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

Retrograde (2004)

Photobucket

This is the one Dolph film that was not released here in the United States. You'll never see it in your local video store, and you can't get it on Netflix. You're probably wondering how I got it. Guess. Dolph, if you're out there and reading this, I would hate to see you lose any royalties due you, so just give me your address, and I'll send you a money order for $19.95. I can send it in Euros if the devalued dollar makes you uneasy.

Retorgrade has Dolph as a dude from the future sent back in time to the present to stop some scientists on an expedition in Antarctica. The scientists will come in contact with the remains of a meteor that has a nasty virus on it. That virus will eventually threaten the lives of people in Dolph's time. Unfortunately, on his way to the past, some dudes on his crew want to sabotage the mission, so they try the ol' mutiny trick. Dolph fends them off and manages to escape when the vessel they're in makes it to present day Antarctica. Now the fun starts. People from the scientists crew are getting sick. Dolph's trying to help them. And then the baddies show up. Dolph faces off with them in a boiler room a la Space Mutiny.

Photobucket

This was pretty bad. The film quality was akin to The Asylum's Transmorphers, which isn't too good. It looked more like an educational adventure that might air on PBS. Jesus Dolph, what were you thinking? I can see why it wasn't released here in The States, though I can't imagine Dolph's name alone wouldn't get it some play on the action or sci-fi shelves of a video store. Three words Jill the Ripper. Two more: Hidden Agenda. Though a bad film, still a shame it was never available legally here.

Dolph is kind of mailing this one in too. Looking at his filmography, this was made right smack in the middle of Direct Action, and his directorial debuts in Defender and Russian Specialist. Maybe he had other things on his mind. Why did he make this then? Did he himself, so embarrassed by his poor performance, bar this from release in the US? It'll be interesting to see if this makes it to Dolph Fest 2008.

Photobucket

I must make clear that, despite how horrendous it is, and it is horrendous, this film is well worth watching with a big group and making fun of. It's about MST3K quality. It's probably the lowest budget Dolph film ever, but there's nothing really depraved or insulting in it to discourage anyone from seeking it out for a bad movie night. It's just kind of disappointing for someone like myself who's been rocking with Dolph for a while.

Gary Daniels is in this. We never get to see him fight Dolph, which is kind of a waste. After the awesome fight he had with Don "The Dragon" Wilson in Bloodfist IV, I want more, and I'm not getting it, either here, or in Submerged, which he did with Steven Seagal. We did get to see him fight though, so it was some consolation. The movie used an interesting setup for the final fights. Usually, when two guys from the same side fight two baddies, the weaker fights another weaker, leaving the hero to dispatch the big one. Here, they had Daniels fight the big baddie, and Dolph fight the weaker, almost like a single elimination tournament to the final showdown. I don't know how I think about that. Had Showdown gone that route, Tagawa would've killed Brandon Lee, leaving us bereft of the classic "You have the right to be dead" line.

Photobucket

I've never been a fan of downloading movies illegally. That's not true at all, I've always been a fan of it. In this case, though, I feel I'm justified. The movie's just not available here. And I want to be a Dolph completist, you know? I think the movie is available in Region 1 on eBay, if you either A: don't have the means to download it or B: don't want to due to your conscience.

The only reason to go out of your way (and you'll have to go out of your way) to get this is if you're a Dolph completist like me. Otherwise, don't waste your time. There're plenty of other crummy films out there for you to get on Netflix or through your local video store that'll take less trouble. If you're going to be downloading movies anyway, why not give this a shot. Also, if you speak German, French, or Italian, it's easier to find downloads for it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385990/

4 comments:

  1. This was one of my favorite Dolph movies. I love his spaceship.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This movie is actually being released on DVD here in the US on February 24. Whooo!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Got the US dvd cheap ($2 + shipping). It was an interesting movie haha. The premise wasn't bad but the execution was. The effects, oh my, the effects. The space ships I could forgive as bad Babylon 5 leftover CG but the helicopter explosion and sinking ship were just terrible. Dolph wasn't bad but his fighting was way off in this one. And the final scene looking into the sunset.. what the hell was that?! Noticed one of the bad guys was also a bad guy in Direct Contact and Command Performance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, that Indian guy. He makes the rounds in new Dolph films for some reason. Retrograde played better in a large group, but that was purely for the Space Mutiny MST3K factor, which is great when you're talking about Reb Brown, but when it's Dolph, it's a bad thing.

    ReplyDelete