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.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Future War (1997)

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My buddies and I first saw this classic on MST3K. Being a big Bernhardt fan from his work on the Mortal Kombat show and the Bloodsport movies, the film was particularly special. But it's also sufficiently ridiculous to make a solid MST3K episode.

Future War is about neither a war or the future. It's about these cyborgs that have enslaved the human race in the future, and Bernhardt plays one that's escaped. For some reason the cyborgs go back in time to take slaves. Also, there's a big ship that's in play. The cyborgs use dinosaurs as trackers when a slave escapes. Bernhardt, in escaping the dinosaurs, falls into the clutches of a drug user turned nun who tries to help him. He learns English quickly and recruits her and her teen gang to give their lives to save his from the dinosaurs. In the end Bernhardt heroically saves the day.

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This film is a work of beauty. I'm still not exactly sure what the film makers were going for, and I think that makes it all the more endearing. The dinosaurs are extremely hilarious. I don't know why they're there, what they're doing, or how they kill people. Also, when they die, they explode into a cloud of dust. I'm surprised the Christian Right doesn't use this film to refute the dinosaur's existence. If they all explode into clouds of dust when they die, then how do paleontologists find their bones?

The cyborg chasing Bernhardt is sweet too. He's got this big, doughy face, and looks more silly than imposing. His two main modes of attack on Bernhardt are his arm, which shoots a collar that attaches itself to Bernhardt's neck and restricts his movement; and his superhuman strength, which he uses to throw Bernhardt through stacks of empty boxes. He also indiscriminately kills other people, which gives the movie a slasher film element.

This may be Bernhardt's best role. He's extremely believable as the human slave who becomes fluent in English in a day or two, and can out fight large, plastic dinosaurs. When some investigators cut out this large tracking device from the back of his neck, you can really see in his face just how absurd it is. He can also stab dinosaurs with a knife, leave the knife in it, then have it magically reappear in his hand.

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This film has a tribute to the Bunuel classic Viridiana. It has the soon-to-be nun who takes in a bunch of riff-raff that no one else believes in, and gives them a chance at a better life. I'm wondering if the film makers had trouble reconciling Bunuel's ending, where the riff-raff take advantage of the woman's largess by destroying her late aunt's nice house, and two of them almost rape her; because here the riff-raff performs admirably as they give their lives to the dinosaurs and cyborgs so Bernhardt can save the day. On the other hand, they may be making the statement that that's all the poor are good for. Maybe I'm just reading too much into this by finding a connection between this and the greatest Spanish director of all time, and really the film makers just thought the idea of a nun with a sordid past was hot.

You could probably buy this for like $5 on DVD. Do it. You won't be disappointed. Whether you're a novice or a pro at mocking films, this is a must have. If you can get the MST3K version of it, do that too. They did a great job, as they always do, in making a silly film even better. You just can't go wrong here.

For more info:


  1. I've only seen the MST3K version of this film, and it's funny as hell even without the riffing! Btw, that cyborg with "the big, doughy face" is none other than Robert Z'Dar--you can find him on Wiki, or do a Google image search and behold the biggest face you'll ever see. If I could make a movie, I'd make one just to have him in it.

  2. Is he also the big faced guy from Soultaker? The one who wasn't Joe Estevez?

  3. I only know the MST3K-Version. But I simply love this movie! It´s funny and entertaining, when Tom, Crow and Mike shred this movie to pieces.
    For example when one of the 2 T-Rex' in the tunnel gets shot, and Tom cries: "No! Jerry, noooo! He was only 2 days from retirement!"