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.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Street Asylum (1990)

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I first saw Watergate alumnus G. Gordon Liddy act in a Miami Vice episode. It wasn't a bad deal. When a buddy scooped this film at a used video store, I was stoked. It not only had DTVC Hall of Famer Wings Hauser, but also Mr. Liddy, and the late Brion James. Count me in.

Street Asylum is another Wings Hauser cop movie, only this one has a twist. He plays a cop assigned to a super-secret police squad that is enhanced by a device of some sort implanted at the base of the spine. Liddy plays a mayor running for re-election who instituted the program to clean up LA's streets. He also has a penchant for sadomasochism. Anyway, Wings starts noticing weird behavior out of his fellow officers, and gets suspicious. He also has his own personality issues to deal with. So he digs around, and slowly learns the truth. He has his woman cut the device out of his back, then goes for Liddy. Nothing from the front cover happens in the movie, including the too sweet pic of Liddy with a half cyborg face.

This is a weird movie. Everyone has a weird laugh, and they use it at awkward times. Brion's character makes no sense. He's a televangelist, who appears from time to time, seemingly for no reason. At one point Hauser chases a baddie to an area where Brion is giving a sermon, and Brion lights the baddie on fire. I just don't know, really. Liddy's killed by electrocution after falling on a satellite. Your guess is as good as mine. Weirdest of all: the doctor putting the implants in the cops is killed when Wings puts her electro-orgasm generating device into the toilet while it's attached to her. Never seen a death like it in any other movie.

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Wings is great in this. His line delivery is almost Weller-esque, which is a major compliment. From what I can tell, when he goes off script and ad libs, he's better than when he tries to stick to the script. At one point his animal instincts take over and he hooks up with a hooker. His O face is hilarious. Probably the funniest moments in the film come when Wings is trying to keep his crazy partners in check. He has the one scene with Brion that I mentioned above. The best part about that is how little Wings appears to be taken aback by the utter ludicrousity of it.

Mr. Liddy. What can I say? He plays an ultra conservative near-fascist mayor of LA. If you listen to his radio show, it doesn't feel like much of a stretch. Wings' woman pretends to be a dominatrix to sneak into Liddy's office. When she whips him, he does this frightening cackle of a laugh that chilled my bones. Then it made me laugh because it was so ridiculous. This was not the solid performance of his time on Miami Vice. But should I have been expecting it?

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I'm guessing there's a message in this film about tampering with humanity or allowing a man like Liddy to take too much power or the ineffectiveness of aggressive policing programs that spit in the face of the Constitution. The real message, at least that I took away, is that if your movie is stupid and makes people laugh more than think, no one will take it seriously, especially not enough for your message to be pondered by any self-respecting human being. If you're dumb enough to think a random woman with no surgical experience can remove a device from the base of someone's spine, like Wings' woman did for him, you're not smart enough to make a movie with a message.

This is a pretty bad film. I'm laying out a strict warning that this should be viewed with extreme caution. It's got the star power, but that's not enough. Buy this only if you can get it on VHS for like $2. Even then you may feel ripped off. If you know people who are not well experienced with bad films, or you yourself are a rookie, you may not want to see this. It hurt my soul, and I'm an expert.

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  1. Gotta love Wings in this! It only needed more G. Gordon Liddy!

    Our review for it will finally be up this week!

  2. Sounds good, and yeah, you can never have too much G. Gordon Liddy. Loved him on Miami Vice as well.

  3. Sorry that you did not have an enjoyable experience. As the writer of the movie, I can assure you that the cast and crew worked hard to give the audience a wild and thought-provoking ride. And the themes are still relevant today...maybe more so.