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, September 10, 2008

Chaos (2005)

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I picked this up looking for more Wesley Snipes films to review. The first two I did were kind of iffy, so I thought the addition of Jason Statham and Ryan Phillippe would boost his chances of getting a good post.

Chaos is about a disgraced hostage negotiator played by Jason Statham, who, with his partner, is found liable of negligent police work after a girl is killed in a standoff. He's pulled back into action, though, when a bank is robbed, and the ringleader of the heist (Snipes) asks the new negotiator for Statham specifically. In order to make sure he does well, he's given hot shot rookie Ryan Phillippe to keep an eye on him. But things aren't what they appear here, and as Statham and Phillippe dig deeper, they find more questions than answers.

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This was pretty sweet. One of those gems that falls through the mainstream cracks and into our DTV laps. According to imdb, the film had a limited run in Europe, but beyond that it was completely overlooked. Too bad, because it's a smart and well engineered suspense film with solid performances by Snipes, Statham, and especially Phillippe. Looking at my recent posts, there weren't too many that I recommended, so I think it's refreshing to put in an update with something I really dug.

Snipes was all right in this, but the question is: does this count? I have to give it to him as the official scorer, which gets him off the schneid and makes him 1-fer-3. The reality is, this isn't a Snipes driven action fest, and he's third billed after Statham and Phillippe. I'm still waiting for that breakthrough Snipes DTV bad action that's close to his great work in Blade, but I'll take this in the meantime.

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Statham, as always, was awesome. How can anyone not like this guy? He has like one or two other films that could make it to the DTVC, like Revolver, which grossed like $40,000 in the US, but for the most part he's too mainstream, i.e., he's too big for us. But, luckily, he signed on for a project that the major distribution houses didn't know what to do with, and he ended up here. We're glad to have you, baby, if only for a second. I gotta see that Death Race too. I skipped it in favor of Babylon AD, which I don't remember much of because I was hammered for it.

This isn't the first Phillippe film I've reviewed. You may remember 12 May 2007's Invader aka Lifeform post. Then he was just starting out as an actor in 1996, still a year off from breaking out in I Know What You Did Last Summer. This film comes at the other end of the spectrum, a year after the Oscar winning Crash. He's definitely better in this than either Lifeform or Crash, which surprised me. It just added another layer to the film's quality.

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In one scene Statham was trying to get under Phillippe's skin by suggesting the Pac-10's overrated after Phillippe admits he attended Washington University. This is a misconception that's been perpetrated by the East Coast biased sports media for decades. Having been a student for a long period of time, and now trying my hand at writing, I'm up late pretty often, and I can tell you that I'd rather watch a Pac-10 football or basketball game than another infomercial for eXtenze (sp?). I live in ACC country now (near Boston), but I'm willing to admit that the Pac-10 is head and shoulders above the ACC in football, and probably behind only the SEC and Big XII. The Pac 10 is not overrated, just on past too many people's bedtimes.

I can't really tell you anymore for fear of giving too much away. I would hate to spoil it for anyone. This is a better quality than most DTV, and though I love the Jerry Trimble 77-minute prison film as much as the next guy, it's nice to mix it up and find a hidden gem of a different quality.

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  1. Yup, this was excellent. Did this really not go to cinema? The twists were great and the ending not predictable. You are correct in saying that anything more I say could give it all away, so I will simply say that Snipes was great and had moments echoing back to Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man, and Statham was his usual gritty British self. Did I hear him trying on a slight American accent, or has he picked one up?

  2. I believe it was released theatrically in Europe, but after that I'm not sure. It really was a find though on the video store shelves, and I'm glad you dug it too.