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 24, 2007

The Hard Corps (2006)

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I saw this in the video store and rented it solely for the Van Damme factor. Well, that and Vivica A. Fox was in it, and I was kind of surprised to see she'd fallen on such bad times. I mean, they usually just get random hot chicks with no acting portfolio to play Van Damme's love interest, how did they pull off Vivica A. Fox, right?

The Hard Corps is about some former boxer who's trying to fix his community with expensive housing developments. He's gotten on a gangstah rap record mogul's bad side, and when the dude gets out of jail, he puts a hit on the boxer. Vivica A. Fox is the boxer's sister, and she figures their regular security detail ain't enough. They call in some guy who's friends with Van Damme. Van Damme is an Iraq War vet with some post-traumatic stress issues. All that really means is he has flash backs whenever it's convenient to the plot. Anyway, Van Damme protects the boxer, kills the rap mogul, and makes out with Vivica A. Fox. Good Deal.

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This movie is really rough. There isn't anything memorable about it. I think there may be some kind of message about hip hop being bad for the black community, or about the way some African Americans give back when they become successful, while others are a cancer. If there was, the film didn't do a great job conveying it, and it smacked to me as more of a white Republican treatise on good versus bad "Negroes" in American society. It was hard to watch either way.

The Van Damm-age is pretty lame too. He flexes his martial arts here and there, but it's weak. He has it out with the boxer, and I was expecting a solid fight, a la Kiss of the Dragon with Jet Li, but instead I got a bad imitation of the Piper fight scene in They Live with his buddy when he's trying to get him to put on the glasses-- only the Van Damm one was without the humor. This isn't as bad as or In Hell or Second in Command, but it's not anywhere near the kind of fun bad action Derailed or The Order was. I hope Van Damme picks it up and does a few solid Die Hard rip-offs instead of these boring, low-on-action, movies-with-a-bad-message. They just don't work, and I think they alienate his target audience: us bad movie honks.

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Vivica A. Fox is hot in this, naturally. She's over forty, and not much younger than Van Damme, which is even more impressive. As an actress, she does a poor job breathing life into this atrocious script, but she really nails it in pretending to be attracted to Van Damme. Either that, or she actually digs him, which I think is a stretch. The make out scene at the very end was tough to watch. You could tell Van Damme was really looking forward to it. There's a sense whenever he hooks up with hot chicks like that in his movies that he's giving us this "What do you think of that guys? Don't you wish you were me? I'm awesome." He needs to realize that none of us wish we were ridiculous.

There was a guy who played Van Damme's old buddy that was played by a poor man's Daniel Bernhardt. I thought this was the best. I did the math out: if Van Damme is now the poor man's Van Damme, that makes Daniel Bernhardt the guy who collects bottles from trash cans man's Van Damme. Now, with the poor man's Bernhardt, we have the Depression era hobo spitting the grounds out of his coffee and hopping trains man's Van Damme. And he's in the same movie as Van Damme, which had to be interesting for him. The obvious question is why not get Bernhardt himself and skip a step. I think it has to do with the Timecop phenomenon. If an actor and the poor man's version of him inhabit the same space, it could be bad.

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This movie's boring as all get-out. It's not worth renting or buying or spending any money on whatsoever. Maybe if it's on USA or something, watch it passively while doing something else, but even then I'd have to say it's a no go.

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