Bad Company Preview

Rich flexes his muscles, his glistening skin growing taut again the ropes that bind him. With a snap he is free and he leaps from the ceremonial table and jumps through a stained-glass window. Looking around he realizes he’s in a maze. “Heh heh heh, rats in a maze,” a Nic Cage says to his left, but when he turns no one is there. “Men in a cage,” the other responds to the right, but Rich is already off running. Suddenly he comes to a stop. “Fa… Father?” he stutters in astonishment. His father, long dead, is up ahead, beckoning him forward. He follows, but each turn he makes his father is already making the next turn. “Father!” he calls, “we have to find Poe. We have to find my… my brother.” Suddenly, he finds himself in a police station. He tries to tether himself to reality to stop himself from slipping back to bashing heads amidst the swirling papers.Yet he finds himself grabbing a stale slice of za from a box, readying himself to launch into his latest diatribe against those goddamn rulez when he hears “Poe! Get in here!” Poe! He looks around, but he doesn’t see his partner. When he looks back at the Chief he’s staring right at him. “Poe! Get a move on or I’ll have your ass.” Confused, Rich walks into the office and sits down. “I know it’s been hard since Rich has been killed, Poe, but we need your help,” the Chief sighs, “we need you to go undercover as Rich. Given your… similar… physical characteristics, you’re the only one that can pull it off.” Rich nods. “We also got you a little company. Meet your new partner.” Rich turns. His blood runs cold. That’s right! We’re watching Bad Company starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. Rock plays twins separated at birth who are all mixed up in some spy shit. Let’s go!

Poe comes to love and respect his monstrous twin protectors as they nurse him back to health. Eventually, having gained strength from their delicious Dr. Pepper infused lasagna, he asks them where they are. They looked confused, “We are here,” they say. “So how do we get there?” Poe asks. They nod and point up. Poe’s eyes travel up the mountain to the swirling storm clouds above. His blood runs cold. That’s right! As a partner for Bad Company we are diving head first into Dragon Hunt, one of the action films made by the Twin Dragons, Canadian twin martial artists with moustaches for days. Let’s go!

Bad Company (2002) – BMeTric: 44.6; Notability: 51 

(My god, a 50+ notability film! And it’s Bad Company, how odd. The bad rating on this is really sticking right around 5.5. And you can definitely see the inflection there. The votes rising right around 2011 (when IMDb when mobile) and now tailing off again as the new user base saturates their ratings. I wonder if IMDb is going to be in trouble at some point as people finally stop having old movies to rate … I guess they only really make money off of IMDb Pro anyways.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Hard on the heels of “The Sum of All Fears,” here’s Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Bad Company,” another movie about an American city threatened by the explosion of a stolen nuclear device. This one is an action comedy. There may come a day when the smiles fade. To be sure, the movie was made before 9/11 (and its original autumn 2001 release was delayed for obvious reasons), but even before 9/11 it was clear that nuclear terrorism was a real possibility. While “The Sum of all Fears” deals in a quasi-serious way with the subject (up until the astonishingly inappropriate ending), “Bad Company” is more light-hearted. Ho, ho.

(Well … this review just makes me want to watch Sum of All Fears. Or more realistically read some trash Clancy books. Oh, and yeah, I didn’t think about the impact of 9/11, but this one is one of the more wild versions of the story, all the way down to it maybe being the last film featuring a true blue Yugoslavian terrorist (it is hard to tell).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h8wWFqwmcA/

(The “hand me a towel” joke is all I distinctly remember from the trailer when this came out. The trailer is interesting because it doesn’t indicate that the main character didn’t know he had a twin brother, but I suppose that is a minor point. The Saddam Hussien comment is also interesting considering it was released in June of 2002.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; Falling Down; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Client; Phone Booth; Flatliners; Flawless; Blood Creek; Tigerland; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Twelve; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; Street Fleet; Dying Young; 8MM; The Phantom of the Opera; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; Bad Company; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: A stalwart director from 1980 through 2005, after which he semi-retired. Directed a few music videos like The End is the Beginning is the End by The Smashing Pumpkins. Died this year.)

Writers – Gary M. Goodman (story) (as Gary Goodman) – (BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Mostly a producer. Directed a single episode of the Police Academy television show in 1998.)

David Himmelstein (story) – (Known For: Power; Future BMT: Village of the Damned; BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Wrote a television movie called Soul of the Game about the players trying to break the color barrier in baseball.)

Jason Richman (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Swing Vote; BMT: Bangkok Dangerous; Bad Company; Notes: Was a professional musician. The creator of a few television shows including Stumptown.)

Michael Browning (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Six Days Seven Nights; BMT: Bad Company; Notes: Is also a producer on Bad Company. This is the last thing he is credited for in any category on IMDb.)

Actors – Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: The Silence of the Lambs; Thor: Ragnarok; Thor; Red Dragon; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Legends of the Fall; A Bridge Too Far; Thor: The Dark World; Meet Joe Black; RED 2; Mission: Impossible II; Fracture; The Two Popes; Noah; The Elephant Man; The Mask of Zorro; Howards End; The Bounty; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Beowulf; Future BMT: Alexander; Misconduct; Freejack; Go with Me; The Wolfman; Slipstream; Desperate Hours; Collide; The Rite; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; The Innocent; Surviving Picasso; The Trial; Hannibal; The City of Your Final Destination; August; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Bad Company; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2018 for Collide, and Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Born in Wales, he was inspired by Richard Burton to become an actor. He’s now an American citizen and was allowed to keep his knighthood.)

Chris Rock – (Known For: Bee Movie; Madagascar; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dolemite Is My Name; Dogma; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa; Death at a Funeral; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Beverly Hills Cop II; Doctor Dolittle; Osmosis Jones; Lethal Weapon 4; Boomerang; New Jack City; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Top Five; CB4; Krush Groove; Nurse Betty; Future BMT: The Week Of; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; Sandy Wexler; Nobody’s Fool; Pootie Tang; Beverly Hills Ninja; Down to Earth; Head of State; I Think I Love My Wife; Paparazzi; Sgt. Bilko; The Longest Yard; Panther; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Bad Company; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Grown Ups; Notes: Came up through SNL and into a supporting comedic actor in the 90s. He became a starring lead in the 2000s. Notable for his friendship with Adam Sandler and his participation in many of his recent films.)

Peter Stormare – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Fargo; Constantine; Minority Report; John Wick: Chapter 2; 22 Jump Street; Awakenings; Pain & Gain; Chocolat; The Last Stand; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Dancer in the Dark; Fanny and Alexander; The Zero Theorem; Penguins of Madagascar; Clown; How I Spent My Summer Vacation; Damage; Henry’s Crime; Future BMT: Tokarev; Witless Protection; Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Rupture; Eye for an Eye; Horsemen; Dark Summer; Nacho Libre; The Brothers Grimm; Premonition; Anamorph; Every Thing Will Be Fine; The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature; The Million Dollar Hotel; Playing God; Lockout; Windtalkers; Strange Magic; Birth; Jewtopia; I Am Here; Small Apartments; Autumn Blood; 8MM; Circus; Unknown; Bad Boys II; Spun; BMT: The Tuxedo; Bad Company; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Mercury Rising; Armageddon; Notes: A fun “that guy” since the mid-90s. He’s Swedish, but he tends to play a variety of nationalities, particularly Russian and Eastern European.)

Budget/Gross – $70,000,000 / Domestic: $30,160,161 (Worldwide: $66,200,782)

(That is slightly better than I would have expected, but pretty bad considering the listed budget. You obviously are hoping a Joel Schumacher film is a blockbuster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (14/135): Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins fail to generate the sparks necessary to save the movie from a generic and utterly predictable script.

(Just a shade over 10% sadly, I do like collecting sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films. Yeah, everything I remember about the film when it came out was how much of a miscast the pair of Hopkins and Rock were. Reviewer Highlight: Bad Company is a bad movie with really bad timing. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sklog Company

(It is quite amusing that they have this big poster and are like “Hopkins”… “Rock” as if this is the teamup that we’ve all been waiting for. “Oh, when will I be able to see the dynamic action/comedy duo of Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins?! When will Hollywood finally deliver what we’ve all been clamouring for?!!! Pretty good poster though. Only critique is them riding that star power a little harder than it deserved. Get me a little taste of the plot please. B+)

Tagline(s) – The World is in Good Hands (D)

(Hands… hands… is this a pun I’m not picking up on? Why can’t these movies just figure out how to do a decent twin pun. Back-to-back weeks where the tagline has been merely lame or worse. This is boring fluff.)

Keyword – twin

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), The Prestige (2006), Gone Girl (2014), Stand by Me (1986), Octopussy (1983), Avatar (2009), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), A Simple Favour (2018), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), There Will Be Blood (2007)

Future BMT: 71.1 The Spirit (2008), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 68.1 Seed of Chucky (2004), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 52.2 The Divorce (2003), 51.2 Scary Movie 3 (2003), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 48.6 The Real Cancun (2003), 47.5 Dumb and Dumber To (2014);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Snowman (2017), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), The Forest (2016), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Old Dogs (2009), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Bad Company (2002), 88 Minutes (2007), New York Minute (2004), Babylon A.D. (2008), Grind (2003), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

(So indeed there aren’t really twins in this film I don’t think, so I went with the “twin” keyword instead. This is a pretty good keyword as well. The Forest was a great twin film, as was I Know Who Killed Me, Old Dogs, New York Minute, and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. Most of the other ones (like 88 Minutes) are more tenuous, in that one the first death in the film involves two twins who live together, although it is easy to forget that.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Chris Rock is No. 2 billed in Bad Company and No. 3 billed in Grown Ups, which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Spirit, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – This was one of the last movies filmed in the World Trade Center (some of the subway scenes).

One of several movies that had its release date changed after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. This movie was originally set for release in November 2001, but was not released until June 2002.

Originally written as a sequel to Blue Streak (1999). (Huh that is actually super interesting)

When Jake (Chris Rock) is dining with Nicole (Garcelle Beauvais) in Prague, he says, “I’ll eat a pig’s ass if they cook it right.” This is a line from his 1996 HBO special. (Weird)

Originally titled “Black Sheep” until it was discovered that there was already a movie with that title, Black Sheep (1996). (Oh did they discover that? Did they dig into the archive and be like “Oh, Chris Rock, you’re friends with David Spade and Chris Farley right? Did you know they had a film called Black Sheep?! Get out of here with that.)

Knock Off Preview

The men in Tiniman’s army expect nothing from Rich and Poe. Yeah, they may have toned biceps and abs for days, but they also seem like a couple of rascals who don’t care much for rules. At first it seems like they’re right. “This sucks!” yells Rich, while Poe looks sadly at his nutritionless grub they’re served in the mess. “How are we expected to keep ourselves lean, mean fighting machines without a balanced meal,” he sighs. But soon, they learn the meaning of their military family and come to trust and love their brothers in arms. They aren’t just passable soldiers, they are oddly competent. “Hey Roach,” Rich asks one day, “what are we training for anyway?” Their comrade Roach looks up from polishing his robot legs. “War,” he grunts and gets back a-polishing. He needs those babies gleaming. “War… who are we fighting?” Poe asks, curious now. “Alligator,” Roach grunts. Rich and Poe nod their heads but suddenly look at each other… Alligator. Rich and Poe get as many details as they can from Roach, one grunt at a time. Tiniman’s aim is to conquer the lands to the south. Where a tribe of men have come to live harmoniously with giant alligators. “Unconquerable,” Roach says winking, his legs now gleaming in the sunlight. “My God,” Rich says, “Alligator Steve… this is where he’s from.” Poe gulps, “and we’re going to destroy them.” While their newfound maturity bucks at the idea of betraying their comrades they also know they gotta get out of there… and fast. “What we need is…” Rich begins, but suddenly a shadow passes over them. “Deception,” Roach grunts. Startled, they look up in fear, but Roach is smiling. “Twins,” he says and Rich and Poe smile back. “Knock offs,” they agree. That’s right! We’re watching the JCVD-Rob Schneider buddy cop film about a Hong Kong… uh… fashion designer? Who also does karate or something? And Rob Schneider is a cop… what, what’s happening? Let’s go!

Knock Off (1998) – BMeTric: 55.3; Notability: 29 

KnockOffIMDb_BMeT
KnockOffIMDb_RV

(The notability is higher that I would have expected for a film I never heard of, but not super high for a major release. I’m intrigued. The rating is riding, but sub-5.0 is pretty great with that 50+ BMeTric. This film has a lot going for it from a numbers perspective.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Van Damme teams up with American agents to combat terrorists. Having Van Damme play a Hong Kong clothing designer/importer in an action film pinned to a plot about designer jeans is peculiar but not interesting … which also describes the movie. Director Hark abandons his vivid fight choreography for standard swift intercutting instead. Samo Hung appears unbilled.

(Ha! I love that description. Leonard is just flabbergasted by the B-story which is actually the A-story. The character sounds like Tommy Wiseau in real life.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Txm_I4usB0/

(The trailer is fucking bonkers. Just cut after cut after cut with weird quips (“Goodbye yellow brick road”? It isn’t even that quoting Elton John is out of date, it is that it is just a weird turn of phrase). Explosions, Rob Schnieder saying random words, clearly a bunch of wire-fu which is going to annoy me. I literally cannot wait to watch this ludicrous film.)

Directors – Hark Tsui – (Known For: Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame; Journey to the West: Demon Chapter; Once Upon a Time in China; Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings; Seong lung wui; Flying Swords of Dragon Gate; Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung; Zhi qu wei hu shan; Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke; Once Upon a Time in China III; Shun liu ni liu; Tit sam gok; Future BMT: Shu shan zheng zhuan; Qi jian; BMT: Double Team; Knock Off; Notes: He is considered a master in martial arts action, and one of the best Chinese directors ever. His production company is one of the biggest Hong Kong film companies in the business.)

Writers – Steven E. de Souza (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; Commando; Die Hard 2; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Knock Off; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: One of the last films he wrote that got a major release. He was only 51 at the time, so I assume he just kind of retired.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kickboxer; Hard Target; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Timecop; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Lukas; Sudden Death; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Cyborg; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Legionnaire; Double Impact; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Black Water; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Knock Off; 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: Literally the last film he released prior to starting to mostly release non-theatrical films. Legionnaire would be his next film, and Universal Soldier: The Return was after that and was his last theatrical release for a decade.)

Rob Schneider – (Known For: 50 First Dates; Muppets from Space; Future BMT: The Animal; Norm of the North; Little Nicky; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; InAPPropriate Comedy; The Hot Chick; Sandy Wexler; Eight Crazy Nights; Surf Ninjas; Mr. Deeds; The Adventures of Pinocchio; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Bedtime Stories; The Waterboy; Big Stan; Down Periscope; Click; Big Daddy; The Longest Yard; Necessary Roughness; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; BMT: Little Man; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; The Ridiculous 6; The Beverly Hillbillies; Knock Off; The Benchwarmers; Judge Dredd; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Around the World in 80 Days; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2006; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for Little Man, and The Benchwarmers; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; and in 2011 for Grown Ups; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Grandma’s Boy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Little Man, Little Nicky, The Animal, The Benchwarmers, and The Hot Chick; Notes: This was kind of right in the middle of his starring career, after he had already teamed up with Stallone for Judge Dredd. He is apparently anti-vax, which caused him to be dropped as a spokesperson for State Farm in 2014.)

Lela Rochon – (Known For: Any Given Sunday; Boomerang; Brooklyn’s Finest; Waiting to Exhale; The Big Hit; Gang Related; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Blood Done Sign My Name; Future BMT: The Meteor Man; Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo; Breakin’; Supremacy; BMT: Knock Off; First Daughter; The Chamber; Harlem Nights; Notes: Right at the top of her peak as a leading lady in film, right around Why Do Fools Fall in Love. She has a degree in broadcast journalism.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $10,319,915 (Worldwide: $10,319,915)

(Oh wow. Now this can’t possibly be true right? Wouldn’t this, at the very least, get a release in Hong Kong? This came out right as Van Damme’s career was cratering though, so I imagine they only realized it was mostly unreleasable afterwards. Case in point: this came out after Legionnaire.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/39): Muddled plot; stiff acting.

(Short and sweet! They seem to kind of agree that it is a little too jokey, but somehow very serious, and … honestly it does sound muddled now that I write it. Reviewer Highlight: Something of a kaleidoscopic mess of a movie, but it has its moments. – Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle)

Poster – Sklog Off

knock_off

(That is nuts. I find it offensive. What were they even thinking? Case in point: why is “Van Damme” in giant block letters that nearly fade into the background. My eyes hurt. F. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this was the most difficult font I’ve ever undertaken. I’m rather impressed with how okay the background looks behind the letters since I had to rebuild it all. Overall looks pretty good for what is, in fact, a pretty complicated poster.)

Tagline(s) – There is no substitute. (C+)

(It’s a pun… that’s the best you can say about it. Obviously playing on the fact that the story involves a bunch of knock off products and the fact that there is no substitute for Van Damme. But it’s stretching just a bit too far and doesn’t flow.)

Keyword – kickboxing

KnockOff_kickboxing

Top 10: The Mummy Returns (2001), American Assassin (2017), True Lies (1994), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Road House (1989), Tomb Raider (2018), Street Fighter (1994), Say Anything… (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.0 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 57.6 Cyborg (1989), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 42.9 Fighting (2009), 41.0 The Quest (1996), 37.3 Nowhere to Run (1993), 26.4 American Assassin (2017), 24.6 A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave (1990);

BMT: Road House (1989), Kiss the Girls (1997), Universal Soldier (1992), Double Team (1997), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Knock Off (1998)

(Wow, we really loved kickboxing in the 90s! There is something about it. I’ve been doing “research” into non-theatrical stars in my free time, and one of the major conclusions I’ve come to is there are different eras of straight-to-video films. And the 90s was definitely the apex of martial artists being recruited to put out their weirdo non-films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Rob Schneider is No. 2 billed in Knock Off and No. 1 billed in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Hong Kong superstar and director Sammo Hung served as the film’s 2nd unit director. The release print of “Knock Off” suffers from the removal of a lot of the martial arts action shot for the film, with a couple of sequences being very heavily edited. The final battle between Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character and Australian actor/stuntman Michael Miller is less than half of the action shot for their fight, and upon careful viewing you can pick up the fact that the fight has raged across several different sections on the boat, while the fight between Jeff Wolfe’s character Scar and Jean-Claude’s is the most heavily edited with more of the action being shown in the “Making Of” featured on several of the DVD editions than in the finished film.

The film is one of the last in the world to feature Kai Tak Airport still in use; the airport closed in 1998.

The 15:17 to Paris Preview

As the Space Cops pile into the space ship they lay it all out there. “Officer Libby, the Little Old Librarian you know and hate, used to be part of a major gang of corrupt cops. They would steal cocaine from evidence, use it to help write action movie screenplays in volume, ultimately sell the rights to a small number of them of which only one or two would actually be made, then have them taken out of their creative control and turned into something that they no longer recognized,” Jacobs sneers, spitting in disgust, “a truly devious plot by a truly devious cop. It is well known that she hoped to use the power of the Socket to play out the plot of one of those screenplays and create mass chaos to take over the world. So all we have to do is figure out which screenplay she want to see made by the ultimate film studio… life. Simple right?” He says as he pours 430 screenplays out of a burlap sack. Knowing they’ll never get through all of the screenplays in time Jamie gets an idea and they zoom back to Dracula School. With the help of the vampire students they start to make their way through the screenplays and boy howdy is it tough sledding. “Why do so many of these involve vigilante justice?” Asks one student. “This is the second sex scene I’ve read involving a dude ranch.” Says another, eyes glazing over. “Huh, this is interesting,” says Odin, “this also is mostly about vigilante justice and certainly has a dude ranch sex scene but… it also says ‘based on a true story’ at the front. Does anyone remember when a vigilante ninja cop stopped a bunch of cowboy terrorists on a train to Paris?” That’s right! We are transitioning to the final cycle of the year. As tradition dictates this is a cycle consisting of only films released in 2018. Previously this was to make sure we were up-to-date for Razzies season, but now it’s so we are up-to-date for Smaddies Baddies season. We start off with The 15:17 to Paris, which somehow hits two numbers on the Periodic Table of Smellements and is an A+ setting for both place and time (kinda). It also is a super strange experimental film that Clint Eastwood with the actual heroes of the event playing themselves… sounds like a tough watch. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones sneak around to the back of the z-movie multiverse LAPD precinct. That’s weird, Patrick thinks, isn’t the whole reason they came and got him because the LAPD wanted to come and save him? Sticks and Stones have a wild look in their eyes as they jimmy the lock and start towards the evidence locker. “It’s just in here, gosh dern it, hurry up before they catch us,” Stones says. Patrick is super duper slow on the uptake and following them around like an idiot. He hopes those other ninja cops come soon, because his mind is feeling fuzzy again, and Sticks and Stones are starting to creep him out all of a sudden. When they reach the evidence locker Sticks blasts the lock with his glock, growling “I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.” They pull out the Obsidian Dongle. Wait … what a twist! It wasn’t destroyed after all! Right then the samurai cop and his very tall partner come around the corner. “Stop right there you ne’er-do-wells! Patrick, they are insane they only want you for your twin powers, your ability to control the Dongle, and want you to bring them to the real world!” Patrick looks at them dumbly … “What?” The samurai cop comes at them with a katana ready to strike. Without thinking Patrick grabs the dongle and thinks “Take me and Sticks and Stones to … Hawaii?” And boom, his twin powers blast them to Hawaii. Well … the Z-movie multiverse version of Hawaii which was roughly the same except all the girls have big bazongas. “All these girls have big bazongas,” Patrick says. That’s right! We’re watching Hard Ticket to Hawaii, a B-movie with an A+ setting. Made by Andy Sidaris, I dare to say this is his most famous BBB (Bullets, Bombs, Babes) film, well known for its skateboarding and frisbee antics … and fine, the bodacious babes. Let’s go!

The 15:17 to Paris (2018) – BMeTric: 52.5

The1517toParis_BMeT

The1517toParis_RV

(Loving that VOD bump. The rating is shockingly low. It didn’t even start high with all of the Eastwood-heads getting in there, it just started below-average and is now shockingly low. The BMeTric is astonishing all things considered. How bad can the acting actually be?!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The movie’s greatest virtue, which might be enough to make it a critic-proof hit no matter what, is its poker faced sincerity. … A lot of U.S. moviegoers are going to feel seen by this film, and that’s a net gain for American cinema, which is supposed to be a populist art form representing the body politic as it is, not merely as the industry wishes it could be. If only someone could’ve heroically intervened to save this movie.

(Can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. There is room for gently jingoistic nonsense just like there is room for gory horror, cynical comedy, and sex-crazed teen romps. But certainly it looks like Eastwoods speed and very peculiar choice to cast three non-actors in the lead roles made this one very much non-critic-proof.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC_lnyn2R2Q

(The army, God, the American Dream, and heroes babbbbbbbyyyyyyyyy. The voiceover is a bit odd in the middle. As a matter of fact it feels like the film is desperately trying to cover up the fact that the main actors can’t, in fact, act. Which is a solid choice.)

Directors – Clint Eastwood – (Known For: American Sniper; Mystic River; Unforgiven; Gran Torino; Million Dollar Baby; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Bridges of Madison County; Changeling; The Outlaw Josey Wales; Space Cowboys; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Absolute Power; Invictus; J. Edgar; A Perfect World; Jersey Boys; Hereafter; Blood Work; High Plains Drifter; Letters from Iwo Jima; Future BMT: The Rookie; BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Well known for talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. I kid (although he did do that for real). His directing style might be called … rushed. Although arguably that is intentional. But clearly competent and efficient, churning out films like Woody Allen churns out scripts.)

Writers – Dorothy Blyskal (screenplay by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: She worked on Sully with Eastwood, and then ended up getting recruited to adapt the book the film is based on while working as a production assistant on Logan. I didn’t read it, but here is an interview detailing her career trajectory.)

Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, Jeffrey E. Stern (based on the book by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: These are the three heroes of the story, they wrote the book and then ultimately starred in the subsequent film in what Eastwood called an “interesting experiment”.)

Actors – Alek Skarlatos – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Army National Guard. Finished in third place on Dancing with the Stars. He is currently running for a position in local politics in Oregon according to wikipedia.)

Anthony Sadler – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Not much info on wiki beyond detailing the attack. He was the civilian of the bunch, having been childhood friends with Skarlatos and Stone.)

Spencer Stone – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Air Force. Two months after the attack he was stabbed outside of a nightclub and almost died.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $36,250,957 (Worldwide: $57,050,957)

(It did … poorly. That isn’t even really fine, it was poor. Given they didn’t have to pay three leads though, where did the money go?)

#22 for the Terrorism genre

1517toparis_terrorism

(Swordfish is the only other film we’ve seen. This is, amazingly, the highest by BMeTric. Collateral Damage with Schwarzenegger is next up I think. By the way the note at the bottom is pretty excellent: NOTE: Movies such as Die Hard, Under Siege, Speed and The Rock are not being counted as their villains for the most part are about getting money or are disgruntled former employees. For it to be a “”Terrorist”” movie, the central action has to occur to promote a cause or for destruction’s sake.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (35/149): The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts.

(YAH THINK? It is an astonishing and immediately ill-advised choice. You don’t really flippantly make a movie. Although given how Eastwood directs, maybe he genuinely thinks you can. Reviewer Highlight: Performances in Eastwood films are usually uneven, but here his hands-off directing style shows no mercy … – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – Bonjour, je suis American. Ça va? (A)

fifteen_seventeen_to_paris

(I actually enjoy this poster quite a bit. Artistic, black-and-white with red accents, and a unique font for a little spin.)

Tagline(s) – A true story. The real heroes. (D)

In the face of fear ordinary people can do the extraordinary (C+)

(The first one more or less confirms that this is likely just an experiment that Eastwood thought would be interesting to try, so it’s not particularly interesting. The second is good and hits all the marks, but is just too cliched to get a high grade. Probably 30% of all films made could have that tagline. I guess not Exit Wounds, since Steven Seagal is anything but ordinary.)

Keyword(s) – train; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.2 Gunday (2014); 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 80.7 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 79.4 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 79.0 Torque (2004); 77.7 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); 77.5 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 72.8 Jonah Hex (2010); 72.5 Cell (I) (2016);

(Nooooo never Gunday. Never. As a matter of fact once you nix that, the other two missing films don’t qualify both being above 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. So arguably we are, in fact, done with the top train films as far as BMT is concerned. In reality it would probably be better to just filter out non-qualifying films … but whatever.)

Notes – The first person to tackle the terrorist on the train was a Frenchman. He later turned down the Légion d’honneur and asked to remain anonymous because he feared reprisals from other Islamists living in France. (Oh shit, that’s pretty cool)

Director Clint Eastwood enlisted the actual Americans who took down the terrorist to play themselves in this movie: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. (As we heard above, this was a terrible idea.)

Roughly eight weeks after the Thalys train attack, Spencer Stone was stabbed in the back several times by James Tran, outside a downtown Sacramento night club. Stone suffered wounds to his lungs, liver and heart, and he had to undergo emergency open heart surgery. In 2017, Tran was found guilty of attempted murder, causing great bodily injury and the use of a deadly weapon and was sentenced to nine years. Stone was quoted in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, saying, “At the end of the day, I forgive the guy. We all make stupid decisions, some dumber than others. I hope he learns from it.”

The plot tagline says “3 U.S. Airmen,” but only Spencer Stone is in the Air Force. Alek Skarlatos is Army National Guard and Anthony Sadler is a civilian.

This is the 36th feature film to be directed by Clint Eastwood. (He pumps these out)

Clint Eastwood was attached to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell since 2014 but dropped out in 2016 to do Impossible Odds as his next directorial project after finishing Sully (2016). The project wasn’t ready yet and needed more time in development, meaning that Eastwood needed another project. He decided to sign on to helm this project as his next directorial film.

An image of Clint Eastwood’s face from Pale Rider (1985) appears on a character’s t-shirt.

Many of the professional actors in this film are better known as sitcom stars: Tony Hale and Judy Greer were both in Arrested Development, Jenna Fischer in The Office, Thomas Lennon in Reno 911!, and Jaleel White in Family Matters. (So basically this is a bunch of amateurs, and then a bunch of television actors … this sounds like it shall go swimmingly)