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]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ticker (2001)

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This movie had Must Get written all over it: directed by Albert Pyun, starring Steven Seagal and Tom Sizemore, and Dennis Hopper listed as the bad guy. Considering Seagal and Pyun were both inducted into the DTVC Hall of Fame at the same time, I thought it would be sweet to review a film that had both of them. This is a dream bad movie lover pairing.

Ticker has Sizemore as a cop who, with his partner, rapper Nas, stumble upon Dennis Hopper, Jaime Pressley, and two Pyun mainstays, unloading some explosives. Nas bites it, and Sizemore's out for revenge. He calls on Seagal, who runs the bomb squad, to get help in tracking Hopper and his boys. At the same time, Pressley's in the can after the Nas killing, and Hopper wants her out, and he'll blow up a lot of stuff until the cops release her. Can Seagal and Sizemore track Hopper down before it's too late?

This movie was off the chain. The sheer volume of recognizable actors alone made it a hit for me. The action was mediocre, with Seagal barely flexing his martial arts muscles, and the explosions being a tad on the silly side. There's a scene where Hopper and Pressley are riding in a car, and out the window we can see a horribly obvious green screen effect. I think Pyun spent all his money on the cast, and I'm okay with that. The more great actors the better, as I always say.

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The list of stars is pretty long. You got the obvious Seagal, Sizemore, and Hopper. Then Pressley, Nas, TLC's Chilli, and the guy who played Waingro in Heat. There's also the guy who played MC Hammer in his VH-1 bio-pic, the FBI guy from Navy NCIS, and the bad guy from The Mask, Peter Greene. That doesn't even count the Pyun mainstays like Norbert Weisser (the android who gets his head knocked around in Omega Doom), Michael Halsey (the hero, so-to-speak, in Mean Guns), and cameos by Ice-T and Vincent Klyn (the latter uncredited, though he was listed as an associate producer). I'm sure a more discerning viewer may be able to pick up on a few I missed.

Seagal was pretty good as a co-main character with Sizemore. They never explain why he knows martial arts as a bomb specialist, we just see him at the end of the film dispatching baddies. I think that's better than making up some ludicrous explanation and wasting our time like some movies do, when I'm sure most viewers are cool with Seagal using martial arts, even if it may not fit his character. In one scene, when he's defusing a bomb, he wears these sweet grandfather glasses. It was like he got them off the rack at a drug store. He looked like my dad trying to read a phone book more than an action hero racing against the clock to prevent a deadly catastrophe. At the end of the movie, Sizemore needs him to talk him through another bomb defusal, and Seagal spends about 75% of the countdown giving Sizemore a life lesson on dealing with stress. We were all like: "Jesus, just tell him how to stop the bomb!"

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I didn't know what to make of Sizemore in this. His acting skills are head and shoulders above everyone else, including Hopper. It was like watching David Beckham play soccer on the same pitch as MLS players: the difference in talent was that palpable. I liked seeing him on the screen at the same time as Seagal, because Seagal seemed to understand just how good Sizemore is, and as opposed to the other actors, he didn't try to act at his level, andlook dumb in the process. Together they made the kind of buddy picture Rush Hour thinks it has, and it'd be cool if Pyun could maybe bring them together for another go 'round.

Dennis Hopper is ridiculous in this. For a chunk of the film he sports a bad Irish accent. I'm not sure if his character was faking it, or was supposed to have it, but it was silly all the same. There were times when he lost it, which left us even more perplexed. It was never clear if his dropping the accent was his character affecting an American one, or his character speaking in his real voice, or Hopper just being lazy. It may have been all of the above. Just the same, we got what we'd expect from Hopper playing a baddie: he definitely didn't mail it in. Like Sizemore, his struggles off the set have hurt his career, but been a bonus for us bad movie honks, because we get to see him in films like this.

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There was one lapse in continuity in this movie that made zero sense to me. It took place in San Francisco, and Pyun made that very clear, yet all the cars had Illinois plates. I'm not sure I got why they did that. There was nothing San Fran specific that couldn't have been shifted to make the film take place in Chicago. I just can't figure out why the film went on with that glaring mistake in it.

One final note about Ticker. In the beginning, Pyun splices in some scenes from Dolph Lundgren's Sweepers. It was very Agent Red of them. I noticed that the hostage scene looked very similar to the one in Sweepers where they first find the stealth mine. My suspicions were confirmed after a quick check of the film on imdb. These are the kind of film making techniques that make me a proud fan of bad movies. Do they teach taking entire scenes from other movies in film school? Is there a class called FILM 405: The Art of Using Other People's Movies?

If the preceding wasn't enough of a give away, I think this film's fantastic. It's well worth the money spent on a rental. I would totally center a bad movie night around it, it'll definitely deliver. This may be Seagal's best DTV work, and I think that's saying a lot considering some of the gems out there.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196158/

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweepers (1998)

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I bought this in a two-pack with The Peacekeeper. Together they cost a total of $10, and as far as I can tell, The Peacekeeper alone was worth more than that just for the part where they spell the country Chile Chili. That meant I was playing with the house's money with this bad boy.

Sweepers is about a land mine clearing specialist played by Dolph Lundgren, who crawls into a bottle of bad liquor after he sees his son die in Angola during a UNITA raid on his mine clearing efforts. In the meantime, a new stealth mine is found in the US, and it turns out it's being tested in the rebel warfare in Angola. The mine's creator is sent to Angola to find it, and she needs Dolph's help in dealing with it. Enter Bruce Payne as Dolph's old buddy and a doctor in a clinic helping Angola's sick. It doesn't take long before Bruce Payne becomes Bruce Payne, and shows his true colors as a bad guy. Luckily Dolph stops him, saves the girl (the mine's creator), and gets the mine off the streets.

This movie was intended to heighten awareness about the problem of land mines throughout the world. It's a noble notion, but unfortunately the film's kind of boring and not too good. On the other hand, I prefer the message that land mines are a global humanitarian crisis that needs attention, more than the conservative fear mongering I get from a Hunt for Eagle One or Second in Command.

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The Dolph in this is all right. In one scene, he's fighting a couple guys in a ring situated in a bar. This is where the mine's creator and Dolph's eventual love interest first sees him. For some reason his hands are tied in front of him. I can't for the life of me figure out why any of it was in the film. There's definitely much better Dolph out there, but this isn't bad if you want something you haven't seen before or want something different.

Overall the action lags. There're long periods of inactivity, and where there is something, it's not always that exciting. For a film about land mines, the explosions are a tad on the perfunctory side. Also, the bad guys are weak, especially this South African dude with a big beard who's supposed to be menacing, but just looks like a reject from The Red Green Show.

It takes over an hour before we find out Bruce Payne is a bad guy. I think that's a record for a Bruce Payne film. Anyone who's seen any amount of bad movies would know the moment he or she sees Bruce Payne's name on the box that he'll be a baddie eventually, so I thought it was interesting that this film kept up with the charade for so long. Another issue with their use of Bruce Payne was his bad Brooklyn accent. Why did they need this? As a character, no one would've had any issue with him using his own voice. The movie took place in Angola, so a doctor working in a clinic could as easily have been from England as he could've been from NYC. Maybe they intended to have the character be from Brooklyn, hired Bruce Payne, then didn't have the heart to tell him how ridiculous the accent sounded. Either way, it tarnished some of the Payne factor for me.

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The doctor angle of Bruce Payne's character troubled me too. I understand that it was kind of a conflict of interests that he was trafficking land mines while running a clinic, but at the same time, he was still saving lives, and doing it for no money. What kind of a front is that for a land mine trafficking operation? Working in a free clinic in Africa must be very stressful and involving. Where did he find the time to mastermind this scheme while treating women and children for malaria and AIDS?

One of the better lines in the film came when the land mine's creator went to Dolph for help, and he was less than willing. She asked him: "Have you always been this much of an asshole, or did you take lessons?" My buddy once asked his dad a similar question, only instead of "lessons", he said "night courses". It's a subtle difference, but I like the latter version better. If one takes "lessons", the idea is that he or she is adding a hobby or something: swimming lessons, karate lessons, tuba lessons. On the other hand, "night courses" implies an attempt to make a better life, or a career change: night courses to be a paralegal, or to get that masters in teaching. It's like the person is aspiring to be an asshole.

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The woman in this is hot in a different way from other bad action movie vixens. She's like the attractive bohemian woman behind the counter at the local organic food store, who's like way out of my league, and a little old for me. I can see her in like a cheap yet sophisticated tank top with some kind of Indian inspired long peasant skirt. I'd know going in I had no chance with her, but still would want to impress her with my purchases, and be totally tongue tied when she'd mention her husband liked the same kind of tea that I bought, and I'd say something moronic like "Yeah, it's really GREAT," then be kicking myself about it later. I'm not sure how that works in a movie like this. I can't see the burly South African guy and Bruce Payne having her tied to a pipe like she was in this, grilling her about the items in her market. "I thought you said this tea was Fair Trade!" "Go to hell!" Slap!

If you're looking for good Dolph, you may like this. There are probably like ten or fifteen you'll want to watch first, so I'd say only watch this if you're a long time Dolph fan, which would probably mean that you've already heard of this and don't need my review to tell what it's like. I'm not sure I'd have this at a gathering of a bunch of people for a bad movie night, because it is kind of boring. Maybe screen it first to see what your friends'll think.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120851/

Friday, October 26, 2007

Druids aka Vercingetorix (2001)

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I'd heard big things about this movie for a while before I actually watched it. It was supposed to be absolutely hilarious. How could it not be: Lambert in a movie about Druids with hair like that? This one had to be a lock.

Druids is actually called Vercingetorix, and is a bio-pic about the famous leader of Gaul who fought Julius Caesar. Lambert plays the eponymous hero, a great German actor plays Caesar, and Ingmar Bergman mainstay Max von Sydow plays an actual Druid. The movie starts with Lambert as a young boy seeing his father murdered as clansmen looked to consolidate power. He returns later to take the throne of power that was rightfully his. He first leads his men in battle with the Romans, only to learn this isn't the way to do it. He does his best to fight off Caesar, but we learn it's the people under him that make mistakes that lead to his downfall and the eventual Roman victory.

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This actually isn't that bad as a bio-pic. Maybe it's not the most accurate historically, but as a movie it's better than a lot of Lambert's other films. I went into it thinking I was getting a silly medieval tale with witches and magic and whatnot. I'm not sure if the distributors here in the US were afraid of marketing a film about Vercingetorix with Lambert as the lead role, so they overhauled the title and targeted the Dungeons and Dragons demographic, but it was a bad move, and more so, and insult to the intellect of us bad movie watchers. Okay, maybe not so much the second part.

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Lambert's not bad in this. A friend of mine who's a history buff hated his hair, but I'm not so sure that's that big of a deal. He was better in this as the hero of Gaul than he was as a Eurotrash Beowulf. I think the thing to do now would be to cast him as Franklin Pierce in a film about the life of the Doughface fourteenth president. I bet he could pull it off. I'm not saying he's a Southern sympathizer, I'm just saying he'd make a good Franklin Pierce.

The guy who played Julius Caesar was the man. I don't think I've ever seen a better one. His name's Klaus Maria Brandauer. It's rare to find a gem like that when looking for a bad Lambert movie. As far as I can tell from his imdb bio, he mostly works in Germany. I think that's good, because he'd probably be pigeonholed as a bad guy in horrible Nicolas Cage films if he hung out in Hollywood too much. Germans are just too easy to use as evil masterminds.

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Max von Sydow's in this in a few scenes. I was looking through the other films I've reviewed on here, and I believe he may have the most quality resume. His work with Bergman alone speaks for itself. It's amazing that a man who's done The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, and Through a Glass Darkly, just to name three, has also done Judge Dredd and Rush Hour 3. According to imdb, he did a film that hasn't made it to the US yet called Final Inquiry, and it has fellow stellar Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren in it too. Word on the street is it'll be released in the US in February of 2008. The DTVC will keep you posted.

I don't know what to do about recommending this. If you and your friends can make fun of anything, give it a shot. Otherwise, if you're looking for something bad to laugh at, this isn't it. The US or Canadian distributors falsely packaged this not-so-bad bio-pic as a cheesy medieval tale of magic and sorcery. Just remember when you rent it that it's not about Druids, but Vercingetorix, and it's a pretty good movie.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0199481/

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.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462329/

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Highlander: The Source (2007)

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As much as I love bad movies, I also love syndicated action shows. Renegade, Hercules, BeastMaster, and especially Highlander. I got all the episodes on DVD. Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod is pretty much the man as far as I can tell, and just as the series was getting stale around the third season, they added in the equally cool Peter Wingfield as Methos. When I heard they were making a new movie, I was stoked. When it suddenly premiered on Sci-fi one Saturday night, I was more than pleasantly surprised. When I watched it... a whole 'nother story...

Highlander: The Source is the fifth Highlander movie, and the second with Adrian Paul. I couldn't fully discern from the poorly developed script, but I think it takes place in Eastern Europe in the future. But it's not too far in the future, because Joe Dawson, who isn't immortal, is still alive. Anyway, times have gotten so bad that the planets are huge and visible in the night sky and their gravitational pull has no effect even when they're that close. Methos and some of the other boys think it's The Source, some kind of mythical not-so-mythical place from which Immortals came. Duncan's been kind of crabby lately because his woman ditched him because he can't have kids, but he comes across Joe Dawson who tells him he's gotta join Methos in looking for The Source. They're also chased by the Guardian, who's played by Mr. Sinister from the X-Men comics. In the end, they find The Source in the woods in Europe, Duncan fights the Guardian, and learns that the "There Can Be Only One" means he can have a kid.

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As a fan of Highlander, this was a huge disappointment. There were story arcs during the TV series that blew this movie away. I watched this with some people who weren't Highlander fans, and they just thought it sucked. For days afterwards, we were asking each other: "Wow, what the hell was going on in that Highlander movie?" It may have been worse than Highlander 2: The Quickening. There, I said it.

I wish I had a "What was cool" section, but I really don't. There wasn't any great sword fights, no nicely choreographed martial arts, and no well-done period flashbacks. In fact, there weren't any flashbacks at all. The whole concept for this movie was just marinated and sauteed in wrong sauce. Someone needed to be a man and step in during the film making process and halt this production. From conception to execution, this movie was a disaster.

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The bad guy, The Guardian, was supposed to be cool I guess. He looked like Mr. Sinister, and he'd shoot around the screen really fast. The problem was the effect that made him shoot around the screen looked like ten kinds of lame. This is especially distressing, when you consider that the TV show The Flash did a much better job depicting someone going really fast, and that show predated Highlander: The Series even. The only cool thing the bad guy did was sing Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever?" As far as Highlander villains go, he was no Kalus, no Xavier St. Cloud (played by Fine Young Cannibals' Roland Gift), no Bruce Payne-- hell, he wasn't even as good as Rowdy Roddy Piper and his one episode as a baddie. What a waste.

Now I know when examining a movie about people who can magically live forever I shouldn't be dwelling on issues like physics, but it was ridiculous how close planets like Jupiter and Neptune were to Earth. They were so visible in our sky that they were bigger than the moon. I guess what they're saying is The Source can manipulate gravity, but I don't know. It just looked so silly. This was another instance where someone needed to sit the director or whomever down and have a little talk. This is something I'd expect from an abhorrently bad sci-fi movie, not a quasi-respected franchise like this. And what's worse was how indicative it was of the rest of film. Just stupid.

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Adrian Paul and Peter Wingfield were themselves in this, which was cool, but they had so little to work with it didn't matter. This was so bad they must've had the same feeling in the pit of their stomachs that LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner do when the shoot scenes for Star Trek movies wearing an air filter and white speckled face paint respectively. This material was equally silly. With characters as cool as MacLeod and Methos, you've got so many possibilities, it's hard to really screw up. But this was botched so badly. It was like Van De Velde on the 18th for the British Open. Maybe worse.

As far as I know, you can't rent this or buy it yet. It was released in Europe, but here you can only catch it on Sci-Fi for the time being. That's good, because that allows people to know what they're getting into with very little risk. The only thing you have to lose is two hours of your life, or in my case, 100 minutes after I fast forwarded all the commercials. If you're a Highlander fan like me, this is a huge disappointment. If you're not a Highlander fan, this just plain sucks.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299981/

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gangland (2000)

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I first saw this film on Encore Action. On my program guide it listed Sasha Mitchell and Costas Mandylor as its featured actors, which was enough for me. Upon watching it, I saw that it also has Coolio and Ice-T for about ten minutes at the very beginning, and the chick who plays Painkiller Jane for a few seconds somewhere in the middle. Now, seeing it again on DVD, I find out that it's selling itself, not on Sasha Mitchell and Costas Mandylor, the film's stars along with the chick from Renegade; but it's listing the three people who're in it for a total fifteen minutes of screen time. If I didn't like the idea of a Sasha Mitchell Costas Mandylor feature so much, I'd take the people who market this to small claims court for false advertising.

Gangland takes place three years from now in a post-apocalyptic future where a US dealing with nuclear fallout is also dealing with a flesh eating plague. Vincent Klyn (Warchild from Point Break) has a huge gang of dudes in leather jackets and pants that are threatening to take over what's left of the country. Tim Thomerson has developed a cure for the plague and plans to take it to the only safe zone in the country, Phoenix. Klyn catches him in an attempt to control the cure. While all this is happening, Costsas Mandylor meets Sasha Mitchell in jail (Klyn's reappropriated a local prison for his own ends.) They escape, bump into the chick from Renegade, and take down Klyn-doggy. All in a day's work.

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This movie would be sweet bad action accept for one thing that really irks me: constant fade-outs. I hate constant fade-outs. It's like they're always going to commercial or something. I know these aren't the best film makers in the world, but do they have to make it so obvious? I've seen better film making on YouTube. Doesn't it seem annoying to them too when they're editing? Maybe it's just me...

Sasha Mitchell's the bomb in this. His martial arts technique is almost identical to Guile from Street Fighter II. It was so cool watching him go to work on bad guys, I almost forgot he couldn't act. It's too bad he doesn't do more work, because, at least to me, it's evident in a movie like this that he can hold his own. Of course, it was hilarious when he was yelling in anger about his brother's killing. I think someone should make a movie where he plays Cody from Step By Step and kicks people's asses. Now that's a hit.

Kathleen Kinmont's in this as well. I have a bad habit of calling her the chick from Renegade, and considering this is the second, and probably not the last film I've reviewed that has her in it, I should probably start using her name. I didn't like her in this, because she was trying too hard to do dark and brooding. I know her sister, played by Painkiller Jane, was killed off, but as an actor she didn't do the part well. She's better doing the off-beat kind of stuff she did on Renegade. Leave the brooding to Costas Mandylor.

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I'm a huge Vincent Klyn guy. It's not like Man Crush level, but pretty close. No one else could pull off playing a character named Warchild in a movie like Point Break, and make it work. I think that's something pretty cool to hang your hat on. He's also a mainstay in newly inducted DTVC Hall of Famer Albert Pyun's films-- you may remember him especially in Cyborg. In this film, as in those other two, he does a great job playing an awesome baddie that we still don't want to root for. That's all we want in a bad guy, right?

Beyond the overuse of the fade-out technique, my other major issue was Klyn's second in command. He was some geeky ponytail guy who also was the film's writer and stuff. He didn't look like a kick ass bad guy, he looked like some creepy guy who might hit me with his sack of 8-sided dice to keep me and my friends from giving him a wedgie. He annoyed the piss out of me, and I was kind of disappointed that Costas Mandylor finally dispatched him by setting him on fire. He should've beat him to death with a keyboard in the middle of a LAN party or something. Who thought this guy worked on camera?

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The two best parts about this were the bad one-liners and the fact that everyone from Costas Mandylor down to Tim Thomerson the scientist could fight. Best one-liner: Klyn asks Mandylor if he thought it would be that easy to kill him, and Mandylor says "We had to give it the ol' college try." Yes! Best fight came when Tim Thomerson, with no prior mention of him having any fighting skills, takes out some baddies in hand-to-hand combat. It wasn't just like hit someone over the head with a vase when he's not looking, he was blocking punches and delivering expert blows to the gut. It was like just by virtue of being in the movie anyone could fight. I loved it.

Before I recommend this film, I must warn everyone that I'm not kidding about how little Coolio, Ice-T, and Painkiller Jane are in this film. The box may make it sound like they're the main characters, but it's the old fashioned Direct to Video bait and switch. On the other hand, for myself, being the Direct to Video Connoisseur, Sasha Mitchell, Vincent Klyn, and Costas Mandylor are plenty good to make the film worth while. If that sounds like a good time to you too, pick this bad boy up. Just don't pay too much for it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265198/

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.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109575/

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.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119883/

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.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091027/

Monday, October 8, 2007

Captain America (1990)

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In looking up information on imdb for this film, I discovered there are two Captain America movies from 1979 that were made for TV and starred Reb Brown. For those of you who don't know that name, Reb Brown played the hero in Space Mutiny. "Wow" is all I can say. How did that one get by me? I guess even a connoisseur of bad films misses a few here and there.

The 1990 Captain America doesn't have Reb Brown, but instead JD Salinger's son Matt. Taking some liberties with the original story, Red Skull is Italian, and the person who invents the super soldier serum is an Italian woman. She comes to America after her process is usurped to make the Red Skull, and she teams up with Michael Nouri and Bill Mumy in the US Army to turn Mr. Salinger into the Star Spangled Sentinel. He doesn't have much time to train, and is bested by the Skull, who straps him a la silly serial film to a bomb aimed at Washington DC. Right before it hits the White House, Ol' Cap changes its course, but not before a young boy sees him do it and is inspired to grow up and become Ronny Cox. Instead of creating a corporation in Detroit that creates murderous robots and hiring the dad from That 70s Show as his hatchet man to kill Miguel Ferrer, he becomes a nice, environmentally friendly president. This upsets the Red Skull, so he kidnaps him, and it's up to our hero to save him. Also has Darren McGavin and Ned Beatty.

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Word on the street is there's a new Cap being made in the mold of these new millennium Marvel movies. If it's like Spiderman or X-Men, it might be all right. On the other hand, we have a whole bunch of misses to consider too. I don't get why these films take themselves so seriously. They're comic book movies, and comic books are by nature silly. Instead of wasting the cash to ruin another Marvel character on the big screen, why not just re-release this in 2010 for it's 20th anniversary. It'd be better than Ben Affleck speaking in breathy tones.

Don't get me wrong, this film is bad. Director Albert Pyun really outdid himself here. Why the Red Skull is Italian is beyond me. He also looks less like the Red Skull, and more like the Thing from the new Fantastic Four movies. In the very beginning he looks like the Red Skull, it's just the 45 years later that he looks different. I don't know whose idea that was, but it should've been nixed from the jump.

I had trouble with their cast as the president. Ronny Cox is always a bad guy to me. I know some of you out there may know him from Stargate: Whatever, but to me he's the bad guy in Robocop and countless other films. Casting a president is a very big deal. Many bad films just mail it in and go for Roy Scheider, and I can't argue with that approach. It takes an inspired film maker like a Dolph Lundgren to cast Jerry Springer as the leader of the free world.

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Matt Salinger wasn't bad as Cap, but the film itself used him poorly. He was often running away, which makes no sense when you consider he's Captain America. If he has the stones to take out the Red Skull, why's he running from some Italian dude with a ponytail riding a scooter? The new movie should just be this movie with less Cap fleeing in fear. They'd have a hit on their hands.

Ned Beatty is great in this, as he is in everything. He should've been the president, come to think of it. The Red Skull could've caught him and told him he was going to make him squeal like a pig, boy. It would've been sweet. With Ned Beatty still alive, this is another wrong the next film could make right. Maybe have him reprise his role from The Rockford Files. I don't know why film makers don't think of things like that, but they need to start concentrating more on their target audience.

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For anyone who hasn't seen this, it's a must watch. It's one of those seminal bad action films that's turned into a rite of passage for all bad movie watchers. It's kind of difficult to find, with it only existing on VHS; and with the new movie coming out, I fear the film industry will try to Stalinize it's existence like they did with Dolph's Punisher after the Jane/Travolta sack-of-asscrack was released. If you can get your hands on it, though, it's well worth whatever you pay for it. Okay, maybe only if you don't pay too much...

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103923/

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Blackjack (1998)

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I first saw this movie as a USA Original Pictures, I guess back in 1998 when imdb said it came out. A buddy of mine, who's also a Dolph Lundgren fanatic, hadn't seen it, I knew he needed to. Fortunately I found a used copy at a local record store for $1.98. Even though I didn't have the cash, they let me use my debit card. I think that's what Visa should have for it's commercials: people like me finding Dolph Lundgren films at really low prices without any cash on hand to buy them. That's way cooler than those stupid ads with bad music that show people holding up lines because they're not paying with Visa. But I totally digress.

Blackjack sees DTVC Hall of Famer Dolph Lundgren collaborating with famed action director John Woo. He's Jack Devlin, a former US Marshall or something who has a bad experience protecting a man and his family and now is afraid of white. Or maybe he was always afraid of it because the car he drove with his dad was white, and he got his dad killed by not seeing his signal. Or maybe it wasn't his fault because the Zippo used by the dad to signal Dolph was bad. I don't know, whatever. Anyway, Fred Williamson is a private bodyguard type who gets injured protecting a supermodel from a preposterously sophisticated stalker. Dolph, who's a close friend of Freddy's (who wouldn't be), takes over the case. In the meantime, he's taking care of the girl whose dad he couldn't protect earlier, which led to the whole not liking white thing. Finally he overcomes his fear and beats the absurdly sophisticated stalker.

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This movie's hilarious. From top to bottom. You know you're in for good times when Dolph's character's name is Jack Devlin. Or Tank Concrete. Or Lump Beef Broth (a guy can dream, right?). The whole being afraid of white is as funny as it sounds. John Woo delivers on the bad action, and though it's no Hard Boiled, and as such probably not up for selection on the Criterion Collection anytime soon, it gets us bad movie honks to the church on time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Dolph Lundgren is the Babe Ruth of the Direct to Video Connoisseur. The guy is just amazing. It adds to the enjoyment when you realize he has a masters in chemical engineering. It's almost like he's wink-winking and nudge-nudging us as he does these hilarious scenes where he's afraid of white. And his interactions with his too-hot psychologist who smokes cigars and wants to do him was for me a nice slice of Acting 101. I also dug the way he was completely all right with how ludicrously sophisticated the stalker was. He's just that good.

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This film wasn't all roses though. For one, it pulls the Fred Williamson bait-and-switch. That was a major disappointment for me. If you go back a few posts, you'll see that we at the DTVC were victims of the same crime in the film Crooked. Come on people, you're better than that. If you're telling me Fred Williamson's in a movie, put him in the damn movie.

Another issue was the comedic foil. He's played by the guy who was dumped by Daphne on Fraser for Niles. After seeing him in this, we can see why she made the right choice. Why movies like this don't realize that they're the comic relief, and as such, shouldn't try to include their own, is beyond me. It's always more annoying than funny. I'm imploring bad action directors, and that includes you, Mr. Woo, to keep the goofy-played-for-laughs character out of the films. Again, you're movie isn't that good-- it provides all the laughs we need. Thank you.

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The baddie in this made zero sense. Unlike most stalkers who're just uncharismatic versions of romantic comedy leads trying to use the same tactics to get the girl, here we get a seriously sophisticated assassin. We never know why he's so well versed in covert warfare. We find out the supermodel was married before she became famous, and this dude was the husband. And then I guess he's also a superior sniper, expert bomb maker, and a black belt in several forms of martial arts. But what's great is it's a bad action movie. He's a stalker, so of course he'd be a well versed fighter too.

At $1.98 this movie is well worth the price. I'd probably only buy it if you can get it that cheap, or if you're as huge a Lundgren fan as I am. But renting it is totally worth it. You and your bad movie buddies will have no problem ripping this to shreds and loving every minute of it. I mean, come on, Dolph Lundgren as Jack Devlin, a guy whose afraid of white: that just sounds hot.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0126816/

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Watchers III (1994)

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I caught this gem recently on Sci-Fi, and based on the Wings Hauser factor alone I needed to TiVo it. There's just something about Wings, a certain je ne sais quois, that makes him entertaining in anything he does. One of my personal faves is his short stint on Beverly Hills 90210. That's right, I said it. If they ever put that show on DVD, you may want to check that out, just for shits and grins.

Watchers III is based on a Dean Koontz novel, but is more a Predator rip off. What Wings has that Arnie didn't have when he fought the big fella is a dog with a large IQ. Also, even though the Predator looks like Manny Ramirez, the monster in this looks like a rejected puppet from Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles, which would be cool if this was a comedy. Anyway, what Wings finds out is that the government made the monster as the ultimate killing machine, and Wings and his convict friends are sent in to get slaughtered by it. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Wings is in military prison. Just like Predator, Wings gets to the chopper and everything's okay. All right, maybe they pull a twist on the "Get to the chopper", and Wings booby traps it for the puppet. Who cares?

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This is abhorrently bad. It's got Wings Hauser in it. That's it. The monster's too goofy to fear, the other actors are ridiculous, and the dog's only slightly smarter than Air Bud or Lassie. While watching it with some friends, we were constantly in awe of how bad this was. It was like MST3K quality.

Wings tries his best in this, and it's plenty entertaining. He continues to reaffirm his status as a DTVC Hall of Famer through his efforts in crap like this. Between his scenes with the dog, to his dialog in funny-that's-supposed-to-be-cool military speak (you know, "Checkmate this is Goose Down, do you read me?"), he delivers. I totally give him an A for effort. The problem is, you can get the same satisfaction out of seeing him guest star on an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger or something, and you're in and out the door in half the time.

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Despite my lack of snobbery when it comes to movies, I'm a bit of one in terms of books, so I must confess, I've never read a Dean Koontz novel. Is he any good? Perhaps the James Joyce of our generation? Was the book version of this any good? As far as I can tell, if what we saw in the film was the basic premise of the book, it's probably not, right? I still gotta finish Manhattan Transfer anyway.

One small part of the film that was kind of funny for me was the woman in Hauser's attack crew. The woman herself was only sorta kinda funny, but her name was great: Gomez. I know that by it's very nature as a last name, some women must have it, and it probably sounds all right in real life when paired with a first name. "Hey, I want you to meet Maria Gomez." Not bad. But when you're just shouting it out, "Gomez!", it denotes a goofy Latino stereotype playing the comedy relief. I'm not saying a Gomez in movie can't handle a piece and be good in a fight, I'm just saying I see more "Oh Gomez, you're such a kook", instead of "Gomez, you're the only chick in this crew, but we know that in spite of that chickness, you'll be tough enough to hold your own."

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This is preposterously bad. Maybe, and that's a big maybe, watch this at 2am if you're typing a paper or up late after a huge night of drinking. Otherwise, run when you see this listed on your program guide, or displayed in your video store. I'm still smarting from it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Beowulf (1999)

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I remember picking this one up with some friends because the video store was offering a rent so many get so many free night, and we needed a last movie to fill out the deal. This just looked like a no-brainer: Lambert in a futuristic remake of the 6th century epic poem Beowulf. What could be better?

This Lambert 1999 version of Beowulf takes place in a medieval future where most of human technology has devolved-- the only exceptions being haircare products, plastic body bags, and leather clothing (though the taste in leather clothing has definitely devolved too!). Lambert is our eponymous hero who shows up at this walled in city that looks like a live-action version of Gargamel's castle on The Smurfs. There he meets a hot chick, her dad (who's the king), and a guy in a purple leather outfit. He fights Grendel pretty much the way you'd remember it from the original, only he adds tons of flips. He's doing back flips, front flips, a tuck maneuver that you might see from an Olympic diver. In the end he beats the nasty Grendel and his vengeful mother. He also gets the girl.

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Did I mention how ridiculous this is? Did I mention I loved every ridiculous minute of it? It had me at the first big fight scene where Lambert takes on some savages outside the walled city that are about to sacrifice the chick from The Mummy that isn't Rachel Weis. The Mortal Kombat movie style techno is superb. Couple that with Lambert's too sweet hair (that rhymes if you pronounce Lambert with the French accent like my friends and I do). I guess the best way to sum up the movie was that sense of entertainment you get out of watching someone who thinks he's really cool try his hardest to act really cool, but you and everyone you're with know just how uncool he is. This movie thought it was that cool, and instead it was just the balding guy with the ponytail listening to Fallout Boy on his iPod.

This goes for Lambert too, I'm afraid. He's too old to pull off being cool like that. The kind of cool that would really work for him is the kind that listens to Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Thin Lizzy, and tells us kids we don't know what good music really is. And he'd be right. He should've ripped that techno from the phonograph, or out of the minstrel's lute, or wherever it came from, and threw on some Bread or ELO or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Maybe even beat up Grendel to "You're so Vain". I had a dream there was some Lambert in my coffee. Now we're talkin'.

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Despite the movie's usual futile attempts at being cool, it did have one bright moment. Mac from Night Court is in this. Beyond the sheer awesomeness that he's still alive (it's not that I thought he was dead either, but I hadn't seen him in anything in a while, and I wouldn't have put the whole being dead thing past him), the fact that he was Mac in every way, shape, and form added to the novelty. He didn't try to affect some kind of bad accent like Michelle Rodriguez in BloodRayne. He just did Mac, and I for one loved him for it.

The woman starring opposite Lambert is named Rhona Mitra, and you may recognize her from The Practice or it's cooler spin-off Boston Legal. She's been in some feature films too, like the difficult to understand how it was greenlighted Number 23. I wonder if while filming 23 she thought to herself "Wow, I finally made the big time, and I'm in movies that're worse than the horrible Lambert movies I did when I hadn't made it." Am I giving her too much credit to think she thought that? I bet she stands by and is even proud of 23, yet is afraid to put Beowulf on her resume. That's a shame.

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This movie is so worth a crack. It's too silly to avoid. I wouldn't go so far as to say you should run out and buy it at full price, because it's not a classic or anything, but definitely you should rent it with your bad movie buddies if you haven't seen it already. This is top notch bad Lambert.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120604/