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

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(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

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(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

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(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-)

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(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)

10,000 BC Preview

Well this does it for the punctuation cycle. Only one more punctuation mark to hit and it’s a simple one (the comma). We are officially transitioning to a cycle we’ve been looking forward to all year. We call it StreetCreditReports.com as we are aiming to hit nine films that garnered the coveted <10% on RT to continue to up our bad movie street cred. It’s particularly rare for such a rating to be achieved. In fact, I believe only two major films so far this year have achieved the feat: Fifty Shades Darker (BMT Live) and the Rings sequel. So to start it off we are doing a film that has literally been on our BMT potential list for years. I remember debating whether we should watch it back when I lived in Princeton. That was two moves ago and the website was naught but a sparkle in our collective eyes. That’s right! We’re watching 10,000 B.C. I feel like this could be Pathfinder but even more ridiculous. Be still my heart and let’s try to keep expectations low. Let’s go!

10,000 BC (2008) – BMeTric: 65.4

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(This guy just smashed the BMeTric immediately. Heartening. People just went “no!” and the movie just crashed and burned. As I said last week, usually films start strong and drop like a stone … I told you that’s how it actually works. This is also a ridiculously popular film. This is a Very Popular Bad Film. If it didn’t get like 100K votes this would be a normal like 40 BMeTric film, the votes though give it that boost. A BMeTric of 60+ promises a lot though. It better deliver.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Tale of prehistoric life follows a small group who leave their tribe of mammoth hunters in an effort to rescue others captured by slavers. This leads them to a pre-Egyptian city of ruthless pyramid-builders and much adventure. Earnest, well produced on rugged locations with occasionally good effect, but for the most part as ludicrous as other films of this type. Features cinema’s first superfluous saber-toothed tiger.

(“Films of this type” I think refers to Emmerich films. Honestly, sounds like a pretty fun film even though I know it is terrible. Can’t wait to see the tiger though. So many notes about it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw7ow4AmPc8

(Ooooof the “AD” at the end! But that wasn’t the important bit of the trailer. That’s right … what a kick ass dumb solo they got going to end it! Does it work? Not totally. But still gave me an interesting trailer which honestly looks like Michael Bay meets Apocalypto … so like a good movie is a serious director was making it, but instead we have Roland Emmerich. So …)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: Independence Day; The Day After Tomorrow; The Patriot; Stargate; White House Down; Anonymous; BMT: 10,000 BC; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence (BMT); 2012 (BMT); Universal Soldier; Stonewall; Notes:  Nominated in 2017 for the Razzie Award for Worst Director and Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence; and for Worst Director and Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; As an openly gay director he says he’s encountered homophobia in Hollywood, but as a director it hasn’t particularly hampered his career.)

Writers – Roland Emmerich (written by) – (Known For: Independence Day; The Day After Tomorrow; Stargate; BMT: 10,000 BC; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence (BMT); 2012 (BMT); Notes: His sister Ute Emmerich is a producer on most (if not all) of his films. He has also written most of the films he’s directed.)

Harald Kloser (written by) – (BMT: 10,000 BC; 2012; Notes: Has composed the music for many of Emmerich’s films and that comprises most of his filmography. He’s flipped to (also) screenwriting later in his career and is also attached to Emmerich’s next film Moonfall.)

Actors – Camilla Belle – (Known For: The Lost World: Jurassic Park; A Little Princess; The Ballad of Jack and Rose; The American Side; À Deriva; BMT: 10,000 BC; The Patriot; When a Stranger Calls; Poison Ivy 2; Diablo; From Prada to Nada; Push; Cavemen; Practical Magic; Father of Invention; The Invisible Circus; The Quiet; Breakaway; Notes: Born a week before us. Her mother is Brazilian and despite being born and raised in Los Angeles grew up speaking portuguese. I’m going to be honest … I can’t for the life of me think of a movie where I would specifically have recognized her from.)

Steven Strait – (Known For: Sky High; Stop-Loss; City Island; BMT: 10,000 BC; The Covenant (BMT); Undiscovered; Notes: In the new (apparently quite good) sci-fi series The Expanse. We saw him in The Covenant which is probably his biggest role outside of 10,000 BC. Hasn’t had a big movie role in a while.)

Marco Khan – (Known For: The Promise; Iron Man; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Camp X-Ray; Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World; BMT: 10,000 BC; God’s Not Dead; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; 2012 (BMT); 15 Minutes; Click; Notes: Born in Tehran and educated in Italy he has been all over the place in his life, including owning and operating Italian restaurants for 12 years before getting into the entertainment industry.)

Budget/Gross – $105 million / Domestic: $94,784,201 (Worldwide: $269,784,201)

(That isn’t bad. Obviously you want more than $100 million, but these days that would be looked at as a pretty solid international success. Emmerich looks like he rarely does sequels so there wouldn’t have been any risk of that, but I can kind of see why he keeps getting money.)

#23 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(Fun plot. Period adventure films looks like it became hugely popular in the 2000s. Interestingly coincides with the gold rush of bad movies. Perhaps it is because such films became easier to produce around that time (with the ability to basically synthesize anything you want from costumes to fiberglass cars, etc.)? I think it’ll stick around though. Just look at something like Kong Island. That works really well as a period film, hearkening back to the time of pulp novel adventure (a la Indiana Jones). This sits near The Mummy 3 (ooof), and follows up the amazing recent addition of Hansel and Gretel! Let’s do it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (12/145): With attention strictly paid to style instead of substance, or historical accuracy, 10,000 B.C. is a visually impressive but narratively flimsy epic.

(I’m down, I have no problem with this. The only thing I’m getting worried about is that none of this is getting me very excited. Basically I think what is going to happen is we’ll watch this film and just kind of go “oh yeah, that wasn’t very good, but also innocuous”. I hope I am wrong because this is a movie I was looking forward to for a while now.)

Poster – Sklog Thousand BC (D+)

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(There are better posters than this one floating around out there, but I tend to default to the imdb poster and this is it. Horrible spacing, horrible symmetry, and no base coloring. Don’t like it much at all. Mediocre, but still OK font on the title. Little shout out to the release date which is provided with an “AD” at the end. Solid work on that at least, art department.)

Tagline(s) – It takes a hero to change the world (F)

(Hahahaha. What? That’s the best you could do? This might be the most cliche tagline we’ve ever had. This may as well be the default tagline for any film that comes out and the studio gets to opt whether to come up with something (anything!) better than it.)

Keyword(s) – hunter; Top Ten by BMeTric: 83.9 Jaws 3-D (1983); 75.3 Anaconda (1997); 70.8 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 70.1 Year One (2009); 68.5 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004); 65.4 10,000 BC (2008); 65.3 Eragon (2006); 60.0 Congo (1995); 57.5 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 54.3 Killers (2010);

(I LOVE THIS LIST. We’ve seen basically all of these films. Just need to smash both Anacondas (we’ve seen the first, but not for BMT … in theaters as eleven-year-olds). And then the last one will happen when we destroy one of the worst movies ever made Jaws: The Revenge starring Michael Caine’s paycheck.)

Notes – (at around 1h 10 mins) The film includes a glimpse of a map showing Atlantis off the coast of Spain. It’s a reference to Plato’s theory that the construction techniques used in Egypt were imported from the ancient lost civilization of Atlantis. (Were there even maps back then? … looked it up, that answer it is very unlikely anyone would have a map sophisticated enough to depict an island off the coast of Spain)

This film features some alleged historical controversies, including construction of the great pyramids 12,000 years ago (almost 7,500 years earlier), the existence of the Ben-Ben stone (the pyramidion stone missing from the top of the Khafre pyramid), the correlation between the position of the pyramids and the stars from the Orion constellation (associated by the Egyptians with the god Osiris), the Sphinx with a head of a lion allegedly correlated with the Leo constellation rising to the east (at the same time that Orion is in conjunction with the Giza pyramid complex), and the possible nonhuman origins of the first kings of Egypt. (fun facts)

D’Leh refers to one star as “the one that never moves.” That would be the North Star, which appears stationary in the northern night sky. In 10,000 BC the North Star was Vega, the fifth brightest star in the sky. It would’ve been very obvious in the dark sky. (hmmm … it never really occurred to me that the North Star would change, but it is so obvious now that I read this note)

D’Leh is “Held”, the German word for “hero”, backwards. Roland Emmerich chose the name as an Easter egg.(gross)

The constellation called the ‘sign of the warrior’ is actually Orion. It also played a key role in deciphering ancient signs in Stargate (1994).

(at around 40 mins) The computer-generated wet saber-tooth tiger was created by Double Negative. Creating it required combining several of the most challenging elements of visual effects: fur, wet fur, water, and creature animation.

Release prints were delivered to some theaters under the false title “King Dinosurs” (sic).

Not screened for critics; only a 20-minute excerpt was shown to journalists. (Not shocking)