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 8, 2007

Out of Reach (2004)

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There are a few movies with this title. If you're looking for the Steven Seagal one, it's the 2004 version. I've seen this on a couple different TV stations, most recently Spike TV. I TiVoed it on my folks' box, and as I recall, I was watching it during a marathon viewing session where I was trying to see as many movies as I could at my parents' so I could erase the movies to make more room on their DVR. As such, my dad was around for this movie and a few others, like one of the Bloodfists (I think V). Anyway, he had had about enough after this one, so we took a break and watched Jerry Springer.

Out of Reach is about a former special ops dude played by Seagal who has adopted a pen pal in a Polish orphanage. She tells him she's leaving the place to go somewhere else, and he gets suspicious. At the same time, his former bosses at special ops want to kill him (why?), so he decides to shoot over to Poland to see what's up. It turns out the bad guy from and The Transporter and Torque is running a child pornography ring with the girls from the orphanage. With the help of a sexy local detective, Seagal brings down both the bad guy, and the feds. All in a day's work.

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This is pretty solid Seagal. At the beginning, the pen pal letters are given to us in voice-over. Seagal's voice in these is hilarious. I don't know how to describe it. It's almost like Snagglepuss, if you remember him from those Hanna-Barbera cartoons. In my mind it's actually funnier than the talking in Ebonics he did in Today You Die. As far as the martial arts, it's pretty much what you expect, and I'd say it's pretty good. The final battle between him and the baddie is a great sword fight set in this immaculate white building. It was like something out of a Highlander episode, and I mean that in a good way.

The plot is ridiculous. For one, they didn't write a reason for Seagal's character go to Poland. Instead of something like, say, a distress letter from the girl, they just have him go, like he's psychic or something. Also, we never find out why the feds want him dead. It's assumed that we'll buy that the feds are dicks, and they just want people dead. Who knows? Perhaps worst of all, the Turks are portrayed in this as very scheming and untrustworthy. Maybe someone in Ankara should consider getting Turkey a better agent.

Seagal's female partner is of course ludicrously attractive, and unrealistically attracted to Seagal. Even sillier, she's shot at one point, and Seagal does an impromptu surgery to remove the bullet with some garden variety kitchen utensils. Who writes these moronic scenes? Not only that, but who bankrolls this kind of stupidity? I mean, I expect a certain level of lowest common denominator out of a direct to video Steven Seagal film, but having him do surgery is just beyond all sensibility.

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I'd be remiss if I didn't devote a paragraph to this film's baddie, Matt Schulze. He's as great in this as he is in Transporter, Torque, or the Point Break rip-off Fast and the Furious. For me he's like the Vin Diesel of baddies, and I'd love to see him more stuff. Dolph and Van Damme, take a page from Seagal and Jason Statham, and sign this guy on to play your nemesis in your next movie. Please.

If you're having a Seagal night, this wouldn't be a bad choice, especially if you're either focusing in on his newer DTV stuff, or you're showcasing his older, mainstream stuff, and you want a new one for juxtaposition. It's plenty silly to get you to the church on time. The action's a little lackluster, but what there is is pretty good, and you've always got that hilarious opening with the Seagal Snagglepuss voice voice-over. I would recommend renting or TiVoing, but not buying until you've seen it once.

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