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, April 30, 2008

The Contractor (2007)


I've been meaning to catch up with Wesley Snipes' DTV work for some time now. As recently as 2004 he did the major theater release Blade: Trinity, which was an awesomely bad vampire flick. In the short span since then, he's had six movies come out on DVD, and another slated to hit shelves in 2009 (according to imdb). I'm not sure if his recent troubles with the IRS will hinder his burgeoning DTV career, but I hope not: anyone with the gusto to turn out that many films that quickly is always great for us.

The Contractor has Snipes as James Dial, a CIA assassin and sniper called in for an opportunity to take out the one baddie that got away from him. Things go wrong and in the car chase that ensues with the local law enforcement in London, Snipes is injured and has to lay low in the safehouse of the guy who drove him to the job, a man who also died in the car chase. Anyway, the US government is called in to take care of him before anyone finds out about the hit, and the only one he can turn to for help is a 12-year old juvenile delinquent named Emily. After he's framed for the death of a police chief while he's trying to escape on a plane via Heathrow Airport, he now needs to clear his name in order to get himself back to the States.


This movie was more talk than action, which is never good thing. I found myself looking for something else to do during the really slow parts. That's a shame, considering how action packed a lot of his crummy major release pictures were, like Blade 2 and Passenger 57. This was one of those sad cases where a director gets all worked up about having a "story" in his movie. Dude, reality check, you're directing a Wesley Snipes direct-to-video action flick. Cut the plot exposition short and blow some shit up.

Snipes wasn't bad here, though. That's a good sign for any DTV actor, if he can transcend the bad movie and come off as pretty cool. Dolph has mastered this, along with fellow DTVC Hall of Famers Peter Weller and Rutger Hauer. This bodes well for Snipes' future induction. Early on in the film Snipes dresses like a priest as a disguise so he can get where he wants to assassinate the bad guy. Later he dons a fake nose so he can get a fake passport made. He also delivers his lines in that super smooth style we've been accustomed to in films like 57 and White Men Can't Jump, but unfortunately missed in films like Blade. In one scene, the 12-year old girl who's helping him brings him a "surprise", and makes him guess before she gives it to him. One of his guesses is "a woman with six toes." Awesome. (In case you're wondering, the surprise was a toothbrush and toothpaste.)


The police chief Snipes was framed for killing by the CIA was played by a dude named Charles Dance. The name may not be familiar, but if you see him, you'll recognize him. He's one of those That Guys that does a lot of BBC productions of Dickens books adapted for television over eleven parts that are shown on Masterpiece Theater here. Looking over his credits on imdb, I saw that he was in The Swimming Pool. He played the literary agent. I disliked The Swimming Pool, and I think it was only critically acclaimed because it was a French film. I've always wanted to screen a bad Dolph film dubbed in French with English subtitles at an indie art house joint, like the one I used to frequent back home in Portsmouth, NH, and see what the Yuppies would think of it.

Lena Headey from The Sarah Connor Chronicles is the extent of the eye candy in this film. She's the detective who takes over the Snipes case after Dance is killed, and eventually Snipes gives her the evidence that clears his name. I'm curious if Dolph or Van Damme would have done this flick knowing that at no point would they have a love scene with some gorgeous actress half their age looking to break into the biz. Even Seagal, who seems a little body conscious with his sex scenes shot while he wears a sweatshirt, would at least have a sexy woman cast whom the script would allude to his having at one time in the distant past had sex with. I'm curious as to why this privilege was denied Snipes here.


I'm not sure where to go with this one. I really need to see more of Snipes' DTV work before I can judge this one too harshly; but based on its own merits, it falls short. There has to be a greater action quotient in my bad movies. You and your friends may have fun mocking this, but it's more likely the ADD will kick in during the long periods of inactivity, which is never a good thing. My advice is skip it.

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