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]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

In Hell (2003)

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I got wind of this film when I looked up Jean-Claude Van Damme on imdb. Even though it was going over the same territory as Death Warrant, I considered it when I saw it had Lawrence Taylor, the greatest linebacker in NFL history. He was great in his Wrestlemania appearance, and I was stoked about this one. There was also a great cast of That Guys, which usually makes a film like this entertaining.

In Hell has DTVC Hall of Famer Van Damme as a dude whose wife is murdered in Russia, where he was sent to work from their home in Louisiana. The killer is set free by a crooked judge, and Van Damme kills him for retribution. Van Damme is sent to prison, where he's forced into fighting and becoming a nut case. He makes his usual group of misfit friends and puts up with his usual group of detestable baddies and prison guards. He fights, then he and the philosopher psycho played by Taylor plan Van Damme's escape.

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This film was not a bad action movie, but rather an attempt at a serious drama. As you might expect, when film makers try to veer from the bad action genre without legitimate film making abilities, we're left with a product that's stupid and depraved. I knew it was going to be bad when a young American boy is taken into another cell and raped by one of the Russian baddies. We know that kind of thing would happen in real life, and maybe in the properly done indie film it would work, but in this sack of ass crack it's just dumb and disturbing.

Van Damme plays a dude who doesn't know martial arts. I didn't know that going in, and it killed the film for me. He roundly gets his ass kicked for the first hour of the film. It was annoying as all hell. When he finally does kick ass, he bites a guy's neck. This is again something that, when I see it in a Troma film, it works, but when I see it in this, it's just weird and ridiculous. Van Damme doesn't act, he does martial arts. He needs to be kicking these guys' asses, not the other way around.

Lawrence Taylor was a waste in this. He did these voice over narrations that were stupid. He played a philosopher psycho with a bad past that just didn't work. We have no idea why he's in a Russian prison. We also have no idea why he's killed all his former cell mates except Van Damme. Just dumb, and a waste of Taylor. If he was in my film, I'd have him with his cross earring, a flat top haircut with a fade, and a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off. I'd probably give him a massive gun and have him shoot the shit out of everything, and then use his patented fumble producing tomahawk chop to disarm a baddie. That would've ruled.

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This film was just a complete waste. Death Warrant was way better. In that one, when the Sandman is thrown by Van Damme into the furnace, and he comes out on fire, then stops, drops, and rolls to put himself out, it's purely amazing. That one two-minute scene aced this entire film in my mind.

Don't go near this. If you're a Van Damme fan, you'll be disappointed. It's not worth the 90 minutes of your life. This movie is so depraved, it'll make you sick. It's not even worth watching to mock. I'd say skip this, and have a Van Damme nostalgia night with Death Warrant.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0339135/

5 comments:

  1. In the last picture you have here, you can really see that mysterious lump on his forehead. I wonder what's up with that. It's only on that side. I wonder if that's where he bangs his head against his desk repeatedly asking himself why he keeps being in such crappy movies.

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  2. I actually enjoyed this one quite a lot, as well as Second in Command. Can't recall too much except that it ripped off Stallone's Lock-Up quite a bit, but otherwise I had fun with it.

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  3. As you can tell, I had no love for this one. It just felt like ten kinds of waste of space, sauteed in wrong sauce.

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  4. I cannot express enough how happy I am I found this website! Lately, I have been introduced to Van Damme movies and I simply can not get enough. Thank you so very much for creating this archive of fantastically terrible movies.On another note In Hell was terrible in my opinion but when Jean and the retarded psycho inmate connect through banging there hands on the wall I lost my shit... hilarious. But overall not Jeans finest film by ANY means.

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  5. Thank you, I'm glad you like it. By all means, let me know what you think of some of the others too.

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