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.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Good Cop, Bad Cop aka Black Dawn (1997)

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This is a Lorenzo Lamas gem I found on ON Demand under the moniker Black Dawn. Readers should not confuse this with the Steven Segal flick also named Black Dawn, which I'm sure I review on here at a later date.

Black Dawn (I'm going with that title because it's shorter) has Lamas playing a former cop who lost his job when he spoke out against corruption. Now he drinks a lot and reads quality literature and philosophy. He's called into action, though, when a rich banker is kidnapped, and his ex-stripper wife needs someone to find him. As you can imagine, they fall for one another as they traverse the trecherous Mexican desert and find her husband. As always with pictures like this, things aren't what they seem, though.

I kind of dug this. It was pretty much Don Quixote set in modern day Southern California. Lamas was solid in it, as he always is. What got me, though, was how it was supposed to be Don Quixote, but then the writers were so afraid we'd miss that, that they kept throwing in literal references to the book, like "it's just like Don Quixote," or "you've gotta do like Don Quixote". I don't remember Apocalypse Now having Dennis Hopper say "Wow man, that's just like in that Heart of Darkness book," or in 10 Things I hate About You Heath Ledger saying "Man, this is just like that Shakespeare play about the Shrew."

There's an amazing scene where this big dude goes to Lamas' house to kick his ass. They trash his house, and Lamas ends up using his wits to kill him. It was one of those movie-making scenes-- the kind you show your friends for laughs, like when Charlie Sheen steals his car back in Navy SEALs to the tune of Mr. Big's "Strike Like Lightning".

There was also some silly military technology used by the baddies that enhanced one's hearing and eyesight (I don't remember if smell was enhanced, but it should've been). The technology was actually a big helmet, and Lamas circumvented it with a dog whistle. If the military ever decided to implement something like that, they may need to go back to the drawingboard or our enemies will start stocking up on dog whistles. Call the people who made Hunt for Eagle One, because I think we have the treatment for the third movie.

What I didn't like was the relatively slow pacing of the film. And when we actually had action, it really couldn't hold a candle to the fat guy scene. Even the denouement was pretty weak. I know Lamas is pushing 50, but come on, he seems like he's in great shape on Bold and the Beautiful-- let's see some more ass kicking, you know? It's a fucking action movie, for christ's sake.

So I'm not sure which way to go on this one: great Lamas, cool idea with the Don Quixote, but not enough beef. I'd say see if you can catch it on On Demand or on regular TV before you spend any money on it. If you're a Lamas guy like me, maybe there's enough in it for you.

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