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

Cartel (1990)

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When MST3K spoofed Cave Dwellers at the top of their third season, I felt it was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. In my mind, that episode is the one where they are at their best in displaying the art of making fun of a bad movie. There are some that I like better, but I don't think I've ever seen a movie mocked better than what they did to Cave Dwellers.

I showed that episode to some friends when I finally bought it on VHS about ten years later, and they loved it as much as I did. We started a crusade to dig up all the Miles O'Keefe we could find. One that struck our fancy on imdb was Cartel. The trailer for it was some shot of a plane flying, with the word Cartel on the screen, as if it was the beginning of an episode of a show by that name. Then there was a real-time drug bust where Miles was getting nabbed. Then back to the same shot of the plane flying. It was the best trailer I've ever seen. (And unfortunately, it is no longer available on imdb.)

We wrote it off to something we'd never get to see: it was just too obscure. That was true, until a buddy found a used VHS and DVD shop. Not only did he find Cartel, but he also got Iron Warrior, an Ator film, also with O'Keefe. It was the best news I'd heard since the Sox won the World Series back in 2004.

Cartel is a very simple film that I think thinks it's more complicated than it is. The basic premise is Miles delivers some drugs for a drug lord, gets pinched, and he and the drug lord do some hard time. Then he breaks out of jail, fights some baddies, breaks back in, then breaks out again (I think, or did they let him out then...? I can't remember), then kills the drug lord, then is exonerated and they live happily ever after.

I don't know if I can list all the good things about this gem. There's a chase scene where the drug lord's car explodes for whatever reason. The drug lord not only survives this, but has nary a scratch on him. In jail, he and Miles have a falling out, and for some unknown reason, it's understood that this dispute will be resolved in an arm wrestling match. There was a toy train that looked like a bong. When the drug lord's thugs attack Miles' family, the neighbor decides to put on a pair of leather pants and join in the killing. At the very end of the movie, when Miles is fighting the top baddie, you can see the camera man's hand pushing Miles in the back.

I cannot think of anything bad about this movie. It's just so silly, you can't be mad at it. There's one part where the people who made it thought they were so smart. They had Miles set the lights to his jeep on a timer so they would turn on at the right time and show him where to land his plane... in LA! In any other movie, I would've been so annoyed with something that dumb. But in Cartel, I just love it that much more.

If you ever have the chance to buy this movie, do so without hesitation. It shouldn't be more than a couple bucks, which is so worth it. The same goes for renting it. If you've been passing this in your local video rental place, pass it no more. It requires your attention.

For more info:


  1. Resurrecting an old thread, but I've been looking for this title ever since I found your blog. The cheapest I have seen the DVD is $19 on Amazon which is a bit steep really, and I've not seen it on eBay.

  2. Yeah, my buddy got it at some store in Bangor, Maine that sold old VHSs. We saw the trailer on YouTube, and had wanted to see it for a while, and came across the same problem you're having with Amazon, so it was very fortuitous that it worked out for us. Good luck, and happy hunting.