Universal Soldier: The Return Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#87 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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

#43 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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

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

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

Poster – Robo Soldier v2.0 (A-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Universal Soldier Preview

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

Universal Soldier (1992) – BMeTric: 32.9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#32 for the Action – Martial Arts genre

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

#35 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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

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

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

Poster – Oh no! Robots! (C+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first screenplay was initially called “Crystal Knights”.

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

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

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

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

Transformers: The Last Knight Preview

There were a number of high profile candidates for BMT Live! this year, but as with any crowded BMT field we couldn’t get to all of them. One obvious candidate that missed out on that prime spot was the 5th in a major SciFi blockbuster series. That’s right! We’re finally watching Transformers: The Last Knight! The second in the Cade Yeager (actual name from the film) set of Transformers films. This one didn’t garner any better reviews than most of the entries in the series. Not surprising since they seem to unapologetically produce big screen gobbledegook in the hopes that everyone is so confused that they shrug their shoulders and say “Good for what is it.” But as Mother Teresa once said, “you can’t polish a turd,” so let’s just see how shiny they made this thing. Let’s go!

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – BMeTric: 60.5

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(While the vote count is a classic (I do love it when you have enough data points to see the almost perfect asymptotic approach that occurs with a limit, i.e. theatrical release) the rating is somewhat abnormal. Usually a low rating will rise as more people see a film. Here it has fallen slightly. Maybe because in VOD more people who aren’t big fans will see it? I would expect it to rise a bit over the next few years though. It is just the nature of the game.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Here’s where the chorus of Critic-Proof Franchises kicks in. Michael Bay made this for fans of the franchise and not the notoriously-hard-on-it critics. Diehards will ignore that I liked the first film and parts of the third and fourth films (the second is still a cinematic abomination). I get it. We love to forgive the failures of franchises we adore. Even critics do that. But even fans of this series have to take a hard look at the outright, shocking laziness of this movie—one that does the bare minimum to get butts in seats.

(Yup. I’ve been convinced that the Transformers producers have been bringing Bay back to try and get one thing: movie critics to just say “it’s good for what it is!” and then waltz to the bank for that cool billion dollar payday. Fast and the Furious does it, why can’t this? Mainly it is because the charisma of Vin Diesel and The Rock keep that franchise from seeming lazy. I do think Bay is gone from the series now and I don’t think they’ll ever reach that F&F place. Too bad for them.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgnO5fO46pE

(That song is a big old pile of shit. The movie seems entertaining if you kind of pretend this is the first or second in the series. The issue is they keep on revising when and how the transformers got here. First they followed the Allspark to Earth. Oh wait no there was The Fallen way long ago. Oh wait, they were at the moon landing. Oh wait, they were around with the dinosaurs. Oh wait, they’ve been in literally every war in human history. To hard to keep straight at this point. Should have jumped forward to after the war has torn Earth apart in the third movie and ignored the mythology crap at that point.)

Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: 13 Hours; Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Armageddon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominated for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Notes: Director Hall of Famer I would guess. I’ve seen nearly all of his movies, but we have to BMTize them at some point. Bad Boys II is actually an interesting one, because people online love it for some reason. It is, in fact, a giant load of shit.)

Writers – Art Marcum  and Matt Holloway (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Iron Man; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Punisher: War Zone; Notes: Already tabbed to write the next two (ugh) Transformers films. Wrote a script for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot which was never used.)

Ken Nolan (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Only the Brave; Black Hawk Down; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Bother of actor Matt Nolan who has kind of bumped around doing small film parts and minor television roles, although in big projects like 24. He is one of those guys who has been in Hollywood as a full time scriptwriter for over 20 years with only a few movies produced. His first spec, In Contempt, for example, was sold for over a million dollars, but never produced. He has multiple major unproduced scripts floating about Hollywood at this point.)

Akiva Goldsman (story by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: We mentioned him in the Rings preview obviously. He is a gigantic screenwriter, although now a producer as well. He’s executive producing the new Star Trek series for example.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: The Departed; Boogie Nights; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; Deepwater Horizon; Shooter; Patriots Day; Ted 2; 2 Guns; The Other Guys; Ted; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Pain & Gain; Invincible; The Fighter; Date Night; The Perfect Storm; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: Max Payne; The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; Notes: Basically a Hall of Famer solely from The Happening where his performance is off the chain. We have a million to go with him … brother of Donnie Wahlberg and co-owner of the Wahlberger franchise.)

Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Thor; Thor: The Dark World; The Silence of the Lambs; Dracula; Noah; Legends of the Fall; Meet Joe Black; Fracture; Howards End; Red Dragon; The Elephant Man; Beowulf; Chaplin; Mission: Impossible II; The Mask of Zorro; RED 2; The Lion in Winter; A Bridge Too Far; Future BMT: Alexander; Freejack; Bad Company; Misconduct; The Wolfman; Slipstream; The Rite; Desperate Hours; Collide; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; Surviving Picasso; Hannibal; The Innocent; The Trial; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; A Change of Seasons; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; Notes: Obviously a giant star as well. Notably won the Oscar for Best Actor in Silence of the Lambs, a movie he appeared in for approximately 15 minutes total.)

Josh Duhamel – (Known For: Transformers; You’re Not You; Ramona and Beezus; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Wrecked; Future BMT: Paradise Lost; The Romantics; Misconduct; Fire with Fire; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; CHIPS; The Institute; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Life as We Know It; Don Peyote; Lost in the Sun; This Is Your Death; Strings; BMT: Movie 43; Transformers: The Last Knight; When in Rome; New Year’s Eve; Safe Haven; Notes: I’m a big Duhamel-head after Safe Haven. Interesting like. Born in North Dakota he was a construction worker at 26 and ended up kind of falling into modelling. Ultimately that lead to acting when he was specifically asked to audition for The Picture of Dorian Grey.)

Budget/Gross – $217–260 million / Domestic: $130,168,683 (Worldwide: $605,425,157)

(Reasonably. It isn’t blowing people away anymore though. They kind of want / expect / need this to be a billion dollar franchise. But a few hundred million is also nothing to sneeze at all said and done. I assume they will complete the second trilogy. We’ll see what happens then.)

#28 for the CGI Star genre

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(You might wonder what happened in 2010 to make this so highly profitable. It was Avatar. This movie is actually quite low, around the Ang Lee Hulk film as far as domestic gross. Saved by Chine it would seem. There were also 6 films with a CGI star this year! That’s ridiculous.)

#12 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Three this year and this guy comes in just after I, Robot which is pretty bad. The plot is pretty uninteresting though. Films about robots have been popular from around 2005 it would seem … basically when the original Transformers came out.)

#16 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(Peaked around 2012 when The Avengers came out. This is below Chicken Little! The more I read the more I realize that domestically this was an incredible bomb! Anyways, the genre is kind of waning a bit, at least the per theater take is.)

#12 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

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(Transformers has kind of fueled the genre a bit, but Alvin and the Chipmunks is also obviously pretty dominant as well. Right behind The Flintstones … my God.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (31/202): Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.

(Cacophonous. Cacophonous … I’m liking the sound of that in a way. Very nice. I want to see some transforming and a plot that make literally no sense. Let’s do it.)

Poster – Sklogformers: The Last Sklog (D+)

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(This poster tells me a story. That story is “your brain will explode as you try to discern what is happening on screen just like your brain is exploding trying to understand what is going on with this mess of a poster.” Why is everything in the world on this poster? At least it has some font action.)

Tagline(s) – For one world to live, the other must die. (A-)

(Nice cadance and use of live-die. Short and sweet and a little hint at the plot. Overall this is pretty good. A fun pun would have gone a long way to hitting that A+.)

Keyword(s) – based on toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Bratz (2007); 75.6 Ouija (II) (2014); 62.1 Max Steel (2016); 60.8 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 60.5 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 53.4 Jem and the Holograms (2015); 44.8 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.9 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009); 40.8 G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);

(Ooooooh yeah. We almost watched Max Steel. We were really close. Ouija is almost obviously the creme de la creme for these guys. Just ridiculous that was made. Even more ridiculous that its sequel ended up being good!)

Notes – With a budget of $217 million dollars, the most expensive Transformers at the time of release. (Until the next one)

The scenes of Sir Edmund Burton visiting 10 Downing Street were filmed at the actual office of the British Prime Minister in October 2016. (This is what happens when you’re Michael Fucking Bay)

Mark Wahlberg announced this will be his last Transformers movie as Cade Yeager. He had signed a contract for three films, with the knowledge that he could be relieved earlier. (But… but… but… I was promised a second trilogy)

Director Michael Bay is a noted dog lover, and he cast Freya, a British dog with epilepsy that many homes had rejected, in the film. (I wanted to say this was an obvious PR plot but apparently it is not. Actual true story. Wow)

Writer Matt Holloway is a fan of the drama Downton Abbey (2010), and jokingly said that Jim Carter (who plays the butler Mr. Carson in the show) should voice Cogman. He was shocked when Michael Bay got Carter signed on as Cogman. (Again, this is just Bay seeing how far he can push his Bay-ness)

Michael Bay said that this will be the last Transformers film he will direct, for the moment. He is open to doing more films in the future, if he gets a good story. (A good story never stopped him before. Ay oh)

After the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), a writers’ room was setup to plan the franchise’s future beyond the main film series. Two of the ideas pitched involved the Arthurian myth and World War II respectively. Michael Bay liked them so much that he decided to incorporate them into the script for this film. (I want an entire television series just about this writer’s room. I’ll call it Michael Bay’s Writers Room)

Shia LaBeouf and Nicola Peltz appeared in this film, although it was only their portraits. (Count it! Shia LaBeouf is in this movie)

While shooting in England, Mark Wahlberg spent time at St. Aidan’s Church incognito, and made donations. No one knew anything until afterwards. Reverend Father Des McGiven said, “It’s great that we had him in for the service, and we appreciate his generosity towards our church.” (I’m not sure how to respond to this obviously pandering imdb trivia note… good for Mark Wahlberg I guess)

This film features the myth of King Arthur. Michael Bay was previously going to direct King Arthur (2004), and had worked on that film for five years, before leaving it, due to budget issues. (Michael Bay gets the budget that he wants. No questions asked).

Michael Bay originally wanted to pass on directing this film, but was persuaded to do one more by Peter Cullen. (So you’re telling me the voice actor who voices Optimus Prime for like 2 days in a sound studio convinced Bay to return… that is just clearly bullshit).

Part of the film was shot at Stonehenge. Michael Bay requested to shoot an explosion on the location, but was denied, so he had a set of Stonehenge constructed to shoot the explosion. (Wait, Michael Bay was denied something?! That… that doesn’t make sense. Michael Bay gets what Michael Bay wants and if he wants to blow up Stonehenge then you let him do it)

Peter Cullen, Reno Wilson, and Mark Ryan are the only actors to appear in all five live-action Transformers films, with Cullen as Optimus Prime, Wilson playing Frenzy, Mudflap, Brains, Mohawk, and Sqweeks, and Mark Ryan voicing Bumblebee, Jetfire, a military drone operator, Lockdown, and Bulldog. (This is actually a really good factoid. An impossible trivia question).

The filmmakers admitted that there were production difficulties in this film, which resulted in a lot of material planned and filmed, but which never made it to the film. (Give me those cut scenes and bloopies. I needs them)

Hot Rod’s French accent was Michael Bay’s idea, as he thought it would give Hot Rod a unique character. (Well I hope he’s as racist as the Mexican robots he had in previous installments.)

Ken Nolan wrote the role of Sir Edmund specifically for Sir Anthony Hopkins. (Facts like this are said too often to actually be true. Later we’re going to hear about all the actors that were up for the part of Ken Nolan)

Though this film was successful, grossing over $600 million worldwide, this is the lowest grossing film of the Transformers franchise. (They must have been so disappointed that they immediately greenlighted Transformers 6 for a 2019 release.)

This is the third Transformers film to be outgrossed by a computer animated threequel. This film was outgrossed by Despicable Me 3 (2017). The first was Transformers, (2007) which was outgrossed by Shrek the Third (2007), and the second was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which was outgrossed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009). But while Transformers was $89.7 million behind Shrek the Third and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was $50.4 million behind Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, this film is over $420 million behind Despicable Me 3. (This is a really weird and interesting factoid)

This is the second Transformers installment for Stanley Tucci, who played Merlin. Previously he played Joshua Joyce in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). (Wait… what?!)

The Autobot Topspin from Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) appears in this film, but with a head akin to Leadfoot’s, and a new name, “Volleybot”. (Wait… WHAT?!)

The original cut of the movie supposedly was much longer and roughly a whole hour’s worth of footage was cut for theatrical release. (Yeesssssss, release the Director’s Cut, Bay… do it)

Despite his seeming death during Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), the police car Decepticon Barricade returns, and has apparently survived up to the events of this movie, with a completely new design, including a new vehicle mode. (Ha! I think Bay and the writers eventually realized that no one cares)

The film contains tributes to Transformers Prime (2010): Earth is revealed to be the planet-eating Transformer Unicron.Optimus briefly loses his identity. An ancient breed of Transformer, who can transform into a dragon appears (Predacons, Knights).The final battle is set in the sky, with the Decepticons trying to engage a machine that will destroy the Earth, and the Autobots fighting to stop them. (Wait… is this the actual plot of the film?! WTF!)

The Transformers’ creator is Quintessa is based on the Quintessons from Transformers (1984), but incorporates elements of Solus Prime, a female Transformer god from Transformers Prime (2010). (I like lore like this. It’s part of the issues I have with the series. They really screw with any coherent mythos associated with the series… which is kind of the entire attraction of a franchise)

In the movie, it is mentioned that Fidel Castro allows Transformers to live in peace in Cuba. Since then, Castro died on November 25, 2016, it implies that the movie was filmed before his passing, in the way that there wasn’t time to change his mention. (Ha! You done dated yo film Bay.)

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) is the first film in the live-action series to feature Bumblebees true voice. (For some reason I already knew this)

RoboCop 3 Preview

Jeez, these squeakuels are long. Almost as bad as a book cycle. JK, book cycles are the worst. Anyway, this week we move onto the Action entry of the cycle and it seemed fitting that we would hit one of the worst reviewed action sequels of all time. That’s right, we’re not only watching RoboCop 2 but the much abhorred follow-up RoboCop 3! Another two-for-one this week. The first one is a classic satire of capitalism, so I can’t wait to see how RoboCop three shits all over that. Let’s go!

RoboCop 3 (1993) – BMeTric: 77.3

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(Oh snap. Yeah, this is supposed to be a terrible film. Juxtaposing this with Robocop 2 it is kind of nuts the start difference. Basically this is half as popular, but a whopping 1.7 IMDb lower! A sub-4.0 for a movie this old is definitely a big worst-of-all-time kind of contender.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – When the evil corporation OCP uses a policelike group to force impoverished Detroit citizens out of their homes, RoboCop (Burke) leaves the force and joins the rebellion. The script (by Frank Miller and the director) is smug but crude; though it lacks the first sequel’s violence, it’s also short on spectacle. Filmed in 1991.

(Maltin … are you for reals? You liked RoboCop 3 more than 2? Very interesting. (1) Awesome semi-colon work. (2) The fun facts flying in from Maltin, filmed in 1991? Very good. Too bad it all sounds like you could distill this review into one word: boring)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOdELisKpP4

(“I thought your damned ninja was supposed to take care of RoboCop for me” Oh God. Yeah, you can see how this guy went off the rails. It is kind of amazing that that is a Frank Miller plot right there. I really don’t see how that trailer made a movie that Leonard Maltin liked more than RoboCop 2. I can’t really see it.)

Directors – Fred Dekker – (Known For: The Monster Squad; Night of the Creeps; BMT: RoboCop 3; Notes: An avid comic book fan, monster movie buff, and film nerd as described on his IMDb. He went to college with Shane Black and is now involved in his new Predator remake. He only ever directed movies he wrote and this was his last.)

Writers – Edward Neumeier (characters) – (Known For: Starship Troopers; RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); Starship Troopers 3: Marauder; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; RoboCop 2; Notes: Basically all of his credits are based on the original RoboCop (which is is credited for characters in all but the first) and Starship Troopers (which he was very much involved with, he even directed the third). It appears that he declined the vice-presidency of Universal to make RoboCop and that is how he met Verhoeven and got involved with Starship Troopers.)

Michael Miner (characters) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; RoboCop 2; Notes: For a guy who wrote RoboCop and directed Lawnmower Man 2 and Anacondas 2 this guy has nothing about him! I found this variety article about him making a movie names Marathon … yeah that movie never got made.)

Frank Miller (story & screenplay) – (Known For: 300; Sin City; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; 300: Rise of an Empire; BMT: RoboCop 3; Elektra; The Spirit; RoboCop 2; Notes: Most well known as a comic book writer it kind of shocks me he wrote a movie so long ago. He wrote this guy in 1993 and then nothing else until 2005 over ten years later. But he killed it in comics. This movie is closer to his script, which is a plus.)

Fred Dekker (screenplay) – (Known For: The Monster Squad; House; Night of the Creeps; Ricochet; BMT: RoboCop 3; House II: The Second Story; Teen Agent; Notes: Besides what was written above there isn’t too much to say about this guy unfortunately.)

Actors – Nancy Allen – (Known For: Carrie; RoboCop; Out of Sight; Dressed to Kill; The Last Detail; Blow Out; The Philadelphia Experiment; Strange Invaders; I Wanna Hold Your Hand; BMT: RoboCop 3; Poltergeist III; RoboCop 2; 1941; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1981 for Worst Actress for Dressed to Kill. Her first film role was in Stephen King’s Carrie directed by Brian De Palma. She would marry De Palma three years later, and then divorce five years after that. During their marriage she exclusively appeared in his films, and supposedly their divorce interfered quite substantially with her career (although it didn’t stop her from landing and nailed this role in the RoboCop franchise).)

Robert John Burke – (Known For: Tombstone; Limitless; 2 Guns; True Story; Munich; Safe; Cop Land; Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; Connie and Carla; Heaven & Earth; Brooklyn’s Finest; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Rambling Rose; Ned Rifle; A Far Off Place; The Chosen; The Unbelievable Truth; Flirt; Simple Men; First Love, Last Rites; BMT: RoboCop 3; Fast Track; Fled; Thinner; Hide and Seek; If Lucy Fell; State Property; The Oh in Ohio; Miracle at St. Anna; Notes:  I personally know him as Ed Tucker from IA in Law and Order SVU. He’s been mostly a television actor (Chuck Bass’ father in Gossip Girl what what?!) despite having quite an extensive feature filmography.)

Also stars John Castle – (A ton of television work, including a 2007 episode of Midsomer Murder. I eat Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders for breakfast, so I cannot wait to watch that episode.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $10,696,210 (N/A)

($22 million budget! My God. At least it was less than the previous film. No wonder it looks terrible though. And yeah, huge bomb. Orion was going under as this film was shot so there is a whiff of desperate throw-anything-at-the-wall IP chasing surrounding this film. Like with De Laurentiis it did not work.)

#36 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(And while RoboCop 2 came right at the beginning of what I will call the Terminator 2 peak in this genre, this came as it unceremoniously died. Number 36 puts it right around Deadly Friend! Extremely unimpressive stuff.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (1/30): No consensus yet.

(Hooray, I secretly love making consensuses: Downscaling the gore along with the budget, RoboCop 3 tries for a more family friendly affair. Losing the brilliant satire of the original (and gaining some good old fashioned Japan bashing), this is little more than a mindless actioner marking the end of a promising franchise. This paints a more expected picture of the franchise. The reviews of the time seemed to forgive the second film, but declare this the end of the RoboCops.)

Poster – RoboSklog 3 (D) 

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(I initially liked this poster. Then I looked at it some more. First, the double RoboCop. Second the weird white halo around RoboCop. Then the ghostly city in the background. And finally the dreary dark blue coloring. And I realized it … I actually hated this poster.)

Tagline(s) – Chaos… Corruption… Civil War… (B+)

(Short. Sweet alliteration. Simple. Probably too simple to be an A, I don’t really know why this would be the plot of RoboCop 3, but I still like it.)

Keyword(s) – ninja; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.0 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 79.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 77.3 RoboCop 3 (1993); 70.1 The Master of Disguise (2002); 69.4 Elektra (2005); 64.1 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 62.1 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987); 59.5 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 58.1 Tekken (2010); 57.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000);

(Wait wait wait ………. The fourth police academy movie has a ninja in it? Yes please. We do need to do the second Mortal Kombat for BMT. We saw it in theaters (!) when we were young, but it deserves a preview and full recap as adult bad movie connoisseurs.)

Notes – Was filmed in 1991, but was not released until end of 1993 due to production company Orion going bankrupt. (The is like the fourth movie we’ve watched in the last 6 months made by a production company going bankrupt)

Peter Weller refused to reprise his Robocop role due to scheduling conflicts with Naked Lunch (1991). (Good choice)

Filmed in Atlanta, most of the abandoned buildings seen in the film were slated for demolition to make way for facilities for the 1996 Olympics. (huh, that is kind of amazing actually)

The RoboCop suit worn in the movie was originally built for RoboCop 2 (1990). Since Robert John Burke is taller than Peter Weller, he complained that wearing it was painful after a short time.

Nancy Allen (Ofc. Ann Lewis), Robert DoQui (Sgt. Reed), Felton Perry (OCP’s Johnson), Mario Machado (Newsanchor Casey Wong) and Angie Bolling (Murphy’s wife) are the only actors to appear in all three RoboCop movies. (Good stuff, Allen had huge roles in all three, pretty impressive)

Unlike the first two movies, this one did not receive a novelization. (too bad, maybe someone can poke Frank Miller for a sweet graphic novelization)

RoboCop 2 Preview

Jeez, these squeakuels are long. Almost as bad as a book cycle. JK, book cycles are the worst. Anyway, this week we move onto the Action entry of the cycle and it seemed fitting that we would hit one of the worst reviewed action sequels of all time. That’s right, we’re not only watching RoboCop 2 but the much abhorred follow-up RoboCop 3! Another two-for-one this week. The first one is a classic satire of capitalism, so I can’t wait to see how RoboCop three shits all over that. First up, the BONUS film. Let’s go!

RoboCop 2 (1990) – BMeTric: 38.5

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(Interesting from a theoretical perspective: Basically the votes has increased dramatically and by virtue of regression to the mean the rating has steadily increased as well. All the while this has somehow come out perfectly balanced such that the BMeTric has barely changed at all. Kind of cool considering the movie has a halfway decent BMeTric (somewhere around where Razzie nominees typically sit, top 10-20 worst films of the year.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Appallingly (and unnecessarily) mean, ugly sequel in which coldblooded corporation czar O’Herlihy and drug kingpin Noonan threaten to end Robo’s existence — while the laboratory whizzes cook up a bigger, “better” cyborg cop to take his place. Offensively violent and humorless. Phil Tippett’s stop-motion animation is the film’s only asset.

(Wow, that is an incredibly step down from Robocop. I can see ugly for sure, but I’m surprised by humorless. I vaguely remember this film from my childhood, specifically that a guy ends up with his brain in a jar and a weird CGI face.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxumzn82V9s

(I usually don’t complain about such things but … they do actually just give away arguably the main twist of the film (that Kane, the drug guy becomes RoboCop 2). I’m also shocked Gabriel Damon didn’t make an appearance since he is a gigantic part of the film. It just kind of looks terrible (although you do kind of see the money in the trailer, it is a much grander story than the first in that way at least))

Directors – Irvin Kershner – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back; Never Say Never Again; Eyes of Laura Mars; The Return of a Man Called Horse; One Born Every Minute; BMT: RoboCop 2; Notes: … Why did I think Kershner had way more terrible movies than that. Interesting guy having been a surprise pick for Episode V, but not much else in his career.)

Writers – Edward Neumeier (characters) – (Known For: Starship Troopers; RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); Starship Troopers 3: Marauder; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; RoboCop 2; Notes: Basically all of his credits are based on the original RoboCop (which is is credited for characters in all but the first) and Starship Troopers (which he was very much involved with, he even directed the third). It appears that he declined the vice-presidency of Universal to make RoboCop and that is how he met Verhoeven and got involved with Starship Troopers.)

Michael Miner (characters) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; RoboCop 2; Notes: For a guy who wrote RoboCop and directed Lawnmower Man 2 and Anacondas 2 this guy has nothing about him! I found this variety article about him making a movie names Marathon … yeah that movie never got made.)

Frank Miller (story & screenplay) – (Known For: 300; Sin City; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; 300: Rise of an Empire; BMT: RoboCop 3; Elektra; The Spirit; RoboCop 2; Notes: Most well known as a comic book writer it kind of shocks me he wrote a movie so long ago. He wrote this guy in 1990 and the third in 1993 and then nothing else until 2005 over ten years later. Apparently this movie is nothing like the script he wrote … makes you wonder how they convinced him to write the third.)

Walon Green (screenplay) – (Known For: WarGames; Dinosaur; The Wild Bunch; Wages of Fear; The Border; The Hi-Lo Country; Crusoe; BMT: RoboCop 2; Solarbabies; Eraser; Notes: Just recently watched his magnum opus Solarbabies (apparently he was the “big shot” writer Mel Brooks got to write a first draft before handing over complete control to Metrov, the real genius behind that film). Pretty solid filmography he is mostly known as a documentary filmmaker.)

Actors – Peter Weller – (Known For: Star Trek Into Darkness; RoboCop; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Naked Lunch; Mighty Aphrodite; Al di là delle nuvole; Cat Chaser; Shoot the Moon; Shakedown; Ivans Xtc; The New Age; BMT: The Sin Eater; RoboCop 2; Undiscovered; Leviathan; Repentance; Skin Trade; Screamers; Notes: That’s Dr. Peter Weller to you, he was awarded his Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance Art from UCLA in 2014. Most well known for RoboCop (naturally), but The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonza in Across the 8th Dimension as well. I have a weird fondness for his villainous turn on 24 personally.)

Belinda Bauer – (Known For: UHF; Winter Kills; BMT: Poison Ivy 2; RoboCop 2; Flashdance; Notes: Retired from acting now, she is a psychologist. From Australia, and was in Sklog Childhood Movie Hall of Fame … as a mud wrestler? How strange.)

Also stars John Glover – (Who was in the legendary Batman & Robin)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $45,681,173 (N/A)

(Not great. Makes one wonder why a third was considered. We might be hitting a little Laurentiis mirror here. Where Dino De Laurentiis was going to declare bankruptcy so he made one last desperate attempt at releasing a movie for all of the IP he owned … and they were all trash and basically sunk 1986 as a year for bad movies. In this case the third movie was made two years later while Orion was starting to go under, and might have just been a desperate last effort at saving the company.)

#25 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Actually made about the same as Robocop (just with a much larger budget). Actually funny that is it right at a start to a boom that was exemplified by Terminator 2. Also previous BMT Deadly Friend is on the list at 39. Terminator: Genisys may have killed the boom we’ve been seeing recently, although there is nothing like yet another Transformers movie to provide a shot in the arm for a genre like this.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (11/34): No consensus yet.

(Uh oh, looks like someone needs a consensus: Half-baked and unfinished, RoboCop 2 is gruesome and humorous at turns, but without impact. Basically it feels like RoboCop 2 was an unfinished idea with the ironic-gore peppered in without thought. Sounds fine to me honestly.)

Poster – RoboSklog 2 (C+)

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(Considering that the original RoboCop poster is brilliant, it is hard not to be harsh with the grading. I think this poster is a pretty boring kind of sad example of just a giant picture of a face. The reflection of the primary bad guy of the film could have maybe saved the poster a bit, but I still think it is pretty bac=d)

Tagline(s) – He’s back to protect the innocents. (C+)

(I don’t really like the tagline. It doesn’t flow with the innocents part. And the reference (RoboCop Primary Directive #2 is to protect the innocent) isn’t so well known to really register. It barely registered with me and I literally watched three RoboCop movies in three days.)

Keyword(s) – drugs; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.1 Disaster Movie (2008); 75.8 LOL (2012); 72.7 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 71.4 Showgirls (1995); 67.1 Year One (2009); 65.1 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 62.6 Ghosts of Mars (2001); 59.4 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991); 59.1 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 56.1 Sliver (1993);

(Kind of an amazing list in a few ways. First, I’m kind of stunned at how bad Year One is on this list. I mean, I fell asleep during that movie and really didn’t like it, but getting even close to 70 alongside something like Showgirls is ridiculous. We do need to see LOL don’t we? We do. I don’t want to. Maybe when we do another Merde (foreign films adapted into American films) we’ll get to it. We need to do more classic horror franchises as well.)

Notes – Although the producers loved Frank Miller’s original version of the script, they quickly realized it was unfilmable as written. The final screen version was heavily rewritten and bears only a superficial resemblance to Miller’s story. In 2003, Miller’s screenplay was adapted into a comic book series titled, appropriately, “Frank Miller’s RoboCop”. (Again, it makes me shocked they managed to get him back for the third film)

After the success of RoboCop (1987), director Paul Verhoeven and the original screenwriters Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner were immediately approached for a sequel by the studio. According to Verhoeven, he didn’t want to make the kind of sequel that the studio had in mind. He felt going forward so quickly with their ideas would make it feel like he was attempting to cash in on the first film, and he only wanted to do a follow-up if it was original and innovative. Neumeier and Miner had already presented a very rough outline called “RoboCop: Corporate Wars”. In this draft, RoboCop was to be shot and pulverized to metallic dust by a cannon in the very beginning. He would be resurrected 25 years later in an even more dystopian future, where he becomes a pawn in the struggle between an all-powerful corporation, the government and an impoverished population and even at one point having a love interest with a Neruobrain to humanize Robocop even more. The studio liked this idea, but the writers did not want to continue working on script due to personal interests associated with the writers strike. Verhoeven also did not support the project, having gone to shoot “Total Recall” for big money, while agreeing to all conditions of the producers and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave the director only three hours for making decision from the beginning of reading the script. Ultimately Verhoeven felt if the studio kept patient his idea for the sequel was far more superior.In the end, the film was shot on a new script by Frank Miller & Walon Green, but the plot also has lines from the original script and early drafts for the first movie that were never filmed. (I like the background to this, the movie business of the 80’s just sounds kind of nuts with studios going under and strikes and money (and cocaine) free flowing.)

The point-of-view shots from RoboCop show an interface based on MS-DOS . The villain Cain has the Apple based OS.interface with a skull instead of the Apple logo. (ha!)

In the scene where RoboCop was being reprogrammed by Dr. Faxx, the following hex numbers scroll quickly up the screen: “50 45 54 45 20 4B 55 52 41 4E 20 49 53 20 41 20 47 52 45 41 54 20 47 55 59”. Converted to ASCII text, it reads: “PETE KURAN IS A GREAT GUY”. Peter Kuran was the special effects photographer. (That’s just weird. Fun fact!)

A directive which is only seen briefly in the scene where they are having trouble uploading the new directives into RoboCop is ‘Directive 262: Avoid Orion Meetings’. Orion Pictures was the production and distribution company of RoboCop 2 (1990). (Fun. Fact)