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.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rise aka Rise: Blood Hunter (2007)


Some friends got this as a free rental from Hollywood video, and they brought it by. I didn't have anything else going on, so I was up for it. Good thing it was free.

Rise is about vampires. Lucy Liu stumbles across them while doing her journalist stuff, and two of them, one of whom is Carla Cugino, try to kill her. But she doesn't die, and instead becomes a vampire too. Now she's on a quest to kill the people that made her vampires, and luckily it didn't take her long to learn how to fight and use a continuously loading crossbow. Pursuing her is Michael "Dick" Chiklis, a cop after the people who killed his daughter. This also has a bunch of cameos from people like Nick Lachey, Marilyn Manson, Mako, former MTV VJ Simon Rex, the big guy from Mighty Ducks, the chick from Entourage with the short hair that was also in the Hanson video for "Penny and Me", and the dude who played the bounty hunter that fell in love with Pam Grier in Jackie Brown.


This was a boring assed movie. Scenes were just put together with some kind of loose connection that somehow formed a useless plot. What we saw was the unrated version, so I'm assuming that one was longer than the original. Maybe I could've saved myself some suffering. The film makers thought it would be cool to tell half the story in flashback mode. All that did was take a boring plot and make it more tedious. These people aren't Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.

Vampires seem to be able to do different things in different films, and this one was no exception. Here, the vampires didn't seem to be stronger than other people, just immortal, I guess. They didn't have fangs, but used some kind of little knife instead to cut people's throats so they could suck their blood. Using the Blade standard for judging vampire films (that's my gold standard), this film sucked.


Lucy Liu was hot. She gets naked a couple times, but it's not that big of a deal: first she's in the morgue on a metal slab in a cooler, then she's hanging upside down. What's weirder to me is that she's in this sack of asscrack at all. I thought she had a deal with GM to advertise OnStar. I thought she was a Hollywood A-lister. I can't imagine she's still working with the same agent after this debacle. Come on Lucy Liu, you're better than that.

Mako is one of my favorite actors. Sadly he passed in 2006, and this was his last feature film. Many of you may remember him from Conan: The Destroyer and the third Highlander movie. In this he has a great scene where he and Lucy Liu beat the crap out of each other. He tried to smother her with a shower curtain, which was awesome. Probably the only redeeming part of the film.


This had a who's-who of other actors. You've got Michael "Dick" Chiklis of The Commish and now The Shield. My mom worked with a dude who I guess went to acting school with him. A cool feather in that guy's cap. I dug the Marylin Manson cameo personally. He didn't have much make-up or that weird contact lens he usually has on, which was cool. Nick Lachey was barely in it, much less than in the Hard Easy, like two scenes. Somehow all these people either had a bunch of favors called in by the film makers to get them in this, or they were sold a bill of goods telling them this film would be a hit. Poor them.

I'd only bother with this if you can get it free like my friends did. Any money spent would feel like a waste. Even for free, it's a hard recommendation, because it's so long (over two hours if you get the unrated) and so boring. Why put yourself through that if you don't have to. And if you're one of those cats that rents movies to see if the female leads get naked, again, Lucy Liu does, but it's not that big of a deal. I shouldn't say that, because if you are one of those kind of people, it would be kind of funny if you sat through the whole thing and was disappointed.

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