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.

Announcement

Announcement

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.

--Matt

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Red Scorpion (1987)

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I found this at a Bull Moose Music in the used DVD section with another Dolph gem Cover Up. My friends and I watched it and loved it, having no clue about the history behind it. It was the Dolph/Brion James/silliness factor.

Red Scorpion has our hero, DTVC Hall of Famer and fave Dolph Lundgren, as a dude sent by the Soviets to work under cover in Angola and snuff out a rebel leader. He fails, and the Soviets try to kill him. He passes out in the desert, and a tribesman helps him. He rejoins the rebels and leads them to victory against the Soviets.

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As you may already know, this film was written and produced by the infamous Jack Abramoff. On the one hand it makes sense, because it's so politically motivated and anti-Soviet. On the other it doesn't, because it's hard to fathom a man like Abramoff is that much of an ignoramus. The film is stupidly anti-Soviet. It depicts the Soviets as these demon like souless inhumans who are carrying out a campaign of genocide in Africa. Not Stalin's Soviets, but Gorbachev's. This was like bad 50s propaganda, and it came off as silly. (On a side note, this film is the blue print for the Hunt for Eagle One films.) My friend told me he read in Al Franken's book that Abramoff shot this in apartheid South Africa. If that's true, is it any surprise?

I love the idea of Dolph as a Russian. He's done it in many roles, and it never seems to get old. I'm sure it started with his role in Rocky IV, but I think he's played more Russians than Swedes. I get that it sounds weird to have him play a former Swedish special ops dude or something, but to me that would make it all the more fantastic. Maybe I should contact his people and pitch that for his next role. Swedish special agent Sven Frostenheimer!

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Brion James is great in this. I don't know if they said "play a Soviet heel" or "do the guy you did in Armed and Dangerous"; or if they said the former, and he did the latter; but I was waiting for John Candy to pop in and help Dolph out. Instead I had to settle for M. Emmett Walsh. Both actors played their parts well in the rah-rah Abramoff theater, but I want to believe Brion did it with a wink-wink and a nudge-nudge, and M. Emmett was Abramoff's homeboy. Maybe I only want to believe that because M. Emmett annoyed me so much.

I don't really know if there are any particularly memorable scenes in this. Dolph being tortured by the Evil Soviet dude was kind of funny. He was being pierced with big needles, and then he somehow broke his handcuffs and strangled the guy with his chains. This scene also dealt with a very interesting element of the Soviet torture: the stenographer who records the confession. Dolph didn't do anything to her as he left the torture room, and I'm assuming it was Abramoff's attempt to make Dolph redeemable.

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Dolph is plenty beefy in this role. In the African heat he tends to not wear a lot of clothes, so prepare yourselves ladies (and guys too). It's movies like this that make you wonder why Treat Williams ever plays the lead role in an action film. Sorry I'm pickin' on you Treat. I have to assume M. Emmett Walsh's character loathed Dolph so much because he was both jealous and obsessed with Dolph's manness. It's weird that the only American in Abramoff's film was such a tool, but on the other hand, he was a part of what Abramoff and his cronies term The Liberal News Media, so I guess it's not so odd.

This is worth buying for so many reasons. First and foremost, the Dolphage. Second, the Abramoff aspect. Finally, Brion James is great for the few scenes he's in it. You should be able to find it used for like $5-$7, and that's not a bad deal. It's like having a slice of Dolph and a slice of history.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098180/

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