Last weekend at the Billboard Awards, Taylor Swift walked away with eight wins, including best artist. She also won top Billboard 200 album for 1989 and top female artist, and to really top the night, she debuted the video for her new single "Bad Blood". She had been teasing the video for a week on social media, and some are wondering if the song and the imagery in the video is meant to be a deliberate slam on another famous female singer, Katy Perry.
This video was directed by Joseph Kahn (who has directed videos for both Taylor Swift and Katy Perry in the past), and if you see the stillshot here, you might think that it is an homage to Mad Max. That is kind of good timing as Mad Max: Fury Road just debuted last weekend, but there are several homages happening the video, which is a tribute to science-fiction and high-octane action films.
The entire video plays like a credit sequence as Taylor is introduced as Catastrophe, who is betrayed by Arsyn, who is played by Selena Gomez. Their fight looks like something out of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films with a mix of fighting styles from The Matrix films, and what follows are more homages as well as a lot of guest stars.
Notable as a guest star is Kendrick Lamar, who is credited as Welvin Da Great, and is featured on the track. Other actresses appear in very quick cameos like Lena Dunham (as Lucky Fiori), Jessica Alba (Domino), Zendaya (Cutthroat), as well as Mariska Hargitay (Justice) and Ellen Pompeo (Luna). Also peppered in the video are various supermodels playing lethal assassin types with action-oriented code names, including Cindy Crawford as "Headmistress".
Various other references fly in the video's run time like the introduction of Leloo from The Fifth Element as well as Light Cycle chases from the Tron franchise. The ending looks like a tribute to Mad Max as two armies of deadly ladies are about to meet while walking away from explosions without looking back. That shot of walking away slowly from an explosion has been used in many films, and then there is kind of a Rocky 3 final shot as the two main characters, Catastrophe and Arsyn, meet and have a final fight that the audience never sees.
Many have stated that the song "Bad Blood" is about a feud between Swift and another famous singer, Katy Perry. Business Insider has stated that Swift has told Rolling Stone that they are not certain whether they are friends or enemies. Time reports that the single is widely interpreted as a kiss-off to former pal Katy Perry after a reported dispute over the employment of various backup dancers. If that is the case, then it would appear that Swift seems to escalate this dispute into a full-out war by the end of the "Bad Blood" video.
An insider at Hollywood Life has stated that Katy Perry saw the video and "she [Perry] thought the video was a little desperate and that she tried too hard but she isn't going to worry about Taylor too much because she has her own career to worry about".