The four-minute “Bad Blood” music video, directed by Joseph Kahn, doesn’t have a linear plot, per se, or at least not one that doesn’t require a decent amount of extrapolation. But it does pack a lot of steamy action sequences into those four minutes.
Ultimately, it isn’t nearly enough time to spend with the the all-star cast, which pretty much includes every single one of Taylor Swift’s famous and beautiful friends: Lily Aldridge as Frostbyte, Zendaya as Cut-Throat, Hayley Williams as The Crimson Curse, Gigi Hadid as Slay-Z, Ellie Goulding as Destructa X, Hailee Steinfeld as The Trinity, Lena Dunham as Lucky Fiori (a character who doesn’t do much other than smoke a cigar), Selena Gomez as the villain Arsyn, Cindy Crawford as The Headmistress, Cara Delevingne as Mother Chucker, Mariska Hargitay as Justice, Ellen Pompeo as Luna, Martha Hunt as HomeSlice, Jessica Alba as Domino, Serayah as Dilemma, and, of course, Swift’s BFF Karlie Kloss as Knockout. Kendrick Lamar also appears as Welvin Da Great, which we’re still not sure really means anything, but he throws a couple of new verses into the song that are pretty great. Swift stars as Catastrophe, and has approximately 75 costume changes during the four minutes.
While it may be struggling in the narrative department, the “Bad Blood” video plays out like a trailer for an all-ladies science fiction film that basically throws every other science fiction film and trope into a blender and presses “explode.” Hey, we’d watch that feature film, especially if it includes a lengthy Knockout vs. Catastrophe boxing sequence.
The sci-fi specialists over at io9 have made a list of all the possible sci-fi and genre film references made in the music video—complete with GIFs. Shoutouts include Avengers, Sin City, The Matrix, Kill Bill, Fifth Element, Tron: Legacy, The Hunger Games, Pacific Rim, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Rocky III. In other words, there’s a lot going on here. So where’s our extended cut?