The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Sunday, May 6, 2007

American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)

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I saw this Dudikoff classic back in high school, when a buddy and I rented it after a long night of playing Killer Instinct at the local bowling alley. It's amazing to think that it celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 1st of this year ( Maybe the DVD people will release a 20th anniversary edition, but I doubt it.

American Ninja 2: The Confrontation continues the saga of Dudikoff as an army guy/American Ninja, and in this case he must go to a Caribbean island to track a kidnapped scientist who's working for The Lion to mass produce an army clone ninjas (the Caribbean island probably was a huge selling point to get Dudikoff to sign off on this one). I've read in an interview that Lucas had this film in mind when he developed Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. Either that, or he was mailing it in to such a degree he needed to steal from DVT Dudikoff classics. Man, Dudikoff would've made a better pre-Dark Side Darth Vader than that silly, whining Hayden Christiansen, right?

One really memorable moment for me in this film came when The Lion's henchman or something launched an eleven hit combo on some dude. I think in Killer Instinct parlance, that would be a "King Combo", but my memory's a tad off on details like that.

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As we all know, Michael Dudikoff is the American Ninja, and there ain't none higher, sucker American Ninjas (like Timothy Van Patten and David Bradley) call him sire. The film is the classic Dudikoff Ninja vehicle, where we the viewer are simply waiting for him to kick major ass at the end, and we get small amuse bouches of ass kicking to whet out appetites before it happens. The inclusion of a mass of cloned ninjas just makes it that much better.

I'm not sure exactly what the drawbacks are in this one. It is pretty dumb, even for a DTV actioner, which may turn some people off. I think there might be a message about the ills of playing God, but I don't think so. As far as movies with cloning in them go, this is way better than Schwarzenegger's The 6th Day, Michael Keaton's Multiplicity, and the aforementioned Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. Just cloning a whole bunch of dudes in generic black ninja suits is such an amazing idea, and would've saved Multplicity from the throes of sentimentality.

I'm almost certain you can purchase this in the American Ninjas 1 and 2 two-pack for like $10 to $15. It's worth it. You may even want to rent them both in the same night, which I would recommend as well. Stay away from part 3, because of the four, for some reason that's the only one sans Dudikoff. Again, I must stress that you're watching a true DTVC Hall of Famer in one of his best known roles: you really can't go wrong with that.

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