The Specialist Recap

Jamie

Ray Quick is a specialist who is super special at ‘splosions. May is a beautiful woman looking for revenge against those that killed her family. Seems like a match made in heaven… that is until Ray’s insane former partner Ned comes a-knockin’. Can Ray stop Ned and get vengeance (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Specialist.

How?! While on secret CIA assignment, Ray Quick is shocked to find that his partner Ned Trent is willing to kill an innocent child in the course of an assassination. After failing to save the child, Ray beats Ned to a pulp, disgraces him, and leaves the agency. Years later he works by answering personal requests for help using his specialty: shaped explosions meant to kill only his targets. May Munro is a woman who has continually requested Ray’s help with getting vengeance on the local Miami mob who is responsible for the death of her family. He’s resistant to use his skills for such a job, but after realizing that May is willing to risk her own life by infiltrating the mob herself, he decides to start taking out the targets to save her. Despite this she still becomes the girlfriend of mob boss’ son Tomas. After the lower level targets start to be killed the mob calls in Ned Trent to investigate and it’s revealed that May is in his employ (what a twist!) and is being used to get to Ray. Ray sets his sights on Tomas and gets ready for ‘Splosion Time (his words, not mine). But after the trap has been set May goes in to see him one last time and appears to be killed in the blast. Both Ray and Ned think that May is dead and when Ned tries to get to Ray through May’s personal ad, Ray realizes what’s up. Shortly thereafter Ray goes to May’s funeral and she reveals that she faked her own death and that they should def go to a hotel tootsweet and have a gratuitous sex scene that mostly focuses on Sly’s tight behind. After getting her fill of Sly she attempts to leave him high and dry only to be captured by Ned. She’s able to warn Ray, who escapes via ‘splosion. Ned tries to use May as bait, but is tricked like a dumbo and May and Ray escape back to his hideout. Ned is able to track them down where they engage in a climactic ‘sploision out where Ned is killed. As Ray and May leave Miami to live out their life together we see one final trap set by Ray to kill the head of the Miami mob. THE END.

Why?! May just wants revenge… as does Ned. Ray on the other hand is just like a lot of people in this world. He gained valuable skills in his last job (mostly deadly ‘splosions) that haven’t translated very well to the private sector. So really he’s just trying to make ends meet in this harsh world that doesn’t appreciate ‘Splosion Time (again, it’s his term, not mine). The man has a warehouse hideout to pay rent on after all.

Who?! There is a brief music scene in the film that apparently involves Emilio Estefan Jr. from Miami Sound Machine on piano and LaGaylia Frazier on vocal. You’re like ‘who?’ uh, only the judge from Sweden’s Got Talent. Duh. But seriously she’s like a pretty major Swedish singer. Weird that the scene is thrown away so quickly.

What?! Not really a whole lot to say in terms of product placements or MacGuffins. Not really any props for sale either. Now props not for sale? Jackpot. I like this blog entry. Not really for The Specialist prop which is just some fake dynamite, but the other two from Demolition Man and Cliffhanger which are both bonkers.

Where?! Mega Miami movie. It’s got the vibes, it’s got the heat, it’s got the sexy, sultry rhythm. No wonder Sly and Stone had to get in that shower to make sweet sweet yoga sex. Anywhere else and their skin would be sizzling with sweat. Some good sites and sounds and specific tie-ins to the region and I daresay this is an A.

When?! I went through this film with a fine-tooth comb convinced that I would find a solid date. Sly Stallone is a computer wizard checking his weirdo message boards all day so I thought that was a solid lead… nope. Maybe May’s funeral notice in the newspaper? Nope. But surely the end where our villain smugly looks at the front page news story about the death of Ray Quick?! Nope, nope, nope. F.

I loved this movie so much that it made me face mortality. Not my own, but rather the very real fact that the time of peak Stallone was forever in our rearview mirror. At one point The Specialist was new, a fresh Sly jewel that put a sparkle in everyone’s eyes. But now it is in the past and we can dig up that jewel, but supplies are limited. The film is right on the cusp of straight-to-video with Stallone going full mumblecore and the only sexy yoga scene I can remember. The sex scene is like a parody of a sex scene and there are explosions everywhere. If my mind could conjure a Sly Stallone film out of thin air it probably would look something like this. It’s really great and a very solid first Stallone Day and end of the year. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If you want a movie where you get to stare at Sylvester Stallone’s greased up and tanned abs, boy howdy do I have a movie for you! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This film had been on the docket for quite a while. Stallone, Stone, bombs, and glistening abs. Yes please, and may I order seconds? The most interesting thing in the preview (beyond some of the notes which make Stallone sound like a lunatic) was the director who is from Peru and seems to be a major player (still) in Peruvian television and film. What were my expectations? The reviews for the film were catastrophic, so I assumed the film would be ultra dumb with Stallone in particular being like … a smart beefcake character, like Cobra. The type of person Stallone really wanted to play (a cross between a stock broker and police officer, basically Raymond Tango) for some reason, and he never really sells it right.

The Good – The illogical bomb scenarios are really really fun. There is probably a really interesting Hitman-esque video game called The Specialist where the goal is to design various custom bombs for assassinations without causing collateral damage … uh, patent pending, that does really sound cool. Anyways, I liked Stone well enough, I can see how she was nominated for an Oscar a year later. And the sweaty Miami setting was used to good effect. Best Bit: Da bombs!

The Bad – Stallone is terrible in this, it is right around when his action career cratered with Judge Dredd, Daylight, and Assassins coming out right after. Woods isn’t much better, mostly just yelling and rending his clothes. And Eric Roberts is a B-list character actor inexplicably hired to play a Cuban-American (I think). The writing is, indeed, braindead. For real, James Woods knows what Ray Quick looks like, he knows he lives in Miami, and Ray Quick looks like Sly Stallone. There is no way he doesn’t find him in a second by just asking around for a bit. I don’t believe it. I feel like the movie wanted to be Heat, but then they accidentally made James Woods a true sociopath and Ray Quick not much more likeable, and the film fell apart. Fatal Flaw: Stallone is a terrible actor.

The BMT – This is the first real deal Stallone Day, the other kind of coming in hot right when we invented the concept. And I think we chose well. Once we watch Assassins we’ll be pretty close to finishing off his major films (Oscar and a few of the Rocky films would be the only major ones left). Unless we wait for decades though I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to switch to a different actor, like Nicolas Cage, for the special 53rd Thursday. Did it meet my expectations? I think it exceeded them. I kind of expected just a rote action film, but the film is almost erotic thriller level sex scenes with a slippery Stallone and Stone, in full muscle-y glory, going at it in a shower. That alone is worth the price of admission, the whole thing is just insanity.

Roast-radamus – An okay Product Placement (What?) for Miller. When you are sweating profusely in the sweltering Miami heat nothing is as refreshing as a delicious corn-flavored Miller. Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Miami, obviously. And I think this is a slam dunk BMT.

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 9.2%; Notability: top 26.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 3.7% Higher BMeT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, The Flintstones, Double Dragon, On Deadly Ground, North, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, Exit to Eden, Color of Night, The Fantastic Four, In the Army Now, Getting Even with Dad, Blank Cheque, My Girl 2, Beverly Hills Cop III, Bad Girls; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Shadow, Love Affair, Frankenstein, North, Radioland Murders, I Love Trouble, Exit to Eden, The Pagemaster, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Junior, Little Giants, The Puppet Masters, Clifford, Thumbelina, Major League II, Clean Slate, Angels in the Outfield, Blue Chips, and 9 more; Lower RT: Getting Even with Dad, Major League II, Exit to Eden, Leprechaun 2, Lightning Jack, In the Army Now; Notes: This is the last installment of this section as I’m moving it to the preview. I’ll note that IMDb gave this an honorable mention on its Top 10 Awkward Sex Scenes list.

You Just Got Schooled – Jamie noticed that for the 15th Razzie Awards the Worst Picture Nominees were North (BMT), Color of Night (BMT), On Deadly Ground (BMT), The Specialist (BMT) … and Wyatt Earp? Which doesn’t qualify with a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watching it, I pretty much got why people at the time didn’t respond very well to it, because Tombstone had just come out the year before (and was well received), and the acting is pretty atrocious (with the exception of Dennis Quaid who is really good as Doc Holliday). That being said, the film goes along at a pleasant clip for a three hour film, and it was interesting enough that I’ll probably ultimately read a book on Wyatt Earp / Tombstone because it was just a wild time in the west. B-.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Specialist Quiz

Oh boy. So I was wiring up this sweet bomb to have a controlled explosion (everyone knows bombs are more precise than guns … right?) as an assassination tool and it blew up in my face! Whoops. Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in The Specialist?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) May Munro has a dark past, so dark that only the special explosive skillz of Ray Quick can help her out. What does May want Ray to do?

2) Ned Trent though haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaates Ray. Why?

3) Well, as usual with these “boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy blows up the enemies of girl” stories there’s a twist. Well, the twist is that May knows Trent. What did Trent want May to do?

4) Well, as usual Ray gets his man, and gets out. But there was one thing Ray wasn’t counting on, Trent finding him. How did Trent find him?

5) In the end Ray and Trent have an explosion standoff in Ray’s warehouse loft. Where does Ray hide his bomb, and where does Trent?

Answers

The Specialist Preview

“Welcome to Hell,” Santa says as his sleigh settles down in front of Rich and Poe. His well oiled muscles are fresh from destroying another horrific monster in this fantasy realm. Bathed in blood he nods cheerfully at Kilgorn, recognizing a kindred spirit. “Ho ho ho,” Santa laughs, his abs jiggling like a bowlful of rock hard jelly, “and what would you boys like for Christmas?” Just as Rich is about to tell Santa about their quest, Poe jumps in eagerly to ask for the latest Jim Nasium Jones action figure that has all the special add-ons, like the rocket pack and complete frolf set. “It’s really cool beans,” Poe gushes. Santa winks and out of thin air appears that most exclusive action figure. “Woah,” Poe says and honestly Rich can’t blame him, even if it did totally bone their quest to save Nic. Jim Nasium Jones is rad. Just as Santa is about to fly away, another satisfied customer in his wake, Rich calls out for him to wait. Santa turns a menacing eye on Rich, “Really? Another wish?” The rat-bat squeaks in fear and flies away. “You know the price. You must fulfill a wish of mine as well… if you dare. Ho ho ho.” His tone is menacing. “Yes,” Rich affirms, his voice cracking, “take us to Nic Cage.” Santa smirks and pops his knuckles. “Gladly, my boys,” Santa says in a suspicious, jolly tone, “But on one condition.” Rich and Poe lick their lips waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Just get me close enough to tell him something,” Rich and Poe look at each other. Just to say something to him? Seems harmless enough. They nod in agreement. “One very, very special thing,” Santa completes and begins to scream in maniacal laughter. That’s right! We are finishing 2020 with an extra special Stallonian Calendar Leap Week! Some very special years are blessed with 53 thursdays. In those years we get an extra week outside the cycles and BMT Lives to do what we wish and boy howdy do we wish upon a star for a new Sly Stallone movie. This year we gather under the traditional Stallone Day hanging slab of meat to watch The Specialist. Let’s go!   

The Specialist (1994) – BMeTric: 45.9; Notability: 42 

(Actually a lot lower Notability than I would have thought. It is a Sly Stallone film from 1994 involving, presumably, a lot of stunts and pyrotechnics. I wonder if given Sly’s undoubtedly absurd salary at the time they had to skimp on some of the crew to meet the production’s budget … could be. The rating is getting mighty close to a genuine cult classic. It it ever hits 6.0 on IMDb it would have to be one of the highest rated sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films ever.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Rod Steiger, as the mob patriarch, employs an accent that requires him to say “chew” when he means “you.” Roberts, as his son, is real slick with chicks (“What I want, I take” is his opener with Stone). And the movie includes a dandy example of the Aquarium Rule, which teaches that whenever a large aquarium is introduced into a crime movie, we will eventually see a character’s head sleeping with the fishes.

(He actually seemed to like the film more than a lot of critics at the time. This is right around the time that I think Ebert started softening on “good for what they are” action in particular, and I think the very forgiving 2 star review is evidence of that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqTrjDsEg4g/

(I mean, yeah. I’m down. Mid-90s Stallone flicks are at least entertaining if not always good. They do a nice tease of how much Woods chews at the scenery as well.)

Directors – Luis Llosa – (Future BMT: Sniper; BMT: Anaconda; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Born in Peru, he made multiple films set in the Amazon jungle culminating in Anaconda. Since 1996 he’s mostly been a producer on Peruvian soap operas.)

Writers – John Shirley (Specialist novels) (suggestion) – (Known For: The Crow; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: The series was a pulpy book series about the assassin Jack Sullivan. It was published under the pseudonym John Cutter, and Shirley, after becoming a famous novelist, disowned the series as garbage written for quick cash. Also wrote multiple full albums for Blue Öyster Cult and was a writer on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon which won an Emmy.)

Alexandra Seros (written by) – (Known For: Point of No Return; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: While only credited on these two films she seems to maybe be involved with the UCLA film school and is still (maybe) listed as a screenwriter on LinkedIn, so it is possible she has been doing mostly behind the scenes writing for the last 20 years.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Rocky; Cliffhanger; Creed II; The Expendables; First Blood; Creed; Rocky III; Escape Plan; The Expendables 2; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Antz; Cop Land; Escape to Victory; Death Race 2000; Bullet to the Head; Animal Crackers; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Escape Plan 3; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Backtrace; Avenging Angelo; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; The Specialist; Rambo III; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Rambo: Last Blood; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Rambo; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; in 2002 for Driven; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Rambo: Last Blood in 2020; Notes: Y’all know Sylvester. Most of the recent news for him is about how he just bought a $35 million house in Florida. Good for him I guess.)

Sharon Stone – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Total Recall; Casino; The Disaster Artist; The Laundromat; The Quick and the Dead; Alpha Dog; Lovelace; Antz; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Bobby; The Mighty; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; Stardust Memories; Irreconcilable Differences; Fading Gigolo; The Muse; Les uns et les autres; Beautiful Joe; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Sliver; Cold Creek Manor; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Simpatico; Action Jackson; Intersection; Gloria; Life on the Line; Sphere; Mothers and Daughters; He Said, She Said; Deadly Blessing; Last Dance; Last Action Hero; Year of the Gun; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; A Warrior’s Tail; A Little Something for Your Birthday; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1995 for Intersection, and The Specialist; and in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1988 for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 2000 for Gloria; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman in 2005; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Casino. She appeared nude in Playboy in 1990 which is somewhat credited for getting her the role in Basic Instinct which would propel her to stardom. Still works a ton, just more sporadically on both television and film.)

James Woods – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; Casino; Hercules; Contact; The Virgin Suicides; White House Down; Any Given Sunday; Chaplin; Videodrome; Against All Odds; John Carpenter’s Vampires; The Way We Were; Surf’s Up; Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; Straw Dogs; Stuart Little 2; Riding in Cars with Boys; Nixon; True Crime; Salvador; Future BMT: Big Fat Important Movie; Scary Movie 2; Play It to the Bone; The Getaway; The General’s Daughter; Kicked in the Head; Jamesy Boy; Pretty Persuasion; Bling; John Q; BMT: The Specialist; Be Cool; Jobs; Notes: Notably went to MIT and dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue acting. Nominated for Oscars for Ghosts of Mississippi and Salvador. Also notably a Hollywood conservative.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $57,362,582 (Worldwide: $170,362,582)

(That seems like a modest success to me. This probably didn’t end up leading to a sequel because of how poorly it was received critically.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/29)

(Wowza! That is absurdly low! Let’s make a consensus: A dmb story involving dumb people saying dumb things. That about sums that up. Reviewer Highlight: Llosa relies on stock action shots and tedious exposition to get from scene to scene. You keep waiting for something — anything — neat to happen, but nothing does. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

Poster – The Sklogalist

(I should have been keeping track of the posters we’ve seen where the star(s) appear multiple times. It tickles me that there is double stallone on this. So much is wrong with this but daaaannnngg, that’s some unique font… I believe they are going for a digital look based on The Specialist’s brand of time bombs. Or maybe not. I honestly can’t tell, but I very much appreciate the effort. C-.)

Tagline(s) – The government taught him to kill. Now he’s using his skills to help a woman seek revenge against the Miami underworld. (F)

(No. Stop. I didn’t even read it. Who would read this enormous tagline? Fine, I’ll read it… did a child write this? That might be the worst tagline in history.)

Keyword – time bomb

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Die Hard (1988), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight (2008), Justice League (2017), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Spectre (2015), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Fifth Element (1997)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 62.5 Big Fat Important Movie (2008), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 47.7 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), 46.6 Solo (1996), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 44.4 Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990);

BMT: Armageddon (1998), Sucker Punch (2011), Batman Forever (1995), The Expendables 3 (2014), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Point Break (2015), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Movie 43 (2013), Godzilla (1998), Tango & Cash (1989), The Specialist (1994), Rambo III (1988), Killers (2010), Abduction (2011), Soldier (1998), Hudson Hawk (1991), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Spice World (1997), Torque (2004), I Spy (2002), RoboCop 3 (1993), Fair Game (1995), On Deadly Ground (1994), Double Team (1997), Alone in the Dark (2005), Bad Company (2002), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Extreme Ops (2002)

(If you squint you might be able to get the impression that time bombs were a purely 90s thing. Like dumb 90s films love time bombs and that love just grew and grew. And now? Not so much. We are over time bombs now … I could actually believe that. As far as films with time bombs I hope to watch soon, look no further than Under Siege 2.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in The Specialist and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – Sylvester Stallone had this to say on filming the shower scene with Sharon Stone:”OK. Let it be known, I didn’t want to do this scene because Sharon was not cooperating. We get to the set and she decides not to take her robe off. The director asks only a few of the crew to remain, and she still won’t take it off. I promised her I wouldn’t take any liberties, so what’s the problem? She said, ‘I’m just sick of nudity.’ I asked her if she could get sick of it on someone else’s film. She was having none of it, so I went down to my trailer, brought back a bottle of Black Death vodka that was given to me by Michael Douglas and after half-a-dozen shots we were wet and wild.” (Oh, that sounds awful Sly)

Sharon Stone was 36 when this movie was filmed, although her character was supposed to be in her early twenties.

Eric Roberts is only two years older than Sharon Stone. In the film his character was supposed to have killed her parents when she was a child. (haha)

Sylvester Stallone demanded for some of James Woods’s scenes to be cut out of the movie and for some of his scenes to be re-shot in order for Stallone to have more screen time. The reason for that was because Stallone was worried that Woods would “steal” the movie away. Stallone allegedly also cut out some Rutger Hauer’s scenes from Nighthawks (1981) for same reasons.

David Fincher was set to direct this at one stage. Sylvester Stallone liked Fincher but he was overruled by the producers, because Fincher’s career was still in deep freeze after the failure of Alien³ (1992) and wasn’t revived until the massive success of Seven (1995).

Ray Quick’s cat was named “Timer”. The cat who portrayed Timer (a Maine Coon) is also seen in Assassins as Pearl.

The producers got Sylvester Stallone to do the movie by threatening to replace him with Warren Beatty if he didn’t commit himself to the project within a fifteen-minute deadline.

In January, 1993 the Los Angeles Times listed The Specialist as the best unproduced thriller script in Hollywood, based on a poll of forty agents, producers and studio executives. (Interesting, an early blacklist thing)

“Turn the Beat Around”, covered by Gloria Estefan for this film, remains one of her highest selling singles.

Mario Van Peebles was attached to direct the movie in 1991, but left.

The music for this movie was written by John Barry who is more known for doing the music for the James Bond movies that starred Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

When Sylvester Stallone enters his computer to activate the massive explosion of his home near end of film, the password he uses is “Top of the world, Ma.” This is a slight paraphrase of Jimmy Cagney’s last line in White Heat (1949), just before Cagney shoots into the large gas storage unit he’s standing on, causing massive explosions. (“Made it, Ma. Top of the world!”)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, 1995)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jerry Weintraub, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Rod Steiger, 1995)

Lock Up Preview

To celebrate the inception of the new calendar we will be ending the year with a Stallone Day! So, Happy Stallone Day! There won’t be a Stallone day for several years so relish it. As usual we would like for the film to not only star Sylvester Stallone, but to also lead nicely into the first cycle of the 2016 calendar. We have discussed and debated it and decided that the first cycle will be called Aaaiiiirrrrbbbbbaaallllll! and will be movies that feature (or hopefully star) former or active professional athletes. Without further ado, the first Stallone Day in history will be the 1989 classic Lock Up which features Sly Stallone as Frank Leone and Frank McRae in the role of Eclipse. McRae appeared in 6 games for the Chicago Bears in 1967. Let’s go!

Lock Up (1989) – BMeTric: 15.4

LockUp_BMeT.png

(Not bad for a 1989 film. Still not super high. I believe this has a bit of cult popularity associated with it playing on cable through the 1990’s. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the score was slightly deflated. Patrick’s Note: It most certainly is. The rating in 2004 was 5.4, it is now 6.3 on IMDB. It has clearly dropped significantly recently.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – With six months to go on his sentence, convict Stallone gets abducted from his country-club cell and transported to a hellhole run by old Hun-like adversary Sutherland. Missing are Linda Blair, John Vernon, a lesbian guard, and 15 gratuitous showers; you do get a body-shop montage backed by Ides of March’s ”Vehicle.” Bottom of the world, ma.

(Hun-like? What a weird thing to say. Guess Leonard really wanted to figure out the most tasteful way of saying that Sutherland is like a Nazi in the film. Then the whole review goes off the rails. I had to look up what the second sentence means. I guess he’s making a reference to the exploitation film Chained Heat. Finally, I have no idea why he makes a White Heat reference at the end. Maybe the end of the film is similar to the end of that film? Bar none the weirdest Maltin review I’ve ever read.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mRBoP0HBaE

(Uh… yes please. That looks amazing. It’s like a full movie of just the prison escape scenes from Tango & Cash.)

Director(s) – John Flynn – (Known For: Rolling Thunder; Best Seller; BMT: Lock Up; Out for Justice; Brainscan; Notes: Died in 2007, and was in the Coast Guard. Studied journalism at UCLA under the tutelage of Alex Haley, the author of Roots.)

Writer(s) – Richard Smith (written by) – (BMT: Lock Up; Notes: Recently passed away. He apparently did some work on a couple of the James Bond films and wrote a novel published in 2010)

Henry Rosenbaum (written by) – (Known For: ; BMT: Lock Up; The Dunwich Horror; Hanky Panky; Notes: Nothing of interest about him. Weird.)

Jeb Stuart (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; The Fugitive; Next of Kin; Vital Signs; Blood Done Sign My Name; Hart’s War; BMT: Another 48 Hrs.; Lock Up; Just Cause; Fire Down Below; Leviathan; Switchback; Notes: Wrote an early draft of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; First Blood; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Rocky IV; Antz; Demolition Man; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Cop Land; Bullet to the Head; Nighthawks; Creed; Death Race 2000; Spy Kids 3-D – Game Over; Shade; Victory; F.I.S.T. BMT: The Expendables 3; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Judge Dredd; Rocky V; Tango & Cash; Assassins; Daylight; The Specialist; Cobra; Grudge Match; Over the Top; Driven; Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Lock Up; Get Carter; Oscar; Rhinestone; Zookeeper; Rambo; D-Tox. Notes: Won for Worst Actor, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); Rambo III (1988); Cobra (1986); Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rocky IV (1985); Rhinestone (1984). Nominated for Worst Actor, Bullet to the Head (2012), Escape Plan (2013), Grudge Match (2013); Get Carter (2000); Daylight(1996); Assassins (1995), Judge Dredd (1995); The Specialist (1994); Get Carter (2000); Oscar (1991); Rocky V (1990); Lock Up (1989), Tango & Cash (1989); Over the Top (1987); Cobra (1986). Won for Worst Supporting Actor, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Driven (2001); An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997). Won for Worst Actor of the Century. Won for Worst Actor of the Decade (1980’s). Geez Louise. And that’s just for acting.)

Budget/Gross: $24 million / $22,099,847

(A definitive bomb for Stallone. This was smack in the middle of a disastrous run of films for him so he might have just started to wear out his welcome. After First Blood in 1982 he followed with Staying Alive, Rhinestone, Rambo II, Rocky IV, Cobra, Over the Top, Rambo III, Lock Up, Tango & Cash, Rocky V, Oscar, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Oof.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (2/12), No consensus yet.

(Never trust the RT on a movie this old (like Weekend at Bernie’s is a downright mediocre film according to RT). It’s nice that it’s low, but the Razzie recognition, Leonard Maltin review, and BMeTric are more important in this case.)

Poster – Black and White

LockUpPoster.jpg

(Looks pretty cheap but I guess the artistic take is nice. I’ve seen this same poster with red coloring on the letters and/or sky, which I like a bit more. But this seems official.)

Tagline(s) – How much can a man take…before he gives back? (D+)

How many times can a man be pushed to the wall…before he goes over it? (C-)

Stallone…behind bars? Not for long. (Hah)

He is only six months away from freedom. But a warden obsessed with revenge wants to take his future away. (D)

(I usually just grade the tagline that is found on the poster (which I consider official), but there isn’t one on the main poster and these are too good not to grade. They are all either too long or bonkers insane. The first and second use super weird phrasing to make their point. The third is hilarious… I can hear Stallone saying those words. The fourth is classic 70’s/80’s tagline.)

Notes – The cast includes real inmates of Rahway State Prison which is also known as East Jersey State Prison as it is located in Rahway, New Jersey, USA. A number of the prisoners appear as extras and background artists in the movie. (This is the prison I taught at in New Jersey. It’s got a very distinctive look. I wonder if I’ll recognize some of the places they show.)

The movie was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards at the 10th annual ceremony including Worst Picture, Worst Actor – Sylvester Stallone and Worst Supporting Actor – Donald Sutherland, but the film failed to take home a Razzie in any category.

First starring role of actor Tom Sizemore.

Actor Frank McRae, who participates in the football game sequence, had actually played gridiron as an NFL (National Football League) defensive tackle during the 1967 season playing six games for the Chicago Bears. (There it is).

Danny Trejo: As a gang member of Chink’s gang. (Keep a lookout)