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

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Out for a Kill (2003)

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For anyone out there who's been rockin' with the DTVC for some time, you probably know about my quest to find this one Seagal flick where he beheads an old Chinese man at the end with a samurai sword by throwing it at the man from a second story window. I'd seen this scene, and this scene only, when the film aired on USA. Unfortunately, the credits ran too fast for me to read the title, and I didn't have a digital cable guide to go to either. So I searched. Then I came across the trailer for this one on another Seagal flick. I didn't think much of it, because I thought it was one of his older ones. Man, I was so wrong. Out for a Kill is the one.

Out for a Kill is about the Chinese mafia, which spends most of its time having meetings in a boardroom in Paris, but manages to occasionally smuggle some dope into the country disguised as ancient Chinese artifacts. Enter Seagal, who is an archeology professor at Yale, out doing a dig in the same area the baddies want to do their bad things. His partner ends up dead, and he's sorta kinda framed for it. Then he's released, and they kill his wife. Now he's pissed, so he hunts them down, one-by-one, and takes them out.

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Best scene in movie history? Bogie sending Bergman off in Casablanca? Maybe. Brando yelling "Stella!" in A Streetcar Named Desire? Or him telling his brother he coulda been a contenda in On the Waterfront. I like these, I really do. But are they really better than Seagal decapitating an old Chinese man from a second story window? Have Bergman, Fellini, and Kurosawa in their combined infinite wisdom come up with anything matching the sheer genius of Seagal reaching for that samurai sword, just as the old Chinese man is downstairs trying to escape in his chauffeur driven car, and as he reaches for the door handle, Seagal opens the window and hurls the instrument of death, unleashing a swath of CG animation as the spinning blade propels forward, disarticulating the man's head. Nothing will ever beat that for me.

As far as the rest of the movie goes, it's pretty sweet. If you take that last amazing scene out (you could probably make a movie of that scene alone!), it's still up there with any DTV work Seagal has done. This is the ninth I've reviewed here on the DTVC, so that's saying a lot. Seagal as an archeology professor is great. I didn't mention above that he earned his PhD while in prison for stealing priceless goods. The Chinese mafia constantly sitting in a boardroom in Paris is amazing too. I guess what I'm saying is: this is bad action at its absolute best.

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There were some bad parts, but I think even those were so silly I had to let them go. Crouching Tiger was still having its ripple effect in the martial arts community in 2003, and this film couldn't avoid the waves. Seagal has one scene in a barber shop where he fights a guy using monkey style. The guy was flying all over the walls and shit. It didn't fit in the movie, and seemed pretty forced. There was also some Matrix shit with bullets floating into the back of Seagal's SUV. Of course, this stuff was more of an anomaly than a reoccurring problem, so I was fine with it. Oh yeah, did I mention Seagal decapitates an old Chinese man from a second story window by throwing a samurai sword?

The reason I never considered this as a possibility for the Seagal film with the greatest scene in movie history in it (let's stop beating around the bush and call it what it is) is its title. Out for a Kill is just Out for Justice and Hard to Kill put together. I just associated it with the older mainstream theater Seagal, and pushed it out of my mind. It was like looking for my keys and tearing the house apart, when they were right there under my nose the whole time. I tried using this trick of playing around with Seagal titles to make a new one, and here's what I got: Submerged into the Belly of the Glimmer Man 2: Under Siege; or Ticker Down Below. I think I like the second one better.

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Do I even need to say it? The only issue of course is whether or not the rest of the film is worth watching first, and believe me, it is. The first 90 minutes will blow by like nothing, and then the moment happens. This is not simply personal opinion. I can't think of a better thing to happen in a movie by any objective standards, than Seagal decapitating a man with a samurai sword by throwing it at him from a second story window.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0323531/

2 comments:

  1. Just watched this one. Enjoyed it, but not as much as Ruslan, Pistol Whipped and Submerged. The ending was, as you say, a thing of brilliance. I couldn't get passed the awful dubbing used primarily in the first twenty minutes - what was the go there? You basically didn't see Seagal's lips move for the whole time, it was all ADR off screen. Was this another Attack Force where the plot was changed after filming was complete? A good flick with ridiculous moments, and worth the $7 I ended up paying when you work out I paid AU$49 for a seven movie Seagal box set.

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  2. I'd personally put it ahead of Submerged, and maybe Ruslan (Driven to Kill for the American audience), but definitely not Pistol Whipped, so I agree there. I forgot about the dubbing. With Seagal films, you never know, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a sudden plot change. I would say, based on the end scene alone, it's worth your AUS$7 I might pay double just for that! Glad you liked it, though.

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