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.

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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.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

7 Seconds (2005)

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Wesley Snipes' post-Blade DTV career is a relatively recent development (only the last few years), and something of considerable interest to us here at the DTVC. Given his awesome mainstream theater release action career, he has the potential to go down as one of the all-time DTV greats, alongside legends like Dolph, Van Damme, Seagal, and Lambert. The question is: will he be the next Michael Jordan, or another Harold Miner, Michael Ray Richards, or JR Rider. Time will tell.

7 Seconds has Snipes as a former military special forces dude in Bucharest living as a big-time thief. After a double-cross during a colossal casino heist leaves his crew dead, his girl captured, and him accused of killing a cop, he's on the run. Not only that, but there was a priceless Van Gogh painting inadvertently involved in the crime, and fortuitously Snipes has it in his possession. After a series of twists and more double-crosses, Snipes and a hot military cop he's befriended end up escaping with the painting, while everyone else kills each other.

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This wasn't too bad. It had the action. There were some great car chases. Snipes amped up the martial arts, which I definitely appreciated. Just the same, there was a fairly long interlude where Snipes gets captured by the baddies and is tortured so he'll tell them the painting's location. It was like 20 minutes, or so it seemed, and really made for a downer. It killed any momentum the film generated with the earlier action, and even with a great chase scene near the end, it just never got it back for me. It wasn't as bad as the action void we saw in The Contractor, but it was enough for me to start pouring through my bills and lose contact with the movie.

I spoke in the opening paragraph about Snipes' potential as a DTV great, and I realized I sounded similar to the girls I meet at my age who want me to settle down and get a job in an office so I can help them buy a house and kids and a minivan. "Oh, but you have so much potential, you should be a teacher or go to law school or something." I hope Wesley doesn't look at Dolph Lundgren's movies envisioning a PTA meeting. Or even a mortgage (was that in poor taste given his recent property tax woes?). It's not settling if his bad action movies admit they're bad action movies and skip the lulls. I just want one movie out of him that brings the kind of enjoyment Blade II did. All right, I want 20, but I'll take one. Then he can go back to these movies where he sprinkles some good action in with a bunch of boring scenes that make my ADD flare up.

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The female lead was pretty hot. The place her character held made no sense in a 21st century Western workplace. She was a sergeant in a NATO run military police outfit in Romania, yet she wasn't allowed to have a say in the investigation into Snipes and his gang. The reason: she's a woman. I understand that chauvinism still exists, even in 2008 (or 2005, when this was made), but I can't imagine the two guys who were freezing her out wouldn't have wanted to work with just on her looks alone. What kind of chauvinists aren't pigs when it comes to hot women? Gay chauvinists? Angry testosterone-ly charged Alpha Male gay chauvinists?

A hallmark of this and the other Snipes film the DVC has reviewed (The Contractor) is techno music. This is the new movement in bad action, and though it's not horrible, the synthesizer and bad metal guitar will always have a special place in my heart. I think in the Snipes film, the techno comes from the Blade films. Most filmmakers can't get that indelible image out of their heads of Snipes in Blade II, right after he gets the blood in him, with his samurai sword, and the listen all you motherfuckers playing in the background, as he cuts down a shitload of vampires. I get that, and I guess I can make a synthesizer and metal exception for the Snipes film.

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On the other hand, another horrible trend in newer DTV action is the Bourne Whatever shaky camera with quick cuts. This sucks, and annoys me more than you can know. One reason for the bad camera in the Bourne movies was to mask Matt Damon's inability to fight. Wesley Snipes doesn't suffer from this deficiency-- in fact, he's a pretty accomplished martial artist. We see that even in this film. I'll give this movie credit, because they use it more than The Contractor did, but I can't appreciate it if the camera's not steady. These people need to go back to their forefathers in the early 90s who choreographed timeless fight scenes that me and other bad movie honks are still talking about. Not everything newer is necessarily better.

At no point in this film did I find out why it was called 7 Seconds. Seriously. I may have totally missed it. I don't know what else I would've called it, so I guess 7 seconds is as serviceable as anything. I like the idea of a title that makes no sense. It's a definite check mark on the pro side for this film. That makes three, then: Snipes' martial arts, cool car chases, name that made no sense...

... but the cons slightly outweigh the pros. Long dull torture interlude, action scenes that weren't as plentiful as they needed to be, and the shaky en vogue camera canceled out the positives. That's an 0-fer-two so far on the DTVC, but I think this was an improvement, so I see the potential. The next film of his in the pipeline is Chaos, a film that also has Jason Statham and Ryan Phillipe. I have a good feeling about it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417395/

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