Double Dragon Recap

Jamie

Billy and Jimmy Lee are just a couple of martial arts bros. Little do they know that they are destined to protect the Double Dragon medallion from falling into the hands of evil. Can they stop the eeevil Koga Shuko from getting both pieces of the medallion and taking over New Angeles before it’s too late? Find out in… Double Dragon.

How?! Jimmy and Billy are just a couple of bros living it up in the post-apocalyptic punk/crime world of New Angeles where you best not be found out at night or one of the many street gangs might get ya. Orphans, they are taken care of by Satori, a former work colleague (?!) of their dad, who teaches them martial arts. The entire conceit of the film revolves around a magic medallion that they are destined to protect. The medallion is broken into two parts of the Double Dragon, one piece that allows control over the body and the other that allows control over the spirit. The eeeeevil Koga Shuko has obtained one, but wants both in order to control the world. Realizing that the second piece must be with Satori, he attacks them and kills her, but Billy and Jimmy are able to flee with their piece of the medallion. Using the power of his half of the medallion, Koga combines all the gangs in the city into one giant gang (can you dig it?) in order to find Jimmy and Billy. After a couple narrow escapes they figure that their only shot is to join up with a vigilante gang called the Power Corps that love to stop gang violence, rollerblade, and play video games (duh). Rollerblading their way over to Koga’s HQ they confront him, but are defeated and Jimmy is taken captive. Koga then attacks the Power Corps and a climactic battle ensues that is super rad and in no way terrible and lame. During the battle Billy rescues Jimmy from Koga and they are able to karate chop him a whole bunch and fulfil their destiny of dressing up in silly clothes, calling themselves Double Dragon, and riding around in a dumb car with a monster person (oh, I forgot to mention, there’s a monster person in this). THE END.

Why?! MacGuffin Alert! Our boy Koga is corrupted by power. The power of the Medallion. He was there when the Medallion was uncovered in an archeological dig and tried to get it for himself. Basically he just wants to rule the world using the perfect MacGuffin. As for our heroes, they are mostly naive and only know that they have to stop Koga and avenge the death of their father and Satori. Eventually they realize their destiny is to protect the Dongl…er, I mean, the Medallion. So now they just gotta battle evil and ride around in a ghostbusters car.

Who?! As mentioned below they chose to not have the Lee Brothers be twins in this adaptation, which is horseshit. There were a few cameos as part of some RoboCop-esque news reports featuring George Hamilton, Vanna White, and Andy Dick. Finally, there was only one strange Thanks credit and that was to the Cleveland Indians. I couldn’t recall anything in the film that would require thanking the Indians, but found in my deep research that some of the cast threw out the first pitch at a game… so I guess that means you get thanked at the end of the film.

What?! For every video game film we do I’m required by law to state the obvious, which is that the film itself is a product placement for the video game (and vice versa in a weird way). Interestingly this film also actually does have a product placement for the video game as the arcade version is prominently featured in the climactic fight (which raises all kinds of questions that the film was not equipped to answer).  As for props, I obviously would have loved to find the Medallion, but alas, it’s probably lost to the sands of time. In fact I couldn’t find any listings for props from this film for sale. I can only assume that Scott Wolf still has them all.

Where?! Very nice setting here as Los Angeles has been transformed into New Angeles following the destruction of most of the city by earthquakes, war, and rising seas. It even goes out of its way to show you many sights and sounds of Los Angeles in varied states of destruction. Could this have been set in Miami or NYC? Probably, but still pretty solid. B+.

When?! Second film in a row that takes place in a far future that has already passed. In this case it’s the far future of 2007. Getting more specific than that is difficult. I tried to keep my eyes peeled for something more, but couldn’t find it. I did catch both Jimmy and Billy Lee’s birthdays, which only confirmed that they were indeed not twins… very disappointing. Still gets an OK grade because I like to reward when they provide a specific year in the future. B

After a murderer’s row of BMT films to start to year I feel like we’ve settled in for a series of interesting films. This film got me thinking a lot about video game films because this really didn’t feel anything like Double Dragon. They chose instead to steer towards a RoboCop, Warriors, Escape from New York, etc. etc. etc. post-apocalyptic cityscape punk action film. The exact same mistake Super Mario Brothers made the year before. It’s almost like in the early days of adapting video games they fished around for a genre that was hot and then forced the property to conform. As far as the film specifically, the beginning was actually interesting to look at and I was shocked to find myself somewhat engaged for the first hour. Sure it fell face-first into every single trope and cliche in the book, but it looked all kooky with crazy makeup and matte painting and giant gasoline explosions and I was kinda having fun. Then the last thirty minute happened. The end of this film could actually be the worst thing I’ve ever seen. If they could have finished it without falling flat on their faces I could have imagined it being a cult film of sorts. Instead it’s a (rejected) worst film of all time. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jamie and I peering into Double Dragon and realized our destiny: to become karate twins! Who knew this was an actual job you could have? Thanks guidance counselors. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t remember much about the film, maybe just catching the boat chase scene every so often and every time just thinking how much it looked like crap (kind of a crazy set though). Along with Super Mario Bros. this film exemplified how poorly the early adaptations of video games went. For some reason they would just like … throw the idea of the film in the trash in favor of post-apocalyptic nonsense. In both of them! It is pretty nuts.

The Good – The beginning of this film is a lot better than I think people give it credit for. It can kind of be described in one word: quaint. It harkens back to when a film like this (or RoboCop, we’ll get to that in a second) could be made, where all of the world building is like: there was an apocalypse, then the gangs from The Warriors took over, but in like … a funny way you know? It is kind of like they were trying to put the horror film formula into a video game mold, film this thing on a budget, and hope the fans come out. They didn’t and it was a financial disaster. Alyssa Milano was kind of amazingly good (also very game for the crazy getup she had to wear during the entire film).

The Bad – Let’s set aside the fact that this film looks objectively like crap. The trailer itself told you that much. Let’s start with the most obvious issue with the film, that the last twenty minutes are just nuts. They are having a big rumble in a warehouse which houses the good gang run by Milano. There is a Double Dragon arcade. There are multiple body swaps. There is a very dramatic scene with the police officers refusing to police the city at night. And there are just problematic fight choreography involving cutting whips, and paint cans, and it really might be the worst martial arts movie ever. The last twenty minutes of this film is a catastrophe. But the biggest crime of the film? That the best part of it, the fake news stories giving us the backstory of New Angeles, is a complete and utter ripoff of RoboCop. Which means you can’t even enjoy that! For shame Double Dragon, for shame.

The BMT – Absolutely. I think it isn’t a bad goal to complete the Bad Movie Arcade, just run the gauntlet of all video game films ever made. And this one is probably in the top 10 as far as video game cred. So it had to be done. I think it also gives you a lot to chew on, has some interesting hot takes (like that it is decent outside of the third act), and is a good tag team with Super Mario Bros. Not much more to ask for there.

Roast-radamus – I don’t think Abobo is a Planchet, although he is something else (like, the ultra dumb bad guy who gets redemption in the end). It probably is a What? (Produce Placement) and much like other video games films is an A+ product placement by literally being an advertisement for the Double Dragon video game series. It definitely gets a Where? (Setting as a Character) for New Angeles, the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. And finally you could make an argument for the medallion being a MacGuffin, although we kind of do know what it is meant to do, there are a lot of secrets … I’m going to give it to it, also an A+ MacGuffin (Why?). I think it is close to BMT as well, it could end up being one of the more entertaining films we watch this year, I could believe that. Wow, impressive list there.

StreetCreditReport.com – As said this is one of the worst video games films ever made I think, although this Vulture article puts it at 26th which is rather impressive. There was only one real worst of list at the time and it isn’t on it, but hey, it gets its cred mostly from the legacy video game films have left behind.

You Just Got Schooled – What you thought I was going to watch the 1993 animated Double Dragon television show? No way, this time let’s get a glimpse of the wonderful world of speed runs. Double Dragon has an 11-minute speedrun online. You can even see Abobo at about 1:25, he’s the first boss. Speed runs are usually a bit more fun when they can really glitch it, like beating Mario 64 in a few minutes using game breaking jumps and stuff. But this was still cool, seeing how an old game can just be memorized to finish it real quick. That appears to be the third fastest run which is pretty cool.

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

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Double Dragon Preview

“And that’s the story of how I cheated on my wife multiple times, destroyed my family, and continued to be a rich asshole. Now where to start concerning the mailman?” sighs Colonel Von Freed. Jamie looks grimly at Patrick. They endured his story of serial philandering for the last two hours and, considering the length of his sigh, the story of the fraudster mailman seems to be even longer. Suddenly a group of horses run by with grimy men clinging to their backs. Letters flutter about them as they watch them disappear in a cloud of dust. “Aha, the chase is afoot,” sighs the Colonel, “it’s helicopter time.” With that the Colonel snaps his fingers and a helicopter suddenly appears over the horizon. Gatling guns ablaze, the helicopter swoops towards the mailmen, who shields their eyes and scatter in every direction. One remains behind, the leader. “The choice is yours, mailman,” we say as we approach, “hand over the medallion or get another taste of our helicopter.” The mailman smiles. “Oh really, you’re gonna blow me away? I don’t think so,” he laughs, “that would be against the rules.” In shock Jamie and Patrick look at each other. What rules? Rulez=coolz and this could spell trouble. Another mailman returns and joins the first. Uncoiling the scarf from his face Jamie and Patrick gasp. Twins. They rip their sleeves off their shirts to reveal the secret tattoos of the twins engraved on their well-toned arms. “He isn’t lying, Colonel,” Jamie says. “This will not end peacefully. It’s the way of the Twins. They have challenged our twin prowess,” confirms Patrick. The mailmen scream in unison, “It’s a Double Dragon challenge, Bad Movie Twins! A fight for the medallion. A fight for destiny. A challenge that can only end with blood.” That’s right! We are watching Double Dragon, one of the many terrible video game films made in the *checks notes* ever… there has never been a good one. Apparently though the worst films of all time wiki page only has room for one video game film and that’s Alone in the Dark, which is no fun. At least this should be some fun to watch. Reading about it a bit apparently they changed the script so that Jimmy and Billy Lee weren’t twins but just brothers because the actors didn’t look enough alike. Bullshit. Just for that it should be on the worst of all time list. Let’s go!

Double Dragon (1994) – BMeTric: 66.9

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DoubleDragonIMDb_RV

(Below 4.0 is incredible. And while climbing a bit (pretty much unavoidable when the rating is that low), for a film from the early-90s that is very impressive. Pretty close to that 75+ pantheon, although now it’ll never make it.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In the junky, gang-dominated post-earthquake “New Angeles” of 2007, martial artist brothers Dacascos and Wolf battle evil billionaire Patrick for the possession of a two-part Chinese medallion that grants mystical powers. Sometimes lively but mostly silly and tedious; based on an arcade game.

(This review is mostly silly and tedious, so take that! But honestly, this feels like Maltin fell asleep in the middle of the review. Although, then again, there is a very nice semi-colon right near the end. Love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh9ioolJrd0

(My God the acting! AND LOOK WHO’S GOT IT! Whooooooaaaaaaaa! Man the 90s, what a time to be alive. Everything was so straight up raaaaaaad. Karate and hacking and like … video games. It is ridic. Too ridic to quit. I’m amped.)

Directors – James Yukich – (BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: He was a music video director for the most part, including directing videos for Bruno, Bruce Willis’ alter ego.)

Writers – Paul Dini (story) – (Known For: Batman Ninja; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman and Harley Quinn; BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Invented Harley Quinn for his friend Arleen Sorkin.)

Neal Shusterman (story) – (BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Quite an accomplished writer, including nine or ten different series. Also wrote a ton of How to Host a Murder games.)

Michael Davis (screenplay) – (Known For: Shoot ‘Em Up; 100 Girls; Monster Man; Future BMT: Eight Days a Week; BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Wrote the entire Prehysteria series.)

Peter Gould (screenplay) – (BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: The co-creator of Better Call Saul.)

Actors – Robert Patrick – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Wayne’s World; Bridge to Terabithia; Walk the Line; Die Hard 2; Spy Kids; Safe House; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Trouble with the Curve; The Faculty; Back Roads; Lovelace; Cop Land; Kill the Messenger; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Flags of our Fathers; We Are Marshall; The Road Within; Ladder 49; Rosewood; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; Eye See You; Supercross; Identity Thief; Fly Me to the Moon 3D; Hellions; Eloise; All the Pretty Horses; Last Action Hero; Alien Trespass; The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond; Fire in the Sky; Gangster Squad; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: Striptease; The Marine; Double Dragon; Strange Wilderness; Firewall; Texas Rangers; Endless Love; Notes: Replaced David Duchovny in The X-Files late in the series. Famous for his role as the T-1000 in Terminator 2.)

Mark Dacascos – (Known For: Brotherhood of the Wolf; Future BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Code Name: The Cleaner; Showdown in Manila; Nomad: The Warrior; BMT: Double Dragon; Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: A martial artist. Competed in the 9th season of Dancing with the Stars.)

Scott Wolf – (Known For: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Go; White Squall; Future BMT: The Evening Star; All I Want for Christmas; BMT: Double Dragon; Notes: Most famous for his role on Party of Five. Had some success in television across the years. Has a mildly famous cousin Josh Wolf.)

Budget/Gross – $7.8 million / Domestic: $2,341,309

(Somehow a catastrophe despite basically costing nothing. Having watched the film you see all $8 million on screen, it is pretty impressive how far they stretch that.)

#116 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Beat out the previous low gross by a BMT film by … Gymkata, wowza. This came in right when martial arts film was huge, but they were progressively making less and less money. At least according to Box Office Mojo this genre is basically non-existent at this point.)

#38 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

doubledragon_videogameadaptation

(Somehow less than In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale as well! A film intentionally made to be a failure. Right at the beginning of this genre which has been trying to break through for several years now.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (1/13): Double Dragon’s clever use of special effects cannot mask the film’s overly simplistic storyline and cheesy dialogue.

(A lot lower than I would expected to be honest, it felt like something you’d be like “ambitious, yet on a shoestring budget, and somehow not as bad as you would expect”. Reviewer Highlight: Even kids won’t get much of a kick out of this high-energy, low-IQ futuristic slugfest. – Brian Lowry, Variety)

Poster – Twin Time! (F… in a good way)

double_dragon

(Well I know what Patrick is getting for Christmas. This is quite literally amazing. It’s taken everything I love in a poster and taken it to an extreme that makes it terrible. Love fonts? We got two of the craziest. Love bold colors? How about two jarringly bright ones? Want it to tell a story? This got shit everywhere.)

Tagline(s) – Power. Justice. Darkness. Light. (C)

Two halves of an ancient puzzle are the only hope. (D-)

(Should have just went for the first one which is fine enough. Not sure what it’s really saying, but they are words that make the film sound important. The second is nonsense and I’m not sure is even proper english.)

Keyword(s) – teenage girl; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.9 House of the Dead (2003); 87.5 Crossroads (I) (2002); 86.3 Troll 2 (1990); 85.9 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.7 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.5 Movie 43 (2013); 82.4 Prom Night (I) (2008); 80.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 79.6 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009);

(We only have horror films left. Horror films will tend to have teenage girls I guess, so that makes sense. We swept the non-horror films real quick though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Patrick is No. 1 billed in Double Dragon and No. 7 billed in Firewall, 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 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – In the final battle, Linda Lash (Kristina Wagner) says to Marion (Alyssa Milano), “Now who’s the boss?” Later, Marion tells Lash, “You’re lucky, generally I put people in the hospital.” Alyssa Milano starred on the television series Who’s The Boss, and Wagner was a regular on General Hospital. (AWFUL. Just awful)

A video game featuring motion captured sprites like Mortal Kombat was concepted to co-inside with the movie, having the actors of the film and their stunt doubles provide the captured images. However it was deemed it could not be completed in the same amount of time as the movie, so was scrapped. After the movies release the film studio admitted it was a stroke of luck the game didn’t go ahead. The film would later have a Japan-only, tie in, fighting game of the same name, developed by Technos Japan under the license of SNK Playmore, ported to the Neo Geo MVS and the Neo-Geo CD in 1995 as well as the PlayStation in 1996. (Yeah that sounds like a terrible idea)

The boat chase was filmed on the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio. It climaxes with an explosion which used 700 gallons of gasoline combined with 200 gallons of alcohol. Despite warnings the night before on several news channels, the explosion caused Cleveland residents to panic, leading to 210 phone calls to emergency services over ten minutes. (Wow, I wouldn’t have thought that was in Ohio, I just thought it was in a kind of isolated, industrial, run-down part of the LA coastline somewhere)

Dozens of arcade games appear in the Power Corps hideout. DOUBLE DRAGON is one of them. It’s visible when Jimmy (possessed by Kogo Shuko) tries to kick Billy but misses and shatters the game screen. (Yeah, it is terrible. It sucks)

In one scene, Kogo Shuko asks his henchmen (Huey and Lewis), “Huey, Lewis. Any news?” a reference to the band Huey Lewis and the News. (Yeah that also sucked)

According to editor Danny Retz the alley where the Lee brothers are about to face off with Abobo was shot in downtown Los Angeles. “It was used by junkies and other nefarious persons and had to be steam clean before shooting could be done.” said Danny.

The seal on Jimmy Lee’s “Retour” shirt was designed by the DECA teacher at Snohomish High School. The image in the middle of the seal is the original Snhomish High School building. (I actually did think that shirt was rad)

First-time director Jim Yukich summarized his approach to the film: “Our characters are like normal kids – three kids on an adventure, so we didn’t want to make something that kids would almost be too afraid to see. … I’d like to make it in a funnier, light-hearted vein.” (Basically the Batman & Robin approach. “You’re making a video game, it’s ridiculous, remember” was probably shouted)

The plot from the game is originally about two martial artists which is a blue-suited young man named Billy “Hammer” Lee and a red-suited twin brother Jimmy “Spike” Lee, as they fight their way into the turf of the Black Warriors gang (with Linda and Abobo as members) who assaulted and kidnapped their love interest Marian, the martial arts brothers won’t stop at nothing to rescue her. After going through skirmishes lead by Abobo and Jeff at a city slum, a factory, the woods and the gangs hideout; Billy and Jimmy reach the lair where the have a showdown with the gang’s machine gun wielding leader who is the Big Boss and they defeat him, also resulting in a conflict where Billy and Jimmy fight to the death over the determination of who will win the affections of Marian.

The characters from the game that appear in this film are: Billy Lee (1st player), Jimmy Lee (2nd player), Marian (Non-playable character), Linda (3rd enemy) and Abobo (1st boss).

Highlander: The Final Dimension Recap

Jamie

Connor MacLeod is back, Jack! Oh and he’s ready to forget the second film ever happened and kill another Immortal. That’s because Kane is back and ready to declare once again that there can be only one. Can Connor get the girl and cut off Kane’s head before it’s too late? Find out in… Highlander III: The Final Dimension.

How?! We are reintroduced to the Connor MacLeod we know and love as he explicitly explains that contrary to popular belief there was never a sequel to The Highlander and in fact this is the direct sequel. We then get treated to a large sequence set in Medieval Japan where Connor learns the sword from a magician, Nakano. An evil Immortal, Kane, dead set on killing all the other Immortals, finds Nakano and is able to kill him, but The Quickening caves in the mountain and buries Kane preventing him from taking part in the events of the first film. In the present day an archeological dig unearths Kane and he uses one of his cronies to find MacLeod and kills the other in order to sap on his sweet sweet Quickening. When MacLeod sees the effects of The Quickening in the skies over Marrakesh he knows that he’s basically the only hope that Earth has and that Kane will be after him regardless. So to protect his family he decides to head off the threat and head back to his old stomping grounds of NYC. There the police are still suspicious about all those murders a few years back (God, let it go, right?) and there is also a pretty lady archeologist, Dr. Alex, to fall in love with, so he’s pretty busy. Eventually Kane catches up and nearly defeats MacLeod, but is stopped at the last moment when they venture onto sacred ground. Knowing that he was too close to defeat he heads to Scotland to make a new sword, bone the lady archeologist for hours, and eat haggis probably. When he is informed that his adopted son is unexpectedly heading to the US he runs back and confronts Kane in a petroleum refinery or power plant or factory or something (classic 80’s). They battle and shit but obviously MacLeod wins, endures The Quickening, and then probably has his own quickening with Dr. Alex. THE END.

Why?! Kinda spelled it out above. Kane wants to be the last Immortal and use the power to rule Earth, while MacLeod (who has loved the peaceful life of being the only Immortal left) just wants to protect the adopted family he has surrounded himself with. Unfortunately for the franchise this means that every sequel has to reveal exactly why this turns out to not work out for MacLeod. The first one decided to make it all about aliens and it was terrible. The second now has decided that he actually didn’t kill all the other Immortals, psych! I tried reading the plot synopsis for the fourth film and my eyes fell out of my head. This series is hilariously awful.

Who?! Not your typical Who here as there isn’t anything to note in the traditional categories. The best thing I found was that the young actor who played Connor’s adopted son was played by Gabriel Kakon. World famous actor? No, but he did co-found a high-end furniture and lighting store called Gabriel Scott.

What?! You always hope that a film like this can deliver with a Sword of Power or something, but alas. I did enjoy the moment where Connor undergoes a Quickening and the sheer power makes a large number of cans of delicious Mountain Dew explode. Now that’s what I call doing the dew, right?… right?

Where?! We get three different major settings. Primarily this is a New York City film like the first one. We also get some significant scenes in Japan and Scotland and some less significant portions in England, France, and Morocco. I do wish they did a bit more with NYC in this one. Just a violent backdrop for the battle between Immortals. B.

When?! This may be my favorite of all time. Early in the film Connor decapitates a fellow Immortal in the basement of a hospital and, seeing as that is unusual even for crime-ridden NYC, we get a glimpse of the front page of the New York Post. At the top there are a series of news stories about Tanya Harding, Bill Clinton, and… Mayor Rudy Giuliani getting yelled at by hecklers at a MLK event… because it was MLK Day… Super Secret Holiday Film Alert! C+++.

This is clearly a much better concept for a Highlander sequel than the second one ever was, no matter the cut. Unfortunately they really bungled the film as a whole and it’s almost laughably poorly constructed from a narrative point of view. The film has zero flow. It’s almost like the director had never done anything other than commercials and music videos and wasn’t equipped to make a feature length film… which was the case. It really makes it hard to have fun watching Mario Van Peebles eat entire set pieces and, although I’m sure Patrick will mention it, probably the greatest sex scene in BMT history. Seriously… you could just watch the film for the sex scene. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Highlander III is like if they decided to make like … Under Siege 3: Submarine Saboteur, but instead of getting an actual director they got … me? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The main thing that was weird about the entire preview was that the director had done nothing except music videos prior to this film. Combine that with an especially cheap looking trailer (with Mario Van Peebles acting off the chain) and you have a recipe for disaster. And that, for BMT, is interesting.

The Good – I have to admit. If I were to outline to you what the best plan of action for Highlander after the successful first film … well, this film would be it. I would say that the film should either be a prequel (and thus The Gathering wouldn’t have happened yet), or make it a sequel with something about a hidden Immortal, or some way in which new Immortals are created. This, from a story perspective, is kind of exactly what I envisioned. The sex scene in this film is genuinely great, and it is profoundly sad that that is the only good thing from this film.

The Bad – The film is a trainwreck. It is so ludicrous that it stands right beside Highlander II: The Quickening as a just off the wall crazy installment to this series. And the reviews are correct. This film stops the franchise right in its tracks. It looks cheap, Van Peebles is absurd in scenery chewing glory, the film makes no sense, and it just exhausts you of any tolerance you might have had for the now very muddled lore. Top to bottom, an absolutely terrible installment to a franchise which should have never been. And everything kind of comes down to the director being totally out of his depth. It feels like even a halfway competent director would have managed something … anything better with the material.

You Just Got Schooled! – I went ahead and watched the pilot for the Highlander television series which started as a syndicated series in 1992 starring Adrian Paul of Love Potion No. 9 fame. Man … 1992 was a wild time. Adrian Paul is legit one of the worst actors I’ve ever seen. And he headlines 6 seasons of a show! In the positive I will say the expansion and exploration of the lore behind Highlander certainly should be done in a television program, and they immediately start on the proper foot by retconning The Gathering from the first movie. In the end, the tv show as a tv show is a D, but the tv show as a sequel to the first movie is probably a solid C+. Helps that the acting in the original movie was pretty trashy in the first place. Do yourself a favor and watch the opening sequence though. For real, it is just … amazing.

The BMT – Back to back with Universal Soldier: The Return is … something else. I think these are both great examples of what BMT tries to be on its good days. Terrible, but not boring, with a lot of weird and wild stuff. Both captured the mid-to-late 90s in their own terrible franchise glory. Two early standards for the best bad movie of the year in my opinion.

Welcome to Earf – I now have a program to do this! The ideal (and BMT) path is: Deborah Kara Unger is in this and 88 Minutes, with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! We now have the ability to calculate a Here on Earth number, which is the shortest path (based on billing according to The Movie Database) through the BMT movie web. Unger was 3rd billed here and 6th billed in 88 Minutes (for a total of 9) and then Leelee Sobieski was 3rd billed in 88 Minutes and 1st billed in Here on Earth for a total of 4. I’ll probably eventually put this in the preview instead and figure out a new thing to do in the recap in its place. Here on Earf Number – 13 (Ideal: 13).

StreetCreditReport.com – It is fairly obvious that this was never going to actually make any lists since, you know … it isn’t a real movie. Instead I’ll take the opportunity to mention that this is literally the worst reviewed franchise in Metacritic history. It seems weird to me to see Highlander getting such bad reviews to be honest. I mean, according to Metacritic it is worse than Highlander II. That’s literally impossible.

I think watching all of these franchises is melting my brain … Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

 

Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

Jamie and Patrick are excited to take part in the Super Duper Commando Project… sounds pretty rad. Unfortunately when they show up there seems to have been a mix up. A gust of wind blew their applications from the accept pile into the reject pile. What a mistake! They are informed that the only open positions are as security guards. Jamie and Patrick shrug. You take what you can get. As they walk around the building they are super duper bored. “If I wanted to be a security guard I would have joined the Security Brigade,” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Super Duper Commando backflips his way into their path. “What thuuuuuuu…” Patrick says before they are both kicked out of a window. Shaking off the serious trauma inflicted on their non-Super Duper bodies they return to the security center and find the place in disarray. Turns out a rogue general bestowed the Sword of Power upon one of the Commandos giving him the power of the gods. Sounds totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I know, but like… you better believe it’s happening. Jamie and Patrick look at one another. The head of security is curious, “You boys look like you know something. Out with it.” They look sheepish. “It’s just,” Jamie begins and takes out an ancient scroll, “when we were born it was foretold that we would face a super soldier equipped with the Sword of Power. It was oddly specific to this exact situation.” The head of security is in awe. “Did it say anything else?” Patrick and Jamie look at each other again. “Yes,” Patrick whispers, “It said ‘There can only be one.’” That’s right! We’re getting another notch in the Highlander Franchise belt with our Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the cycle, Highlander: The Final Dimension… or is it Highlander: The Magician… or is it Highlander: The Sorcerer? Impossible to tell with the third entry in the series. I’m sure you’re all like ‘But Jamie, don’t you mean last entry in the series. There can’t possibly be a fourth major release in the Highlander series.’ Well you’d be wrong. Highlander: Endgame exists and it is foretold that we will watch it… someday. But not today. Let’s go!

Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994) – BMeTric: 69.4

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(Quite low, but is getting that regression to the mean as one would have expected. Nearly 70+ BMeTric, which is obviously extremely impressive. High hopes.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Conor McCloud, the wanderer from medieval Scotland, does battle in today’s N.Y. with evil fellow immortal from the past, the Mongol magician Cane (Van Peebles). Foolish, badly written piffle is a sequel only to the first film, ignoring the second and the TV series. Lambert is glum, Van Peebles shamelessly hammy. Dozens of unexplained elements, starting with Cane’s perfect English.

(Leonard hates Highlander. The films are rated: 1.5, 1.5, BOMB, BOMB for the first four. Which is insane. The first is actually halfway decent, at least compared to the second! I’m looking forward to the performances now. Seems like it could be something truly to behold.)

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

(I guess it is called “The Sorcerer” in this case. Anywho, this looks terribly cheap. And they kind of give away that he quickens again there. And they also give away that there is a pretttttty sexy sex scene … it’s a wash, this could go either way now.)

Directors – Andrew Morahan – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: British. Still is a music video director mostly. His father was a director as well, and his half-sister is an actress.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Worked as a firefighter for three years. Witnessed a friend killed by a deadly backdraft which became the basis for the script.)

Brad Mirman (story & screenplay) (uncredited) – (Known For: Forsaken; The Shadow Dancer; Crime Spree; Future BMT: Knight Moves; Resurrection; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Body of Evidence in 1994; Notes: Mostly a writer-director now, including a television mini-series called The Confession starring Kiefer Sutherland.)

William N. Panzer (story) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Was the producer for basically every single Highlander property over the years. Died in 2007.)

Paul Ohl (screenplay) – (BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: French, but lived mostly in Quebec. Was in public service most of his life, and wrote multiple novels which I suppose is how he ended up connected to this.)

René Manzor (uncredited) – (Known For: Monsieur N.; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Caught the attention of George Lucas and Spielberg early in his career and wrote on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Fortress; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Mortal Kombat; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Born in the US, although he is French as his father was a diplomat. Was married to Diane Lane, and had a daughter with her.)

Mario Van Peebles – (Known For: New Jack City; Ali; Heartbreak Ridge; The Cotton Club; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass; The Hebrew Hammer; Stag; Future BMT: Solo; Exterminator 2; Gunmen; Posse; Submerged; We the Party; Multiple Sarcasms; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Son of the famous director Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrays in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.)

Deborah Kara Unger – (Known For: The Game; Thirteen; Crash; Payback; The Way; The Hurricane; Sunshine; The Salton Sea; A Love Song for Bobby Long; The Alibi; Fear X; Stander; One Point O; Shake Hands with the Devil; Hollywood North; Signs & Wonders; Emile; Future BMT:White Noise; The Samaritan; Jackals; A Dark Truth; Keys to Tulsa; Whispers in the Dark; BMT: Highlander: The Final Dimension; Silent Hill: Revelation; 88 Minutes; Silent Hill; Notes: Canadian, but she started her career in Australia where she became quite a famous actress before returning to North America.)

Budget/Gross – $26 million / Domestic: $12,303,080

(Absolutely absurd budget. I understand there is a level of set design and special effects involved, but it would have been ludicrous to think they’d recoup that number. It has to involve funny math.)

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Around Dungeons & Dragons. The genre really took off in 2000, likely because they were able to put together films that otherwise would have been impossible to produce with practical effects with the cheaper CGI that had been developed by then.)

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(Only In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale did worse among BMT films. The chart gets a bit skewed because The Lord of the Rings made so much money all within a few years of each other. The genre has never really be huge in the number of films produced.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (1/20): No consensus yet.

(My god the consensus would be something else: Cheap looking with absolutely ridiculous performances by Lambert and Van Peebles. Literally like watching a franchise crash and burn in front of your eyes! Reviewer Highlight: As for Van Peebles, he’s quite the ridiculous sight and sound. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Skloglander: The Final Dimensional Sorcerer from Space Probably (B-)

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(I have to say I like the clock and how the poster is laid out. The coloring is crazy though and the font is just meh. Tone it down a little and get some sweet Highlander brand font and we might be off to the races.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries ago one man was chosen to protect all that is good. But an enemy from the past has travelled through time to challenge him in the present. (F)

(Bahahahaahaha… … … hahahahahahaha… ha… ah… well that sounds stupid.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.6 The Room (2003); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 82.0 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 81.9 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 81.2 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 78.7 Jason X (2001); 77.6 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 77.0 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 75.8 Fifty Shades Freed (2018); 74.9 Species II (1998);

(Kind of unbelievable there are still films on the table here. Given the number of films with the keyword it isn’t that surprising that all of them are basically above 75 BMeTric which is incredible. All three Fifty Shades films make this list.)

Notes – Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with Christopher Lambert herself, declining to use a body double. (Good for her I guess)

The original script for the film was radically different from the finished product in that the flashback sequences to place in early 17th century Scotland and early 18th century England. MacLeod had an Immortal friend in the script named Cavanagh who had similar aspects like Ramirez, The main villain in the script was named Kilvera. The script started depicting what happened with Connor after he buried Heather as well as a scene that revealed that he kills Jack the Ripper who was an Immortal as well. (I understand none of this)

The film is true to the original Highlander (1986) and ignores Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). In Highlander 2, Connor, Ramirez and the Immortals were aliens from the planet Zeist. In the original Highlander, Connor and Ramirez were not aliens from another planet and Highlander 3 takes place 8 years after the original film and is true to the original story and mythology. (Cool? They’re going to fuck it up anyways, so what does it really matter, y’know?)

Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles had both previously starred in Gunmen (1993) and had become good friends.

In early development this was going to be a prequel about Connor arriving in New York at the start of ‘The Gathering’. (That would have been kind of cool. If I recall correctly the original kind of starts as the battle for The Quickening is coming to a close)

Mako plays a similar role to the role he played in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). (M’man Mako is in this? Hell yeah)

For the UK VHS and DVD releases, the title was changed to Highlander 3: The Sorcerer, with no extended cut (renegade cut). (This title keeps on coming up and it annoys me. There are like fifty goddamn names for this film)

The Darkest Minds Recap

Jamie

After an illness sweeps the nation killing most children and leaving the survivors with a distinct set of superpowers, camps are set up to contain them. Despite being one of the most powerful of these mutant kids, Ruby is able to escape the camps. Will she be able to survive, find others like her, and perhaps fall in love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Minds.

How?! Ruby is just your typical kid… oh you know, besides being a super powerful Orange that can control minds and basically is too powerful to be allowed to live. That’s because after a children-targeted plague swept the Earth all surviving kids ended up with either super smart powers (Green), telekinetic powers (Blue), electrical powers (Gold), mind control powers (Orange), or fire powers (Red). The last two are killed and the rest are sent to camps. Luckily Ruby is able to trick the bad guys and pretends to be a Green until years later when her secret is discovered and she has to be smuggled out of the camp. On the outside she becomes wary of the adults that claim to want to help her and instead takes up with a group of escapees. They are on the road hoping to evade capture and find a mythical camp where similar survivors are able to live peacefully. While Ruby comes to accept that she’ll never see her parents again, they are able to track down where the camp is. Once there Ruby is recognized as one of only two surviving Oranges along with their leader, the son of the President, Clancy. After being taken under his wing everything is pretty great for Ruby until Clancy is revealed to be a power-hungry garbage person. Just when she tries to escape with her friends the military invades the camp (with the help of Clancy Garbageman over there) and they have an all out battle that Ruby wins. Realizing that she needs help to fight Clancy Garbageman she runs to a child army and in the process her friends are hurt, lost, or driven away. But she’s not crying about it (you are!) and she’s ready to lead in the sequel that is 100% being made. THE END.

Why?! For the main characters it’s survival plain and simple. But also survival on their own terms. They don’t want to live in camps, they don’t want to work for an anti-government resistance, and eventually they come to realize they don’t want to be in the survivor’s camp either. They just want to be able to cruise the countryside together in their Nissan minivan. As for the antagonist, it’s mostly revenge. His dear Papa President more or less tortured him after he gained his powers so now he want to take revenge on everyone by ruling the world with an iron fist or something.

Who?! Hail to the Chief. President Gray has taken office. I know there will be an argument whether President Gray should immediately be succeeded by President Gray Jr. in the BMT Hall of Presidents. But I would argue that he clearly installed himself as a dictator and that at that moment the Presidency became a mockery and that just won’t be tolerated. Also quick shout out to Mandy Moore, musician-turned-actress extraordinaire.

What?! Interestingly many reviewers took umbrage at the particularly noticeable product placement for a Nissan mini-van in this film. I actually didn’t notice it because it seemed to me like they were kind of making fun of how not cool the van they drove around in was. Although thinking about it, the defining feature or the van was its super reliability and they all cried when they had to leave the dear van behind. So yeah, I guess when they make a joke about giving a piece of product placement a Viking funeral then they may have stepped a bit too far.

Where?! We spend a large majority of the film in Virginia. In fact it might have been the whole movie for all we know. The beginning and end are both definitely in Virginia. The middle part is more like a road trip film about a gang of besties cruising about in their Nissan mini-van. B.

When?! Somehow a film set in the future after an epidemic doesn’t really even try to give you a year or time that the film is set. Looking very closely at the scan that Ruby is given at the camp I think it reads that her date of birth is October 23, 2004 or at least something close to that. Since we open around her birthday we can assume that this is more or less the date at the start. She then spends the next six years in the camp. Just guessing I think it makes sense that she is ten at the start and 16 for the main part of the film. Placing the film in the year 2020… but this is more or less guesswork. I just wanted to show off that I close read that brain scan. C-.

This movie is a good example of the logical conclusion to the postapocalyptic YA series trend we saw in Hollywood. Everything is vague but also spelled out as if for dumb people (if you are a Blue your eyes glow blue when you use your powers. How convenient for the viewer). All our main characters are good as can be and everyone else is on a gradient of badness. Our chaste main characters totally want to get together but are kept apart by circumstances. Etc. etc. etc. It’s not a good movie, particularly at the beginning and the end, which is straight up laughable. But there is a bit in the center where they are road tripping around as a group of four that I actually kind of dug. They were all likeable and I would have liked that to be the story. A much longer search for the camp only to arrive and find it destroyed by the military or something… but alas, tied to a book series they’ll never finish. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Y’all still like dystopian YA novels right? That’s still a thing and not a genre that will produce two enormous bombs in 2018, right? WRONG. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Around when Mortal Engines became possibly the biggest bomb of the year, here we are watching the old news dystopian YA adaptation disaster. What jabronis! Anyways, I was just hoping the film wouldn’t be aggressively boring. I have to admit … I really wanted to know what made her different. Because protagonists of YA novels have to be different. I can’t help myself, I needed to know!

The Good – Some of the effects look cool. The kid actors aren’t … the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The underlying story is shockingly dark. Like the characters are straight killing people. And not really in self-defense at times … like they just kill people. That part I didn’t really like, but at least it feels a bit different than Hunger Games or Divergent where killing was always given a virtuous excuse.

The Bad – Oh the rest of this film is a catastrophe though. Cliche, boring, a terrible “twist”, a dumb conclusion that sets up for a franchise that will never be. The acting is still terrible, even if it isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen. The entire beginning is just exposition trying to explain the nonsense world. And the biggest crime? She wasn’t even special. She’s just one of two “oranges” that aren’t captive in the world. This is a dumb film that makes you feel dumb with its dumbness.

The BMT – I think the notoriety will depend on how dystopian YA adaptations go from here. I imagine they will try again with something like Netflix soon, as they are quite keen on that demographic, the young teen group which consumes the new horror and romance films they are churning out. If so then maybe this will be one of the last we watch in a year end cycle and this is could be notable? … Otherwise nothing I will forget this movie presently.

You Just Got Schooled – Since this is based on a book I naturally did not bother to read it. Seriously … I never would. I read the entire Divergent series and regret it to this day. But I did go through the full series’ synopses just for you, so let’s blast through some highlights! (1) This book runs much like this movie, but in the end they go to a camp of oranges and ended up escaping and calling on the league after Chubs gets shot. (2) I can’t make heads or tails about this, but something about the President’s son trying to destroy his mother’s research about a cure for their condition. It sounds like Hunger Games Book 3. (3) Jesus Christ, how is there no information about these books. Basically they are now finding out about the cause of the powers they receive and trying to take down the corrupt government … I think. Wowza! What a disaster! They don’t get cured by the way, there is a sequel called Darkest Legacy which follows a different character and everyone still has powers it seems. You’re welcome world.

Welcome to Earf – Mandy Moore starred in The Darkest Minds and Because I Said So with Diane Keaton, who was in Big Wedding with Robert De Niro, who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – As I previously mentioned: We have real lists now! From the AV Club, Variety, and Rolling Stone. This is the first top 10 from the AV Club since we watched Fifty Shades Freed, so that’s fun. Otherwise surprisingly overlooked. Might get a bit more play now that Mortal Engines is an official box office disaster, it could be groups with that eventually in updated lists in a month.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Darkest Minds Preview

Having cast their vigilante personas behind and taken up the mantle of hitmen instead, Jamie and Patrick vow to kill the mysterious Briggs and save Arf Collector once and for all. What do they know about Briggs though? Just that he loves parkour and dogs, which describes literally everyone! “We’re doomed,” Jamie says, shaking his head. “Ah, but you forget,” Patrick counters, “I’ve watched every episode of Murder, She Wrote. It is time to lay our trap!” Donning his cable knit sweater, Patrick bangs out a true crime novel entitled Dog Gone: The Arf Collector Story and calls up his agent who rushes it into production. Watching the online reviews with bated breath their ploy is rewarded with a one star review reading merely  “Not how it happened!” “Quick, trace that IP” Patrick yells, and Jamie smashes away at his keyboard using 1337 h4xx0r skillz as The Prodigy plays at a deafening volume. Sure enough Briggs wrote that review, and they soon arrive at Briggs’ high rise office. Guns blazing they move steadily upwards killing henchmen until they reach the hundredth floor. Opening the door they find Briggs pensively looking out towards the ocean. “By now your reputation precedes you for your detective, hacking, killing, and movie making skills, Bad Movie Twins. Just promise me that you’ll treat Arf Collector with the love he deserves,” and with that Briggs kills himself. Arf Collector barks happily. The Bad Movie Twins did it! But what is this? A mystery novel peeking out of Briggs’ desk? It’s not just good, it is great! “But alas,” Patrick says, “Murder mysteries are totally out right now. Perhaps … if instead the main character was a child with mysterious powers, and the book was instead a YA novel …” That’s right! This week we are watching the newest dystopian YA novel turned mega franchise (they assumed) in The Darkest Minds! A complete box office disaster, The Darkest Minds hopped onto the dystopian YA-novel adaptation right as it was completing its crash, and thus became one of the biggest box office bombs of the year. Let’s go!

The Darkest Minds (2018) – BMeTric: 37.9

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(Really Really low again. I can on one hand say that that is heartening, but at the same time realize that the BMeTric doesn’t distinguish when audiences call something a bad movie because it is boring … actually, something having a high BMeTric early on might literally mean that it can’t please anyone. Which might mean it is either (1) a complete travesty, or (2) boring. Which I guess makes sense.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, and “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

(Woof. Pretty political take on it, but I guess you can’t really blame them. It is kind of true. The genre has completely collapsed despite the films looking as shiny (and cheesy) as usual. And One explanation for that could be politics. It could also just be that dystopia is out and aliens are in so they should go for aliens now that they are back in … basically stop adapting early 2010 YA novels for a while and pick up a nice Star Wars knockoff.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

(Looks pretty intense. I honestly don’t really know what is happening. I am going to guess either the main character is hugely powerful … or can’t control her powers … or she can use all four (or whatever) powers. That is a classic sci-fi thing. The one who can use all four powers! Wow! Wait … am I excited about this?)

Directors – Jennifer Yuh Nelson – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Born in South Korea, she was nominated for Best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda 2.)

Writers – Chad Hodge (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Mainly a television writer for things like Wayward Pines and The Playboy Club.)

Alexandra Bracken (based upon the novel by) – (BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: There are now six novels in this series. She wrote he first published novel at 19 while a sophomore at William and Mary College.)

Actors – Amandla Stenberg – (Known For: The Hate U Give; The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; Where Hands Touch; Rio 2; As You Are; Future BMT: Colombiana; BMT: The Darkest Minds; Notes: Performed with Zander Hawley in the band Honeywater. Their cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay” is in Everything, Everything.)

Mandy Moore – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Tangled; The Princess Diaries; 47 Metres Down; Saved!; Romance & Cigarettes; Dr. Dolittle 2; American Dreamz; Dedication; Future BMT: Racing Stripes; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Southland Tales; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Grew up in Orlando where she was known as the “National Anthem Girl” before being discovered. She literally just got married, November 18th to Taylor Goldsmith.)

Bradley Whitford – (Known For: Destroyer; Get Out; The Post; The Cabin in the Woods; Philadelphia; Scent of a Woman; Adventures in Babysitting; Billy Madison; Saving Mr. Banks; The Client; Awakenings; A Perfect World; The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; Rex; Presumed Innocent; Kate & Leopold; Bottle Shock; Other People; Unicorn Store; My Life; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Masterminds; I Saw the Light; Red Corner; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; CBGB; Bicentennial Man; BMT: RoboCop 3; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Was married to Jane Kaczmarek for 16 years. He just got engaged to Amy Landecker last March. You might know him as the bad guy from Billy Madison though.)

Budget/Gross – $34 million / Domestic: $12,695,691 (Worldwide: $41,142,379)

(Wow that’s a complete disaster. The YA novel adaptation scene is a bloodbath at the moment. At least compared to the promise coming off of Hunger Games.)

#61 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Blew up, but now the box office take is just collapsing. The highest grossing film on this list we did for BMT was Eragon (!), and recently we saw Vampire Academy which only did marginally worse overall.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated Adjusted chart

(#11 on the unadjusted chart. Narrowly beats out Show Dogs for the worst opening of 2018 for a film released to over 3000 theaters. Really really rough. We’ve only seen five of the top fifteen on that chart, and two of them are from this year!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (21/121): The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.

(Having watched Proud Mary I’m even more concerned. That was boring. This seems merely boring. It is a concern going into the end of the year feeling like we are just ticking boxes unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: What we’re left with is a Mad-Libs version of a dystopian YA adaptation done by someone who saw half of an X-Men movie on TV once, with no depth, no new ideas, and no point. – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Darkest Sklogs (C-)

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(Nah. Not into this. Also why is Ruby kinda disappearing? Having already watched the film I get it… but like… that’s not her power. Anyway, this sucks and doesn’t look very good.)

Tagline(s) – If you’re one of us, come find us. (D)

(I don’t understand this either. Why is this the tagline? It doesn’t really have much to do with the film and it’s not even clever or interesting. Boo.)

Keyword(s) – children; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 The Last Airbender (2010); 77.6 Boogeyman (2005); 69.7 Are We There Yet? (2005); 69.1 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 68.9 The Haunting (1999); 64.2 Godsend (2004); 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993); 62.1 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 61.9 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002); 60.9 Cop & ½ (1993);

(Children huh. Boogeyman looks like shit for reals. And I love that two of these films are Hulk Hogan films. It is great.)

Notes – In the book The Darkest Minds, the colors used for categorizing powers are Red (Fire Powers), Orange (Mind Control), Yellow (Electricity), Green (Advanced Intelligence) and Blue (Telekinesis). Yellow however was changed to ‘Gold’ for the film (Oh, this is what we’re getting into huh)

In the books Chubs is a Blue and not a Green like in the movie. (That is a travesty. I’M OUT)

First live-action movie to be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Peyton Wich and Catherine Dyer also worked together in Stranger Things (2016).

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Recap

Jamie

Captain Kirk is back, Jack! This time Kirk and his crew are called off shore leave to investigate an uprising in a Federation neutral zone. When they get there a Vulcan named Sybok and his followers take over the Enterprise and go on a mission to the center of the galaxy. Can Kirk and the rest stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

How?! This film is separated into three parts: a total embarrassment, an interesting gooey center, and a bungled ending. Let me explain. We open with the Enterprise crew on shore leave in Yellowstone. Kirk is climbing like a boss and everyone else is wearing scarves and getting lost. When they finally get back to camp they sing row row row your boat and embarrass themselves. It is bad and goes on forever. The only thing interesting that happens is that Kirk explains that he knows he’ll die alone and that’s why he’s never scared on their adventures because they are always there. Anyway, they get called off shore leave to investigate an uprising by a Vulcan named Sybok on a neutral planet. It’s like an outlaw western-y planet and they get in there and fuck up a bunch of people only to find that the hostages they are meant to rescue are actually now followers of Sybok. He’s like a cult leader that uses people’s pain to help them come to terms with it and thus gain followers on his quest to find God. He says he communicated with God and that he’s in the center of the galaxy. When they get to the Enterprise, Sybok gains followers from the Enterprise crew and only Kirk and Spock can really resist him. They are imprisoned until they get to the center of the galaxy where Sybok guides them to a planet. When they go down to the surface they find that it’s actually the prison for a malevolent force and Sybok is killed in the fight to destroy it. Everyone is happy including the Klingon ship that I didn’t even mention because that side story is kinda strange and out of place. THE END.

Why?! It’s pretty straightforward in the end (which is kind of why I say it is bungled), Sybok is a very powerful Vulcan who has communicated with a force in the universe who he believes is God. Aiming to find this force he uses his immense mind meld powers to delve into people’s pain and help them come to terms with it. Kirk wants to stop him because it’s kinda his mission but also he doesn’t believe that Sybok’s methods are correct and that pain is part of what makes someone resilient and human.

Who?! People just kind of show up throughout the Star Trek franchise. His wife shows up in one of the films and his daughter in two of them (including this one). The producer Harve Bennett shows up in three of the films as well. Also while looking around I found that Shatner is listed as the “Creator” of a TV movie called Fire Serpent. Didn’t direct it or star in in… just created it. Whatever that means.

What?! It’s noted online that product placement is pretty rare in Star Trek as a whole. This is one of the few cases where it shows up as during their vacation on Earth Captain Kirk wears Levi’s jeans and indulges in some Jack Daniels cooked baked beans. Also should talk a bit about the Great Barrier. While not a MacGuffin in the true sense of the word it is an object of mysterious power that is never really explained. They claim that you can’t go through it and yet the Enterprise does just that with ease (as does a Klingon ship). It turns out that everyone was wrong and it wasn’t much of a barrier at all. It is strange and vague (much like the rest of the end of the film).

Where?! Starts in Yosemite National Park and then moves to Nimbus III. Finishes in the center of the Milky Way. All pretty specific. Not as good as the fourth film which really really really takes place in San Francisco. B.

When?! At some point in the series it’s made clear what exact year it is and from that you can determine that this one takes place in 2287. That’s good enough for me and I especially love exact years for films taking place in the past or future. B.

I can’t talk about this film without talking about the film series as a whole. So to keep it brief: 1. The first film is a really drawn out television episode more than a movie, but I did appreciate the extreme Sci-Fi aspects to it. Just wasn’t all that great. 2. My favorite. Best character (Khan) and most emotional and I’m surprised it’s not talked about more in general as part of good cinema… because it’s good. 3. Airmailed sequel to the second that took away some of the emotion from that entry. Again liked the Sci-Fi aspect and they did a good job moving towards a more fun part of the series. 4. The funniest of the series but not my favorite. Still very good and really interesting choices made. So I came into the BMT entry of the series on a very positive note so I was surprised to find five almost immediately embarrassing. Just straight bad. Then when Sybok on the scene I thought it got somewhat interesting. They had an opportunity to explore the idea of delving into people’s pain and relieving it to make them happy and gain followers. I thought this would have naturally led into the exploration of the morals of a cult. Cult leaders are often amoral in their exploitation of their followers and I thought for sure this would come up. Nope. Instead our cult leader Sybok is just good and instead the God that he communicates with is actually bad… and almost immediately killed off. So in my opinion they bungled it. They had the opening for a complex storyline and defaulted to a simple and vague one. Pretty easily the worst of the series which I really really loved. They got a new Star Trek fan up in here. Finally, Groom Lake is a super tiny independent film written, directed, and starring William Shatner. It is bonkers that it exists and seems like something that Shatner just thought would be fun to do or something. Only weird thing is that there is a this whole rape scene in the middle that I could have done without… unpleasant and really unnecessary. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Fun fact: I love Star Trek. I’ve seen the original series. I watched the animated series! I’ve seen all of the films. So why not revisit the worse of the worse (BTW the animated series doesn’t count. It isn’t canon! IT IS NOT CANON!). Time for Star Trek V! Let’s get into it!

The Good – The comradery of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is unparalleled. And when you know the final part of the movie the middle it actually quite a bit better than I remember. Previously I remember being quite annoyed that the story was about God and they went off to find him. But once you know that Sybok is a really cool character besides … well I’ll save that for the bad section.

P’s View on the Previews – Well I had already seen the series, so really the watch was a re-watch and a chance for a reassessment. And what I had remembered was the entire story about God seemed surreal and the fact that this seemed to be the big goal of the entire thing sunk the film. Fortunately, I think once you know the conclusion the second viewing is slightly better as I say above.

The Bad – Sybok being Spock’s brother is a big load of shit. He should have been a friend, or a legendary exiled Vulcan from Spock’s childhood. Him being in the family is just annoying and changes Spock’s father’s character a bit too much. The beginning is a bit too cute, and the Klingon B-story is kind of pointless. There are a lot of problems with the film, especially considering the relative quality of 2, 3, and 4.

You Just Got Schooled – I watched a third movie this week! I decided to finally watch Chaos on the Bridge, which was also directed by Shatner (although a documentary, so different than Groom Lake), and details the issues surrounding the development and first three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Interesting, although without Roddenberry some of the characters came across as a bit too self-serving, speaking ill of him and puffing up their own status I thought. Shatner never felt the need to challenge people, despite multiple contradictory statements being made about people and events. Interesting nonetheless, and a blessedly short 60 minutes.

The BMT – It had to be done. It had to be. I think this is a turning point, although it kind of depends on what Jamie thought of doing a fill series like that. Because, personally, I think I would like to do more franchises. There are so many terrible sequels it’ll take forever to get through them otherwise. So perhaps we’ll look back fondly on Star Trek V as a major part of BMT in the future.

Welcome to Earf – William Shatner is in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and also in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock who is also in In Love and War, which stars Chris O’Donnell who is also in Batman & Robin, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger who is also in Expendables 3, which stars Sly Stallone who is also in Zookeeper, which stars Adam Sandler who is also in Jack and Jill, which stars Al Pacino who is also in 88 Minutes, which stars Leelee Sobieski who is also in Here on Earth. Phew, welcome to earf!!

StreetCreditReport.com – Surprisingly sparse. But it does narrowly make this list for worst Sci-Fi films at 96. As far as Star Trek movies go it is widely considered terrible. Here is a list mentioning it as second worst. Interestingly they have insurrection last … disagree, but whatever.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we also watched Groom Lake. This film is not really a film. It is a weird thing that William Shatner did. It was vaguely interesting I guess. Kind of interesting to something weird like that, this film that is barely there. But naw, it isn’t the types of films I would like to do in the future. It just … isn’t fun in any way. It is just weird and pointless. Sorry Groom Lake, you get a D-. You have a point (Shatner directed you), but it is dumb.

I’ll close with my analysis of the full series: (1) One is boring, but if you like the original series it is like an episode of that and is also much better on re-watch; (2) Two is always good and brings back one of the best villains of the original series as well, highly recommend watching that episode before the film; (3) Silly and kind of pointless … well it has a point, to get Spock back, but that was inevitable and the movie just happens around that inevitability; (4) Some people think this is the best one, I find it a bit too silly, but it is certainly fun and has by far the most genuinely funny moments Star Trek has ever seen; (5) Initial watch this is terrible, slightly better on rewatch I have to admit. Sybok is better than you would think, but again, kind of just like a long episode. (6) Where you really see Kirk stare down his age and his biases in the conclusion to open war with the Klingons. Good, but ultimately a little too confusing to be great.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs