|Blues Brothers 2000|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Landis|
|Music by||Paul Shaffer|
|Edited by||Dale Beldin|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Blues Brothers 2000 is a 1998 American musical comedy film that is a sequel to the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, written and produced by John Landis and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by Landis, the film stars Aykroyd and John Goodman, with cameo appearances by various musicians. 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, as well as Junior Wells, who died one month before it was released.
Elwood Blues is released from prison after serving eighteen years for the events of the first film. After waiting a day for his brother "Joliet" Jake Blues to pick him up, he is informed that Jake has died. He is picked up by Matara, a friend who works for his former drummer Willie Hall. Before meeting with Willie, Elwood is dropped off to see Mother Mary Stigmata who reveals that Curtis has also died, but fathered an illegitimate son Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain who is an Illinois State Police commander. She introduces Elwood to an orphan named Buster and suggests mentoring him. Elwood plans to re-form The Blues Brothers Band and tracks down Cab to ask him to join. Elwood also reveals the truth to Cab about his birth, who calls his mother and is stunned when she confirms it. Cab is offended by the suggestion of joining him after seeing Elwood's and Jake's criminal history, and throws him out of the building. Buster steals his wallet which contains enough money for Elwood to purchase a new Bluesmobile.
While working as a singer at Willie's strip club, Elwood discovers his friend is being shaken down by the Russian mafia. When two of them return, Elwood gets them drunk and dumps them in an alley, bound and gagged with duct tape, with the aid of bartender "Mack" McTeer. The Russians return and burn the club down, but not before Elwood hears Mack sing. The next day, Elwood, "Mighty" Mack (the new lead singer) and Buster begin tracking down the Blues Brothers Band. Matt "Guitar" Murphy (who now works at a Mercedes-Benz dealership) joins again, but as before, does so against the wishes of his wife (additionally, it is also revealed that she sold their soul food restaurant from the original film in order to open the dealership), along with three members who worked at a radio station. Their lead trumpet player "Mister Fabulous" is now a funeral director; Elwood disrupts a Russian Orthodox graveside service, thereby incurring more wrath of the Russian Mob but getting their trumpeter back. Finally, Murphy Dunne joins up after his boss at a call center grants him permission.
The newly reformed band uses their old agent Maury Sline to book them a gig. On the way to the show, they are followed by Cab and the Illinois State Police, who are looking for Elwood for stealing Cab's wallet and believing he has kidnapped Buster. While avoiding the police and their barricades on a bridge over the Ohio River by driving under the water, Elwood interrupts a militia group meeting inadvertently destroying their boat which was full of explosives.
The Band arrives for their gig at a Kentucky county fair and discovers that Maury Sline booked them in as a Bluegrass Band. They perform the show anyway to great acclaim by the crowd, until they get rained out. Afterwards, they evade capture by the police, but the cops catch up with them at a tent revival where old friend Reverend Cleophus James is preaching. Before Cab can arrest them, he has an epiphany that he should join the Band after hearing the music. The Band evades capture once more, with the transformed Cab joining them. They enter a tryout for a Battle of the Bands put on by Queen Moussette, allegedly a 130-year-old voodoo witch. Moussette requests that the band play something Caribbean, and when Elwood begins to explain they don't play that kind of music, she casts a spell on them to play anyway. Moussette accepts the Blues Brothers for the Battle, however Elwood, Mack, and Cab are transformed into stone statues.
At the show, Queen Moussette reverses the stone statue spell to allow The Blues Brothers Band to play against The Louisiana Gator Boys, a supergroup of blues musicians. They lose to the Gator Boys. Afterwards, the show is interrupted by the arrival of the Russian Mafia and the militia group who lost their boat, who are then turned into rats by Queen Moussette. The Illinois State Police arrive, but stand down after Cab informs them that he is all right and there by choice. Elwood suggests that the two bands jam together on stage, and uses the performance as cover when Reverend Mother Mary Stigmata arrives to say goodbye to Cab and Mack. Elwood escapes with Buster and the movie ends with the police once again in pursuit of the Blues Brothers in the Bluesmobile.
Kathleen Freeman, Frank Oz, Steve Lawrence, Shann Johnson, and Jeff Morris appeared in cameos, all reprising their roles from The Blues Brothers film. Nia Peeples portrays a state police officer, Darrell Hammond a militia member, John Lyons a Russian thug, and Paul Shaffer as Queen Moussette's majordomo. 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. 63 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 movie held the record for Most Cars Destroyed in the course of production for nine years at 104, one more than was wrecked in The Blues Brothers, until G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra surpassed it in 2009 with 112 cars destroyed.
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The film was originally intended to include Brother Zee Blues (Jim 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 Blues Brothers' original keyboardist, Paul Shaffer, had been committed to Gilda Radner's one-woman show on Broadway and was 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 majordomo and 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 retain permanently.
During the "Funky Nassau" number, Shaffer in his character of "Marco," asks to cut in on keyboards, which Murph allows. This marks the first time on-screen that the Blues Brothers Band played with their original keyboardist.
The film grossed a little over $14 million in box office sales in North America.
The film received mixed reviews, averaging a 46% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 46 reviews, and a critical consensus that reads "Braving onward without the late John Belushi, Blues Brothers 2000 gets the band back together with a spirited soundtrack, but a mission that's far less divine". It earned a D score from Entertainment Weekly. 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, 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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