The Blues Brothers 2000
starring Dan Aykroyd
written by Dan Aykroyd
directed by John Landis
This is the 20th anniversary tribute to the original Blues Brothers film starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. The film is dedicated to those actors from the original movie who have since died: John Belushi, Cab Calloway and John Candy. Apart from them, almost everybody who appeared in the original, minus Carrie Fisher, appears once again. It is delightful and fun!
Briefly, the film is a celebration of many of the people and music that shaped modern blues, rhythm and blues, rock-a-billy, and early rock ‘n roll music and culture. Many of the performers appear, including people I thought were dead. Of course, there is the blues Brothers Band, a real band that has played in Tokyo clubs: tom Malone, Alan Ruvbin, “Blue Lou” Lou Marini, Murphy Dunne, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn and Willie Hall.
The list of other performers includes: Eric Clapton, Lou Rawls, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Paul Shaffer, Billy Preston, Artha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Jimmie Vaughn, Steve Winwood, Eddie Floyd, Jonny Lang, Junior Wells, James Brown, Gary U.S. Bonds, Clarence Clemons, Isaac Hayes, Dr. John, Koko Taylor and Travis Tritt. An amazing collectin of talent! I’m surprised Ringo Starr does crop up somewhere.
The story, admittedly a silly one, is practically the same story as it was twenty years ago. Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is released form prison where his brother Jake (John Belushi) died while serving a long sentence for their 1980 escape in Chicago. Then, just as he did in 1980 he sets out to get his band back together while being pursued by police for the string of criminal infractions he commits along the way, and trying to keep the band members’ commitment to the idea intact long enough to play in concert. It is the same story as 1980.
While in 1980 Jake and Elwood were dogged by Illinois Nazis, in Blues Brothers 2000 they are confronted and pursued by the Russian Mafia and white supremacists. All three of those factions - mafia, Nazis and supremacists - are contemporary social problems. Although Jake and Elwood are outlaws they deal with these crazies in what seems to me a solidly stand-up middle class manner: casual contempt and expectation that such people will hand themselves if given enough rope. Which they do.
My favorite line from the movie: “Stop that mound of moss!”