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.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Death Machine (1995)

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I'm sure I'm not the only fan of bad movies that's noticed the preponderance of films with two-word titles. DTVC Hall of Famer Michael Dudikoff seems to do them almost exclusively (American Ninja, Virtual Assassin, Gale Force, American Ninja 2...). I think they just work better than ones with fewer or more words in the title. "What should we rent?" "Railing Kill!" "What's it about?" "Who cares, it sounds awesome!" I'd rent a movie called Railing Kill.

Death Machine takes place in a future that's half Max Headroom and half crap, where a weapons manufacturer named CHAANK (I thought it was funny too) has come under fire for some inhumane practices, i.e. they're using MIA battle vets and turning them into supersoldiers. Ely Pouget is the woman sent in to clean things up, but what she doesn't realize is that Brad Dourif is the nutcase dude living in the basement who really runs the show. When she fires him, he sends this thing called War Beast after her. At the same time, a burly bear of a man that wants to help her take the company back, but also has dubious motives, has joined her; and three dudes who want to stop CHAANK for humanity's sake have invaded the CHAANK headquarters to blow it up. Now the five of them must outlast Dourif and his War Beast.

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I'm not sure what to make of this. The film's makers obviously loved all the movies I did, because the characters are all named after directors like Sam Raimi and Ridley Scott. That being said, even as an imitation of those film luminaries, this isn't even in the ballpark. It's got some cool stuff, but it's not like you can't get that cool stuff from watching a classic like Robocop again. At least that has Peter Weller.

One of the terrorists working in the name of humanity that invaded the CHAANK headquarters looked really familiar. His name is John Sharian, and I looked him up on imdb to find out where I'd seen him before. He was the fat naked guy in Romasanta. Luckily for all involved, no one has to see his junk flopping around here. He's actually not a bad guy even.

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Ely Pouget is a woman. A rather hot woman, but a woman nonetheless. I didn't know that, considering her name is Ely. She's one of those people you think's been in a bunch of other stuff, then you look her up on imdb and find out she's just been on some Matlock episodes and whatnot. I think she must've also done some commercials. This movie was very interesting in how they dealt with her. She's kinda the lead protagonist, but unlike an Aeon Flux or a Ultraviolet, she's not just a hot chick who can fight, she's actually a tough chick who doesn't mess around. I liked that she was attractive, but didn't wear skimpy outfits and such: her brain and intestinal fortitude were what counted. Of course, you can't have a hero like her in mainstream Hollywood, because it's all about tits and ass. She'd have to dress like the administrator on House (My roommates watch it, not me...)

The War Beast is funny, and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be or not. It has these big teeth and long claws. It also smells fear. I'm not kidding. If you're not afraid of it, it can't kill you. It sounds like a monster from a bad Vin Diesel movie, doesn't it. Can you imagine him with a bunch of other D-list actors who are all afraid of the War Beast coming to kill them. "It sees your fear," he'd say in a dull monotone. They'd all be like "What?", and he'd turn slowly "Your pheromones... it sees your fear..." I bet that film would make like twenty mill at the box office and another thirty or forty in DVD rentals and sales.

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I always love when futuristic movies that're made in the past use out of date technology. This one uses 3 1/4 floppy disks to transfer information. The film was made in 1995, so I know we still used those things back then, but we also knew CDs were cooler, and in the future we'd be using them more. How hard would it've been to pick up a pack of CD-Rs at the store and use them in the movie? It would've looked better. Considering the technology's there in the future to download my personality onto a disk, replace the information in my brain with a bunch of fighting skills, and then restore my old personality into my brain when I'm done fighting, I'd think there'd be a better portable data storage device than the floppy disk. Maybe that's just me.

This movie was on Sci-Fi recently at 3AM, and I think that's a good place for it. Spending money on it's a bad thing, so I wouldn't do that. One thing I thought was cool was that I TiVoed it, and it was on my list of programs, so for like a week people would scan my recorded list and see "Death Machine". Then they'd go "you watch the dumbest movies, Matt". Yes, I do.

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