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the blues brothers was a wonderful film , a hilarious comedy packed with good music .
it cried out for a sequel , but john belushi's untimely death seemed to eliminate the idea .
however , eighteen years have passed , and the long dormant sequel has finally emerged .
unfortunately , it's a sequel not worthy of the original .
the film starts exactly eighteen years after the first one ended .
elwood blues ( dan aykroyd ) is just getting out of jail , his brother jake having recently died .
as in the first film , he first visits mother mary stigmata ( kathleen freeman ) and then sets about getting the band back together .
john belushi's absence leaves a terrible hole in the film , and although three new characters are created to fill the void , it is still very noticeable .
first , there's cabel ( joe morton ) the illegitimate son of elwood's stepfather ( played by cab calloway in the first movie ) .
cabel is reluctant to join his destiny , and spends most of the movie as an illinois sheriff , chasing the blues brothers band .
next , there's mighty mack ( john goodman ) , a bartender who becomes the new lead singer of the band .
finally , there's buster ( j .
evan bonifant ) , a ten year old orphan who tags along with elwood and eventually joins the band .
the plotting of the film is hardly original . . . it
seems to be almost a clone of the original .
elwood has to go to reluctantly retrieve each member of the band , they then travel , while being pursued by the police , and perform at several odd stops until they finally reach the big concert finale .
the first film had neo-nazis as the random element , this time around , the russian mafia and a militia group fill their role .
in fact , the duplication of the plot is so ridiculously complete that certain scenes are practically identical to the original .
remember the classic performance at country bob's ( where they like both types of music : country and western ) from the first movie ?
well , this movie has a performance at a country fair , where the band is expected to play bluegrass music .
there's the massive police car pileup , although this time the gag falls completely flat .
there's even an exact replica of the conversion scene in the church of reverend cleophus ( james brown ) .
there are plenty of recurring characters too .
in addition to mother stigmata and reverend cleophus , aretha franklin reprises her role as mrs . murphy .
frank oz , a prison guard in the first film , makes an appearance here as the prison warden .
as the stars , the new blues brothers don't live up to their legacy .
aykroyd is more loquacious , yet much flatter as elwood .
john goodman barely has a character as mighty mack .
joe morton has the deepest character , but not a terribly interesting one , as cab .
and what's the deal with the orphan ?
it plays like a desperate gimmick that doesn't mesh at all with the rest of the film .
at least bonifant isn't as precocious as he could have been in the role .
but the true star , and the only saving grace , of the film is the music .
and the film is packed with it ( even during and after the ending credits ) .
although there are no brilliant mergers of comedy and song as in the original's rawhide/stand by your man medley , the music is very much enjoyable .
to top it off , the film is packed to the gills with cameo musician appearances .
b . b . king , blues traveler , eric clapton , travis tritt , wilson pickett , erykah badu , bo diddley and steve winwood are just a sampling of the multitude of stars that make an appearance here and there .
unfortunately , the music pauses here and there to allow in the familiar plot .
if simply copying the original blues brothers wasn't bad enough , writers aykroyd and john landis dumb it down , removing any memorable characters , and replacing them with flashy , but unbelievable , magical gimmicks .
it's a shame .
buy the soundtrack and avoid the film .
better yet , rewatch the original . . . you'll
have a much better time .
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