Batman & Robin (1997) (part 8 of 13)
We then find Dick in his room using a computer to examine a newspaper photo of Ivy. Suddenly, he gets an “instant message” on his screen that, amazingly, isn’t porn spam. It tells him that the “Garage Motion Sensor” has been set off, and that the computer will be “Switching to Infrared Tracking Camera” now. Apparently, “infrared” means photo negative, because that’s what we see on screen as a chubby negative image runs around in the garage near the motorcycles.
Dick runs into the garage just as Barbara is hauling ass out of there on a motorcycle. So much for that ritual of silently rolling the bike out, I guess. He quickly goes to follow, and we immediately cut to the seedy part of Gotham. We know it’s the “seedy part” because we hear an “urban” song on the soundtrack, and bright day-glo faces are being projected on the sides of buildings [?]. Various biker guys are milling about, making this place more than a little reminiscent of the Incinerator in the aforementioned Never Too Young to Die.
We pan across the freaks, or gangs, or whatever the hell they are, and it appears each little group has its own gimmick. First, there are guys in Amadeus wigs wearing eye patches and suits with bow ties. Then there are some guys dressed exactly like the droogs in A Clockwork Orange. Are you laughing yet?
Then there are some women dressed like the cast of Cats, and then your standard leather jacket and bandana-wearing Latino outfit. Rounding out the scene are the Pink Ladies from Grease [!]. Nearby, some biker freaks are handing money over to a guy in a Road Warrior-esque coat with a woman on each arm. This guy turns out to be played by Coolio [!!!].
Barbara calls him “Banker” and asks him “How much coin to play?” She pays up and some guy in a skull and crossbones bandana notices that she was the one who won a race here before. He promises that tonight’s competition is way out of her league, and tough girl that she is, she makes a little side bet with him.
Skull And Crossbones Bandana Guy then goes over to his fan club, where we learn that his name is Spike and that he wants a member of his posse to “make sure the guys are ready at the end of the bridge!” (Spike, by the way, is being played by Nicky Katt, who until recently could be seen as Harry Senate on Boston Public . Of course, V fanatics like me will always remember him as Mike Donovan’s son Sean in the weekly series.)
Dick soon shows up on his motorcycle, spying on Barbara from a distance. He puts down the visor on his helmet, revealing that, hilariously, he’s got a red bird design airbrushed on there. That doesn’t seem particularly smart. He enters the race just as Barbara and all the other competitors line up at the gate, and eventually, Coolio shoots a starter pistol and they’re off.
They fly through the streets of Gotham, and for some reason, sparks are shooting off of everything they drive past. This race goes on for several tedious minutes, and might I add, has absolutely nothing to do with the plot? That’s right, basically this sequence has been stuck in here to provide further proof of Barbara’s tough girl street creds, and also to let us know that she can ride a motorcycle. And that’s about it.
Amazingly, however, the race seems to mostly comply with the laws of physics, and all the jumps appear to be real stunts performed without the benefit of wires. So, while this sequence might be utterly pointless, it’s not actively pissing me off, which just might make it one of the best scenes in the movie.
Soon we hear Spike yelling things like “Out of my way, you loser!” and “Not bad for a chick!” After knocking a few people off their bikes, Spike yells “Now!” and suddenly a bunch of freaks swing out on wires (and here, these wires are actually supposed to be obvious) and throw flaming whiskey bottles into the path of the bikers. Naturally, this causes a huge inferno of green [?] flames.
Dick and Barbara pass through the flames and end up tumbling off their bikes. The two go sliding down a bridge, which suddenly turns out to be unfinished. Spike calls out, “End of the line, sweetheart!” So, um, does this mean he wins? And how does he expect to collect on that side bet after she plunges off a bridge and dies?
We see the end of the bridge, and it should come as no surprise that it leads to a drop off of about 600 stories. Okay, how in the hell did they get all the way up here during a street race? Dick grabs hold of Barbara’s leg, and right as they’re about to fly off, his foot just happens to catch on a bent piece of rebar and the two hang there.
Barbara’s helmet then falls off, probably so we can fully appreciate her reaction when Dick takes a moment to remove his own helmet and say, “So, this is where you hang out!” Barbara, who’s only being saved from horrible bloody death by the strength of Dick’s ankle, just lets off an annoyed groan. Yeah, if I’m about to plunge 600 stories, about the last thing I’d want to hear in my final moments is a stupid pun.
Back at Wayne Manor, Dick quizzes Barbara about her racing. She explains that she’s been doing it ever since her parents died because it “made the pain go away.” Yeah, right. If that were the case, you would have seen a lot of people taking up street racing immediately after this movie came out.
Apparently, her racing is the reason why she was kicked out of “Oxbridge”, but now she’s finally won enough money to pay Alfred off for supporting her. With the dirt on her face looking more and more like stubble by the minute, she tells Dick that she wants to rescue Alfred from “this dismal life of servitude!”
Dick takes offense at this, and insists that Alfred’s like a part of the family. Barbara isn’t buying into all this domestic servant jazz, however, and implies that Alfred is somehow degrading himself by being a butler. Dick says Alfred’s happy, but Barbara counters that he’s not, and what’s more, he’s actually sick.
She runs off, and Bruce suddenly appears and confirms this, adding that Alfred is in fact dying. And how does he know this? “I can tell.” Oh, okay, that settles it then.
Over at Arkham Asylum, we find Freeze fashioning a sculpture out of an icicle using a sharp piece of metal. Yes, that’s a good thing to give to a prisoner in a mental institution. Then we see him grab a clock and rip off the face, exposing the gears underneath. This is also a good thing to give to inmates. Then he picks up a glass, which is also… well, you get the point.
Anyway, from the glass, the icicle, and the gears, he fashions a rotating ice sculpture of his wife [!]. Of course, the sculpture is twice as big as the piece of ice we just saw him carving, but I’m sure they were counting on nobody in the audience really paying that much attention by this point.
A guard tells Freeze that he has a visitor in the form of his “sister”, and Freeze is confused by this. The door opens, and it turns out to be Poison Ivy, all decked out in Robin Hood-wannabe green tights with her hair fashioned into a pair of bright red cones. And no one at Arkham considers this outfit unusual? “Brother, dear,” Ivy says in her un-seductive voice, “I heard you were blue.” Hah hah. I’d like my cyanide pills now.
The guards, already smitten with Ivy, become even more infatuated when she blows Lik-M-Aid in their faces. She tells them that she is “to die for” and kisses them both, causing both of them to keel over dead. And, thankfully, this is the last of the state governors that we’ll be seeing in this movie. [April 2004 Note: This recap was originally posted in November of 2002, and yes, I know this joke is now out of date. Please stop emailing me. —Albert]
We cut to Arkham’s “Criminal Property Locker”, and “cleverly”, both Two Face’s coat and the Riddler’s suit from Batman Forever are in here. At least, I’m assuming that suit belongs to the Riddler. For all I know, maybe they finally locked up Matthew Lesko.
There’s one lone guard in here, and he just happens to be sitting with his back to a window. Yep, a window. In an insane asylum. With no bars on it. Naturally, Bane shows up, reaches through the window, and pulls the guard through.
We cut back to Freeze staring at the dead Jesse Ventura and seeming to be impressed. Ivy calls him “my most unabominable snowman!” and offers to team up with him. Freeze takes a moment to mull it over. You know, for a jail break, these two don’t seem to be in that much of a hurry to go anywhere.
Then we cut to Bane, rushing through the corridors of Arkham with a grocery cart [?] filled with Freeze’s cryo-suit. Guards are trying to stop him, probably because this is the express lane and he’s got eleven items, but Bane quickly knocks them all to the wayside. So, I guess shooting at people has been banned at Arkham?
Back in Freeze’s cell, he’s still considering Ivy’s offer to team up. He asks what she wants in return, and in response she actually looks down at his crotch [!!]. I guess this proves that old adage about “shrinkage” in cold weather to be just a myth.
She says they need to “cool it for now” as she lets Bane in. Freeze sees his suit in the cart and cries out, “A laundry service that delivers! Wow!” Yuk yuk. We then cut to Freeze all suited up, and Ivy asks if he’s “about a fifty big and tall.” Freeze replies, “I always go a size smaller. Makes me look slimmer!” Buh-dum-bum-tish. Actually, given all the dumb sound effects we’ve heard so far, a rimshot would have hardly been unexpected after that line.
They hear a noise and find the guards trying to weld their way into the cell. Freeze sees his suit is running low on power and says that he needs more diamonds from his hideout. Ivy says, “I’ll help you grab your rocks!” and the way she says it, you know she’s really talking about his jewels, and not his diamonds, if you know what I mean.
She pushes Bane’s NBA Jam Turbo Button and commands him to bust through the exterior wall. When that doesn’t work, she chirps, “Reinforced steel! Not good!” This prompts Freeze to run to a faucet and spray something at it that somehow causes all the pipes to freeze. “Always winterize your pipes!” he quips.
The pipes shatter, and conveniently, this causes a big hole to open up right in the brick wall that Bane was attempting to smash. Ivy scurries out, only to find the first step is a killer since they appear to be about 700 feet up. Well, what did she expect to find out here, an escalator down?
Freeze says he’s going to go get his diamonds, and tells her and Bane (referring to him as “Meatloaf” [??]) to go get his wife. Ivy is pissed to finally hear that he’s married. I know, it’s always the best ones, isn’t it? Anyway, to escape, they all jump, falling all 700 feet to the water below and yet somehow remaining unharmed. The guards finally get in, and for the first time they actually start shooting, but they’re too late.
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce tries to chat up Alfred about his Movie Illness, but Alfred gets all British on him and doesn’t want to talk about it. Bruce then asks if he’s ever regretted working for the Wayne family, so Alfred turns to him and says “Are you kidding me? I’m the butler for Batman and Robin, for fuck’s sake!!” Or words to that effect. And by “words to that effect”, I mean he doesn’t say anything like that, but that’s the general gist of it. Dick then runs in to break the news about Freeze’s prison escape.