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.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Defender (2004)

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Being a huge Dolph Lundgren guy, I'm always on the lookout for his next picture. When I saw this one on imdb, it sounded like a good deal: Dolph Lundgren in his directorial debut. Not only that, but my favorite TV personality, Jerry Springer, plays the president. That just seemed like the coolest concept to me.

The Defender is about Dolph Lundgren as Lance Rockford, a CIA dude who was captured and tortured in the Gulf War. Later, he has to accompany a women who's very Condy Rice-ish to Romania to meet a secret dude. The secret dude is actually the terrorist they've been hunting, and the deal is he has to be kept alive and hidden, because if he's killed or captured, he becomes a martyr. At the same time a coup is planned by some dudes called The Patriot Group. What does one have to do with the other? It's all explained in a big twist.

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This movie isn't bad. Dolph's a good director, which I can't imagine is any surprise, since he seems to be good at everything. His character name, Lance Rockford, is sufficiently Tank Concrete enough for me. For some reason, and maybe Dolph's in on the joke too, but even when he's the film maker, he still has the requisite shot in the left arm. The guy can't make it out of any movie without being shot in the left arm. It's his calling card.

Springer delivers as the president, but he's not in the movie too too much. He and his Secretary of State have snuffed out this coup plot, and the majority of the movie is spent with him in these quick five minute clips grimacing about the fate of the country. Then the payoff: he arrests a bunch of plotters and tells them "You've messed with the wrong country, and you definitely FUCKED with the wrong president!" It's the kind of line in a movie that makes you do the Tiger Woods post 30-foot birdie putt fist pump. Yes!

The female lead is split into two roles. Shakara Ledard is supposed to take the hotty half, and she's good at it, especially when she's flirting with Dolph asking if she could be Minnie Mouse to his Mickey when they go to Disney World. The other woman is the Condy Rice one, and though she's not as hot as her real life counterpart (Condy is the bomb), she has some of the elements, like the big boots and... well, I guess that's it. Maybe when this Administration is over in 2008, Dolph and the real Condy and make a film together. A guy can dream, right?

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This film has some critiques of the Bush Administration's foreign policy weltanschauung. They think a more multilateral approach to achieving our goals is the right way. As a former PoliSci major, I don't turn to bad action films for my political discussion, so I'm not sure I care either way what the film makers think. What I can say is I'm glad I wasn't inundated with their political points of view (a la Hunt for Eagle One). The messages I took away are: even if you don't like your president's policies, it's extremely un-American to overthrow him with a coup; and, Jerry Springer would make a great president.

This is worth a good rental, and for Dolph fans a purchase at $10 or less. The Springer factor is great, the action is pretty solid, and Dolph plays a dude named Lance Rockford. What more do you need?

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