I heard that Taylor Swift dropped a science fiction kung-fu extravaganza of a music video and needed to see it right away. A remix of of Bad Blood, from her gigantic album 1989, the song prominently features everyone’s current favorite rapper, Kendrick Lamar, as well as a posse of women from across the entertainment spectrum.
The cameos all burst onto the screen with code-name titles in a futuristic take on Kill Bill‘s Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and each one appears to reference a different sci-fi movie. Being a giant nerd, I decided to catalog the ones I recognized. List is below; tell me what I missed!
First: all movies lift inspiration from earlier works, so you might see something else. Let me know if you do? I love following these trails. Second: I wish I’d included Swift on my runner up Best of 2014 list. 1989 is irrepressible and dense with fun production and vocals finally untethered from her country roots. Sure, the second half really sags, but the first 5 songs can stand with the best pop in years.
Anyway, on with the list:
- Beginning: The outfit and upside down flip scream Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow from The Avengers, but…
- The office setting, Selena Gomez in black and sunglasses, kung fu moves, and the broken window fall all scream The Matrix.
- Then again, the reflections in the slow motion glass recall The Watchmen, maybe?
- At 40 seconds in, the song finally begins. Taylor, smashed onto a classic car, nods to Sin City.
- Lena Dunham smokes a cigar.
- At 0:50 we see Kendrick Lamar in a glowing neon glass office, aping the dystopian-Apple-Store vibe of that Tron sequel.
- At the same time, Taylor has become Leeloo (Dallas Multipass) from The Fifth Element. The signature orange hair is missing, which is sad.
- For a second, we return to Tron territory with True Grit‘s Hailee Stanfield as “The Trinity.” Huh. At least Swift is being suited up in some sort of Rollerball outfit?
- Next we have an homage to ‘locker room badass’ scenes you’ll recognize from Aliens to The Hunger Games, which is nice.
- Now Kendrick and Taylor are sitting in an invisible/glass car. I’m not sure if it’s the terrible James Bond film Die Another Day or a Wonder Woman reference. Ideas?
- Amid the parade of badass female assassins, we see another Leeloo, this one in blue spandex but sporting the right hair!
- Now we’ve got a shot straight out of Kill Bill (think Gogo Yubari and her ball-and-chain), with a pair of fighters in a snowy enclosure. The scene, of course, was itself referencing 1973’s Lady Snowblood.
- Next: an all-female Fight Cub? The slow-motion face punches say yes.
- Tron returns, with a pair of tricked-out but real-world “light cycles.” This is super geeky.
- Jessica Alba reminding me of that crush I had on her in 2003.
- And now we’ve got Cindy Crawford, reminding me of a poster that hung in my bedroom through most of the 90’s. I was way too fond of that poster. Check it yourself!
- Finally, it’s all out Max Max-style war, with two groups of leather clad post-apocalyptic females duking it out amid explosions. It all ends in a slap.
So that’s that. This isn’t my favorite song on the album, and Kendrick Lamar’s contribution to the remix is pure coasting for the usually brilliant rapper. He deserves a pass; his monumental new album To Pimp A Butterfly continues to astound and resonate for me and millions of people around the world. But the video is pure, cheesy gold. As a movie geek, I love all the cheeky references here.
Did you catch any that I missed? Have a different take? Let me know!