Retro Film Review: Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)

in #aaa2 months ago


It is said that the saddest sight is a champion unaware that his time has passed. The author of this review thinks that there is sight which is even sadder – film makers who desperately want to reach the top again by reminding audience of their long-past glory. John Landis with Blues Brothers 2000, 1998 sequel to his 1980 cult musical comedy, fits that description.

The plot starts with musician Elwood Blues (played by Dan Aykroyd) getting out of prison only be greeted with the news about death of his brother Jake. Elwood goes to his native Chicago and meets Mother Mary Stigmata (played by Kathleen Freeman) who would send him to gather money for her orphanage. Ellwood decides to gather his old blues band and go to great Battle of Bands in Louisiana. Replacement for Jake is found in the form of Macky (played by John Goodman), strip joint bartender. Before that happens Ellwood gets in trouble with the law because of Buster (played by J. Evan Bonifant), annoying 10-year old orphan who doesn't want to leave him. Authorities mistake this for kidnapping and organise manhunt participated by Cab Chamberlain (played by Joe Morton), Illinois State Police captain and Elwood's half brother.

One of many problems Landis faced while making this sequel is absence of John Belushi, whose legendary portrayal of Jake Blues contributed a lot to the cult status of original Blues Brothers. John Goodman, who was introduced to the film as his ersatz, is a great comedian but he obviously felt uncomfortable in the role. Same could be said for Joe Morton, great dramatic actor who can't handle comic role that well. J. Evan Bonifant, whose character had been specifically written for Macaulay Culkin, adds nothing to film except reminding audience of the derivative nature of this film and Landis' all-too-obvious desire to increase box office numbers by adding adorable child character into the film.

While the absence of John Belushi and Cab Calloway remind audiences of some unpleasant biological realities, other inevitable comparisons between Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000 show that Landis apparently lost almost any trace of inspiration or creativity. The plot of the sequel is mostly recycled from the original, often making unclear whether Blues Brothers 2000 is sequel or remake. Quality of humour is utterly disappointing, while the breath-taking action scenes from the original are replaced with boring set pieces that unsuccessfully try to compensate quality with quantity.

The only reason to watch Blues Brothers 2000 could be found in its breath-taking musical numbers. Unfortunately, in order to enjoy them, viewer has to endure weak plot, terrible dialogue and uninspired acting. Blues Brothers 2000 is, therefore, a failure. Those who love Blues Brothers should satisfy themselves with the original. Those who like good music have other, less painful, ways to enjoy it.
RATING: 2/10 (-)

(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup on April 22nd 2004)

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