Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li (2009)
The Talent: Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk, Terminator Salvation’s Moon Bloodgood, Traitor’s Neil McDonough and where-has-my-career-gone’s Chris Klein all feature in this latest stab at turning the video game franchise into a successful film.
The Tag: “Some fight for power. Some fight for us.”
The Turkey Trouble: Street Fighter seems to be a cursed project – the original ‘90s version was camp but chaotic and this… just ladles on fight training and CG in an attempt to look cool without achieving coherence. Ever. Fail!
Director and winning Scrabble entry Andrzej Bartkowiak doesn’t exactly seem to be on a winning streak with the game-to-film genre. After Doom and this, he should probably just try something else.
Has The Director Worked Since? He’s attached to a script in development, but no.
I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
The Talent: Lindsay Lohan is backed up by the likes of Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough (him again, busy trying to fire his agent) and Spencer Garrett.
The Tag: “If you think you know the secret...Think twice.”
The Turkey Trouble: Sold almost entirely on the “Lindsay Lohan plays a stripper!” appeal (see also: Powder Blue and Jessica Biel), I Know… turns out to be an utterly shonky, wannabe twisty thriller in which La Lohan struts around in lingerie then over-emotes in a dual role.
Let’s face it, if you can’t stand her in regular one-appearance parts, even the thought of her pained gyrations won’t rouse you to see it.
Has The Director Worked Since? Chris Sivertson has produced a couple of claggy films, and has some projects at script stage, but he’s directed nada.
S. Darko (2009)
The Talent: Daveigh Chase reprises her role as a now-teenaged Samantha Darko, while the likes of John Hawkes (TV’s Deadwood), Briana Evigan and career yo-yo actress Elizabeth Berkley (in something fun, then something awful, then…) who must sadly find this at the low end of her spectrum.
The Tag: “It's Time To Travel Forward”
The Turkey Trouble: Okay, so it’s not irretrievably, unstoppably awful. In fact, it makes a solid stab at channelling the unsettling aura of Richard Kelly’s original. And it’s not that many straight-to-DVD releases that can claim an actual leading member of the cast from the first film among its roster.
But S. Darko sinks because it dares to be oh… so… dull. Messy and meandering, it mostly makes you wish the world would end. Before the running time does.
Has The Director Worked Since? Nope. Chris Fisher is available, folks!
Swept Away (2002)
The Talent: MADONNA. ‘Nuff said. No? Okay, how about Elizabeth Banks (wonder if she spotlights it on her CV?), Bruce Greenwood (ditto) and Jeanne Tripplehorn (well, it’s work…)
The Tag: “A film by Guy Ritchie”
The Turkey Trouble: Madge: “Guy, honey, sweetie, make a movie and put me in it! Something that really shows off my acting, um, talents. Something challenging, darling. Something with lust and power and danger! Love you forever!”
Guy: “Awright Princess, I’ll remake an obscure 1974 film and make you look like a royal bitch before you’re essentially enslaved by a sexy Italian working class bloke.”
CUT TO: Night of the first screening…
Madge: “I want a divorce.”
Has The Director Worked Since? Er, yes. He’s Guy Ritchie! He suffered another flop with Revolver, but came back strong on RocknRolla and is now hoping Sherlock Holmes hits.
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
The Talent: Diego Luna and Romola Garai are the sexy waiter and the beautiful girl who falls for him as they tango all over the place. The late Patrick Swayze has a cameo as a dance class instructor.
The Tag: “Break the Rules. Find Your Freedom. Live Your Life.”
The Turkey Trouble: Blah blah blah… Finding your own way in life… Blah blah… doing things for yourself… blah blah… Aren’t the cast pretty?
Havana Nights is a pointless, listless sequel that never reaches the legwarmer-clad heights of the original despite a competent cast and the requisite nod from The Swayze. This is one baby that should be put in a corner. And left there.
Has The Director Worked Since? Guy Ferland switched to that great director’s rehab – TV.
Masked And Anonymous (2003)
The Talent: Bob Dylan, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, John Goodman, Jessica Lang, Luke Wilson. The list goes on. This really went straight to video?
The Tag: “Would you reach out your hand to save a drowning man if you thought he might pull you in?”
The Turkey Trouble: Despite that hefty, impressive cast, some films just can’t swim with the tide.
And even with Larry Charles – who has done great work with Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno) and directed Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous – at the helm, it couldn’t stop from seeming like a vanity project for Dylan.
Has The Director Worked Since? Yes, as mentioned, Charles went on to Borat, Bruno and also helps bring us the awesome Curb Your Enthusiasm, for which he has our eternal gratitude and a pass on the turkey list.
Rancid Aluminium (2000)
The Talent: Rhys Ifans, Joseph Fiennes, Tara Fitzgerald (before she largely slipped into TV), Sadie Frost, Nick Moran
The Tag: “Those who should know, KNOW!”
The Turkey Trouble: Dear filmmakers: it might seem funny to put “rancid” in the title, but you’re really just shooting your film in the foot before the thing has even walked out the door.
Back then, many of the cast were the UK’s comedy acting elite, but now most of them are just happy to keep working. And they'd probably like to forget they ever appeared in this stodgy “comedy” “thriller”.
Has The Director Worked Since? Edward Thomas largely stuck to telly after making this.
Suburban Girl (2007)
The Talent: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin, Lost’s Maggie Grace, Nate Corddry.
The Tag: “Sometimes the ending is only the beginning.”
The Turkey Trouble: The fact that it started out life back in 2004 as The Girl’s Guide To Hunting And Fishing, collapsed a couple of times, got back on its feet by mid-2006 for a shoot should’ve been fair warning for all involved.
The best bet for more money? Pull a classic straight-to-DVD trick and re-release the thing with yet another new title and a cover that highlights Baldwin with some reference to 30 Rock. We’ll take a 10% cut for the suggestion. Can't wait to spend that 50p!
Has The Director Worked Since? Marc Klein was largely a writer (A Good Year, Serendipity) before he got his shot at directing. These days, he’s largely unemployed.
Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)
The Talent: The largely unknown likes of Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, Cameron Richardson and Eric Dane, who seems to be more famous right now for a celebrity nudie tape than anything he does on Grey’s Anatomy.
The Tag: “In the water no one can hear you scream.”
The Turkey Trouble: The original was Jaws-meets-Blair Witch, but the sequel opts for something a little more conventional with a tale of stranded swimmers, this time minus the finned fiends.
It’s actually not completely terrible, but you’ll quickly tire of the wittering characters and start wishing they’d make with the drowning.
Has The Director Worked Since? The superbly named Hans Horn made a couple of TV movies following the film sinking. Someone get that man a sex comedy!
The Contract (2006)
The Talent: Morgan Freeman, John Cusack, Megan Dodds, Bill Smotrovich.
The Tag: “Every Killer Meets His Equal..”
The Turkey Trouble: Okay, seriously? Films that star both Morgan Freeman and John Cusack do not go straight to video, do they? Er… actually… Freeman had this, The Code and Edison all do the rental shelf boogie, while Cusack saw Grace Is Gone premiere at the London Film Festival here then vanish into thin air.
But this underpowered, overwrought drama/thriller never quite gels. The thesps do their stuff, but it’s not enough to overcome a cliché masquerading as a script.
Has The Director Worked Since? It’s Bruce Beresford – he can keep pumping out whatever he wants since he made Driving Miss Daisy.