Universal Soldier Quiz

Before Independence Day and Godzilla and 2012, Roland Emmerich brought together two of the greatest bods of our generation: Van Damme v. Lundgren. Question is whether you were too distracted by Van Damme’s buns to remember anything about the story.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we see the Universal Soldiers take down some nasty terrorists at the Hoover Dam. What did the terrorists want though?

2) After a mission the Universal Soldiers do two important things in order to keep themselves in fighting shape. What are they?

3) During the course of what it effectively a road trip film our heros stop at four locations: A motel, a gas station, a diner, and Jerry Orbach’s house in Utah. Why did they stop at all of these locations?

4) Eventually Johnny Law catches up to our heroes and arrests them. What were they actually wanted for though? What was their crime?

5) Where does Van Damme’s parents live?

Answers

Universal Soldier: The Return Preview

Dear Diary, Jamie writes, I know I haven’t written to you in awhile but I met someone. I know, very exciting. Less exciting? I met someone else. Classic Jamie, right? Anyway, I need some advice. On the one hand you have beautiful… actually now that I think of it I don’t know their names. Classic Jamie you know and love. So Demon #1 is beautiful and a lawyer, but also a demon. Demon #2 is beautiful but also a liar and still a demon. The choice is tearing me apart, like hooks into my flesh. What do I do?! Gah! Classic Jamie. But having talked it out with you I think I have my decision. I will just have to marry both of them and live forever in this puzzle box. It’s the only logical choice. Thanks Diary. With that Jamie looks up and find himself back in the alleyway where they cornered the Predator. “Wha… what?” He asks stunned. Patrick comes over and places a hand on his shoulder, “A gust of wind blew by and closed the puzzle box while you were writing for the last twelve hours.” Jamie nods, but can’t help but wonder if he could have found happiness in that demon world. Probably not… because they were demons. Suddenly light floods the alley and they are surrounded by police. “Freeze, Predator dirtbag! Wait… where is it?” Asks the Commander. Jamie and Patrick look at each other and toss the puzzle box into a nearby sewer. “That Predator won’t be bother anyone else, Commander. We made sure of that.” The Commander is impressed. First a multimillion dollar t-shirt business and now this. He approaches Jamie and Patrick, “ I have a new assignment for you. Ever heard of the Super Duper Commando Program?” That’s right! We’re crushing the Universal Soldier franchise by watching the only two qualifying films in the franchise. Weirdly this is actually the first and the fourth films made. That’s because after the first film they made a couple Universal Soldier TV movies before deciding those never happened and starting over again with a new sequel Universal Soldier: The Return. It’s just weird enough that I made sure to get the TV movies from my local public library so I could torture myself with them. This is the Chain Reaction part of the cycle as Xander Berkeley was in both Proud Mary and Universal Soldier: The Return. Perfect. Let’s go!

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) – BMeTric: 76.8

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(Oh shit, it was at 3.0 for a hot second there. It has “recovered”, although mostly because you can’t really stay below 4.0 without being a truly legendary film while accruing votes. This should be a truly dire experience. I’m excited.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  The muscles from Brussels is back and must stop an out-of-control super-cyborg from world domination. Derivative but not boring rehash of the original. Features two tough heroines, Schanz and ESPN fitness guru Tom, but it you’re threatened by the enlightened sexual politics, there’s also a gratuitous brawl at a nudie bar. In his acting debut, WCW superstar Bill Goldberg proves he has all the dramatic range of Foghorn Leghorn.

(WCW star. Check. An ESPN fitness guru. Check. Brawl at a nudie bar. Check. Uh, this might be the greatest thing I’ve ever read. My body is ready, but will my mind melt when I watch this? There is only one way to find out.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2SxMcP-UFo

(That looks way dumber than the original! It looks so bad. Just explosions, and guns, and stunts, and Michael Jai White … woof!)

Directors – Mic Rodgers – (BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: A stuntman, and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, most notable for being Mel Gibson’s personal stunt double for over ten years.)

Writers – Richard Rothstein (characters) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Died this year. He made the television series Deadly Nightmares.)

Christopher Leitch (characters) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Worked with Rothstein briefly on Deadly Nightmares, which is possibly why he got the job at the time.)

Dean Devlin (characters) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Future BMT: Godzilla; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: Advised the games company ZeniMax in the early 2000s, they own Bethesda.)

William Malone (written by) – (Future BMT: Supernova; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: He was the designer of the Michael Myers mask in Halloween!)

John Fasano (written by) – (Future BMT: Darkness Falls; Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Another 48 Hrs.; Notes: Died in 2014. He began his career creating industrial films for IBM.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Hard Target; Kickboxer; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Sudden Death; Timecop; Breakin’; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Knock Off; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Double Impact; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Replicant; Inferno; Missing in Action; The Quest; Nowhere to Run; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Last Action Hero; Bloodsport; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Y’all know Jean-Claude. He was a karate champion in Belgium, including appearances on the Belgian team which won the 1979 European Karate Championship. After a successful fill-contact career he became an actor.)

Bill Goldberg – (Known For: American Satan; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Future BMT: Ready to Rumble; The Longest Yard; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: Was a pro football player for a bit (he played for the Falcons, Rams, and Panthers). Had a horrible sounding abdominal injury which ended his career. He then became a WCW star, and even the Heavyweight champion!)

Heidi Schanz – (Known For: Se7en; The Truman Show; Future BMT: Virtuosity; Kiss the Girls; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Notes: Was at one point a model, and has been in a smattering of television programs as well. Appears to have retired from acting in 2003.)

Budget/Gross – $40-45 million / Domestic: $10,667,893

(Oh that is terrible, although I’m somewhat skeptical that it actually cost that much. Considering the crew they had going and the cast besides (an older) Van Damme … where would the money even go!)

#87 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Oooof worse than Double Team! This kind of came at a nadir of the genre. Possibly, this was a last gasp for testing Van Damme (and any martial arts) films in theaters.)

#43 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Juuuust narrowly beats out Deadly Friend, which is atrocious. Basically the only super successful robot films recently were transformer films.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (3/58): Universal Soldier – The Return fails on almost every level, from its generic story to its second rate action and subpar performances.

(Oh, that sounds delighful. And sub-10% is incredibly bad. Getting more excited. Reviewer Highlight: It’s actually the fourth entry in the series, after a couple of straight-to-cable sequels. That’s a lot of pulp to squeeze out of a concept that was fairly juiceless to begin with. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Robo Soldier v2.0 (A-)

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(Gotta be honest with you… this is working more me. The balance, the sepia tone, the kooky font. Yes, yes, yes. Just a tad bit less going on… like what’s with the circle?)

Tagline(s) – Prepare to become obsolete (B)

(Am I a soldier in the scenario this tagline is commenting on? Why am I preparing? Shouldn’t Van Damme be preparing? Anyway, it’s short and comments vaguely on the premise, but not really all that clever other than a weak double entendre with obsolete.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 85.7 Spice World (1997); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 84.0 RoboCop 3 (1993); 77.9 Torque (2004); 76.8 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 68.9 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.4 Double Team (1997);

(Oh shit, we need to watch Street Fighter stat! Kind of a great list to be honest, a decent range, but also a few terrible films.)

Notes – The role of Romeo was originally intended for WWE wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. However, without notifying Steve, his agent turned down the offer of $55,000 to star in the film. The role was subsequently offered to WCW star Bill Goldberg, who accepted the role, for a fee of $250,000. When Austin found out about this, he expressed his anger to Vince McMahon for not letting him know about the movie offer. (Austin would have been better. I haven’t even seen the film and I know this)

Subsequent Universal Soldier films ignore the events of The Return, and outright contradict it in several ways. While still an official entry, it is no longer considered part of the franchise canon. (Reeeeeeally … I don’t believe you)

Michael Jai White (S.E.T.H.) also appeared in the original Universal Soldier (1992) as a soldier.

(At around one hour and eleven minutes) During the final fight sequence between Seth and Luc, when Seth finally breaks the termination code, the first part of the code is NCC1701, the same as the numbers that are on the outside of the Enterprise, of Star Trek fame. (Oooooooo I like that)

Was released theatrically despite the previous sequels having been made-for-television.

The last feature to be theatrically released starring Jean-Claude Van Damme until JCVD (2008). (Wow. It was kind of strange how abruptly Seagal and Van Damme retired into straight-to-DVD stardom)

(At around one hour and six minutes) When Bill Goldberg’s character Romeo tears his shirt off, and starts to fight with the security guards, he uses one of his signature wrestling moves, the spear. (natch)

Certain subterranean scenes were filmed in Texas, in the tunnels dug for the U.S.’s Superconducting Supercollider project. After the project was canceled in 1993, the tunnels were used as storage by Ellis County. (That’s sad)

William Malone was originally going to direct the film, but left just before the start of shooting due to creative differences with the producers, and was replaced by Mic Rodgers. (Hmmm Malone had at least a little more experience as a director, so probably unfortunate that happened)

Universal Soldier Preview

This film will we watched as a BONUS to go along with Universal Soldier: The Return. Go to that preview to read the ongoing adventures of The Bad Movie Twins.

Universal Soldier (1992) – BMeTric: 32.9

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(Nearly reached 50 for a second there. Just following along the normal vote-rating trajector up to 6.0. It is a bit surprising it didn’t stall out, but then again, these types of films feel very ironic and ageless it seems. So I would guess the further away from the time in which it was unironically made, the easier it is for people to give it a good review.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Van Damme and Lundgren – well, it’s not exactly Tracy and March in Inherit the Wind. Hunks are well cast as rival cyborgs (in a runaway government experiment, natch) whose human components hated each other during Vietnam. Has the requisite number of explosions. The director slyly keeps the grocery store Muzak going during Lundgren’s one big emoting scene – right after he eats raw meat from a bin. Followed by three “official” sequels and two DVD spinoffs.

(First, Leonard Maltin said “natch” in a review, which is excellent. Second, the Inherit the Wind name drop is sublime. If this review weren’t so long winded I would say it was one of my favorites of his.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7TFssY9ZF0

(That actually seems pretty rad I have to be honest. Just some hunky dudes shooting guns and slaying ladies. 1992 was a simpler time.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; Stargate; The Patriot; White House Down; Anonymous; Future BMT: Godzilla; Stonewall; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; 2012; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017; Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: German. Notably a campaigner for gay rights, global warming, and human rights. He is openly gay.)

Writers – Richard Rothstein (story) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Died in 2018. He retired right after Universal Soldier came out it appears, only receiving things like story or character credits from that point onwards.)

Christopher Leitch (story) – (Known For: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Universal Soldier; Notes: Directed a number of television episodes in the late 2000s, but appears to have retired in 2010.)

Dean Devlin (screenplay) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Future BMT: Godzilla; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: A very interesting career as an actor turned writer turned producer turned director! He directed Geostorm in addition to writing it.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Hard Target; Kickboxer; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Sudden Death; Timecop; Breakin’; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Knock Off; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Double Impact; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Replicant; Inferno; Missing in Action; The Quest; Nowhere to Run; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Last Action Hero; Bloodsport; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Y’all know Jean-Claude. The crazy person he portrayed in Bloodsport accused him of not actually being good at martial arts. This, however, is unlikely considering Van Damme had a martial arts career.)

Dolph Lundgren – (Known For: Aquaman; Creed II; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Hail, Caesar!; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Don’t Kill It; Future BMT: Masters of the Universe; Red Scorpion; The Punisher; Black Water; Skin Trade; The Peacekeeper; Showdown in Little Tokyo; A View to a Kill; Dark Angel; Small Apartments; Rocky IV; BMT: Johnny Mnemonic; Universal Soldier; The Expendables 3; Notes: Notable partially for being a karate champion, and having a Masters in Chemical Engineering. He earned a Fulbright scholarship to attend MIT, but decided to become an actor instead.)

Ally Walker – (Known For: While You Were Sleeping; Singles; Happy, Texas; Wonderful World; Future BMT: Kazaam; Bed of Roses; Steal Big Steal Little; BMT: Universal Soldier; Notes: Started out on the soap Santa Barbara. Has had a long successful career in television including Taxi Brooklyn!)

Budget/Gross – $23 million / Domestic: $36,299,898

(Decent I think. At least, not a financial catastrophe. I’m not surprised the next one went straight-to-DVD though. I imagine that was a decision made based on quality, not finances.)

#32 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(This genre really did just tumble down recently. Likely it is getting sucked into VOD and not getting actual releases. This came out right as the genre started to see significantly less gross per theater which is likely the reason the sequels went to DVD. Sadly the highest earning BMT film is The Last Airbender.)

#35 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Robocops and Transformers everywhere! Oh, and Deadly Friend. This came out at a kind of peak of robot films, and since then it has mainly been touch and go. I would guess every year there is some enormous Terminator, or Transformers film, but not very many smaller releases to fill the gaps.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (7/28): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make a consensus: wholly derivative, the audience is just as likely to laugh at as cheer at the repetitive action sequences. Reviewer Highlight: Though the idea is dumb enough to be fun, director Roland Emmerich does the Terminator thing without much style, and the two stars bash into each other but never connect. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Oh no! Robots! (C+)

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(I like the idea but it needs a bit more brightness. Font is terrible and what’s with the circle? Just OK.)

Tagline(s) – The future has a bad attitude. (D+)

Almost human…Almost perfect…Almost under control. (A+)

(It’s like the guy who made the tagline never even watched the film! It’s set in present day! But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant the “future of weaponry.” Still bad. The second one is just god damned beautiful. It’s perfection. This is what I want out of a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – soldier; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.3 Epic Movie (2007); 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.2 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 86.1 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.8 Fantastic Four (2015); 82.7 The Legend of Hercules (2014);

(Very nice. We should clean up this very soon. You would think this is just a who’s who of the worst films ever … but I actually genuinely think of soldiers in all of these films. The word is just kind of overly broad.)

Notes – (at around 18 mins) The young couple that Luc reacts to at the Hoover Dam incident are actually the same young couple in the beginning in Vietnam. (I saw that in the trailer, fun)

The production script presented a much darker depiction of the U.S. Military than what eventually ends up on the screen. In the screenplay the Colonel in charge of the Unisol project orders Dolph Lundgren’s character to ruthlessly kill off all the civilian witnesses to his pursuit of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character. The Colonel also informs the head scientist that the terrorists at the dam were not terrorists at all, but mercenaries hired by the army to provide fake justification for the Universal Soldier program. In the finished film, these scenes are omitted so the witnesses are left unharmed and the gunmen killed by the Unisols at the dam were genuine terrorists. The Colonel and his men are actually heroic figures with a real and valid mission who just want their multi-million dollar Unisol back. Whereas military villains were de rigeur in the post Vietnam 1970s and well into the 80s, by the time of filming the reputation of the U.S. Military was at an all time high following the first Gulf War so it was considered unlikely that the audience would accept them being shown in such a poor light. (Huh cool I guess)

Though they’re all supposed to be American, the Universal Soldiers are played by a Belgian (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a Swede (Dolph Lundgren), and a German (Ralf Moeller). (Their accents are a bit off …)

The last film to be recorded in CDS, an early digital sound format. In the following year of the film’s release, sound technicians had developed DTS. This sound format was apparently of higher audio quality than CDS and has been used in most movie theaters ever since.

The Grand Canyon bus chase was re-edited years later as library footage into Fred Olen Ray’s Critical Mass (2001) produced by Andrew Stevens’ Phoenician Entertainment (a company that specialized in shooting low budget action films around stock footage). (Fun fact)

The small patch worn on the left breast of many of the UniSols is a U.S. Army Air Assault Badge, signifying that the wearer is a graduate of the Air Assault School. (Some guy on the internet knows his patches)

The first screenplay was initially called “Crystal Knights”.

Ralf Moeller and Dolph Lundgren co-starred together in Universal Soldier (1992). Years later, both actors auditioned for the role of Hagen in Gladiator (2000), with Lundgren losing it due to Ridley Scott being unimpressed by his acting and Moeller winning the role. (Damn you Ridley Scott!)

The film takes place in 1969 and 1994. (Good to know)

[NOTE: There is an inordinate number of notes having to do with weapons and weapon accoutrements … I’ve left one in so you can see what I mean]

The highly specialized load bearing equipment worn by the UniSols was custom made by Eagle Industries for the film, including the thigh holster for the Desert Eagle .357 magnum (which also held 2 extra magazines and a Cold Steel Magnum Tanto), the shoulder holster harness for the H&K; MP5K sub-machine guns and the H&K; P9S pistol, extra magazines and grenades. On the opposite thigh, the UniSols are carrying collapsible PR-24 batons.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Recap

Jamie

Bridget Jones is back, Jack! And boy howdy is she getting into some kooky situations. Last we saw she had gotten the guy and was set to live happily ever after and now… uh… I guess she’s gonna screw it up? Can she not screw it up, get the guy, and get out of Thai prison (what, what?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

How?! Bridget Jones is on top of the world. She got a great career, a great boyfriend, and a great diary that she writes in. This will be the best year ever. That is until she totally starts to fret about her lawyer Mark Darcy’s hot, young lawyer colleague. He’s definitely having an affair. How do we know: because this is a film and Bridget needs a reason to screw up her nascent relationship for the fun (?) of the viewers. Anyway, after a disastrous lawyer party, lunch with her parents, and ski vacation Bridget seems to have totally messed things up with Mark. They’ve broken up, gotten back together, and broken up again leaving Bridget in the lurch just as she gets a new assignment reporting on exotic locales with her *gulp* ex-dirtbag boyfriend Daniel Cleaver. On assignment in Thailand, she almost hooks up with him, but at the last moment Daniel again demonstrates why he’s just a garbage person and she gets out of there. You’d think everything would go pretty smoothly from here but remember, it’s that kooky Bridget Jones we know and love so she ends up accidentally getting nabbed for drug smuggling. She ends up in a Thai prison for a surprisingly large chuck of the film, eventually being freed by lawyer extraordinaire (and not garbage person) Mark. Back in the UK, Bridget realizes that she loves him, runs to his office, and they totally smooch a whole bunch and they get engaged… which doesn’t seem like the best idea considering the tumultuous year they had. But you do you Bridget. THE END.

Why?! Everything that happens in the film is for love I guess. Bridget self-sabotages pretty hard and you would think it was because of mistrust or anxiety or feelings of inadequacy. But if that were the case it would be odd that they would be so dead set on getting engaged after like three months of dating. The only logical thing is that they are both screwing up their relationship so badly because they are scared of how much they love each other. Yeah… that’s the ticket.

Who?! Looking around I thought we would be totally bereft of something to talk about for this section. Nothing of interest was really popping out. That is until I saw that Jacinda Barrett, who played Rebecca, the woman Bridget feared Mark was having an affair with, made her television debut on The Real World. Kinda makes me think there might be a cycle in there somewhere. Reality TV stars in film. Woof.

What?! There are a couple very prominent advertisements for Coca-Cola at the beginning and end of the film. A large billboard seems to give Bridget encouragement to go get her man (and also encourages us to drink a delicious and refreshing Coca-Cola at the same time).

Where?! Much more of a road trip film in this case. Yes, we’re still primarily set in the UK, but this time we get some exotic excursions into Austria and Thailand. Classic sequel right there. Let’s take a character we love (e.g. Deuce Bigalow) and take him somewhere new (Amsterdam). In this case, the UK is important to the plot and the other locations are fun. I’m bumping it to an A-.

When?! The Bridget Jones films are as close to a road trip through time as you can get. They start immediately following New Years (first film is the year 2000 and the second has to be 2001 then) and proceed through the year ending between Xmas and New Years. In some ways you can lock them in as Secret Holiday Films as the most important bits of the story take place then. It is also important to the plot to as a New Year’s resolution is pretty much why she starts the diary in the first place. A-.

The best way to describe this film is as the equivalent to a television show. Season 1 (Bridget Jones’s Diary) was the smash hit, will-they-won’t-they, Ross-and-Rachel season that captured the heart of America. I thought it was fantastic. She was kooky and it was surprisingly raunchy and just generally a fun time. Then season two rolls along and they are like “shit, how do we recapture the magic?” Break them up, obvs. American will love seeing us make these people neurotic crazies and then get them back together. Magic recaptured, right? Not really. It’s the problem with the will-they-won’t-they model as it generally proceeds directly into relationship strife, and I don’t love watching that. Add on top that it’s just generally sillier, crazier (she ends up in a Thai prison), and more cliched and it is certainly a lackluster return for our girl Bridget… although I wouldn’t say the worst thing we’ve ever watched or anything. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Bridget Jones films, the first two at least, were an interesting time capsule of early 2000s British comedies. We watched the bad one. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I knew very little about the series going in, but realizing that the director of the first skipped the second and ended up directing the third I know there was going to be something off about it. I do kind of wish I had read the books, because what I will very likely blame greedy studio execs for maybe could more accurately be blamed on a greedy author, I wouldn’t know. Such is life I guess.

The Good – The three leads are as charming as ever. If you wanted a bigger badder Bridget Jones, well they delivered. They took the character on the road, gave her big stories to explore, and even more awkward moments to create. What they didn’t do was introduce a bunch of new characters for the sake of it and base everything around that. There are things to like in the film.

The Bad – The film feels exactly like what any bad rom com is. Almost quintessentially so. It is kind of a carbon copy of the original with all of the same characters and story beats. Bridget is arguably flanderized into her most audience-pleasing traits. It takes the main character from the charming original setting of London and then relies on fish-out-of-water stories in foreign countries for dramatic moments. And it resets all of the advancements from the original in order to reset everything to be done again. Literally … both movies are just Bridget Jones getting into relationships with the same two guys. In that sense the film in honestly horrible.

You Just Got Schooled – Aha, well in order to watch the sequel I had to watch the original acclaimed Bridget Jones. It was solid, but highly dependent on how much one can tolerate the classic British awkward humor (it shouldn’t be a surprise that both Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Office came out in 2001). Zellweger, Grant, and Firth are all fantastic. And it is a veritable who’s who of British comedic talent, even in the minor roles (two of her friends are Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, and Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter!). It is quite the trick to see a genuinely good film create a genuinely bad sequel, and all wrapped up in a very rare romantic comedy franchise.

The BMT – So here’s the thing: For all of the reasons described in The Bad section this is kind of a perfect example of a bad rom com sequel. But I don’t think that is why we’ll remember it. We are far more likely to remember the weird ones like Here on Earth than the quintessentially bad ones, of which there are multiple that do what this does at least part way. No, this is a rare romantic comedy franchise, which is interesting. Kind of makes me hope they make a Sex and the City 3.

Welcome to Earf – Alright well I could remember one other film we’ve seen with Zellweger, New in Town, which also stars J.K. Simmons. But then I had to look up the connection via the Snowman, which also stars Val Kilmer, who was in Batman Forever with Jim Carrey, who was in The Number 23 with Virginia Madsen, who was in Firewall with Harrison Ford, who was in Hollywood Homicide with Josh Hartnett, who was in Here on Earth! Rare Harnett path, welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – So here’s the thing you have to remember: 2004 was absolutely horrible for movies. The other thing you have to remember: romantic comedies are traditionally not that great. Combine those two and I literally can’t find a list with this film on it. Rest assured, it isn’t great, but it also isn’t going to beat out White Chicks, Catwoman, and The Whole Ten Yards!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason Quiz

I’m going to go ahead and assume you’ve seen Bridget Jones’s Diary, I mean, it was an instant classic when it came out. But, did you see the sequel(s). Well then …

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Later in the film we see Bridget Jones team up with Hugh Grant to present some travel series in Thailand. But before that we see Bridget Jones present another segment. What is she doing in this segment?

2) On what question did Bridget Jones totally bottle the lawyers’ supper quiz (BTW bottle is a British term akin to botch)? What answer did she give, and what was the correct answer?

3) Where did Colin Firth and Bridget Jones go on their weekend ski holiday?

4) For how long do Colin Firth and Bridget Jones go out before unceremoniously breaking up?

5) Finally the entire film ends with Bridget Jones getting rescued from a 15 year stint in a Thai prison (Not. Fucking. Joking). Try your absolute best to remember the lengths Colin Firth went to save her.

Answers

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Preview

The Predator uses the puzzle box to open a portal to Hell as Jamie and Patrick look on in horror. He gives a bodacious war cry and immediately runs through to begin the hunt. Shaking in their Uggs, Jamie and Patrick await what monstrous creation will emerge from the portal. They stare in awe as two ladies step through. One is a sultry minx in a red dress, her smokey eyes turn Jamie’s legs to jelly. The other has a book under her arm and is wearing glasses. She’s a total nerd, but suddenly she takes off her glasses and she’s also super sexy! But she was wearing those glasses! Who could have guessed? “Woah, I’m in love, bro,” says Jamie and Patrick is shocked. “Uh, those are obviously demons. We should just close the portal,” he says, but Jamie isn’t ready to go. “Hi there ladies… is there anything a couple of hunky muscle-bound guys like us could help you with?” They giggle and Patrick shakes his head is despair. “Oh yes,” says the sexy lady, “I am a sultry minx who has trouble with the truth, but you still love me because I’m bad for you.” The nerdy sexy lady steps forward, “And I’m a lawyer that you could grow old with, but you just can’t decide between us.” Jamie turns to Patrick “I just can’t decide between them. What do I do?” Patrick is stunned, “What?! They are clearly demons trying to trick you.” Jamie sits on the floor and puts his head in his heads. He pulls out a small book. “Give me a moment, ladies. I have to work out my feelings. And there is only one person that can help me with that… and that’s myself.” And with that he writes Dear Diary… That’s right! This week we continue our franchise-Zzzzzzz cycle with a very rare romantic comedy franchise. The original Bridget Jones’s Diary was a well-received British smash hit. Bridget Jones’s Baby was also a critical and box office darling. Uh … what happened dudes? Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason … seems like replacing the superfluous “‘s” with a colon was the mistake? I guess we’ll see. Let’s go!

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) – BMeTric: 33.3

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(An extremely interesting comeback. I … can’t imagine why? The comeback came long before the third film came out. Maybe that is why the third film came out though? Because the producers knew the film was gaining new life on VOD or something? Very confusing. But the BMeTric is still solid, so whatevs.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Pointless sequel to the hit romantic comedy, centering on the title character’s involvement with boyfriend Firth and ex-suitor Grant and her endless mishaps. Appeal of the original has largely evaporated, with likable, pleasingly chunky Bridget transformed into a charmless dunce. Only comes alive when Grant is on-screen, which isn’t often enough. Co-scripted by Helen Fielding, based on her published sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary.

(Too bad. I’ve seen the first one and she really is likeable. Although … she is also super dumb in the first one? One of the main points is that she doesn’t follow the news and is kind of a clumsy idiot. Perhaps times will have changed … because Hugh Grant’s character is certainly much more of a garbage person when viewed from 2019.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS0zrDOsy98

(Oh … yeah that does seem like it is kind of just a rehash of the first. And in order to rehash the first Bridget Jones has to necessarily regress a bit in her character … classic blunder to be honest.)

Directors – Beeban Kidron – (Known For: To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Used People; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: British, and married to Lee Hall who is a famous British writer.)

Writers – Helen Fielding (novel & screenplay) – (Known For: Bridget Jones’s Baby; Bridget Jones’s Diary; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Author of the Bridget Jones series. She was married to a long-time Fox Producer Kevin Curran.)

Andrew Davies (screenplay) – (Known For: Bridget Jones’s Diary; Brideshead Revisited; The Tailor of Panama; Circle of Friends; B. Monkey; BMT: The Three Musketeers; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: )

Richard Curtis (screenplay) – (Known For: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; Love Actually; About Time; Notting Hill; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Bridget Jones’s Diary; The Boat That Rocked; War Horse; Bean; Mr. Bean’s Holiday; Trash; The Tall Guy; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Very famous in British television circles for his adaptations of novels into mini-series.)

Adam Brooks (screenplay) – (Known For: Definitely, Maybe; Nappily Ever After; French Kiss; Wimbledon; Beloved; Future BMT: Practical Magic; The Invisible Circus; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Canadian, more recently has written the television series Imposters.)

Actors – Renée Zellweger – (Known For: Dazed and Confused; Jerry Maguire; Chicago; Cold Mountain; Bridget Jones’s Baby; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Me, Myself & Irene; Bee Movie; Cinderella Man; Monsters vs. Aliens; Miss Potter; Reality Bites; Appaloosa; White Oleander; Leatherheads; Down with Love; Nurse Betty; Liar; Love and a .45; One True Thing; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Bachelor; Shark Tale; Case 39; The Whole Truth; Empire Records; 8 Seconds; BMT: New in Town; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Notable early in her career for having a kind of baby / squinty face, and unfairly criticized more recently for apparent plastic surgery (when I literally think she has just aged). Bridget Jones’ Baby has lead to somewhat of a resurgence which is nice.)

Colin Firth – (Known For: Mary Poppins Returns; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; Love Actually; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Mamma Mia!; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The King’s Speech; Kursk; Nanny McPhee; The English Patient; Bridget Jones’s Baby; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Shakespeare in Love; A Single Man; The Mercy; The Happy Prince; A Christmas Carol; Genius; Dorian Gray; Future BMT: The Last Legion; The Accidental Husband; Gambit; St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; What a Girl Wants; Trauma; St. Trinian’s; Hope Springs; Main Street; Arthur and Mike; Before I Go to Sleep; BMT: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Devil’s Knot; A Thousand Acres; Notes: Y’all know Darcy. Actually probably most famous for that Pride & Prejudice role. Won an Oscar for The King’s Speech.)

Hugh Grant – (Known For: Love Actually; Cloud Atlas; The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Paddington 2; Notting Hill; About a Boy; Sense and Sensibility; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Bridget Jones’s Diary; Two Weeks Notice; Florence Foster Jenkins; Bitter Moon; The Remains of the Day; Music and Lyrics; I’m Still Here; Sirens; Maurice; Mickey Blue Eyes; The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!; The Lair of the White Worm; Future BMT: Nine Months; An Awfully Big Adventure; BMT: Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Notes: Extremely British. Somewhat notable for being caught with a prostitute in the 90s and the subsequent PR tour.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $40,226,215 (Worldwide: $262,520,724)

(Huge international success, but the domestic take probably did make them hesitate on the third. They shouldn’t have, the third I think was a huge success as well.)

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

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(Below Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous which is pretty rough. Came right at the mid-00s peak for sequels. We just exited the most recent peak which was more short lived. And I’m sure we’ll be entering the next big boom soon enough.)

#111 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Around Something Borrowed which is interesting. Right in the middle of the very long Romantic Comedy heyday. The genre looked to be sequestered to VOD more recently, but I think Crazy Rich Asians might lead to a bit of a resurgence.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (42/155): Edge of Reason is a predictable continuation to the Bridget Jones story, with too much slapstick and silliness.

(Yeah, predictable sounds about right. Reviewer Highlight: The humiliation of Bridget Jones is done so many times that it’s not funny and it’s not clever and it’s not interesting. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Bridget Jones: Annihilation (C+)

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(This has got a lot of things working against it: predominantly white background, lazy font, and large pictures of people front and center. However, I do like the balance and it’s clever in how it uses the tagline.)

Tagline(s) – Same Bridget. Brand new diary. (B)

Big Lawyer. Big Liar. Big Problem (A+)

(Both of these are pretty good. The first is to the point and really more of a “from the makers of…” taglines where they just want to assure everyone that they are getting what they paid for. But at least done in a clever way. The second is near perfect. Short and sweet, uses repetition and a set of three, and gives an idea of the dilemma at the heart of the film.)

Keyword(s) – thailand; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.5 Stealth (2005); 52.1 Bangkok Dangerous (2008); 51.4 Ong-bak 3 (2010); 46.8 Elephant White (2011); 43.6 Only God Forgives (2013); 43.5 The Meg (2018); 42.6 Mechanic: Resurrection (2016); 42.5 Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988); 42.1 The King and I (1999); 41.2 The Hangover Part III (2013);

(That is kind of a great list even though a few don’t qualify. The animated King and I is probably the most interesting as it is the weirdest. I guess you don’t really see when animated films go awry.)

Notes – In the book, Bridget Jones is obsessed by the actor Colin Firth from the BBC TV series Pride and Prejudice (1995), and even gets to meet him for an interview. This plot-line is omitted from the film, where Firth actually plays her love interest Mark Darcy. They did, however, film the interview scene with Colin dressed in his street clothes, and Renée Zellweger in character. The scene is included in the DVD extras. (That is mildly amusing. I wonder if they cast Firth in the first place in part because this character trait would have been known. Edge of Reason, the book, was written prior to the original film’s release.)

During an appearance on Oprah, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth revealed the scene of them fighting each other was not choreographed.

The role of Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) only had a very small appearance in the book. The character was so memorable and popular that his part was extended specifically for the movie.

Hugh Grant is just a day older than Colin Firth.

During the filming in Thailand, the cast stayed on Nai Yang Beach, close to the airport in Phuket. They often drank at the little shack bars down on the beach, especially ‘Mama Mia’s’. In 2004, all of those bars and restaurants were destroyed in the Tsunami. The pianist at the JW Marriott in Phuket, Stuart Hopkins, who was also a regular at the bar made extensive attempts to contact the cast. In June 2005, a large package arrived for his attention. It was from Renée Zellweger containing many things such as T-shirts, caps, and a big movie poster signed by herself and other cast members. Over the years the bars on the beach were re-built, and the poster still hangs proudly in Mama Mia’s bar as of August 2009. (Cool I guess)

Bridget makes a comment about Mark wearing a wet shirt. Colin Firth made a famous scene playing Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1995) where he appeared to Elizabeth Bennet in a wet shirt after swimming in a lake.

Drug smuggling is a very serious offense in Thailand, even more serious than murder. The rationale is that a murder might result in one death where drugs kill hundreds. (Yeah, don’t get yourself into a broken kingdom situation)

The poem Daniel quotes to Bridget on the boat while in Thailand is a translation of the famous “Phra Aphai Manee”, a famous epic poem about a hero/ prince who, among other things, wooes and marries many princesses. The part he quotes is when Phra Aphai Manee wooes his head wife, Suwan Malee.

Sally Phillips was pregnant with her second child during filming.

With a budget of $40 million, this is the most expensive film in the ‘Bridget Jones’ trilogy.

Earned $8.7 million in its 530-theater opening weekend, setting the record of the highest-grossing limited release opening weekend. This record was broken seven years later by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), which earned $12.8 million in its 425-theater debut.

The book that Jed and Shazzer read on the plane is “The Beach” by Alex Garland that also partially takes place in Thailand. (Starring Leonardo DiCaprio)

The producers originally asked Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) director Sharon Maguire to return for this film, but she told them that she had no interest whatsoever in directing it. Renée Zellweger’s personal choice for director was Nigel Cole, but the producers agreed that a woman should direct, and hired Beeban Kidron instead. Maguire would return as director for the second sequel, Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), though. (Hmmmmmmmm, and the second sequel was good ….)

Plans to have George Clooney appear in a cameo as himself were dropped. (Good)

BBC newscaster and presenter of University Challenge Jeremy Paxman makes a short cameo appearance (greeting Hugh Grant’s character Daniel Cleaver in passing and complimenting him on his show) in a scene that was filmed in one continuous shot, which required numerous retakes and took a long time to do. He commented that he usually covered the entire world news in the time it took to film this short sequence for a film.

Janey Osbourne is played in this film by Lucy Robinson, who, as Louisa Hurst, one of Charles Bingley’s sisters, co-starred with Colin Firth (as Fitzwilliam Darcy) in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, based on the book of the same name by Jane Austen. The Bridget Jones books and films are modernized versions of the same book by Austen. (Well … surely only the first one is. Still, it explains the bold move to make Firth play both characters and name them both Darcy.)

Hellraiser: Bloodline Recap

Jamie

Pinhead is back, Jack! And boy howdy does he want to take over the world. How? By forcing John Merchant, the extra special descendent of the original creator of the puzzle box/portal to “Hell,” to build a giant permanent one. Can John stop the horrors before it’s too late? Find out in… Hellraiser IV: Bloodline.

How?! We open in 2127 on a space station… … *checks notes* yeah, I guess… I guess this is Hellraiser now. Cool, cool, cool. A mad scientist named Phillip Merchant has worked tirelessly to destroy Pinhead once and for all but just as he opens the portal to the Hellraiser dimension he is captured by some space police (all rights reserved). He explains that far in the past (1796 to be exact) his ancestor Paul L’Merchant was commissioned to create a puzzle box. Upon delivering his art piece an eeeeeevil Duke uses it to open a portal to “Hell” and use black magic to summon a demon named Angelique. Him and his protege, Jacques, have a grand old time experiencing the forbidden pleasures of the alternate dimension until our boy Phil attempts to steal back the puzzle box and modify it so as to close it forever. Unfortunately the demon kills him and curses his bloodline for all eternity. You’d think that the demon would go on to wreak havoc upon the world at this point but she is controlled by Jacques who just wants her for his own hedonistic pleasures and to live forever (I think, it’s hard to follow). Anyway, they basically bang until 1996 (that’s a lot of banging) when she’s all like “yo, I rediscovered that curses bloodline in John Merchant and I really want to use him to reopen the portal” but Jacques is like “but can’t we just bang?” and Angelique is like no and kills him and heads to NYC. There she finds the building shown at the end of the third Hellraiser and frees the puzzle box from its foundations. She opens the portal and frees Pinhead and begins work on using her sexy demon wiles to trick John into using the building as an even bigger puzzle box and opening a permanent portal to “Hell.” Pinhead tires of this and decides to take John’s family hostage instead. They all run around for a while and there is a cenobite dog and some cenobite twins and shit. Eventually they get him to activate the building, but he does some fancy hacking on the computer like a computer whiz and reverses the portal to send them back to “Hell.” Flash back to space and the space police (all rights reserved) are shook. Pinhead starts killing them and so they let Paul go so he can try to stop him. He again uses some fancy computer work to trick Pinhead with a hologram and then zooms away on a spaceship as the space station turns into a puzzle box and explodes for some reason and this apparently kills Pinhead (though I’m not sure why you would necessarily believe that). THE END.  

Why?! Hoo boy. Uh… the demons are still demons but this time you control them if you summon them (unless you get in the way of Hell’s plan). When Angelique finally tires of banging Jacques after 200 years she is freed and then only wants one thing: to permanently connect Earth and “Hell.” Everyone else in this film is kind of useless and don’t really know what they are doing most of the time. Only Paul has the right idea with his super genius space station bomb that kills pinhead for some reason… It’s a dumb film.

Who?! Oh boy! It’s one of our favorite. A rare treat where we get a new Twin Film that we weren’t expecting. That’s because in Hellraiser: Bloodline there are a couple of twin security guards who stumble upon Pinhead and Angelique. They are promptly turned into twin Cenobites and… basically disappear from the film. Underutilized talent! Come on! Use those twin cenobites or lose those twin cenobites. Fun nonetheless.

What?! Have to talk about the occasional MacGuffin, the Lament Configuration. It’s a puzzle box that is the key to unlocking “Hell” and all its pain. In the first film it is simply that, but as the films go on it gains more and more power. In the third it is what keeps Pinhead locked away in “Hell” and thus what he most wants to destroy. In the fourth it could forever connect Earth and “Hell,” but also (if configured correctly) is the key to destroying Pinhead forever. I’m sure it gets even weirder and crazier in the later straight-to-DVD entries, but scientists contend we may never know the plots of those films.

Where?! I believe the first two films took place in an undisclosed location. Filmed in the UK and certainly looked like it. In the third, though, they veer over to the Big Apple and stick around there for the fourth one. There is a flashback scene in France and a future scene in Space, but the primary focus is in NYC and its nice cityscapes. B.

When?! We start in 2127 and jump back to 1796 and then forward two hundred years to 1996 before finishing back in 2127. While these are no more specific than years, some bonus points for the intertitles informing us of that information and specific years in the far past and far future. It’s pretty amazing and I love it. A-.

There is nothing like trying to write a recap for a film to help you realize just how much nonsense it is. This film makes no sense. It’s almost like they made a film, didn’t like it, reshot a huge amount, then tried to cobble it together into a film and failed miserably. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened. It hurt my brain trying to meander through the plot and the best things in it (Twin cenobites!) are thrown out immediately and barely play a role at all. What a tragic mistake. Put another notch in the belt you use to keep track of all the horror films that haven’t gotten better by taking it to space: Leprechaun, Friday the 13th, James Bond, and now this. What’s that? James Bond isn’t a horror franchise? News to me, cause he slayed the ladies. Boom. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever watch a movie and are like “wow, that was cool, I want some more.” And then the creators just shove dog poo in your face continuously for multiple sequels? Well I have with Hellraiser. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had seen Hellraiser before a while back and looooooooved it. I’m not a huge fan of gory horror, but this had cool practical effects, an interesting story, and enough mystery to make the cenobites and living dead feel like something very rare and interesting as far as horror went. Like with the Friday the 13th series, I was excited to actually tackle a franchise in full.

The Good – Uh, with the fourth one? As a matter of fact with the second or third as well? Not much. The second brought back all of the main players, and did attempt to expand on the lore which, at first was interesting. Then woof. The third and fourth really don’t do much, although the woman who played Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was the main character in the third which was cool. And that one had a fun journalist team-up with a street rat thing going for it. That’s it, the fourth is trash.

The Bad – The lore. They expand upon it in an interesting way in the second one for a short bit, and then things go off the rails. It’s actually hell now, there are weird circuses, pinhead is the only cenobite now, he makes new cenobites, he was good, now he’s bad, now he wants to bring hell to earth, now he’s dead. The entire problem with most horror franchises is they try and expand on the lore too much. Hellraiser takes that to 1000% and then hires a bunch of television actors, and throws blood and guts everywhere as if that is what I want. It isn’t. I hated this series after the first, it was a travesty.

You Just Got Schooled – Fun fact, I read the short story that became the first film, Hellbound Heart. It was great. Being able to expand a bit more about where our antagonist Frank ends up, and lending a bit more mystery to the cenobites (who are almost definitely non-human interdimensional beings of some kind). And in the end it makes a ton of sense that the first film does the adaptation so well. The underlying lore established in the short story is concise and interesting without delving too deeply into the details. Perfecto. I would grade the initial adaptation as an A, and then all subsequent adaptations as F’s. It is inexcusable to make the cenobites transformed humans residing in hell. It doesn’t even need an explanation! They can just be cenobites!

The BMT – A huge success naturally. I love expanding my sub-genre experiences, especially with horror. And this franchise is basically the entirety of a niche supernatural gory horror genre. I don’t like gore, although when done practically it was quite spooky. And I think this is just an added example of one of my film hot takes: horror lore is the worst and should never be expanded. Nothing ruins a franchise quite like over-explanitis.

Welcome to Earf – I don’t believe we’ve seen any of the main players in other BMT players, so, to IMDb I go! Ah yes, Adam Scott is inexplicable in this film, which we have seen in at least one other BMT film, Torque starring Ice Cube, who was in Ghosts of Mars with Jason Statham, who was in Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – The film is too small to make the main lists, but I knew it was going to be on a worst horror of the 90s list. And it makes perfect sense. A nail in the coffin for a signature 80s horror franchise. And yeah … the 90s was horrible for horror.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hellraiser: Bloodline Quiz

Uh oh. You see guys I … uh, got myself into a bit of trouble here. You see, this week we watched Hellraiser: Bloodline, and honestly, it is nonsensical garbage. How are you supposed to make a quiz from that? Anyways, good luck?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) The film follows the lives of three separate iterations of the LeMarchand or Merchant family, the family who created the Hellraiser puzzle box and who is destined to destroy it as well, once and for all. What do the three LeMarchand / Merchant men do? What are their occupations?

2) In the past the box was commissioned by a terrible person to do terrible things (and Adam Scott). What is the original intention for the puzzle box?

3) In 1996 Adam Scott and the demon Angelique are still alive and kicking it in france dressed in flowing suits and having sex and whatnot. But then, Angelique escapes (oh no!). What does Adam Scott do that allows her to escape?

4) Pinhead is a cenobite, a human turned into a demon (I guess, I’m literally guessing). Angelique is an actual demon presumably. We do see another cenobites in the film though, can you name at least one?

5) Finally, what is future Merchant’s plan. Why is he summoning Pinhead?

Answers

Hellraiser: Bloodline Preview

Patrick and Jamie start their police careers on Predator patrol. What a joke, right? “If I wanted to chase after aliums I would have joined the Alium Brigade” Jamie says resulting in a chuckle from Patrick. Just then a Predator ninja flips from the shadows and rips a civilian in half. “Jesus Christ!” yells Patrick and they are on the chase. Using their knowledge of the city and their extraordinary endurance, they just barely keep up with the greatest predator the universe has seen. Suddenly the Predator finds itself cornered and Patrick and Jamie pull out their guns. “Freeze, dirtbag,” Jamie says, but as they ready to make the arrest a strong gust of wind knocks the guns from their hands. With that the Predator is upon them and it spells certain doom for our heroes. Suddenly Jamie notices a distinctive birthmark on the mandibles of the Predator. “Wait… Predator? Is that you?” Recognition alights in its eyes. Of course. This must be the same Predator Jamie zoomed across the universe with just months ago. “But Predator, last time I saw you you were slamming Tacoz Fritos Mountain Dew and doing X-treme stuff… killing us isn’t X-treme. Ripping civilians in half isn’t X-treme. What happened?” The Predator looks ashamed and shrugs. “You know what is X-treme?” Jamie asks and the Predator looks up hopeful. “The most X-treme adventure of them all… death.” Jamie holds his breath. Could this really work? Did he want it to work? But he knew it was the only way. Recognition shows in the Predator’s eyes. It nods and pulls out an intricately carved puzzle box. Jamie and Patrick look at each other in horror, “What the fuuuuuuuuuuu…” That’s right! We’re watching the Hellraiser franchise… literally. There were four Hellraiser films released theatrically, and more or less people accept this as the original quadrilogy with the many straight-to-DVD films that followed considered separate. The fourth is the only one that qualifies for BMT as they steadily got worse reviews until arriving at the film that would stop the franchise in its tracks. The trailer is amazing and it’s one of the few BMT qualifying Alan Smithee films ever. I’ve gotten pretty hyped about it. Let’s go!

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996) – BMeTric: 53.1

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(I shouldn’t be surprised anymore that these things start absurdly low and then rise steadily over time. Horror films have finicky fans so they slam the films which then have nowhere to go but up as general audiences get ahold of them. 50+ and holding steady, so good enough for me.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Pinhead matches wits with a demon lover/cohort, ironically named Angelique (Vargas). Dull and plot-heavy, even if you’re a Clive Barker devotee. Re-caulk your bathtub instead. Followed by five direct-to-video sequels.

(The other films in the series went 2.5, 1.5, and 1.5, so none of them really were well received by Leonard. I guess not a giant surprise since Leonard notoriously hates horror films.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLfpZMAJW3k

(Oooof. That looks like a load of shit. The laser beams. The period pieces. The “Welcome to oblivion” at the end. It is exactly what you expect but don’t want in a horror mega-franchise of the time. Can’t wait.)

Directors – Kevin Yagher – (BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Renowned make-up artist famous for Tales from the Crypt which is where he started directing. His older brother was in the second and third Atlas Shrugged films.)

Alan Smithee – (Known For: Catchfire; Future BMT: An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Notes: A pseudonym previously used by the Directors’ Guild when a member wished to take their name off of a film. It was popularized by the film An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, so they reportedly retired it, although it has been used since.)

Writers – Peter Atkins (written by) – (Known For: Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; Future BMT: Wishmaster; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Was a member of The Dog Company, an avant garde theatre group featuring Clive Barker and Doug Bradley.)

Actors – Bruce Ramsay – (Known For: Holes; Alive; Behind the Candelabra; Jacknife; The New Age; Hit Me; Future BMT: Collateral Damage; Brick Mansions; Curdled; Killing Zoe; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Timeline; Notes: Canadian. Made a bizarrely ill-received version of Hamlet which he directed and starred in in 2014 which possibly ended his career?)

Valentina Vargas – (Known For: The Name of the Rose; The Big Blue; La Noche de Enfrente; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Born in Chile, raised in France, she is trilingual and has played parts in French, Spanish and English.)

Doug Bradley – (Known For: Hellraiser; Hellbound: Hellraiser II; An Ideal Husband; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; The Cottage; Book of Blood; Future BMT: Nightbreed; BMT: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline; Notes: Pinhead. Old school friends with Clive Barker he played the character in eight different films.)

Budget/Gross – $4 million / Domestic: $9,336,886

(That is weirdly fine. I mean, it isn’t a lot of money, but it cost almost nothing apparently, so … weirdly fine.)

#302 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(Just watched by far the most lucrative BMT film in the The Nun. This genre has transcended its roots and, like action films, can basically print money at this point. And to think that PG-13 horror used to dominate the genre.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (4/13): No consensus yet.

(The only Hellraiser film that qualifies as, from this point forward they aren’t released in theaters, and previously they were too well received, making it a rarity among horror mega-franchises. Reviewer Highlight: Except for the most undiscriminating gorehound, pic is a pointless mess. – Daniel M. Kimmel, Variety)

Poster – Hellskloger: Sklogline (B)

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(That’s actually pretty good… other than the Earth at the bottom that screams “this movie may or may not be set in space and is thus almost certainly super lame.” They needed to do a little more with the font too.)

Tagline(s) – This year, the past, the present and the future will all meet at the crossroads of hell. (D)

(The poster technically doesn’t have a tagline, but one of the alternates does so I’ll let it slide. If only to say that this one sucks. It’s too long and the “This year” makes it real clunky and hard to even think about.)

Keyword(s) – 22nd century; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.2 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996); 50.7 Judge Dredd (1995); 35.0 Dark Planet (2009); 22.0 Alien³ (1992); 21.9 Alien: Covenant (2017); 18.2 Dark Star (1974); 18.0 Space Battleship Yamato (2010); 13.4 Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966); 10.9 Vanilla Sky (2001);

(Been obviously smashing these. The Dalek one is crazy as that is surely a Doctor Who television movie no? Pretty nuts it manages that high of a BMeTric, but then again I guess there aren’t many films with the keyword.)

Notes – Walt Disney Pictures came under fire in the media when they purchased the then controversial and hip Miramax Films. The initial slate of films that Miramax would be releasing under the Disney deal included Hellraiser: Bloodline, Scream, The Prophecy, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Mother’s Boys. The outcry was due to the fact that Disney would be directly involved in the marketing and release of horror movies.

The US theatrical 1-sheet for the film does not have any credits. This was because original director Kevin Yagher had his name removed and replaced with the Directors’ Guild of America pseudonym Alan Smithee. Fearing this would negatively reflect on the quality of the film, Miramax opted for a credit-free 1-sheet. (Actually a good choice, I wouldn’t even notice)

Adam Scott was grateful for getting cast, citing the film as being a huge deal for booking a real movie, which he took very seriously. He remarked that on his first day to the set, he was shown his chair that was mistakenly labeled as Adam Craig. Scott said it was a nice welcome to Hollywood. Despite the film’s troubled production and box office failure, Scott didn’t care as long as he was working. Later in need of work, Scott even auditioned for the sequel with the hope that the casting directors wouldn’t remember him from the last film and no one said anything at the audition. However Scott suspects someone remembered him as he wasn’t hired for the sequel. (That is awesome)

Editor Randolph K. Bricker was brought in by Joe Chappelle (who was Miramax’s replacement for original director Kevin Yagher) to assemble a completely new cut of the film. This version was the one that was ultimately released in theaters in 1996.

The last “Hellraiser” movie to get a theatrical release. (Ayup)

Though promotional photos of Aristocratic Cenobites wearing white powdered wigs were released in various sci-fi magazines to promote this film, the Cenobites were cut from the finished film, along with Demon Clowns and an entire ballroom fancy dress party as the studio wanted to get to Pinhead’s story sooner.

Was intended to be the final installment of the “Hellraiser” franchise, ending with Pinhead destroyed once and for all. 5 direct-to-video sequels followed. (Whoops)

The film takes place in 1796, 1996 and 2127.

In the Hellraiser films and their legacy, author Paul Kane described his screenplay as ambitious and “one of the best Hellraiser sequels.” The screenplay featured a linear timeline, more special effects, and violent confrontations between Pinhead and Angelique. When Miramax was unwilling to provide a budget to realize the scenes, the film was scaled back. Stuart Gordon, known for his low-budget horror films, was approached to direct but backed out after artistic disagreements. Special effects technician Kevin Yagher was subsequently hired after his cost-saving directing work on Tales from the Crypt for Joel Silver. Yagher was initially hesitant about taking the job, as he did not want to do a retread of the previous installments of the series. However, he was impressed with the script and became enthusiastic after Barker describe his vision for the film. (Awwww, and then he declined to even put his name on it in the end)

Clive Barker acting as executive producer, wanted a fresh turn for the series after two sequels to his original 1987 film. The initial premise for the film, a shape-changing structure used to trap Pinhead, was inspired by the ending of Hellraiser 3 which featured a building whose architecture resembled the Lament Configuration. Barker suggested a three-part film set in different time periods, and Peter Atkins added the Lemarchand storyline, going back to Barker’s novella. Atkins had previously written Hellbound Hellraiser II (1988) and co-written Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) Atkins and Barker pitched the idea to Miramax who greenlit it without requiring an outline.

Gary J.Tunnicliffe of Image Animation, who had previously worked on Hellraiser III:Hell on Earth (1992) was recruited to perform special effects. Tunnicliffe was worried that director Kevin Yagher would want to perform the effects himself, but Yagher wanted to collaborate with Image Animation and believe their experience with prior films in the series would be valuable. Kevin Yagher only contributed to the Chatterer Beast.

The word Cenobite means a member of a monastic order.

Kevin Yagher: disowned the version with cuts made behind his back due to conflicting artistry ideas. Yagher’s version contained much more graphic imagery, plot, and explained everything that happened in the film. The producers disagreed and demanded Pinhead should appear sooner despite every version of the script up until then having him appear around the 40-minute mark. When Yagher was unable to satisfy he disowned it and never finished filming some final scenes. Joe Chappelle was brought on to finish the film, filming new scenes from re-writes including the narrative framing device. Some scenes of the original script were thus never shot. Joe Chappelle was the studio’s first choice to direct the film, and actually agreed to direct Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) on the understanding that he’d be allowed to direct this film (which he was more interested in) next, but eventually declined the offer due to feeling burned out after the troublesome production of that film. (Wowza, I didn’t realize Halloween and Hellraiser had that connection)

Predator 2 Recap

Jamie

In the crime-ridden 1997 hellscape that is LA a don’t-play-by-nobody’s-rulez cop, Mike Harrigan, comes up against a new breed of criminal that is taking out the local gangs. Turns out the Predator’s back, Jack, and LA in a heat wave is looking mighty tasty. Can Harrigan stop the Predator before it’s too late? Find out in… Predator 2.

How?! Mike Harrigan don’t play by nobody’s rules, especially when it comes to policing the streets. You don’t want him to contaminate a crime scene? Too bad, because there are some bad guys that need to pay… with blood, babbbbbby. Now that you know who Harrigan is you know that when a new danger appears on the streets taking out some of the toughest street gangs he is not ready to give the investigation over to the feds. Something seems fishy and he and his team are gonna do everything to find out what. Through solid police work and ingenuity they are able to find that something dangerous is afoot in their fair city and as a result of their sleuthing they are being taken out one-by-one. Just when it seems like Harrigan has cornered the bad guy he is confronted by the feds who reveal that in fact a Predator is what is afoot and he better back off while they go after it with cryogenic plasma guns (don’t worry about it). They of course are a bunch of dopes and Harrigan has to go in and show this Predator what’s what. He chases it across the rooftops in the dangerous dance of the hunt eventually chasing him all the way to its hidden ship. Facing off mano a mano Harrigan is able to one-up the Predator and its colleagues gift him a trophy and tell him to scram. They then zoom away in the spaceship because they are space aliens who honestly don’t give a fuck about our human problems. THE END.

Why?! I think what I’ve learned from analyzing the motivations of BMT characters is that the good guys are usually the more uninteresting characters. Harrigan is just a good cop. Yeah, sure he’s got a ‘tude, but he also gets the job done and mostly does it without bending the rules too badly. Usually the bad guy is more interesting, but when that adversary is a Predator the motivation is still pretty flat. It’s a Predator… it’s for the thrill of the hunt. Really the feds have the most interesting motivations. They want to capture the Predator and have been looking to do so for years. They want to freeze it, study it, and improve our technology using it and really don’t care how many people die in attaining that goal.

Who?! Both Ruben Blades and Maria Conchita Alonso are singers in addition to being actors. Blades in particular is pretty famous and has won eight Grammy’s over his career. Alonso less so, but she also has a Grammy nomination to her name (but who doesn’t). I find it more interesting that they chose to give Morton Downey Jr. a cameo in the film as a crazy trash TV host reporting on the rampant crime in future LA. He sounds like a terrible person, really, and surprisingly this will probably not be the last time we see him in a BMT film.

What?! I don’t recall any specific product placement for the film that knocked my socks off or even a MacGuffin. There was a crazy pirate gun that the Predators gave Harrigan on the end for defeating their colleague in hand-to-hand combat. It said that it was from 1718 and belonged to Raphael Adolini. You might wonder what the significance of that is given how specific it is… apparently it was inscribed that way because the screenwriters wanted to set the next film in the past (WWII is the rumor) and wanted to establish that Predators had been doing their thing for a long while. So it is literally just to set up a sequel. Lame.

Where?! It’s explicitly spelled out that this is set in Los Angeles from both context and intratitles. Technically I think this is a B+ since to get an A I feel like the setting should be vital to the plot in some way. Could have easily been set in NYC during a heat wave without issue.

When?! I would have to go back and check if the exact date is shown or mentioned in the film. Often in a police station there will be a calendar hanging on the wall to give a hint. Looking at Predator wiki pages if I were able to figure it out then this would potentially be a novel addition to the Predator history since generally the events of Predator 2 are just marked as “Summer 1997.” For the moment that’s the best we can do. C-.

It’s been a while since I’ve had as much fun watching a BMT film. It is straight up ridiculous. I don’t know how something like this could actually be made except that the late 80’s into the early 90’s was a wild time where some wild people were making some wild stuff. The beginning in particular is a marvel to watch and it’s almost a shame that it’s aged into self-parody. Hard to watch it now and not have part of you think that it was made ironically. But given what we’ve learned about that time in American film I think this is as earnest as could be and I love it very much for that. It’s what I believe makes a truly great bad film: earnestness in its creation. It’s also why making a bad movie on purpose is so hard. You need to truly believe that the best option for the script is to have Gary Busey don a cryogenic suit to battle a Predator and shoot it as seriously as possible. The very end shifts suddenly in order to check off some Predator boxes for the audience: a little more lore for our alien friend and a walk through of its space vehicle, so I think probably the producers thought it was successful for those aims. This also suggested to me that this was in fact just a film adapted from a stereotypical cop action film to include the Predator. Honestly the Predator barely seemed necessary until the very end of the film. I would love to find out this started as some Lethal Weapon sequel and then the screenwriter quickly made it into a Predator film for a last minute meeting. I believe it in my heart. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Watching films you’ve seen before for BMT is an interesting experience. You know the beats, but you lose something as well, that sense of newness I suppose. I’ve seen Predator 2 a few times, but it never gets old. It deserved the Preview / Recap treatment, so I did it with joy. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Previews – I had actually already seen Predator 2 prior to the viewing. From what I recalled the film was ridiculous. There was a police station with papers blowing everywhere which was lovely. And there was like literal voodoo magic. I was kind of secretly hoping all of these things were in the film … but I kind of knew that I was sadly misremembering. A boy can hope.

The Good – The movie is distilled madness. A very 90s sequel to a very 80s film unnecessarily set in the future with voodoo and giant flowing outfits and sweaty actors. The film is undeniably weird in a way that it is totally understandable that people like it. For a sequel to the original Predator I think they get the level of violence just right, at least for the after-the-fact reviews I read online.

The Bad – I think setting the film in the future is a mistake, and I think setting it in a city is a mistake. For the second they could have gone back to the jungle in Cambodia in 1967 Vietnam. And then by the time the third is going to be made you can set it in NYC or LA in 1997 instead of making it a future film. The acting is so over the top it is insane. The film comes across as genuinely racist both with the cocaine guzzingly hispanic gang, and the voodoo practicing Jamaican gang. It is of the time, but a mistake. This isn’t a terrible film in my estimation, it is just … too odd to take seriously, unlike Predator, which is still awesome.

You Just Got Schooled – I did manage to get a sweet director commentary for the film. And by “sweet” I mean very soft spoken and boring. I made a tactical mistake here. Rule number one of commentaries: it is always more entertaining with multiple people. And there was a second commentary with the two writers of the film. Such is life. The commentary was boring, but did have a few fun notes. Like how Predator 2 was the first film to ever receive an NC-17 rating, and so they had to edit it 20+ times to get to an R. And everyone in the film is wearing hats because the costume designer figured ozone depletion and global warming would eventually lead to people wearing loose fitting clothing and hats. I give it a C-. Really too boring, but the director is interesting enough to warrant a watch if you have the time.

The BMT – The Predator franchise is now immortalized in BMT lore with The Predator added to the BMT Live, and now we’ve done all qualifying films in the Predator franchise. I don’t think Predator 2 will make much of a mark though. I think there are better examples of the really-bad-sequel-to-the-really-good-80s-action-film.

Welcome to Earf – Weirdly easy because of Danny Glover, who was in Predator 2 and Proud Mary which also starred Neal McDonough, who was also in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li which also starred Chris Klein, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – It is tough to find real lists from this long ago, but the two I found (Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone) did not include this film for 1990. There is a nice article where Arnold Schwarzenegger just rips through the franchise and especially this film. So that’s fun.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs