Pooya | Sep 23, 2020 | 0
5 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Connected
2. Blade Runner/Soldier
If there’s one other film on this list that needs no introduction it’s “Blade Runner.” Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, though not loved in it’s time originally. Partly due to the studio’s meddling and bad decisions and partly due to the fact that (as a friend once put it) “Nobody likes ‘Blade Runner’ their first time watching.” It is a movie that takes multiple viewings to fully appreciate. The plot is about a future society where robots on earth have been made illegal and special police officers named Blade Runners track down and “retire” (kill) the androids known as Replicants. Now that probably sounds like an awesome action flick, but it’s much more somber. Now if you want to see a macho action flick that takes place in the same world then what you want is “Soldier” from 1998 starring Kurt Russell and directed by Paul W S Anderson. The story is about a future society where the military trains soldiers from birth and then a new batch of genetically modified soldiers are created to take their place. After a failed demonstration, our lead soldier (Russell) is left on a garbage planet and befriends a colony of people living there and eventually becomes their defender from his former platoon. It’s not a great film by any definition of the word, it’s not bad either, it’s just… okay. If it was a first effort by the writer or director then I’d probably be kinder, but it was all made by professionals and from an extremely simplistic script.
Now like the one above this one is totally legitimate as far as the rights go, both films are done by Warner Bros. Also, there’s the obvious stuff like a spinner (the flying police cars) from “Blade Runner” being among the trash on the garbage planet in “Soldier.” Now that could just be a little in-joke, but there is more. In “Blade Runner” there is a very famous speech toward the end that goes, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate…” There’s more, but that would be getting into spoiler territory. Point being, in the beginning of “Soldier” while seeing the stats on the main character it mentions that he fought in battles near the shoulder of Orion and the Tannhäuser Gate meaning he fought either along the same side or against one of the main characters as Roy Batty. However, if you want to call all of that just in-jokes then you may want to ask David Peoples; not only writer of “Soldier” but also one of the co-writers of “Blade Runner.” He has confirmed that they are in the same universe and even calls “Soldier” a sidequel.
“The Commitments” was a VHS I remember seeing at my grandmother’s house since I was a kid. Something about the cover always drew me to it, but wasn’t able to watch due to the R rating. Years later my dad mentioned the movie a few times and really liked it. So since he had been right about a number of other films he introduced me to (ex “Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” “The Full Monty,” “A Thousand Clowns” among many others) I decided to give this a try and I’m glad I did. After he passed away I discovered “The Snapper” and “The Van” and their connection to this film. It became another reason I wish he was still around so I could have shown him this trilogy. Anyways, “The Commitments” is about a group of poor musicians in a small town in Ireland. The main character assembles them to create a successful Soul band, however the conflicting personalities of all of the characters threaten to destroy the band before it even begins. “The Snapper” is about a 20 year old Irish girl who gets pregnant but refuses to name the father and to have the baby as her family struggles to deal with this along with the small town’s reaction. “The Van” is about an Irish father (one of his children being a young woman who has a recently born baby) who goes into business with his best friend running a food van.
All are slice-of-life comedies with some drama and all I’d recommend. In the case of all the other entries, I didn’t care for the lesser known “spin-off” films. They’re interesting for the purposes of this list, but I have no plans for re-watching (yes that includes “Out of Sight”) but this “trilogy” on the other hand… I love them. So here’s the connection for all of these films…it’s all the same family. Yes they’re all based on books of the same series…that happened to each be bought by a different studio. As a result the family is called Rabbitte (the name from the books) in “The Commitments,” Curley in “The Snapper,” and Reeves in “The Van.” Aren’t book to film rights fun? But here’s the fun part, Colm Meaney appears in each film as the same character, the father… even though his name keeps changing. Colm Meaney is a fantastic actor who can really add so much with so little. A good example being that he was originally cast in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as the guy who runs the transporter, but made that role so engaging they kept bringing him back and eventually made him a main character in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” The dude is awesome is what I’m trying to get across here. And he is the glue for this trilogy. Even though all of the other actors are constantly changing, his performance is solid and helps you feel like they are properly connected. I have no idea how we lucked into him getting cast in each film for 3 different studios, but I’m so glad it happened.