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.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Cybercity aka The Shepherd (1999)

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As a Freshman in college, I met a fellow DTVer in my Calc II class. He told me that he and his friends were huge Rowdy Roddy Piper fans, and had made it their goal to see all of his movies. I logged that goal in my mind as a valiant one, and one I hoped they succeeded in fulfilling.

Much later in life (six years, to be exact), I saw Cybercity in my local video store for sale. It had Piper and C. Thomas Howell, which was enough for me. How bad could it be, right?

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The movie takes place in a dark, post-apocalyptic future, where Howell plays your run-of-the-mill guy-who-lost-his-family-so-now-he's-a-dick kind of guy. He's this brooding assassin working for religious leader Piper, and sent to kill another assassin for a rival religious leader. He can't go through with it, though, when he sees the assassin is hot and has a daughter. The two are now marked people, and everyone wants to kill them. I'd say that's about it.

The budget for this was pretty low, so the future looks hilarious. I dug it the most. Also, C. Thomas Howell is not on the top of my list of beefy action heroes. As such, he's really funny talking in gruff, breathy tones, and doing silly martial arts spin kicks and whatnot. My buddy made me rewind it, because I was off getting another plate of Chinese, and I missed Howell doing this spin kick where he had limp wrists. You just can't write that kind of humor.

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As far as the Piper goes, there isn't much. I don't know this for a fact, but I'd almost bet that Piper was originally intended to play Howell's part, and someone else (not Howell) was supposed to play Piper's part as the religious leader. Either way, Piper was interesting as the religious cult leader, but not hot. Bruce Campbell pulled this off well, when he was offered the part of the hero on Assault on Dome 4, and instead took the villain's part. If Piper tried the Campbell switch, he failed miserably. If he didn't, then everyone making this picture was ten shades of wrong, which doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.

The final verdict: ouch! In answer to my question, it's that bad. Don't pay more than $5 for this, even if you must get it because it has Piper and Howell. Rent it only after you've seen everything else Piper's done first, and that includes his turn as Galen on Highlander: The Series. This thing is only a notch or two above Space Mutiny in terms of quality, and it's not anywhere near as much fun to watch.

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