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 24, 2008

Redemption (2002)


Some of these movies just show up in my Netflix queue. I put them in in like December when I'm killing time and searching for actors I like, then have no clue what happened when they show up in my mailbox 8 months later. It's kind of a fun surprise-- except for when the movie sucks.

Redemption has Don "The Dragon" Wilson as a cop who's the head of some elite SWAT team. Richard Norton doesn't like him very much, but Cynthia Rothrock does. When a partner's killed, Norton takes his chance and gets Donny thrown off the force. With no money, his hooker friend gets him a job with Chris Penn, who's some big drug lord. After making an assload of cash, he's faced with the decision of continuing his life of crime, or finding redemption by righting his wrongs.


Nope. Absolutely not. Ten kinds of wrong. Not even close. Bor-ing. Here's another excellent case of having a great cast, and doing nothing with it. Very little action. Best scenes are at the very end, where we really see D "The D" Dubs kick some ass, and a dude blows up a car with a rocket launcher. Why didn't someone just cut and paste that type of sweetness over and over until there was 88 minutes of film? Too much plot exposition, too crappy a plot, and with the talent they had, we needed more martial arts and more excitement.

Let's start with Donny. Hall of Famer as of last year. Last film reviewed, Future Kick, wasn't received too poorly. Overall, he's been kind of hit or miss. One of his major drawbacks is he's a horrible actor, so every time he reads his lines, I cringe. His upside comes in his great martial arts skills, and in films where the action's really ramped up, he's really fun to watch. If he's spending less time kicking three guys at once, and more time showing hookers his sensitive side, I feel like I've been ripped off. Also of note, he does get out on the dance floor for a second. He's not anywhere near as funny as Van Damme in Kickboxer, but he's still funny.


Cynthia Rothrock is slated for induction into the DTVC Hall of Fame in October, making her the first female member. This is not her movie, it's Donny's, and so she's not featured too prominently. Her movies have proven a little harder than I thought to track down. Part of the problem is she hasn't done much in the past ten years, and I guess it isn't a priority for Netflix to get their hands on some of the horrible DVD translations of her earlier greats. China O'Brien and Lady Dragon are in the "Saved" section of my Netflix queue, their availability unknown.

Usually in a film starring Cynthia Rothrock, we see Richard Norton, so it was a surprise to see him in one where Rothrock only co-starred. Unfortunately, that meant he wasn't in it much, which I guess would've been all right, but we were teased with a Dragon/Norton showdown, then had it taken away. They kind of scuffle for a bit, and it's poorly choreographed, and no one wins. Are you kidding me? This is almost as bad as when Donny and Lorenzo Lamas were on screen together for two seconds in X-Treme Fighter. Who could be so dense as to purposefully cast Norton and Wilson, then not have them fight each other or together?


Well, the answer my faithful readers, is one Mr. David DeFalco. This is the fourth film of his I've reviewed, and because of the star power he had at his disposal, it might be the most disappointing. Gangland at least made good use of Sasha Mitchell, Costas Mandylor, Kathleen Kinmont, and Vincent Klyn. I don't know why he didn't make the screenwriters and director change this to a post-apocalyptic thriller where Wilson, Rothrock, and Norton have to fight their way through all sorts of baddies to save a doctor who has the cure for a plague. DeFalco should only produce movies like that.

This is the second film of Chris Penn's I've done, and also the second where he co-starred w/ Wilson (the other being Future Kick). It's pretty obvious that as an actor he's head and shoulders above his cast mates. I loved his part in this, and wanted more. Usually David DeFalco goes with Andrew Dice Clay for this type of role (loudmouthed Italian big shot), so it was a nice to see this alternative.

I'd have to say this isn't worth the money. It's a shame, too, because there's really no reason for it. We need some laws in place that hold film makers accountable for the misuse of great star power. But until then, you have people like me here to warn you ahead of time to not waste your cash.

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