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.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)


I tried to watch this when it first came out, and didn't make it past the first nine minutes. I mean that, I turned it off and called it quits because it seemed so bad. Now that I have The Direct to Video Connoisseur, I feel I have a responsibility to treat these movies a little more seriously, and at least give them the decency of a full viewing. The question is do they deserve that?

Starship Troopers 2 is a DTV sequel to the Paul Verhoeven-- should I say classic?-- film, directed by Oscar winning visual effects guru Phil Tippett. In this one, a group of soldiers are pinned down in a base, and Richard Burgi saves them after he's released from his jail cell in the incinerator for killing his colonel. As they wait for transport to save them, a general shows up with three people he found out in the desert. Little does he know these people are going to turn this film from Starship Troopers into the Kurt Russell film The Thing.


The first nine minutes were right. This hurt. For like the first hour, the film is just a series of things going wrong for the heroes, and someone fixing the problems, and the general saying "we owe that man our sincerest gratitude", and people clapping. Then in the last hour the film loses it's identity, and it becomes a bad horror film, and instead of being scary or funny, it just seems like it's gross for no reason. I guess it didn't matter how poorly made this film was, because people like me were going to rent it regardless just because it was the sequel to Starship Troopers.

The hero was played by Richard Burgi, who you may remember from the syndicated series The Sentinel, or his more popular stints on shows like Desperate Housewives. He's actually not bad in this, but it's not like he has a lot of room to be. Just be the brooding hero, how hard is that for a beefy dude with salt-n-pepper hair? I think I'll always like him best on One West Waikiki with Cheryl Ladd. He was great as her off beat yet serious sidekick.


Phil Tippett directed this, and you can see that he's not a great director: it looked like the film was shot on a studio lot, as opposed to some planet far away. When the psychic characters have visions, they look like a NIN video. This whole thing felt like a Colombo episode where he had to investigate a guy who made bad Sci-Fi movies for a murder, and we were watching the movie being shot from behind the scenes.

The General was played by Ed Lauter. Name not familiar? It wasn't to me either, until I looked this up on imdb. Ed Lauter is one of the most prolific That Guys in history. You name it, he's guest starred. BJ and the Bear, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Father Dowling Mysteries, The A-Team, Magnum PI, Simon and Simon-- if it was on TV, he's done it. In the That Guy Pantheon, he owns a vaunted perch.


Sue Ellen Mischke from Seinfeld is in this. You must remember her as the woman who wore only a bra down the street. When watching this movie with other people, I mentioned that, and they said "that's where she's from? I knew she was from somewhere." She's never dressed like that here, and in fact is very manish. Another interesting fact: she was in the first Starship Troopers, but played a different character.

This is a no-go for me. Bad sci-fi that turns into even worse horror, that isn't funny in either case, and just plain boring. If you want to watch a better version of this, try the first one, followed by The Thing: a great double feature of two classics, and though more expensive, much less painful than this sack-of-asscrack.

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