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.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Top of the World (1997)

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I don't remember how I first got wind of this gem. It could've been in an imdb search of Peter Weller. A buddy may have told me. It could've been the Tia Carrere factor. I'm just not sure. What I am sure of is I'm glad I went onto Amazon and snatched this classic up.

Top of the World is a Die Hard ripoff that takes place in a casino and has Peter Weller as the hero. Dennis Hopper owns the casino, with Joe Pantoliano as his right hand man, and Peter Coyote as the mob bus who funds him. Then there's Tia Carrere who plays Weller's ex-wife (Weller was framed and put in jail when he ratted out crooked cops), yet she's dating Hopper. Then Martin Kove and some bad guys come in and take the place over to rob it. That means Cary Tagawa and his swat team storm in to take them. But Hopper won't let them, because he's in on the cash grab. Oh yeah, and David Allen Grier is already at the casino as a cop investigating a suicide, and he's the only one who believes Weller's innocent. Oh, I forgot to mention everyone thinks Weller's in on the robbery.

The star power alone makes this film so memorable. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. How can you go wrong? Who cares if it's Die Hard in a casino? Weller as the top star was perfect. In one scene he's driving around the casino with Carrere in his car. In another, he's riding on the top of an armored van or something. It's vintage Weller.

Hopper is sweet as the casino owner. He and Joey Pants play off each other well. I can't think of a better baddie for a movie like this. He's much better here than in that Costner sack of asscrack Waterworld. I can't for the life of me understand how a Waterworld is greenlighted as a full run picture put in thousands of theaters, and a gem like this can't get a sniff of that kind of run. It's just ridiculous.

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It was weird having a Cary Tagawa that wasn't exactly an antagonist. He played this kind of dumb-as-a-fox SWAT team leader that everyone thought they were better than, but who had a firm grasp of the situation. I'd like to see him and Weller work more together, maybe with Dolph thrown in. He also got to work with Tia Carrere again (Showdown in Little Tokyo), only this time he didn't chop any of her friends' heads off.

This film is just pure good old fashion bad action, and it's unabashed in the way it's carried out. As a fan of bad action, I hold a picture like this in the utmost regard. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.

You should be able to find this in the $5 at a place like BestBuy. It's so worth it, you don't even know. I'd skip renting it, in fact, and go straight to owning it, because you'll want to rent it again anyway, and you'll just end up wasting the rental money.

For more info:


  1. You were definitely right on this one. Lots of good fun. Did this go to cinema? I don't think so, it seems it was filmed at 1.33:1 and was made by Nu Image, but there were enough explosions and cars destroyed to make me consider it a possibility.

    I haven't seen Peter Weller in much outside Scanners and Robocop but I like what I saw. Funny guy when he wants to be, handles a gun fine. All he needed to do was some martial arts and I would've started applauding.

    The DVD was quite dark and a bit hard to make out what was going on sometimes but I'm sure it's as good as we'll ever get. And only cost me AU$5.30.

  2. Yeah, my copy isn't like that, it's all pretty bright. What company made yours, because it might be their transfer. I think maybe this was made for cable or something, but you're right, it has a theatrical feel to it.

    Buckaroo Bonzai should be the next Weller film you see, and if you like David Cronenberg, after that The Naked Lunch. Some of Weller's best, and not on here because they were theatrical releases.

  3. Mine is the Aussie release made by Hollywood DVD (a dodgy company name if I've ever heard it), but it was cheap and I definitely prefer the cover of it (

    That Buckaroo Bonzai looks insane, I'll keep an eye out for it!

  4. Yeah, that's a little different than mine. That sucks, though, that it wasn't great, but it sounds liek you got a solid sense of the film's awesomeness, so that's enough.

    Yeah, Buckeroo Bonzai is the real deal. You'll love it.

  5. I don't think we saw the same movie. The TOP OF THE WORLD I saw was dull as dishwater with a patented by-the-numbers plot. I agree it's got a great cast but they're wasted.

  6. Good to see a differing opinion DLFerguson, though I tend to enjoy by-the-numbers action if it's done well, which in this case I thought it was!

  7. Agreed, rather have paint-by-numbers with plenty of mindless action than an attempt to cram a horrible plot down our throats at the expense of said action. If you're looking for something better than paint-by-numbers plots, you may be better off checking out my Tumblr movie blog, Matt, Movie Guy, where I deal with higher quality films.