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Topic: Movies That Supposedly ’Ripped Off’ Other Movies Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 2:59pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I had so many issues with this tenuous article:


I feel it's a stretch to say THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS ripped off POINT BREAK. The article stated this:


 QUOTE:
Think about it: an undercover cop infiltrates a suspected criminal organization, ends up befriending the thug, and doesn’t take him in at the end. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Yes, and I'm sure many, many films did it prior to POINT BREAK. It's a trope. 

I accept HALLOWEEN spawned many similar shows, but "ripped off" is a strong word.

Claiming that JUSTICE LEAGUE ripped off AVENGERS shows an ignorance about the comic book origins of those teams (JLA appeared in 1960, Avengers appeared in 1963).

I concede that MAC AND ME ripped off E.T.

I never linked CRITTERS with GREMLINS. They are two different films in many ways. Lots of creature films were made during that era, e.g. GHOULIES.

Not sure how UNIVERSAL SOLIDER is a THE TERMINATOR rip-off.

And the article ends on perhaps its most tenuous note as it claims WISHMASTER ripped off A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Both horror films, but different kinds of beings, different storylines, different resolutions.

I found the article to be poor. Nothing new, though. Sometimes folk will take the most tenuous things and link them together. An old magazine article (90s) claimed THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN ripped off the IRON MAN comics. WTF?!

If we start calling films "rip-offs" because of very minor similarities, it's an absurd road to go down. Will any film/TV show with a fast black car be deemed a KNIGHT RIDER rip-off even if the plot is very different?
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 3:05pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

To be fair, I thought, as a kid, and now think as an adult, that Glen A Larson was a rip off artist.

Star Wars begat his version of Buck Rogers (and Battlestar), Tron begat Automan, American Werewolf in London begat Manimal, Raiders begat Tales of the Gold Monkey.

Blue Thunder begat Airwolf
Knight Rider begat a whole slew of vehicle shows like Street Hawk.

So, for the most part, I think it is TV that rips off movies, but more along the lines of ‘genre’ than exact specifics.


Edited by James Woodcock on 03 February 2018 at 3:06pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

AIRWOLF, KNIGHT RIDER and STREET HAWK had similar themes (heroic person is recruited by government agency to drive/pilot a hi-tech black vehicle), but the similarities do end there in some ways.

In AIRWOLF, the hero was a guy seeking his MIA brother, a Vietnam veteran. He kept hold of the helicopter and used it as a bargaining chip, flying it on black ops missions in exchange for the government locating his brother. It featured much international intrigue (for a while).

In KNIGHT RIDER, Michael Knight was a Vietnam veteran who became a cop, an officer shot and left for dead. Rebuilt via plastic surgery, he became a very willing hero travelling around the US to help the little guy.

In STREET HAWK, the cop suffered a leg injury, was given a desk job, but had his knee rebuilt and did covert missions with a top secret million-dollar motorcycle.

So there were as many differences as similarities. The hero in STREET HAWK was leading a double life, desk-bound cop by day, vigilante by night (the police wanted him). The hero in KNIGHT RIDER was a legitimate employee of a private agency, often working with law enforcement. And the hero in AIRWOLF was an unwilling, brooding loner who often worked outside the US and behind the Iron Curtain. There were differences.
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 3:42pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

"Ripped off" feels like the wring phrase in many of the cases cited; these feel like films that rode on the waves of popular ones that had gone before them but rarely improving on the one that started it all.  
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 3:51pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Indeed. I don't like the term.

There are very few films that qualify as rip-offs. Most just jump on a particular bandwagon. Which is fine by me.

If someone produced a film where a guy, thought dead as a child, picked up a hockey mask and took out camp counsellors at a summer camp, well I would call that a rip-off of FRIDAY THE 13TH; if, however, someone produced a slasher franchise featuring a masked killer, well that's just another franchise in a genre (or subgenre), not a rip-off.

His first choice irked me. I have seen so many TV episodes and films where an undercover cop bonds with a villain and doesn't hand him over at the end.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 6:00pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

NEVER SAY NEVER AGIAN 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 7:02pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Nothing succeeds like success, in much the same way that nothing exceeds like excess.

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John Byrne

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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 8:20pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

NEVER SAY NEVER AGIAN

•••

You might want to do a little research on that one!

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 8:52pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Well ok. It didn’t really rip off THUNDERBALL... 
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 9:51pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I do think Fast & Furious is a riff on Point Break, it's basically the same movie with cars for surfboards. Then the series obviously deviated into a different thing.

I agree the rest of the examples in the article are poor.


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David Miller
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 9:54pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Around 20 years ago Comics Journal editor Gary Groth wrote an article in The Baffler taking a claw hammer Quentin Tarantino's pre-Jackie Brown films, including this bit about Tarantino's influences:

 QUOTE:
...When Tarantino’s characters aren’t invoking the names of movies or TV shows, they quote from them (such as Christian Slater in True Romance quoting John Derrick’s nihilistic line from The Harder They Fall), or enact scenes that echo other movies. The prizefighter played by Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction is a slick, witty, glamorized version of Robert Ryan’s tragic prizefighter in The Set Up; Butch’s and Marcellus’s predicament at the hands of the rednecks is straight out of Deliverance (the difference, of course, being that in Deliverance the rape created the film’s central moral dilemma whereas in Pulp Fiction it was merely “the single weirdest day of [Butch’s] life”); True Romance’s voice-over and accompanying music is lifted from Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven; the structure of Reservoir Dogs owes a debt to The Killing; the much-praised looping narrative of Pulp Fiction is similar to Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train (including title cards for the three separate stories); the mysterious attaché case in Pulp Fiction glows when opened, an homage to Aldrich’s Kiss Me, Deadly (or to Repo Man). Madsen’s funny gun gesture is the same motion used by a crook in City on Fire (from which Tarantino stole much of Reservoir Dogs) while the tracking shot of Buscemi running from the jewelry store is identical to tracking shots in City on Fire and Los Delous. And when he isn’t knocking off characters or imagery, Tarantino’s paying “homage” to dialogue from other films. And when he isn’t knocking off characters or imagery, Tarantino’s paying “homage” to dialogue from other films. Compare these excerpts from his oeuvre to Don Siegel’s Charley Varrick:

(From the screenplay of Natural Born Killers)

Movie Mickey: Listen to me, Jimmy Dick! I want cash, lots of it, cars, fast cars! And I want it now! Not later, now! I wanna wail, baby, wail!

(From Charley Varrick)

Harmon: I got something I want to hang onto you, Jimmy-Dick! I’ve been waiting all my life to make a score like this, I ain’t waiting no more. I mean, I’m gonna wail! And I’m talking about chicks, cars, clothes, a box at the races, and beefsteak three times a day!

(From Pulp Fiction)

Marcellus: I’m gonna call a couple pipe-hittin’ niggers, who’ll go to work on homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch.

(From Charley Varrick)

Boyle: They’ll strip you naked and go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blow torch.

After a while, all the scenes, references, dialogue take on an arbitrary cast: they’re pieced together not from life but from twenty years of watching movies.Tarantino’s characters—and Tarantino himself—inhabit a world where the entire landscape is composed of Hollywood product. Tarantino is a cinematic kleptomaniac—he literally can’t help himself. Movies, TV shows, and ad jingles are all that there is on his earth.

I have no problem with homage, rip-offs, samples et al in principle, but they leave a hollow work when they substitute for personal artistry. It's like comic book "swiping"; someone can trace John Buscema's art, even flawlessly, but they can't copy his anatomical knowledge and lifetime of experience.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 04 February 2018 at 6:33pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Robbie, your differences in the shows mentioned was the reason I used the word begat.

Yes there were differences, but there is no way that the execs did not have a meeting along the lines of (in BMB speak)
You see that new film?
New film?
With the helicopter?
A helicopter was in a film?
Yeah, but not just a helicopter,this was A helicopter. The film was about the helicopter.
The film was about the helicopter?
Yeah
The helicopter was the star?
Pretty much. Well, Roy Schneider was the actual star, but the helicopter was like a character in the film.
Was it any good?
Yeah.
We should do one of those.
Yeah

And out pops Airwolf
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 February 2018 at 6:54pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Fair enough, James. :)
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 5:05pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Glen A. Larson made a career of "adapting" movies in to his TV series.
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Steven McCauley
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 5:25pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Pixar's Cars straight up rips off the plot to Doc Hollywood.

Galaxy Quest is just The Three Amigos in space.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 7:15pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

The Lion King is Hamlet.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

The Lion King echoes some elements of Hamlet in a broad sense, but it really is not the same as Hamlet in many fundamental ways, not least of which being that pretty much everyone dies in Hamlet. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 9:10pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

The Lion King echoes some elements of Hamlet in a broad sense, but it really is not the same as Hamlet in many fundamental ways, not least of which being that pretty much everyone dies in Hamlet. 

---

But it's Hamlet enough that the second DTV sequel was basically the Lion King version of ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 11:53pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Steven McCauley wrote: "Pixar's Cars straight up rips off the plot to Doc Hollywood."

Would have been closer if Lightning's love interest in the film had been a convertible and we'd seen her bathing at the start of the film, top-down.

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John Byrne

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Posted: 06 February 2018 at 9:35am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

"The prizefighter played by Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction is a slick, witty, glamorized version of Robert Ryan’s tragic prizefighter in The Set Up…"

••

So, not the same character at all, then?

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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 06 February 2018 at 10:25am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

The Lion King is Kimba, the White Lion.
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 12:37pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

But is Kimba, the White Lion Hamlet?
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 2:43pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I suppose mixing Kimba and Hamlet might get you The Lion King.
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 7:07pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

THE GREEN MILE is just a ham-fisted remake of Disney's FANTASIA.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 February 2018 at 5:50am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

My brain cannot get there, Wallace. ;-) 
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