After being released from prison, Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) decides to get the band back together.
Director: John Landis
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton, J. Evan Bonifant, The Blues Brothers Band
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for exotic dancing, and some language
Fun Fact: Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman worked with no pay to keep the budget down.
Blues Brothers 2000 is one of those films that knows it doesn’t really need to exist and it’s just there. Did we really need a sequel to The Blues Brothers in the first place? It was an almost twenty years wait to get one. From what I’ve read is that there was a sequel in the works in the 80’s but, John Belushi died so the project was pulled. While some might say it’s a tribute to the first one, it just has a sequel feel to it that tries and continues the legacy of the first film.
The main problem with this film is the lack of motive. There really isn’t any plot to it and there are no motives to what the characters wanting to achieve. Elwood gets the band back together but, he doesn’t say why. Shouldn’t there be a reason to do that? Why would the other members want to go back to it? They all have good paying jobs and seemed to move on with their lives. When you see the other members, it looks like they’re happy with what they are doing and one of the members even mentions that he doesn’t want to go back to jail like last time. It doesn’t make any sense from a writing stand point. You need motives to tell a story and want us to care what is going on. Another thing that made no sense was to include a 10-year-old kid to be part of the band. I get the point of it so Elwood can redeem himself by helping a troubled youth but, the kid really doesn’t do much. He has two scenes that relate to Elwood and he’s just in the background for the rest of the film. There is no payoff in the end are no investment on when Elwood and the kid must make a getaway.
With a lack of script, you are not going to get the performances to make the film enjoyable. The first film had a high energy to it. With a well written script you can get the performances from the actors and musicians that are needed for the film to succeed. While Blues Brothers 2000 was a film that came out two decades after The Blues Brothers, the performances look slow and uninterested. Some of the comedic timing is off and the delivery of lines is more on the monotone side. Dan Aykroyd’s Chicago accent sounds forced and the performance comes off wrong. I like Dan Aykroyd but, this wasn’t his finest. John Goodman was good in his performance though. You can tell he’s not out to replace John Belushi so he’s just having fun with it. Goodman brings energy to his character and honestly, he’s not a bad singer.
Just like the first film, there are some pretty good musical performances. There’s a lot of talented musicians in this film and some big named blues musicians like Eric Clapton and B.B. King have small cameo roles. Some of musical performances are fun to watch and it will make you want to get the soundtrack to it. The only performance on the music front that was lackluster was Aretha Franklin’s. It just looks tired and uninspired for the most part. I enjoy Franklin’s music but, the scene she had here was just a miss.
Overall Blues Brothers 2000 is an uninspired sequel to a great first film. It has no story or motives, and the performances are lackluster. There are a few fun musical performances but, that’s not enough to carry or salvage the parts that the film lacks. I would suggest checking out the musical performances but, you can probably find those on YouTube.