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.

Announcement

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.

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.

--Matt

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rage and Honor II (1993)

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I first saw the end of this on Spike or something like that who knows how long ago. When I saw it again from the beginning, I didn't think I was watching the same movie, because I was curious to see how they were going to get to that ending from the beginning I saw. It was, in fact, the same film, and they got to that ending with a drastic plot twist.

Rage and Honor II takes place a while after part 1. Cynthia Rothrock's gone from being a teacher to a CIA agent in training. She's sent to Jakarta for her first mission, where she meets up with her old buddy, Richard Norton, who's still on the run from the cop killing that was pinned on him back in LA. She's investigating a money laundering scheme that involves the father of a rich kid Norton's training, played by Patrick Muldoon from Melrose Place. At the same time, there's some smuggled diamonds, some crime lords, and an awesome bad guy with a sick blond ape drape-- much better than the fake one Brian Thompson tried to perpetrate on us in the first movie.

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Off the chain. That's all I can say. This was simply fantastic. Rothrock and Norton killed it again. Rothrock becoming a secret agent? Absolutely. Bumping into her old pal in Jakarta? Yes! Patrick Muldoon from Melrose? Give it to me. A sick Northern European with an even sicker ape drape? You've got a recipe for success. The action was on par for an early 90s DTV martial arts flick, with no lulls or useless plot exposition. Maybe I'm beating a dead horse here, but the people who make Wesley Snipes' new films should check these out. This is how bad action's supposed to be done.

Rothrock is slotted to be inducted into the DTVC Hall of Fame this October. The fact that she wasn't an inaugural member was partly an oversight on my part, and partly a lack of respect for what she's done on the parts of the other members of the panel. Not due to her gender, but due to the quality of her films. They're very low budget, probably a couple notches below the average Dolph or Seagal DTV fare. There's been a recent trend in bad movie watching to go back and reexamine these early 90s gems. That's a good thing, and will hopefully enrich every bad movie watcher's experience.

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Richard Norton scores big here. When he kicks people's asses, we, the viewer, want to see him do it. He's just so good at it. Now, in Gymkata, he played the baddie, and I have to admit, he did it well enough that I rooted against him. Just the same, it's not something I want to go through too often, because it's much more fun watching him kick ass than to have his ass kicked. With Rothrock's eventual induction into the HOF, Norton's bound to have more films reviewed here, and Rage and Honor II just reinforces in my mind how good that is. At 58, he probably won't be doing much more of this stuff, but he has so many older films that it could be a while before I exhaust them all.

This movie's so good it actually passed the Dad Test. That's right, my dad dug it. He was always a fan of MST3K, and I've seen my share of really old bad films with him, like Creature From the Black Lagoon. But the newer ones need to have that silly element in order to keep him interested. Norton did that. At the end, when he's kicking the last dude's ass, his taunts were so perfect, my dad was loving it along with me. They were funny both intentionally and unintentionally. I can't tell them without giving away the film.

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One of the crime bosses has a hatchet man with a sweet blond mullet. Early on we see him brush it out from off his neck with his hand. He knows how beautiful that thing is, and he's not ashamed of it. Good for him. The other thing was he could kick anyone's ass other than Norton who would make fun of him for it. That's what I'm talking about right there. Rock that beaver pelt with pride. More Swedes and Germans, especially big ones, should sport the mullet. Maybe I should go down to the German consulate in Boston and make that suggestion to them.

Patrick Muldoon from Melrose Place is in this as a guy learning from Norton. I also remember him from a movie called Chain of Command, which I could've sworn I reviewed, but I guess I didn't. Muldoon is like Sasha Mitchell, in that his network TV roles did nothing to display his martial arts prowess. On Melrose, he played Richard Hart, Jane's boyfriend who eventually went nuts and tried to kill her. Obviously, he could've easily taken her in a fight. For daytime soap fans, he also did a stint on Days in the early 90s. I'm not a daytime soap fan, so I don't remember him from that. I did watch Melrose in high school, and was shocked to find out Muldoon was an accomplished martial artist. I guess you never can tell.

I would say rent this, but if you can, watch a double feature of this and part one. It's barely three hours of your life, but the amount of enjoyment you'll get out of those three hours is so immense, you'll think it was only like two and a half. If you pride yourself on being a bad movie watcher, and haven't seen this, you gotta get on the ball. You won't regret it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107917/

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