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]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

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.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Final Payback (2001)

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I saw this on my program guide a while back, and it looked promising. It had John Saxon, Martin Kove, Corbin Bernsen, Laura Herring, and last but not least, Richard Grieco. How could a movie with this kind of star power be bad, right? Oh, it can.

Final Payback stars Grieco as a cop framed for John Saxon's wife's murder. Saxon was his boss in the department, and Grieco'd been having an affair with his wife. Anyway, he knows he's been set up by the cops, so he has to clear his name. At the same time, Martin Kove, another higher up in the department, has hired two former thugs that he has under his thumb to assassinate Grieco. Also, Bernsen is running for mayor, and has a big news conference planned, and he needs Kove to have the Grieco situation dealt with to avoid bad publicity. Finally, Laura Herring plays the estranged girlfriend with a soft spot in her heart for the degenerate Grieco. For all her troubles as the only redeemable character in the film, she's killed by a bullet meant for Griec's.

This was a pretty depraved movie. It was trying very hard to be a suspenseful thriller with a harder, dirtier edge; but it just came off blah. If the basic premise is pretty much a Hallmark family mystery, adding gore and other bad stuff doesn't make it not that, it's just means it has no identity. Or worse, it's just plain disturbing.

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The Laura Herring death may have been the worst. One thing I've always been annoyed with in bad action, horror, sci-fi, etc., is the propensity for the film makers to kill off people who go out of their way to help the hero. I'm just not sure why this makes me root for the hero, when he pawns off his life risking tasks on others. Here I was even more frustrated, because Grieco was so insistent on Herring helping him. It wasn't like she offered a hand, and then was offed; Grieco was fully responsible for her dying.

John Saxon played the same character he's played in Mitchell and the first Nightmare on Elm Street. The problem here, is there's none of that great Johnny Mathias shooting type of Saxon that would've made him cool. He wasn't pulling Gunderoos out of drawers, or trapping people with ceder lattice. He didn't even try to confuse Grieco with an over complicated business deal to buy him off while wielding a Slim Jim. It was just a waste.

Grieco has amassed a fairly respectable resume of DTV movies. I wonder if when filming 21 Jumpstreet he thought he'd have a better, or at least as good of, a career a Johnny Depp. I guess things don't always work out the way we planned them, so while Depp is making horrible films like Sleepy Hollow, From Hell, and Secret Window, Grieco's making this. I guess the only difference is the amount of zeros after the paycheck, which I would imagine is a huge difference.

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I was trying to think of what was good in this. I'm drawing a blank. Martin Kove was Martin Kove, which is great if you're watching Karate Kid, but it's not enough to sell this bad boy. Corbin Bernsen is barely in this, and even if he was, would it matter that much? As far as I can tell, he was only great in that Seinfeld episode where he met George at the Tonight Show, and even there, George did all the work. I wouldn't even watch this for the Grieco factor, because he's all gross and degenerate-like: remember, this is supposed to be a Hallmark movie with an edge.

Don't be lured into this sack-of-asscrack. If you see it at your video store or on your program guide, and you see all the great actors listed, remember this review and run the other way. Let me spare you the pain I endured. This is hardcore bad, and should only be viewed by real masochists.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223284/

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