Double Dragon Preview

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

Double Dragon (1994) – BMeTric: 66.9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#116 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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

#38 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Patrick is No. 1 billed in Double Dragon and No. 7 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.)

Highlander: The Final Dimension Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#97 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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

#29 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Forest Preview

This week we continue our 2016 pre-Razzies festivities with the worst Horror/Thriller we haven’t watched. (“Boo! A Madea Halloween?” shouts the crowd). Unfortunately no. Won’t be on DVD for a while… sigh. Usually this is a slam dunk category even without a Madea film, but this year was oddly bereft of bad horror. Everyone did an adequate or good job with totally random films like Ouija 2. So we were left with the traditional January horror film release. This year that spot was taken by a film called The Forest. The most interesting thing about this film is that it’s the third film in four years that involves the Aokigahara Forest in Japan. These are The Forest, 47 Ronin, and The Sea of Trees. It’s a natural BMTril-oh-geez! One step at a time. Let’s go!

The Forest (2016) – BMeTric: 58.9

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(The BMeTric is startlingly high. Like crazy. Horror films have a very large built in audience (another reason it is very easy to generate return in the genre) but also tend to be, in general, rated worse than other genres. The triple regime is back, although I think I know what in this case. The first section is domestic theatrical release, the second bump is the foreign release (you can almost see two bumps too, Germany on February 4th and then UK/Spain on February 25th), and then the final section is VOD release.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  The admiration for the little that Zada does differently in the early sections of “The Forest” does not last for long, as the movie repeatedly hits the same beats over and over again. Zada’s film ends up feeling like an extended journey to a predestined shrug of a conclusion.

(This review was interesting because it describes the debut filmmaker’s approach as rather refreshing to start. As a matter of fact this is something I’ve been hearing a lot recently. That the crop of new horror filmmakers have brought life to things that shouldn’t have life (Ouija 2 is a perfect example, a prequel to an absolutely horrible horror film shouldn’t be good let alone great!). I’ve been hearing chirps about this new generation being tapped to revitalize a set of classic horror franchises (like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc.). It’s an interesting, although I think misguided, idea. In reality I would like to see the franchise paradigm come back. It has to an extent, but I mean with a progressively fleshed out and explored primary villain like Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers. We’ll see if Zada is part of the crew who will be doing some of that in the coming years.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDs_DYow7xA

(Yeah, I don’t think this movie is scary. I think that is the ultimate problem. You can kind of get that feeling. I like that it seems like it goes more for the eerie over the jump scares (that’s what I’m getting here), but it doesn’t seem like it is going to work ultimately.)

Directors – Jason Zada – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: Zada started as a digital marketeer. He was the creative lead for what ultimately because a 65-person agency and has lead projects for Office Max and government PSA. He left the company to pursue a film career starting with music videos. This is his first feature film.)

Writers – Nick Antosca (writer) – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: He is a novelist actually, with five books in his bibliography. Besides that though he appears to be a huge horror film guy, writing to CW’s Teen Wolf, operating SyFy’s Channel Zero, and producing 13 episodes of Hannibal. He has been tapped to write the new Friday the 13th (so there we go, the new generation, although directed by the guy who directed The Last Witch Hunter, feels like an uninspired choice))

Sarah Cornwell (writer) – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: Another novelist she has written a single book and this is her one and only screenwriting credit. She has a website in which it talks about how she’s from Pennsylvania and I think went to UT-Austin, but nothing stands out really. The book is supernatural so I wouldn’t be surprised if she is eventually tapped for another supernatural horror gig)

Ben Ketai (writer) – (BMT: The Forest; Notes: Started out with horror shorts and web series and eventually landed a few projects with Crackle and SyFy mostly focused around ghost stories. There isn’t much about him personally floating around, but he is tapped for the sequel to the well-regarded recent horror film The Strangers. I’m going to be honest, this seems like a pretty solid set of young writers and a solid directing choice given the budget, I’m surprised that with Dormer in the lead role it didn’t come together at least slightly better.)

Actors – Natalie Dormer – (Known For: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; Captain America: The First Avenger; Rush; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; The Riot Club; Casanova; Flawless; BMT: The Forest; The Counsellor; W.E.; Notes: Basically the only person we should talk about with regards to this film. She is well known for her roles in The Tudors and Game of Thrones. She is engaged to Anthony Byrne who has directed multiple episodes of many British television series including Mr. Selfridge and Ripper Street. She is one of the first Game of Thrones alums to start testing the waters in leading film roles, specifically this movie. We’ll see if she can make the transition more successfully than someone like Richard Madden who, outside of Cinderella has somewhat retreated back into smaller television roles.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $26,594,261 (Worldwide: $37,608,299)

(It is pretty easy to make bank on horror films. You make them for $10 million or less and you’ll get a return if you can release it. With Dormer in the lead role (and her prominent role on Game of Thrones) I would think this would get released no matter the quality, just had to get something on film.)

#75 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Holy shit! What could have possibly happened in 1999 to precipitate that? Oh yeah, Blair Witch and The Sixth Sense came out within a month of each other. My guess is that line will just keep on rising until the green lines starts dropping. The more movies they make it doesn’t seem to affect the gross per movie so … why would they stop? #75 puts it right near One Missed Call! Classic, we need to watch that at some point for sure. )

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (12/120): The Forest offers Natalie Dormer a few chances to showcase her range in a dual role, but they aren’t enough to offset the fact that the movie’s simply not all that scary.

(Boo. I kind of expected this, but at the same time it is kind of annoying when a movie is just gross, or just boring. I have a feeling this will be more gross than boring in the end, which is worse for me to be honest. We’ll see though.)

Poster – The Manuel F. Correllus Sklog Forest (A-)

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(It is a striking poster. Love the silhouette forest that makes up the edge of the face. Love how they subverted the idea of the normally off-putting flesh coloring of the human face by making the entire poster a light tan color (although I still don’t love the color itself). Could have done a little better with the text font… there seems to be a slight fading, but not unique enough. It’s a beautiful poster that tells a story.)

Tagline(s) – Everyone comes here looking for a way out (B+)

(Daaaaaaaaaang. Check out the pun on this guy. It is pretty fucking clever. I was going to give it an A+ but then it kind of rattled around in my brain. It doesn’t really make as much sense as you would hope given how clever it is. Like it makes perfect sense for suicide, but for the alternate meaning of “looking for a way out,” it falls apart… because no one goes somewhere looking to find a way out of where they went. Damn. Still, it sounds great.)

Keyword(s) – suicide forest; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.9 The Forest (I) (2016); 19.2 The Sea of Trees (2015);

(BTW I think this is a record: there are zero keywords marked relevant for this film. I let this guy fly because it seemed to appropriate and I was curious about the outcome … yeah, there aren’t really any other movies with this keyword. The other one there also got 10% on rotten tomatoes, oof!)

Notes – Natalie Dormer actually went to the Suicide Forest with her Japanese driver for research. She ventured five meters off the path to take photos and her Japanese driver would not step half an inch over the path.

Aokigahara, known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, is a 35-square-kilometre forest lying at the north-west base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest has an association with demons in Japanese mythology, and is a common suicide site; a sign at the start of the main trail urges suicidal visitors to contact a suicide prevention association. There have been two recent movies inspired by this premise, Grave Halloween (2013) and The Sea of Trees (2015), both released before The Forest. (Will there ever been a well received film with this forest as a prominent plot point? Scientists maintain we may never know)

When Natalie Dormer’s character is first browsing information about the Aokigahara forest, the photos on her screen are real, taken from actual recovery parties that, annually, scan the forest to retrieve human remains. Among the pictures (though blurred) is the infamous “half face” man that also inspired the film’s poster.

The poster for the film features Natalie Dormer’s face with the bottom half removed, and the dividing line forming a silhouette of treetops and dangling nooses. This bears a clear resemblance to an infamous image of the body of an actual suicide victim of the forest, a bald man found in such a decomposed state that his jaw had fallen off and strips of flesh were hanging from where it had been. The image is also replicated in the film, albeit in a slightly less grotesque form. (gross)

In order to differentiate the twin sisters, Natalie Dormer had to dye her hair black while playing Jess and keep blonde hair as Sara. This was also to insert ying-yang symbolism; Sara was always the more innocent and pure sister, hence her blonde hair, while Jess was always more psychologically troubled and sad, hence her black hair. (Didn’t think that was going to be interesting, but it was.)