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.


Friday, May 4, 2007

The Order (2001)

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First off, don't confuse this movie with the mainstream release also called The Order (2003), which has fellow DTVC Hall of Famer Peter Weller as a Warrior Pope (or, at least a guy who strives to be one). This one's better than the 2003 one, because it has way more Van Damme-age than the other has P Dubs.

My buddy and I originally found this one morning on USA. It was a very good thing. Van Damme plays a thief who steals from rich bad guys (just so we can like him as a hero more-- do we need that? I mean he's Van Damme: if we didn't like him, we wouldn't watch the movie anyway.) His dad goes missing in Israel, and he goes to look for him. He uncovers a secret religious order that's like a mixture of all the Abrahamic religions, and one of their guys goes renegade (not like Lorenzo Lamas, but like the bad Watcher Horton in Highlander: The Series). Van Damme is arrested and is sent to be deported, when he convinces the hot police woman sent to escort him to the airport to let him stay. Sound familiar? It was a plot device used in Joe Don Baker classic Final Justice (which you may remember MST3K did simply to kill Joe Don after they heard he was not happy with his treatment when they did Mitchell).

Best part of the movie? Van Damme dons a disguise as a Hasidic Jew. He runs around with the curly sideburns. I'm not saying that's funny in general, just funny when Van Damme looks like that. It's really the only thing that makes this worth seeing at all. That and Chuck Heston, of course. I don't know if he's got really bad dementia, or his career has fallen off with his NRA activism in a slightly more left-leaning Hollywood. Either way, his inclusion in this film is our gain.

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Drawbacks are many. The plot's hard to bear, even considering my low realistic expectations for a DTV action movie. When writers steal plot devices from a Joe Don Baker film that MST3K used to launch fat and dumb jokes for an hour-and-a-half, something's not right there. Unless, Van Damme (who co-wrote--, was putting that thread in as an ode to MST3K; if that's the case, it's fantastic, but I doubt it. Also, the action's a little stilted and predictable for a Van Damme actioner. Derailed, though pretty much a complete Under Siege 2 retread, was much better from the bad action standpoint. After such gems as Double Impact, Double Team, Kickboxer, and Bloodsport, I expect a little more from Van Damme, and this movie just wasn't quite there.

If you're having a Van Damme night with a bunch of friends, maybe rent this. It's definitely worth TiVoing if you see it on your program guide. But spending money on it, unless you can get it for like $2, is probably not a great idea. You're better off dipping into the old classics than turning to this one.

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