Black Dog Preview

Patrick sits nervously on his couch. “Can I get you officers anything,” he asks politely to Detectives Lost and Found. ‘Thank you, no,” says Found, “we just wanted to ask you a few more questions about the missing dog we’re looking for.” Patrick is all ears, but Lost appears agitated and butts in. “Where’s the other one of you two? Aren’t you two supposed to be crafting some new work of genius?” he asked aggressively, looking suspiciously around the apartment. “Uh… no… well, yes. But he left. He’s a real dumbo anyway, you wouldn’t want to talk to him,” Patrick responds glumly. “That’s too bad,” says Found, just as he whacks Patrick over the head with an elaborate candlestick. Rolling him up in a very expensive and classy Persian rug they sneak Patrick out of the apartment. “Too bad we couldn’t get both. Hope our… friend… holds up his end of the bargain,” Lost wheezes as they toss Patrick’s limp body into the back of a tractor trailer. That’s right! We’re heading on a cross-country, action-filled trip with Patrick Swayze a.k.a. The Swayze. I’ve actually had my eye on this one for a while since it was the last major release of Swayze’s career and seems to me like it’s been largely forgotten. Let’s go!

Jamie brushes the dust out his eyes as he squints at the dark figure approaching through the wasteland. At first glance he looks like a famous actor, but on closer inspection he is not… not at all. He doesn’t like the look of this at all, but just when he turns to hide he’s surrounded by a group of marauding mailmen.  “Not these guys again,” Jamie thinks, remembering how he and Patrick barely escaped them with their lives the last time they were in the waste… but Patrick’s not here now. Just when the mailmen approach to pummel Jamie, though, the dark figure appears at his side. That’s right! We’re buckling up for a high-octane thrill ride with Driving Force starring none other than *squits* Sam J. Jones… is that right? Also appearing in the film is Don Swayze. He of course plays the bad guy because… well, he kinda just looks like a bad guy. We chose it because I couldn’t believe that Don Swayze also had a truck driving movie. Let’s go! 

Black Dog (1998) – BMeTric: 36.8 

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(I’m a bit stunned by how many votes this has. I’ve never heard of this film, according to the rating it is considered quite bad by people who’ve watched it … and yet it has nearly eight thousand IMDb votes. Must be some sort of swayze effect.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  An ex-con trucker with a suspended license makes one last run to avoid foreclosure, and his rig turns out to be full of concealed assault weapons that his corrupt boss is planning to sell. There’s no dirty dancing for Swayze here but lots of dirty driving. Heavier on crashes than coherency.

(Did Leonard miss a comma before the last “but”? … nevermind. This review sounds suspiciously like “meh” which is … foreboding.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5FHxF0KqdA/

(Come to papa! This looks old school. They really don’t make theatrical films like this these days. As a matter of fact, that’s a fact. Seagal, Swayze, and Van Damme would all be relegated to straight-to-DVD by 2000 because these films just didn’t fly as “action” films anymore.)

Directors – Kevin Hooks – (Future BMT: Fled; Passenger 57; Strictly Business; BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Was an actor, particularly in The White Shadow, but now he only directs and produces. His father was also an actor, specifically in Star Trek III.)

Writers – William Mickelberry (written by) – (BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Directed the show Super Force, which sounds super rad. An astronaut in the future comes back to Earth and becomes a vigilante after learning his brother was murdered.)

Dan Vining (written by) – (BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Exclusively wrote TV Movies right up until this film … which was his last credit on IMDb.)

Actors – Patrick Swayze – (Known For: The Outsiders; Dirty Dancing; Point Break; Donnie Darko; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Ghost; Red Dawn; The Player; Next of Kin; 11:14; Uncommon Valor; City of Joy; Keeping Mum; Tall Tale; Green Dragon; Future BMT:Waking Up in Reno; Father Hood; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Christmas in Wonderland; Youngblood; Powder Blue; Three Wishes; BMT: Black Dog; Road House; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1990 for Next of Kin, and Road House; Notes: The Sexiest Man Alive in 1991, died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.)

Randy Travis – (Known For: The Rainmaker; Future BMT: National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Frank & Jesse; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Fire Down Below; Black Dog; Texas Rangers; Notes: A world famous country singer, he has won six Grammys. He had a stroke in 2013 which has permanently left him unable to fully perform.)

Meat Loaf – (Known For: Fight Club; The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Wayne’s World; Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny; The Salton Sea; The Mighty; Leap of Faith; Beautiful Boy; Motorama; Focus; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Stage Fright; The 51st State; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Crazy in Alabama; The Squeeze; Roadie; BMT: Spice World; Black Dog; Notes: A true singer-actor. He’s been part of a number of bands, but throughout he’s also performed theatrically and in film. Specifically he got his start performing in a travelling production of Hair.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $12,951,088

(Yeah a bit unclear, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a fine success. Clearly this is well after Swayze’s peak as a film star, and the stunts / sets seem like they could have been done reasonably on the cheap.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (2/20)

(Let’s get a consensus. If you like trucks, red meat, and country music? Well we made a terrible film that we hope you’ll spend money on. I do appreciate that almost all of the reviews note that this is basically an exploitation film. Exploiting trucks, and exploiting the audience who they think are demanding to spend money on films about them. Reviewer Highlight: Forget the Mortal Kombat movies–this trucksploitation flick is the closest the movies has come to video games. – Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com)

Poster – Black Sklog (C-)

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(While I 100% want to frame this and hang it in my home, I also think it’s absolutely crazy. Is the entire poster a dutch angle? Is the poster half fire? Why is there a tiny helicopter next to Swayze’s godlike face? So many unanswered questions and terrible font to boot. I won’t put it all the way in the trash because I also think it’s what I want out of a poster. Some love and care.)

Tagline(s) – The only way to stay alive is to keep moving. (D+)

(This is also the tagline for Shark: The Movie. This is the classic type of tagline that sounds like a tagline but then seems to peter out. Like you could imagine a film with the tagline “The only way to stay alive is to die” and it creates the unexpected twist. This just… doesn’t. It’s actually pretty bad when you think hard about it.)

Keyword(s) – betrayal by a friend; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.1 Bodyguard (2011); 53.6 View from the Top (2003); 47.4 Little Black Book (2004); 40.8 The Alphabet Killer (2008); 37.9 Chasers (1994); 36.8 Black Dog (1998); 34.1 The Keeper (I) (2009); 34.0 Another 48 Hrs. (1990); 33.1 Broken Arrow (1996); 33.1 Drive Me Crazy (1999);

(I am shocked that betrayal by a friend isn’t more common … but maybe people don’t bother to add it to a bunch of films? Anyways, it is a bit unfortunate that the one I’m most interested in is Broken Arrow and it doesn’t qualify.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Patrick Swayze is No. 1 billed in Black Dog and No. 1 billed in Road House, which also stars Sam Elliott (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 5 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 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Father Hood, The Rich Man’s Wife, and Killer Elite we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – On January 6, 1998, three Special Effects crew members were injured, preparing a gas-based explosion in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. Two of the crew were hospitalized with serious injuries, and the third was treated and released. Improper safety measures that went against industry standards, allowed for a premature explosion as the crew was setting up the shot. The battery used to trigger the explosion was stored inside a truck engine compartment, rather than in the open. The battery was not disconnected when a cable touched the electrical contacts, causing detonation. Black Dog Productions was fined sixteen thousand eight hundred dollars by the state. These scenes that were filmed in downtown Wilmington, were not used in the final release. (This was definitely the opening scene. They were definitely in Wilmington, NC for that film and it makes sense that they wanted to have the truck his a big gas station or something … although they do end up blowing that truck up).

Patrick Swayze went through a real truck driving school to earn his Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license). (Awesome)

The bridge where the F.B.I. pull the truck over, is the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, one of the few “center span” drawbridges left in the U.S. The bridge opens by the entire center section being lifted straight up in the air between the two towers.

Kevin Sorbo was originally signed to star, but had to pull out due to medical problems. (Wow, what a miss there)

The “F.B.I. Headquarters” shown in the film, is actually the Georgia-Pacific building in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Vic Armstrong, the stunt crew, including Second Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator Gary Hymes, were fired from the film by the producers. They then called in Vic Armstrong, to film the truck chase, and finish the stunt scenes. Parts of the stunt crew remained on the set, and was rehired by Armstrong.

When Jack talks to his wife he mentions moving out of Newark. However, when you look at the cars and trucks there are no front license plates. (Okay? That’s standard. Everything in the movie points to them living just outside of Newark, it is on his job sheet when he gets extorted by his boss in the beginning)

Gone in 60 Seconds Preview

Just as it seems like Rich will succumb to his wounds his door busts in revealing Poe. “Bye Bye… man” Rich stammers. “Not on my watch, partner. RoboPD 3000, get in here,” with that a small flying robot zooms into the room, quickly assesses Rich’s wounds and goes to work with her advanced robot technologies. When he’s healed enough to enjoy a refreshing Coca-Cola, Rich recounts the horrific events of the previous evening. A group of thugs busted in on Christmas Eve, beat him within an inch of his life, and kidnapped Jade and their child, Junior. Tears glisten in his eyes as Poe suddenly looks away… Rich realizes something, “Poe, how… how did you know to come here?” Slowly Poe looks up, “I’m sorry…” “How!?” Rich screams, grabbing Poe by the collar. “RoboPD 3000 got a holofax last night. We thought it was a prank. Gruber was dead, I karate chopped him in the neck myself, remember… but… but there was something about it. Something that didn’t sit right. So we came here… and found you.” Rich is stricken, “show me.” With that a holofax of Gruber appears from RoboPD 3000, “Hello, Rich. I have your beloved. I have your child. Don’t worry, they are safe… for now. I have a task for you. Get a computer virus that’s been developed by some punks at Seattle Technical High School. I’d go myself, but… I’m an international fugitive thanks to you. So now you will help me or you and your family will be dead. Have fun.” With that the image flips off. Enraged, Rich grabs his gun and turns to Poe, “Will you help me,” to which Poe nods, “so how fast can we blow this joint?” and Poe can’t help but smile, “We’ll be gone in sixty seconds.” That’s right! We’re watching Gone in Sixty Seconds starring the incomparable Nic Cage and Hackers alum Angelina Jolie. There are a few films that leapt instantly to mind when we decided to do this cycle and this was one of them (I think you also might be able to guess the Jesse Bradford vehicle we may have chosen). There is something beautiful about a bad film with big stars and a big release. Can’t pass it up. Let’s go!

Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) – BMeTric: 19.4 

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(A rating of 6.5 is patently absurd! How is it so high? I vaguely remember the film being entertaining … but I also remember it mostly being very silly. Is Gone in Sixty Seconds an Armageddon type thing where people of a certain age love it or something?)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Relentlessly stupid remake of the 1974 drive-in hit about a reformed car thief who – to save his kid brother – agrees to marshal a mass theft in 48 hours’ time, while cop Lindo is hot on his trail. Even for a no-brainer this is pretty poor, with low-octane action and a preposterous finale. Jolie is barely in it; Duvall and Lindo are wasted.

(Jolie is barely in it? I … don’t remember that somehow. Isn’t she Nic Cage’s right hand man? Everything else in that sounds excellent though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxCE9gDm1vo/

(Wow that is a truly truly awful trailer. Completely stunning just how bad the beginning of it is along with the graphics that appear all over the screen throughout.)

Directors – Dominic Sena – (Known For: Kalifornia; Future BMT: Whiteout; BMT: Season of the Witch; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Swordfish; Notes: A major music video director in the 2000s and co-founder of Propaganda Films.)

Writers – H.B. Halicki (1974 motion picture) – (Known For: Gone in 60 Seconds; BMT: Gone in Sixty Seconds; Notes: Used all of his own cars in the original film which basically didn’t have a script. Planned a remake in 1982 with a more polished production, but died in an on-set accident during filming.)

Scott Rosenberg (screenplay) – (Known For: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Con Air; High Fidelity; Beautiful Girls; Future BMT: Disturbing Behavior; Impostor; Venom; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; BMT: Kangaroo Jack; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Notes: Notably was arrested alongside Vince Vaughn for their involvement in the 2001 bar brawl where Steve Buscemi was stabbed.)

Actors – Nicolas Cage – (Known For: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Mandy; Kick-Ass; The Rock; The Frozen Ground; National Treasure; Leaving Las Vegas; Raising Arizona; Face/Off; Teen Titans Go! To the Movies; Con Air; Snowden; Moonstruck; Grindhouse; Lord of War; Wild at Heart; Joe; The Croods; Future BMT: G-Force; Tokarev; Dying of the Light; Outcast; Pay the Ghost; 211; Stolen; Wings of the Apache; Southern Fury; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; The Humanity Bureau; The Runner; Looking Glass; Between Worlds; Inconceivable; Army of One; Zandalee; Deadfall; Amos & Andrew; Windtalkers; Trapped in Paradise; Knowing; Next; Sonny; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; 8MM; Christmas Carol: The Movie; BMT: The Wicker Man; Left Behind; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Ghost Rider; Drive Angry; Trespass; Season of the Witch; Bangkok Dangerous; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Justice; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for The Wicker Man; in 2008 for Ghost Rider, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Next; in 2012 for Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, and Trespass; in 2013 for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Seeking Justice; and in 2015 for Left Behind; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Snowden in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2007 for The Wicker Man; and in 2012 for Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, and Trespass; Notes: Ya’ll know Nic Cage. Apparently his new movie Jiu Jitsu is the first film to take advantage of Cyprus’ new tax credit scheme by filming entirely within the country.)

Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Wanted; Girl, Interrupted; Maleficent; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; The Good Shepherd; Kung Fu Panda; Changeling; Salt; Beowulf; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Playing by Heart; Pushing Tin; A Mighty Heart; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Alexander; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Playing God; Original Sin; Taking Lives; Hackers; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: Ya’ll know Angelina Jolie. Apparently she’s going to be a Contributing Editor for Time starting this year.)

Giovanni Ribisi – (Known For: Avatar; Saving Private Ryan; The Bad Batch; Lost in Translation; Lost Highway; Ted; The Virgin Suicides; The Gift; Public Enemies; Ted 2; That Thing You Do!; Cold Mountain; Selma; Contraband; Boiler Room; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Heaven; The Dead Girl; Meadowland; SubUrbia; Future BMT: The Mod Squad; Perfect Stranger; A Million Ways to Die in the West; Masked and Anonymous; Flight of the Phoenix; I Love Your Work; Basic; The Big White; All the Rage; Middle Men; Gangster Squad; The Other Sister; 10th & Wolf; BMT: The Postman; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Notes: An active Scientologist. I knew him originally for his role as Phoebe’s brother on Friends.)

Budget/Gross – $90 million / Domestic: $101,648,571 (Worldwide: $237,202,299)

(Actually not bad with the international gross. Strong argument it wasn’t a loss at least, and considering there would be a number of product placement opportunities with the cars, it probably was a pretty safe bet from the start.)

#3 for the Action Remake genre

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(Remake graphs are the best. You can see the two peaks where they seem to just run out of original properties and start recycling things temporarily. The cyclic nature of taste. Shocking that we’ve only seen four others: Red Dawn (2012), Death Wish (2018), Rollerball, and Get Carter. Not even halfway through the qualified films.)

#13 for the Heist / Caper genre

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(Right at the peak of terrible caper films. It’s beautiful. We’ve seen six of them now and this is the most profitable qualifying films. There are 26 qualifying films in total … where have we been!?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (34/137): Even though Oscar-bearers Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, and Robert Duval came aboard for this project, the quality of Gone in 60 Seconds is disappointingly low. The plot line is nonsensical, and even the promised car-chase scenes are boring.

(Yeah the consensus seems to be that they really dropped the ball on the car chases. Reviewer Highlight: Where the original had too many car chases and not enough plot or characterisation, this has too much plot, too many characters and not enough metal crunching, tyre squealing action. – Time Out)

Poster – Gonna Get ‘Dem Cars Bro (B+)

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(I’m gonna shock the world and say that I kinda like this poster. Good color and nice unique font. I don’t really understand what’s happening with Nic Cage’s face being partially obscured, but overall I think the effect is good. It is a little odd that Angelina Jolie is featured on the poster when her role is fairly minor, but I think she just won an Oscar so makes sense.)

Tagline(s) – Ice Cold, Hot Wired. (B)

(The poster doesn’t have a tagline, so I chose the one from imdb that I liked the best. I’m not sure where they used this one but it tickles me. Nic Cage is Ice Cold and those cars are Hot Wired. It’s actually a pretty perfect tagline given my criteria. It’s short and sweet, hints at the plot, and uses Hot and Cold to nice affect. Unfortunate it’s not on the poster.)

Keyword(s) – auto theft; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.5 Material Girls (2006); 74.0 Kangaroo Jack (2003); 68.2 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006); 44.6 National Security (2003); 37.3 xXx (2002); 33.5 Captive (II) (2015); 32.1 The Rookie (1990); 28.8 Let’s Go to Prison (2006); 28.3 The Hunted (2003); 27.4 Next (2007);

(Really good list I think. You can tell it is applied to the films properly, but doesn’t include every film ever made. And the Gone in 60 Seconds type film really seems to be a blind spot for BMT, just looking at the genres and this keyword.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 8) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nicolas Cage is No. 1 billed in Gone in Sixty Seconds and No. 1 billed in The Wicker Man, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 8. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Seven Eleanor replicas were made for use in this movie. Five of them were totaled during stunt sequences. Nicolas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer kept the remaining two. Cage regularly takes his out for joy rides, while Bruckheimer is afraid of driving his. (That sounds just like Cage)

Nicolas Cage did most of his own stunt driving for the film. He attended the Bondurant Driving School in Phoenix, Arizona, Willow Springs (another car driving school), and the Bobby Ore Stunt Driving School in preparation for the film. He liked the race car driving school so much, that he continued to pursue it as a hobby after shooting was completed. (A lot of actors seem to do this)

When Mirror Man (T.J. Cross) is talking to the clerk at the police impound yard, a sign can be seen in the background that reads “If you leave your car unlocked, it will be gone in 60 seconds.” This same sign was used in Gone in 60 Seconds (1974). (The exact same sign?! Cool)

[NOTE: There is an entire list of the type of cars and their nicknames here, it is cool, but enormous, so go to IMDb itself to see that]

Christopher Eccleston spoke with his natural Lancashire accent in the film, because he noted that in American films, the English accents are always either posh or Cockney.

While only basic plot elements are shared with the original Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), one is the location of the final car. Eleanor, a classic Mustang (a 1973 model in the original, a 1967 in this movie), was parked at the International Towers in Long Beach. (Little fan service)

After some disagreements with director Dominic Sena about the rewriting, Scott Rosenberg left the project. Writers Jonathan Hensleigh and J.J. Abrams came in and did an uncredited rewrite of the script. (J.J. was all over the place back in the day)

The motorcycle that Sway (Angelina Jolie) rides in the movie is a 1999 MV Agusta Serie ORO (Gold Series). It’s one of only 300 produced worldwide, with a 750cc, in-line four-cylinder engine, which produces 125 horsepower, and a top speed of over 175 miles (281 kilometers) per hour. (Jesus, the excesses of Hollywood)

Right after the film’s release, Eleanor replicas based on the 1967 Mustang skyrocketed. Executive producer Denice Shakarian Halicki had to file a copyright for Eleanor’s likeness, and she won a court case against Carroll Shelby in 2008. His company, Carroll Shelby Enterprises, had a licensing agreement with Unique Performance in Farmers Branch, Texas, where his continuation series of Shelby Mustangs were produced until the company was closed in 2008 due to vehicle identification number irregularities and failure to deliver cars to customers. As of 2014, Classic Recreations of Tulsa, Oklahoma is the licensed manufacturer of the Eleanor replica used in the film, using 1967 Mustang fastback bodyshells supplied by Dynacorn Restoration Bodies.

The ultra-rare McLaren F1 was originally supposed to be in the movie, but after the producers couldn’t get their hands on one, it was replaced with another supercar, the Jaguar XJ220. (Wow, they couldn’t get one? They would just kind of fabricate them these days)

Christopher Eccleston did not have his driver’s license during the shoot. He did not choose to take the drivers test until several years after the film was released. (Ha!)

Delroy Lindo accidentally totalled the BMW he drives in the movie.

In 2012, a group called the “Gone in Sixty Seconds Gang” was arrested for stealing 39 cars in the U.K.

The bridge stunt was filmed at the Vincent Thomas Bridge which crosses Los Angeles Harbor. It was shut for a full day to film the car jump, the only time in the history of the bridge that this has happened. It was also featured in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), City of Angels (1998), and Charlie’s Angels (2000).