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.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Walking Tall: The Payback (2007)

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Kevin Sorbo has been a part of my life since he first starred in the old Action Pack Hercules movies. I remember a buddy of mine had me watch his taped copy of a TV movie called Surviving the Savage Seas or something, which had Robert Urich and Trevor Goddard. At the end, there was a commercial for Stouffer's mac and cheese, with this little boy playing with the girl next door, before his mom calls him to supper. I warned my buddy that Herc was in it, and sure enough, the next shot had Sorbo eating the frozen food, reminiscing about his old flirtations as a youth. My friend said he'd never get rid of that tape. That was 12 years ago, and his younger brother just graduated high school with mine, and I was hoping to see him at the commencement to see if he still had it. Unfortunately he wasn't there.

Walking Tall: The Payback isn't so much a sequel of the Rock remake of the Joe Don Baker not-so-classic, but rather a repackaging for the DTV market. It has Sorbs as a dude whose dad, the sheriff, is killed by some baddies that have taken over his home town. In true Herc fashion, Sorbs goes to a bar, where one of the baddies won't pay for his drinks. In order to make him pay, he thrashes the guy, his bad friends, and the bar, causing more in damage than the $6 the drinks cost. Awesome. Now he's a deputy, and he has the right to kick anyone's ass who doesn't pay for what they take. I'm sure you can guess the rest.

This is classic bad action. It just plain rules. Sorbo, though his character is supposed to be raised in Texas, has no Southern accent whatsoever. At the end of the movie he's shot in the leg, and it has no effect on him. After the scene where Sorbo beats up the guy for not paying for his drinks, he seems, almost by magic, to always leave a space open in his dealings with other people for us the viewer to interject: "Did you pay for that?" There's also a lot of explosions, gunshots, and major holes in the plot and lacks of continuity that we all look for in a bad action film.

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I did have one major complaint, though. There's a gang rape of the potential Sorbo love interest by the baddies. It's not shown, but it happened. I'd say it's way too macabre and sick for what was an otherwise fun bad action movie. The film makers or Sorbo or someone should've rethought that. Now I know what MST3K went through when they were bombarded by the gang rape in Sidehackers.

(I guess my minor complaint was that Michael Hurst wasn't in it.)

Sorbo, like Adrian Paul and Lorenzo Lamas, would easily make my Syndicated Action TV Hall of Fame, if I had one. We all know he's the man from his work on Hercules. If this film is what we have to expect from his future DTV action outputs, we should all be pretty excited. My friends and I had non stop fun watching this movie. He may have a long way to go to beat out the likes of Dolph, Kinski, or Miles O'Keefe, but I'd say with this one film alone he's already ahead of guys like Dacascos and Sasha Mitchell.

Before I get into the overall recommendation, I must make a quick comment about the horse in the final scene. Herc rides him into the battle with the bad guys, I guess because it's stealth or something. Then he dumps it and it roams around, looking for someone to point it back in the direction of the main road. It's hilarious, and if you've got a friend with a great Mr. Ed impression, this is the perfect time for him or her to shine.

This is so worth renting right now, even though you'll pay new release money for it. If you're a huge Sorbo fan, I'd say buy it. If you have any question to the quality, just look at the cover. There's Sorbo, looking like he's leading a group of friends into action-- only those are the bad guys! How can you not love that? This is the perfect film (gang rape aside) for a bad movie night.

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  1. This definitely rocked! (except the gang rape sequence.) Sorbo should make more of these types of action movies. Less horror or disaster flicks.

  2. It'll be cool to see him in the Pyun flick Tales of an Ancient Empire, but I agree, straight ahead actioner Sorbo is great.