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As Clutch Guthrie shoots through the exhaust pipe and into Fort Knox he can’t help but think that this is pretty rad, even for him. The pipe soon turns into a luge and he is slipping and sliding his way to a gold medal when he tumbles out and into a room full of gold. But, wait… he’s not alone. In the middle of the vault is a small man dressed in a robe. “What thuuuuu…” he says and the man turns around, startled by his presence. But it isn’t a man at all. It’s a smoking hot woman! “Hey lady, I don’t know what you are thinking, but I need this gold to free the Vice President of the United States. First in line for succession. Ever heard of him?” Clutch says, grabbing for a bar of gold. “Well not all that glitters is gold and not all that’s gold is yours, bub,” she says, “And besides, I need it for something far more important: to save the whole goddamn world.” Clutch squints and asks her to explain. A mastermind who goes by the moniker Wishmaster has created a doomsday device. It’s powered by gold and he’s coming this way to get all the fuel he needs to (bum bum bum) melt the polar ice caps. “So you see, back off, bub.” Clutch shakes his head at the tall tale, “ I knew I should have listened to my mama and never talked to strangers.” But just at that moment The Wishmaster busts into the room, alarms blaring.
Patrick looks up again at that piece of shit hack Manfred Long. At this point he had entered a full blown quickening due to the power of the Dongle he possesses. Yet the page in front of him remains blank. That’s right! We are going deep in on the 90’s genre de jour erotic thriller and watching Never Talk to Strangers, the Banderas-De Mornay joint that everyone totally remembers for sure. Let’s go!
Jamie suddenly turns to Kyle. “I have an idea. Manfred is using the Dongle as a Wishmaster… and I think we might be able to piggyback on the power and make it our wishmaster, too. I just need one thing,” Kyle nods for him to continue, “Cover me.” That’s right! We are definitely doing a Playboy feature film (the inaugural one, in fact), but only because it had a video game adaptation and that’s fun… for no other reason. Let’s go!
Never Talk to Strangers (1995) – BMeTric: 39.0; Notability: 20
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 10.4%; Notability: top 26.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 11.5%; Higher BMeT: Showgirls, Vampire in Brooklyn, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Fair Game, Congo, Jury Duty, Batman Forever, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Theodore Rex, Tank Girl, The Babysitter, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Judge Dredd, Nine Months, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Scarlet Letter, Operation Dumbo Drop, Jade, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Man of the House, and 6 more; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Cutthroat Island, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Virtuosity, Showgirls, Four Rooms, Stuart Saves His Family, Tank Girl, Panther, Jade, Money Train, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Assassins, Jefferson in Paris, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Hackers, Canadian Bacon, Just Cause, and 46 more; Lower RT: The Big Green, Senior Trip, Delta of Venus, Jury Duty, Theodore Rex, Top Dog, The Walking Dead, Born to Be Wild, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Hunted, It Takes Two, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, The Pebble and the Penguin, Bushwhacked, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Vampire in Brooklyn, Fair Game, Canadian Bacon, The Scarlet Letter, Jade, and 6 more; Notes: Low 5.0s on IMDb is really rather low, especially for a film I’ve basically never heard of. Everything else about the credit checks out, mostly middling, although a surprisingly low Rotten Tomatoes score.
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Criminal psychologist falls for a charming, mysterious stranger, while at the same time unexplained, terrifying incidents begin occurring. Standard-issue thriller would be more at home on television. De Mornay also coexecutive-produced.
(Interesting call on the television note. I’ve felt that way about a few films recently. That they feel more like a television movie from the late-90s or a failed pilot than a theatrical release. Very interesting.)
(I’ll say this: I’ve watched this film already. Now, watch that trailer and realize that for the most part I never once in a million years thought Tony was the “bad guy” in the film. Not once. The trailer plays it up like “ooooooo, what a mystery, this mysterious guy!” … Yeah, it isn’t really. The film is really rather straightforward. That trailer makes it look a lot more complex than it actually is.)
Directors – Peter Hall – (Known For: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Three Into Two Won’t Go; Perfect Friday; The Homecoming; Work Is a 4-Letter Word; Akenfield; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: A big play director (and that’s why he was an odd choice for this film) in England. Got a special Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1999 for his general contribution to theater. Is the father of Rebecca Hall.)
Writers – Lewis A. Green – (BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: I am fascinated by screenwriting in general. To put this in perspective: He’s written 24 films, sold over a dozen, but only has four writing credits in general. I assume that is not abnormal, one of six screenplays actually getting through production to a credit on IMDb.)
Jordan Rush – (Known For: Club Fed; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Wrote an episode of Coach, and otherwise was a founder of TuneIn Entertainment Inc.)
Actors – Rebecca De Mornay – (Known For: Wedding Crashers; Flipped; Risky Business; Identity; American Reunion; Backdraft; The Hand That Rocks the Cradle; Lords of Dogtown; Runaway Train; I Am Wrath; Mother’s Day; One from the Heart; And God Created Woman; Testament; Thick as Thieves; The Trip to Bountiful; Apartment 1303 3D; Dealers; Music Within; Beauty and the Beast; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; Raise Your Voice; Guilty as Sin; The Slugger’s Wife; Feds; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for And God Created Woman in 1989; Notes: Been in a few television shows more recently like John from Cincinnati and Jessica Jones. Her father was a talk show host.)
Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Frida; Desperado; Shrek 2; The Mask of Zorro; Ruby Sparks; The Skin I Live In; Philadelphia; Spy Kids; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Official Competition; Shrek the Third; Pain and Glory; Four Rooms; Knight of Cups; The Laundromat; Shrek Forever After; Puss in Boots; Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!; Security; Future BMT: Original Sin; Life Itself; The Legend of Zorro; Machete Kills; Assassins; Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World; Play It to the Bone; BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Dolittle; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Dolor y gloria. Born and raised in Spain, he worked there in the 80s, and then made the jump to Hollywood nearly 30 years ago in 1992.)
Dennis Miller – (Known For: The Net; Disclosure; The Campaign; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Joe Dirt; What Happens in Vegas; Murder at 1600; Bordello of Blood; Madhouse; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Won a bunch of Emmys for his 90s talk show Dennis Miller Live. Was the Weekend Update anchor on SNL as well in the late-80s to around ‘91. Notably conservative.)
Budget/Gross – $6.4 million / Domestic: $6,858,261 (Worldwide: $6,858,261)
(Ah too bad. The stories around the film are interesting, with De Mornay loving the script and really trying hard to get it made the right way. It is rather too bad it couldn’t have been more successful in the end.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (3/20): Never Talk to Strangers — and never make the mistake of believing this silly stalker mystery is the best available viewing option.
(Zing. The quip in the Rotten Tomatoes consensus is rarer than you would think. You would think they would 100% be jokes all the time, but they usually play them straight I feel like.)
Reviewer Highlight: An adequate psychological thriller on a topical theme — Repressed Memory Syndrome — but with little special quality, few frills or thrills, and a relaxed, almost languid exposition. – Wally Hammond, Time Out
(This feels ahead of its time in a bad way. Reminds me of the posters for a bunch of 2000’s thrillers. Font is bad, framing is meh, but I guess it gets the picture across: come see these two beautiful people make out and also maybe deliver some thrills and chills. C-)
Tagline(s) – In A World Where Love Isn’t Always Safe, Trust Can Be Deadly. (F)
(These are definitely words… and a lot of them at that. Love isn’t always safe… love isn’t always safe? I don’t understand this at all. Usually at least a tagline doesn’t confuse you. This actually makes it harder to understand what the film is about. Terrible.)
Top 10: Spider-Man (2002), Joker (2019), Deadpool (2016), Scream (1996), Death Proof (2007), The Green Mile (1999), Split (2016), Predator (1987), The Lovely Bones (2009), Halloween (2018)
Future BMT: 83.5 Prom Night (2008), 74.2 Black Christmas (2019), 71.1 Supergirl (1984), 70.3 Halloween II (2009), 68.3 Captivity (2007), 62.9 Valentine (2001), 61.4 Obsessed (2009), 60.9 When a Stranger Calls (2006), 57.8 The Return (2006), 56.7 They (2002)
BMT: The Bodyguard (1992), Vanilla Sky (2001), The Boy Next Door (2015), Halloween II (1981), This Means War (2012), Countdown (2019), Queen of the Damned (2002), The Snowman (2017), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Cobra (1986), Jason X (2001), Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Perfect Stranger (2007), Swimfan (2002), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Justice (2011), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Turbulence (1997), Never Talk to Strangers (1995)
Matches: Death Proof (2007), The Bodyguard (1992), Body Double (1984), Ingrid Goes West (2017), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), Blades of Glory (2007), Valentine (2001), Black Christmas (2019), Death Screams (1982), Go with Me (2015), Swimfan (2002), He Knows You’re Alone (1980), The Seduction (1982), Amusement (2008), Slumber Party Massacre III (1990), Deadly Switch (2019), Fear City (1984), The Stalker (2020), Lady Beware (1987), Blood Harvest (1987), Never Talk to Strangers (1995), After Midnight (1989), Ratter (2015), Cam2Cam (2014), The Cry of the Owl (2009), Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987), Cherish (2002), Toughguy (1995), The Killing Floor (2007), Babysitter Massacre (2013), Vicious (2016), Striking Poses (1999), From the Shadows (2009), House Swap (2010), Let’s Not Meet in the Woods (2020), Quiet Kill (2004), Shiner (2004), Stalked (2015), Natural Prey (2013)
(Lots of bad one in the 00s as usual. We’ve seen a lot of these, and they mostly seem genuine. These do, in fact, have stalkers for the most part.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Antonio Banderas is No. 2 billed in Never Talk to Strangers and No. 4 billed in The Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 4) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 13. If we were to watch Assassins, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.
Notes – Raoul Ruiz was originally slated to direct this film.
When a mysterious red ruby crosses her desk, Alex immediately sends it off for analysis. Soon thereafter people around her start to die and she comes under the influence of a djinn. He needs her to request three wishes and he’ll be free to rule the world. Can Alex stop this mystical, all-powerful monster before it’s too late? Find out in… Wishmaster.
How?! Alex is an antiques appraiser, so naturally when a dockworker swipes a jewel from the site of a gruesome crate-crushing-a-person accident she’s the first to see it. She takes one look at it and is like “uh, something is up with this jewel.” She sends it to a friend for analysis, who releases a gruesome djinn in the process. The monster kills him and proceeds to run rampant through the city granting wishes and twisting them to his own horrific devices. All while this is happening Alex is getting flashes of what this Wishmaster is doing. Ultimately the djinn needs to gain power by stealing souls via his wishes in order to power up the jewel. Then he needs Alex to get three wishes granted and voila he’ll be free and ready to rule the world and mold it to his own gruesome vision. Realizing what’s going on, Alex eventually arrives at the doorstep of a folklore professor who explains exactly what’s going on with the djinn. The djinn tracks down the professor and takes her place when Alex comes a-knockin’ again. Horrified, but somewhat prepared, Alex attempts to trick the Djinn, but has her wish turned against her and she’s trapped in the jewel, forcing her to use a second wish to get out. Scared that the djinn is going after her sister, Alex rushes to a party, which quickly turns horrific at the hands of the djinn. The djinn tries to force Alex to use her third wish to save her sister, but Alex stays calm and instead wishes that the person responsible for the crate-crushing-a-person accident wasn’t wasted at the time. This reverses time and retraps the djinn in the jewel. THE END (or is it? (ugh, unfortunately not)).
Why?! Who runs the world? Djinns. Who runs the world? Djinns. That’s all that stupid djinn wants. He wants the world to be full of horrors because that’s what he likes: immense suffering of humans as a result of their puny wishes. But Alex won’t have any of that. She just wants safety for her family and that means that djinn must be stopped.
Who?! A number of cameos here with Tony Todd and Kane Hodder. Robert Englund also has a more substantial role. Might be more even, as this is a horror film for horror fans. I’d also like to take a moment to meditate on the monster: the djinn. Fun to have something all powerful and evil and yet limited in some way. Creates fun as a trickster. They quickly muck it all up in the second though by making a whole bunch of new rules. Necessary because it’s a bit of a one trick pony. Once you figure out the trick in the first film you have to change the game.
What?! Mark another in the Coca-Cola column. Also funny product placement with Pacific Bell (makes sense with the setting of the film), only made funnier by the fact that in the goofs section of the imdb they note that while most phones in the film sport the Pacific Bell logo, the phone at her apartment has a BellSouth logo. Uh oh! What a goof!
Where?! This is Los Angeles through and through. I’m glad too. I think LA should be the location for more horror, but for some reason the classics are more intrigued by terror destroying the perceived safety of Midwestern suburbia… or the empty horror of the backwater South… or the Northeast and its tradition of witches and ghosts. But LA is a weeeeiiiirrrd place and I think they use it nicely in this film. B.
When?! This is the one drawback of LA. You can’t tell from the weather what time of year it is so there isn’t much pushing a filmmaker to take that extra step and establish an exact date. There might be one in here somewhere, but I didn’t notice it on first viewing so it’s an F… for now.
I really liked the look of this film. Some really great (and gross) effects for the most part and then some nice acting by Divoff to bring the Djinn to life (ruined in the second film). The only big issue for me was that they jump into a bunch of rules for how the djinn operates expressly so they could figure out a way to deliver the final “twist” for how Alex manages to trick the djinn and get out of the predicament. This creates a bunch of problems when inevitably you have the djinn more or less doing what he wants with everyone else in order to squeeze in your sweet, sweet practical effects death scenes for all the minor characters. And you can tell that they knew what they were doing. This was a film made by people steeped in horror lore. How? Because they were already including cameos by Kane Hodder and Tony Todd. They knew what they were up to and it worked out OK for the first film, but really hamstrung them for any possibility of having a decent franchise. Speaking of, the second Wishmaster is horrific. One of the worst. Everything falls apart so quickly because of how things were set up in the first film that you wonder why they even bothered to make another film (let alone more after that). And Divoff in turns cranks the Djinn up to such a degree that it seems like he’s in a comedy. Ugh. The problem is that I actually like watching horror films, and in particular horror franchises, so when one veers so quickly into unwatchable territory it’s truly dismaying. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We got wishes! We got a who’s who of horror icons! We’ve got djinns! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – The horror genre for this cycle caused a lot of consternation. Mostly it is because as far as wide releases are concerned I think we’ve kind of worked through some of the best we have. But there was at least one 90s franchise we hadn’t touched yet. Wishmaster, which amusingly comes right on the heels of watching Kazaam. What were my expectations? The trailer showed what was up with this film, a whole lotta practical effects. The reviews said the issue with this: they forgot to write an actual script. I’m just going to be here counting wishes.
The Good – At times the practical effects were indeed quite fun. The people creating the film obviously had a lot of affection for that approach to horror and so do I, so even when a bit cheesy I appreciated that they were willing to create a film where multiple practical effect centered scenes were presented. And the subject, a djinn, is perfect in that regard. A wish can be fantastic, and an evil djinn who twists that wish in sadistic ways can create fantastical horror as a result. A large part of the film at its core is well done and a very good idea to boot. Best bit: The practical effects.
The Bad – But the film falls down at the lore which is somehow both non-existent and so oppressive as to tie one’s hands. The Djinn can grant a wish for the price of your soul? But then the woman who conjured him up gets three wishes? But after her third wish the Djinns rule the world? It all is a very silly means to a not-very-exciting end. And yeah, the acting and script are pretty bad. Any part with non-practical effects looks bad. I do have to give credit, where you would expect the final wish to be dumb, it actually works. Question though … if the goal is merely to grant three wishes to your master and then you get to rule the world, why would the Djinn choose to make any wishes bad? Doesn’t that just tip your hand that you are a terrifying monster? Whatever. Fatal flaw: End-to-end lore, and it isn’t even that good of lore. Should have saved that for the sequel, never go full-lore on the first film.
The BMT – I love watching horror franchises. Maybe someday I might even finish this one (there are two other straight-to-video sequels, but ain’t no one got time for that). But this one is really interesting in that the first has a somewhat botched fun idea and the sequel … well more on that in the friend section. It certainly represents something of a last hurrah for large scale practical effects driven horror. Something like Hostel or Saw maybe does some of that, both that could certainly be said for something like supernatural horror which must all be CGI at this point. Just fun stuff. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it really gave me that sweet sweet practical effects while also being amusingly bad in its own way.
Roast-radamus – A pretty fun Product Placement (What?) for Pacific Bell with multiple telephones sporting the logo in full throughout the film. An okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles, or at least California as evidenced by the license plates on the cars. I’m not going to give it anything for the twist since it was actually pretty good. Closest to Good I think, it is a pretty fun (if messy) horror film I think.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I would love to do something funny here, but this film really deserves a Remake. The first one is okay with the wishes and stuff, but I still think there is room to improve the lore. The Djinn are all powerful, so why can’t he destroy himself if he wants? But … just make that bit undesirable to the main character. At the beginning of the film the main character’s husband is killed when the Djinn is created. The Djinn is attempting to fulfil a condition, thirteen souls captured by wishes that take another’s life and the Djinn can open a portal and control the world. But, the one who freed the Djinn can bind it to the fire opal with one of three wishes. With 12 souls captured (and 12 gruesome deaths) the hero finds the Djinn, and the hero wishes for the Djinn to destroy himself. Fine, but then your love is dead forever, you could have him back if you so wish, but I’ll destroy myself if you want. Hesitating, she instead wishes for her love to live again. The Djinn creates a tree with the man’s soul bound to it, forever trapped in agony. She wishes for her love to be a living human, and he is, but with terminal cancer, with mere weeks to live. With one wish left she uses the same twist from the first film, I wish for a specific moment that allowed the Djinn’s fire opal to be discovered to have changed in the past. And voila! The events of the film are undone, but the fire opal lies in wait for another chance to fulfil the prophecy. Not much much different, but I think it cleans up the lore a bit and also allows for people to wish for anything. It is just the Djinn’s (tricky) logic that often tempts them into trying to outsmart him, and that often fails.
Bring a Friend Analysis – I do love when we can do the same franchise as part of a friend, and this time we got to do Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. Everything about this movie is awful. It opens with them spitting in the face of the lore (if someone wishes to have never been born, and you grant that wish uh … why does the main character have a picture of that person in her apartment? Riddle me that!), the Djinn constantly just says like “I can’t grant that wish”, the movie establishes totally different lore (the Djinn must collect 1001 souls prior to taking over the world … he definitely didn’t do that the last time), and in the end they don’t even bother to have the One Weird Trick loophole, instead it seems like most of the mischief the Djinn got up to actually ended up happening? Combine that with the fart joke and Divoff’s weird unchanging facial expressions (which at times seemed like a joke? As if they were poking fun at themselves and the absurdity of the character’s monotone when acting as a human? Bizarre), and the film is awful. Amazingly people online seem to like 1 and 2 about the same, and love Divoff in the role. Divoff is solid in the first, but here I think the direction let’s him down and they leaned a bit too hard into the quipiness which also caused issues during some of the Leprechaun installments. Actually, two very similar series. I could definitely imagine a timeline in which there are seven or eight Wishmasters if it had started in 1989. C+. I think it is worth the watch if you watched the first one, but it is quite bad if you aren’t into the wink-wink comedy horror sequel idea.
Oh man, so hear this, I found this jewel and released a djinn. But then I accidentally wished that I got bopped on the head, and voila I sustained a massive concussion and now can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Wishmaster?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) The beginning of the film shows the origin of the fire opal. Where did it come from and why was it made?
2) After the death of her friend, Alex is moping about, and her sister is concerned. But Alex insists it is nothing like last time. What happened in Alex’s childhood that still haunts her?
3) We learn a little bit more about the collector who brought the statue which contained the Djinn’s gemstone to California. Why did he want the statue?
4) What final trick does Alex pull to defeat the Djinn using her third wish?
5) Name as many of the other wishes the Djinn grants throughout the film (by my count there are 14 besides the final wish) and what do they get instead?
Bonus Question: How long do Josh and Alex stay together after the film ends?
Clutch Guthrie checks his chute and looks down on the target area. “You sure you’re OK with a night jump?” The pilot screams over the sound of the engine. Clutch squints and smiles smugly, “I invented the night jump. Besides, how else do you think we can get into Fort Knox to steal the gold for the Vice President’s ransom?” The pilot nods, but then grabs him by the arm. “Hold on, Clutch,” He listens closely to his headset and pales, “It’s not just the Vice President, Clutch. Your ex-wife was part of a group taking a tour of the VP’s residence.” Clutch punches the wall and pulls down his goggles. “McGuire just made this personal,” and with that he jumps. He floats majestically like a bird, soaring towards the only area of Fort Knox that isn’t protected by laser beams: the rooftop exhaust port. One square foot in area and the President knew that there was only one man for the job: Clutch Guthrie. What Clutch didn’t tell him was that he knew the man who had taken the VP hostage. They knew him as McGuire. He knew him as McGuire Guthrie. His twin brother.
Patrick leans back from his typewriter and looks at what is shaping up to be a pretty damn thrilling novel. When he looks over at the piece of shit hack Manfred Long he finds the man sweating profusely in front of a blank page. “You OK Manfred?” he asks and Manfred’s head snaps up. “Shut up, I’m working!” He cries shrilly and takes to stroking the Obsidian Dongle. Suddenly his face lights up. “I wish…” he starts softly but then emboldened he yells, “I want to write the raddest story of them all! Make it so wishmaster!” He points the Dongle at his chest. That’s right we are taking on a bit of a cult classic of horror in Wishmaster. Poorly reviewed, but made by a special effects artist turned occasional director, you better believe we’ll get a visual feast. It’s just all the other stuff that is more questionable. Let’s go!
Jamie and the gang duck and bob and weave at the airborne cyborgs. “This isn’t so crackerjack after all,” Kyle says and Jamie shakes his head. At least Patrick seems to be faring better. When he sees Manfred use the Dongle he sighs. “If only we had a wishmaster, too.” He perks up. Wishmaster… too. That gives him an idea. That’s right! We are pairing that with Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. You have to appreciate the horror franchises that jump straight to video. Let’s go!
Wishmaster (1997) – BMeTric: 34.7; Notability: 38
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 14.0%; Notability: top 16.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.2%; Higher BMeT: Batman & Robin, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Home Alone 3, Anaconda, Steel, Mr. Magoo, Double Team, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Spawn, Flubber, An American Werewolf in Paris, Jungle 2 Jungle, Fire Down Below, Gone Fishin’, Turbulence, McHale’s Navy, Plump Fiction, Kull the Conqueror, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, and 15 more; Higher Notability: Batman & Robin, The Saint, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Dante’s Peak, Flubber, The Jackal, The Postman, Spawn, The Man Who Knew Too Little, Fathers’ Day, Red Corner, Meet Wally Sparks, Kiss the Girls, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Event Horizon, The Devil’s Own, Fire Down Below, Steel, Vegas Vacation, Warriors of Virtue, and 21 more; Lower RT: Plump Fiction, Shadow Conspiracy, The Blackout, Fall, The Peacekeeper, McHale’s Navy, Gone Fishin’, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Speed 2: Cruise Control, ‘Til There Was You, Mr. Magoo, An American Werewolf in Paris, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, The Pest, Dangerous Ground, The Postman, Keys to Tulsa, Double Team, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, How to Be a Player, and 32 more; Notes: 90s Horror is always interesting. This seems like a cult film, usually bad horror films are absolutely dunked on by horror fans online, but high 5s on IMDb is actually not at all bad for a horror film. We’ve only watched six of the top ten BMeT films from 1997 which is unimpressive.
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – An evil djinn (genie to you) is freed from captivity in a gem and sets out to grant (backfiring) wishes while seeking Lauren, because granting her wishes will enable him to destroy the world … or something. The mythology is too complex, the story too thin, and the plentiful gore mostly gratuitous. Followed by three direct-to-video sequels.
(Well we are watching one of those sequels. I do love overly complex lore. I think a horror film immediately jumping into the lore is just a funny idea. Usually, they make one good film without any lore, and then the sequels ruin it with too much lore. Seems like they skipped the first step and just made a bad lore-filled film instead.)
(So basically this is the classic tale of the genie who grants you bad wishes, but taken to the extreme of making the wishes kill you in horrifying ways or something? I mean … great idea for a horror franchise if I’m being honest. It isn’t a surprise Wes Craven produced it.)
Directors – Robert Kurtzman – (Known For: The Demolitionist; Deadly Impact; Buried Alive; The Rage; BMT: Wishmaster; Notes: He penned the story for From Dusk Til Dawn and then paid Tarentino to write the full script. He has 128 make-up credits to his name, so horror is his bread and butter. And yes, he has a make-up credit here.)
Writers – Peter Atkins – (Known For: Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; Fist of the North Star; Prisoners of the Sun; BMT: Wishmaster; Hellraiser: Bloodline; Notes: Was in a theater group with Clive Barker and he indeed actually wrote the Hellraiser theatrical sequels. He only wrote the first Wishmaster, although he has character credits for the rest of the series.)
Actors – Tammy Lauren – (Known For: The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark; Chains of Gold; Tiger Warsaw; Future BMT: Radioland Murders; Mad City; BMT: Wishmaster; Notes: Was one of the stars of the period television drama Homefront. She’s has lot of recurring roles on television over the years, including a seven episode run on Home Improvement.)
Andrew Divoff – (Known For: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; The Hunt for Red October; Air Force One; Vault; Faust; Oblivion; Neon Maniacs; Xtro 3: Watch the Skies; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Dangerous Touch; Blue Hill Avenue; Lockdown; Extreme Justice; The Rage; Oblivion 2: Backlash; Touch Me; Hong Kong 97; Down ‘n Dirty; Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation; Treasure Raiders; Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; American Dreamz; A Low Down Dirty Shame; BMT: Wishmaster; Mac and Me; Another 48 Hrs.; Graveyard Shift; Notes: Y’all know Andrew Divoff. Oh wait … maybe you don’t. He’s a huge direct-to-video action star from the 90s and is all over a ton of television shows in guest spots over the years. I just watched him in Criminal Minds … don’t watch that episode though, it is ultra racist.)
Angus Scrimm – (Known For: Phantasm; Chopping Mall; John Dies at the End; Phantasm II; Phantasm: Ravager; The Lost Empire; Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead; Deadfall; Phantasm IV: Oblivion; Mindwarp; Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story; Munchie; I Sell the Dead; A Piece of the Action; Sweet Kill; Transylvania Twist; Witches’ Brew; Scream Bloody Murder; Disciples; Jim, the World’s Greatest; BMT: Wishmaster; Notes: Unusually tall and slender he played the “tall man” character from Phantasm in many parody commercials and shorts over the years as a staple of the horror genre.)
Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $15,738,769 (Worldwide: $15,738,769)
(That is pretty good. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t try and go back to the well for a second try at the big box office take and instead ended up straight-to-video for the rest of the series.)
(I like the general mood of the poster. Start red mixed with eerie black and all that. The font could be a little better and it kind of looks more like a vampire flick than a djinn flick. I mean, the picture on the poster really looks nothing like the monster in the film.)
Tagline(s) – Be careful what you wish for. (D)
(Well duh. Gotta ding this for creativity… and really everything about it. It’s just a common phrase. Nothing more or nothing less.)
Top 10: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Beetlejuice (1988), It (2017), Scooby-Doo (2002), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Moana (2016), Shazam! (2019)
Future BMT: 71.1 Supergirl (1984), 64.5 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.2 Scooby-Doo (2002), 56.3 The New Mutants (2020), 51.6 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 49.7 Sleepwalkers (1992), 47.7 The Dark Tower (2017), 45.9 Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), 44.5 Wrath of the Titans (2012), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010)
BMT: Hellboy (2019), Gods of Egypt (2016), Warcraft (2016), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Eragon (2006), R.I.P.D. (2013), Seventh Son (2014), Jason X (2001), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Slender Man (2018), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), The Golden Child (1986), Wishmaster (1997), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), The Bye Bye Man (2017), I, Frankenstein (2014), Alone in the Dark (2005)
Matches: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021), It Chapter Two (2019), Hercules (1997), Legend (1985), Hellboy (2004), Wrath of the Titans (2012), Pumpkinhead (1988), Wishmaster (1997), I, Frankenstein (2014), Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000), Cellar Dweller (1987), Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1993), The Monster Project (2017), Slaughterhouse Rock (1987), The Snow Queen (2013), The Demon’s Rook (2013)
(I did a two-fer here because it seemed interesting. Obviously things like The Witcher probably have a demon and a monster. But then things like Cellar Dweller has a genuine demon-monster. Probably not a terrible way to discover related films in the end. Really glad Pumpkinhead II shows up here.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Englund is No. 4 billed in Wishmaster and No. 10 billed in Urban Legend, which also stars Alicia Witt (No. 1 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 2 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (4 + 10) + (1 + 2) + (3 + 1) = 21. If we were to watch A Low Down Dirty Shame, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 18.
Notes – One of the statues in Raymond Beaumont’s (Robert Englund’s) room with the statues is a statue of Pazuzu from The Exorcist (1973).
Many crew members, including Director Robert Kurtzman (man killed by piano), had small roles in the film, sometimes appearing in different scenes as different characters.
Characters named Finney, Beaumont, Derleth, and Merritt are all references to early twentieth century science fiction or horror writers, Jack Finney, Charles Beaumont, August Derleth, and Abraham Merritt.
Features numerous horror movie actors, including Robert Englund (the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films), Angus Scrimm (Phantasm (1979)), Tony Todd (Night of the Living Dead (1990), the Candyman (1992) movies), Kane Hodder (various “Friday the 13th” and “Jason” movies), Reggie Bannister (Phantasm (1979)) and Ted Raimi (Darkman (1990), Army of Darkness (1992)).
“Wishmaster was a great experience….I had a very short schedule and had to deliver the film into theatres in 6 months start to finish so it was very stressful but very fulfilling. Sam Raimi actually recommended me for the film and after a half a dozen meeting with the studio I got the job. I had to go in and pitch my take on the film and its design. We shot it in 33 days in LA which was tough as we had dozens of locations all around the city so we had a lot of company moves. We had hundreds of FX which was a bit of a challenge as the schedule was tight. I was very lucky to find Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren. Divoff is a very close friend who I enjoy working with on whatever we can find together. We now have this second hand when we work together.” (Backwoods Horror interview with Robert Kurtzman in 2009)
Greg Nicotero, one of the special effects creator for Wishmaster, also worked on special effects in Romero’s 1985 movie Day of the Dead (and he played the character of Pvt. Johnson). Joseph Pilato, who played the drunk crane worker in Wishmaster, was the main villain in Day of the Dead (as Captain Rhodes).
According to a 2016 interview with PopHorror, it took 3.5 hours to get into costume with 1.5 hours to get out according to lead star Andrew Divoff. He also said his favorite scenes for the film were the ones where he shared scenes with his monstrous brethren.
Jack Sholder was approached to direct Wishmaster (1997) but declined as he felt the script wasn’t very good. When it came to the sequel, he was asked to direct it which he also turned down until the producers told him that he could write the screenplay for Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999) and, despite having to follow some basic guidelines, he could have creative freedom with the story.
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Ditch Brodie plays by his own rules. This gets him mixed up with a beautiful lady who happens to also be an ex-KGB spy. She enlists Ditch to help stop a group of her fellow spies who are trying to steal a planeful of gold from the former Soviet Union. Can he stop the baddies (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Terminal Velocity.
How?! Ditch Brodie is a rebel without a cause. So even in the midst of an FAA investigation you better believe he’s ready to give a skydiving lesson to a mysterious lady who shows up out of the blue. On their way up for the dive Ditch is shocked to find that she has jumped out of the plane without a parachute! He attempts to dive after her but is too late and she crashes to the ground. Shaken up, Ditch is convinced something is off. He begins to investigate and goes to her apartment in Tucson where he’s attacked by a couple of thugs. Back at the skydiving center he is approached by an Assistant DA who is investigating the death and Ditch brushes him off. As he rides the desert in thought he notices a small plane similar to a plane seen in footage of the incident. He chases it to a gas station where he discovers that the woman, Chris, is still alive. She’s an ex-KGB spy who is trying to escape a group of her fellow former spies. Using the incident as leverage she forces him to do a night dive with her in order to infiltrate the industrial plant she worked at. Inside he retrieves a MacGuffin and barely gets away from the same group of thugs he encountered before. He retreats to the skydiving center where he arranges for a meeting between him, Chris, and the Assistant DA. But it’s a trick! The Assistant DA is actually one of the ex-KGB thugs! Chris and Ditch use a rocket car (for real) to escape and end up in the desert expositing about their histories as spies/olympic level gymnasts (also real). Chris takes the MacGuffin back and is able to track where the ultimate treasure, a planeful of Soviet gold, is hidden. The ex-KGB thugs are aiming to steal it, but Chris wants to stop them as it’ll spell doom for Russia as it tries to get its footing. They find the plane and confirm the treasure, but have to retreat when the thugs show up. Ditch is having second thoughts and lets Chris go off alone (and immediately get kidnapped). Feeling bad, Ditch chases after them with the help of a biplane, boards the treasure plane, damages it, and saves Chris. After parachuting to the ground they dispatch the last of the thugs. Ditch is now an American and Russian hero and he and Chris get medals and smooch. THE END.
Why?! Pretty good motivation film. Ditch doesn’t have much other than survival and getting hot ladies. Chris’ motivation, though, is real interesting. Her group of ex-KGB operatives find themselves a bit lost after the fall of the Soviet Union so her colleagues plan to hijack and steal a bunch of gold for their new capitalist lives. Chris is like, no way. She still has family in Russia and crippling the young country by stealing all their wealth isn’t in the cards for her. It’s pretty interesting to see how movies made their way through a changing world.
Who?! Nothing super interesting here. There was some thanks and an In Memory credit for a make-up artist on the film. I couldn’t find out much about his passing, though. Some interesting actors show up in bit parts though. Melvin Van Peebles, who just passed away, is there, as is Rance Howard, father of Ron Howard.
What?! Put this squarely on the Coke side of the Coke-Pepsi debate. I wonder if it’s because we are focusing on the 90’s that it seems like every film had to have a fridge full of soda. Gandolfini’s character also has a funny quirk of chewing Certs when he’s nervous… at least when he’s in the guise of a lowly assistant DA and not a ruthless ex-KGB agent.
Where?! This appears to mostly be set in Arizona. Several times they orient themselves around Tucson and Phoenix as they drive and dive their way around the state. Years after mapl.de.map it’s always fun to find another one that would have been a good choice for a state. Interesting that American Anthem was our choice for Arizona back in the day as that also is gymnastics centric… I wonder if that is how Sheen’s character ended up there. Was at the gymnastics training facility and eventually drifted out to the skydiving area.
When?! Patrick helpfully noted the presence of a calendar flipped to March in one of the scenes. Otherwise I didn’t note anything in particular about when this might be taking place. That’s good enough for a C, with some room for improvement if they were to at some point enjoy some green beer or whatnot.
Fun movie with some real bad acting by the main players, some good acting by Gandolfini, and some Christopher MacDonald acting from Christopher MacDonald. It’s also pretty confusing if you were simply trying to watch a glossy 90’s action flick about skydiving. At times it’s like they assume the audience wrote the movie or something. Sheen is skydiving into a smokestack and then running away with something in a coat rack while being chased by Russians (who don’t sound Russian) as he does the bidding of a Russian (who kinda sounds Russian). At a certain point you just have to let the movie flow, and indeed it slowly coalesces over one of the several necessary exposition scenes. I got it by the end, but it does throw you for a loop in the moment. All that said, it’s exactly what I want out of my 90’s action. I’d call the genre Electric Guitar Action and it was perfected in the 90’s. As for Crackerjack, hoooo weee. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I loved watching this film. A perfect Die Hard knock-off… and somehow also starring Nastassja Kinski! It’s just a perfect combination of weird sets, weird lines, explosions, and a laugh-out-loud hilarious flashback scene.One of my absolute favorite Bring a Friend entries thus far. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Charlie Sheen acting like a mad man! We’ve got skydiving! We’ve got a cold war storyline for post-Soviet American politics! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I had to do a double take when combing through the keywords and plot details … KGB agent? We’re talking about like 1994 right? Once you watch the film it all makes a bit more sense, but it does, in some ways, all feel like a script that was leftover from the heady days of Rambo III which they forgot to make until three years too late (oddly, a lot like Police Academy: Mission to Moscow). Watching the trailer it also seemed very weird to see Charlie Sheen in a genuine action role … it was hard to tell how much this film was actually a comedy. What were my expectations? I really don’t know. I guess I expected there to actually be very little skydiving in the end and a whole lot more of a convoluted political plot.
The Good – I got it half right, there is actually quite a bit of skydiving and in the end the skydiving was the best part of the film (by far). Sheen being a former-Olympian-turned-bad-boy-skydiver is quite good and I kind of wish they had done Terminal Velocity 2 just to see how wild they would get with it. He does come across as a weird early-90s American James Bond in a way, all the way down to the overly complex story involving the dissolving KGB in a Russia teetering on the brink of civil war. Best Bit: The skydiving duh.
The Bad – The overly complex political plotline was just a tad bit too overly complicated. It takes quite a bit of effort to untangle who are the bad former KGB, who are Russian mafia (were they all former KGB, just working for the mob remotely?), and who are the good former KGB. Perhaps it all made a lot more sense at the time, but for a while I was skeptical the plot synopsis could possibly be right because it all seemed very under-explained. Sheen was a bit too jokey for my taste in action, personally (admittedly it probably struck the right tone for an American-in-a-James-Bond story, it just isn’t my cup of tea). Fatal Flaw: Really hard to understand, and I usually am quite good at parsing even the most ludicrous of bad movie plot lines.
The BMT – Unfortunately, beyond the usual “extreme sport” bad movie subgenre, or “skydiving” subsubgenre I don’t really see why this could get any play in bad movie circles. It is actually pretty good if you can understand the plot at all. It looks good and has great skydiving action. I kind of dug it. Double feature with The Chase for sure. Did it meet my expectations? Half and half. There was a lot more skydiving action than I expected (good) and, yeah, it was a little too convoluted as far as political intrigue (bad).
Roast-radamus – Really fun Product Placement (What?) for a few things, but my favorite is Certs which Galdofini nervously chomps on just prior to the movie’s twist. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Arizona, which is actually a pretty rare setting (and one we also saw recently with Fire Birds). And a genuine MacGuffin (Why?) for the mysterious plane which, it turns out, contains a boatload of gold. Closest to Good I think, I like the movie and I think I would like it even more on subsequent viewings when I understand better what it is about.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – In our continued adventures in Half Past Dead BMT Crossover Episode this seems ripe for it. Because guess where Shasha Petrosevitch is from? Well … he’s American, but it seems like he must have some connection to Russia. In this sequel to Terminal Velocity, the Half Past Dead team come to recruit Krista (and Ditch) whom they’ve heard just might be Half Past Dead. Disappointed when he realizes that she merely faked her own death, Sasha goes to leave when over the wire it is revealed that that boatload of gold from the first film is missing in Russia once again. “Missing gold, that’s my speciality ,” Sasha says, “looks like I’m having a homecoming.” Flying to Russia with the Half Past Dead Team, Sasha reveals that he too was once high level KGB, deep-cover in the US and given a burn notice (which he evaded) in the early 90s prior to becoming a bonafide American hero. It turns out that the gold was stolen by a dissident looking to start their own Siberian kingdom. Doing a sub-zero skydive (“I invented sub-zero skydiving!” says Ditch), they get the gold, Ditch still has the lady, and Sasha gains two friends. “We could use your skydiving skillz on our team, problem is … you have to have seen the other side.” He shoots them both in the chest, black screen, cheers from the audience. Half Past Cold: Temperature Drop. The sequel series would establish that they indeed both survived and started the Russian branch of the Half Past Dead Team, in Half Past Dead: Moscow.
Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched Crackerjack (which I pronounce Crackerjack!! with a double exclamation point). It’s about a police officer named Jack who’s become reckless after his family is murdered by the mob (thus his nickname Crackerjack), who then gets himself into a real Die Hard situation at a remote mountain resort. He has to defeat the terrorist Getz (played by Christopher Plummer (!)) who wants mob diamonds to start maybe like a fascist utopia (?), and also he was the one that killed Jack’s family (!) and also he’s rigged the surrounding glacier to explode and bury the resort (!). It’s a lot to absorb, and yet as far as a straight-to-video feature it might be one of the best ones I’ve ever seen in its own way. Lots of hand-to-hand action, but because it’s Die Hard Thomas Ian Griffith also gets beat up a lot which is fun. The plot is kind of convoluted, but there are a lot of explosions and model work and as far as lightweight background noise it is really really enjoyable. Maybe don’t sit down in earnest to watch this thing, but do you have some mindless work you need done? This is a great diversion. A. I love it. I want to watch all of TIG’s films now. This is what I always wanted with Bring a Friend, but somehow we always watch things like A Talking Cat?! which are garbage.
Oh man, so get this, I decided to go on a skydiving adventure, and got this real rad instructor called Ditch. Then I fell out of the plane and smashed into the ground killing me instantly … or so I thought, actually, I just broke all of the bones in my body and suffered a massive concussion. Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Terminal Velocity?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning of the film we see Charlie Sheen, skydiver extraordinaire, flying into a city and landing at a party. What is the part for? What did he think the party was for?
2) Spoilers, Kinski has come to the skydiving place to fake her own death. Initially she’s attached by cable to Sheen, but unclips herself and dives without him. How does she distract Sheen in order to get away from him?
3) The DA comes and threatens Sheen with jailtime for the negligent manslaughter of Kinski, but aha! She’s still alive!! Amazing. She wants him to do one more thing for him and then she’ll help him out. What does he need to do, and what will he get in return?
4) Charlie holds up his end of the bargain, and brings the DA to meet Kinski to get out of his hot water and back to his life. But uh oh! It’s a trick. Who is the DA really, and how do they get away?
5) So … what was on the plane?
Bonus Question: It’s a classic, but how long do Ditch and Chris stay together?
“Just a teensy little wish, Patrick, before you watch your beloved Rich & Poe die when I send you back to the BMTverse… forever,” the piece of shit hack Manfred Long says with a smirk, fondling the Obsidian Dongle the cyborgs stole for him. “The power, it feels good,” he whispers to himself… or as if he’s in conversation with someone. Patrick scoffs, “you always did have to steal everything you got from me,” and staring daggers he approaches Manfred and tears his cable knit sweater asunder. Manfred gasps and shaking with furor points the Obsidian Dongle at Patrick. The power Manfred holds could destroy not only Patrick’s physical being, but erase his memory from existence, and yet he never even blinks. Manfred wrestles to regain control of himself. Patrick can see how much he desires making Patrick watch his creations die. “Fine,” he finally says, brow damp with sweat, “no wishes. So how about you grant me one final wish and perhaps we make it interesting. A write-off. One story. You make a better one and I spare your friends. I make a better one and you all are doomed to walk the wastelands of BMTverse forever.” Patrick smirks and immediately tears off his black jumpsuit to reveal a cable-knit sweater underneath. Manfred grits his teeth and Patrick shrugs, “I guess I just had an inkling things might be going this way,” and with that pulls his collapsible typewriter out of his previously unmentioned stylish and useful fanny pack. “Subject?” Patrick asks, adjusting his glasses and Manfred thinks for a second. He begins to speak and Patrick can tell he wants to say Swamp Monster Romance, his genre of choice, but pauses… originality is the word of the day, “how about something rad… something x-treme.” Patrick nods. That’s right! We’re getting super rad AND x-treme with Terminal Velocity starring Charlie Sheen. Not to be confused with Drop Zone, the other 1994 skydiving thriller, which, alas, does not qualify for BMT. To be honest, when we chose this I kinda thought we were going to watch Drop Zone. Oops. Let’s go!
Jamie, Kyle, and Lindsey jump onto Rachel’s hang glider and turn laughing at the big, dumbo cyborgs. Their laughter dies as they see rocket packs and metal wings extend from the cyborg’s bodies. Gulp. “Woooah! Those cyborgs are crackerjack,” Kyle exclaims, using very cool lingo of the day. That’s right! We are watching Crackerjack as the friend. It’s basically Die Hard at a mountain resort… really most of our friends are Die Hard. Let’s go!
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 14.4%; Notability: top 16.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 19.6%; Higher BMeT: Street Fighter, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, Double Dragon, The Flintstones, It’s Pat: The Movie, On Deadly Ground, North, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, The Fantastic Four, Exit to Eden, Color of Night, Ri¢hie Ri¢h, Car 54, Where Are You?, In the Army Now, Getting Even with Dad, Blank Cheque, and 16 more; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, The Shadow, Beverly Hills Cop III, Love Affair, Prêt-à-Porter, North, Frankenstein, I Love Trouble, Radioland Murders, The Pagemaster, Exit to Eden, Little Giants, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Street Fighter, Junior, Thumbelina, Speechless, The Specialist, Major League II, Blue Chips, and 22 more; Lower RT: Wagons East, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, House Party 3, It’s Pat: The Movie, Death Wish 5: The Face of Death, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Car 54, Where Are You?, The Silence of the Hams, Holy Matrimony, Erotique, Getting Even with Dad, Major League II, Trapped in Paradise, Exit to Eden, Lightning Jack, In the Army Now, Leprechaun 2, The Specialist, The Next Karate Kid, Trial by Jury, and 25 more; Notes: 1994 must have been a bomb year for bad movies. Over 20 films with <10% on Rotten Tomatoes! Not all of them will qualify, but still, that is just excellent stuff for the top 250 films on IMDb for the year.
RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – You’ve gotta hand it to “Terminal Velocity:” This movie may be dumb as a box of shredded wheat, but it has the damnedest action sequence I’ve seen since Arnold Schwarzenegger blasted the bad guy with the missile in “True Lies.” Nastassja Kinski is locked in the trunk of a red Cadillac, which is taken aboard a cargo plane. Charlie Sheen pursues in another plane, walks on its wing, hauls himself aboard the cargo plane, and then finds himself, Kinski and the Cadillac all falling through the air – with a villain on the hood shooting at him. This is an assignment for Houdini.
(I really like this review. A fun mix of “it is good for what it is” and “also BTW just in case I wasn’t clear, it is also garbage. Just good for being garbage.” Watching the trailer I honestly have no idea how Charlie Sheen ended up being a comedy-action star. It seems really weird seeing him be not-very-good at acting.)
(“What happened to 3?!” Oooooooooof, that is a bad line. So is “pack the bags, we’re going on a guilt trip.” 1994 must have been the heyday of the WTF script readings. We used to get them in BMT all the time, and haven’t for a while. This is going to bring that back. I can tell.)
Directors – Deran Sarafian – (Known For: Alien Predator; To Die For; Roadflower; Interzone; Back in the U.S.S.R.; Future BMT: Death Warrant; Gunmen; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Notes: Interesting career. Went from a director of features, to a long time director of television, and now is a producer for television including getting two Emmy nominations as a producer of House M.D.)
Writers – David Twohy – (Known For: The Fugitive; Waterworld; Riddick; G.I. Jane; Pitch Black; A Perfect Getaway; The Arrival; Below; Warlock; Timescape; The Second Arrival; Future BMT: The Chronicles of Riddick; Impostor; Warlock: The Armageddon; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Critters 2; Notes: He has genuinely written a ton of the Riddick stuff, including being attached as a writer on the upcoming show Merc City.)
Actors – Charlie Sheen – (Known For: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Platoon; Major League; Wall Street; Young Guns; Being John Malkovich; Red Dawn; Badlands; The Wraith; Hot Shots!; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Grizzly II: The Concert; Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; 9/11; The Arrival; Lucas; Catchfire; Foodfight!; Eight Men Out; Mad Families; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; Scary Movie 3; Due Date; Scary Movie 4; Machete Kills; The Rookie; Men at Work; Major League II; Loaded Weapon 1; Madea’s Witness Protection; Navy Seals; Money Talks; Shadow Conspiracy; All Dogs Go to Heaven 2: Charlie’s New Adventure; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Terminal Velocity; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Scary Movie 5 in 2014; Notes: The son of Martin Sheen and brother of Emilio Estevez. He’s had a crazy life we don’t have to get into, but it involves drugs and he seemed like he has gone through some seriously hard times over the years. Was nominated for four Emmys for Two and a Half Men.)
Nastassja Kinski – (Known For: Paris, Texas; Cat People; Inland Empire; One from the Heart; Tess; Stay as You Are; Playing by Heart; The Hotel New Hampshire; Faraway, So Close!; To the Devil a Daughter; An American Rhapsody; Revolution; Maria’s Lovers; One Night Stand; Savior; The Claim; Wrong Move; Cold Heart; Your Friends & Neighbors; Il sole anche di notte; Future BMT: Fathers’ Day; Unfaithfully Yours; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Town & Country; Notes: The daughter of Klaus Kinski obviously. Had a child with Quincy Jones in 1993 and has two others including Sonja Jones who appears to act a bit.)
The Company of Animals Toilet Training Bells, Perfect for Puppy, – (Known For: Zero Dark Thirty; True Romance; The Last Boy Scout; Fallen; Killing Them Softly; Crimson Tide; The Drop; The Last Castle; Get Shorty; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Taking of Pelham 123; Enough Said; Where the Wild Things Are; Romance & Cigarettes; The Man Who Wasn’t There; The Mexican; In the Loop; Not Fade Away; Welcome to the Rileys; Dance with the Devil; Future BMT: 8MM; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; All the King’s Men; The Juror; Surviving Christmas; Close to Eden; BMT: Terminal Velocity; Notes: Died in 2013. His son is playing his character in the Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.)
(That is a pretty brutal return. The notes seem to suggest the film went over budget by a huge degree, so maybe they were planning on a svelte $25 million film or something, but no matter how you cut it that isn’t what you want for you action film in 1994.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (5/26): More of a string of formulaic set pieces than an actual action thriller, Terminal Velocity ends up going nowhere fast.
(That’s all I really want I think. Some of the good reviews seem to claim it wins the “skydiving” war of 1994. The other would appear to be Drop Zone, and the critics evidently disagree, that has a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes and doesn’t qualify.)
Reviewer Highlight: Some of the comic writing undercuts the preposterous story. – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
(I LOVE THIS. My god. Sometimes the worst, most forgotten films have the best looking posters. I’d buy this for my house, have my wife tell me “hell no,” and put it into storage… that’s how much I love this. A++)
Tagline(s) – It is not the fall that kills you (C-)
(I think I understand what they are going for (parachuting is the safe part of the film, right?), but these words really don’t make much sense together. Sometimes I have to stop thinking too hard about a tagline because my head starts hurting.)
Top 10: Munich (2005), Anna (2019), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Bridge of Spies (2015), The Terminal (2004), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Atomic Blonde (2017), Gorky Park (1983), Eastern Promises (2007), The Good Shepherd (2006)
Future BMT: 50.4 Spy Hard (1996), 30.9 Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), 29.6 Firefox (1982), 28.8 The Sentinel (2006), 24.1 A View to a Kill (1985), 21.5 The Jackal (1997), 20.4 Spies Like Us (1985), 18.8 Gotcha! (1985), 16.2 Anna (2019), 10.9 Rocky IV (1985)
BMT: Terminal Velocity (1994)
Matches: Munich (2005), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Living Daylights (1987), Spy Hard (1996), Terminal Velocity (1994), Black Eagle (1988), Best Defence (1984), The Experts (1989), A Different Loyalty (2004), Scorpion (1986), Zits (1988), Dead Aim (1987), Keeping Track (1986), Comrades in Arms (1991), KGB: The Secret War (1985), A Lonely Place for Dying (2009), Scavengers (1988)
(A View to a Kill, Rocky IV, Gotcha!, and Spies Like Us all came out in 1985, wowza. I really like this plot, funny just how few films came out in the 90s with the KGB involved in any way, and then looking at the full matches sooooo many are from ‘85 to ‘90. Amazing this is the first, we have a lot of work to do on action/comedy films from the 80s it would seem.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nastassja Kinski is No. 2 billed in Terminal Velocity and No. 6 billed in Town & Country, which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 9 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (2 + 6) + (9 + 3) = 20. If we were to watch Surviving Christmas, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 13.
Notes – The news anchor that reports on the arrest of Ditch Brodie in downtown Phoenix is Martha Vazquez. She was then and still is a news anchor at KVOA News 4, Tucson.
Although the movie didn’t do particularly well in the box office, Charlie Sheen says it was one of his favorite movies to make.
Many scenes were filmed at an airfield near Marana, Arizona. This field has been used for civilian skydiving, aircraft storage, military training, and CIA functions. Evergreen International Aviation, a sometimes CIA contractor based in McMinnville, Oregon, has had operations at this field.
Ditch drives a white 1970 Dodge Challenger, an homage to the iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger in Vanishing Point (1971), which was directed by Richard C. Sarafian, the father of this movie’s director, Deran Sarafian.
The scene where the plane makes an emergency landing is taken from Air America (1990).
In making this movie, they used 23 Cadillac Allante automobiles, destroying nine completely.
Shaq’s Kazaam, baby! And all our wishes come true. When Max finds a magic boombox with a genie inside he’s ready to use his wishes to try to get his dad back in his life. But an eeeevil nightclub owner has different ideas. Can Shaq and Max team up to stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Kazaam.
How?! Max is a trouble maker who’s always being hassled by the older kids in his class. Add a mom who just got engaged to a firefighter who WILL NEVER BE HIS REAL DAD and Max is having a bit of a tough time. One day, while escaping from the school bullies, he stumbles upon a magic boombox and *poof* out pops Shaq, ready to slam dunk and shatter the backboard of all his dreams. That’s because he’s a genie and until Max gives him three wishes to grant he’s stuck with him. Max is like “yeah, whatever,” and lets the supposed genie tag along to visit his dad, who’s back in town after bailing on him when he was just a baby. The dad is thrilled to see Max and sets him up with some VIP passes for a big concert that night. Riding high off this reunion, Max finally entertains the possibility that Shaq is a genie and Shaq in turn entertains us with some totally dope raps and BMX bike races. Finally Max asks for his first wish: junk food to the sky and *poof* there it is. Man, now Max has a father and a genie. What more could a kid wish for? Well, not so fast, cause that night they sneak to the big concert and Shaq is instantly a star, rapping his way into the show to everyone’s delight (particularly the eeevil club owner). Max tries to see his dad, but happens upon him in the midst of a shady deal with the club owner and is yelled at instead. Sad, Max tips off the school bullies about the shady deal and they end up stealing a valuable tape that could mean trouble for Max’s dad. Feeling bad, and getting yelled at by his dad again, Max sadly asks for Shaq to conjure a replacement tape, leaving him with only one wish. Later that night Shaq is distracted by his burgeoning music career so doesn’t notice that the eeevil club owner murders Max and steal the magic boom box. Enraged, Shaq breaks free of his bonds and slam dunks the club owner (literally… like actually does that). He then transforms into a djinn and brings Max back to life after which he grants his father a second chance since now he is all powerful and can do that shit. Max lives happily ever after with his new family while his father repents the error of his ways. THE END.
Why?! Love and family. That’s all the kid wants. Fortunately Shaq goes all djinn on him and is able to grant him an ethereal wish, am I right? Everyone else is driven by greed, other than Shaq… he mostly wants freedom (naturally)… the freedom to have a crazy big rap career and to get down with the ladies again. High five.
Who?! Shaq is a supreme athlete-turned-musician-turned-actor and boy does he show his rapping skillz… … … anyway, Da Brat also shows up and everyone is like yo, she’s all that. I also have to point out that the main child actor in this, Francis Capra, grew up to play Weevil in Veronica Mars. Kinda mind blowing.
What?! A fun project would be to categorize all films by Coke vs. Pepsi. In this case, Shaq saps on Pepsi while he wait for his big concert to start. I feel like we’ve been on an insane Pepsi run (although the main series of Police Academy is squarely in the Coke camp). Really the most fun aspect of this would be when you get that random Tab film and are like WTF, mate?
Where?! This is pretty obviously set in NYC. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a great NYC film other than the fact that Max’s mom’s fiance is a New York city firefighter, which seems pretty classic. Given the setting I wonder whether you would characterize Shaq as an East Coast rapper. Born in New Jersey, grew up in Texas, playing basketball in Orlando, and about to move to LA. But obviously playing an NYC-based rapping genie trumps all that. East Coast. B.
When?! School year. I’ve started to think that this section of the email is too much work unless we are dealing with a holiday film (secret or otherwise). I think my main goal here will be to mostly promote the idea of finding out when random films take place rather than actually putting in the effort myself. Either that or insist we only watch secret Christmas films from now on. This is an F, but maybe one of our many fans will find differently and correct me (please?).
I’m going to start with some positives. The main kid is pretty good actually and I’m a bit of a sucker for kids films with some nice messages mixed in there. Troublemaker comes to respect his all-around-good-guy of a future stepfather while also realizing his biological father is flawed and helps steer him towards redemption? Sign me up. Also the raps are entertaining, although silly in a kids movie kind of way. As for the rest of the film? Well, it’s nonsense of course. It’s so “rad” that it is immeasurably lame and Shaq appears to have little interest in anything but showing off his rap skillz. I would guess that this movie could have been about anything, but if they let him rap and paid him the big bucks he would have said yes. “Rapping Paul Bunyan? I’m in.” Eventually it gets a little repetitive and boring that even when a crazy Middle Eastern stereotype kills Max by throwing him down an elevator shaft I barely batted an eye. I was like “sure, sure, just get on with it.” So overall I’d say solid, but not spectacular for a BMT kids film. As for Getting Lucky, I don’t have all that much to say. You can see what Troma was up to. Kind of an indie horror/comedy grindhouse production house that made films attuned to the vision of the head of the studio. You really get a sense that he made exactly what he wanted to see, which is interesting, but also comes off as on the same level as a college film production. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We got Shaq! We got Da Brat! We got a B-story that goes for miles and results in the cold-blooded murder of a child! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – Everything about this film revolves around the B-plot. The B-plot is all I really remember about the film. The B-plot is one of the main things that perplexed reviewers at the time. The trailer actually makes the film look fun, but I know that’s a trick because there is nary a mention of music piracy, so it must only be showing half of the movie. As I said in the preview: recut Kazaam into just the B-plot. I dare you to, you cowards. What were my expectations? To like Shaq and also to love this B-plot. If this B-plot doesn’t go for days then I’m going to be furious.
The Good – I think with distance (and a whole lot more Shaq in our lives) his entire section of the film is pretty delightful. The kid actor is good, his interactions with him are fun, the way they dance around him being able to grant wishes and other silliness is amusing. The actual kids’ movie (complete with cameo by Da Brat, somehow a staple of the time) in the movie is actually not the worst thing in the world. Throw in a healthy dose of teaching kids that divorce isn’t their fault and step-dads can be pretty cool, and what’s now to love? Best Bit: Shaq, he’s a cheesy actor, but oozes charm.
The Bad – I remembered the B-plot of the film (and also that the kid falls a few stories multiple times during the film) … but no matter what I remembered I still couldn’t help but burst out laughing when Max’s father mentioned his “million dollar tape” and “music piracy” scheme. I guess the screenwriters must have known Shaq was coming on board, and they knew Shaq wanted to rap in the film, and so they needed some reason for Max to be in danger because of that … but music piracy? So weird. Without that the film is just a bog-standard kids film. With it it transcends B-plots and becomes something else entirely. Oh, and yeah, the kid actually is killed at the end which was pretty confusing for a hot second before you remember there is a genie who can bring him back to life. Fatal Flaw: A B-plot so ludicrous it blinded everyone to any virtue the film otherwise might have had.
The BMT – This is like Nine Lives on steroids. Nine Lives wishes it had the B-plot of Kazaam. Here’s the thing, Kazaam isn’t that entertaining. At times it is mostly just Max crying about his father and is somewhat sad (and the bullying in the film is off the chain, Max gets the shit kicked out of him a bunch). But the B-plot? It is the quintessential example. I could be misremembering something, but this has to be the best B-plot ever made, right? And it wasn’t by accident they definitely added it in after Shaq was attached. Legendary. Did it meet my expectations? And more, but I should be clear: I never want to watch Kazaam again. It just has the best B-plot in children’s film history.
Roast-radamus – I have to say, a legendary Cameo (Who?) by Da Brat (who, you might remember, was the musical guest on the second episode of All that, so yeah, lot’s of appearances of Da Brat in my life at the time). In the end I decided it was a really solid Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi in particular, although there are arguments for Jif and M&Ms among many others. And the Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC is really good as Max’s obvious failure by the New York City public school system is a subject of much consternation by his mother. I think closest to BMT, mainly, again, for the B-plot.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Imagine if they made a Sequel? And I got the perfect plot. Kazaam, an all powerful Djinn is now doing his thing in LA. He’s rapping, producing music, starring in movies, the works. But one day his powers start fading. What could it mean? Reading up on Djinn lore, he realizes that the moment he saved Max’s life it created a connection, as long as Max’s bloodline is doing well, he keeps his powers, but if he fails them he becomes mortal. Going back to NYC he finds Max, a famous inventor, but his family isn’t doing well. His son has fallen in with a gang, and Max just doesn’t know what to do. Well, Kazaam knows what to do. He makes Max into a genie, and tasks him with helping his son out of his predicament. There is a fun montage of Kazaam showing Max how to make wishes, and Max is disguised as Shaq so his son won’t know (double the Shaq!). And in the end, Max learns a valuable lesson in love, and his son stands up for himself and comes back home. And Kazaam? Well, he’s back to full power baby! Ka2aam. You know that is how it would be stylized and you hate it. Look into your heart, you know it to be true!
Bring a Friend Analysis – We really went with a curve ball this week and watched Getting Lucky a 1990 Troma distributed film made guerrilla style with nary a professional actor in sight. The film is pretty weird, but because it is Troma it also somehow manages to be weird enough to be interesting. To really boil it down, a boy finds a leprechaun in a beer bottle and gets three wishes and uses them to get the girl of his dreams. After the first attempted rape scene, I was like Tony should be in prison. After the second, I was like man the 90s were wild, Tony should be in prison. But then after the third when Tony DOES go to prison? I was blown away. The film knowingly winks at the camera with the final horseback chase scene and shish kabob fight, and barely has a plot, but something about it is compelling. It is a little like a Neil Breen film in that you eventually acclimate to Michael Paul Girard’s weird vision and enjoy it on some level beyond what the actual movie provides. But I’m still giving it a B-. It is just a hard sell considering the subject matter and the script which seems like it was barely written by a 12-year-old boy. Maybe someday I’ll be able to put it into better context within the Troma oeuvre.
Oh man, so while I was in this abandoned building I fell three stories and I’m pretty sure I’m dead and this entire movie is a dream … regardless I at least have a massive concussion and can’t remember anything. Do you remember what happened in Kazaam?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning of the film Max meets the genie Kazaam in an abandoned building. Why did he go into the building?
2) Max goes to meet his long lost father Nicholas Matteo. How does he find out where he is?
3) What is Max’s father’s job and why is he in trouble?
4) What three events make Max’s father’s eeeeeeeeeevil boss suspect that Kazaam is a genie?
5) What are Max’s three wishes?
Bonus Question: How many years in prison did Max’s father get for the concert fire?
Jamie and Lindsey turn a corner heading for the stairs to the rooftop only to stop short at the sight of the cyborg bad movie twins. They are talking with a man hidden in the shadows who shouts for the cyborgs to stop them. Scrambling up to the roof, Jamie follows the steamy water pipe until finally he and Lindsey stand by two dials. “Here goes nothing,” they say, initiating the emergency electronic wash. With a loud boom they are blown backwards across the rooftop, landing at the feet of the cyborgs. But before they can destroy Jamie and Lindsey with their fearsome robot strength a voice rings out, “not so fast!” Freed from their computer simulation prison by the water and returned to their young, super athletic bodies, Patrick and Kyle stand ready for a fight. The shadowy figure approaches, slowly clapping. “Impressive,” he says softly, “I knew you were clever Patrick, but I didn’t think you had it in you to match wits with me. Certainly not your meathead brother there and his sad bunch of friends. But I guess there was some reason you always were our publisher’s favorite.” And with that he steps from the shadows and Jamie and Patrick gasp. That piece of shit Manfred Long. “You goddamn hack,” Patrick spits, “I should have known if there was anyone who would shamelessly rip-off the BMT brand it would be you.” But Manfred just chuckles at that and waves the Cyborgs over to Jamie, Kyle, and Lindsey. “Take them,” he says, “I want to have a little chat with Patrick here. See if we can’t make a deal. I now have the power to make any wish you want come true… as long as you play ball.” And with that he holds up the Obsidian Dongle. That’s right! It’s the original Wishmaster of the NBA (as everyone called him) Shaq and the 90’s rapping genie classic Kazaam. I think probably this was just a bit past prime time for Patrick and I so I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. Let’s go!
The cyborgs approach Jamie, Kyle and Lindsey with their evil dead eyes glowing red. Gulp! Looks like the end for our heroes, that is until they hear a whistle from above and they see Rachel the Pretzel Girl soaring in on one of their hang gliders. “You feeling lucky, punks?” she shouts and Kyle pumps his fist at her wholly original quote. Let’s go! We are taking a risk with a Troma film for the Kazaam pairing and watching Getting Lucky about a Leprechaun that gives a nerd a chance at… well, getting lucky. Let’s go!
Kazaam (1996) – BMeTric: 83.8; Notability: 30
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 28.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 2.5%; Higher BMeT: Barb Wire; Higher Notability: Eraser, The Fan, Spy Hard, Jingle All The Way, Chain Reaction, Daylight, Eddie, The Associate, Up Close & Personal, Mulholland Falls, Dear God, Sgt. Bilko, Eye for an Eye, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Crow: City of Angels, Space Truckers, In Love and War, Joe’s Apartment, High School High, and 50 more; Lower RT: The Dentist, Adrenalin: Fear the Rush, Ed, Big Bully, Ripe, Bio-Dome; Notes: Wow that BMeTric is gaudy. How have we avoided doing this film until now? A sub-3.0 on IMDb is absurd for such a wide release, it is incredible.
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Kazaam” is a textbook example of a filmed deal, in which adults assemble a package that reflects their own interests and try to sell it to kids. How else to explain a children’s movie where the villains are trying to steal a bootleg recording so they can sell pirated copies of it? What do kids know, or care, about that? The movie stars Shaquille O’Neal, the Orlando Magic’s superstar center, as Kazaam, a genie who is released from captivity in an old boom box and has to perform three wishes for a little kid (Francis Capra). Right there you have a wonderful illustration of the movie’s creative bankruptcy. Assigned to construct a starring vehicle for Shaq, the filmmakers looked at him, saw a tall bald black man, and said, “Hey, he can be a genie!” At which point, somebody should have said, “OK, that’s level one. Now let’s take it to level three.” Shaq has already proven he can act (in “Blue Chips,” the 1994 movie about college basketball). Here he shows he can be likable in a children’s movie. What he does not show is good judgment in his choice of material. This is a tired concept, written by the numbers. Kids old enough to know about Shaq as a basketball star will be too old to enjoy the movie. Younger kids won’t find much to engage them. And O’Neal shouldn’t have used the movie to promote his own career as a rap artist; the soundtrack sounds less like music to entertain kids than like a trial run for a Shaq album.
(Wow, he cuts right to the core. And yeah, that’s called a great B-plot. This movie sounds kind of amazing for that reason alone, I love B-plots that make no sense for a kids movie.)
(Looks fun. Although now I remember why we haven’t done this one yet … it’s a kids movie. This is definitively a kids movie. Just give me all B-plot. Recut the entire film into just the B-plot.)
Directors – Paul Michael Glaser – (Known For: The Running Man; The Cutting Edge; Future BMT: Band of the Hand; The Air Up There; BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for directing an episode of Miami Vice. He played Starsky in Starsky and Hutch. He also directed a great Criminal Minds episode starring Jason Alexander called Masterpiece.)
Writers – Paul Michael Glaser – (BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Interestingly his only real attempt at writing apparently. I have to imagine he did uncredited stuff previously and probably just did too much tickering as the director and got a credit.)
Christian Ford – (BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Wrote an episode of Deep Space Nine which I can already tell I was probably fuming at since Kai Winn played a big role in it (she was a central long-running villain in the show).)
Roger Soffer – (Known For: Throne of Elves; BMT: Kazaam; Notes: Was Ford’s writing partner. Looks like they must have parted ways at some point since Soffer got his Throne of Elves credit in 2017 well after the bulk of their writing work.)
Actors – Shaquille O’Neal – (Known For: Hubie Halloween; The Lego Movie; The House Bunny; What Men Want; Uncle Drew; Thunderstruck; Future BMT: Scary Movie 4; Good Burger; After the Sunset; The Smurfs 2; Blue Chips; The Wash; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Blended; Jack and Jill; Freddy Got Fingered; Kazaam; Steel; Show Dogs; Chairman of the Board; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Steel in 1998; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Blended in 2015; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Blue Chips in 1995; Notes: Y’all know Shaq. Probably the best NBA actor ever, even if he doesn’t always choose the best roles. A four time NBA champion with the Lakers and Heat, he might be the most dominant big man in history (and if not that, he’s at least the most unique given his body shape).)
Francis Capra – (Known For: A Bronx Tale; SLC Punk!; Veronica Mars; Blood and Bone; Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; Rampart; Black Irish; Dishdogz; Future BMT: A Simple Wish; BMT: Crank; Kazaam; Notes: Not related to Frank Capra. Amazingly I recognize him mostly from his adult role as Eli Navarro (Weevil) in Veronica Mars. He looks quite different now obviously.)
Ally Walker – (Known For: While You Were Sleeping; Singles; Happy, Texas; Welcome to Hollywood; When the Bough Breaks; Mischief Night; Wonderful World; Eye of the Storm; The Seventh Coin; Future BMT: Bed of Roses; Steal Big Steal Little; BMT: Universal Soldier; Kazaam; Notes: Has been pretty much continuously employed in major television roles since the mid-90s besides taking a 10 year break while she was raising a family in the early 2000s. Was the star of the show Profiler.)
Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $18,937,262 (Worldwide: $18,937,262)
(Yep, a huge bomb, and likely Ebert is right in this case. There is no way this didn’t derail any cinematic career Shaq could have had (well … until he became a staple of Adam Sandler comedies I suppose, he was in at least four of those).)
Rotten Tomatoes – 5% (2/37): Crafted from a mix of genre clichés, Kazaam doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be, and Shaq’s larger-than-life charisma is stifled by rote filmmaking and an unimaginative story.
(Yeah, sounds about right. Two good reviews, and they basically just say Shaq is charming and the film old-school but fine.)
Reviewer Highlight: Kazaam never brings off the trick we most want to see: It fails to make the jolly, 7-foot-1 Shaq larger than life. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
(Love the font, hate everything else. Like Ebert said it makes you wonder about the choices Shaq was making at the time. Like he can actually act and is charming as hell and yet he apparently was so keen on being a rapper that he did this shit. The poster looks like it’s for a straight-to-video talking cat movie or something. D)
Tagline(s) – The world’s most powerful genie has just met his match. (F)
(The world’s most powerful genie… as opposed to all those less powerful genies we are familiar with? It’s amazing that they were so set on using this generic tagline that they tried to force it. It no longer even makes sense. I think I hate it… yup, I hate it.)
Top 10: Aladdin (2019), Bedazzled (2000), Aladdin (1992), Weird Science (1985), Aladdin (2020), Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (2002), Kazaam (1996), Burying the Ex (2014), The Tale of Despereaux (2008), Five Children and It (2004)
Future BMT: 13.9 Three Wishes (1995)
BMT: Kazaam (1996)
Matches: Kazaam (1996), The Lamp (1987), Miracle Beach (1992), Wishman (1992), Pretty Cool Too (2007), Wish Me Luck (1995), Djinn (2008), Wildest Dreams (1990), The Incredible Genie (1999), Shivers Down Your Spine (2015), Jinn (2016), Wishful Thinking the Series (2015)
(So few films with a genie … that somehow feels wrong, but yet, yeah … an all powerful, immortal being doesn’t leave much original storytelling ideas. The actual matches are mostly pretty small, Kazaam is the only major release. That is, if you want to be specific about the difference between a Djinn and a genie (this movie certainly does …))
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Efren Ramirez is No. 4 billed in Kazaam and No. 4 billed in Crank, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (4 + 4) + (1 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch Blue Chips, and Three Fugitives we can get the HoE Number down to 16.
Notes – Despite the fact that this film was a critical and financial disaster, Shaquille O’Neal has not expressed regret for his involvement. He said in a 2012 interview, “I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, ‘Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.’ What am I going to say, no? So I did it.”
John Costelloe plays a firefighter in this movie. In real life, he was a firefighter for 11 years before retiring in 1998. He also played a volunteer firefighter in The Sopranos (1999).
The main villain’s name is Malik, which is the Arabic word for king.
This movie is part of the false memory phenomenon (also called the “Mandela Effect”). According to many people, there was a movie named “Shazaam” starring Sinbad as the genie. This false memory was probably caused by a mix-up with this film and a costume Sinbad wore in 1994 when he hosted a TV broadcast of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). For April Fools’ Day 2017, the team of CollegeHumor Originals (2006) filmed a skit about alleged VHS footage of the Shazaam movie, with Sinbad starring as the genie.
Paul Michael Glaser’s last movie as a director, as of July 2021. He continues to direct television.