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 16, 2008

Final Inquiry aka L'Inchiesta (2006)


I guess this thing's been bouncing around Europe for a while before it finally hopped across the pond and made it to our neck of the woods. Does Dolph not understand that he has legions of fans in this country. We think he's awesome too. Why should Europeans have all the fun?

The Final Inquiry takes place right after Christ's crucifixion. A Roman is sent undercover to Jerusalem to investigate the resurrection by the Emperor Tiberius, played by Ingmar Bergman mainstay Max von Sydow. This Tiberius is much nicer than the history books have depicted. Anyway, this Roman has with him a slave warrior, played by Dolph. While he's investigating with Dolph, he meets this hot chick played by Penelope Cruz's sister. The hot chick's a Jew whose father (played by F. Murray Abraham) wants her to marry an old dude, not a Roman undercover agent with a beefy Swedish slave. As he uncovers the truth that Jesus was in fact resurrected and the Jews didn't like him, F. Murray Abraham beats his daughter, Penelope Cruz's sister, to death... sorta. It's convoluted, and we're left with a weird revisionist history ending where the film makers tell us Tiberius would've made Christianity the religion of the empire if Caligula hadn't killed him.


This is a Christian propaganda film, so it must be taken with a grain of salt. The Jews who aren't down with Christ, like F. Murray Abraham, are depicted as pretty deplorable. There's also an ancient autopsy done, where the Roman agent examines a body that's supposed to Jesus', but's determined to be a fake. This is no Last Temptation of Christ, so if you're looking for something good, you won't find it here. On the other hand, the action's lacking, because the people making this are trying to give us a serious film. This is not the decent Vercingetorix biopic Druids that Lambert did. It just sucks.

Dolph isn't a main character, so his involvement is kind of low. Why, is beyond me. The dude they got to play the Roman was a total waste of space. Who casts Dolph in a movie as the sidekick? I know from the European standpoint Americans are rather capricious and overbearing, which tends to lend itself to more National Treasures than Umberto D.s, but in the case of making Dolph films, I think we Americans do it way better than our Euro counterparts. Try Showdown in Little Tokyo. Yeah, I thought so.


This film marks the first ever pairing of two Swedish acting giants, Dolph and Max von Sydow. It's amazing it took so long for this to happen, and it's disappointing it was in such a bad film. Also, the Tiberius they had him portray was nothing like the one I learned about in in Roman history class in college. Benevolent, spiritual, someone amicable to the tenets of Christianity-- these are not ways that I would describe him. I don't know who came up with any of this, but it's ridiculous. Read I, Claudius, then come talk to me.

Penelope Cruz's sister, Monica, is the main eyecandy here. The Roman wants some, and he's having trouble getting it due to local mating customs. Because she's a Christian, though, and not a Jew, she rebels against her arranged marriage. This puts her at odds with her father, played by F. Murray Abraham, who you may know as Salieri from Amadeus. He beats her with his cane, and we think she's dead. In fact she's close to dead, but she has like a bunch of hours to live, and she's kind of awake through it. Also, though nearly beaten to death, she doesn't have a mark on her. It's like she's dying of a lingering illness, but the film makers needed someone to blame for it, so they replaced the illness with a beating, but didn't replace the symptoms. Straight up stupid.


The F. Murray Abraham brings me to a common rant I make amongst my friends. I'm convinced that Finding Forrester is the second worst movie ever made, after Pay it Forward. I watched this film with my friends, and it made me angry. It was racist, in a condescending, elitist kind of way; and I was especially distressed with the end scene, where Connery's supposed to make this inspirational speech, a rebuff to Abraham, but the film makers were so lazy they skipped the speech and went with a montage of him speaking and people being inspired. F. Murray Abraham's appearance in this made me realize that no matter how bad this was, it wasn't as bad as Finding Forrester.

This could actually be a worthy rental. If you have some friends who are history buffs like I do, they'll have a great time ripping this apart. The inclusion of Dolph, von Sydow, and Abraham will make it even more enjoyable. On the other hand, if you're looking for pure, unadulterated Dolph asskicking, this isn't the best bet for you. He does kick some ass, but not enough to make it worth it to sit through this sack of asscrack.

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