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 14, 2007

Shakedown (1988)

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My buddy scooped this at a used video store a few years ago. The moment we saw it, we knew we had an instant classic on our hands. The following weekend I took it with me to Bangor to show my buddies up there, and they were as enamoured with it as we were.

Shakedown features DTVC Hall of Famer Peter Weller as a Legal Aid attorney who has a client that's been framed for murder. He has a buddy on the force, played by Sam Elliott, and they surmise that there are some crooked cops doing some crooked things that don't want P Dubs and Elliott snooping around. At the same time, the prosecutor trying Pete's defendant is a former flame, and the two rekindle their romance, despite Weller's pending engagement to another woman. After some crazy action, things get hairy, but finally our heroes are able to prevail. Oh yeah, and there's a tribute to Dr. Strangelove at the very end.

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The Dr. Strangelove thing comes when Elliott, trying to keep the cops from escaping, gets on their plane, sits on the wheel before its pulled in, and throws a grenade in it while it's flying. The shot looks just like the end of Strangelove, when the dude is riding the A-bomb. I also think it was an inspiration to Jerry Bruckheimer and the people who make the XXX movies on how absurdly an action movie can blur the line between what's plausible and what's downright ludicrous.

This film features one of the all time greatest movie scenes. Weller, while cheating on his fiancee with his old flame, is debating coming clean. He's fallen for the old flame, and wants to leave his current woman, but can't quite find the words. The old flame tries to brow beat him, and Weller's response is a speech to end all speeches. I won't write down the whole thing, but I'll give you some quotes. "Is this going to be some kind of female territorial doo-wop?" "...because it's kickin' the life outta me, see?" "Why do you think it's some god damned manifest destiny for me to pickin' shit with the chickens the rest of my life?" Not only are these lines too sweet, but they're compounded in their glory by Weller's in ability to properly remember them, and the director's decision, not to reshoot the scene, but to just go with it with all of Weller's mistakes evident. I love it so much.

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Another favorite is Weller's cab ride to the court to get a tape to the judge that will exonerate his client. The cops are trying to keep him from doing that, so the cabbie is speeding recklessly down the road. At the courthouse steps, the car gets caught on a crane hook, and the crane lifts it over the blockade of cop cars. Weller's face during this crane ride is priceless. We had to watch it multiple times and play it in slo-mo.

This movie is so worth your time. Don't hesitate if you see it at the store. $5 is a good price, and I'd snatch it up for that. This film should be in everyone's video collection.

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