Conan the Barbarian (2011) Preview

Rich and Poe are hardboiled detectives ready to crack heads and flush crime down the drain (if it wasn’t for all the bureaucratic bullshit at the LAPD). Poe is only 10 days away from retirement and Rich doesn’t play by anyone’s rules so when they are called into the chief’s office and told that they must infiltrate a middle school in downtown LA they want to say no way. Unfortunately they know that despite being nearly 40-years-old they are the only ones hip to what the kids are up to and capable of doing the job. Tossing on backwards caps and some Reebok pumps they skateboard their way into school as a couple of dope tweens. They need to infiltrate the 7th grade Dungeons & Dragons club which is suspected to be a front for dealing a new synthetic drug on the market called DeezNuts. “D&D!” says Rich, “man, that sounds like rulez.” But Poe reminds him that in school, rulez=coolz. True dat. They get dressed in some major nerd attire and enter the world of swords and sorcery as they take the guise of Sorsaron the Barbarian and the powerful Mage, Brawln. Together they infiltrate the gang and start up the campaign that will take these drug-dealing preteens downtown. That’s right! We’re watching the remake of Conan the Barbarian. We already watched Conan the Destroyer for BMT so this will complete the complete Conan set… until the next remake comes out. This was produced by Boaz Davidson, who also produced the Nic Cage classic and BMT HoFer The Wicker Man… man, this guy loves making shitty remakes. Let’s go!

Conan the Barbarian (2011) – BMeTric: 60.7

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(Wow, beautiful curve right there. This is a set it and forget it definitely below average film. Like … a kind of film you can enjoy depending (sub 5.0 is where it starts to get dicey), but also not even close to the average (which is around 6.2))

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Raised by a fearless tribal leader, Conan seeks revenge on the rival who brought death and destruction to his father and community. While on his quest he meets a woman who is being hunted by the same evildoers for her “pure blood.” New look at Robert E. Howard’s pulp-fiction hero may not be intellectually stimulating, but it’s never dull, with great action scenes, visual effects, and two formidable villains: warlord Lang and McGowan, as his sorceress daughter. Extremely violent.

(For the record he gave this the same review as the original, which honestly could very well be fair. The “extremely violent” part at the end is pretty amusing. It doesn’t really get me excited for the film, but it doesn’t make me worried either. Just kind of meh.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1iJZIMddpM

(This soundtrack makes me worried. Kind of right there in the thick of the 300 fad of washed out colors which is just now dying ten years later. It looks terrible, but I will withhold judgment. A Conan film is always about the representation of Conan in my opinion. Momoa looks terrible in the trailer, but we’ll see.)

Directors – Marcus Nispel – (Future BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Pathfinder; Friday the 13th; Notes: He was a very prolific music video director up until 2000. Notably a friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he almost directed End of Days.)

Writers – Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (written by) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Not much information on these guys. They are adapting Mandrake the Magician though, which should be … frankly it sounds like a terrible idea.)

Sean Hood (written by) – (Known For: Cube 2: Hypercube; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Started his career as a set dresser on Twin Peaks. Is known for horror and swords-and-sandals films.)

Robert E. Howard (character of Conan) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote the Conan pulp novels in the 1930s. They are interesting and short, reading either the introduction (which is super weird) or one of the novels involving Belit the pirate queen is well worth the time I think.)

Actors – Jason Momoa – (Known For: Justice League; Braven; The Bad Batch; Bullet to the Head; Road to Paloma; Future BMT: Johnson Family Vacation; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Wolves; Sugar Mountain; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Wrestler turned actor who played Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones.)

Ron Perlman – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Pacific Rim; Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Drive; Tangled; Hellboy; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Alien: Resurrection; Enemy at the Gates; The Book of Life; Blade II; The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Name of the Rose; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Titan A.E.; The City of Lost Children; La guerre du feu; The Bleeder; 13 Sins; Cronos; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Mutant Chronicles; Sleepwalkers; Bad Ass; Down; The Ice Pirates; Stonewall; Skin Trade; Outlander; Bunraku; Star Trek: Nemesis; Crave; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Conan the Barbarian; Season of the Witch; Notes: Bad movie legend. He announced his intention to run for U.S. President in 2020.)

Rose McGowan – (Known For: Scream; Death Proof; Planet Terror; Grindhouse; Machete; Class of 1999; The Doom Generation; Going All the Way; Fifty Dead Men Walking; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; The Black Dahlia; Ready to Rumble; Jawbreaker; California Man; Paranormal: White Noise; Nowhere; Southie; BMT: Monkeybone; Conan the Barbarian; Phantoms; Notes: Has been in the news a ton recently due to her high-profile battle with Harvey Weinstein over accusations of rape and legal settlements. Probably most famous as a television actress in Charmed.)

Budget/Gross – $90 million / Domestic: $21,295,021 (Worldwide: $48,795,021)

(Wow, catastrophic. Makes sense they scraped plans for the sequel then. That is just astonishingly bad.)

#76 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(People do love their fantasy don’t they? As crazy as it sounds the highest ranked BMT film is The Last Airbender of all things. Disney and Harry Potter have dominated the releases.)

#46 for the Revenge genre

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(Kind of gross, but the genre is waning which is … good I think. Revenge isn’t particularly great for anyone usually, right? Need for Speed was the highest ranked BMT film here. This earned less than that crazy Ben-Hur remake!)

#20 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(The plot is a little enigmatic, but I guess you could say these come in waves and we are moving out of a wave at the moment. Warcraft is the most recent film listed which seems crazy, but I also am hard pressed to name another Sword and Sorcery in the meantime … kind of sad, it is a fun genre I think.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (34/145): While its relentless, gory violence is more faithful to the Robert E. Howard books, Conan the Barbarian forsakes three-dimensional characters, dialogue, and acting in favor of unnecessary 3D effects.

(I don’t get this consensus. More faithful to the books? The 1982 film is extremely gory and violent. And it wasn’t really the character building that made it great … it very much took the pulp approach to the series. So I don’t really understand the point. Whatever. Reviewer Highlight: Rent the original instead. – Tom Huddleston, Time Out)

Poster – Conan the Sklogarian (C)

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(Oh boy. This is like the artistic version of the legendary Avengers poster. Weird two-color gradient is no bueno and there is just way too much going on. That being said this actually looks somewhat artistic with some nice font and symmetry. Lands back in the middle.)

Tagline(s) – Enter An Age Undreamed Of (D)

(Heh. No thanks.)

Keyword(s) – sword and sandal; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 76.6 Hercules in New York (1970); 64.7 Eragon (2006); 60.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 54.1 Vercingétorix (2001); 53.9 Gods of Egypt (2016); 53.7 Season of the Witch (2011); 52.2 Caligula (1979);

(Vercingetorix is called Druids in the United States and looks … awful. It looks kind of like the cheap Asterix films. Hercules and Caligula are classics though, pre-1980 and a 50+ BMeTric is pretty nuts. And then we’ll have truly mastered the sword and sandal epic … but who are we kidding The Legend of Hercules is the best of the bunch.)

Movie Stub – Conan the Barbarian (2011 film) (C-class) – There is a small note about expanding the critical reception, but it is already quite good. I’m not sure why whomever put that there put it as a public display instead as a plea on the talk page to be honest. Otherwise this looks like a very well maintained page will little (beyond perhaps editing the plot a bit after watching) for me to offer. Good example of the “(YEAR film)” title requirement on wikipedia, because the name is the same as (1) The character from the original pulp novels, and (2) The original 1982 adaptation.

Notes – Jason Momoa enrolled in an intense six-week training program at a stunt and martial arts academy in Los Angeles for his part, while still finalizing negotiations for the film.

Jason Momoa is by his own admission afraid of horses, so all his horse riding scenes had to either be faked or filmed with doubles. (hahaha, this is like the thing about how Gary Busey is allergic to horse saliva and has a rider in his contracts that prohibits them from being on set)

Rachel Nichols had a body double for her sex scene. (As I assume most ladies do)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the role of Corin, Conan’s father, but declined. Schwarzenegger played Conan in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982), of which this film is a remake. (eeeeh, is it a remake though? Or is it a separate adaptation of the pulp novels. I guess we’ll see if the story is the same … because if it is then yeah, it’s a remake)

Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols would later be offered the roles of Drax the Destroyer and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Both turned the roles down, and Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana, respectively, took them. (huh I wonder why Momoa turns down Drax. Maybe he was already in discussion for Aquaman)

Dolph Lundgren, then Mickey Rourke, were in talks to play Corin, Conan’s father, but Rourke turned it down to do Immortals (2011) before Ron Perlman was cast. (Oh, that reminds me, we need to watch Immortals)

After production on the film was completed, Jason Momoa (Conan) went on to star as Khal Drogo in the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011). Nonso Anozie, who played Conan’s shipmate Artus, would star as Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the second season of the series.

Ron Perlman, who plays Conan’s father Corin, previously voiced Conan himself in the video game Conan (2007) and the unreleased animated film “Conan: Red Nails”. (Oh … that’s a fun fact)

Kellan Lutz and Jared Padalecki were considered for the lead, which eventually went to Jason Momoa. (Noooooooo, my boy Lutz could have been Conan? And they didn’t just throw money at him?!)

The film was originally rumored to be a remake of the original Conan the Barbarian (1982). It was revealed that the film was not a remake, but a reboot, and it had been intended to be more true to the original stories by Robert E. Howard. (I knew it!)

The ship “Hornet” is a fairly accurate replica of a seventeenth or eighteenth century Chinese junk, especially with its three square sails. (Oh perhaps … only due to its three square sails? I’m skeptical about this IMDb reviewers ship authentication creds)

A “Conan” sequel was abandoned when this film did poorly at the box-office. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Conan in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982), announced he was to return in the role of Conan, which he last played in 1984, in a long-awaited second sequel “The Legend of Conan”, which will be a direct sequel to the 1982 film. (Wait … it wouldn’t be a sequel to Conan the Destroyer? Also this isn’t happening. Also, I think Conan the Conqueror was the most recent rumored title)

While pre-production, Conan was a temporary title for the film, until it was changed to Conan 3D. Finally, early in December 2010, the title was definitely changed to Conan the Barbarian, as was titled the 1982 film. (Conan 3D is such a bad name)

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Underclassman Preview

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

Underclassman (2005) – BMeTric: 51.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – UnderSklogins (D)

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

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

Get Ready To Be Schooled (A-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alone in the Dark Preview

Ruffles, our beloved dog lawyer, has been kidnapped by the assassin Aitch and Patrick and I are crushed. We end up going on a weeklong bender in beautiful Vancouver fighting anyone and everyone that gets in our way. Alone except for the booze, we are approached by an NCIS: New Orleans agent who looks suspiciously like mega-star Scott Bakula from the smash television hit Quantum Leap. “Hi, I’m Scott Bakula,” he says and offers us a deal. He will tell us where Ruffles is in exchange for help on a matter of national security. We know what that means: g-g-g-g-g-ghosts! In the end we relent… for Ruffles. When we go to where Ruffles is being held we are ambushed by the cops. Fortunately, Aitch swoops in with some wire-fu and explosions galore and frees us. Turns out Aitch is a lady assassin and is on our side after all. What a twist! She was actually keeping Ruffles safe from mega-star Scott Bakula. But wait, it turns out she’s not a “she” but in fact mega-star Scott Bakula himself! What a double twist! He peels off his Mission Impossible facemask as we look on in shock. “What are you doing here? You betrayed us,” we say. “Did I,” he says softly, “Or did I save you… sons?” What a triple twist! We hug mega-star Scott Bakula and know that there is one final thing to do before we start setting up that production company. “Still need some help fighting those g-g-g-g-g-ghosts, Dad?” To which he responds with a wink, “Hope you’re not afraid of the dark.” That’s right! We’re watching Alone in the Dark. When we watched In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale all those years ago we promised ourselves we would never watch another Uwe Boll movie. Mostly because he doesn’t make real movies, but rather financial scheme disguised as movies. But promises are meant to be broken, especially when we are looking for a producer that also produced that HoFer ItNotK:ADST… which pretty much limits us to Uwe Boll films. Well fuck us, right? Let’s go!

Alone in the Dark (2005) – BMeTric: 90.2

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(Legendary naturally. To just sit cold at 2.3 is just nuts. Would be one of the highest BMeTric films if people bothered to watch it. If that vote count doubled (and I’m not sure the rating would go up even if it did) it would exceed Meet the Spartans.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Paranormal investigator Slater tangles with a mad scientist in this unintelligible time-waster based on an Atari video game. The opening crawl is dopey and overlong; what follows is mind-numbingly awful. Casting Reid as an anthropologist is like assigning Curly Howard the role of neurosurgeon.

(Kind of an unnecessary dig at Tara Reid there. That was the obvious intention of the casting, to make it somewhat of a joke in and of itself. I’m glad I get an overlong and awful opening crawl though, I’ll revel in that a bit before my brain starts to scream.)

Trailer – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369226/videoplayer/vi4088725785?ref_=tt_ov_vi

(If you get this far the video above that is embedded is just a teaser, the link itself though is to IMDb which has the full trailer (youtube for some reason doesn’t). The CGI looks like complete garbage, the dialogue and action look terrible and blessedly ludicrous. It is pretty sweet I think.)

Directors – Uwe Boll – (Future BMT: House of the Dead; BloodRayne; Postal; Blackwoods; Bailout: The Age of Greed; BMT: Alone in the Dark; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director in 2009 for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Postal, and Tunnel Rats; Nominee for Worst Director in 2006 for Alone in the Dark; and in 2007 for BloodRayne; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Postal in 2009; Notes: He literally makes tax shelter films. He is quoted as saying “Maybe you know it, but it’s not so easy to finance movies in total. The reason I am able to do these kind of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany, and if you invest in a movie in Germany you get basically 50% back from the government.” This though can’t actually be one because it was filmed in Canada which violates the agreement.)

Writers – Elan Mastai (written by) – (Known For: What If; Future BMT: The Samaritan; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Notes: Just wrote his debut novel All Our Wrong Todays which is about time travel and seems to have gotten pretty excellent reviews actually.)

Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer (written by) – (BMT: Alone in the Dark; Notes: They have written several Uwe Boll films, although mostly the later ones which didn’t get real releases. Here is an article about the production.)

Actors – Christian Slater – (Known For: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; True Romance; Heathers; Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; The Wife; Zoolander; The Name of the Rose; Bullet to the Head; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; The Legend of Billie Jean; Broken Arrow; Very Bad Things; King Cobra; Bobby; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; La Cordillera; Pump Up the Volume; Untamed Heart; Future BMT: Hot Tub Time Machine 2; Soldiers of Fortune; Stranded; Playback; Sofia; The Ten Commandments; Hard Ca$h; Slipstream; Windtalkers; Igor; True Deception; Kuffs; Masked and Anonymous; Jimmy Hollywood; The Wizard; Mobsters; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Mindhunters; Bed of Roses; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Gleaming the Cube; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Hard Rain; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1992 for Mobsters, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Notes: Got his break in Heathers, and has been working consistently to a degree since. He’s now a part of the hit television program Mr. Robot.)

Tara Reid – (Known For: American Pie; The Big Lebowski; Cruel Intentions; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Josie and the Pussycats; Dr. T & the Women; Future BMT: My Boss’s Daughter; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; Urban Legend; Body Shots; Just Visiting; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Alone in the Dark in 2006; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for My Boss’s Daughter in 2004; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Just Married in 2004; Notes: Somewhat of a punchline these days unfortunately. An example of how quickly one’s career can crater when you don’t guard against taking on poor projects. Her starring turn in Sharknado kind of revitalized her career a bit, although perhaps ironically.)

Stephen Dorff – (Known For: Public Enemies; Blade; The Iceman; Zoolander; World Trade Center; Somewhere; The Gate; Felon; Cecil B. DeMented; I Shot Andy Warhol; Blood and Wine; Backbeat; The Motel Life; Brake; City of Industry; The Deal; Nanking; Zaytoun; Entropy; Future BMT: Cold Creek Manor; Leatherface; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III; Space Truckers; American Hero; Immortals; Steal; Deuces Wild; Shadowboxer; Tomorrow You’re Gone; Jackals; Botched; S.F.W.; Judgment Night; Den of Lions; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Feardotcom; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Notes: Will play a prominent role in HBO’s True Detective Season 3.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $5,178,569 (Worldwide: $10,442,808)

(Funny enough I had a whole thing written about how this film made money from tax breaks … but it probably actually couldn’t because it was filmed in Canada, not Germany. Which means … as crazy as it sounds, someone decided to make Alone in the Dark with actual financing. Naturally it was a complete bomb … congrats.)

#65 for the Creature Feature genre

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(There is a fascination with the creature feature, and there always has been I suppose. Jaws busted it out in the blockbuster, and then with CGI things like Anaconda made them huge in the late 90s. Alien, King Kong, Godzilla, Jurassic World … it really isn’t ever going to stop. A Sound of Thunder and Critters 2 made less money than this piece of garbage, think on that for a hot second.)

#332 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(This is having a moment naturally, although it is interesting that it isn’t doing exceptionally well financially. By which I mean: with IT and Get Out’s success I would have thought that the dollar per theater number would have just been huge. But really it seems like it has just returned to the position it was in in the late-90s weirdly. At least on average.)

#35 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(They really have been trying to make this a thing since it all began. It has actually ticked up a bit on the return recently, and the reviews are coming in … but then again, Marvel/Star Wars/ Disney just kind of consume everything as well, so I don’t really see much room for giant video game franchises. Maybe they’ll end up on television though which could actually be quite cool now that I think about it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 1% (1/120): Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it’s good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter.

(This is arguably the second worst reviewed film of all time. It kind of depends on how you define things. Our last movie, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever has less review (116), but all bad. The former BMT thriller Twisted has more reviews (136) but two are good. One missed call also has a perfect 0% with only 80 reviews as well. So depending on how you calculate things I think there is a strong argument this is the second worst reviewed film of all time.)

Poster – Alone in the Sklog (C+)

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(While cheap looking and with totally uninteresting font and color scheme, it’s not as bad as I would have expected. It also has some artistic touch that makes it a bit more interesting that it probably should be.)

Tagline(s) – Evil awakens. (D)

(Blah. Really hard to have an original and interesting two word tagline to a film. This is neither of those.)

Keyword(s) – battle; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.7 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 The Last Airbender (2010); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007);

(Given that I’ve seen Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (in theaters …) I am kind of one away from completing this list … that is pretty impressive. For the keyword battle!)

Notes – The lengthy opening text crawl was added after numerous test audience members said they were confused by the plot. (As I assume most such terrible beginnings are made)

After execs read the green draft of the shooting script, the film got an additional $10 million. Uwe Boll poured the money into special effects. (After they saw how real this tax shelter of a film was some rich German decided to evade several million more dollars worth of taxes … that is literally how this probably worked).

Was named worst film of 2005 by the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. (One of the last ones)

Every piece of body armor worn by the various extra foot soldiers during major battle scenes is paintball body protection made by JT USA. (Sigh)

Uwe Boll wanted Christian Bale and Jessica Alba for the leads. (I’m sure he wanted many a thing in this pipe dream of a film)

One of the two films that received an “F” CinemaScore from audiences upon their release in 2005, along with Wolf Creek (2005). (That is actually pretty awesome. Wolf Creek doesn’t even qualify)

Nuclear Blast spend $30,000 on the soundtrack rights to promote their bands.

Uwe Boll stated on various occasions that he regretted having Tara Reid in the film. (I’m sure she regretted being in the film)

The song that can be heard during the shooting sequence is “Ghost” by Mnemic.

Uwe Boll changed the ending from the original script to make a more ambiguous note.

A love scene between Christian Slater and Tara Reid featuring the song “Seven Seconds” by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry can be seen in the extended version. (Nooooooooo, I best be getting the extended version)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tara Reid)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Uwe Boll)

Behind Enemy Lines Preview

While under the control of the reverse Amnimals machine we are reduced to our basest instincts. Watching grown men panic about being gay is suddenly hilarious and it seems we may be doomed for all eternity to watch Meet the Spartans on an infinite loop. Noooooooo! Hungry from laughing so much, we order in what we crave: delicious $5 footlongs from Subway. The patented Subway flavor crystals hit our lizard brains and the Amnimals machine is destroyed. Hooray! We are back to our super twin ways! We slam a couple Bud Lights and chase down the Obsidian Dongle with our Budweiser super speed. With the Dongle in hand we take the quickest way out of there: our personal fighter jet. Hope everything works out and this is a totally incident free flight back to the US. Hmmm, should be alright to take this flight out of Greece straight through Bosnian airspace. What could go wrong? That’s right! We’re going Behind Enemy Lines for the final stop on the backpacking tour. This takes place in Bosnia & Herzegovina and will serve as a transition to the next cycle called Mind of a Madman, where we try to watch films produced by the same people as the films we’ve inducted in the BMT HoF. Behind Enemy Lines was produced by John Davis, the same person who made Norbit (believe it or not). I’m excited. Let’s go!

Behind Enemy Lines (2001) – BMeTric: 21.4

BehindEnemyLines_BMeT

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(A rating of 6.4 is actually quite good. It seems like it wants to end up on the other side of 6.5 even. The BMeTric successfully identifies this as borderline BMT, which matched with the Rotten Tomatoes score. A BMeTric of 20 is I think something like a 35 quartile, definitively below the median value.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A cocky naval airman is shot down behind enemy lines in Bosnia and his commanding officer is unable to rescue him because of political constraints. Action yarn delivers a lot of excitement, but a hyperactive camera may produce motion sickness in some viewers. The corny finale seems to have come from a lesser-grade Hollywood movie of decades past. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel and a direct-to-DVD sequel.

(If you look at John Moore’s note below I already am rather excited about that quick edit style that is being promised. At the time it might have actually been ahead of its time considering Jason Bourne wouldn’t come out until the next year.)

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

(This soundtrack is going to be off the chains, and the camera work does indeed seem bonkers judging from the trailer. I love Gene Hackman though. Straight up.)

Directors – John Moore – (Future BMT: The Omen; I.T.; Flight of the Phoenix; BMT: A Good Day to Die Hard; Max Payne; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Wow all of his films are below 40%. Irish, he is known for a quite edit style, which I’ll like to see showcased in this film.)

Writers – Jim Thomas and John Thomas (story) (as James Thomas) – (Known For: Predators; Predator; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Wild Wild West; Mission to Mars; Predator 2; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Brothers, that also wrote on the short lived television series Hard Time on Planet Earth which seems like an amazing one-and-done series. Critics “detested” it according to wikipedia.)

David Veloz (screenplay) – (Known For: Natural Born Killers; Permanent Midnight; BMT: Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Weirdly appeared in the news recently when he was quoted as saying Oliver Stone was “sexist and cruel” and Stone himself made news by defending Harvey Weinstein.)

Zak Penn (screenplay) – (Known For: Ready Player One; Avengers Assemble; The Incredible Hulk; X-Men: The Last Stand; X-Men 2; P.C.U.; The Grand; Incident at Loch Ness; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; Suspect Zero; Last Action Hero; BMT: Elektra; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Apparently wrote a first draft of Antz. Apparently in Europe P.C.U. is called Politically Correct Party Animals. That film is based on Penn’s experiences with the Eclectic Society of Wesleyan University.)

Actors – Gene Hackman – (Known For: Superman; The Royal Tenenbaums; Young Frankenstein; Unforgiven; Superman II; The Replacements; Bonnie and Clyde; Mississippi Burning; Crimson Tide; The Birdcage; Enemy of the State; The Firm; The French Connection; No Way Out; The Conversation; Antz; A Bridge Too Far; Wyatt Earp; Runaway Jury; The Quick and the Dead; Future BMT: Loose Cannons; Two of a Kind; All Night Long; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Welcome to Mooseport; The Chamber; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Considering he retired after Mooseport, we really could finish off his filmography really easily. Loose Cannons looks awful.)

Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Cars 3; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Inherent Vice; Cars; Wedding Crashers; The Royal Tenenbaums; Meet the Parents; Midnight in Paris; Zoolander; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Darjeeling Limited; Night at the Museum; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum 2; No Escape; Bottle Rocket; Marley & Me; She’s Funny That Way; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; How Do You Know; Little Fockers; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Father Figures; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; I Spy; Around the World in 80 Days; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy; Notes: There was a point in time in which Owen Wilson was doing kind of half-funny action-y films. Like Anaconda, The Haunting, and this. This can out right after Shanghai Noon though, so I wonder if it was just a holdover as Wilson was trying to find his niche.)

Gabriel Macht – (Known For: Love & Other Drugs; The Good Shepherd; The Recruit; The Object of My Affection; A Love Song for Bobby Long; Grand Theft Parsons; A Bag of Hammers; The Adventures of Sebastian Cole; Future BMT: The Spirit; Whiteout; Bad Company; Simply Irresistible; Middle Men; BMT: Because I Said So; American Outlaws; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Star of Suits and son of Stephen Macht who was a 70s / 80s character actor, especially for bit parts on television shows.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $58,856,790 (Worldwide: $91,753,202)

(Decent return. You’d think they were looking to get closer to $100 million domestic for an action feature at the time. Came out right after 9/11 though (November 2001), so I wonder if that dampened its return a bit.)

#15 for the Pilot / Aircraft genre

behindenemylines_pilot

(You might be tempted to try and match these to wars, but in reality it looks like it is just a wave pattern. The production of “airplane” movies just happened all at once every five years or so. Possibly it matches better with technology involving aviation filmmaking equipment? Left Behind and Stealth are the other BMT examples, and this made the most of any we’ve seen. The number one film, Pearl Harbor, does qualify though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 37% (48/130): The plot for Behind Enemy Lines is more jingoistic than credible, and the overload of flashy visual tricks makes the action sequences resemble a video game.

(Pretty close to 40%, but I am excited to see (1) slo-mo running, (2) the apparently ridiculous soundtrack, (3) jingoistic nonsense. Sounds like a nice Saturday afternoon honestly. Reviewer Highlight – A piece of junk. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper; I just love how terse it is, right to the point.)

Poster – Behind Enemy Sklogs (A+)

behind_enemy_lines

(That. Is. The. Best. I actually have goosebumps. I don’t even care that it has shit font. That’s an A+. Wooooooooooo! America!)

Tagline(s) – In War There Are Some Lines You Should Never Cross. (C-)

(Interestingly I don’t think “enemy lines” count as lines that should never be cross… maybe just not accidentally and without a plan/backup. This tagline is a sham! Also this is too long.)

Keyword(s) – navy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.3 Gulliver’s Travels (2010); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 42.6 Reptilicus (1961); 41.5 DeepStar Six (1989); 41.1 Battleship (2012); 40.9 Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014); 40.9 Tiptoes (2003); 40.1 Navy Seals (1990); 35.9 G.I. Jane (1997); 32.1 Airport ’77 (1977);

(What a strange group of films. I am quite excited for DeepStar Six though. Should be a very interesting, especially since it is a submarine film (shout out to Jamie’s podcast Submersion, which is all about submarine films).)

Notes – In the football scene, the filmmakers actually tried to have the catapult shuttle kick the football off. Unfortunately, the shuttle completely obliterated the ball, forcing a Navy Master Chief to just chuck the ball in the air for the desired shot. (hahahaha)

The film is based loosely on the experiences of USAF Capt. Scott O’Grady, who was shot down near the town of Mrkonjic Grad in northern Bosnia in June 1995 and was stranded in Serb-held territory for six days before being rescued by US Marines. O’Grady brought a lawsuit against 20th Century-Fox for damages to his character. He claims he didn’t curse as much and never disobeyed orders. (lol, they settled)

Director John Moore was nearly killed in the scene where the tank busts through the wall. He was pulled away by a stuntman just in time.

This is the first movie to feature the US Navy’s new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. (this is the kind of shit I come for right here)

Owen Wilson jokes that most of this movie was creating “a bunch of ways to make running dramatic.” (Almost definitely)

In the initial flyby scene of the aircraft carrier the deck crew can be seen standing in a long line across the deck. This is part of the beginning of flight operations as they search for any objects lying around on the flight deck (e.g. screws, bolts, trash, etc.) that could be sucked in the aircraft’s intake during takeoff.

The production made all of the snow out of paper. At the time of filming, it was the first winter in 104 years that it hadn’t snowed in Slovakia.

The whole town of Hac is a set, built for the movie

Coca-Cola did not pay for its product placement in the movie. (Good to know before I make fun of it in a week)

The US Navy ship used is the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which has been used in several other films. (yiiiiiissssssss)

None of the actors playing Serbians were actually Serbian; the producers said that they hired Croats as interns and instructors to teach the actors the Serbian language, because they couldn’t find any Serbs willing to work on the film due to perceived anti-Serb sentiment shown in the film. (Huh that is pretty interesting)

The SAM missile system shown in the film is the 9K35 Strela-10 firing the 9M37M missile. It uses an electro-optical guidance, laser proximity fusing and triple channel guidance system. However, its range is only 5 km and it can only intercept up to 3,500 metres (10,600 feet).

According to the beginning of the movie, the “Cincinnati Accords” ended the war in Bosnia. This treaty is loosely based on the real-life Dayton Agreement that ended the war in late 1995. Ironically, the “Cincinnati Accords” required NATO forces to withdraw from Bosnia, while the real-life Dayton Agreement allowed a large NATO force to be sent to Bosnia to help ensure the peace deal. (Wait … they made up a treaty?)

Some of the flashback footage that’s used is from the Bosnian War movie Savior (1998). (Nice, I love some stock footage facts)

One scene had to be changed because the Department of Defense objected to a two-star general like Reigart leaking information to the press. (I love that the studio gave in too, this kind of stuff seems to happen a lot)

The heat images of soldiers are actually one guy walking around holding a broomstick.

Gene Hackman came up with the idea for Reigart to smoke so he would have a weakness. (hmmmm I like that)

Most of the helicopters in the movie are from the Slovak Air Force, but the rescue choppers are American-made.

The producers had complete cooperation from the US Department of Defense. For one scene, they even turned around the aircraft carrier so the crew could get the right shot. (Explains the above note, unless you are tricky you need cooperation to get that shot)

The jet scraps are actually two old Soviet MiG 21s that the production bought for $5,000.

Meet the Spartans Preview

Fresh off our hike to Spain, Patrick and I are captured by the Absterlutely FerSher Industries goons and thrust into the Amnimals machine. Turns out it was all a ruse (what a twist!) and they didn’t want to help us get the Obsidian Dongle at all! Instead they wanted to hook our super big brains (nbd) into the machine to triangulate the location of the Dongle and grab it for themselves so they can control the world (told you the Obsidian Dongle was rad). “No way!” we say. Time to double cross and grab the Dongle right back. They didn’t count on our ninja skillz as we totally karate chop them in the wrist and get all up in that Dongle business. However, upon fleeing using our jet packs the goons reverse the Amnimals machine to brain drain us! Oh no! We are becoming extra dumb dumbs! As we crash land in Greece we know deep down what we must do with the Obsidian Dongle but keep getting distracted by the dumbest things possible. That’s right! We’re watching Meet the Spartans. Almost certainly one of the dumbest things we’ll ever watch this is also the highest BMeTric scoring films left for BMT and obviously appears on the BMT Calendar. Perfect for our Challenges entry in the cycle. We’ve avoided it for too long. Let’s go!

Meet the Spartans (2008) – BMeTric: 95.9

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(Even this gets a little bit of that sweet sweet regression to the mean. Given that there are now nearly 100K votes on IMDb I guess it isn’t a surprise that they aren’t all ones and twos. It must get a few threes thrown to it once in a while. This is just a shade below Epic Movie as the worst (best?) BMeTric of all time.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  The creators of Date Movie and Epic Movie concocted this moronic, product-placement-laden spoof of the homoeroticism of 300, aimed at adolescent boys. Plot involves King Leonidas of Sparta (Maguire) and his self-adoring, scantily clad warriors as they battle the Persians. Oodles of pop-cultural references are complete duds. Unrated version runs 87m.

(That run time pleases me, as does the kick ass hyphen game from Leonard, and that this is the second BOMB of the cycle. Funny enough looking around I think this is only the second BOMB in something like eight months, although that is slightly less clear. He is certainly precious with them.)

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

(Oooooof the Britney Spears part. That actress plays like four or five different parts and was in over one hundred MadTv episodes (that makes so much sense …). The film looks aggressively dumb and not funny. Why? Why are we doing this?)

Directors – Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer – (Future BMT: Disaster Movie; Date Movie; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Best Night Ever; BMT: Epic Movie; Meet the Spartans; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 2009 for Disaster Movie, and Meet the Spartans; and in 2011 for Vampires Suck; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2008 for Epic Movie; in 2009 for Disaster Movie, and Meet the Spartans; and in 2011 for Vampires Suck; Notes: Over a year ago it was rumored that they were working on a Star Wars spoof … I kind of hope it happens. It does have an IMDb page. So I think the title will ultimately change, seems way too close to the movies that Craig Moss produces like this and this.)

Writers – Jason Friedberg  and Aaron Seltzer (written by) – (Known For: Scary Movie; Future BMT: Disaster Movie; Date Movie; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 2; Spy Hard; Scary Movie 3; Best Night Ever; BMT: Epic Movie; Meet the Spartans; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 2009 for Disaster Movie, and Meet the Spartans; and in 2011 for Vampires Suck; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2008 for Epic Movie; in 2009 for Disaster Movie, and Meet the Spartans; and in 2011 for Vampires Suck; Notes: Recently they’ve been brought up on multiple sites to slam Ready Player One. The comparison is mainly about the sheer amount of product placement they use.)

Actors – Sean Maguire – (Known For: Waterland; The Dukes; BMT: Meet the Spartans; Notes: After this film he turned down Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, a British show, because he wanted to be taken more seriously. He reconsidered at the behest of his agent. He played Robin Hood in Once Upon a Time.)

Kevin Sorbo – (Known For: Soul Surfer; Let There Be Light; Future BMT: God’s Not Dead; Bitch Slap; Big Fat Important Movie; Kull the Conqueror; The Kings of Mykonos; BMT: Meet the Spartans; Notes: Hercules. Raised in Minnesota he’s done a number of Christian films recently. He claims he isn’t overly religious, although he endorsed Donald Trump for president saying that “Jesus would have voted for Trump”.)

Carmen Electra – (Known For: Scary Movie; Starsky & Hutch; Get Over It; Mr 3000; I Want Candy; Future BMT: Disaster Movie; Date Movie; Pledge This!; My Boss’s Daughter; Scary Movie 4; Dirty Love; Good Burger; Bedtime Stories; Uptown Girls; Christmas in Wonderland; Full of It; Perfume; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: Epic Movie; Meet the Spartans; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress in 2007 for Date Movie, and Scary Movie 4; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2005 for Starsky & Hutch; in 2006 for Dirty Love; in 2008 for Epic Movie; and in 2009 for Disaster Movie, and Meet the Spartans; Notes: I knew her mostly from MTV’s Singled Out, but her career is nuts. Fronted for a rap group in LA until being discovered by Prince, then toured with him as his opening act. Ended up getting her big break on Baywatch.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $38,233,676 (Worldwide: $84,646,831)

(Solid return. Not a surprise they produced a sequel. Oh, what’s that, you think they didn’t make a sequel? Well, at one point a wikipedia page existed for Meet the Spartans 2, which now redirects to Disaster Movie. It is almost definite that they realized that making fun of 300 didn’t work any more so they transitioned the planned sequel into something more fresh. Still, not surprising that they continued on their merry way with the franchise.)

#20 for the Comedy – Spoof genre

meetthespartans_spoof

(This came at a peak for the Friedberg / Seltzer brand of spoof. Subsequently the genre has well and truly died I think. Fifty Shades of Black was the last real example and it made so little money I don’t think the Wayans brothers are going to do anymore. It really depends on how you define things like Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Then again, that didn’t make much money either. Given the success of the Wet Hot American Summer television series, I wonder if we’ll see a few more TV examples in the coming years.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 2% (1/48): A tired, unfunny, offensive waste of time, Meet the Spartans scrapes the bottom of the cinematic barrel.

(Amazing. That one good review basically says “don’t expect much and this isn’t literally the worst thing you’ve ever seen” .. Reviewer Highlight: What’s the point of making a parody that’s dumber than the stuff it parodies? – Gene Seymour, Newsday)

Poster – Meet the Sklogans (F)

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(Designed like a heat seeking missile aimed at me not wanting to watch this movie. Nope. Pass.)

Tagline(s) – The Bigger the Hit, The Harder They Fall (C+)

(Oh geez. This is on the level of “From the producers of..” type self-referential taglines that I don’t like. Doesn’t tell me much about the film other than that it is a spoof… which everyone knows. Though it is at least a little clever, so climbs out of the basement.)

Keyword(s) – greece; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 51.0 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003); 49.0 Mortdecai (2015); 48.7 Hercules Reborn (2014); 47.8 Alexander (2004); 41.1 Clash of the Titans (2010); 40.8 Wrath of the Titans (2012); 40.5 Hercules (1983); 40.2 Ben-Hur (2016);

(Sigh nothing will ever beat it. It will be stuck on the Mapstreet’s Map Alright! Sklogpacking Across Europe forever and ever. Good news is Alexander will be amazing to watch I think.)

Notes – Not screened for critics. (duh)

The entire movie was shot in a week. (WHAT)

The film led Sean McGuire to be cast as the title character of the short-lived fantasy comedy series “Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire”, which was discontinued after 1 season due to it’s mixed reviews.

The narrator introduces Xerxes as looking like the fat guy from Borat, he’s played by Ken Davitian who played the fat guy in Borat.

To date (2011), one of two movies written and directed by both Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, not to have the word “movie” in the title. The other is Vampires Suck (2010).

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Carmen Electra)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer)

Assassin’s Creed Preview

Having infiltrated the super secret terrorist HQ in Budapest under the guise of the world famous Bad Movie Twins, Patrick and I attempt to locate what we were sent to recover: the obsidian dongle (bum, bum, bum). Trust us, this technological wonder is bad news and we totes gotta get it before the bad guys do or else… something bad for sure. In a stroke of bad luck my mutant disease takes hold and I reveal myself to be a bad guy working in league with the terrorists (what a twist!). Patrick knows the real me and helps me understand that I was never a mutant at all. That to overcome the disease all I had to do was believe in myself, for the nonmutant was within me the whole time! Hooray! With me now cured and our twin powers combined we handily defeat the terrorists, but at the last moment the obsidian dongle slips through our grasps. With hope seemingly lost we are approached by a representative of Absterlutely FerSher Industries. They know the way to finally rid the world of the dongle as long as we are willing to make Spain the next stop on this crazy hike we call life. That’s right! We’re watching Assassin’s Creed for the Fantasy entry in the cycle. Set in Spain both past and future, this video game adaptation did anything but break the video game curse. Despite the high level talent and effort put forth they still ended up with shit. Bad for them, good for BMT. Let’s go!

Assassin’s Creed (2016) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Wow, opening near 9.0 is hilarious. Dropped below 6.0 at this point which is definitely where I would have expected it as this point. Loving the VOD bump, it has been a while old friend.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Unlike the actual video game, “Assassin’s Creed” isn’t ridiculous and fun, but rather ridiculous and turgid. … there’s no way to translate the hands-on action of a video game to the silver screen, so many video game adaptations either have no plot, or get bogged down in blase set-up.

(Yup. Well … no plot is a stretch. But it is either a ton of kind of boring set up (Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li’s plot is basically all set up and no fighting for example) or really ridiculous stuff constantly (Super Mario Bros. or Silent Hill: Revelations come to mind). They have plots, they are just often boring or ridiculous with no inbetween. The more successful ones, like Silent Hill, tend to reign in the ridiculous and don’t get super bogged down in the details. Sounds like they got bogged down in the details here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfJVoF5ko1Y

(I think it doesn’t help that a film like this just … isn’t really up my alley. Like the fight choreography looks overdone and a little tired at this point. I can kind of see the seams of the film come apart a bit and see the Prince-of-Persia-with-better-production-quality showing through. That isn’t even necessarily bad … it just doesn’t feel like the first video game film to actually be “good”. Also feels like it is going to be dark. Hate the music, but whatever. I think I hated the trailer when it came out too. I never played the games, which might also be a bit unhelpful.)

Directors – Justin Kurzel – (Known For: Macbeth; The Snowtown Murders; The Turning; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Australian. His brother is a music composer and often works with him on projects, and he has four movies in production at this point, which is pretty crazy.)

Writers – Michael Lesslie (screenplay by) – (Known For: Macbeth; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Both him and Kurzel worked with Fassbender on Macbeth which is why they were chosen. Next on the docket: Hamlet.)

Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tower Heist; Future BMT: The Transporter Refueled; Allegiant; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Accepted; BMT: New York Minute; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: They do a bit more television now, including a television movie called The French Detective. It is based on a series of “bookshots” by James Patterson … I’m officially intrigued, although when did we start called short stories “bookshots”?)

Corey May, Jade Raymond, and Patrice Désilets (based on the video game series created by) (uncredited) – (BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Hugely successful video game series with, at this point, 10 main series games (20 in total). Jade Raymond was a programmer for what I consider to be the best online trivia game ever made: Sony Online Entertainment’s Trivial Pursuit Online!)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Alien: Covenant; Inglourious Basterds; X-Men: Apocalypse; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Prometheus; The Light Between Oceans; 12 Years a Slave; X: First Class; Steve Jobs; Shame; Song to Song; Macbeth; A Dangerous Method; Eden Lake; Jane Eyre; Centurion; Frank; Haywire; Hunger; Future BMT: The Counselor; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: We just saw him in The Snowman. He is apparently going out with Alicia Vikander. They are a regular video game acting couple!)

Marion Cotillard – (Known For: Inception; The Dark Knight Rises; Allied; Contagion; Midnight in Paris; Big Fish; Public Enemies; Macbeth; Rust and Bone; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Two Days, One Night; Le Petit Prince; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; La Vie en Rose; Rock’n Roll; It’s Only the End of the World; The Immigrant; Blood Ties; A Very Long Engagement; Love Me If You Dare; Future BMT: Nine; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Very impressive resume considering she only has one more qualified film left. Cast in the upcoming Dr. Dolittle film.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Justice League; Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Beautiful Creatures; Lolita; Die Hard with a Vengeance; Their Finest; High-Rise; The Man Who Knew Infinity; The Mission; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; Casanova; Race; Appaloosa; Damage; Dead Ringers; The Merchant of Venice; Night Train to Lisbon; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; The Man in the Iron Mask; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; La corrispondenza; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Well established theatrical actor who grew up on the Isle of Wight. Currently, still, Alfred in the recent Batman films.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $54,647,948 (Worldwide: $240,942,515)

(Not bad worldwide, although given the budget maybe a disappointment? But top 10 video game adaptation … they couldn’t have really hoped for more than $100 million domestic I would think.)

#18 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

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(Huh … I completely forgot about This Means War which juuuuust barely beats this film out for the highest grossing Hitman film we’ve seen for BMT. The giant peak is Pulp Fiction, and these days the per theater average looks a bit down. I wish Wanted qualified for BMT, that film is just god awful.)

#9 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Naturally, perfect timing from BMT with Rampage releasing this week. Tomb Raider and Rampage this year are very likely to be the two best critically received video game films ever. They are kicking it up a notch, and given The Rock’s current hotness I imagine Rampage has a decent shot at a top three gross for the genre. Which will open the floodgates even more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (35/192): Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.

(Joyless doesn’t sound very fun. Other reviews call it “over-cast” which is meaningless … except I think they are going for some “joyless” pub of sorts with “overcast”? Maybe, that would be kind of bonkers and I kind of love it now. Reviewer Highlight: Assassin’s Creed mistakenly assumes that the plot is the most important element of its source material. Actually, it’s the least. – Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly (I actually agree with this, a lot of video game movies fall into the trap of trying to deliver too much fan service via the plot, when making a new story is probably the best way to go).)

Poster – Assassin’s Sklog (B-)

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(Blah, you need better coloring, bro. Embrace that blood red and wash out Fassbender’s coloring and you might have something. Like the framing and the font, but comes off bland and amateurish as it is.)

Tagline(s) – Your destiny is in your blood (B-)

(God damn! That would work amazing with the Sklog poster with “Your destiny is in your sklog.” Otherwise this is real close to not meaning anything. Probably better than it actually sounds… which is real awkward. My brain doesn’t like it.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 BloodRayne (2005); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.0 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.2 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 72.8 Far Cry (2008); 69.7 Wing Commander (1999);

(I always forget we “haven’t seen” Mario Bros. … we have. Many times. Just not for BMT yet. It’ll come up though. This is a sublime set of movies, just a murderer’s row from top to bottom.)

Notes – The film features the highest free fall performed by a stuntman in almost 35 years. The stuntman Damien Walters performed a free fall from the height of 125 feet (38 meters), which lasted almost 3 seconds with a 61 mph impact speed. (Exciting. I appreciate the effort for practical effects)

Michael Fassbender and Ariane Labed did 95% of the fights in the film themselves.

Cal’s father, Joseph is played by Brendan Gleeson and the young Joseph is played by Brian Gleeson – who is actually Brendan’s son. (Hmmmmm. I kind of prefer janky CGI honestly).

Ubisoft gave the prop makers a detailed list of every weapon ever made for the games that they could use as a guide.

The Assassins costumes took 2-3 months to make and were all hand-crafted. There are eight versions of each costume, with an entire costume team devoted to each of the Assassins. (Kind of love the detail here actually)

80% of the film, including stunts, extras and locations, were shot on camera, without using CGI.

This movie is based on a game with the same name. The actor Michael Fassbender had never played any of the nine games in the series until just before filming commenced; he didn’t even know that the games existed until he was hired by Ubisoft. (HA)

As one of the producers, Michael Fassbender lobbied to have Justin Kurzel directing the movie following their work on Macbeth (2015). Fassbender also chose Marion Cotillard to be his co-star again. (Yes, obviously, although I think they might have needed more experiences screenwriters on the job).

Marion Cotillard told French magazine Studio Ciné Live in May 2016, that when she was on the set of Mal de pierres (2016), she received a new version of the script of Assassin’s Creed and discovered that her character and by extension the film, no longer corresponded to what she had loved. So she called director Justin Kurzel and he fully agreed with her disagreements. For fifteen days, Kurzel, Michael Fassbender and Cotillard reworked the script. (Huh, and yet none of them have a writing credit which is interesting).

In the Assassin’s Creed video game series the present-day character, Desmond, has a scar on the right side of his lip. This same scar can also be seen on the assassin from the first game, Altair, as well as the assassin from Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Ezio. Coincidentally, Michael Fassbender also has a similar scar on the same side of his upper lip. (Coooooool)

The historical sequences set in 15th century Spain were shot in Spanish language. According to Justin Kurzel, they tried to do them in English first, but the decision about Spanish was too obvious and good, and it adds an exoticness and richness to the film. In the games, however, these sequences were in English, as well as all the modern-day scenes. Which was explained by the presence of built-in translator in the Animus machine.

While portraying Aguilar de Nerha, the protagonist of the past time-line, Michael Fassbender wore brown contact lenses, creating an alienating effect to the outward world and achieving the subtle difference between him and Callum Lynch, the protagonist of the present time-line. (Jeez louise. I need to curate these notes, but I kind of love them).

Michael Fassbender actively participated in the film’s post-production, including editing. (I hope he didn’t do the same with The Snowman heeeeeeeeeeeeeyooooooooo)

Kurzel didn’t want the movie to feel like a superhero film, he wanted to embrace “what it is to be human” through practical effects and parkour-intensive stunts. (Honestly … that’s a little weird. To use practical effects to make something NOT feel like something? Not sure I agree).

Originally, it was going to be 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was then shortened to only 1 hour and 48 minutes. (Wooooooof, not a ton of confidence there)

At the end of the film when the templers all meet up. The building they are in is the United Grand Lodge of England, the building is the main lodge for Freemasonry in the U.K. (That’s a fun fact).

I Spy Preview

I Spy (2002) – BMeTric: 51.3

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(Very nice. Since I, Spy came out relatively long ago (relative to the internet archive at least) the most interesting thing to look at was probably whether the rating was still trending towards the mean with extra votes … not. This is a below-average film through and through. Nothing super special (sub-5.0), but decidedly below average.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In-name-only reincarnation of the smart 1960s TV show (which starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby). Here, Wilson is an inept NSA operative who uses socky prizefighter Murphy as his cover to locate a secret weapon in Budapest. An object lesson in bad screenwriting, with an incoherent story and characters that make no sense; only the occasional comic riffs by Murphy and Wilson keep this from a complete disaster.

(TIL the difference between “object lesson” and “abject lesson”, good to know. Great semi-colon game by Leonard (as usual). I’m quite excited to see the “inept” NSA operative. These says that trope has been replaced by the bumbling pro. See: Brooklyn 99 where the very un-serious Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) seems bumbling, but is in fact an excellent detective. So will be nice to harken back to the bumbling fool paradigm.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma53Kps06cM

(Hmmm … even the trailer looks dull. I kind of like the style though. Murphy really did have a strange sort of arrogant charm back in the day, and despite the early 2000s terrible styles it still kind of looks cool in a weird way. The CGI looks dumb though.)

Directors – Betty Thomas – (Known For: Private Parts; The Brady Bunch Movie; Doctor Dolittle; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; John Tucker Must Die; 28 Days; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Part of Second City she was a regular on Hill Street Blues back in the day. She’s done a bunch of television movies more recently.)

Writers – Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin (characters) (as Morton Fine) – (Known For: The Pawnbroker; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Original writers for the original show. Both have been dead for nearly 30 years.)

Marianne Wibberley and Cormac Wibberley (story & screenplay) – (Known For: National Treasure; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; The 6th Day; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; G-Force; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Bad Boys II; BMT: I Spy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2004; Notes: Married writing team. Cormac is the son of Leonard Wibberley who wrote the Mouse That Roared and its subsequent sequels two of which were made into rather cooky British films in the 60s)

Jay Scherick and David Ronn (screenplay) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; I Spy; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2008 for Norbit; and in 2018 for Baywatch; Notes: Were at one point producers and writers on Spin City. Otherwise they are on quite the recent streak of films. Good for them, go get yo money.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Coming to America; Shrek; Shrek 2; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Tower Heist; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Life; 48 Hrs.; Dreamgirls; The Nutty Professor; Beverly Hills Cop II; Bowfinger; Doctor Dolittle; Boomerang; Imagine That; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; Pluto Nash; I Spy; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Recent reports put him as the third triplet in the Twins sequel that has been announced. Hopefully Arnold’s recent health issues won’t waylay this.)

Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; Cars 3; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Cars; The Royal Tenenbaums; Inherent Vice; Wedding Crashers; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Darjeeling Limited; Midnight in Paris; Zoolander; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum; Bottle Rocket; Night at the Museum 2; No Escape; Marley & Me; The Cable Guy; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; Little Fockers; How Do You Know; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Father Figures; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; I Spy; Around the World in 80 Days; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy; Notes: There were some question recently about why he isn’t in the new Wes Anderson film, but I never really heard the whole story. Can’t wait to see Father Figures though.)

Famke Janssen – (Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men; The Wolverine; X-Men 2; Taken; GoldenEye; X-Men: The Last Stand; The Faculty; Rounders; Lord of Illusions; Celebrity; Jack of the Red Hearts; The Wackness; Love & Sex; Made; The Gingerbread Man; City of Industry; Down the Shore; Turn the River; Noose; Future BMT: The Ten; Once Upon a Time in Venice; House on Haunted Hill; Hide and Seek; Taken 3; Deep Rising; Taken 2; Don’t Say a Word; This Is Your Death; Circus; The Chameleon; BMT: I Spy; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: She’s a big animal rights activist. She was also very critical about her character of Jean Grey being recast for the new X-Men films, annoyed by them allowing Jackman and Stewart to appear and age gracefully while tending to replace women … kind of a fair criticism to be honest.)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $33,561,137 (Worldwide: $50,732,945)

(Bomb. $70 million … actually makes sense. This was right around when Murphy’s salary would have been sinking films that could have otherwise pulled in a modest return. This film should have had a $50 million budget maybe, considering the action sequences.)

#54 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Ha. Really right at the peak of the genre. The Tuxedo came out almost at the exact same time as well, along with Shanghai Knights the next year. Jackie Chan bringeth the genre up, and then it promptly crashed. Go figure. The highest grossing film we’ve seen for BMT is Another 48 hrs.)

#18 for the Comedy – Spy genre

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(They killed this genre. It also probably also didn’t help that Bond went on a hiatus in 2002. With the rise of Bourne (a less … humorous spy thriller) the comedy possibilities probably went out of the window. Get Smart and then Spy probably brought the genre back … but I think it is dead again. I just don’t really see why a spy based comedy would be interesting at the moment.)

#67 for the Spy genre

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(Again completely died with the (terrible) Die Another Day. People like the Mission Impossible films at the moment, they kind of have that ridiculous Fast & the Furious vibe to it with the charismatic Tom Cruise lending it a bit more cred than, say, Transformers in the Action genre. The Tuxedo is, amazingly, the highest grossing BMT film in the series. Although high grossing spy films don’t tend to be terrible.)

#62 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(After the initial 90s swell (with BMT classics like The Beverly Hillbillies) this has been reduced to a kind of dull background noise in the releases every year. Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples, and The Avengers made just about the same amount of money … rough.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (21/133): Insipid and mirthless, I-Spy bares little resemblance to the TV series that inspired it.

(Big worgs Rotten Tomatoes. Mirthless is the name of the game in bad comedies though, and I’ve heard this is basically laugh free. Reviewer Highlight: As inept as big-screen remakes of The Avengers and The Wild Wild West. – Mark Rahner (Seattle Times) … fat chance, that is impossible.)

Poster – I Sklog (B+)

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(While I like the artistic spacing, font, and how they’ve used colors to wash out the “human” color palette, I find something about it a little cheap. Like I could have made this poster in my free time.)

Tagline(s) – Attitude meets espionage (B)

(Hmmmm, attitude meets espionage… is this a play on something? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get from mashing these two words together. Seems like a potential classic, sounds-like-a-tagline tagline… that isn’t really a tagline. But it is short and sweet and does what it meant to do.)

Keyword(s) – stealth; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.8 10,000 BC (2008); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 51.3 I Spy (2002); 47.3 American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987); 46.8 American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990); 46.6 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997); 22.1 Secret in Their Eyes (2015); 21.3 Surviving the Game (1994); 19.2 Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); 18.4 Act of Valor (2012);

(So … the entire American Ninja series? Tomorrow Never Dies, sadly, doesn’t qualify. But it would be nice to see some shitty ninja films. I feel like we still don’t do enough martial arts and western films)

Notes – At the request of director Betty Thomas, actor Darren Shahlavi lost thirty pounds so as to be the same size as Eddie Murphy during the boxing scenes. (what)

Actor-comedian Will Ferrell was the voice of American President George W. Bush when speaking to Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) over the telephone. (That makes sense, given the SNL connection)

The original / earlier draft(s) of the movie’s screenplay had the character of Kelly Robinson, who was later cast with Eddie Murphy, as a basketball player, but due to Murphy’s film industry stature, it was decided to change the character’s sport to boxing, and the character to a boxer. However, the dialogue interchange about the Harlem Globetrotters remained in the script and the finished film. (Wow, that … seems like an oversight)

Initially, star Owen Wilson admitted he was a little nervous about performing opposite comedy legend Eddie Murphy, who was one of his comic idols. Wilson said: “This is the first time I’ve had to work with someone who is so incredible at improvisation. At first, it was difficult to keep up with Eddie. But slowly I started playing off his riffs. I don’t know if that’s what people mean by on-screen chemistry. To me it’s a feeling that you are really in a groove with what the other guy is doing.” (This is an anecdote from a late night appearance for sure)

The characters from the I Spy (1965) source TV series are reversed in this movie version. In the original television series, Kelly Robinson (not Alexander Scott) was the white guy and the athlete, while Alexander Scott was the black guy and the non-athlete. However, in both cases though, the Bill Cosby / Eddie Murphy character was a less experienced spy than the Robert Culp / Owen Wilson character.

The palace of Malcolm McDowell’s character Arnold Gundars, is actually the “Hungarian Royal Palace”, which is also sometimes known as “The Buda Castle”, it having being for centuries home to a number of generations of the royalty of Hungary. (I’ve been there)

The canine in the final scene was actually Famke Janssen’s dog who had the name of “Licorice”. (Great dog name)

Like actor Owen Wilson, actress Famke Janssen got to spar with comedy star Eddie Murphy on screen, a process Janssen, like Wilson, also found daunting at the outset. She said: “There’s a scene in which Eddie and I first meet and he just kept tossing lines at me and I kept going with it. It was really scary, but once I got used to it, a lot of fun as well.” (Whoever was filling up this notes section had just seen or read a giant profile on the film)

The acronym “BNS” stood for The Bureau of National Security. (coooool, I do love facts though)

[NOTE: There are a bunch of notes here which is basically a long profile on the production … just go read the IMDb notes or, better yet, find the source article if you want to learn about it]

In the source I Spy (1965) television series, Bill Cosby portrayed a tennis pro and, for a time, the filmmakers considered making the character of Kelly Robinson in this movie version an international tennis champion. Basketball was also considered, though producer Jenno Topping considered both sports too visually confining for the purposes of a big screen story on an international scale. It was star Eddie Murphy who suggested that his character of Kelly Robinson be a championship boxer, a sport to which he was well suited. Murphy said at the time: “I’ve done some boxing and my father was a boxer, so I already had a background in the sport.” Murphy trained in boxing for several months prior to this picture’s production. Director Betty Thomas said: “Having an actor with a natural ability for a sport was a real asset. It opened up the film in a much more exciting way than tennis or basketball. Having Eddie getting the blows and making the hits had a lot more impact than creating shots in which I would have to rely on stunt doubles.” Stunt Co-ordinator Brent Woolsey added: “Eddie was so coordinated that it made the boxing sequences much easier to execute.” (I left this in though. Pretty interesting that Murphy was boxing at the time).

Principal photography began on 12th September 2001, in Budapest, Hungary. Taking a cue from the original I Spy (1965) television series, producer Andrew G. Vajna decided that this movie version should be set in an “exotic location to create a sense of real excitement in the audience”. Vajna added: “We haven’t seen Eastern Europe used much in action films, especially Hungary. Budapest has been used in movies before, but never as Budapest. It has generally been used as a substitute for Paris or some other European capital. So for the audience it was an entirely new experience. And it just so happens that Hungary is my home.” (Awesome, I do love this fact as well. I’m learning so much about this film … why can’t all of the notes be like this actually? This is super interesting stuff).

The grounds of the Buda Castle were so extensive that the production’s first and second units were filming on either side of the castle at the same time. Producer Mario Kassar said: “It was an amazing feat. In some ways it was surprising that we didn’t trip over each other. Action is taking place on one side, and on the other [director] Betty [Thomas] is tackling all the great character stuff.” (It is enormous … did I mention I’ve been there? Oh I did? Well I went there and just wanted to say I agree with the above statement).

No stunt or acting doubles were used in the scenes where Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) is seen boxing.

First Assistant Director Richard Graves engineered the prototype model of the Switchblade fighter plane from piecing together bits and parts from his son’s plastic jet model kits.

According to the IFC website, “the movie was originally supposed to take place in Prague [in the Czech Republic]. Instead, the movie shot on location in Budapest, Hungary, because the film’s producer, Andrew G. Vajna, lived there” and “was eager to use her hometown as the setting because she had never seen it depicted in a Hollywood movie before.” (Prague would have worked as well. It is pretty rare in films it turns out, no big bad films are explicitly set there as far as we can tell).

It was Eddie Murphy’s idea to sing Marvin Gaye’s famous song “Sexual Healing” for the romantic scene where Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) romances Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen). In this sequence, Murphy vocally coaches Wilson the words like in the classic story “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

The four short DVD behind the scenes documentaries about the making of this motion picture are entitled: I Spy: The Slugafest (2003); I Spy: Cloak & Camouflage (2003); I Spy: Gadgets & Gizmos (2003); and I Spy: Schematics & Blueprints (2003). (Which is where I assume all of these notes came from)

The name of the title that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) held was “Super Middleweight Champion”. (These guys have so many facts on here)

The name of the stolen military fighter-plane which had a cloaking device was the “Switchblade”.

The name of the sporting tournament league that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) competed in was the “Global Boxing League”.

Reportedly, the ending was re-shot Monte Carlo after test audiences stated that they wanted to know what happened to Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen) after she betrayed both Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) and Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson). (Perfecto. We get to literally go from Monte Carlo to Budapest).

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Eddie Murphy)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel