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, October 10, 2007

Eye of the Tiger (1986)

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I saw this film at my local video store and rented it with a couple others on some kind of rent two get one free night. With Busey's face on the cover, I figured I couldn't go wrong, especially if I was only paying two-thirds the price... is that right? Buy two... yeah, that works out.

Eye of the Tiger stars Gary a Busey as a man getting out of prison, we find out after being framed by the bad sheriff of the town he lives in. While he'd been in prison, a bad gang of murderous coke running dirt bike riders has been terrorizing the town. One night, keeping watch over a construction site, Busey sees the gang trying to rape a soap opera actress. He saves her, much to the chagrin of the bikers. In an act of revenge, they trash his home and kill his wife while his daughter watches. Busey wants revenge of his own now, but the bad sheriff is a pain in the ass. Yaphet Koto is the sheriff's deputy, and Busey's friend, and at first he wants him to just leave well enough alone. He has a change of heart, though, and with Busey, they go after the bikers: Busey with a battle-grade Dodge Ram and Yaphet Koto with a biplane. It was hot. Also, the head bad biker was played by classic character actor William Smith. You may know him from every 70s and 80s detective show.

This was an interesting film. As far as Abusiveness went, it was very Abusive. That raises an important question: just how much Abusiveness is too much? I think the standard for the perfect level of Abusiveness is Point Break. Call that point zero, or maybe at an even balance. This film was like a plus 4, which isn't bad, but a little more Abusiveness than you'd want. He does make for a cool lead good guy, though. Very down-to-Earth, you know?

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This film plays for some like a re-tread of the Joe Don Baker film Walking Tall. I disagree. I feel this was actually how Walking Tall should have been made, i.e. sans Joe Don Baker and/or the Rock. I'm always saying on the DTVC how film makers should remake bad films with this or that in them to make them better, and I think this one did that. Okay, probably not; I mean I don't see the people who made this saying "why don't we remake Walking Tall with Gary Busey because Joe Don Baker sucks", but it's what I would've done, and it's cool that it happened.

Yaphet Koto is in this. It's weird, because he brings a touch of class to the film that doesn't really belong there. It's like the Seinfeld where everyone was eating Snickers bars with a fork and knife. I can't imagine this was a real resume booster for him either. He should be doing Othello or Homicide: Life on the Streets. I can't imagine what it was like for him on set having to shoot these bad action movie scenes. It must've eaten away at his soul.

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The head baddie was William Smith. He's listed on imdb as being like 73 years old. I can't believe it. Growing up he was in every TV detective show I used to watch. He almost always played the bad guy. I'd imagine men like Martin Kove and Brian Thompson owe him a huge debt of gratitude, because they wouldn't be anywhere today if it wasn't for William Smith. This PBR's for you, my man. You're one of the good ones.

I'm not sure why his wife was killed off. I guess to give us the sense that he had nothing left to lose, which wasn't exactly true, because he had the traumatized daughter. I have to assume the original idea was to off the wife, and then let Busey hook up with the soap star. I guess that was cut from the final version. It seemed like they might go for it, when Busey gave her a ride home and they had some beers, but it ended there.

There was another scene where I had the sense that they were looking to add another thread to the plot that was eventually cut from the final product. Busey gives a speech to his fellow townsfolk while they're playing bingo, imploring them to take a stand against the bad sheriff. As he does it, this man in a cowboy hat keeps looking like he wants to stand up and join Busey. They keep showing him and his emotionally torn face. We get the sense that he may show up later and do something, but he never does, so the focus on him just looks really weird.

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Before I wrap up, I gotta mention this two sweet way Busey offs one of the bikers. The Biker's in the hospital, and Busey needs to know where the rest of them hang out because they've kidnapped his daughter. So he goes into the guy's hospital room, and lubes up a stick of dynamite, and sticks it in the dude's butt. He lights the fuse, and the guy freaks and tells him where his friends' hide-out is. Then Busey leaves, and the guy dies of a heart attack from fear of his ass exploding, just as the wick smolders out: it was a dud. That may have been one of the best uses of irony in a film ever.

I feel like you've really got to be a Busey guy to dig this film. I kinda am, so I did, but if you don't, you won't. That's really my big caution to you. In my mind, this was a tad too Abusive for me; like if you used an Asian food star system to determine the spiciness, this was about a three or four star movie. Many people like their Abusiveness at a lower level, and I can't blame them for that.

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