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, June 18, 2008

Diamond Dogs (2007)


In April of 2002 Dolph had a press release saying he was quitting acting in favor of spending time with his kids. That was about 8 movies with him as the lead hero ago, and he has another two listed as in pre or post production. Good thing he pulled a rapper retirement, though I have to believe he really intended to retire, and people came up with ways he could make more films and still spend the requisite time with his family; or maybe his year at home really annoyed his family, and they were like "Dude, get out and work, you're killing us!" I know as a fan, I could never see myself telling Dolph to bounce, but I imagine if he was my dad, I'd probably want him to do something other than lay around the house.

Diamond Dogs takes place in Mongolia. Dolph plays Xander Ronson, an ex-Army dude down on his luck and owing money to the Mongolian mob (at least that's what the Netflix synopsis said. As far as we could tell, he owed money to three Mongolian judges, one of whom looked like Lance Ito). To make the cash, he agrees to take a dandy and his crew into the middle of nowhere to find some Buddhist artifact. There's a Russian who wants it too, and he's following Dolph's crew. Not that these guys are any match for Dolph, but they try. Anyway, the artifact might be cursed, and people are dropping like flies (or being killed in dangerous shoot-outs, which might be due to the bullets more than a curse), and after everyone's dead, Dolph hands it over to some monks and hits the road.


This might have been the weakest of Dolph's recent efforts, which doesn't mean it's horrible, just weaker than the others. It was filmed on hand-held digital cameras, so it looked like a Michael Moore documentary. I was expecting Moore to ask some yak herders what they thought of Bush's foreign policy. The plot was kind of ridiculous, which made it funnier, but when it dragged in between the action scenes, my friends' ADD kicked in a little bit. Usually Dolph can overcome this just through his sheer Dolphness, so it's a telling sign on just how slow the plot was.

About Dolph, he still brought it. He's sporting the buzzcut, which I'm hoping isn't an age thing. If his Swedish mane is thinning that could be bad for all of us. He's still as buff as ever, and still kicks as much ass. He'll be 51 this fall, and he has two more movies in the pipeline, at least, with him as the lead role in both. I can forgive a slightly poorer movie when I know he's got so many better ones out there. I'm looking forward to the next one, Direct Contact, even though I have no idea when it's supposed to come out.


One area where he hasn't lost a step is in the woman department. He juggles one Mongolian chick chilling in some outpost he takes the crew to, and the adopted daughter of the guy who hired him for the mission. He's got the second one so bad, he just ditches her at the bar they're hanging out at and goes back to his room. Sure enough, she shows up, and like he did with Tia Carrere in Showdown in Little Tokyo, lifts up the sheet and turns over to let her in. Twenty years later, and he's still got the same magic. Awesome.

A dude named Raicho Vasilev plays the Russian guy leading the competing expedition/bad guys. He's been in like seven movies I've reviewed or plan to review (In Hell, Out for a Kill, Submerged, The Mechanik, and Until Death, plus this one, and Killing Grounds, which will be coming in a couple weeks.) He's a big time That Guy, but I'm not sure he deserves a tag like a Norbert Weisser. Chances are if I put a tag for him, people would click it, not knowing who the hell he is, and it'd just be a mess. As it is I need to clean up the tags anyway, because for a few posts I went tag happy.


The curse thing was stupid. All that happened was what happened in every other Dolph film: he was the last one standing. How is that due to a curse? Also, I think it'd've seemed more believable if people died in their bathtubs or painting their houses. Being shot by a rival group after the same artifact isn't a curse, it's a statistical probability. The other thing was how the monks knew about the curse, even though the curse was set up so anyone reading about it on the parchment with the artifact would be cursed. Is there a pamphlet detailing the curse that the monks get during training? Did someone risk his life to read the curse so they could make the pamphlet?

If you're a Dolph fan, this is a must, even though he's done better. You just can't not watch a Dolph film, especially when you're as huge a fan as I am. If you aren't all about Dolph like me and my friends are, probably skip it. I'm not even sure it'll make it's way into Dolph Fest 2008, in fact I'm sure it won't. Maybe that's a good guide to go by for a non-Dolph fan: if it won't make a Dolph Fest, it's probably worse than I'm letting on.

For more info:


  1. This was all right, better than I expected when I read it was filmed on DV. The underground fights at the beginning were more entertaining than the bulk of this "Dolph Lundgren and the Temple of Doom". The cover is hilariously misleading though; when did he put a bullet sling on? Never, that's when. The Australia DVD cover is cheaper than the US one as well which makes it even funnier (

    Also for some reason this title is not searchable on your blog, you have to click through from the Dolph tag.

  2. It's listed in the Alphabetical Archive, the link to which is over on your left, in the section directly below the RSS feed to my other blog. That's the best way to find any title to see if I've reviewed it. Sometimes it takes a bit to put the newer ones in there, but all the old ones should be archived and alphabetical for easier searching.

    The Dolph cover concept seems to be this bouillabaisse mentality of throw everything we can on it to make it pop off the shelves. I must admit, I like the Australian Diamond Dogs one better than it's US counterpart. It's kind of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog version of a Dolph cover.

    Also, at 1AM here in the States, the Melbourne v. Sydney game is on TV. Is that a big rivalry in Australian soccer?