Show Dogs Preview

Awakened by the stench of Frang, Jamie and Patrick are stunned to find themselves on a submarine. Suddenly a man busts into the room flipping a coin in the air, “Captain Luckman’s my name and welcome to my understaffed boat. The stench from this corpse knocked out my crew, laddies, and now we’ll never navigate the Straits of Sklogvania to rescue the President of the goddamn United States. Unless…” he says as he flips the coin again, “I knew it! Heads again. I guess you boys are my new crew. Get moving.” As Jamie and Patrick are hurried to the bridge they look at each other in wonderment. Was the world in fact torn asunder through their adventures across dimensions? Over the next several months they run and maintain the submarine under the tutelage of Captain Luckman. They come to consider the submarine their home and forget the lives they left behind. When it finally comes time to navigate the Straits of Sklogvania they do it deftly without hesitation. Captain Luckman looks at them with the pride of a father for his sons and decides to gift them his lucky coin. With tears in his eyes, he prepares to pay them a fond farewell, for after 25 years on the job he’s ready to retire. As he shakes their hands for that final time he looks them hard in the eyes and says, “Wake up.”

Jamie and Patrick awaken once again. The world is whole. It feels the same as before, but they somehow feel different… they just can’t figure out how. The Ivory Socket and the Obsidian Dongle are nowhere to be found, but they know they are safe. “Was it real? Or was it a dream,” asks Patrick. “We may never know,” responds Jamie. Suddenly when he reaches into his pocket he feels the lucky coin. “The coin…” he says. “And Frang,” gasps Patrick pointing to the very large shark corpse sitting in their living room. They collapse on the couch. “So what do you want to do now?” Jamie asks. Patrick smiles and puts on a pair of sunglasses. “I think we’ve earned ourselves some R&R. You thinking what I’m thinking?” Jamie and Patrick nod at each other. “Dog show!” They shout simultaneously. That’s right! We’re watching the worst talking dog movie in years (and that’s saying something). It’s got everything! A talking dog, … and I’m not sure what else. This is this generation’s K-9 starring Jim Belushi! Let’s get into it!

Show Dogs (2018) – BMeTric: 41.4

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(Firstly, to open below 6.0 is already nuts. The early votes are always skewed super high because … well, probably because of people getting paid to trump up word of mouth. But then to be below 4.0! I’m actually shocked the BMeTric is so low. It has less than 3000 votes on IMDb so far! That is crazy.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  “Show Dogs” is essentially “Miss Congeniality” in the dog show world, and if that doesn’t sound like your cup of kibble, well … you’d be right. Even by the low standards of this type of live-action, family friendly comedy, “Show Dogs” is especially lame. It’s actually kind of amazing that it’s getting a theatrical release at all.

(Holy shit that review. I’m a bit shocked it didn’t get the whole thumbs down once you read it. I’m actually not entirely sure where the 0.5 comes from. There isn’t anything in the review (at all) which suggests this is anything but a complete and utter travesty. How very very very odd.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7H0fCTBdFQ

(Loving this is set explicitly in Las Vegas. That is great. There are so many bad films in Las Vegas. And wow … the review was right! This is literally just Miss Congeniality with dogs. And Miss Congeniality 2 was set in Las Vegas as well. Amazing.)

Directors – Raja Gosnell – (Known For: Never Been Kissed; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Future BMT: Home Alone 3; Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Yours, Mine & Ours; BMT: Big Momma’s House; Show Dogs; Notes: Was an editor for over twenty years on major pictures, then transitioned to director in 1997 and has only done children’s films since. This film was a mini-comeback of sorts, having not directed a film for five years prior.)

Writers – Max Botkin (written by) – (Known For: What Happened to Monday; BMT: Show Dogs; Notes: Started writing in television for the animated X-men and Wolverine show in the late 2000s. He’s sold a few scripts, but has nothing officially upcoming.)

Marc Hyman (written by) – (Known For: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Osmosis Jones; Future BMT: The Perfect Score; Meet the Fockers; BMT: Show Dogs; Notes: Started his writing career with All That (!). He has a writing credit for the Da Brat episode which I vividly remember for some reason. Has been a script doctor for the most part.)

Actors – Will Arnett – (Known For: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies; Despicable Me; Ratatouille; Men in Black 3; The Lego Batman Movie; The Lego Movie; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Blades of Glory; Grindhouse; Monsters vs. Aliens; Hot Rod; The Rocker; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Horton Hears a Who!; Wristcutters: A Love Story; Arrietty; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Spring Breakdown; The Great New Wonderful; Series 7: The Contenders; Future BMT: The Comebacks; G-Force; R.V.: Runaway Vacation; Monster-in-Law; The Brothers Solomon; Semi-Pro; The Nut Job; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature; Let’s Go to Prison; Southie; BMT: Jonah Hex; When in Rome; Show Dogs; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Notes: Most famous for the character of Gob on Arrested Development, he’s blown up since then. Was married to Amy Poehler for over ten years.)

Ludacris – (Known For: Fast & Furious 8; Fast & Furious 7; Crash; RocknRolla; No Strings Attached; Furious 6; Fast & Furious 5; Hustle & Flow; Future BMT: The Wash; Fred Claus; BMT: Max Payne; New Year’s Eve; Show Dogs; Gamer; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Notes: Rapper turned actor probably most notably in the Fast and the Furious franchise. Was dropped by Pepsi after a protest instigated by noted sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. Pepsi sucks anyways.)

Natasha Lyonne – (Known For: American Pie; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Sleeping with Other People; A Futile and Stupid Gesture; Robots; Detroit Rock City; The Intervention; Hello, My Name Is Doris; Kate & Leopold; Slums of Beverly Hills; Heartburn; Everyone Says I Love You; G.B.F.; #Horror; Antibirth; The Grey Zone; 4:44 Last Day on Earth; He’s Way More Famous Than You; Zig Zag; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; Scary Movie 2; Dennis the Menace; Krippendorf’s Tribe; Blade: Trinity; Girl Most Likely; Girlfriend’s Day; Jack Goes Home; Addicted to Fresno; Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby; Party Monster; But I’m a Cheerleader; Flirting with Love; BMT: Show Dogs; Notes: She’s been acting forever basically, dropping out of Tisch at 17 and working since then. She might now be starting to become more famous for her role on Orange is the New Black.)

Budget/Gross – $5.5 million / Domestic: $17,857,020 (Worldwide: $39,106,642)

(Wow that budget. The budget is extremely reasonable and made even the extremely modest box office take a roaring success. Incredible stuff.)

#37 for the Dog genre

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(Marmaduke is the second highest Dog film by BMeTric (the 2006 Shaggy Dog is number one). I honestly think the giant gap is the period of time in which live animal wrangling became uncouth, and now we generally have the technology to avoid the more distasteful part of that business … and people love dogs.)

#34 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre

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(We’ve watched Garfield: The Movie, Marmaduke, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and Hot to Trot this year alone! The top are naturally the Alvin movies. I stand by my analysis above, the technology has made talking animal films more practical.)

#14 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (10/60): Show Dogs may entertain very young viewers, but for anyone else, it threatens the cinematic equivalent of a rolled-up newspaper on the snout.

(No, stay away from the dog puns please. It is enough to just say that people who are older than ten will find the film unfunny and boring. Reviewer Highlight: Make a stand to Hollywood and vote with your wallet: We all deserve a better live-action talking-dog movie than this. – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Sklog Dogs: Karate Dogz 4 Life (F)

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(Woof (Thank you). This is already a travesty on every count (including some super cliche bubble font, come on) but then they tilt it… why is this tilted!?!?!? Is that dog laying on a towel in Vegas? Why is any of this happening?)

Tagline(s) – Unleashed and Undercover (B+)

(Uhhh, I guess this is good. It’s hard to tell because my brain melted while trying to process that poster. I mean it’s short and kinda clever with a double meaning of unleashed and tells me a little about the film. It’s fine.)

Keyword(s) – dog movie; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); 68.0 The Shaggy Dog (2006); 67.1 Marmaduke (2010); 67.0 Scooby-Doo (2002); 64.7 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010); 64.0 102 Dalmatians (2000); 63.6 Beethoven’s 2nd (1993); 63.3 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); 61.8 Cats & Dogs (2001); 60.9 Underdog (2007);

(Yeah see above, we haven’t seem many of them. We were going to do the Cats & Dogs sequel but it turned out Cheech Marin wasn’t in Cannonball Run. And we’ve always meant to do the Scooby Doo series, but we’ve never gotten around to it. Our previous ban of kids movies covers most of the rest.)

Notes – Filmed at Pinewood Studios in Cardiff, Wales. (In Wales! I’ve been watching an inordinate amount of Only Connect recently which is filmed in Cardiff as well).

One of the two credited screenwriters, Max Bodkin, claims that the film was heavily rewritten by the other credited writer Marc Hyman and 12 uncredited writers. (Just a little peek into just how many people seem to write Hollywood films)

American Humane monitored the animal action. No animals were harmed® .(AHD 07402) (Noice)

During the first scene at the dog show the chihuahua Chloe and her mate Papi from the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua get a short cameo, with Chloe (noticible by the same voice from the movie and same diamond necklace) having a quick line about talking dog movies not being mainstream anymore. (They aren’t. I actually don’t think they ever will be. I think there will be more of them, but the truly dire kids ones will just go straight to VOD).

C’mon now, we can’t forget the most important note of all! Show Dogs was accused of making light of sexual abuse and was re-edited while in theaters to remove the scene. This is why we should really just watch every bad movie in theaters the instant it comes out. Once that BMT money rolls in I plan to do just that.

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Hunter Killer Preview

Jamie and the crew of the USS Rentacar arrive at the train station where they hope to catch the Little Old Librarian. “Which train is the one the terrorists take in the script?” Jamie asks Odin. “The 69:69 to Paris,” he replies. “Nice,” laughs the Predator in his Predator language and slams a spicy frito can of lime-a-rita mountain dew. “Come on that doesn’t even make…” Just then the 69:69 to Paris arrives and the world around Jamie seems to shift… something is seriously wrong. When it snaps back into place the space cops, Jamie, Vikling and his tribe, the entire student body of the Dracula School, The Predator, Captain Chip, a bunch of sexy hologram wolves, and the corpse of Frang pile onto the train. A bone-chilling laugh greets their arrival. “At every step you have shown how stupid you really are,” cackles the Little Old Librarian. “You’re the final piece of the puzzle. Now I will use your twin powers to use the Ivory Socket and control the world. Without Patrick you have no power to stop me, only power that I can exploit.” Jamie falls to his knees in despair. Could it be. Could his twin powers be useless to save the world after all? Suddenly he hears a small voice in his head, “You must still succeed.” He almost… recognizes the voice. Could it be? Without thinking he rushes at the Little Old Librarian knowing that he’ll be too late. He will be destroyed by his own twin powers. Suddenly she gets a distracted look in her eye and asks, “why are those wolves so sexy?” This slight delay gives Jamie just enough time to grab at the Ivory Socket. “Best twins ever,” he whispers as his hand grasps the socket. And then the universe was torn apart.

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones are in the z-movie multiverse version of Hawaii where all the ladies have big bazongas and they make the men go “whoa!”. Stones turns to Patrick. ‘Gosh dern it, use the Dongle! Use your powers! It’s the only way to make us real.” I turn to them tears streaming from my eyes feeling exploited and used. But before I can say a word one of the ladies with big bazongas lands a little aircraft nearby. “Thank God you’re here Sticks and Stones, there are terrorists and snakes and frisbees, oh my!” Their eyes turn pitch black and doll-like and they pull out their bazookas, “Anything I can do to help ma’am,” Stones says tipping his cowboy hat. As the two characters wreak havoc on z-Hawaii Patrick knows he can’t let these two madmen into the real world. Patrick sheds a single tear, for the trust broken, for the friendship lost, for the two people he saw so much of Rich and Poe in, the characters he now knows must be somewhere in a bad-movie multiverse. He zaps away, back among the blowing papers of z-LAPD precinct. How to use the Dongle though? All of a sudden Sticks and Stones appear in front of him, soaked in blood. “B-b-b-b-b-b-but how?!” Patrick cries. “We have a secret,” growled Sticks, “… we’re twins too”. No! What a twist! Patrick zaps to a terrible looking Mount Rushmore set, but Sticks and Stones follow. “Look into your heart gosh dern it, you know it to be true!” cries Stones. Patrick zaps across the world, across the z-movie multiverse, with Sticks and Stones taking chase. They end up back upon the Birdemic beach, winds whipping, all three combatants braced in a battle of Twin Powers. They are too powerful, Patrick knows it, without Jamie to aid in this ultimate twin fight he is going to be torn apart. He grasps the Obsidian Dongle and raises it into the air. “Best twins ever,” he whispers. And then the universe was torn apart.

They blink their eyes and look at each other. Sticks and Stones are gone. The entire crew of the USS Rentacar is gone. For some reason the corpse of Frang is still there filling the submarine they’ve found themselves with the overwhelming stench of decay. That’s right! We’re doing the final BMT Live of the year to watch the submarine instant classic Hunter Killer starring Gerard Butler. With Geostorm last year and Hunter Killer this year it seems like this is becoming an annual tradition that I’ll grow to love. Let’s go!

Hunter Killer (2018) – BMeTric: 3.8

(Pointless to actually show the graphs which will not show much as it literally just came out. We’ll see where it ends up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is just another Geostorm, which is just a shade above 50 BMeTric with a low 5 rating and 70K votes.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  Butler’s performance—or lack thereof—keeps “Hunter Killer” from breaking any ground in the field of war movies. It’s also an odd time to release a movie that embraces collaborating with the Russians and painting bad and good guys with such broad strokes.

(Usually I would scoff at the political narrative being painted at the end there, but in this case it is pretty interesting. They filmed this ages ago (given Michael Nyqvist died in June 2017 at least over a year ago), so they likely realized oh so late that they had managed to produce an accidentally tone deaf film. Probably part of the reason the release has been moved around so much. Its release could literally be: bury this right when people have kind of forgotten the Russia stuff and are instead interested in the election. Although perhaps that is going a bit far, the release date has been known for six months. Still interesting.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnP_z3qXDCQ

(I have a feeling he doesn’t actually say “submerge the ship” in the movie. If he does that is a huge oversight. The character Butler plays literally has lived on submarines for his entire career. And I don’t think there is a reason to refer to a submarine as a ship instead of a boat. Main complaint: the trailer makes me think the film isn’t set entirely on a submarine, there are like … shootouts with marins and stuff, which doesn’t make me super happy.)

Directors – Donovan Marsh – (Known For: Spud; BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Looking at Spud I think it is safe to say Donovan Marsh is South African, and has garnered awards recognition there. I think this is his first non-South African production.)

Writers – Arne Schmidt (screenplay by) (as Arne L. Schmidt) – (Future BMT: Chain Reaction; BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Primarily a producer. He used to be a second unit director in the 70s, then produced action films like RoboCop, and this is only his second writing credit, and first non-story credit.)

Jamie Moss (screenplay by) – (Known For: Ghost in the Shell; Future BMT: Street Kings; BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Somewhat enigmatic career. Seems like a production house screenwriter, punching up Ellroy’s Street Kings before doing a bunch of uncredited work. He is writing Safe House 2.)

George Wallace and Don Keith (based on the novel “Firing Point” written by) – (BMT: Hunter Killer; Notes: Wallace was a 22 year veteran of nuclear submarines working on the USS John Adams and USS Woodrow Wilson. Keith is a co-writer for historical books, a journalist by trade he has co-written over 23 books in his career.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: Den of Thieves; 300; How to Train Your Dragon; Olympus Has Fallen; How to Train Your Dragon 2; RocknRolla; Reign of Fire; Tomorrow Never Dies; Coriolanus; Nim’s Island; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Dracula 2001; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; A Family Man; The Game of Their Lives; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: Scottish. I would describe his career as almost shameless. He’s been in every manner of action film and solidified his stature as a leading man for any kind of film. Bankable and reliable, I enjoy my yearly terrible Butler film.)

Gary Oldman – (Known For: The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Dracula; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Leon; Darkest Hour; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Batman Begins; Le cinquième élément; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; True Romance; Lawless; The Book of Eli; RoboCop; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; JFK; Air Force One; Future BMT: The Unborn; Lost in Space; Paranoia; Tau; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: It is shocking to me how many bad films Oldman has been in. He goes from major series (Batman, Harry Potter), to weirdo indie film (Tiptoes), to bad kids Sci-Fi (Lost in Space) to everything in between. Impressive (if kind of shockingly bad in parts) resume.)

Common – (Known For: The Hate U Give; Smallfoot; John Wick: Chapter 2; Now You See Me; American Gangster; Girls Trip; Wanted; All About Nina; The Tale; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Selma; Rex; Date Night; Run All Night; Happy Feet Two; Just Wright; X/Y; Love Beats Rhymes; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Every Secret Thing; Terminator Salvation; Entourage; The Odd Life of Timothy Green; Smokin’ Aces; Street Kings; LUV; Being Charlie; BMT: Movie 43; New Year’s Eve; Hunter Killer; Notes: Was a rapper in the mid-to-late 90s debuting as Common Sense in 1994. From Chicago, he then go into acting in the early 2000s and would guess, like Mos Def, ended up being more well known for than in the end.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / N/A

(Almost inevitably a gigantic bomb. Only made $6 million opening weekend, so $15 million would be generous for domestic take. And worldwide it was only in theaters for a hot second, so likely very little from there as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 36% (29/80): Much like the submarine in its story, Hunter Killer cruises the murky action depths, following a perfunctory course into territory that’s been charted many times before.

(We were watching this keenly to see if it would qualify. I’m rather delighted that it looks like it will in the end. Getting a good-bad film at the end of October makes for a much more relaxing winter cycle. Reviewer Highlight: All the actors are sunk by playing caricatures prone to spitting out leaden, often unintentionally humorous dialogue. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Hunter Killer for the Red October (A-)

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(Just fantastic. Yes it is clearly trying to connect this film to the classic Red October, but I don’t care. I do care that they used a terribly unoriginal font. That docks it a little.)

Tagline(s) – Start a Battle to Stop a War (A)

(I think I like this too. Gives some idea of the plot. It’s short and sweet and gives some clever juxtaposition. I could have gone for a little pun. But this is pretty solid.)

Keyword(s) – gunfight; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 88.8 Street Fighter (1994); 86.1 The Avengers (1998); 83.8 RoboCop 3 (1993); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 81.2 Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); 80.7 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 79.4 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009);

(Gunfight eh. We’ll finish this off haaaaaaard. I would guess that Stop of My Mom Will Shoot will be on the table for a Stallone Day at the very least.)

Notes – One of Michael Nyqvist last films before his death in 2017. (You might know him as the main character in the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie)

Leading actor, Gerard Butler, sailed aboard the USS Houston (SSN 713) from May 6th to May 9th with director Donovan Marsh for research purposes. They discovered some nuances of a real operating submarine and submarine crew in an attempt to make the movie/script more realistic. (Good, I want that shit to be real for reals)

On June 16, 2015 the Alaska Dispatch News (ADN) reported that after Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation essentially ending the state’s film subsidy program the producers of Hunter-Killer canceled all previously planned efforts to film exteriors for the project in Alaska. (Boom, take that Alaska!)

While aboard the Houston, Butler slept in the XO’s quarters. The director, Donovan Marsh, slept in the enlisted crew’s quarters. (To get both experiences, I get it)

Tony Scott was at one point set to direct. (I.e. at one point someone said into the air “I wonder if Tony Scott would consider directing this”)

While the Russian Captain Andropov mentions his former trainees, one of the names is Alexei Vostrikov – this is Harrison Ford’s character from K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), also a submarine captain. (NO)

McG was also considered for director. (I.e. McG called them up and asked if he could direct the film please)

The Russian submarines are referred to as “Akula” in the film. This is the correct NATO reporting name for the Russian Shchuka-B class of submarine. However, there is a much larger ballistic missile submarine using the “Akula” name referred to by NATO as “Typhoon”. A fictitious “Typhoon VII” was the eponymous ship in “The Hunt for Red October”. Oddly enough the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) used in both movies was called the Mystic and was actually out of service as of October 1st, 2008 making this either a goof on the part of the movie or dramatically changing the timeline out of the present day. (Alternative timelines bro. In this timeline Butler personally oversaw the rehaul of the Mystic DSRV thus making it available for use in the present day.)

Exit Wounds Preview

“Where are we going?” Jamie says as he drags the corpse of Frang through the forest with hologram wolves nipping at his heels. Captain Chip strides boldly where he has presumably gone before with The Predator snacking on some Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell behind him. Suddenly a massive spaceship comes into view. “Here it is. Now tell me where to point this thing,” Captain Chip says, one arm slung over the shoulder of his new bro, The Predator. “We’re trying to find a Little Old Librarian before she can use a weapon called the Ivory Socket.” Captain Chip’s mouth falls open, “did you say Little Old Librarian? Finally revenge shall be mine,” he exclaims with a gleam in his eye. We all pile into the spaceship and off zoom into the stratosphere. Focused for mere moments, Captain Chip and The Predator are soon competing to see who can zoom the fastest across the nighttime sky. While they are preoccupied Jamie wonders to himself how the world has turned so upside down. Could the impact of the Obsidian Dongle’s destruction have caused more problems than first imagined? Also, why are these hologram wolves so sexy? Suddenly there are flashing lights behind the spaceship and a police rocket pulls them to the side. When the Space Cops approach the window and ask why they were going so fast Jamie spills the beans about their urgent mission to defeat the Little Old Librarian. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Says one of the Space Cops to the other, “That sounds like our girl, Jacobs.” Jacobs leans closer, “you may know her as the Little Old Librarian, but we know her as Officer Libby… the dirtiest Space Cop in the universe.” That’s right! We’re watching Exit Wounds starring Steven Seagal and DMX. I honestly have no idea what it’s about. All I know is that it stars a soon-to-be past his prime Steven Seagal and DMX and Tom Arnold and seems to have been created in a BMT lab. This is the Games portion of the cycle as this film is on the Calendar for March 16th. Oh, glorious day. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones ride out into the desert. “It is weird that we don’t really see anyone else around, right? People have to live here, like … actors?” Patrick still didn’t really understand how the Z-movie multiverse worked. Stones’ eyes well up with tears. “Gosh dern it, they do. But they all end up like us. They can’t help but end up like us.” Sticks growls a woeful assent. “You mean, cops?” Patrick says dumbly, like a real dummy he has no idea. What a fool! Just then glowing alien ships begin to descend. “There they are, aliens for sure” says the truck driver. Large spotlights roam the sky, clearly projected from a nearby airbase, a group of people dance a mesmerizing dance a few hundred yards away. As the truck driver whoops and howls, stripping his clothes off to frolic in the desert, Patrick begins to follow. “Naw, it ain’t worth it son.” Stones says, “We just need to get to LA. No time for fake alien gobbledygook. Gosh dern it, it is enough to drive a man insane I tells ya.” Patrick begins to scramble back into the truck. “No. We don’t need that anymore” Sticks growls. Sticks and Stone gaze at Patrick with an insane look. “Use your twin powers,” they say in creepy unison, their eyes glazing over, doll-like and hard. Patrick laughs, “You guys are real weird,” and zap, they are in Los Angeles on a police precinct set, papers blowing around them, the din of the criminals raging against the overwhelmed cops ringing in the distance. Outside there is a very tall black police officer, and a white officer with a katana. “Gosh dern it, it’s Wash and Hoops. I … I, uh, owe them money, let’s go around the back.” Sticks says quickly. That’s right! We’re also watching Samurai Cop!

Exit Wounds (2001) – BMeTric: 45.8

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(The fact that it went down first is pretty amusing. It is basically: Phase 1 – Seagal-heads watch it and think “this is pretty bad”, Phase 2 – Regular action fans get a hold of it and think “this is really bad”, Phase 3 – Regular people get a hold of it and basically think “a bad rating is 6 stars right? I’ll give it that”.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Blah actioner with aging, ever-wooden Seagal playing a tough loner cop who tangles with some on-the-take colleagues. Rapper DMX adds life to the proceedings as a mysterious drug entrepreneur. All too familiar, but the target audience might not mind.

(Give me ‘dem hyphens Leonard!! I’m heartened to hear DMX brings some life to the film. There is a reason we tend not to do Seagal films (they are usually garbage), so maybe there is some special sauce here.)

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

(Wholley spoils the twist of the film! WHAT THE HELL BRO?! Also they frame the story incorrectly. When he says that DMX worked for internal affairs he isn’t actually talking to DMX, he’s talking to someone else. Such a weird trailer.)

Directors – Andrzej Bartkowiak – (BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Doom; Exit Wounds; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Notes: We did it boys, we finished Andrzej Bartkowiak’s BMT filmography. Seems to be a very accomplished cinematographer when he isn’t directing garbage.)

Writers – Ed Horowitz (screenplay) – (BMT: On Deadly Ground; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Notes: You can see his full resume online, he did a bunch of theater more recently in California, so possible that is kind of what he does now.)

Richard D’Ovidio (screenplay) – (Known For: The Call; Future BMT: Gallows Hill; The Forger; BMT: Thir13en Ghosts; Exit Wounds; Notes: Went to UMass where he got a degree in Economics.)

John Westermann (novel) – (BMT: Exit Wounds; Notes: I don’t understand. The book this movie is based on is free, doesn’t have any reviews on Amazon, and doesn’t have a plot summary anywhere … why was this even optioned?!)

Actors – Steven Seagal – (Known For: Machete; Under Siege; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Future BMT: The Patriot; Half Past Dead; The Foreigner; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; The Glimmer Man; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Out for Justice; Contract to Kill; China Salesman; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Fire Down Below; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: He is effectively a Russian citizen now … somehow not at all shocking.)

DMX – (Known For: Top Five; Future BMT: Belly; BMT: Exit Wounds; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Never Die Alone; Notes: Just got released from prison having served a one year sentence in a tax fraud case.)

Isaiah Washington – (Known For: Out of Sight; Dead Presidents; True Crime; Clockers; Bulworth; Crooklyn; Love Jones; Welcome to Collinwood; Dead Birds; The Washington Snipers; Get on the Bus; Stonewall; Go for Sisters; Future BMT: Girl 6; Strictly Business; The Moguls; BMT:Hollywood Homicide; Ghost Ship; Exit Wounds; Romeo Must Die; Notes: My God, this cast is just filled with amazing people. Anyways, Mo’Nique just released a video where she claims she has evidence that Isaiah Washington was blackballed from Grey’s Anatomy based on a lie. Juicy. I’ll save judgement until I see the evidence I guess.)

Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $51,758,599 (Worldwide: $79,958,599)

(Pretty good. Kind of surprising this ended up being Seagal’s last theatrical release considering it did fine. But then again, he sounds like a nightmare to work with so who knows.)

#19 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

exitwounds_martialarts

(Ah, I yearn for the days of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Alas, I think Martial Arts films are a bit out of fashion, and when they are made I bet they go VOD. Someday we might just have to search those out.)

#4 for the Cop – Dirty genre

exitwounds_dirtycop

(This made more money than Cop Land which is a travesty. Not many qualify it looks like. The next one down is Street Kings.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (21/65): It probably goes without saying that Exit Wounds is loaded with plotholes and bad dialogue. Critics also note that Seagal has aged rather badly.

(Ha! The subtle “critics note” there feels like Rotten Tomatoes covering their asses. Like, people are saying … we’re not saying, we’re just saying that other people are saying you look broke down, Steven. Reviewer Highlight: It doesn’t take long to see that Seagal has not spent his layoff getting buff and into fighting trim. – Todd McCarthy, Variety)

Poster – What if Like … People Were the Real Guns, You Know? (A+)

exit_wounds_ver1

(This is what I’m talking about. We got some polish, some bold colors, some distinctive font. We got a gun with faces in it and people at the muzzle. This literally checks off every box on what I want out of a poster. I don’t care what you think, I’m a big fan.)

Tagline(s) – What Can Two Men Do Against A Gang Of Crooked Cops? Whatever It Takes. (F)

This Is Gonna Hurt (C-)

(The first is long and not clever and makes my head hurt when I think about it. The second is short and sweat. Still not clever or very interesting, but I appreciate it. Especially compared to the first one.)

Keyword(s) – heroin; Top Ten by BMeTric: 70.5 The Animal (2001); 56.5 The Lords of Salem (2012); 54.3 The Informers (2008); 52.5 Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010); 52.0 Bangkok Dangerous (2008); 49.1 Abandon (2002); 45.8 Exit Wounds (2001); 44.8 Contracted (2013); 41.9 What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004); 38.8 Observe and Report (2009);

(I wonder if What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? Actually has a story related to heroin, or … if they misspelled heroine when plugging in the keyword. Regardless, no joke, these are all garbage. The Animal has one moment where he finds heroin in a guys butt and it gets the keyword? It is just terrible.)

Notes – Eva Mendes (who called this a “terrible movie”) said her dialogue in this film was entirely re-dubbed by another actress. Mendes says she learned of this when she attended the premier with her family and realized “…Something was wrong. Something was just off.” She says the producer later explained to her that her voice was replaced because she “didn’t sound intelligent enough.” Mendes told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (1996), “A Steven Seagal film, and I didn’t sound intelligent enough?!” (Ha, that’s misogynistic. Mainly because DMX is supposed to be as or more intelligent than her in the film, both of them are millionaire computer scientists)

In an interview with Huffpost Live, Tom Arnold claimed that Steven Seagal fell into the water while filming a scene on his character’s houseboat: Seagal had opted to shoot the scene without rehearsal and mistakenly exited through the wrong door, leading him to drop into the bay.

DMX did not enjoy working with Steven Seagal, describing him as a “dickhead”. (HA! I wonder what he thought of Jet Li)

Filming in Toronto was delayed again when David Vadim was arrested and charged with committing a sexual assault on a wardrobe technician on the set. (WHAT. Gross.)

According to Stephen Quadros, the fight scene between Steven Seagal and Michael Jai White was not choreographed in advance; Seagal and White ad-libbed it during production. (Wait … the one with the swords? Yeah … I don’t believe you)

During filming in Hamilton, a van was being towed along a street upside-down as part of a chase scene; stuntman Chris Lamon and another man were supposed to roll safely out, but Lamon apparently struck his head, and died six days later. Todd Schroeder suffered a concussion in the same incident. The scene was re-shot with the van moving slower and the stuntmen placed differently. (What?! Someone died on this film too? What a mess)

The opening action sequence which was actually part of the re-shoots was inspired by similar action sequence from screenwriter Jeffrey Boam’s rejected script for fourth Lethal Weapon film which he wrote in 1995, and which had main heroes of Lethal Weapon films, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, fighting against neo-nazi terrorists in L.A. Producer Joel Silver remembered the action sequence from the script and he was the one who decided to add it in Exit Wounds.

Anthony Anderson joked that his main purpose in the film was to make DMX look good. (As per usual m’man. Anderson is another guy accused of sexual assault multiple times. What a gem of a cast we have here)

Michael Jai White and Steven Seagal first worked together in 1993, on a Japanese soup commercial. (I wish I would find that commercial but alas I cannot)

Steven Seagal’s last film to have a wide theatrical release. (Noice)

Jill Hennessy said being in this film was “one of the best times in my life.” (Not Law and Order. Tough look for Law and Order)

The bridge attack scene; with the Happy Face helicopter, was shot on the Centre Street Bridge in Calgary, Alberta. The 85-year-old bridge had been closed for close to a year for restoration when the Exit Wounds crew came to town, so there was much concern from nearby residents when things started blowing up on the bridge. About six months later, long after the bridge had been re-opened, there was a major controversy in Calgary when the producers requested the bridge be closed again for retakes.

This was Steven Seagal’s return to movies after a three-year absence. It was a new Seagal – he slimmed down, updated his wardrobe, and ditched his trademark ponytail. (He did look much more reasonable and not ridiculous I thought)

Andrzej Bartkowiak, Isaiah Washington, DMX and Anthony Anderson all worked together in Romeo Must Die (2000). (And DMX and Anthony Anderwon and Tom Arnold and Bartkowiak also made Cradle 2 the Grave!)

The film bares little resemblance to the novel it is based on by ex-cop-turned-novelist John Westermann. (Not surprising)

This was Steven Seagal’s first go at wire work in a movie. (Well, it was made in 2001, prime time for wire work)

Underclassman Preview

Pacing the room and slamming Mountain Dew, Patrick and I brainstorm our barnburner of a film. Chris Klein has already signed on and our mind is on action (and plenty of it, you betta believe). However, when we open the door for our old bag of a stenographer we are taken aback. She’s no old bag at all! Quite the contrary! Did the company not see where we wrote “old bag” in the comment section? Oh well, being consummate professionals we get right to work. She’s efficient and hardworking and together we make quick work of the script. We shake hands with her and provide a glowing review to her temp agency. We offer each other some honest feedback for future improvement. Where boundaries may have been crossed in the name of romance, instead a beautiful professional relationship built on mutual respect had bloomed. After she departs we look at the script. It reads Rich & Poe and boy howdy do these hard-boiled detectives get into some deep undercover action in this action flick. That’s right! We’re watching Underclassman, the Nick Cannon 21 Jump Street knock-off where he’s a cop that has to infiltrate a high school. No doubt we’re gonna have some sweet inappropriate jokes about underage girls and teachers sleeping with students. Can’t wait. Let’s go!

Underclassman (2005) – BMeTric: 51.1

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(Wow that started amazingly low. Its creeped up to where I think maybe it should be (mid-4.0s, which is basically really fucking bad … but not so bad you’d have heard of it for being bad). Kind of amazing how hated it is though, I would have imagined this would have just gotten forgotten. Maybe because it was released just as IMDb was coming into their own? You can even see this plot starts basically right when the movie was released which is pretty stunning for a 2005 release. Look at the first scrape!)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Pause here for a Jack Webb “uh-huh”: Instead of being canned when he precipitates half a mile’s worth of car-chase damage, barely-literate cop Cannon is assigned to pose incognito as a student at a swanky prep school that’s been victimized by a car-theft ring. Few clichés are missed, including Cannon’s inevitable yen for the campus Spanish instructor (Sanchez). Script is in serious stupor, as if it has spent a month in a locked room with some of Cheech’s old stash.

(Jack Webb was in Dragnet which Leonard is kind of cryptically referencing. This is a very weird review, especially the end. I think Leonard just hates lazy cliché ridden garbage? There is almost no reason this is a BOMB considering some of the other passes he tends to dole out for simple nonsense.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB3rqT7X4Bw

(Ooooof, that looks absolutely terrible. Terrible race jokes. Terrible sex-with-the-teacher insinuations. Terrible sports scenes. Oh wait, did I say terrible? I meant I am very excited for this film.)

Directors – Marcos Siega – (Future BMT: Chaos Theory; Pretty Persuasion; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: He’s pretty exclusively a television producer/director. He directed a ton of The Following, Dexter, and Vampire Diaries among others. He’s also made quite a few television movies as well.)

Writers – Brent Goldberg (story & screenplay) and David Wagner (story) (as David T. Wagner & screenplay) (as David T. Wagner) – (Known For: The Girl Next Door; Future BMT: Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj; My Baby’s Daddy; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: These guys killed it in the early 2000s. They really dropped off the radar in 2005 though, here’s an interview concerning their collaboration from 2004.)

Nick Cannon (story) – (BMT: Underclassman; Notes: He actually has a ton of writing credits, but they are either on concert/music projects or the movies he’s been involved with don’t have enough reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I wish there was a way to know the level of involvement with the “story” Nick Cannon had though.)

Actors – Nick Cannon – (Known For: Chi-Raq; Monster House; Drumline; Bobby; Shall We Dance; Roll Bounce; The Killing Room; King of the Dancehall; American Son; Future BMT: Garfield; Love Don’t Cost a Thing; Whatever It Takes; Goal II: Living the Dream; Men in Black II; Even Money; Weapons; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: Was married to Mariah Carey for eight years, they had a pair of twins (heyyyyyoooo) in 2011.)

Shawn Ashmore – (Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men; X-Men: The Last Stand; X-Men 2; The Ruins; Mother’s Day; Frozen; Strike!; Mariachi Gringo; Future BMT: The Day; Hatchet II; Acts of Violence; Breaking the Girls; The Quiet; BMT: Underclassman; Notes: Played the Iceman in X-Men. Has a twin brother who has mostly been on television, including five episodes of Veronica Mars.)

Kelly Hu – (Known For: X-Men 2; The Scorpion King; The Doors; Strange Days; Americanese; Future BMT: Surf Ninjas; Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; Wo zhi nv ren xin; BMT: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Underclassman; Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Was a Miss Teen USA, born in Hawaii.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $5,655,459 (Worldwide: $5,879,555)

(A complete and utter disaster. Kind of a wonder they released it at all. It was apparently delayed from 2004, so they certainly could have pushed it out onto cable. Although … I suppose the movie does skew a bit old for the Nick Cannon demographic. What a strange strange movie.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (5/83): Despite the appealing presence of Nick Cannon, Underclassman is a shopworn Beverly Hills Cop/ 21 Jump Street knockoff.

(Single digits baby. Nearly one hundred reviews as well, which is nothing to sniff at. That time, around 2005, was a weird time huh? Uwe Boll films, and Nick Cannon in actual movies. Wild. Reviewer Highlight: Almost comically unambitious, Underclassman seldom tries to be funny, and never even attempts to be original. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – UnderSklogins (D)

underclassman

(I find it incredibly weird that he’s holding his gun like that in the poster… he’s like casually pointing it at the audience. Put that away! You’re scaring the children! I kid because I love… how terrible this all is. Woof.)

Tagline(s) – A Comedy About Upholding The Law And Disturbing The Peace (C-)

Get Ready To Be Schooled (A-)

(Both are on the poster, both are getting judged. First one is terrible. Too long and self-referential like it’s from the old days or something. “A Comedy About…” really? Just do the joke you’re aiming for. Upholding the law and disturbing the peace… Underclassman. Boom. Easy. Second one is better. Clever, hints at the plot, short and sweet. I like it.)

Keyword(s) – undercover; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.3 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 82.2 Barb Wire (1996); 81.1 Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); 74.9 Taxi (I) (2004); 73.6 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 71.8 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 70.4 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 70.3 On Deadly Ground (1994); 67.8 Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006); 65.5 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005);

(Big Momma Like Father Like Son best be there. We’ll probably hit all of these, although the Cable Guy movies will get a bit dicey. There are some things that kind of make you wonder “why am I doing this?” and I have a feeling watching the Larry the Cable Guy movies would be one of those things. Although, I have to admit … he was fine in Madea Christmas, so what do I know?)

Movie Stub – Underclassman (Start-class) – So when I got to this webpage the critical reception and box office response was jammed together. Also the entire thing sounded “non-encyclopedia” and it was suggested that the entire article be rewritten. I wouldn’t go so far, it had the proper structure, it was just a little loosey goosey with the lingo. Finally, I expanded the plot summary to a comfortable 410 words, and re-submitted the article for review. Viola, now that is a start-class wiki page! Actually, I think it is borderline C-class according to the quality guidelines, although some notes about production I think would be needed to put it over the top.

Notes – Originally set for a US theatrical release in 2004. Then two massive waves of layoffs were sustained at Miramax and Dimension, and the infamous Disney and Miramax split reached its height. This film thus remained in the Miramax vaults unreleased during this time of uncertainty. When the Disney and Miramax divorce was finally completed, numerous films under the Miramax and Dimension label were finally released theatrically. (I do love production issues, usually explains a lot)

The scene where Trey shoots Murdock and eventually tackles an undercover DEA agent which results in him explaining that Murdock can’t be a murder suspect because he was out of town on that date is extremely reminiscent of an exact same scene from Point Break (1991) where Tom Sizemore is the DEA agent. (fun fact?)

Cradle 2 the Grave Preview

Whenever we start one of our long form Challenges like the mapl.de.map or Calendar, we always have a film in mind for a few of the spots. It’s no different for our newest challenge, The Periodic Table of Smellements. That’s right! For the Games entry of the Calendar cycle we’re hitting up Cradle 2 the Grave! Likely the most unnecessary numeral ever inserted into a title. So unnecessary that after picking it up from my local public library my wife asked me “Have you already seen the first one?” I had to inform her that this was the first one and that the 2 is there for no other reason than to amuse me and Patrick (I presume). Let’s go!

Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) – BMeTric: 37.2

Cradle2theGrave_BMeT

Cradle2theGrave_RV

(Certainly seems like a “cult” type of film. A rating of 6.0 is genuinely solid, it is close to average for the top ten thousand films, and it is rising steadily towards average despite its critical ratings. Most of the BMeTric is from being relatively popular while being a bit below average.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  As an array of baddies and rival half-baddies pursue coveted black diamonds that look like oversized Chiclets, most of the actors playing these parts pursue their dramatically diverse audience demographics. Union is around for the demographic that enjoys seeing semi-unclad lookers, but even those viewers may have trouble with a script about diamonds with nuclear capabilities. DMX’s neckwear looks as if it could pick up sandlot baseball games from Radio Havana.

(This review is semi-incomprehensible. But some deep burns. The diamonds look fake, the actors are just there to hit a checklist of demographics, Gabrielle Union in particular is just there to get naked, and even then the story is too ludicrous for any of that being fun! And then he ends with a crazy dig at DMX’s (I’m sure very classy) bling. I was with you up to then Leonard, but don’t take digs at the bling.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3FKBdIA26Q

(People flying around on wires it might as well be called. Have to say … pretty amped for this. DMX sountrack, people flipping around looking dumb, diamonds, Tom Arnold. Kind of surprised they give away that the jewels might not be jewels in the trailer to be honest, but still, I kind of dig that trailer. All I want is to get excited for the film when I watch it, and this does that admirably.)

Directors – Andrzej Bartkowiak – (Future BMT: Exit Wounds; BMT: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Doom; Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Notes: Primarily a cinematographer, known for his association with Sidney Lumet. He was cinematographer for Twins, which obviously inspired the BMT logo.)

Writers – John O’Brien (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Starsky & Hutch; Future BMT: The Dukes of Hazzard; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for The Dukes of Hazzard in 2006; Notes: There is nothing about this guy and I fear his name is too generic to get many certain hits elsewhere as well. Going from this to two tv-to-movie adaptations though feels a bit odd.)

Channing Gibson (screenplay) – (Known For: Lethal Weapon 4; Future BMT: Walking Tall; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Prolific television writer. Won an emmy for his involvement with NYPD Blue.)

Actors – Jet Li – (Known For: The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Lethal Weapon 4; The Forbidden Kingdom; Unleashed; Fearless; Kiss of the Dragon; The Enforcer; Once Upon a Time in China; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; The One; The Emperor and the White Snake; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; The Expendables 3; Romeo Must Die; Notes: Was a Wushu champion in China training with the famous Wu Bin, and upon retiring at the age of 19 he went into acting. He apologized to Jackie Chan for taking part in High Risk, which has a character described as “a famous and popular action movie star famous for doing all of his own stunts. In reality, he is very lazy and lecherous.” … I have to watch this movie.)

DMX – (Future BMT: Exit Wounds; Belly; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Romeo Must Die; Never Die Alone; Notes: A world renowned rapper. Recently though he is probably more well known for his legal issues moving through the court system concerning tax fraud.)

Mark Dacascos – (Known For: Le pacte des loups; Future BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Double Dragon; Code Name: The Cleaner; Köshpendiler; BMT: Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Born in Hawaii he is a martial artist proficient in Wun Hop Kuen Do which he learned from his father. He’s studied other disciplines (including Wushu, which Jet Li is known for) as well, although is not considered a master.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $34,712,347 (Worldwide: $56,489,558)

(Decent worldwide, but not great. I’ll have to look below to see how it compared to Martial Arts films of the time. That will indicate a bit more of what the studio was probably expecting, and whether the modest worldwide return would have been considered acceptable.)

#35 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

cradle2thegrave_martialarts

(This came right at the peak of people thinking Martial Arts were cool. Probably after the Matrix in 1999. The genre has basically died, but this is getting me more interested in looking into it as an “educational” opportunity. Like slashers and westerns, martial arts films never held much appeal for me, but learning the tropes and how they tick could be pretty fun. This scored around Street Fighter unfortunately.)

#15 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre

cradle2thegrave_wirefu

(Just above The Musketeer! The genre literally began with The Matrix and died out five years later. One would assume that is because wire work has been replaced by green screen and other cheaper techniques. What a time to be alive!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (31/122): Dumb and by-the-numbers, but serviceable.

(Wow. Thanks Rotten Tomatoes, now I’m getting excited …. In reality this sounds boring. Dumb is good. By-the-numbers if bad. Serviceable though … sounds like they’ve put together a movie which makes sense, which for a martial arts film I think is a bad thing.)

Poster – Cradle 2 the Sklog (B-)

cradle_to_grave

(Real early 2000’s vibe on this guy. A bit too much going on, but I like the bold black with red features. Unique font and interesting spacing push it up a tad.)

Tagline(s) – Born 2 the life. True 2 the code. Bad 2 the bone. (A)

(Uh, yes. I am into this. Whether or not this has anything to do with the film itself is questionable, but I choose to believe it’s amazing.)

Keyword(s) – diamond; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.4 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.3 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 83.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.8 Littleman (2006); 70.8 The Spirit (2008); 69.6 Setup (I) (2011); 68.4 The Marine (2006); 67.9 Superman III (1983); 65.5 Thunderbirds (2004); 62.1 Bitch Slap (2009);

(Batman & Robin might be the most diamond-y movie in the history of diamond movies, fueling kick-ass puns throughout the film. All of these are great!! Setup is a crazy looking film starring Bruce Willis, 50 Cent, and Ryan Phillipe of I Know What You Did Last Summer fame! Just fantastic.)

Notes – The casting of Mark Dacascos was the result of a poll on Jet Li’s website where fans were asked who they would like to see him fight next. (The wonders of the Martial Arts movie fanbase … I don’t even know who this person is!)

Jet Li’s character only fights with one hand for a majority of the film.

Real life UFC competitors Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell were recruited by producer Joel Silver for the cage fight sequence with Jet Li. (oooooh yeah, Couture would co-star with Li in The Expendables franchise later)

DMX was constantly late for shooting. (HA)

The film was originally developed as a remake of M (1931). (weird, may have to check that out)

When filming wrapped up on time and the editing was proceeding at a fast pace, Warner Bros. considered opening the film in late August – a mere three months after it finished shooting. They later opted to release the pic in late Feb the following year. (… after watching it)

At one point, Arnold Schwarzenegger was slated to star.

Aaliyah was set to star in the film until her untimely death in 2001. (Oh no. Last seen in Queen of the Damned I would imagine)

2nd film to star Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold. They share more screen time in this movie than they did in Exit Wounds, where they shared the last scene together. They also have the same kinda ending in this movie where they talk about their mom’s and who would play them in a movie about what they just went through in this movie. It is also the second film to star DMX and Tom Arnold after Exit Wounds. (wait … the Tim Arnold? Yeah, it would appear so. Double weird. This movie is going to be weird as fuck)

Ride Along 2 Preview

Alright, so this week we arrive back at our most misguided genre, the Chain Reaction. It was incredibly difficult jumping from 1986 to 2016. Not many actors, even big stars, are still making BMT films after 20 years. So jumping from 1986’s No Mercy to a 2016 film seemed an impossible task. Thank god for Bruce McGill. Unlike Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, McGill is still going strong, and allowed us to jump straight from No Mercy to 2016’s sequel du jour, Ride Along 2. This also means we got extra content this week as the original Ride Along is also BMT (and both DVDs have commentaries by director Tim Story). Lucky us. Let’s go!

Ride Along 2 (2016) – BMeTric: 28.8

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(Alright, like Ride Along this guy is also super stable. I love the giant drop at the end. Classic. The fans of the film give it 10’s, and then it gets a bunch of 1’s from idiots early, and then it bounces right to where it eventually lands at 5.9. Also pretty good considering its reviews. A BMeTric of 30 is solid considering it was released less than a year ago.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – This second helping of Hart’s hyper hijinks as rookie cop Ben, once more paired with Ice Cube’s glowering bulldog presence as rule-flouting veteran James, exists for the same reason that “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” does: money. Probably a good test of whether you should consider riding along with this low-rent version of “Bad Boys” meets “Rush Hour” is if you are tickled by Ben suggesting that he and James call themselves “The Brothers-in-Law.” Get it? They are brothers-in-law and they are “brothers” IN Law. OK. You can stop giggling now

(Sounds about right. But also something you could feasibly say about nearly any franchise comedy sequel. They exist for money. And if you like the jokes they are going to make you’ll like the movie. Groundbreaking. The reviewer does note that the film is more diverse which is nice.)

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

(Ha! This is basically the plot of Dirty Grandpa … not really, but weird that both start in Atlanta and go to Florida and the main character has to get back in time for his wedding while getting pulled into trouble by a relative. C’mon, that’s weird. What’s that I smell? Is that a Hollywood badass bar? I hope it is brightly lit with sparsely and even distributed dancers! I hope there is just no crowd around the bar area and getting a drink seems convenient!)

[NOTE: I just copied these notes from the Ride Along preview as these are literally all of the same people minus Jason Mantzoukas]

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; BMT: Taxi (BMT); Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  From the Taxi preview: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2. I’ll add that he has announced he is directing Humbug starring Ice Cube as a real estate mogul in a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol. Be still my beating heart.)

Writers – Greg Coolidge (screenplay & story) – (BMT: Employee of the Month; Sorority Boys; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  Not much about him online, but that is an incredible filmography. I need to see Sorority Boys at some point, just an absurd White Chicks-esque premise.)

Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (screenplay) – (Known For: The Invitation; Crazy/Beautiful; BMT: The Tuxedo (BMT); Æon Flux (BMT); R.I.P.D. (BMT); Clash of the Titans; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: Legends. How does one go from Crazy/Beautiful to The Tuxedo exactly? If you want some insight this article is incredibly in depth. Turns out … you do one solid adaptation and you’ll basically be tapped for a million more. Honestly I don’t think the script was the problem with most of these movies so get yo money.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: 22 Jump Street; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2; Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along; Next Friday; Notes: Cube! A legend in his own right if only for Ghosts of Mars, a secret BMT favorite. Most famous for being a primary player in NWA he has since become somewhat of a comedy staple. Started with Friday in the 90’s and then the Barbershop series in the 00’s, he’s a full blown comedian at this point. Impressive dude.)

Kevin Hart – (Known For: The Secret Life of Pets; Central Intelligence; This Is the End; The 40 Year-Old Virgin; Death at a Funeral; The Five-Year Engagement; Think Like a Man; Top Five; About Last Night; Death of a Dynasty; BMT: Epic Movie; Superhero Movie; Soul Plane; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Meet Dave; In the Mix; Scary Movie 3 (BMT); Little Fockers; Fool’s Gold (BMT); Drillbit Taylor; Along Came Polly; Think Like a Man Too; Get Hard; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Grudge Match (BMT); The Wedding Ringer (BMT); Notes: He exploded as one of the most prolific comedic actors a few years ago (and trust me, some people are not happy about that for some reason) with Ride Along, Get Hard, Central Intelligence, Ride Along 2, and the Wedding Ringer coming out in the last 3 years basically.)

With Tika Sumpter again (from Madea Christmas and now Ride Along … I’m going to be honest, I’m surprised she’s in this considering this movie takes place in Florida now. They could have easily kind of just said “she’s in Atlanta, don’t worry about it” kid-from-London-Has-Fallen style. Save some cash.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $90,862,685 (Worldwide: $124,246,152)

(Definitive success if probably a disappointment considering the take of the original. Here I’ll highlight one thing. If you look through some big name multi-film series starring black actors there is a possibly-not-surprising trend. The Barbershop series has an average foreign percentage of gross of 1.6%. The Friday series has an average 2.6%. All of the Madea movies have an average of 1.1%. It is at least somewhat well known that films geared towards African American audiences basically don’t get released to foreign markets. This is probably because there is a cultural factor that is (perceived?) to not translate. Ride Along 2 though actually seems to have bucked the trend a bit taking 26.9% of its take overseas. Promising. Kevin Hart said he wanted to remove the stigma off films that are called “black films” and it seems like he is doing it.)

#19 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Not much is going to change from the commentary from the Ride Along preview. I will say it has to be a bit disappointing to see the take slip a bit in the second installment for this genre considering how consistent Ice Cube’s other series 21 Jump Street has been. Being near Green Hornet is domestic take is not so hot.)

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

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(Unfortunately this might reveal a bit of why this film as a disappointment as it sits near Sex and the City 2 and Madea Goes to Jail on the domestic charts, oooof. We most recently saw this chart with Cheaper By the Dozen 2 where we noted these bad ones tend to come as a peak is a-tumbling. And I have a feeling we’ve crossed the rubicon and we’ll be seeing a new crop of original comedy rise so that sequels can be made a plenty in about 5 years)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (15/104): Ride Along 2 presents a cop-comedy sequel whose well-matched stars can’t break the law of diminishing returns — or lock up a script that unabashedly steals from the original.

(Ooooooof. For an original that was in itself simplistic, linear, and predictable being forced to borrow from oneself is a bit rough. They painted themselves into a corner a bit I think. What movie are they intending to parody in this case (or set of movies). Miami Vice? 2 Fast 2 Furious? For a little more absurdist take there are a million directions to go in, but I can’t really think of what they can do here except drug dealer in Miami, he’s bad, brightly lit clubs, the end.)

Poster – Sklog Along 2: Sklog-ami Vice (D)

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(They really liked that first poster apparently. This is still drab and dull, but instead of of effectively using yellow they throw in some crazy pants and a blue car… that blue car really bums me out. Such simple things can ruins so much. Sklog Along 2 anyone?)

Tagline(s) – The brothers-in-law are back. (C+)

(I’m digging this one a little more than the first Ride Along tagline. Here they keep it more concise and have a couple b’s popping. A light pun on “brothers-in-law” that doesn’t work great visually. No plot at all though, other than the fact that it is a sequel.)

Keyword(s) – drugs; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.0 Disaster Movie (2008); 75.7 LOL (2012); 72.6 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 71.3 Showgirls (1995); 67.1 Year One (2009); 65.0 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 62.5 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 59.3 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991); 59.0 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 56.0 Sliver (1993);

(… How is “drugs” a part of Jason Goes to Hell? I guess that is one of the smoke-weed-and-you-get-murdered tropes from horror franchises. Again, garbage list because the keyword is too general.)

Notes – The title “Ride 2gether” was strongly considered but they chose to remain with the original title. (This make come as a shock, but I think that is a horrible title. It isn’t close enough to actually remind you of the first smash hit film, so it would be difficult to pull off as a sequel)

In the beginning of the film Ben (Kevin Hart) is sitting in a surveillance van with “Packer” written on the side. This is named after the film’s producer Will Packer. (Fun facts are the best facts)

A “Gears of War 3” poster can be seen in Ben’s apartment when he is being asked to go to Miami. (okay)

Ashanti is seen as one of the party girls with Kevin Hart and Ken Joung at Ben’s bachelor party. (say what. That is weird. Sadly not many good notes for this film. Have to wait for those PAs to dish I guess)

Ride Along Preview

Alright, so this week we arrive back at our most misguided genre, the Chain Reaction. It was incredibly difficult jumping from 1986 to 2016. Not many actors, even big stars, are still making BMT films after 20 years. So jumping from 1986’s No Mercy to a 2016 film seemed an impossible task. Thank god for Bruce McGill. Unlike Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, McGill is still going strong, and allowed us to jump straight from No Mercy to 2016’s sequel du jour, Ride Along 2. This also means we got extra content this week as the original Ride Along is also BMT (and both DVDs have commentaries by director Tim Story). Lucky us. Let’s go!

Ride Along (2014) – BMeTric: 22.5

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(Kind of interesting BMeTric, so stable. That is unusual. Graphs like this come about when, against all odds, a movie’s rating doesn’t change and they were released after 2011 (so no potential for the 2011 bump). Except it isn’t really against all odds, 6.1 is literally the average rating on IMDb, so there is just no regression to the mean at all. Anyways, 6.0+ is more common than you think for BMT, but it is always fun to watch them … usually means that we are not the target audience. And with this movie … yeah, we aren’t the target audience.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Intermittently funny vehicle for the fast-talking comedic talent of Hart finds him playing a motor-mouthed security guard who joins tough-as-nails cop Ice Cube on a 24-hour ride-along. Object: to prove himself not only worthy of fulfilling his dream of joining the department, but also of marrying his one-day partner’s sister. Nothing we haven’t seen before in buddy-cop movies, from 48Hrs. to Lethal Weapon, yet this one is apparently striving to be a comic version of Training Day. Cube is a perfect foil for Hart, who’s amusing in short spurts – but this movie provides an overdose.

(First, that is one long review. Second, nice hyphen game as usual Leonard (I’m convinced someone on his staff has a bet going to see how many hyphens they can fit into a short review, we’ve seen this before). And third, yeah, I would have blindly guess two stars from Maltin before reading this review. This movie is going to be vaguely funny, ten minutes too long, and occasionally aggravating. And not that bad. Book it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5klp6rkHIks

(Meh. I obviously remember this trailer from when it came out and it looks meh. Does seem like they went the Training Day route which is fine. Do not like the portrayal of video games in this movie … that isn’t how they work, but whatever.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; BMT: Taxi (BMT); Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  From the Taxi preview: The top grossing African-American director of all time (domestic at least, not sure about worldwide). Actually just retook the top spot from Tyler Perry with Ride Along 2. I’ll add that he has announced he is directing Humbug starring Ice Cube as a real estate mogul in a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol. Be still my beating heart.)

Writers – Greg Coolidge (screenplay & story) – (BMT: Employee of the Month; Sorority Boys; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes:  Not much about him online, but that is an incredible filmography. I need to see Sorority Boys at some point, just an absurd White Chicks-esque premise.)

Jason Mantzoukas (screenplay) – (BMT: Ride Along; Notes:  WHAT. So apparently there is news reports about him getting hired to rewrite the script when it was about a hard boiled detective taking his potential brother-in-law on a ride along, but the brother was a uptight white psychiatrist. It was rewritten after though. Kind of surprised he hasn’t gotten writing credits on anything else. Obviously from The League and the How Did This Get Made podcast among many other things, but most recently seen in a major role in Dirty Grandpa. I love Jason Mantzoukas, he’s hilarious.)

Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (screenplay) – (Known For: The Invitation; Crazy/Beautiful; BMT: The Tuxedo (BMT); Æon Flux (BMT); R.I.P.D. (BMT); Clash of the Titans; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Notes: Legends. How does one go from Crazy/Beautiful to The Tuxedo exactly? If you want some insight this article is incredibly in depth. Turns out … you do one solid adaptation and you’ll basically be tapped for a million more. Honestly I don’t think the script was the problem with most of these movies so get yo money.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: 22 Jump Street; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2; Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along; Next Friday; Notes: Cube! A legend in his own right if only for Ghosts of Mars, a secret BMT favorite. Most famous for being a primary player in NWA he has since become somewhat of a comedy staple. Started with Friday in the 90’s and then the Barbershop series in the 00’s, he’s a full blown comedian at this point. Impressive dude.)

Kevin Hart – (Known For: The Secret Life of Pets; Central Intelligence; This Is the End; The 40 Year-Old Virgin; Death at a Funeral; The Five-Year Engagement; Think Like a Man; Top Five; About Last Night; Death of a Dynasty; BMT: Epic Movie; Superhero Movie; Soul Plane; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Meet Dave; In the Mix; Scary Movie 3 (BMT); Little Fockers; Fool’s Gold (BMT); Drillbit Taylor; Along Came Polly; Think Like a Man Too; Get Hard; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Grudge Match (BMT); The Wedding Ringer (BMT); Notes: He exploded as one of the most prolific comedic actors a few years ago (and trust me, some people are not happy about that for some reason) with Ride Along, Get Hard, Central Intelligence, Ride Along 2, and the Wedding Ringer coming out in the last 3 years basically.)

Also stars Tika Sumpter (seen in A Madea Christmas!!! So exciting)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $134,938,200 (Worldwide: $154,468,902)

(A huge hit. No wonder they made a sequel and are planning on making it a trilogy. Tim Story is box office gold for a reason. And that reason seems to be he can wrangle comedians into making something that resembles a coherent comedic feature film. And he’s friends with Ice Cube who is also an amazing comedic actor it turns out.)

#13 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Super successful. Between Lethal Weapon 4 and 21 Jump Street. Picking out an interesting era, 2000-2005 seems to be a little bit of a Buddy Comedy Rush. Strangely enough the common denominator is Jackie Chan, which is interesting. Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon and their sequels all came out at the tail end of the Lethal Weapon (and general buddy cop) era and may have ushered in more of a general dual lead action-comedy formula into Hollywood. A lot of the films of the subsequent era naturally plays on this: Central Intelligence, 21 and 22 Jump Street, and The Other Guys all play off of the 80s and 90s buddy comedy formula in interesting ways. And perhaps that is where this movie failed: it doesn’t play off of it, it plays into it, and chose to poke fun at the late 90s / early 00s cop dramas instead. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (23/124): Kevin Hart’s livewire presence gives Ride Along a shot of necessary energy, but it isn’t enough to rescue this would-be comedy from the buddy-cop doldrums.

(Too bad I’m not a huge fan of Kevin Hart, otherwise there might be some hope. I just hoping to not be bored. Can you give me that Ride Along. Give me some horrible lines and stupid characters to make fun of, please.)

Poster – Sklog Along (D+)

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(Weird. This is like the opposite of my poster philosophy, detailed in my upcoming book Posterized! The Michael Jordan Story. It’s drab and dull with meager symmetry and a simplistic font that can easily be changed to Sklog Along. Get out of here. Only plus is that I like posters that use yellow effectively.)

Tagline(s) – Propose to this cop’s sister? Rookie mistake. (C-)

(They really shoehorn the plot right in there, huh? Wish it was more clever and had better flow.)

Keyword(s) – police; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.8 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.5 Catwoman (2004); 84.6 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 82.7 Street Fighter (1994); 80.6 Home Alone 3 (1997); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 78.7 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 77.4 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 77.2 RoboCop 3 (1993); 75.8 Inspector Gadget (1999);

(Amazing and horrible list at the same time. This list should be movies like RIPD and the like, but they are drowned out by movies “with a police officer in it”. Bull. But whatever. I’m just thankful there is a relevant keyword at all for a recently released movie. The keywords are generally trash. At least this reminds me that I really want to watch Robocop 3)

Notes – Originally the movie intended for Dwayne Johnson to play James and Ryan Reynolds to play Ben. (say whaaaaaaaat, that might have been an incredible movie)

When Ben is surrounded by the group of bikers he quotes multiple lines from Denzel Washington’s speech in Training Day (2001), such as his line about playing basketball in Pelican Bay. This is one of many references to Training Day made throughout the film. (yup, it is supposed to be kind of a comedic take on it clearly)

When Ice Cube is talking in the conference room about the 126 experience, he says “today was a good day.” He is actually quoting one of his popular songs titled “It Was A Good Day.”

Ben is considered short. Kevin Hart is only 4.5 inches shorter than Ice Cube. (ha!)

While James’ car is an unmarked police car, throughout the film, James never turns on any siren or lights (however Ben attempts to). (okay … I was hoping to end it with a fun fact, but that is just kind of dumb)