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Blues Brothers 2000

Starring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and Joe Morton and J. Evan Bonifant
Screenplay by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis
Directed by John Landis
Website: www.blues-brothers-2000.com

IN SHORT: Twice the music and half the property damage.

A freshly starched white shirt, black suit and tie, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a porkpie hat drape the frame of the man who waits patiently outside the walls of the Illinois penitentiary where the last 18 years of his life was spent. Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is waiting for his brother, Jake, to pick him up. Jake doesn't keep the appointment, because he's dead. This forces Elwood to do something he has avoided almost all of his adult life.

Elwood talks. A lot. Which is the antithesis of his character.

The first third of Blues Brothers 2000, thankfully, does not require that you have an in-depth knowledge of what happened two decades ago in The Blues Brothers. What you need to know is logically reintroduced and the story moves on its merry way. By the end of the first half hour you've surfed the seamier side of Chicago night life, where the Russian Mafia rules things and ex-Blues Brothers Band members have settled in to occupations like running strip bars, phone sex operations and Mercedes Benz dealerships. This half hour is also the funniest in the flick and features rave up musical performances by Aretha Franklin ("Respect") and Wilson Picket with Eddie Floyd and some skinny white boy named Jonny Lang ("634-5789").

Most everything else follows a template laid down in the first flick -- avoid the cops and get to the show. If you enjoyed that movie, you can just lay back and enjoy the muic. Sure, you could just buy the CD, but then you'd miss the joy of watching the superjam that closes out the flick.

This is the place where Cranky is supposed to point out that he doesn't make comparisons to Source Material, but there is no way you can miss the hole left by the death of John Belushi. By the end of BB2000 there are 4 males in black suits and shades. It isn't enough.

Joining Elwood this time out are "Mighty Mac" Blues (John Goodman), formerly a bartender in a strip club. Mac is a passive and meek man, who blossoms when the black suit goes on and the stage lights go up. For sheer stage moves, he is a behemoth of Blues. The littlest brother, "Buster" Blues (J. Evan Bonifant) is a 10 year old left in Elwood's care by Mother Mary Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman). Last man on stage is "Cab
Blues" (Joe Morton), Elwood's sort of step brother and former cop arch- nemesis. It's too long a story to explain.

Sure, it helps to know the history of the Blues Brothers to get some of the inside jokes in this sequel but it isn't really necessary. By the time you've cruised into the super jam at"Queen Mousette's Battle of the Bands," deep in the bayou country of Louisiana, you've either got a big smile on your face, or you've left the building.

Don't you dare. That jam includes Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Dr. John, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Isaac Hayes, Paul Shaffer, Travis Tritt (!), Skunk Baxter, Bo Diddley, Koko Taylor (and I'm sure I forgot some folk), all this is on top of performances by James Brown, Sam Moore, and Blues Traveler. The music kicks ass, even the use of the TV themes from "Peter Gunn" and "Perry Mason" as scoring but the paucity of the story takes the punch away.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his
own price to Blues Brothers 2000, he would have paid . . .


Cranky is not swayed by the fact that his cousin, Fred Steiner, wrote one of the TV themes used in the film (and that "Perry Mason" arrangement is a killer). Blues Brothers 2000 is enjoyable, but it doesn't rock. Gonna be a killer CD and, perhaps, video.

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