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.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mercenary for Justice (2006)

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I first caught this on Spike or something. They've been pretty good about showing some bad action like this. The Seagals and Van Dammes they usually show during the day on weekends, while the lower quality films like the Bloodfists they show at 2am on Friday and Saturday mornings (Thursday and Friday nights if you're like me and the next day doesn't officially begin until 6am.)

Mercenary for Justice has Steven Seagal as a mercenary for justice who has to mitigate between his bad employer, who has kidnapped a friend's wife and young son, and avoiding doing a job that involves breaking a major arms dealer's son out of a high security South African prison. Somehow a bank robbery is involved, along with a CIA agent. The plot is so muddled I have no idea how we get from point A to point B, but we do, and Seagal is victorious.

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I wasn't sure if I wanted to review this film or not, considering Seagal is part of a poll asking for attitudes on his worthiness for inclusion in the DTVC Hall of Fame. The reality is that it's films like this that have kept him out so far. Essentially, Seagal is omnipotent. Whatever he wants to do, he does. What makes this omnipotence all the more absurd is how the plot is centered around his boss having him over a barrel by kidnapping the wife and son. The next hour or so of film makes us wonder why, if he's able to pull off all this other stuff just by being Seagal, why didn't he just go and save the two right away, and save us the trouble? This was as poorly conceived as an episode of the old syndicated action series Nightman.

I'm also surprised Seagal took this role, because it makes him as a hero look exceedingly unheroic. In one scene, he and his hot partner rob some huge bank, and in escaping, he shoots and kills plenty innocent police officers. Right on! Later, instead of confronting his adversaries head on, he sneaks around and picks them off with a silenced handgun. To finish off his employer, he goes the very dignified route of putting a bomb in his car and detonating it while the guy drives away. Why am I rooting for him?

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Usually in a bad action film I can forgive a ludicrously muddled plot if the bad action is good. But here the bad action is so bad, that the muddled plot gave me a huge headache. I'm not sure what the CIA was doing. I'm not sure what Seagal was doing. The bank thing made no sense. I was clueless when the baddies invaded the prison, then were shot up by I don't know who. I think they just tried to get too smart with it, and as in many cases, when they try to get too smart, they just end up looking stupid.

I was trying to think of something good or memorable that makes this film worthwhile, and I just drew a blank. I haven't even had a chance to see all of the Seagal direct to video stuff out there, but I have to assume this is the worst one. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, but a guy can dream, right? Avoid this bad boy at all costs. Even if you and your friends hate Seagal, and you want to watch something to lambaste him with, watch something else. This one hurts.

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