly received film starring Eddie Murphy. But I don’t think I would ever recommend it or watch it again. At least not without a reason (like … if I’m watching a vampire movie marathon pairing this with Blacula could be a fun then-and-now version of what was originally a blaxploitation idea: Black Dracula). But no, beyond checking off another box in Murphy’s filmography it won’t last in my mind.

Roast-radamus – Obviously we got an A+ Setting (Where?) with Brooklyn right in the title and very much acting as a character. Surprisingly Julius is a decent Planchet (Who?) as Max rips on him throughout the film. I think that is it though. No real twist, and I doubt it’ll get either Good, Bad, or BMT in the final awards either. Pretty weak.

StreetCreditReport.com – I’m not surprised it didn’t get any play for 1995 itself, but it does get the second worst vampire film according to Screencrush. I think that is a bit high (it didn’t even make the other worst-of list for vampire lists I found). You can read around how people consider this a cult classic now for all of the obvious reasons: Murphy’s acting, Craven’s directing, and the on-screen chemistry of the leads.

Good Movie Twins – New game for when I feel up for an extra movie … which won’t be often. As an extra vampire film I settled on From Dusk Till Dawn as that was a similar mash up, a kind of crime thriller thing with the vampire horror exploitation thing. And honestly … the first half is way better than the second. It is a far better crime thriller than exploitation horror. The vampire design was garbage, and it didn’t really have anything interesting to say from a vampire perspective. Having just read ‘salem’s Lot, it is pretty sad that a 40 year old book brings more interesting ideas to vampire lore than basically any movie I’ve seen concerning them. I mostly agree with the New York Times, the effort was mostly sophomoric and leaned too heavily into the exploitation part of things. I’ll be watching more vampire films I think, we have Dracula 2000 (and 3000) coming up, what better time to do Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Vampire in Brooklyn Preview

Jamie stares, mouth agape, as Santa recounts his gritty origin story. Long ago the Coca-Cola Corporation devised an advertising scheme around a jolly man in a red suit. Unbeknownst to them this was the final stage of a dark prophecy that brought him forth from Hell into this world. However, a family of elves took pity on the vile creature and decided to use him for good instead of evil. While Santa has struggled with why he was preserved and let loose on the other monsters of the realm, using his well-oiled muscles to rip them to shreds, he has come to terms with his terrible power… with that Santa takes a long satisfying sip of a Coca-Cola and looks at Jamie, who is weeping uncontrollably. Suddenly Patrick has an idea, “wait, Santa. Did you say that the Coca-Cola Corporation created you in this world using an advertising scheme in our world?” Santa nods, “and it was a truly terrible advertising scheme at that. Craven capitalist cynicism,” he says with a look of disgust on his face. Disgust that can only be washed away by the refreshing taste of a delicious Coke. Patrick shakes Jamie out of his stupor, “Don’t you see? It was within us the whole time.” Jamie nods, “You mean love?” Patrick shakes his head, “no, not love. Something even better. Bad movies. Rich and Poe aren’t here yet because our first film was a wild critical success.” Jamie’s eyes alight, “My god, a sequel… but how do we get back home so we can write it?” Patrick ponders for a second and remembers the great power he tapped into in order to save Santa. He reaches for it again, but this time the query fails. “You try,” he tells Jamie, but within him there is no light… he can only see the one in Patrick. He reaches for that and *pop* they are back in their apartment. They stare in wonder and clap hands in a manly bro hand hug. Time to get to work. They don their cable-knit sweaters, hop in their Volvo and head to Brooklyn. That’s right! We’re transitioning from the Worst Films Ever Rejects into a cycle consisting of films that Siskel and Ebert put on one of their end of year worst films lists. These leads us right to another Eddie Murphy special with Vampire in Brooklyn, his attempt to cash in on that sweet vampire money. This is also the second film where Murphy played multiple roles. In this case Maximilian, Preacher Pauly, and Guido… well that already sounds offensive. Let’s go!

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) – BMeTric: 68.5

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VampireinBrooklynIMDb_RV

(Very consistent across the years, and impressively low. Heartening. While I knew of this film obviously, it is nice to see it have a bit of cred among the people.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Sleek Caribbean vampire Murphy, to perpetuate his race, needs to persuade Brooklyn cop Bassett that she’s his soul mate. Oddball film has Murphy cracking jokes, but he’s thoroughly evil; on the other hand, it’s not scary enough to work as a horror film … and it’s overlong, to boot.

(Ah classic. This is my problem with almost all multi-genre films. It seems like it isn’t a good comedy, or a good horror film. I find that a lot of these types of films are graded on a curve as a good-for-what-it-is in that much smaller (and worse) sub-genre. There are exceptions though, like Shaun of the Dead.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qzFuLGeVGI/

(Yeah doesn’t seem very funny. Just a bunch of corny vampire jokes. And Maltin seems to be correct, it seems kind of too true to vampire lore to be anything but a horror film in spirit.)

Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Scream 2; Red Eye; The Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eyes; The People Under the Stairs; Swamp Thing; Paris, je t’aime; New Nightmare; The Serpent and the Rainbow; Music of the Heart; Future BMT: My Soul to Take; Cursed; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Scream 3; Shocker; Deadly Blessing; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Deadly Friend; Notes: An original of the slasher genre, and is credited with bringing it back with the self-referential Scream series. Died in 2015.)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (story) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Y’all know Eddie Murphy. It actually does seem like Coming 2 America is happening. So maybe Beverly Hills Cop 4 will as well.)

Vernon Lynch (story) – (BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Half-brother of Eddie Murphy. This was a truly a family affair.)

Charlie Murphy (story) (as Charles Murphy & screenplay) (as Charles Murphy) – (BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: We did it. Interestingly it feels like whenever Murphy is looking to be on the ropes he dusts off a script he and his brother wrote. This was the end of a long fall which ended with a tack to family friendly films with the Nutty Professor. Norbit kind of marks the end of Murphy’s second leading man career.)

Michael Lucker (screenplay) – (Known For: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron; Home on the Range; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Wrote a bunch of those direct-to-video sequels to Disney films back in the days. Seems to produce now.)

Chris Parker (screenplay) (as Christopher Parker) – (Known For: Heaven Is for Real; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Battle of the Year; Notes: Appears to maybe be doing uncredited writing for animated films. There is little about him online.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Trading Places; Shrek; Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek 2; Doctor Dolittle; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Beverly Hills Cop II; The Nutty Professor; Life; Dreamgirls; Boomerang; 48 Hrs.; Tower Heist; Bowfinger; Dr. Dolittle 2; Imagine That; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Vampire in Brooklyn; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Apparently Pete Davidson bought a vintage magazine featuring Eddie Murphy for $45 the other day … fun.)

Angela Bassett – (Known For: Bumblebee; Black Panther; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Contact; Kindergarten Cop; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Meet the Robinsons; Olympus Has Fallen; Boyz n the Hood; Malcolm X; Strange Days; What’s Love Got to Do with It; The Score; Notorious; White Bird in a Blizzard; Chi-Raq; Waiting to Exhale; Akeelah and the Bee; F/X; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Future BMT: Supernova; Meet the Browns; Green Lantern; Survivor; Masked and Anonymous; Innocent Blood; Gospel Hill; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; London Has Fallen; This Means War; Notes: She’s done some voice work for Bojack Horseman. Nominated for Best Actress for What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Allen Payne – (Known For: The Perfect Storm; New Jack City; Jason’s Lyric; CB4; A Price Above Rubies; 30 Years to Life; Future BMT: Crossover; Cookie; The Walking Dead; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Vegan. One of the star of House of Payne, appearing in 170 episodes.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $19,751,736

(That seems really low. I imagine Eddie Murphy was getting paid multiple millions of dollars to appear in it, so almost definitely a bomb.)

#30 for the Horror Comedy genre

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(This is what I mean, I don’t really get why they are trying to make horror-comedies happen. Blank-comedy as a genre is a cool idea. When done right it is brilliant as it is able to skewer the non-comedy genre like nothing else can (see Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz). But they are obviously really hard to make. Making a horror film is hard. Making a comedy is really hard. Doing both at the same time is double hard. I literally think Cabin in the Woods is the last good one from that Box Office Mojo list.)

#35 for the Vampire genre

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(We might as well ignore that graph, the giant bump is just Twilight and the copycats there. Interesting nonetheless.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (3/29): Neither scary nor very funny, this misguided effort never lives up to its premise.

(Yeah, see. The double genre ploy almost never works … except for Marvel films which manage to be not very funny comedies and just ok action films, but people kind of accept those as “good” action-comedies.)

Poster – I’m a Vampire This Time (B+)

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(I think my favorite genre of film poster is the “I’m a giant star poster.” Best recent example was The Mummy, which made it seem like Tom Cruise was the titular mummy. Here we get more a story with the moon and the cityscape, but let’s not get it twisted. It’s the Eddie Murphy show and I’m excited.)

Tagline(s) – A comic tale of horror and seduction. (D)

(A lot of genres being thrown around. So it’s a comedy-horror-romance? Cool cool cool. In fact we don’t learn much about the film other than three very broad genres. Also as bland as you can make it.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.1 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 81.8 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.8 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.5 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 64.1 Dudley Do-Right (1999); 63.9 Dracula 2000 (2000);

(Wowza. We need to up our vampire game … although to be fair I’ve seen all of the Twilight films in my free time (my life!) so it really is just a matter of doing a re-watch.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eddie Murphy is No. 1 billed in Vampire in Brooklyn and No. 1 billed in Harlem Nights, which also stars Richard Pryor (No. 2 billed) who is in Superman III (No. 2 billed), which also stars Annette O’Toole (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 7 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Sonja Davis, Angela Bassett’s stunt double, died in an accident on the set. (Oh no, I forgot about this. Very sad).

On The Directors (1997), Wes Craven suggested that Eddie Murphy ignored his requests to play the character vulnerable, and felt compelled to showcase his comedic talents. (Wait a second! Later on in an interview Charlie Murphy claimed Wes Craven wanted it to be a comedy!)

Final film of Ray Combs. He died soon after.

In a November 2011 interview with “Rolling Stone”, Eddie Murphy stated that he made this movie for one reason: Paramount agreed to release The Nutty Professor (1996)’s rights in exchange for finishing his deal with the studio. Murphy also said that the wig his character wore was so awful it immediately made people despise the film. (Huh, interesting. So Murphy had the idea to basically reinvent his career prior to making the film. And then probably used his script to finish things off, see the next note).

Eddie Murphy wouldn’t write another story until Norbit (2007), twelve years later. Interestingly, his co-writer of both movies was his brother Charlie Murphy. (Yeah, again, I think they write scripts and then just leave them aside until the point where they are desperate to get something going. Murphy had had a few bad misses leading up to this).

According to Charlie Murphy, the movie was meant to be a straight horror movie with no laughs but Wes Craven brought a different focus to the film. (This contradicts the above note. I’m not sure which one I believe. This might seem unlikely, but Craven would use humor in Scream to satirize the slasher genre in Scream only a few years later)

This is Angela Bassett’s second vampire movie. She previously starred in Innocent Blood (1992). Bassett would also play a vampire many years later in season 5 of American Horror Story (2011). (That is actually kind of a fun fact)

First horror-comedy for Eddie Murphy. He would star in The Haunted Mansion (2003) eight years later. (Ooooooof, neither of those were particularly good).

“Veder” loosely translates to “Vater”, which means “Father”, in German, foreshadowing Ritas father was a vampire. (Darth Vader)

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Recap

Jamie

Mortal Kombat is back, Jack! The Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, decides that Mortal Kombat is dumb and decides to merge Outworld and Earthrealm together anyway. Our heroes are like “but rulez=coolz, bro” and fight against this bullshit. Can they stop Shao and save Earth before it’s too late? Find out in… Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

How?! After returning victorious from the last film our heroes Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Raiden, and Kitana are high fiving a whole bunch and having a pretty rad time. Suddenly the Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, is like “whatever, I’m not a loser, you guys are losers,” and starts to merge Outworld and Earthrealm together anyway. Everyone is like, “WTF, mate. What about the roolz?” and Shao Kahn flips all over the place and kills Johnny Cage and everyone has to flee. Raiden splits everyone up so that they can figure out how to stop the realms from merging. Sonya heads off to get her friend Jax, who turns out to have gotten metal arms because of confidence issues (?). Together they fight and defeat Cyrax and Mileena (obviously) and some truly dire CGI monsters. Meanwhile Liu and Kitana are sent to find Nightwolf and learn his secrets. On the way Kitana is captured by Scorpion and taken prisoner. Knowing that Nightwolf is a major character that will play a major role in the film Liu continues on and learns from him that he needs to tap into his inner Animality. While trying to pass a series of ill-defined tests in order to do so he meets Jade who seems like a bad guy but is apparently a good guy (wink). Finally, Raiden meets up with the Elder Gods and is like “rules?” and they are like “whatever. Deal with it.” All back together at the Elder God temple they get attacked by Kitana’s mom and jump over to Outworld. Believing that they have to bring Kitana and her mom back together Liu goes off and rescues her while the rest subdue Kitana. This turns out to be a trick as it’s revealed that Jade is a bad guy (what a twist!) and this plan was doomed to failure. They decide to just finish it and head off to battle Shao Kahn and his toadies. Once there they square off and show that they really believe in themselves and can tap into their Animality and don’t need metal arms and shit. Victorious they return to Earth and smooch each other. God this was dumb. THE END.

Why?! It’s funny because as Patrick mentions this very much fits the definition of a MacGuffin plot… just without the MacGuffin itself. Like they have to stop Outworld from merging with Earthrealm, it is the crux and motivation for the entire plot, and they proceed to start trying to do that by… something, something, something don’t worry about it. I should also mention that this is a nice classic Dumbo’s Feather as the key to Jax winning his fight in the film is to just believe in himself, bro. Just go get it.

Who?! Always like a very minor athlete-turned-actor as Lynn “Red” Williams, who played Jax in this film, was also a star running back for Kansas in the mid-80’s and drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft. He never was able to make it though and retired after breaking his back in the offseason and nearly getting paralyzed. He then answered an open casting call for American Gladiators and was Sabre on that for a number of seasons.

What?! I’m really disappointed in this franchise for the lack of any and all Coke products. I want them slamming Mountain Dew and getting X-treme on some Outworld ass. Not just being a product placement in and of itself. Sigh. I guess I’ll just point out that you at one point could buy a Mortal Kombat: Annihilation crew denim jacket in an online auction. Final bid? 30 pounds. A steal and quite the missed opportunity. Sigh.

Where?! Technically this takes place in a whole bunch of places since Outworld and Earthrealm are merging so the final climactic fight takes place near the Eiffel Tower. Is this then set in France. No way. Just Outworld for a large portion and then China, Hawaii, Jordan, etc. for the rest. Gotta once again go with a N/A for the fictional location that dominated the setting.

When?! Thank Elder Gods I did the heavy lifting in the original Mortal Kombat. In that film I came to the conclusion that it was likely set in August, 1994 sometime (I think). Since this film immediately follows that film then this is obviously a period piece set in the far past of 1994. I would of course have to confirm this, but choose to believe it for the moment. D- as it’s not at all clear from the film itself.

My god… what hath thou wrought? This somehow looks even worse than the previous film minus the humor and 5000x times harder to follow. Straight up convoluted mess. I stopped really knowing why things were happening halfway through because they just were and I just was… watching a movie that was a giant pile of dog poo. As happens quite often in BMT a film that is generally regarded as one of the worst of all time (or near enough to get rejected from that list) turns out to be quite bad. What a twist! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This week I actually got terribly ill and couldn’t watch the film for BMT. During my fever I feel like I hallucinated some nonsense with James Remar and the guy who played Night Slasher in Cobra … wait, that was the actual movie?! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – As brought to you by a director who has exclusively directed terrible films (Annabelle and Butterfly Effect 2 are his two others), and about 17 writers, two of which were involved with the catastrophic venture of Foodfight! These are the guys who are supposed to take over your martial arts video game film? Cool cool cool cool cool. This was destined to be a catastrophe, like Super Mario Bros. before it.

The Good – Uh. I like the guy who played Night Slasher in Cobra in general? Some of the set pieces, while looking like garbage, were kind of fun, the collapsing ice bridge comes to mind.

The Bad – Literally everything. I know I sometimes say that about movies … but in this case there is no hyperbole. The film is incomprehensible. Completely impossible to understand. The martial arts action looks like crap, the CGI looks like crap, and top to bottom the acting is crap. The film is, quite literally, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It is genuinely stunning that it was released to theaters. This should have been shoved directly to video so hard that Blockbuster’s quarterly profits would be 95% people mistakenly renting Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. This film is crazy. It makes you go crazy.

The BMT – And obvious emphatic yes! This, I think, has one of the strongest cases for not only most BMT film of the year this year, but also possibly for a Hall of Fame spot in years. The fact that we’ve now watched Universal Soldier: The Return, Highlander: The Final Dimension, Escape Plan 2: Hades, and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (that’s a whole lotta colons!) four weeks in a row … it is a testament to any sequel/franchise cycle I think. We should have done this ages ago! Looking forward to our planned cycles of the year I’m not joking when I say this could be the best year in BMT history, just from a classic bad movie perspective.

Roast-radamus – Looking ahead to the Smaddies Baddies it is interesting that the film doesn’t really have any of the things we award in the 6Ws. Maybe you could argue it is a kind of MacGuffin (Why?) because there is this very vague idea of trying to combine Kitana with her mother (whatever that means) to close the portals. But it is a stretch. It certainly will have a very strong case for The BMT award, which I suppose it good enough for me.

StreetCreditReport.com – The lists are somewhat hard to come by, but The Rifftrax guys did a list a while back which put it at 13th worst of the 90s. This video games list has a bit too much recency bias, but still manages 8th worst there which is impressive. I think it should be higher up, but for whatever reason the credible lists all got lost to time in the mid-90s.

You Just Got Schooled – Back in 2010 a short film came out called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. Produced by Kevin Tancharoen it was meant as a launchpad for a movie reboot. But Midway Games wasn’t having it. Instead it became a web series. As an adaption the short film is problematic. It completely dumps the Outworld angle, makes most mystical things practical, and kills Johnny Cage. In other words it is exactly the type of gritty reboot the world was looking for a year after The Dark Knight. Tancharoen is mostly a choreographer, and that was what seemed to be on offer: solid fight scenes so darkly lit that you could produce them for basically nothing. I remember being intrigued at the time, but not surprised producers didn’t go for it because it diverged from the story too much. F as an adaptation, but a solid B+ for execution and as a short film. Funny enough I watched the Scorpion / Sub-Zero episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy and lo and behold, all of the Netherworld / Outworld mysticism is back and so is the tournament … maybe that should have been in Rebirth then. The web series does seem cool though.

Phew. There you have it. Straight up amazing garbage. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mortal Kombat Recap

Jamie

MORTAL KOMBAT! Our heroes, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage hold the key to Earthrealm’s victory over Outworld in the ultimate tournament of champions. Can they beat Outworld and prevent the conquering of Earth (and maybe get a girl), before it’s too late? Find out in… Mortal Kombat.

How?! Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage all have reasons to fight. These reasons are exploited to get them embroiled in a fighting tournament that will decide the fate of Earth. That’s because Shang Tsung and his Outworld warriors have assembled in an attempt to beat Earthrealm for the 10th time in a row. If they succeed then Earth will be taken over by Outworld and let me tell you… it won’t be pretty. At the tournament Raiden, the God of Thunder and protector of Earth, tries to teach our crew the necessary lessons that will help them succeed. Unfortunately Sonya is too hell bent on revenge, Johnny too obsessed with proving himself, and Liu Kang too focused on fighting Shang Tsung himself that it all seems lost. It’s only when they realize the true reason to fight (the fate of Earth and that’s some pretty serious stuff) that they can live up to their destiny. Johnny challenges Goro, a monster fighter with all kinds of muscles and arms and shit, and is able to beat him, but Shang Tsung seizes on the agreement on the fight to challenge Sonya and take her to Outworld as his captive. Hoping to have her forfeit the fight and thus lose the tournament he is sorely disappointed when our boy Liu shows up and is like “I challenge you, man” and they karate chop each other a whole bunch until Shang is thrown onto some spikes. Our best friends return to Earth victors and are like “nothing bad will happen now.” But then the sky opens up and a terrible voice is heard declaring the premise for a sequel, which is that the entire movie you watched didn’t matter at all. THE END.

Why?! Very clear motivations all around here. Shang Tsung wants to take over Earth because it’s got all this vibrant life and he wants to squeeze it dry. Raiden just wants to help Earth defend itself. Liu Kang wants revenge for his brother, Sonya Blade wants revenge for her dead partner, and Johnny Cage wants to prove to everyone that he ain’t no showbiz fake but a true martial arts master.

Who?! Surprisingly boring in this regard. Not a whole bunch of the typical tropes we look for in this category are found in this film. The best we got was a cameo by video game creator Ed Boon who got a credit as the voice of Scorpion in the film (as he is also credited in the video games). Technically speaking he is the longest running voice artist in video game history having voiced Scorpion in every iteration of the game.

What?! All kinds of gobbledegook in this film from Earthrealm to Outworld to the Shokan prince Goro. Unfortunately they are aren’t fighting for the Staff of Taijin or something, just the fate of the world. Boring. It is more or less a product in and of itself, since it’s an adaptation of a video game (and one of the most successful product placement films of all time).

Where?! We get a few scenes in Hong Kong and in China (presumably, given that Liu Kang is from a Shaolin Monastery). The film is primarily set in Shang Tsung’s island, though. Found between Earthrealm and Outworld, the island falls staunchly in the “other” category of settings. While specific, I have to give it a N/A as it is fake.

When?! This was a hard one, but very important for the sake of the series. The second film picks up right where the first left off so if we could nail this down here then we are gold for that one too. It’s hard, though, since the series exists outside of space and time for the most part. The best clue we have is a “Johnny Cage A Fake” issue of the Examiner which seems to have been released in the first week of August, 1994. The person reading it implies that this is probably somewhat recent so it’s not bad guess. Hard to read though and a little shaky. C+.

I actually was surprised at how much I didn’t mind large parts of this film. One of those silly tournament films that basically write themselves, but it also has some humor and a gigantic animatronic Goro monster that is impressive and interesting to look at. However, the computer graphics are a complete mess and why I can’t really say this is not that bad. It took some balls to do, but they are objectively terrible and the scenes where they are used (and there are a lot of them) are actually hard to watch.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da, da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da, da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da, da da da da da! MORTAL KOMBAT! Video game films are universally terrible … welp, there it is. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – So I don’t think I saw this in theaters, but I certainly saw it when I was a young boy. I did not remember that Christopher Lambert was in it, and it is pretty crazy this was a very early Paul W. S. Anderson film. Other than that this was really about watching what was (kind of sadly) the best reviewed video game film until Angry Birds in 2016 …

The Good – The matte paintings, Goro’s animatronics, some of the fighting action all are exactly what you want from the film. It somehow is, as the critics said, appropriately cheesy in that regard. Our three main actors’ banter and companionship were believable and fun. Lambert is somewhat amusing as well. The tournament structure lends itself to a pretty interesting mystery story that is extremely easy to follow.

The Bad – The CGI. Woof. This is actually pretty close to A Sound of Thunder (except, you know … a decade earlier). Reptile and Scorpion’s hook/chain things look just awful. So awful in fact that it probably makes Goro look better in comparison. The ending is pretty rough as well, they should have let the story breathe with the happy ending instead of immediately jumping into Mortal Kombat II.

The BMT – No, this isn’t BMT. This should have, in reality, gotten maybe like a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, maybe a bit higher. I don’t think it is quite into “it’s not that bad” territory because of the CGI, but if they had skipped that I would have thought maybe. You kind of have to be a no-fun-having misanthrope to not at least understand why people think this film is genuinely good.

Roast-radamus – A new game! Here I’ll try and place the film we just saw into one of the Smaddies Baddies categories for end of the year awards. A truly self-fulfilling prophecy for Roast-radamus. For Mortal Kombat I think there are two options. First you could consider it for the Worst Twist (How?) Razzie for daring to make the end of the film just be the Emperor of Outworld deciding to invade Earth. More realistically this sneaks into The Good category for being a movie that wasn’t that bad. Hopefully we have better options than Mortal Kombat though.

StreetCreditReport.com – There isn’t much here as far as street credit, you’d probably be able to more easily find lists where this film is considered one of the best video game films, or an underrated action film. I did find this crazy thing. I agree kind of with their assessment, but Goro was also easily better than the terrible CGI, so they are wrong there. Since I won’t be using it in the sequel recap I’ll also point out that they are far far too kind to Annihilation (spoiler alert).

You Just Got Schooled – This week I watched the pilot episode for the 1998 live action Mortal Kombat television series, Mortal Kombat: Conquest. It premiered on October 3, 1998. The opening sequence in particular follows the game format so closely that is was, dare I say, interesting? After that though is kind of meaders about and the actions of and towards the female characters are problematic on multiple levels. The pilot is extremely long, the series looks like genuine shit, and the acting is an abomination, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, it is crap … but not a bad adaptation for brief moments. It was produced directly to syndication and eventually picked up by TNT to run after WCW Monday Nitro. It apparently was popular, but cost too much and only lasted a season. As an adaption I’ll give it a surprising B- mostly downgraded for lack of quality and Kombat, as a show maybe a D+, it was pretty brutal to get through but better than something like Highlander (narrowly).

One down, one terrible sequel to go. Cheerios,

The Sklogs