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.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Detention (2003)

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I first saw this film when it aired on USA. It was on on a Saturday morning at like 11, and my buddies that I was watching the English Premiership with were sleeping after the games. I was shocked that a movie as violent as this would be on, and not too well censored, at that time. I don't have any kids, so it really doesn't matter to me, but if I were a parent, I'd be annoyed if I caught my kid watching a guy hack another guy's leg with the blade of a paper cutter at 11 am.

Detention is about Sam Decker (DTVC Hall of Famer and legend, Dolph Lundgren), a former special ops guy (isn't he always?) who, in a crazy series of events, had a young child die on his watch. Flash forward, and he's dating a high school's hottest teacher while he covers his own gym and history classes. He puts in his notice because he's had enough of the teaching grind, and the principal asks if he can cover detention for that afternoon. As this is going on, a group of Hungarian terrorists plot to take over the school so they can ship in a bunch of heroin while the Vice President rides through the town. They figured the school would be empty when they took it over, but Dolph and his rag-tag group of detentioners prove them wrong, and are more than a match for the baddies.


Before we get too far into what's good and what's bad, I must devote a paragraph to a myth that's being perpetuated in bad action films: this idea that the Vice President is the second-most powerful man in the world. Just because he's second in line to the job of most powerful man in the world, doesn't make him second-most powerful. Lyndon Johnson, for instance, had very little power in the Kennedy Administration, and when he became President, it was a source of contention for the cabinet he inherited. I'm not saying the Vice President isn't a big deal, he's just not that powerful.

Anyway, I digress. This movie is simply Die Hard in a high school, which with Dolph as the lead, is great. He gets his requisite shot in the left arm (I believe in 90% of his films he's shot in the left arm, I'm not kidding), there's plenty of explosions and gun play, and the bad guy is sufficiently psychotic and amusing. There's a hilarious scene where one of the kids goes to the auto shop, steals a car, and drives it through a concrete wall. Not into, through.


The thing I didn't like about this was the kids. I'm not a fan of the "go teen gang!" kind of deal, and it gave the movie a kind of more violent Home Alone sensibility that really diminished some of the Dolphishness, which in my mind is a bad thing. Also, they killed some of the kids off throughout the film, which isn't that bad in a campy horror film, but made me uneasy in the high school pitched battle setting.

Regardless, Dolph is the quintessential Lump Beef Broth, and he's great as Sam Decker the special op-ist turned teacher. He's the reason why the Substitute sequels don't work with Treat Williams. It's impossible to have a Man Crush on Treat, but it's impossible not to have a Man Crush on Dolph. As such, no matter how bad his films are (and some of them, like this one, are pretty God damned atrocious), I'm going to still love them.


And I think my love of Dolph may be blinding me here. I can't in good conscious recommend paying money for this. It's one thing to TiVo it when they run it on USA again, but if you're not the huge Dolph aficionado I am, you won't enjoy it. There's just too much good Dolph out there to really waste spending on this one.

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  1. The bad guy in this annoyed the crap out of me with his ridiculous faces and poking-tongue out to the camera, and the kids were cliched-annoying, but Dolph is a winner and was a good enough first Dolph DTV movie for me to excite me about putting a second one on right after.

  2. I hadn't read my review of this in a long time, so it was interesting to revisit it. Like you said, Dolph is great, it was just the whole idea of Die Hard in a school that was sauteed in wrong sauce. And the Euro Trash baddie didn't help. But you know you're a Dolph fan if you can enjoy a movie like this just for him, so you're well on your way.