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, July 24, 2008

Live by the Fist (1993)


This movie was a suggestion from my friend over at Movies in the Attic (a link to which you can find in the section titled "Other Great Sites"). I checked out the trailer on YouTube, and knew I had to shoot it to the top of my Netflix queue. You're talking Jerry Trimble and George Takei, does it get any better? Sure, Heat was able to boast the first ever on-screen pairing of Pacino and De Niro, but in my mind, Trimble and Takei was a much more anticipated combination. Sometimes I wonder how I get to be so lucky.

Live by the Fist has Trimble as an ex-Navy SEAL who's framed for killing a woman he tried to save from being raped. He's sent to a corrupt Philippine prison, where he befriends George Takei, a kind of wise man leader of the inmates. Takei's trying to contact a human rights group chick to draw attention to inhumane treatment from the warden and guards. Trimble, as you can imagine, is always in trouble, and always has to kick some ass. He kicks plenty until the calvary's called, and he and the human rights group chick can escape.


Now this is what I'm talking about! Amazing! It just frustrates me to know I sit through so much crap, when all DTV directors have to do is watch a gem like this to understand what makes quality cinema. Where do I begin? First fight scene, we hear this amazing electric guitar riff in the background. Think WASP "Blind in Texas" with a little early 80s Crue and mid 80s Dokken mixed in. And that riff plays during every fight scene. And it never gets old. Every time I heard it I did a Tiger Woods hitting a birdie putt at 18 in the Masters to seal the win fist pump.

Trimble shows up here. It's amazing to think I'm just north of 200 posts at the DTVC, and this is the first time a film of his was reviewed. Actually, I found out looking him up on imdb, that that's not exactly true. He was in a gang in Seagal's Today you Die, and I totally missed him because also in that gang was Karo "The Heat" Parisyan. Anyway, this is the first film I've done that he stars in, and I'll have to make sure I do more, because he was the bomb. He has this awesome voice that's like the best parts of Martin Sheen, Joe Estevez, and Judge Mills Lane all mixed together. And he's a very solid martial artist. I can't think of a better guy to root for.


I know you all want to know, and I'll tell you: how awesome was George Takei? Was the voice there? Did he say anything fantastic? The voice was there, but he didn't have any too amazing lines to go with it (not like his trip to Howard Stern's show). His character name is Uncle Coronado, which is probably good enough. I mean, just having Takei is really enough. As long as he's there and talking, the viewer's usually entertained. I'm surprised more DTV film makers-- as in all of them-- don't cast Takei more often. If I made movies, he'd be in all of my films. I'd break the bank to get him, too. If my budget was 2 mill, I'd take out a loan and give him 3. I mean, come on, it's George Takei.

Roger Corman produced this, and that brings up a question I get all the time: why isn't he in the Hall of Fame? Who better to be in a DTV Hall of Fame than one of the creators of the genre? Well, the reason is that before Albert Pyun was inducted last year, only actors were allowed in. Perusing Corman's vast production credits, it looks like he's produced 10-15 movies that have already been reviewed on the DTVC, which would put him second behind Dolph Lundgren for most times tagged. Look for his induction to the HOF this October.


The prison sub-genre of the bad action movie comes up often. When I watched bad action in the 80s and 90s, I'd say one out of five took place in a prison. It's just such an easy way to make a movie: the set's cheap, wardrobe's a cinch, and the plot can be written in a day or two. Unfortunately the (to my eyes, anyway) overrated Shawshank Redemption changed the way we look at prison films. Maybe I don't speak for many people, but I'll take a Live by the Fist over Shawshank any day. The guitar alone makes it for me, but I also think Jerry Trimble is a better actor than Tim Robbins.

Do you even need me to do the last paragraph? You what I'm gonna say. Rent it, buy it, do whatever you have to, but get your hands on this puppy. It frickin' awesome. It also only 77 minutes long, which has to be another selling point. Who needs a 3 hour epic, when you can watch this twice in less time.

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