The Horrible Dr Bones (2000)

"The Doctor is in the House" (Or sometimes in the ghetto)

Directed by Art Carnage
Starring...well, no-one really

BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, dull, vanity/promo project.

    A group of nice young hip-hop artistes calling themselves the Urban Protectors are recruited by Dr Nathaniel Bones, the not-at-all-sinister head of Boneyard records, little suspecting that he is up to something dubious that involves people's heads exploding. He turns out to be a wacky voodoo guy who uses subliminal voice-control techniques to manipulate people, which only the song-writer/producer Jamal notices. Bones and his moronic accomplices use the Protectors' music as a carrier to zombify the living, but Jamal evades the effect, and smashes the hearts that control his dead zombie slaves. A year later, the nice young people get mind-controlled from beyond the grave...or something.

What's wrong with it?

    The Horrible Dr Bones truly is horrible. It's incredibly dull, the effects are cheap and tacky; the plot is limp, and so short that the entire thing fits neatly into the trailer. The acting is dire, and not even in a way that's funny. Dr Bones is clearly supposed to be sinister, but doesn't have the charisma. The whole thing seems to have been put together to sell the so-so hip-hop talents of the soundtrack artists, both of whom appear as runners-up in the battle of the bands won by the Urban Protectors.

What's right with it?

    Well, it's short.

How bad it is really?

    Very, very tedious, and when it's not being tedious, just plain annoying. It doesn't even have any quality shambling. It's pretty much 'shamble lite'.

Best bit

    Jamal sees Dr Bones putting his middle-aged moves on the lead singer, Jamal's best girl Lisa. Bones turns to him, and his mouth creases back into a CG'd impossible rictus grin.

What's up with...?


Production Values: Lame. Really. Nice work with the rictus, but otherwise it's all crap. Even the costumes suck, and they're just clothes. The whole thing looks very, very cheap. 18

Dialogue and performances: Utterly terrible. None of the bad guys are sinister enough, and the zombies can't shamble worth shit. The 'heroes' lack any kind of charisma. The lead singer chick can writhe some, but sadly can not lip-synch. 17

Plot and execution: The plot would fit on the back of a postage stamp, and even then would take up more space than it deserves. The direction is lacklustre, and one suspects that Mr Carnage - if that is his real name - might have been more used to directing bad hip-hop videos than bad movies. 18

Randomness: There actually isn't enough happening for much randomness, except for the whole temptation-dream thing, which is a solid ten minutes of pure random. 14

Waste of Potential: This is possibly the most boring zombie movie ever. Even Steven Seagal in Marked for Death was better. That being said, it promises very little. 13

Overall 78%

Out for Justice (1991)

"He's a cop. It's a dirty job...but somebody's got to take out the garbage."

Directed by John Flynn
Starring Steven Seagal

BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, dull, egregious violence, just plain unpleasant.

    Tough, Brooklyn cop Gino something-or-other learns that his best friend has been murdered by small-time, crack-head wannabe Richie, who is swanning around, talking about his 'last night' and offering merry bushels of cash to anyone dumb enough to hook up with him. With the full collusion of his captain, Gino heads off on a quest for revenge, by way of roughing up Richie's weasel kid brother, high-class madame sister and honest, God-fearing parents, dissing the local Mafia boss, traumatising his friend's widow, and beating the crap out of anyone who so much as looks at him cross-eyed.
    Naturally, Gino eventually gets his man, but lets the mob take the credit. In passing, he also patches up his marriage - through the tried-and-trusted method of getting his wife shot at then killing half-a-dozen men in front of her - discovers that his friend was not only on the take but also cheating on his wife and on the hooker he was cheating on his wife with - in the second iteration with mad Richie's girlfriend, which is apparently what this is all about - and saves a small puppy.

What's wrong with it?

    Out for Justice belongs to a certain class of film in which the villains have to repeatedly prove their evilness -  say by shooting an innocent woman in the head for no reason save being high on crack - just so that the 'hero' looks good by comparison. Moreover, it belongs to a class of action movies where only the hero knows martial arts, and beats up so many hapless, useless goons that he looks like a bully for doing it. This film is in fact entirely devoid of sympathetic characters: Everyone is either a scumbag, a bastard, a weasel or a drip. Even the innocent victim being avenged turns out to be a louse.
    Actually, that's not entirely true. You kind of feel sorry for a number of the people that Gino drags through the mud on his way past, particularly Richie's sister and parents, but it doesn't make the film any easier to watch.

What's right with it?


How bad is it really?

    Out for Justice makes for excruciating viewing. Even hardened veterans of the bad movie battlefield would do best to avoid this one, unless they are also masochists.

Best bit?

What's up with...?


Production values: Cheap. Cars, guns, clothes (almost all bad). The occasional blood squib, and a deeply unconvincing 'leg blowed off by a shotgun'. 15.

Dialogue and performances: A few good actors phone it in here, but mostly they deserve the arse dialogue they are given. Steven Seagal's Sicilian-American cop is the low point: At times he's all but incomprehensible; the rest of the time you just wish he was. 16.

Plot and execution: Oh. Dear. Christ. 19.

Randomness: With so little plot, how can they find room for randomness, you might ask. The answer is in the visuals. Such 'delights' as the glossy, studio-quality incriminating Polaroids, the gay socialist ensemble and others make this film as random as any. 17.

Waste of potential: This film was pretty much doomed, but it's a poor showing even for Steven 'Jonathon Livingstone' Seagal. 12.

Overall 79%

Dune - TV version (1988)

"A world beyond your experience, beyond your imagination"

Directed by Alan Smithee (David Lynch)
Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis and Jürgen Prochnow

BMM Keywords: What the fuck? Huh?

    After a long and rambling prologue, accompanied by a bunch of piss-poor watercolours, explains how men overthrew the thinking machines, and that everything is about the spice Melange that is only found on Arrakis - aka Dune - we are treated to a massive condensation of Frank Herbert's sprawling, socio-political, Sci-Fi epic, which refuses to cut anything out, yet can not give due time to everything it needs to. The result is a shambles; a convoluted mess that makes less sense than the shorter version.
    Harkonnen, Atreides, Fremen, Sandworms and Moa-dib. If you don't know the story, I sure as hell can't explain it without running to several hundred words. Read the book, watch the movie, or even the more recent mini-series. Just, dear God, don't watch this one.

What's wrong with it?

    Make no mistake here: I'm not talking about David Lynch's rambling, semi-coherent film here. This is the even more rambling, utterly incomprehensible TV mini-series extension that David Lynch refused to allow his name on (hence the Alan Smithee director's credit). By reinserting all edited footage, the mini-series manages to say nothing more than the film, but to say it three times. In general, someone will say something, then we'll hear them think it in voice over, and then someone else will either repeat it back to them as a question, or think the same thing again, or they'll say it to themselves.
    Even the score - the great strength of the film - is here screwed up. In order to fill in the reinserted scenes - which also lack the visual effects editing that gives the Fremen their blue-in-blue eyes - it is as if the cassette was just left running, even in the pre-existing scenes, so that at times there are quite literally two separate sections of soundtrack playing at the same time! This also means that there are no tense silences, there is always a soundtrack, even when there shouldn't be.
    Also, Sting's steel underpants.

What's right with it?

    Astonishingly little. The performances aren't bad, but tend to the stilted, and I suspect Jürgen Prochnow was pretty much pissed throughout filming. The big exception comes from the Atreides retainers - well, three of them anyway, since Duncan Idaho isn't much to write home about - Gurney Hallek, Thufur Hawat and Dr Yueh, played with great and campy aplomb by Patrick Stewart, Freddie Jones and Dean Stockwell. And then there's Sting, who's surely just taking the piss.
    The music is keen, but annoyingly jumbled. The sandworms remain a high-point, although they have dated a little, and the shields likewise. There are some nice ideas, but with the added length they look even more lost than in the original.
    Also, it is at least not the Jodorowsky version.

How bad is it really?

    Well, it's not terrible by the standards of this page, but leave us not forget that the standards of this page are mind-numbingly low. The big, extended Dune is really just dull, but at some three hours plus, that's a lot of dull, and borders on the tedious; especially when anything interesting is mitigated by the mess that is the soundtrack and the repetition.

Best bit?

    Probably the scene when the massive spice harvester is swallowed whole by the sandworm. It was probably the absolute bomb in 1984, and it still looks pretty good.

What's up with...?


Production values: Actual Hollywood standard production values, although some of the rubber suits and unexplained accordions are a little weird. This version is let down however by the crappy prologue, crass soundtracking and failure to blue the eyes in the restored scenes. 10

Dialogue and performances: The dialogue isn't really bad per se, there's just too much of it; or maybe the right amount repeated over and over. It's also phenomenally serious about itself. The performances tend to be either camp or stilted, but that's the fault of the script's excessive earnestness. The narrator bites on a level not even matched by Virginia Madsen in the original version. 12

Plot and execution: Just to reiterate, this is an Alan Smithee film once directed by David Lynch. This is a film that was such a jumbled mess that David Lynch took his name off it! Also, the editing sucks. 20

Randomness: Mostly in the editing, but it's here in spades. So many of the re-editing decisions seem to have come down to 'people want a longer version, cram this back in even though it serves no additional purpose'. 16

Waste of potential: Dune is a book that would be nigh impossible to film well as anything less than an epic mini-series - and tough even then. By extending the running time, and making the film less comprehensible, this must rate as one of the biggest wastes of the time and talent of everyone involved in living history. 19

Overall 77%