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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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zero Tolerance (1993)

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I don't really know how this ended up on my Netflix queue. Maybe I put something else on it that had either Miles O'Keefe or Robert Patrick, and they suggested it, and I thought it sounded good, so I just added it too. Suggestive selling really doesn't work with things like socks or warranties for Walkmans at BestBuy, but in terms of bad movies, they can just put anything on there and I'm like "He's in it? Sure, bump it to the top of my queue."

Zero Tolerance has Robert Patrick as an FBI agent sent to Mexico with two partners to pick up some baddie. They're ambushed on the way back, and only Patrick survives. Then the baddie hold his family hostage so Patrick will help him smuggle drugs from Mexico to Las Vegas. The family's killed, and Patrick's out for revenge. The baddie is one of five baddies who run a drug syndicate called The White Hand, and Patrick guns them down one-by-one. This movie also has Miles O'keefe as a drug kingpin with a heart.

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Not bad. Not bad at all. The plot was simple, there were plenty of explosions, the music was great, loads of stuntmen with ponytails and blazers toting machine guns getting blown away, and though sometimes the action was tedious and repetitive, it was more than adequate. This is definitely a "you get what you pay for" kind of deal, considering it's a 1994 revenge action film starring Robert Patrick and Miles O'Keefe, but on the other hand, it doesn't try to be what it's not, and that's refreshing. I had some problem with the scenes of the wife being beaten to death by the baddie's goons, because they were a bit gratuitous (her head getting smashed with a dinner plate might have been funnier under different circumstances), but they didn't go too far and show the kids being killed, which I appreciated.

Miles O'Keefe isn't in this too much, but when he's there, he makes his money. The Southern accent is great. So is the long mane of hair. When he cringes as two of his fellow baddies gun down a henchman for not doing a good job killing Patrick, it was pure beauty. I was hoping he'd have more scenes with Patrick, but that didn't happen. In fact, I don't think he had any. It was like Godfather 2, where you had two greats in one film, but they were never on the screen at the same time. Maybe my one complaint.

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Robert Patrick is almost as good in this as he is in Terminator 2. That's right, I said it. Okay, he's obviously not quite there, but he's really close to the ballpark, which I still think is a pretty bold statement. Other than Miles, I was totally rooting for him to take out each baddie. He plants one between the eyes of Mick Fleetwood, the head bad guy, to start his killing spree, and it's so awesome I had to watch it twice. Unlike his role in From Dusk 'Till Dawn 2, which was played a little tongue-and-cheek, here he's totally serious and I think that suits him better.

I saw this the same night I saw Pineapple Express, and I bring that up because of a discussion my roommate and I had about it. Pineapple Express devolves into this mess of an identity crisis where Seth Rogen and his fellow scriptwriter find themselves trapped in the action genre, and they're a total fish out of water. They do funny really well, and I was enjoying it up until that point. But in the action stuff I think they just didn't know how funny they wanted to be, how to be funny when doing bad action, and when was a good point to cut things off. It just didn't work for me, and I found myself screaming inside for the movie to end. My roommate thought the action stuff was great, and made a joke about the kind of crap I watch. I think Zero Tolerance drives home why she's wrong. First off, why do I want someone else making a movie making fun of bad action, when me and my friends can do it ourselves. Also, if I'm going into a movie looking for comedy, and the comedy's going well, why take a bad left turn and try doing tongue-and-cheek bad action? Having ten scenes of people pointing guns at people and someone else coming in out of nowhere to save someone isn't any easier to take when the people making it are doing it for a joke. In fact, it makes it worse. And Pineapple Express doesn't have Miles O'Keefe or Robert Patrick.

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But anyway, that was some major digression. You want to know about Zero Tolerance, and that's what I'm here to tell you. If you can get it for a buck or two, it's really not that bad. If it's on TV after midnight, there's probably a lot worse you could be watching. I wouldn't spend crazy amounts of money on it, or make it the focal point of a bad movie night, but it's not some atrocious pain ride either.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111825/

2 comments:

  1. Good post, and I agree with you on a couple of points. I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to Robert Patrick. Playing it straight works way better for him. That was my gripe about his performance in The Marine also. Ridiculous movie, but had some potential and felt kind of 80's Commando-ish era throwback sensibilities to it in regards to it's violence. But they forgot: The Bad Guy has to play it stright for it to work. And Patrick spends the whole movie tongue in cheek (including a throwaway Terminator reference). If he had been straight up, the movie would have played way better.
    I agree also on Pineapple Express. I thought it worked in Tropic Thunder because I knew what I was getting into there but Express's ending fell flat for me.
    Great update this week. My copy of Psycho Kickboxer landed today, so I will have to let you know how that fared. I have high hopes for it. It does feature FIVE TIME World Kickboxing Champion Curtis Bush, after all. WIth that kind of pedigree, what could go wrong?

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  2. Yeah, Psycho Kickboxer should be coming to me via Netflix this afternoon, so I'm pretty stoked too. I probably won't review it on the next update, but the one after that. I agree that with that pedigree, nothing should go wrong, but I've seen many a film with great potential fall disappointingly flat (One Man's Justice with Brian Bosworth, MC Hammer, and a Bruce Payne with a too sweet Ape Drape is just the latest unfortunate example for me). I am looking forward to it, though.

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