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.

Announcement

Announcement

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.

--Matt

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Android (1982)

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I don't remember when I first saw this. It's one of those that's always been around for me. I rented it recently from Netflix, and I think that's the first time I've seen it in at least ten years. There were things in it I noticed that I wouldn't have picked up on back then. I guess that's why it's always a good idea to re-watch these old classics.

Android takes place in the future or something on this desolate space station. Kinski plays a doctor doing research with his timid assistant Max. Three escaped convicts make it to the station, and Max lets them on board in an attempt to quell the monotony of his everyday life. Quickly the escapee realize Max is an android, and the doctor's a little off. The question is whether they can keep from stabbing each other in the back long enough to get off the ship and away from the Kinski-nator.

There are probably some sci-fi honks out there who think this is some kind of cinematic treasure, and for those cats, I feel very sorry for you. This really isn't very good: but it's plenty good to make fun of. As a classic, I'd put it more in the Zardoz category, as opposed to Blade Runner. When I was younger I think I knew how dumb this was, I just didn't make fun of it as much as I did now. Maybe I'm just better at mocking bad movies.

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The set looked more like a health spa circa 1984, where maybe a guy in a headband and short shorts would be playing racquetball, and Crockett would interrupt his game to set up a fake coke deal. The guns looked like something out of the old Star Trek, which I actually think was pretty cool. The best might have been the "futuristic" water pitcher Kinski used when he was entertaining the one chick escapee. The thing was not an improvement on the water pitcher, but a step in the wrong direction. One of my favorite things in the bad sci-fi film: new designs for everyday devices that look cool but have no utilitarian function.

Klaus Kinski is probably the most difficult of the DTVC Hall of Famers to find movies to review. He passed away in 1991, way before the birth of DVDs, and actually as VHS was still coming into its own. Often I can only find his films if I pay too much for a video cassette on Amazon from a used seller, or if I'm lucky enough to strike gold plowing through a bargain bin at a Goodwill or something. That explains the unfortunately low number of his films reviewed here on the blog.

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If you look at the imdb resume of a Rutger Hauer or a Gary Busey, doing five or six movies in one year sometimes, it's hard to imagine Kinski had he lived, even in what would've been his late 70s and early 80s, not putting out a similar work rate. He was willing to do any movie given A, the price was right, and B, he wasn't required to spend much time on the set shooting it. Without pioneers like Kinski, we probably wouldn't have the DTV market we do. The irony is that he's also probably one of the best actors in the history of moving pictures, considered by some to be the German Marlon Brando. As in all of his DTV movies, you can see that difference in his quality of acting versus his co-stars.

One element of this film I missed in my previous viewing was the seemingly ubiquitous Norbert Weisser. I think this is the first time he was in a movie I reviewed that wasn't directed by Albert Pyun. According to imdb, of his last three films, two were Pyun's, and the third was an indie flick with Christopher Walken, Josh Lucas, and Michael Caine, called Around the Bend. Might be worth checking out. Here in this film, I was disappointed, because he seemed cool, but was killed off by the asshole escapee in the group too easily. It was like he was better than the usual bit parts he does for Pyun, but the finish wasn't there. I guess I can't blame him for that.

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The idea of the android has always been difficult for me to swallow. I think it's that the actors playing them usually overdo it (one of my fave actors Brent Spiner comes to mind, unfortunately). There's usually a lack of continuity too. Sometimes as androids they can't understand this or that, but then they can understand something else. Here, the kid couldn't grasp basic human interactions, but was somehow conniving enough to waylay the authorities coming to recapture the escapees. I just think the writers get lazy with these things, and make the androids as human as possible so they don't have to write in limitations that the actors have to adhere to.

This is worth putting in your Netflix queue. It's solid cheesy sci-fi that you'll find yourself and your friends laughing at. I also liked the Kinski factor, but that's just me. Seeing his head ripped off with bad special effects just made my night.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083557/

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