Lost Genre: Rip-off

So, a Rip-off is the cinematic equivalent of finding a burning bag of dog poop on your porch- you dive into it before you realize what’s really going on. Some people think it’s a great idea, others find it pretty crappy. In a Rip-off, they steal the plot from another movie, change the setting, tweak the characters and details, and pass it off as an original work. It’s not a remake! They’ll never admit it’s a remake. The creators may acknowledge some similarities, but they can’t admit they stole the plot.

Fatal Attraction

[imdb Fatal Attraction]Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) meets Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) and has a brief, torrid affair. Dan wants to let her down easy and get back to married life, but Alex isn’t hot on the idea and attempts suicide. Not to stop the crazy there, Alex begins stalking Dan, eventually breaking into his house and boiling his daughter’s bunny. Dan admits his infidelity to his wife and they have a three-way showdown with Alex. In the spirit of Rasputin, Alex has to be drowned and shot before she expires.

Affair, marriage, unhinged woman, stalker. Hmm, sounds a little like Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me, doesn’t it? In fact, suicide, affair, stalking, breaking and entering, confession, and showdown all show up in both movies in the same order. Both John Carpenter and Brian De Palma passed on the movie, with Carpenter saying:

There wasn’t a grain of originality in it – it was Play Misty for Me with Michael Douglas filling in for Clint Eastwood.

Daylight

[imdb Daylight]An irrelevant robbery subplot sets the wheels of this disaster in motion. It eventually leads to an explosion in one of New York’s tunnels, trapping all the commuters with just a few hours of air left. Luckily, Kit Latura (Sylvester Stallone) is on the scene. He’s a disgraced EMS worker looking for redemption and is the only hope for the trapped commuters. He works his way into the tunnels and leads a small group of people out (with the help of a bunch of rats), evading the rising water flooding the tunnel.

If the band of travelers looking for an exit amid the rising water doesn’t seem familiar, those rats and a sacrificial death should do it. It’s The Poseidon Adventure underground. Only it’s not near as exciting, or even all that interesting.

Barb Wire

[imdb Barb Wire]Based on the comic of the same name, Barb Wire is the owner of a nightclub, and a closet mercenary. Barb comes into possession of a pair of contact lenses that will allow the wearer to usurp security and escape to Canada. Her former boyfriend Axel Hood (Temuera Morrison) soon shows up with a defecting scientist in tow. Axel needs to convince Barb to give the contacts to the scientist so she get her info to the resistance. Although she behaves to the contrary, still upset about being abandoned in Seattle, Barb is able to get the scientist out of the county.

Let’s see, a morally ambivalent bar owner sympathetic to the underdog. An old flame who is now a part of the resistance comes calling, looking for a favor. A fascist government. A rouse by the bar owner. An escape. And the bar owner and the local police chief getting all chummy at the end. If that ain’t Casablanca! It’s basically the exact same story set in the future, with most of the characters getting gender reassignments. If you haven’t seen this movie, do. The combination of the stolen plot and a production that fails on every level makes for one of the best times I’ve ever had watching a movie. It doesn’t exactly fall into the so-bad-it’s-good category, more like the so-preposterous-it’s-good. It’s like going bowling and throwing your ball into the other lane, getting a strike. It was the right idea but executed so poorly that every one laughs and has a good time.

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