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, November 5, 2007

Whatever It Takes (1999)

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I learned about this film from a trailer I saw with Gangland. I believe the connection to the two films is producer David DeFalco. In Gangland he played the cut yet weird looking bad guy with the greasy ponytail. He casts himself in a smaller role in this as a biker tough, and he's a bit buffer than he was in the other film. What's odd is how he's wearing a whisper thin tank top, because in Gangland he wore no shirt, yet had a poorer physique. Who knows what goes through the minds of bad action movie producers that cast themselves in their own films?

Whatever It Takes is about two undercover cops, Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Andrew Dice Clay, who are sent by the DEA to investigate Fred Williamson and his trafficking in a designer steroid. As the case unfolds, Wilson falls in love with a really hot personal trainer in one of Williamson's gyms. Wilson now must mitigate his desire to put Williamson behind bars, with his desires of a more carnal nature.

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It's crazy how ahead of it's time this film was. DeFalco must've known something, being the buff guy that he is, about designer steroids and high profile athletes' use of them. Of course, Fred Williamson is way cooler than Victor Conte and his BALCO people, unless Conte was whacking people in his private nightclub and we just didn't know about it. On the other hand, Williamson's steroid didn't have a name, which made it less cool than BALCO's The Cream and The Clear. For a really bad action movie (and this is bottom of the barrel kind of stuff), it's weird to see it out in front on something like this.

This was a rather poor outing martial arts wise for D "The D" Dubs. His moves seemed really telegraphed and not choreographed well. I'm not sure if he mailed this in, or was feeling a little under the weather, but it was obvious, and the film lacked some for it. There was this two second delay between when a guy left himself open for an attack, and when Donny hit him. Knowing what a top notch martial artist Wilson is made this even more disappointing.

Andrew Dice Clay was interesting. He went on a few trademark Diceman riffs, which brought me back to a simpler time when my friends and I were in grade school repeating his nursery rhymes at recess. When he tried to be serious, like when he discussed an on the job tragedy with Wilson, he fell flat, and it seemed way too contrived. When he was funny, though, his pairing with Wilson made for a very interesting buddy picture. DeFalco should work his magic and pair these two together again.

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I can't say enough about Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. As a baddie or a hero, he brings it every time. He was absolutely amazing in this as the drug lord. He had a love affair with the chick from Cleopatra 2525 that wasn't Cleopatra or the chick that went on and did Firefly. She got naked in front of him in his bedroom, and he asked her if her high heels were uncomfortable. She answered in the affirmative, and his reply was: "then leave them on... then you'll have to work that much harder to forget how much they hurt." That's 40 to 50 times cooler than anything Van Damme's done in any movie with any chick. Van Damme wishes he was as cool as Williamson.

Wilson's love interest in this was really hot. In order to gain her affections, he goes to the gym she volunteers at, and loses on purpose in basketball to her little brother. Anyway, so their love affair ensues, he gets some, naturally, and then all hell breaks loose. Williamson gets wind from the chick he's doing that Wilson'll be divulging some secrets to his woman, and this leads The Hammer to get proactive on Donny's ass. What he does shocked the hell out of me, though. After a night of love making, Wilson's woman takes his car to the store to buy milk or whatever. Unfortunately the car's rigged with a bomb, and she blows up. It was so sudden, my mouth fell open. I felt like I needed to mention it in the blog, but I felt like if someone read this and it ruined the surprise I had, I'd feel bad. I've always felt the classic damsel-in-distress situation where the hero's love interest is kidnapped by the baddies is a little cliched; but now, seeing the alternative, I'd say go back to the perfunctory kidnapping.

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One other thing got me in this. Williamson employed some white Italian guy that was supposed to be his nephew. Whenever he did something wrong, Williamson would cut off a small appendage, like a pinky finger. It was supposed to be funny, but it was just gross to me. Who comes up with shit like this? I'm blaming you, DeFalco.

I think this film might be too much for a lot of people. You have to be a real bad movie honk to get any kind of enjoyment out of it. I'm that guy, so this hit the spot for me. Also, I dug the sports implications, and I know not everyone out there's a huge sports fan like me. I'd say only rent it if it's a rent on get one free kind of deal. Otherwise, proceed with caution.

For more info:


  1. Just discovered this but the one I've seen about is full screen and your screenshots are widescreen. Where did you get your copy Matt?

  2. I bought it used off of Amazon about four years ago. I have a feeling it's a Region 1, but I can dig it up tomorrow and see for you. I don't know if I made a copy of it for you if it would still be Region 1, or region free.

  3. I can play all regions but I don't mind buying it. I see two on Amazon, both listed as 1.33:1 fullscreen. Is your copy there?

  4. Yeah, I believe it's either a two-sided disc, one side fullscreen and the other 1:33:1; or it's one of those ones where you chooses between the two at the menu screen. But that looks like that's it based on the cover.