Blues Brothers 2000
|Blues Brothers 2000|
Promotional one-sheet poster.
|Directed by||John Landis|
|Music by||Paul Shaffer|
|Edited by||Dale Beldin|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Budget||$28 million|
|Box office||$14 million|
Blues Brothers 2000 is a 1998 American musical comedy film that is a sequel to 1980's The Blues Brothers, written and produced by John Landis and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by Landis, the film stars Aykroyd and John Goodman, with cameos by many musicians.
Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is being released from prison, this time a modern private prison rather than the old Joliet Prison Illinois state penitentiary of his brother Joliet Jake's previous incarceration. He is told for the first time that his brother "Joliet" Jake Blues (John Belushi) has died, as has their surrogate father figure Curtis (Cab Calloway), then finds out that the orphanage the Blues Brothers had saved has been demolished.
Elwood does discover a second brother (of sorts). The illegitimate son of Curtis, his name is Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain (Joe Morton). Cab has no knowledge of Curtis or the Blues brothers or their band up until Elwood comes into his life. Cab is a commander in the Illinois State Police. Elwood asks Cab to loan him $500 for a car, but when Elwood tells him about the band and invites him to join, Cab responds by throwing him out. But 10-year-old orphan Buster (J. Evan Bonifant) steals the commander's wallet on Elwood's behalf.
Elwood purchases a used police squad car (a 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria) at a lot owned by Malvern Gasperon (B.B. King), who says he is leaving the business to move to New Orleans and try something else. Elwood drives to a strip club owned by the drummer of the Blues Brothers band, Willie Hall, and becomes master of ceremonies on stage. He discovers two things—that the Russian mafia has been demanding payoffs from Willie, and that the helpful bartender, Mack McTeer (John Goodman), can also sing.
After the Russians burn down the club, Elwood reunites the band. "Mighty" Mack is the new lead vocalist, with young Buster joining in on backup vocals and harmonica. The band's former musicians have moved on—guitarist Matt Murphy and his respect-demanding wife (Aretha Franklin) now run a Mercedes dealership, for instance—but once again the guys are willing to drop everything to go back on the road.
The band travels to several familiar locations from the past and discover how they have changed (for example, Bob's Country Bunker was converted into Bob's Country Kitchen, a family restaurant). Booking agent Maury Sline sends them to an outdoor gig in Cynthiana, Kentucky, lying that they are actually the "Bluegrass" Brothers. Law enforcement officers are there waiting, including Cab and his top lieutenant (Nia Peeples), but again the band is able to escape.
As well as being on the Russian mobsters' hit list, Elwood also falls foul of a white supremacist group (led by Darrell Hammond), disrupting their private rally. They and the police continue to pursue the band, which thanks to Sline is now on its way to Louisiana to compete in a battle of the bands.
At a revival meeting presided over by Rev. Cleophus James (James Brown), old friend of Elwood, the band is cornered by the zealous and law-abiding Cab and appear to be on their way to jail. But under an evangelical spell, Cab suddenly "sees the light" and becomes a Blues Brother, trading in his police uniform for a black suit and sunglasses.
Everyone heads south to the mansion of a voodoo practitioner named Queen Moussette (Erykah Badu) for the Battle of the Bands. There she transforms the Blues Brothers into zombies for a while, but returns them to life in time to compete against the Louisiana Gator Boys, a gigantic super-group fronted by Malvern Gasperon.
During the band battle, the Russians and the racists turn up, but Queen Moussette deals with them in her own unique way. Mother Mary Stigmata from the orphanage (Kathleen Freeman) and the Illinois police have arrived as well, making Buster fear that he will be taken away from the band and into child protective custody. Elwood sneaks him out a back door and together they hit the road.
Cast and characters
Bands and musical guests
The Blues Brothers Band
Main article: The Blues Brothers
The Louisiana Gator Boys
Nia Peeples, Kathleen Freeman, Frank Oz, Steve Lawrence, Darrell Hammond, John Lyons, and Jeff Morris appear in cameos. The film is dedicated to John Belushi, Cab Calloway and John Candy, cast members from the original film who had died prior to the sequel's production.
Blues Brothers 2000 made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest car pile-up, a record previously held by the original film. Approximately 60 cars were used in the scene after Elwood says to the band, "Don't look back." Inevitably, everyone looks back and sees the massive pile-up. Portions of this scene were filmed in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The film was originally intended to include Brother Zee Blues (James Belushi, brother of John Belushi). But due to an already existing television deal (Belushi had been cast in the ABC drama Total Security), Belushi was unable to appear and the script was altered to include Cab Blues (Joe Morton). This character was named Cabel as an homage to Cab Calloway, who died four years prior to the film's release. (His character Curtis was revealed to have died in the film along with Jake.)
The band's original keyboardist, Paul Shaffer, had been committed to Gilda Radner's one-woman show on Broadway and therefore unable to appear in the first film. He was replaced by actor-musician Murphy Dunne. Shaffer does appear in Blues Brothers 2000, taking a week off from Late Show with David Letterman to film his role as Queen Moussette's aide, emcee of the battle of the bands. (Warren Zevon took his place that week on Letterman's show). Shaffer shaved his head for the role, a change in appearance he chose to keep permanently.
During the Funky Nassau number, Shaffer in his character as "Marco" asks to cut in on keyboards, which Murph allows. This marks the first on-screen time that the Blues Brothers Band plays with the original keyboardist.
The film grossed a little over $14 million in box office sales in North America.
Blues Brothers 2000 received mixed reviews, averaging a 45% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 44 reviews, and a D score on EW.com. Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars, saying, "The film is lame comedy surrounded by high-energy blues (and some pop, rock and country music)."
A Blues Brothers 2000 video game was released for the Nintendo 64 on November 17, 2000, almost two years after the film's release. The plot of the game involves Elwood as the main character going through different chapters and levels while trying to save the kidnapped members of the band one by one. Like the film on which it based and the video game based on the first film, it was poorly received.
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- Blues Brothers 2000 at the Internet Movie Database
- Blues Brothers 2000 at the TCM Movie Database
- Blues Brothers 2000 at AllMovie
- Blues Brothers 2000 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Blues Brothers 2000 at Box Office Mojo