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, September 17, 2008

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)

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I don't remember when I first saw this gem. I think it's always been a part of my life. The real travesty is that I don't own it. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's always been on my To Buy list. Maybe I've just never seen it at the right time. Maybe I'm just a moron. Who knows?

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back is 90 minutes of pure awesome about a kickboxer, played by Sasha Mitchell, who's the younger sibling to the two kickboxing brothers in the Van Damme movie. Cary Tagawa, playing a Thai businessman, wants revenge for Tong Po's loss, so he figures having Tong Po kick Mitchell's ass will suffice. Mitchell doesn't want to fight at first, so Tagawa has his goons burn his gym down. That was a mistake. He thought he had everything planned out, but he never planned on Mitchell being so awesome.

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God I love this movie. It's so amazing. The plot's sweet, the fights are great, and the music is insane. They have the best songs for the beginning, middle, and end. That perfect late 80s crap action give-it-all-you-got rock song with the dude over singing. One of them the guy even does some scat. Wow. And this idea of Sasha Mitchell doesn't want to fight in the kickboxing association, so they burn down his gym. Only in bad action does this kind of thing happen. Can you see Dana White burning down Randy Couture's gym because he left the UFC? But it works so well in Kickboxer 2.

Pyun was having a bad spell here at the DTVC. For a Hall of Famer, two stinkers in a row is a mini crisis. But this film was a big reason why he got in the Hall of Fame, so I was waiting for just this occasion to pull it for him. That way if his newest film, Left for Dead, sucks, he'll at least have this extremely positive review in the middle.

Sasha Mitchell is great in this, as he is in Kickboxer 4. With the strength of this performance, it's kind of a shame he doesn't do more DTV films. According to imdb, he hasn't done anything since 2005, and a DTV work since 2000's Luck of the Draw with Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, and Ice-T. Have to check that out, because we're running out of Mitchells to review. His kickboxing skills are sweet to watch. He's built perfectly for delivering solid knees to the face of his opponent while having him locked in the Muay Thai clinch. We need him back.

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Cary Tagawa is great as the baddie. The idea of using unlimited Thai funds to usurp Peter Boyle's upstart kickboxing federation in order to get Tong Po a rematch with the youngest Sloan brother in order to retain Thai honor is fantastic, and Tagawa plays his part without the slightest twinge of irony. He really is one of the great DTV baddies, and we need only look to two Dolph Lundgren greats, Bridge of Dragons and Showdown in Little Tokyo, for proof of that. As an aside, if you ever wanna see a softer side of Cary, check him out in the bland Disney made-for-TV flick Johnny Tsunami, where he plays the cool surfer grandfather.

This has so many people in it. Peter Boyle, the dad from Everybody Loves Raymond is the guy starting a kickboxing federation. Albert Pyun mainstay Vincent Klyn plays Tagawa's righthand man. That means with Tong Po, you have three people playing Thai characters, and none of them are Thai. Miami Vice fans will love John Diehl as the accountant/manager/whatever to Mitchell. One cameo I dug was Brian Austin Green as the young punk who Mitchell teaches a lesson to at the very beginning. You may remember Green as David Silver on Beverly Hills 90210. My favorite moment from his run on that show was the time he was working the wheels of steel with this dude from the ghetto, and the kid was surprised at how good he was. Silver's response: "I may be white, but I'm not vanilla!"

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My friend at Movies in the Attic (you can find a link to his site in the section listed "Other great sites") told me that Van Damme didn't do this film because he didn't get a long with Albert Pyun after a falling out during Cyborg. I didn't know that. I wonder what the film would've been like with the Muscles from Brussels. Don't get me wrong, I like Mitchell, and I like this with him; I'm just curious. What would be cool is if part 6 had Van Damme fight Mitchell, then team up and beat a bunch of other guys up. Can we do that?

If you haven't seen this, you can't call yourself a bad movie honk. I probably should've posted it sooner, but I wanted to save the best Kickboxer for last, and I also wanted to see it again to put all the great parts fresh in my mind. However you gotta make this happen, do it. You won't disappointed.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102202/

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