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.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Black Dawn (2005)


If you've been rockin' with me and the Direct to Video Connoisseur for a little while now, you may have noticed I'm on a quest to find this one Seagal film I saw the end of on USA, where he throws a samurai sword from a second-story window and decapitates this old Chinese man. I actually think I may have found it now, and the film's on my Netflix queue, but I didn't know that when I rented this little gem.

Black Dawn has the Seagal-inator as Jonathan Cold, a former CIA agent who is an expert in martial arts and nuclear technology. He's gone missing for a while, but has resurfaced when he was hired by two That Guys to help in the sale of their nuclear technology to this Eastern European terrorist group. The kink in the deal comes when Seagal's former pupil, a hot chick, while working for the CIA, stumbles upon the deal, forcing Seagal to abandon his plans and save her. Now he's gotta retrieve the stuff before the baddies can blow up the world.


This is a pretty good deal. It's the kind of film you have in mind when you see a Seagal direct to video action flick on the shelves at your local video store. As always, he's a former something (in this case CIA), he's playing both ends against the middle, and he's only got one person he can trust. There are some great car chase scenes and explosions, and Seagal gives us some solid fight scenes. Probably most memorable for me came when the baddies were after Seagal and his woman, and he's escaping in a dump truck-like deal. He actually discharges the back part, leaving it in the middle of the road, so the bad guys can crash into, causing a ridiculous explosion. It was hilarious.

I've done a huge chunk of Seagal's DTV films on the blog, and I must say it's all relatively solid. It may be extremely cheesy and at times heavy handed, but it seldom takes itself too seriously, and Seagal usually puts in a decent showing. Another great attribute of his new work is his use of Ebonics. I'm not sure where he picked that up, maybe when he worked with Ja Rule or DMX, but for us bad action fans, it's hilarious. In 2008 he has one movie already out with Pistol Whipped, and another completed with Kill Switch. Having just turned 57 last April (and people said I was old turning 29 nine days before that!), it's great to see him still kicking around and turning out quality work. If you compare that to Harrison Ford, who is nine years older, and who looked silly in 2006's Firewall, forcing him to make the new film Indiana Jones and the Cash Grab, I can only hope Seagal either A, is still awesome when he's that old, or B, will bow out gracefully if he's not. Though, I'd go see an Under Siege 3 if it was made in 2017...


The two baddies that want Seagal's expertise in selling the nuclear technology to the Easter Europeans are major That Guys, one more so than the other. The first is the one Seagal breaks out of jail, and he's more of a soap opera That Guy, though he's done his turn on Renegade and whatnot. His younger brother, who's more of the real bad guy, has been in way more. He has almost one hundred credits of That Guy roles, appearing in everything from Pearl Harbor to Cold Case to The L Word. You'd know him the moment you saw him.

Matt Salinger's in this for one quick scene. You may remember him as the son of JD Salinger who played Captain America in the Albert Pyun adaptation of the Marvel comic. I didn't know he still worked, but there he was, and according to imdb, he's in the new Seagal flick Pistol Whipped. Good for him. Here, he sports a silly Russian accent. I'm not sure I get that. Why not have him dressed like Captain America while selling the nuclear technology? That's what I would've done.


I must confess, when I saw this again recently, I fell asleep for some of it. I'm not sure how much that matters, but there may have been something awesome in it that I missed. If you're reading this and have already seen the film, don't hesitate to post a comment if you think I'm leaving something out. That goes for all of the films I review here on the DTVC. I do my best to stay awake, but when the plot drags, as it did in this one at the end, the beer takes over and I doze off. That's why it's necessary to watch these bad films with other people, so they can keep you up with their constant jokes, and you can return the favor. I actually did do that for this one, but the person I was watching it with fell asleep too, so it didn't matter.

Rent this. It's what you want when you pick up a Seagal flick: silly character name, Ebonnics, explosions, solid fights, and hot chicks. Get your beer or Mountain Dew, plenty of chips and pizza, and a bunch of friends, and have a blast. This was definitely a fun time.

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