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John Leguizamo: We Were Pioneers With The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Posted by Damien McFerran

The actor who played Luigi gives his 20th anniversary speech

As you may or may not be aware, the Super Mario Bros. live-action movie is now two decades old. Attacked by critics and gamers alike when it originally hit cinemas, the film has nonetheless gained a cult following in the past twenty years.

LA's Nuart Theatre played host to a special screening on May 24th, and John Leguizamo — who played Luigi in the film — was kind enough to record a special message for those in attendance. In the video, he talks about some of the fun experiences he had during production — which involve strippers and almost slicing off Bob Hoskins' fingers — and also states that the film was quite ground-breaking for its time.

Although Leguizamo admits that mistakes were made, he seems to be pretty proud of the movie and is amazed that people are still talking about it after all these years.

You can watch the full message below — if you're a fan, then let us know what you think about Leguizamo's comments by posting one of your own below.

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User Comments (45)



BooJoh said:

I always loved this movie. It's so cheesy and strays so far from the games, but the whole thing is just like watching a fun B-movie full of Mario references.



Squiggle55 said:

I never had a problem with the movie. I was young and not a Debbie Downer and thought it was fun to watch.



Banedracul said:

@BooJoh I've always loved it too, and seemingly in the same mindset. Is it close to the games? Obviously not. But it is a fun little sci-fi film that if viewed as having Mario influences, is very enjoyable to watch.



Shiryu said:

I love the movie! It is in the same category as "Double Dragon" and "Street Fighter" big screen adaptation: So bad it's awesome!



k8sMum said:

my kids loved this movie when they were little. i could get thru it because they got such a kick out of it. i've always had a soft spot for john leguizamo.

who knew he'd grow up to be sid the sloth!



MeWario said:

They were pioneers... They showed us what not to do. Seems like a cool guy and yes, I'll admit, the movie has some ridiculous charm.



ThreadShadow said:

I'm gonna say that, no it wasn't a good movie it was terrible, BUT, that's not to say the actors and whoever else involved didn't have good times making it, or good experiences surrounding it. I won't deny them that. Trouble is none of that is there for the audience, and truly never can be, because the audience wasn't there "making" the movie. I'm sure they had fun while making it, but the end product is still terrible. Cheers!



Lobster said:

Haha! He seems like a great guy! I remember watching this movie a couple of times as a kid twenty years ago but it made absolutely no impact on me as I can't recall even one thing about it.



RR529 said:

This is one of those movies that's so bad it's good. Despite absolutely butchering the Mario world, it's just so corny I can't help but laugh.

Definitely worth the $5 I dropped for it



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Ahh, good old times! This movie is still one of my favourites, and even though the Mario References have been adapted in a very sloppy fashion, it's still one big bag of entertainment for me.
Also, DENNIS HOPPER as KING KOOPA! How cool is that, huh?!



Tasuki said:

I agree this is one of those movies that is so bad that its good lol.



Senate_Guard said:

Some interesting behind the scenes facts! I'll always appreciate what the SMB movie did; it gave a darker, more serious spin on what will always be a bright and cheerful franchise. That must've taken quite the pair to try that approach.



Arminillo said:

The actor who played Luigi gives his 20th (((((anniversery))))) speech. You mispeeled that word.



Mario500 said:

I believe the Super Mario Bros. movie was actually the first live-action theatrical movie based on a video game, not the first movie ever based on a video game.



aaronsullivan said:

Hey, this is the reason we don't have a Zelda movie, but I couldn't hate it back in the day when I probably should have. It was just SO goofy fun that I couldn't help but laugh even though they were butchering the world of Mario in every possible way. Dark and gritty? Really? Where are the smiling clouds folks. To be fair, there was little to no CGI back then, it was all practical which made trying to stick close to the source material almost impossible.

The two leads were a big part of why it was bearable and I've enjoyed John Leguizamo as an actor ever since. Toulouse in Moulin Rouge, Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age movies, Tybalt in Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet, Dr. Victor Clemente in ER. He chooses some brave roles and they are memorable because of him. He should be in more stuff, really.



Zombie_Barioth said:

The movie may be cheesy but if you think about it, Mario is so popular that they probably would've ended up with a bunch of dissapointed fans no matter how good the movie turned out.

If you look at what the movie is instead of what is was supposed to be its still enjoyable, a cheesy movie can still be entertaining.



allav866 said:

If someone made a new Mario movie today, no doubt it would try to follow the games more, and to be honest, that is hard to do. It's freaking Mario! Stories were never important, save for the RPG's, and even then, the main focus is always on the gameplay itself, so translating something that has little to no story into a feature-length film is near impossible to accomplish without any mistakes.
That said, I'm glad people still talk about this film, and it was nice of Leguizamo to tell interesting behind-the-scenes stories.



Nintendood said:

No one else thinks it's funny how he pronounces Mario, "marry-oh"...?

And I wouldn't be surprised if someone did tell him he was playing Luigi Mario, Mario Mario's brother... but really they've never been given a last name, right?



GoombaSlayer said:

Even though this film came out in 93, its a typical 80s movie and i love it for that very reason. Its cheesy with an attitude, a relic of my childhood.
Still better then most videogame based movies today.



nocode said:

I love to hate this movie. It's one of those movies, that while terrible, makes the world a better place. Like 1997's Batman and Robin or Battlefield Earth.



sainrub said:

Yeah, the 90's and Lequizamo were a lil twisted. Was a fun time, lots of cheese in movies. He also saved the Movie Spawn which was a total mess if it wasn't for his role as the Clown / Violator.

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NintyMan said:

I liked it when I was younger, but now it's too strange for my tastes. I guess if you see it as a movie that just borrowed a few Mario elements and didn't exactly try to be a completely Mario experience, it might not be as bad. But, if you have a soft spot for it, good for you.



DarkCoolEdge said:

People still talk about how embarrasingly bad it is. I remember watching it with my cousins, we were 9, 10 and 11 years old and we felt ripped off by one of the worst movies ever. More so taking into account how much we liked the games.



3Daniel said:

I loved yoshi's depiction in the movie. And he dies! So sad. Granted I view this movie in childhood rose colored glasses full of nostalgia and simply not knowing any better.



JJtheTexan said:

I'm going to argue that, while Super Mario Bros. was the first feature film with a screenplay based (very, VERY loosely) on the (nonexistent) plot of a video game, there were other, much earlier films with equal or greater game influence: 1989's The Wizard (Super Mario Bros. 3 showpiece and sort of an allegory for the video game industry); 1984's The Last Starfighter (a spoof of Gaplus, Xevious, Asteroids, Space Invaders, etc.) and of course Tron.



nik1470 said:

I'm never going to be an advocate for this flick but I kindof respect his point of view. I don't think he should be ashamed or anything and considering the stick he must of got the fact he is willing to do the intro shows his character.



Kage_88 said:

I'm one of the 11 people on Earth that liked this film.

I guess that could be attributed to the fact I was only 5 or 6 when I first saw it; but I sometimes I watch it when the mood takes me, and I still enjoy it quite a bit.

Some of the dialogue is surprisingly sharp ("Sir, the Goombas are dancing again..."), the SFX and set design were amazing for the time, and I found Hoskins and Leguizamo to be really likeable with great chemistry.

Oh, and Dennis Hopper was the best Bowser (Er...King Koopa) ever.

EDIT: And another thing. I've never understood why the film got so much hate. I always thought it was a delightfully twisted take on the Mario universe.

EDIT 2: I also have that Luigi figure. I think I've had it as long as the movie itself's been out...



WaveBoy said:

I enjoyed it's twisted & messed up take on the series as well. It was fun and MILES better than Street Fighter: The Movie! I'd say it's one of the better video game adaptions if you don't mind the material completely straying far and away from the games. I still say the first Mortal Kombat is the holy grail of VG movies, with Silent Hill(The sequal was terrible.) and the first Resident Evil(which had that atmospheric synthasized score) being next in line. The first RE honestly felt like a SCFI flick with Vampire-zombies.

I ignored the fact that it didn't stay true to the games, but it was pretty decent in it's own right, especially if you ignore the fact that it bares the RE name. Probably one of my favorite movie theatre experiences ever being the huge RE nut(or was) that i am. To top it off, somebody was wearing some funky smelling Musk in the theatre that smelled like the living Accidental Zombie Smell-O-Vision me guesses' hehe. Too bad the RE sequals were pretty poor, none of them lived up to the first. After Life being the absolute worst. eek!

Now, I'm not one of those self important indie film sniffing cinesnob elitists who constantly overanalize and critisize every single bloodly little teeny weeny aspect of a film. Many of them tend to look for a 'meaning' in everything they watch, or they expect every film they see to be some sort of life altering experience. lol These type of film geeks tick me off more than any glorified videogame fanboy. They would instantly scoff at super mario for not being the next Blue Velvet.



MeloMan said:

Oh wow, mentions of Streetfighter AND Double Dragon! Now, Double Dragon was a terrible movie... worst of the 3 imo. But I still love 'em all



Genesaur said:

@Shiryu No, I meant that I didn't like it. "It was Tuesday," and all that. It's not even a guilty pleasure, or anything, for me. I just really dislike it.

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