Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Quiz

Like a precog from Minority Report this film makes you feel like you took a bunch of drugs and can see into the future … and that future just might involved Smaddies Baddies awards and the Hall of Fame. Can you understand anything from this film?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Wait, I thought they won the tournament and saved Earth for a generation. What is the Bad Guy even talking about?

2) But how would the Elder Gods let this happen?!

3) After Johnny Cage get killed like an idiot our heroes, Raiden, Lui Kang, Sonya Blade, and Kitana decide they have to split up. Where do all of them go and why?

4) What is the lame ass reason the Elder Gods are letting this happen?

5) Oh God can you even piece together the good and bad guys’ plans at this point? My head hurts.

Answers

Mortal Kombat Quiz

Are you ready for Mortal Pop Quiz Hot Shot! You best be, Fight!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) There are three main fighters of concern fighting to save Earth from the Outworld Trashpeople (that’s their team name, I think I heard it one time), Johnny Cage, Lui Kang, and Sonya Blade. Why are they in the tournament?

2) There are six main baddies on the Trashpeople side, Goro, Shang Tsung, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Reptile, and Kane (Trashpeople are stacked!). Name their powahs!

3) What is the political structure of Outworld, from what you can glean from the movie at least?

4) Why does Shang Tsung want to kidnap Sonya?

5) Ultimately why does Kitana help our heroes defeat Shang Tsung and thus prevent Outworld from taking over Earth?

Answers

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation Preview

In the Z-universe’s most notorious prison, the Robotoronic Jail 3000, two prisoners blow a hole in the prison wall and walk to their freedom while sirens wail. They begin the long walk across the Wasted Land towards Ecumenopolis.

“Keep digging,” whispers Patrick as Jamie attacks the wall with a sharpened spoon. After three weeks they both know it’s time to blow this joint and they’re doing it the old fashioned way. No kung fu hacking or super powers. This is just lean muscle, a spoon, and a stone wall. Well guess what? You done lost, wall. Jamie breaks through into a large air vent and Patrick turns to their friend Kyle who was the muscle to their brains in this terrible place. “Kyle, you’ve been a true friend showing us the ropes and helping us navigate the prison world. I’ll always remember when you took a shiv for me. It’s a memory I’ll cherish.” Kyle nods. “Come with us. Help us figure out our destiny.” Just as Kyle is about to join them in the vent a large gust of winds blows the entrance closed and blows Jamie and Patrick deeper into an underground tunnel. Patrick looks up to where Kyle had been waiting, but Jamie puts a hand on his should. “He’s gone. I’m sure we’ll meet him again. We have to move forward.” Patrick grudgingly nods and looks around at where they’ve landed. It’s a fork in the road. A path to the left and a path to the right. Jamie hesitates, “We must go left, Patrick. Something seems off about the right.” But Patrick is already heading that way, drawn by some force within. Jamie follows, trying to pull him back but a steady wind starts pushing them forward until they are tumbling head over heels. They land in a world unlike Earth. The clouds overhead are gray and move unnaturally fast. A hooded figure stands in front of them. “The wind,” whispers Patrick. “It’s been trying to get us here this whole time,” responds Jamie. The hooded figure speaks. “Welcome to my world, Bad Movie Twins. Are you ready to defend Earth in the tournament of champions?” That’s right! We’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) – BMeTric: 86.9

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(Sub-4.0 is incredible obviously. And that BMeTric. It it the 28th highest BMeTric for any wide release ever! That is pretty impressive. Got to tick those boxes. There are only seven above it we haven’t watched: Disaster Movie, Date Movie, Son of Mask, Vampires Suck, House of the Dead, Street Fighter, and BloodRayne.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Mind-numbing sequel rehashes battle between good and evil for the fate of mankind (yawn). OK visual effects but endless fight scenes and dreadful acting stop film dead in its tracks. Of interest only to American Gladiator fanatics and vidkids with really low attention spans. Remar’ morph from David Carradine-style kung fu sensei to turbo warrior is unintentionally hilarious.

(Vidkids? “Low” attention spans? Some real shade here. Not that the film doesn’t deserve it, I’m like 99% sure it is complete hot garbage, and I can’t wait.)

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

(Redux edit eehhhhhhhh. Hey guys watch out for all of the ninjas. This film looks like complete and utter garbage. And wait, is that the Night Slasher from BMT Hall of Fame inductee Cobra! I think it is. As if I wasn’t amped already.)

Directors – John R. Leonetti – (Future BMT: Annabelle; Wish Upon; Wolves at the Door; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Prominent cinematographer who has intermittently delved into feature directing. He is probably best known for his collaboration with James Wan on the Conjuring universe of films.)

Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the creators and the game designer of the video game franchise. Also the voice of Scorpion.)

Lawrence Kasanoff (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: WTF. This is the Foodfight! guy. We have now completing his screenwriting filmography. But he thought making a new Pixar was easy, failed miserably, and made an extremely unpleasant animated film. Read the Alpha and Omega recap for more information.)

Joshua Wexler (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was 26 years old when we produced and got a story credit on this film! Also got a writing credit on Foodfight! Currently serves as the Chief Executive of Fun (CEF?) for Pure Imagination Studios (not joking))

John Tobias (story) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: One of the two creators of the video game. Not sure why he got a “story” credit on this one and the other creator, Ed Boon, didn’t. He is credited with most of the character development for the first set of games.)

Brent V. Friedman (screenplay) – (Known For: Ticks; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Another writer on Foodfight! He and Bryce Zabel created a show Dark Skies following the success of X-Files and he’s been mostly in TV since then.)

Bryce Zabel (screenplay) – (Known For: Atlantis: The Lost Empire; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Notes: Was once a correspondent for CNN before moving to mostly television writing. He was the Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.)

Actors – Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Has a degree in Civil Engineering and actually worked for a couple years in the field before quitting and finding his way first into stunt work and then into acting.)

Talisa Soto – (Known For: Licence to Kill; Don Juan DeMarco; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Mambo Kings; La Mission; Spike of Bensonhurst; Piñero; Future BMT: Spy Hard; The Sunchaser; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Mortal Kombat;  Notes: Married to one of our BMT faves Benjamin Bratt of Catwoman fame.)

James Remar – (Known For: Django Unchained; The Warriors; The Girl Next Door; X: First Class; Ratatouille; What Lies Beneath; RED; Pineapple Express; February; 48 Hrs.; The Phantom; Cruising; The Long Riders; Drugstore Cowboy; The Cotton Club; White Fang; Boys on the Side; Miracle on 34th Street; The Dream Team; Fear X; Future BMT: Psycho; The Unborn; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; The Quest; Blade: Trinity; Duplex; Persecuted; Fatal Instinct; Rent-a-Cop; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Renaissance Man; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Horns; Band of the Hand; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Judge Dredd; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Wild Bill; Notes: I know him from The Warriors and as Dexter’s dad on the television series Dexter and am shocked at how many BMT films we’ve seen him in. Interesting story is that he was originally cast as Hicks in Aliens but had to be replaced, but you can still see him in some scenes that were too expensive to reshoot.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $35,927,406 (Worldwide: $51,376,861)

(And yeah, that is super duper terrible considering the performance of the original. A complete and utter rejection of this franchise just as it began.)

#33 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Just a little below Universal Soldier there. A wonder Showtime didn’t pick it up for series after this (heyyoooooo). On the downswing of martial arts … literally right before Rush Hour and The Matrix blow it up again.)

#21 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Just a little below Hitman which is somewhat surprising honestly. I would have imagined that at least some of the other halfway decent video game films would have done better than this. Then again … I did see this film in theaters, so literal morons did spent money on it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (1/40): With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat – Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.

(So close to being one of the worst every 0% films. It would have been top ten for sure. Reviewer Highlight: Never — at least not since the first Mortal Kombat — has tedium been so loud, so full of backward flips and flying fists to the kissers of centaurs from another realm. – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Poster – Sklog Fight: Liquidation (C)

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(It is the exact same poster… weird. Still bad font, but short and sweet and with a little more pizzazz color-wise. It’s just slightly better than OK this time.)

Tagline(s) – Destroy all expectations. (Lol.)

(Holy shit. Is this a joke? This is a joke, right? I mean, yes. It certainly destroyed any and all expectations people had. Particularly any expectation of another sequel.)

Keyword(s) – warrior; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.8 Catwoman (2004); 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.0 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.7 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997);

(Come out and play. To think. Ten of the top 30 or so worst films by BMeTric have the keyword “warrior”. Useless.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 11) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 1 billed in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 11. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – A third Mortal Kombat film was going to be developed, called “Mortal Kombat: Devastation”. Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Adoni Maropis, Robin Shou, Chris Casamassa, Keith Cooke, and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams were hired to be in the cast as Lord Rayden, Johnny Cage, Quan Chi, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Jax, respectively. Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess were in talks to reprise their respective roles of Princess Kitana and Lt. Sonya Blade. However, plans for a third film fell through and the film rights went to Warner Bros., which is planning a Mortal Kombat reboot. (Wait … Lambert was going to come back? I don’t believe it)

Ray Park’s first film role was as Rayden’s fight double in this movie. (Darth Maul baby)

Michael Jai White was scheduled to play as Jax, but eventually he got the lead part in Spawn (1997) instead. He would eventually portray Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Amazing to think that you could say “taking that role in Spawn was a very good move”)

For years, a third Mortal Kombat movie was being developed by New Line Cinema to atone for the poor reception to “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” mink was hired to direct, and then Russell Mulcahy was hired to replace him. Sean Catherine Derek and Lawrence Kasanoff took turns writing the script, which would have had Johnny Cage resurrected to help the heroes against Quan Chi and a resurrected Shang Tsung. However, according to cast member Chris Casamassa, who would have reprised his role as Scorpion, production was halted when Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the sets and the film ultimately never happened. (WHAT)

In the film, Jax fitted his arms with “muscle enhancers”; essentially a sort of exoskeleton that quadrupled his muscle capacity. However in the storyline for Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) (One of the shared premises for this film) Jax had his actual arms removed and fitted himself with the bionic arms.

Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana) are the only actors from the first film to reprise their roles. The other main characters are portrayed by different actors. The only other actor to return was Keith Cooke, but as a different character. In the first film, he was Reptile. Here, he portrays Sub-Zero.

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras was offered to reprise the role of Sonya Blade, but then turned it down for the role of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s sister in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). (Oh yeah … slashers are always a good choice a think, if only for the miniscule chance of becoming a scream queen.)

Both Deron McBee (Motaro) and Lynn ‘Red’ Williams (Jax) are former American Gladiators (1989), and they have a fight scene in this film together. (People must have been going bananas at the time)

Chris Casamassa was to reprise his role as Scorpion, but he was committed to do stunt work in Batman & Robin (1997). (Somehow a movie with a higher BMeTric, what are the odds?)

Featured in Rob Hill’s The Bad Movie Bible. (Hmmm might need to check out, read, and hate this book at some point in the future.)

Mortal Kombat Preview

If you are looking for the Adventures of The Bad Movie Twins they continue on the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation preview. That’s right! This week we’re watching Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to finish the Franchise-zzzzz cycle. These are films we saw in our childhood (obviously), but never got the full BMT treatment. They also serve as the transition to our second cycle of the year: The (Not Quite) Worst Films Ever. These are films that were at one time posted on the wikipedia page for the List of Films Considered the Worst. All such films are listed in the “Talk” section for the page. For people who don’t know the “Talk” section of wikipedia pages are where you can get a glimpse into the minds of crazy people. Let’s go!

Mortal Kombat (1995) – BMeTric: 40.0

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(It’ll be above 6.0 on IMDb soon. The BMeTric is shocking high I think. I was honestly under the impression that Mortal Kombat was the first non-qualifying video game film ever. For some reason I thought it had managed near 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nope. Legitimately every single video game film ever qualified until Tomb Raider of last year! WTF. Watch out for May, because I have a feeling Detective Pikachu might be our first fresh video game film ever made.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Shou, Ashby, and Wilson are among those kompeting in a martial arts tournament with nothing less than the fate of Earth in the balance. Elaborate special effects and impressive set design are helpless against a weak story, uneven akting, and komikally thin karakters. Mostly one fight after another, as you might expect from a movie based on a video game. Followed by a sequel.

(Boo, Leonard got to it first, how am I supposed to add superfluous k’s to things once the joke has been done? For a 1.5 star review it is actually pretty mild. At least, you can kind of see how it ended up getting kind of reasonable reviews: set design.)

Trailer –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHIfHL5UgFs/

(That set design though. For real though, Christopher Lambert, what you allowing them to do to your hair? And the CGI for real looks absolutely awful. The series of action shots with their names being whispered beneath them. MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! I’m in!)

Directors – Paul W.S. Anderson – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Resident Evil; Event Horizon; BMT: Pompeii; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; The Three Musketeers; Mortal Kombat; Soldier; Notes: A BMT fave married to a likely future BMT fave Milla Jovovich… we just haven’t seen enough of her films I don’t think, but she has a lot.)

Writers – Ed Boon (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Is technically credited for having the record for the longest working video game voice role since he has voiced Scorpion in all the games and this film.)

John Tobias (video games) – (BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Mortal Kombat; Notes: The character Noob Saibot is an anagram of his and Ed Boon’s names.)

Kevin Droney (written by) – (BMT: Wing Commander; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Wrote on The Highlander TV series. He also wrote a book called Le Missionnaire in the 80’s but it was only released in France… so I guess we have to learn French now.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Bel Canto; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Fortress; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; The Sicilian; Loaded Weapon 1; Gunmen; Knight Moves; Resurrection; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Who would have thought we’d watch two Lambert films so close together. Married to Diane Lane for several years.)

Robin Shou – (Known For: Death Race; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Beverly Hills Ninja; BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Apparently trained Milla Jovovich for her role in the Resident Evil franchise.)

Linden Ashby – (Known For: Iron Man Three; Wyatt Earp; The Joneses; Mr. & Mrs. Bridge; Future BMT: Prom Night; Resident Evil: Extinction; 8 Seconds; BMT: Mortal Kombat; Notes: Replaced Brandon Lee in Mortal Kombat after his sudden death in 1993.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $70,454,098 (Worldwide: $122,195,920)

(Obviously a huge success. Literally just turn around and green light the sequel, definitely can’t be a total joke catastrophe after this success right?)

#11 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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(Rush Hour 1, 2, and 3 are three of the top 4 on the list. But this is surprisingly good for a BMT film, only being beaten by The Last Airbender. Came as the genre was waning a bit in the 90s, right before Jackie Chan and The Matrix breathed new life into it.)

#6 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(This is our 15th BMT film I think. This was a true early days of the genre, prior to it struggling to land any kind of hit in the 2000s. Really has kicked up a notch since 2015 in both large theatrical releases and gross. Possibly bodes well for the future.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (12/32): Despite an effective otherwordly atmosphere and appropriately cheesy visuals, Mortal Kombat suffers from its poorly constructed plot, laughable dialogue, and subpar acting.

(Appropriately cheesy? These is no such thing. The reviews are quite interesting. Most of the big print critics gave it tepidly good reviews. Reviewer Highlight: The most intriguing is a glassy-eyed follower whose right hand shoots out a hissing reptile that can extend itself for miles. Exotic creatures like these make watching Mortal Kombat feel like being in a high-tech fun house. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Sklog Fight (C)

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(This is basically as mediocre a poster as you can get. It’s short and sweet but clearly riding on the known property that is the symbol. A little weird they chose to move away from the video game font/color scheme and make both much more boring.)

Tagline(s) – Nothing In This World Has Prepared You For This (C-)

(So I guess this is a play on the fact that it take place literally out of this world? I’m not in love with it. Long. Repeats the word this, which make it hard to think about. And only vaguely informative. Everything about the poster and tagline says “don’t ruin this for the video game fans out there… just do as little as possible.”)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.8 House of the Dead (2003); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.6 BloodRayne (2005); 86.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.1 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.6 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 73.4 Far Cry (2008); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999);

(Getting there. Far Cry and BloodRayne don’t technically qualify, but I bet we could get one of them in via Bring a Friend fairly soon. Super Mario Bros. might very literally be one of the biggest bad movies we still haven’t watched for BMT. I’ve seen it in real life dozens of times, just not for BMT.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robin Shou is No. 2 billed in Mortal Kombat and No. 6 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is also in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 6 + 2 + 2 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Ed Boon, co-creator of the original video game Mortal Kombat (1992), starred as the voice of Scorpion.

Brandon Lee was said to have been originally cast as Johnny Cage, but died before production began. (Sad stuff)

Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down the role of Johnny Cage to do Street Fighter (1994). The character in the games was originally based on him. (I mean, fine choice. There probably should have been a terrible Street Fighter sequel as well)

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras performed all her own stunts (refusing to use a double), including the fight scenes. She dislocated her shoulder during one scene, but they were able to fix it on set, without any recurrence. (I love Wilson-Sampras fun facts)

The film’s soundtrack went platinum in less than two weeks.

At around 6 minutes, Steven Spielberg, an avid fan of the Mortal Kombat series, was set to make a cameo appearance as the director in Johnny Cage’s first scene. However scheduling conflicts forced him to back out. Nonetheless, the “director” character in this scene does resemble Spielberg, which is most likely a reference to this. (Ha!)

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was the filmmakers’ first and only choice for the role of Shang Tsung. He came to the audition in a costume, and read his lines while standing on a chair. Shang Tsung was depicted as relatively younger in the film in order to avoid the excessive makeup that would have been required to duplicate his aged appearance in the game.

Chris Casamassa was hired to work as a stunt ninja. At the audition the producers were so impressed that he got the part of Scorpion. (I mean … you have a character whose face is covered 100% of the time. Don’t you usually hire stunt men for that? It feels like a Darth Maul or Snake-Eyes situation)

At around 1 hour 12 minutes, when Reptile in his chameleon creature form takes over the body of an Outworld statue and rises as a green ninja, you can hear, very quietly, a voice say “Reptile”. This is the voice of Shao Kahn, and was sampled directly from Mortal Kombat II (1993).

Christopher Lambert also voiced Rayden in the French dubbed version of the film.

Originally the character of Kano was Japanese-American. However, Ed Boon and John Tobias were so impressed with how Trevor Goddard portrayed him that they retconned Kano’s history in future games to make him Australian, which they thought was Goddard’s nationality. They later learned that, although Goddard gave Kano an Australian accent, Goddard himself was actually born in England but had claimed to be of Australian descent. (What the hell is this fact?)

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras had read and auditioned for the part of Sonya Blade several times, but due to the long casting process, she chose to do Billy Madison (1995) instead. Christina Applegate was also considered for the role but Cameron Diaz was cast after the producers saw dailies of her from The Mask (1994). However, Diaz broke her wrist during training, just before filming. Fortunately, filming on Billy Madison had just wrapped, making Wilson available again. She happily took the role, even if it meant that she had to be flown to the set the next day, and had to train for the big fight scenes in between shooting the rest of the movie.

The locations in Thailand were so remote they were only accessible by boat. Cast, crew and equipment had to be transported by long canoes. An outhouse was built in a secluded area near the set so that the crew didn’t have to make constant trips to and from the mainland. (That’s how you get those vistas baby!)

Robin Shou originally turned down the opportunity to audition for the movie, assuming that he’d be cast as a stereotypical Asian villain. He reconsidered at the advice of his agent. (And the rest is history I guess? Not that Shou became some mega star after I suppose)

The coined phrase “Flawless Victory” (a match where the victor sustains no attacks from their opponent) was used regarding four matches in the film. However only two of the matches meet the criteria: Sub-Zero’s first match against a henchmen and Johnny Cage’s match against Goro. (Nerd! You are such a nerd!)

Robin Shou said that in the original script he “was supposed to fall in love with Talisa Soto [Kitana]. I was looking forward to it, but they thought we have so much action, we don’t want to add romance to it. They cut it out.” (Smart move. Probably part of the reason it got reasonable reviews)

Steve James was to have played Jax but died a year before production on the film began. Gregory McKinney, who replaced James, died in 1998. Both actors died at the age of 41. (That’s nuts. Steve James died of pancreatic cancer, but I can’t find anything about McKinney surprisingly)

According to the film, the Outworld fighters have won nine straight victories of Mortal Kombat and only need one more in order to take over Earth. Given that the tenth tournament takes place in 1995, this means that the Earth-realm had been participating since 1725 (considering the battle taking place once a generation means every 30 years). (That’s a bad losing streak. I don’t necessarily hate Outworld, I just find it boring that they win all of the time you know?)

Gary Daniels, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp were considered for the role of Johnny Cage. (Gary Daniels? Who told you that? Gary Daniels in a fake moustache?)

Michael Jai White was slated to play the role of Jax. Ultimately, he left in order to do Tyson (1995). He would eventually end up portraying Jax in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (2010) and Mortal Kombat (2011). (Neither of those are real films though, you know?)

A music video was created for the KMFDM single “Juke Joint Jezebel” and featured clips of fight scenes from the movie, but it was pulled by MTV due to complaints about its violent content. (Oh you mean this thing?)

Quickly after the movie’s box office success, director Paul W.S. Anderson was asked by New Line Cinema to helm a sequel, but he had set his mind to doing something completely different, and accepted the offer to do Event Horizon (1997) instead.

Director Paul W.S. Anderson nicknamed Bridgette Wilson-Sampras “RoboBabe”. (That’s weird and offensive … I choose not to believe it for now)

Included in the movie novelization was a detailed opening scene of an unsuccessful joint mission of arresting Black Dragon members by the Special Forces and an international task force, which culminates in Kano killing the task force’s lieutenant who is designated therein as Sonya’s murdered partner. (I have a policy that the instant a novelization is mentioned I’m out)

Ernest Goes to Jail Recap

Jamie

Ernest is back, Jack! Right? It’s the same guy each time? Anyway, unbeknownst to Ernest he has a doppelganger on death row. A fateful turn on jury duty unexpectedly gets them switched and his whole life is turned upside down when he’s stuck in jail. Can he escape, stop the criminal, and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Ernest Goes to Jail.

How?! Meet Ernest P. Worrell. A dim but well-meaning janitor at a bank. Everyone there loves him and wants him to succeed as a future bank teller except the cranky president of the bank. Booooooo. Oh and he also becomes magnetic whenever he is electrocuted instead of dying. Not sure why. Anyway, in a wild coincidence he is called to jury duty for the trial of a toady for a local crime lord, Nash, who is just days away from his time in the electric chair and is an exact doppelganger for our poor Ernest. Realizing an opportunity the criminal convinces the judge to allow the jury to tour the prison during which the crime lord pulls the ol’ switcheroo and leaves poor Ernest in his place. Double boooo. While Ernest tries to navigate the hilarious world of maximum security prison, Nash is planning to rob the bank, sexually assault Ernest’s very kind female coworker (and love interest?), and probably do a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Ernest attempts to escape to no avail, only to find that when they try to electrocute him it merely imbues him with super electromagnetic powers. With said powers he blows that joint (with the help of a prisoner with a heart of gold, Lyle) and gets to the bank just in time to try to stop Nash from blowing the vault and killing his coworkers. An all-out brawl ensues ending with Ernest once again getting electrocuted, gaining the ability to fly via polarization, and flying the bomb into the night sky where it appears he is killed. However, he falls back to Earth right on top of Nash, incapacitating him for good and then smash cut. THE END.

Why?! I’m actually not sure… I think it has something to do with the American dream. Like sure Ernest is dumb, but he’s nice and works hard, so shouldn’t that count for something? Interestingly they don’t make any claim that Ernest is actually good at his job despite his shortcomings. In fact they make it clear that he is quite bad at it. A convicted killer on death row comes straight out of jail and is so much better than Ernest at his job that he is immediately offered the promotion that Ernest has been trying hard to get. It’s actually kinda sad when you think about it.

Who?! Big time shout out to the true friend Ernest met in Jail, Lyle. He’s a big enforcer type who turns out to have a heart of gold (and an unrivaled mane of hair). The actor was actually former professional kickboxer and heavyweight boxer Tex Cobb. He’s probably best known for getting absolutely destroyed by Larry Holmes in an unlikely title fight. Some interesting rumors surrounded his career, including some drug and gambling stuff that was allegedly connected to his sudden retirement from the sport in 1993 and a claim that he was supposed to be the opponent for Muhammad Ali’s last fight but broke his arm saving a friend from a bar fight and had to back out.

What?! In some ways you can think of the entire franchise as a product placement. Ernest started as a character used in a number of commercials and eventually he himself became the product. Ironically once that became the point all the products in this film are cartoon versions and not real product placements.

Where?! Unsurprisingly, given Ernest’s roots, this film is set in the great state of Tennessee. Even if it weren’t predictable, it’s made clear at the very least by the Tennessee license plates on some of the main characters’ cars. C.

When?! This is actually a funny question. There is a calendar in Ernest/Nash’s cell with dates being crossed off, but there doesn’t seem to be much indication of what month the calendar is supposed to represent. Likely this is just a prop calendar, but I like to think that it is actually a nonspecific generic calendar that they give prisoners. You do see a January 1990 calendar hanging in the bank. Again likely just grabbed a prop and hung it up to the first page, but gotta assume the bank is actively using the calendar and it’s accurate. KnowhutImean? B-

So I watched Ernest’s “friend” Escape Plan: Hades first and that film is a whole bunch of nonsense. At times I thought they were speaking a different language or something because it was hard to follow exactly what was happening. It looked nice, though, with its fancy robots and fancy prison and fancy fight scenes. But it’s all fluff and was actually pretty boring. As if they didn’t really care to make a comprehensible film, but rather just an entry in their visual portfolio so they could try to get an even bigger and fancier job. I can certainly see why it didn’t go to theaters. As for Ernest, I daresay I actually kinda enjoyed myself. Ernest is just a silly character and his schtick lands quite often as he mugs and goes off on some overly-serious monologue on acting or business or the like. I can understand why I liked the films as a kid even if I almost definitely didn’t understand how crazy the attempted sexual assault by Nash is or the fact that Ernest is nearly executed via electric chair. Probably a full twenty minutes where the film starts to venture into the twilight zone away from the harmless fun that otherwise makes the franchise what it is: enjoyable stupidity. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I forget that the Ernest films were a real thing. Like … if my parents had told me that it was some Canadian TV movie and that no one else had seen it I would have just shrugged and said “yeah makes sense”. But it isn’t … this was released to over 1000 theaters in 1990. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I watched the trailer, and made the notes, and read the reviews … but I still had a sneaking suspicion I would like this film. Why? First because I watched it as a kid. Something about Ernest must just remind me of simpler times. But more important I’ve watched Ernest Goes to Camp more recently, about 7 years ago, and I thought that was actually a lot better than you might think. I was sure I was going to think the same thing here.

The Good – Ernest is goofy harmless silliness. Varney himself is top notch, with both the physicality necessary for a kids’ movie character and the ability to do some goofy impressions. As the heart and soul of the film there is little more I would ask him to do. I dig the surrealist atmosphere this movie takes, the bright pink guard uniforms, the completely open prison cells with twenty foot ceilings, a world filled with goofy caricatures. It all kind of works on a straight-to-video level.

The Bad – The film is aggressively dumb, and in that sense all of the reviews are totally justified. The love story comes across as creepy now I think as it is abundantly obvious Ernest had either a learning disability or has serious emotional issues he should be working out with a therapist. The film is crazy dark with Ernest going to the electric chair and basically killed while the prison warden looks on in glee. Super nuts. The film is extremely derivative, relying exclusively on the doppelganger / Prince and the Pauper trope to drive the story forwards.

You Just Got Schooled – The story of Ernest is pretty interesting, at least what you can glean from IMDb notes and elsewhere. This article seems like a pretty good roundup. Short story: Varney wanted to be an actor, but struggled to establish himself on the stage in NYC. Bouncing between his home in Kentucky and New York he ended up landing a spot with Cherry, an ad man. They ended up doing hundreds of commercials together, and then got a four picture deal (which Ernest Goes to Jail is part of). Afterwards they settled into a more lucrative straight-to-video deal, but unfortunately Verney died in 2000 prior to filming Ernest Goes to Space and Ernest and the Voodoo Curse (which I would have called Weekend at Ernest’s 2, but whatever). Fascinating stuff, a really really unique only-in-the-90s type franchise I think.

The BMT – Do I think Ernest is a BMT franchise … no. I don’t. Despite the fact that I would say that I’m fairly objective when it comes to films I saw when I was a kid (Hook, I’m looking at you), I can’t help but like Ernest. I think he’s harmless fun, so there. The character is sweet, and naive, and always tries to do what’s best. What’s wrong with that? Nothing I think … although they are pretty bad. I reserve the right to change my mind, but for now Ernest is pretty okay nonsense.

Sklogwords – After moving Welcome to Earth to the preview I needed a new game, and noticing that The Movie Database is a little light on keywords what bigger service could I provide the world that filling in entirely too accurate keywords for BMT films. For Ernest I chose the following ten in order: Prison, prison break, magnetism, bank robbery, janitor, electric chair, Tennessee, doppelganger, impersonation, animal actor. The funniest one is probably either doppelganger (where the film Southland Tales tends to come up a lot) or Tennessee which, fun fact, is also the setting of the Hannah Montana Movie! And now I’m the number one editor of the film Ernest Goes to Jail on TMDB. So there.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is really nothing here, which isn’t that surprising. Do you know what is surprising? That one of the main reasons listed in reviews as to why Ernest was unbearable was that he was either “too nerdy” or “too geeky”. Like, say what? It doesn’t feel like he is either of those things. At the very least he has a learning disability, but geeky? Nerdy? What was up with the early 90s yo?

Bring a Friend Analysis – As the number of wide release bad movies has dropped in the past few years I’ve often thought that it is likely that at least some of them are going direct to VOD. And Escape Plan 2: Hades seemed like a perfect test of this theory. Wrong! Wrong! The first film was surprisingly good, a decent team-up in Stallone and Arnold, a classic 80s actioner really. This? This is trash. This is dog poo thrown forcefully into my face. It has robots, and terrible actors, and AI, and … it is gibberish. It makes you feel like you are taking crazy pills. And then there is a ton of guns and killing … I just wanted some prison escapes man! This is worse that Prison Break season 2 when they forgot the show was about breaking out of prisons! On the one hand I’m glad to hear that, no, not all VOD features are suddenly on BMT’s radar. On the other I watched Escape Plan 2: Hades in real life, that is something I spent some of my short time on Earth doing. So that’s depressing. B as a friend, F- as an actual movie fit for human consumption.

Phew, long one, but I have a feeling the Bring a Friend cycle will tend to be that way. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Ernest Goes to Jail Quiz

So you’re Ernest. You’re a janitor, you’re kind to a fault, you got friends and maybe (oooooooo) a girlfriend, and fine … you might be a bit slow. But gosh darn it you want to be a bank clerk! Well you can’t … until you take this quiz that is!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) As was explained Ernest is a janitor at a bank (but he wants to be a bank clerk). The night we meet this kind misfit he’s busy innocently trashing the bank. What unfortunate action by our hero sets off the chain of events whereby the bank is messed up?

2) Like normal human beings Ernest, when electrocuted, becomes magnetic (and much hilarity ensues). How many times did Ernest become magnetically charged?

3) Ernest is very very excited to serve on Jury Duty. What case does he very coincidentally and inconveniently get to be a juror for?

4) After a little switcheroo with Bizarro Ernest (i.e. Nash), Ernest ends up in prison. Whoops! Afterwards Ernest attempts to escape three times prior to his execution. Describe each attempt.

5) Why is Ernest able to fly in the climactic battle scene with Bizarro Ernest?

Answers

Ernest Goes to Jail Preview

Creeping silently down the corridors of the Super Duper Commando HQ, Jamie and Patrick are quaking in their boots. They never thought the ancient scroll would turn out to be true. They never thought that only one of them may survive. Turning a corner they confront the Commando wielding the Sword of Destiny. “Poor children,” he laughs, “So ill-equipped. So pathetic.” Suddenly he throws a samurai sword and a mesh tank top to Patrick. “To give you a chance,” he scoffs and takes a fighting stance. Patrick drops both to the side, “it doesn’t have to end this way, Commando. We are all humans. You were once too. Remember what it was like to feel the grass between your toes, the wind in your hair, the smell of fresh baked bread?” The Commando begins to break, licking his lips nervously. “Heh, right. I have power, though. Better than all that.” Patrick steps forward, “Is it? Is it power? Or is power the love between a mother and her child, the ocean’s tides, or a fresh squeezed glass of lemonade?” He steps forward again and he embraces the Commando who is now weeping. The Commando steps back wiping his eyes and throws his sword away. “Thank you,” he says quietly, “for everything.” Suddenly a powerful gust of wind blows through the hallway and sends Patrick’s sword flying through the air and decapitates the Commando. “Jesus Christ!” Both Jamie and Patrick scream and they are surrounded by police. “Freeze, dirtbags!” The Commander shakes his head sadly. “I’m sorry lads, this is the end of the line. And you had such a promising career in t-shirt sales.” He puts them in handcuffs and leads them to jail. That’s right! We’re watching Ernest Goes to Jail! And not only that but we’re watching it as part of a new segment in the cycle as of 2019. We loved Bring a Friend so much that it is now a permanent part of the cycle. It replaces the Games segment since we just gotta make it our beeswax to work on our games 24/7/365. For this entry Ernest is bringing along an unexpected Jail Break Friend in Escape Plan 2. It’s the sequel to the Sly Stallone original and came and went without making it into theaters. This gives us a chance to see just how shitty it turned out. Let’s go!

Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) – BMeTric: 37.2

ErnestGoestoJail_BMeT

ErnestGoestoJail_RV

(Honestly? Shockingly high. I’m quite surprised that it has nearly 10K votes. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was told that Ernest Goes to Jail was some fever dream of mine from when I was a kid and literally no one else knew about it …)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Third in the surprisingly successful series about Ernest P. Worrell finds out hero in prison as a result of a switch set up by an evil inmate look alike (also played by Varney). Harmless, predictable, and hokey.

(That review … doesn’t sound like a 2-star film. But yes. It is harmless and hokey for sure. Basically, if you read the reviews for the other films it boils down to this: this series is for literal dumb people. He’s not wrong …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4zNSx42aEo/

(That … isn’t a real trailer, but whatever. These films are a lot more surreal that you would think given the character. Ernest Goes to Camp is the same way, a very weird film. I’m extremely interested in seeing just how terrible this film is.)

Directors – John R. Cherry III – (Known For: Ernest Goes to Camp; Future BMT: Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; Ernest Rides Again; BMT: Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: He developed Ernest at his Nashville advertising agency. He apparently based it on a person who had worked for his father.)

Writers – Charlie Cohen (written by) – (BMT: Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: Apparently was an executive producer of Justin Bieber’s Believe.)

Actors – Jim Varney – (Known For: Toy Story; Toy Story 2; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Ernest Goes to Camp; Daddy and Them; 100 Proof; Future BMT: 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain; Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; Ernest Rides Again; Wilder Napalm; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Ernest Goes to Jail; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Ernest Goes to Camp in 1988; Notes: Given how famous he eventually became, it is crazy to think that Ernest was his actual starting point. He began portraying Ernest in 1980 in local commercials in Kentucky.)

Gailard Sartain – (Known For: The Outsiders; The Replacements; Mississippi Burning; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Ali; The Jerk; Nashville; The Grifters; The Buddy Holly Story; The Big Easy; Ernest Goes to Camp; All of Me; Blaze; Made in Heaven; Guilty by Suspicion; Choose Me; Trouble in Mind; The Moderns; Songwriter; Love at Large; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; The Patriot; Getting Even with Dad; The Real McCoy; Ernest Saves Christmas; RocketMan; Speechless; Clean Slate; Elizabethtown; Roadie; The Hollywood Knights; Equinox; BMT: Wagons East; Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: A regular on Hee Haw, he was only in the first three Ernest films, eventually being replaced in his role.)

Bill Byrge – (Future BMT: Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; BMT: Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: Worked at the Nashville library (what what!). He retired in 1995 at the age of 63. IMDb claims he did it to focus on acting, but he didn’t appear in anything else, not even the subsequent Ernest films.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $25,029,569

(Hmmmm. Let’s see what The Numbers says … nothing. My guess is this film cost literally nothing to make. The entire franchise made less than $100 million at the box office. Four theatrically released films, at least six overall. Less than $100 million. Yeah, these things cost nothing.)

#24 for the Comedy – Bumbling genre

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(By far the worst we’ve seen in the genre which should just be renamed Kevin-James. Just a shade below Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol … which is an embarrassment.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (1/8): No consensus yet.

(My fake consensus is pretty short: Ernest is an obnoxious and I hate him. It pretty much sums up the consensus. The one good review is pretty hilarious though. Reviewer Highlight: Jim Varney at the peak of his comedic powers, playing two instantly distinctive roles. If you only ever see one Ernest movie, make it this one. – Luke Y. Thompson, New Times)

Poster – The Sklogs Go to Jail (B+)

ernest_goes_to_jail

(Certainly interesting. I like the artistic perspective and the special font they used. It’s also just kind of funny and makes me want to see the film, which is obviously a good thing. Only wish the coloring was better.)

Tagline(s) – Guilty of Maximum Fun in the First Degree! (F)

(Oh noooooooooooooooooooo! This may actually be the worst tagline I’ve ever seen. Fortunately I don’t see it on the poster. I wonder where they used that atrocity. Looking around it seems like maybe the kicker on the description on the back of the VHS box… so phew, not really a tagline, but I’m keeping it because it’s ridiculous.)

Keyword(s) – jury duty; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.1 Jury Duty (1995); 38.2 The Juror (1996); 37.2 Ernest Goes to Jail (1990); 17.1 Trial by Jury (1994); 16.1 Illegally Yours (1988); 13.4 Leslie, My Name Is Evil (2009); 11.4 Suspect (1987); 10.5 Fantozzi alla riscossa (1990); 7.6 Runaway Jury (2003); 3.4 Murder Most Foul (1964);

(Holy shit. For reals the top three are incredible … and then it just drops off. You’d think more bad movies would involve jury duty. It does at least remind me that we should watch Jury Duty.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists  using only BMT films is: Jim Varney is No. 1 billed in Ernest Goes to Jail and No. 1 billed in The Beverly Hillbillies, which also stars Lea Thompson (No. 6 billed) who is in Left Behind (2014) (No. 3 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 6 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – There were a few extended and deleted scenes that were not featured in the original version of the movie, but were in some made-for-TV versions. 1. There was an extended scene where Ernest was washing himself in a washing machine, and was staggering after he stepped out. 2. A scene where Ernest was trying to sneak out of jail and was found by the searchlights. Then, he was making shadow puppets. 3. An extended scene where Nash (as Ernest) was in Mr. Penalsmythe’s office negotiating the clerk job. 4. A deleted scene where Ernest was working as a bank clerk. (I … think the version I watched as a kid had at least a few of those. Definitely first scene was there)

This is the last Ernest movie to have the character Chuck played by Gailard Sartain. (Yup, he’s replaced in Ernest Scared Stupid)

Among the famous eccentric actors whom Ernest imitates in jail when trying out for “Mr. Nash”, are James Cagney, Walter Brennan, Humphrey Bogart, Barry Fitzgerald, Sylvester Stallone, and James Mason. During the impression of Sylvester Stallone the line that Ernest says is “Hey you, Murdock, you’re the guy who shot my brother…” The character of Murdock was played by Charles Napier in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), which starred Stallone. Charles Napier plays Warden Carmichael in Ernest Goes To Jail. (FUN FACT)

Gailard Sartain, Charles Napier, and Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb appeared on the TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger” (1993-2001), with Napier playing a prison warden on that show as he did in this film.

Before Ernest is put in the electric chair, he is asked if he wants a blindfold or a cigarette. Ernest responds with, “I’m afraid of the dark, and cigarettes’ll kill you.” Ironically, ten years later Jim Varney died of lung cancer that was brought on by a lifetime of smoking. (Yeah, his Nash voice is I think his natural smoker’s voice)