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.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Perfect Target (1997)

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It must be difficult on some levels being Daniel Bernhardt. He's billed as the poor man's Jean-Claude Van Damme, but with Van Damme's stock having fallen so much, Van Damme's essentially become the poor man's Van Damme, and Bernhardt's left out in the cold. He needs a career make-over, and I think I'm the guy to do it. Okay, maybe not, but it'd be cool.

Perfect Target has Mr. Bernhardt buttressed by two screen greats, Robert Englund and Brian Thompson, in a South American action thriller in a fictitious South American country. You'd think maybe a Nostromo rip-off, but these film makers definitely don't have the wherewithal to read Conrad. Instead Thompson and Englund are baddies (surprise surprise) and they set up Bernhardt and another dude (who you may have seen on TV if you watch CBS crime dramas) for the assassination of the country's president. It turns out the pres's wife was in cahoots with Thompson and Englund to get her in power, and Bernhardt has to flee with the other guy into the jungle, where it just so happens the other guy has a hot sister that's leading a rebellion. The rebels suck, so Bernhardt trains them into well-oiled killing machines, then he invades the presidential compound to reclaim what was rightfully his. I don't know what that was, though.

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Wow. That's all I can say. It doesn't get much sillier than this movie. And Bernhardt leads the silly parade. He's the grand marshal. Perfect Target was one of Bernie's first films, and he still had some work to do to refine his craft. Not that he doesn't still have some work to do, it's just that then he really had some work to do, and his on-the-job education was plenty entertaining for us. This was no Bloodsport 4.

Brian Thompson is Brian Thompson. I was surprised it took as long as it did (like 15 minutes in) before he showed himself to be a bad guy. His imdb mini-bio lists him as being a versatile actor. Yes, he's versatile at being Brian Thompson. He can be Brian Thompson as Shao Khan, or Brian Thompson as the guest star on this week's JAG, but he's always Brian Thompson. I, for one, am cool with that. I've rocked with a bunch of really bad films in my time on this planet, this one included, and I can say it's a joy to know that whenever I see that classic Brian Thompson face, I know that's one element of the movie that I don't have to worry about being bad. Another note on the face: if it wasn't for Robert Z'Dar's existence, Brian Thompson would have the most ridiculous visage in Hollywood. As it stands, though, his face is just kinda funny, because Z'Dar's is ridiculous.

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Robert Englund takes a turn here as someone other than a horror movie villain. For me, my favorite film he did was Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and that's only because of that too sweet Dokken song on the soundtrack, "Dream Warriors". Is that not the best song ever? I loved it in the video when the lead guitarist broke out of chains in Freddy's dungeon just in time for his guitar solo. Why don't they make videos like that anymore? The 80s were so cool.

As far as the rest of the film goes, there's not much there. The action sucks sorta kinda. At the very beginning Bernhardt throws down in a cockfighting ring, and that's all right. That leads the viewer to think this might not be boring and plodding, but it so is. What they should've done was just send Bernhardt around to various cockfighting venues and have him get into brawls with Thompson and Englund looking on in derision. I'd still go with Perfect Target as the title. I'd also use 'Dream Warriors' as the movie's theme song. Maybe it could even end at a cockfight that Dokken was performing at. God that would rule.

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One classic bad action cliche that this bad boy upheld was the hot chick who looks hot even while roughing it in the jungle. Bernie's love interest did an excellent job of not only leading an armed insurgency, but also keeping her hair very bouncy and her complexion soft. Unlike many of these films where the hotness of the actress is just window dressing, here it has a utilitarian function. If she hadn't been as hot, Bernhardt wouldn't have stayed around to train her rebels. He wanted to flee to the next country and start over, but the prospect of sleeping with the rebel leader kept him on board. As opposed to the rest of the film, I actually bought that part. Of course it was based on the ludicrous premise that a Hollywood caliber make-up artist lived in the jungle with her and had the resources there to make her look like she hadn't been sleeping outside in a tropical rain forest for however many years. Six of one, half a dozen of another I guess.

This is a cute film, and if you and your buddies really want a bad one to trash on movie night, you may want to toss it in if your video store is offering a rent one get one free deal. It's got plenty of material to work with. Overall I'd say this is meant strictly for pain junkies like myself who like their movies really bad, and don't care who knows it-- and it was even pretty bad for me.

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