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Movie Jail: This week's defendant is...Len Wiseman!

04.13.2015

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This is Movie Jail, a unique maximum security prison that houses some of the worst writers, directors, actors and producers from Hollywood and beyond. Their crimes? The offenses vary from convict to convict but most of these inmates have contributed negatively to the film world to some capacity* and his or her misdeeds have covered a long enough period of time that the authorities had to intervene. In each column a defendant is put on trial, arguments are made, and then it is up to YOU, the jury, to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty of crimes against cinema. Their lives are in your hands, dude.

The Defendant

Total Recall Len Wiseman

The Case

The Prosecution: Total Recall, Underworld: Awakening (screenplay), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (producer), Underworld: Evolution, Underworld

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Len Wiseman doesn't have a ton of big screen credits (and jury members will likely complain about that fact), but with his involvement with the negatively reviewed Underworld series (and his 2012 megabomb Total Recall) the prosecution believes there's been enough bad from the filmmaker to put him up for Movie Jail.

The Underworld movies have never received high marks from critics, and all four installments are below 35% at Rotten Tomatoes. While Mr. Wiseman only directed the first two (he co-wrote the Underworld: Awakening script and produced Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) his name is still synonymous with the franchise. The series does have a loyal following and the films have done pretty well at the box office, but they certainly aren't great or even good movies. Maybe that's why many people rejoiced when it was announced that Mr. Wiseman had left The Mummy reboot.

Besides Mr. Wiseman's stylish vampires vs werewolves flicks, he also directed the previously mentioned Total Recall remake, and a decent (but still considered by many to be inferior to the previous films) entry in the Die Hard series with Live Free or Die Hard. Mr. Wiseman can handle action scenes, but overall the prosecution has been very unimpressed by his directorial efforts, and we are recommending a steep sentence for the filmmaker.

Underworld Len Wiseman

The Defense: Live Free or Die Hard, Underworld series

Ladies and gentlemen, my client isn't known for directing prestigious films, but that doesn't mean Mr. Wiseman belongs in prison, and the prosecution is probably just jealous he gets to go home to Kate Beckinsale every night. Most critics would rather take a stake to the heart than give any of the Underworld movies a good review, but the series does have its fans (all four movies have an audience score over 60%) and in the defense's opinion they aren't so offensive to cinema we need to lock him up.

Total Recall isn't as bad as many people make it out to be, and the defense believes there wouldn't be so much hate for the movie if it was an original film and not a remake, sort of like the Robocop reboot. Some have argued that Live Free or Die Hard is where "superhero" John McClane got his start, but the defense still enjoyed Mr. Wiseman's Die Hard movie, and it's certainly better than A Good Day to Die Hard.

The defense would like to see more from Mr. Wiseman since he's only directed two non-Underworld movies, and we think he is a talented action director. Perhaps he does need to step up his game a bit, but at this point we don't believe Mr. Wiseman should be sent to Movie Jail.

Live Free or Die Hard Len Wiseman

IN CLOSING...

Are you a fan of Mr. Wiseman's Underworld movies, or are they just as bad as the Twilight films? Does he belong behind bars because of Total Recall, or should we cut him some slack? Is director Len Wiseman GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?

*The cases for and against a defendant going to Movie Jail by the author are not necessarily his views and opinions but they are some of the beliefs that one would use to effectively make an argument for both sides. Not quite a devil's advocate but you get the point. Anyway, this is all in fun so don't take it too seriously. We have a separate jail for those people called "Troll Tower" and believe me you do NOT want to go there.

WHAT SAY YOU, GUILTY OR NOT?

Len Wiseman Kate Beckinsale

LAST WEEK'S VERDICT

Simon West

Simon West was found NOT GUILTY of all charges in last week's trial, and although Con Air definitely helped save the director's bacon, (weirdly enough) many jury members also said they thought his The General's Daughter was a solid crime movie. (Note: I'm honestly not trying to be a dick here, but have any of you seen The General's Daughter recently? It hasn't held up well.) Mr. West is free to work on his planned The Blob remake and John Stratton movie starring Henry Cavill, but if either film ends up being a disaster, the director will likely find himself on trial again.

PREVIOUS VERDICTS

GUILTY Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn, Tim Burton, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, Jessica Alba, Ice Cube, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Marlon Wayans, Julia Roberts, M. Night Shyamalan , Katherine Heigl , Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tyler Perry, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Ashton Kutcher, Happy Madison Productions, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Paul W.S. Anderson, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Renee Zellweger, Shia LaBeouf, Renny Harlin, Diane Keaton, McG, Demi Moore, King Joffrey (Game of Thrones Special), David Spade, Spike Lee, Kevin James, Joel Schumacher, Ehren Kruger, Chris Rock, Mark Steven Johnson, Mickey Rourke, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Josh Duhamel, Saw Franchise (Halloween Edition), Zach Braff, Sam Worthington, Melissa McCarthy, The Wachowski Siblings, Kate Bosworth, Garry Marshall, David Goyer

NOT GUILTY Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Wes Craven, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Costner, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Smith, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Anna Faris, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Milla Jovovich, John Singleton, Jon Voight, Jack Black, Brian De Palma, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, Freddy Krueger (Halloween Edition), Johnny Knoxville, Orlando Bloom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, Chris Columbus, Clive Owen, Terrence Howard, Andrew Niccol, Drew Barrymore, Steve Martin, Joel Silver, Michelle Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Dario Argento, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Quaid, Rob Reiner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, Ivan Reitman, Stephen Sommers, Shawn Levy, Jai Courtney, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Luc Besson, Jason Reitman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Connelly, Sienna Miller, Ben Barnes, Simon West

UPDATES: Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage and Roland Emmerich, Jim Carrey, Robert Rodriguez and Gerard Butler, Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts and The Farrelly Brothers, Ben Stiller, Tim Burton and Shia LaBeouf, Johnny Depp, Kevin Smith & Chris Rock

Extra Tidbit: Who should stand trial next week? Share your suggestions for actors, directors and writers below with your verdict!
Source: JoBlo.com

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8:04AM on 04/14/2015

NOT guilty

First of, because of his wife, then, I like the Underworld franchise, Die Hard 4 (especially in its director's cut) and even if his Total Recall is a bad remake, it's not such a bad film...
First of, because of his wife, then, I like the Underworld franchise, Die Hard 4 (especially in its director's cut) and even if his Total Recall is a bad remake, it's not such a bad film...
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3:15AM on 04/14/2015

Not guilty

Dude gets a pass on being married to Kate Beckinsale alone. I like the Underworld movies & let's face it, his Die Hard was better than the last one, he only has one strike with Total Recall as far as I'm concerned.
Dude gets a pass on being married to Kate Beckinsale alone. I like the Underworld movies & let's face it, his Die Hard was better than the last one, he only has one strike with Total Recall as far as I'm concerned.
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12:11AM on 04/14/2015

Lucky Son of a Bitch!

The first two Underworld movies are fucking awesome. I really hate the style that's evident in both Total Recal and Die Hard 4 (the over the top ridiculous and not in a good way CGI fest). That being said a lot of Live Free or Die Hard does a decent job with the charecter (not as good as the previouse 3 but not a John Moore level of Bad). I really was'nt at all fond of Totall Recall but even that had soem solid action sequences (that elevator sequence).

In summary not guilty but I wish
The first two Underworld movies are fucking awesome. I really hate the style that's evident in both Total Recal and Die Hard 4 (the over the top ridiculous and not in a good way CGI fest). That being said a lot of Live Free or Die Hard does a decent job with the charecter (not as good as the previouse 3 but not a John Moore level of Bad). I really was'nt at all fond of Totall Recall but even that had soem solid action sequences (that elevator sequence).

In summary not guilty but I wish he'd refrain from his over the top urges in the future..
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5:56PM on 04/13/2015

Guilty

I've only seen two of Wiseman's movies. Underworld was OK, even if the style felt like Alex Proyas crossed with Tim Burton and C-grade Matrix action. It does offer up Kate Beckinsale in a leather bodysuit and Bill Nighy owning for three minutes, so it's not meritless.

But how do you so thoroughly fuck up Total Recall? I didn't even grow up on the Verhoeven movie, I just watched it one time and it is SO much better, in every way, than the pile of commercial waste that is the Colin Farrell
I've only seen two of Wiseman's movies. Underworld was OK, even if the style felt like Alex Proyas crossed with Tim Burton and C-grade Matrix action. It does offer up Kate Beckinsale in a leather bodysuit and Bill Nighy owning for three minutes, so it's not meritless.

But how do you so thoroughly fuck up Total Recall? I didn't even grow up on the Verhoeven movie, I just watched it one time and it is SO much better, in every way, than the pile of commercial waste that is the Colin Farrell movie. The only inspired choice that movie made was combining Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside's characters and casting his wife in the role. Which isn't an inspiring move at all. Also, the only time I have been actually bored by a Bill Nighy cameo.

Ultimately, Wiseman isn't bad. He's just bland. He's like a less-offensive Brett Ratner. Or a worse version of Zack Snyder, because he claims he's got fans' interests at heart. At least Snyder has style.
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3:43PM on 04/13/2015

Hmmm....

Off with his head! Guilty!
Off with his head! Guilty!
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2:24PM on 04/13/2015

Not Guilty

His films tend to grow on you. The last Underworld film was horrible but the rest were pretty good. He has a very good eye for visuals. Total Recall is fun to watch on Blu Ray and as a person who had seen the original before there were hardly any surprises. Die Hard 4.0 is in the same league, fun to watch though it doesn't feel like anything like the previous movies.
His films tend to grow on you. The last Underworld film was horrible but the rest were pretty good. He has a very good eye for visuals. Total Recall is fun to watch on Blu Ray and as a person who had seen the original before there were hardly any surprises. Die Hard 4.0 is in the same league, fun to watch though it doesn't feel like anything like the previous movies.
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1:45PM on 04/13/2015

Not Guilty

I enjoyed Live Free , Total Recall and both Underworld movies,( which he only directed). That's what I look for when I watch a movie. I liked his style and the rate of action.
Do I give a shit about Rotten Tomatoes or any other critic? NO, they are irrelevant to my viewing decisions.
I enjoyed Live Free , Total Recall and both Underworld movies,( which he only directed). That's what I look for when I watch a movie. I liked his style and the rate of action.
Do I give a shit about Rotten Tomatoes or any other critic? NO, they are irrelevant to my viewing decisions.
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1:39PM on 04/13/2015

Not Guilty

Yes, his movies are disposable, [link] types, but Len Wiseman has a good style and a nice visual flair, that while the scripts he chooses (or co-writes) are only ever so-so, as a director he manages to keeping things fresh looking, and has a decent eye for action. (Seriously, the best moments of the "Total Recall" moment all come from the directing, not the script- the 'one shot' action scene at Rekall for example, is one of the only times the remake felt different and fresh vs. the original).
Yes, his movies are disposable, [link] types, but Len Wiseman has a good style and a nice visual flair, that while the scripts he chooses (or co-writes) are only ever so-so, as a director he manages to keeping things fresh looking, and has a decent eye for action. (Seriously, the best moments of the "Total Recall" moment all come from the directing, not the script- the 'one shot' action scene at Rekall for example, is one of the only times the remake felt different and fresh vs. the original).
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-1
10:27AM on 04/13/2015

100% Guilty

The most clear-cut guilty I've seen. When Live Free or Die Hard is part of the defense, the director is a dead man walking.
The most clear-cut guilty I've seen. When Live Free or Die Hard is part of the defense, the director is a dead man walking.
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10:06AM on 04/13/2015

Guilty

He's a wannabe James Cameron but he's mostly Michael Bay. All his movies are forgettable and the only reason the Underworld series is successful is because people love to jerk off to his wife.

His punishment should be that he goes back to music videos and commercials.

I will concede that Live Free or Die Hard was watchable but the damage has already been done.
He's a wannabe James Cameron but he's mostly Michael Bay. All his movies are forgettable and the only reason the Underworld series is successful is because people love to jerk off to his wife.

His punishment should be that he goes back to music videos and commercials.

I will concede that Live Free or Die Hard was watchable but the damage has already been done.
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-2
9:56AM on 04/13/2015

Guilty

Die Hard 4 was fun, but I can't stand underworld, so.. guilty for me
Die Hard 4 was fun, but I can't stand underworld, so.. guilty for me
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9:40AM on 04/13/2015
The only good thing he's got going for him currently is Kate Beckinsale...
The only good thing he's got going for him currently is Kate Beckinsale...
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+1
8:43AM on 04/13/2015

Career average: 1.7/10.

UNDERWORLD is the 2nd worst movie franchise ever (the worst is BABY GENIUSES). Wiseman didn't direct every installment, but the directors of 3 & 4 followed his style (which was already unoriginal to begin with). Not to mention that 2 is the worst of the series. You're right about DIE HARD 4 being better than 5 (and 2), but that's not saying much. TOTAL RECALL did have some improvements over the original, but overall, it was just as bad. Not to mention that, visually, it ripped-off BLADE RUNNER
UNDERWORLD is the 2nd worst movie franchise ever (the worst is BABY GENIUSES). Wiseman didn't direct every installment, but the directors of 3 & 4 followed his style (which was already unoriginal to begin with). Not to mention that 2 is the worst of the series. You're right about DIE HARD 4 being better than 5 (and 2), but that's not saying much. TOTAL RECALL did have some improvements over the original, but overall, it was just as bad. Not to mention that, visually, it ripped-off BLADE RUNNER and the robot soldiers were STORMTROOPER copies. He's an unimaginative director who copies other styles and doesn't even make something good out of that. Guilty.
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12:23AM on 04/14/2015
No way in hell Underworld is that bad (unless you've been smart enough to avoid Resident Evil, the Expendables sequels, the Scary Movies, the Jaws sequels, or anything involving Stephen Summers).
No way in hell Underworld is that bad (unless you've been smart enough to avoid Resident Evil, the Expendables sequels, the Scary Movies, the Jaws sequels, or anything involving Stephen Summers).
8:38AM on 04/14/2015
I said "franchise", which includes every installment. The 1st JAWS is good. As for your other examples, none of them have gotten a 0 from me. SCARY MOVIE 5, JAWS 3 & 4 and RESIDENT EVIL 3, 4 & 5 got close by getting a 1.
I said "franchise", which includes every installment. The 1st JAWS is good. As for your other examples, none of them have gotten a 0 from me. SCARY MOVIE 5, JAWS 3 & 4 and RESIDENT EVIL 3, 4 & 5 got close by getting a 1.
8:28AM on 04/13/2015

Guilty

The guy should have stayed directing commercials. He's run with one franchise, which I don't understand how became so popular. Now he's spearheading a reboot of the Underworld franchise (god help us).
The guy should have stayed directing commercials. He's run with one franchise, which I don't understand how became so popular. Now he's spearheading a reboot of the Underworld franchise (god help us).
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8:17AM on 04/13/2015
The Prosecution: Total Recall, Underworld: Awakening (screenplay), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (producer), Underworld: Evolution, Underworld
----------------

Is it wrong that each of these films entertained me? Not guilty. There is a place for his type of film. Look this guy gives us tons of Kate Beckinsale movies. He is my hero. Also in Total Recall how about Jessica Biel? This guy gets credit for making Colin Ferrell watchable.
The Prosecution: Total Recall, Underworld: Awakening (screenplay), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (producer), Underworld: Evolution, Underworld
----------------

Is it wrong that each of these films entertained me? Not guilty. There is a place for his type of film. Look this guy gives us tons of Kate Beckinsale movies. He is my hero. Also in Total Recall how about Jessica Biel? This guy gets credit for making Colin Ferrell watchable.
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8:15AM on 04/13/2015

Guilty

Starting one lackluster series, a weak sequel, and an embarrassingly bad remake. Sorry, but that screams guilty in my book. I might have given him a pass if he had something original on his resume, but the guy seems like a director for hire, and not a very talented one.
Starting one lackluster series, a weak sequel, and an embarrassingly bad remake. Sorry, but that screams guilty in my book. I might have given him a pass if he had something original on his resume, but the guy seems like a director for hire, and not a very talented one.
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8:13AM on 04/13/2015
He hasn't commited really serious crimes yet. I like Die Hard 4 and the Underworld series. The Total Recall movie was unnecessary, but could have been way worse. Put an ankle monitor on him and let him go home.
He hasn't commited really serious crimes yet. I like Die Hard 4 and the Underworld series. The Total Recall movie was unnecessary, but could have been way worse. Put an ankle monitor on him and let him go home.
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7:55AM on 04/13/2015
Hmmm tricky one... for me movie jail should house people who either a) have great talent, but squander it on crappy unimaginative pay-cheque projects, or b) have a negative contribution to the movie industry, to such an extent that movies they are involved in make eyes bleed and offend just by being in existence. I don't think Wiseman falls into either category, as he has not demonstrated any great talent that's going to waste, and the movies he helps create are generally okay-ish for a throw
Hmmm tricky one... for me movie jail should house people who either a) have great talent, but squander it on crappy unimaginative pay-cheque projects, or b) have a negative contribution to the movie industry, to such an extent that movies they are involved in make eyes bleed and offend just by being in existence. I don't think Wiseman falls into either category, as he has not demonstrated any great talent that's going to waste, and the movies he helps create are generally okay-ish for a throw away popcorn watch. (His movies are no-where near as bad as Paul WS Andersons for example, who I would say is a close peer to Wiseman in terms of the type of movies he makes).

In conclusion, I say let him go, as his crimes are not that extreme, and every now and then you need an okay-ish action flick to while away a couple of hours.
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7:48AM on 04/13/2015
On parole for me. Die Hard 4 wasn't as good as previous three Die Hard film but at least it's better than Die Hard 5. Underworld 1 was good but subsequent Underworld movies weren't. Total Recall remake was alright - not good nor bad. He just need the right script.
On parole for me. Die Hard 4 wasn't as good as previous three Die Hard film but at least it's better than Die Hard 5. Underworld 1 was good but subsequent Underworld movies weren't. Total Recall remake was alright - not good nor bad. He just need the right script.
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7:05AM on 04/13/2015

House Arrest....

not a bad director, but he had bad scripts....
Underworld is so-so for me
I dislike a lot Die hard 4, but it is because for me it was too far from the source material and source character
Totall Recall, the author is right, if it was not a remake of one the most beloved sci fy movies, it could have been ok for me, but I always try to Watch a remake movie regardless the original, but was not totally convinced by the movie...
not a bad director, but he had bad scripts....
Underworld is so-so for me
I dislike a lot Die hard 4, but it is because for me it was too far from the source material and source character
Totall Recall, the author is right, if it was not a remake of one the most beloved sci fy movies, it could have been ok for me, but I always try to Watch a remake movie regardless the original, but was not totally convinced by the movie...
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