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, November 19, 2008

The Art of War II: Betrayal (2008)

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This was one of many I came across when I looked up Wesley Snipes on imdb. I actually hadn't seen the first Art of War, which was released theatrically in 2000, so I rented that first. Someone I work with told me it was great, and I took his recommendation with a grain of salt, and it turns out I was right to. This movie, I was hoping, was a different story.

The Art of War II: Betrayal takes place however long after the first one, and Snipes is working in Hollywood. He's pulled into some intrigue involving senators and arms bills. As was the case in the first one, he's framed for a murder, and has to figure out who the bad guy is, and kill him, so he can clear his name.

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I saw on imdb that someone killed this, and said part one was better. I kind of have to disagree. This wasn't worse at all. It had a fair amount of Snipes doing some sweet martial arts, maybe more than the first one; and the plot was pretty much the same-- which for a DTV actioner, it was fine, but for a major theatrical release, notsomuch. There was this special gun with bullets that could go through stuff, and the computer animation for it was great. By great I mean hilarious. Maybe this one didn't have the star power the first one did, but by the same token, I didn't have to feel bad for Donald Sutherland either.

Now I'm not saying this was all good. It had some distracting qualities. They used the speed up and slow down the film technique, which probably seems like a good idea at the time, but for us watching it, becomes really tedious. Also, a lot of the great action came with a big buildup, which was really unnecessary in my opinion, especially when the scenes themselves didn't live up to the buildup. There was a shootout in a warehouse that had like ten minutes of people getting ready to go in and talking about it, and when the shootout actually happened, it was totally weak.

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Snipes was awesome. A good amount of his martial arts work, which is what I want. My friend was remarking that training in martial arts can ruin someone's athletic ability, making their movements less fluid. Snipes definitely discredits that theory. I can't get enough of watching him fight. That scene in Blade 2 where he gets the blood in him and you hear "listen all you motherfuckers" is so sweet, and yet he does all these new DTV films where he's the star, and they never tap into that awesomeness. This film at least did so to some extent, and they should be applauded for that.

That brings up another issue: Snipes' legal trouble. How's that gonna work for his burgeoning DTV career? I don't know when he starts his three years, or if they'll let him out to act in movies like they did for Robert Downey jr. He has one movie listed as filming, so I guess he plans on getting that one in before, but that would suck if he has to put his career on the shelf for a while. I mean I think that would suck... not all of his DTV films have been that great.

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This movie has Lochlyn Munro playing a movie star running for the senate. Not sure I can ever get over him as the crazy guy in Dead Man on Campus. That movie was a big deal for us, because in our high school, there was a huge rumor that Mark-Paul Gosselaar was dead. This was before the Internet was huge, and before the imdb, so we had no real corroboration. Then someone looked up info on this film, and we found out the truth... after I'd already graduated. For the record, I never believed it... pretty much.

I kinda dug this bad boy. I wouldn't go crazy out of my way to see it, but if you're at the video store and you're hard up and you like Wesley Snipes, you could do a whole lot worse. On the other hand, this might be decent, but it's not going to get him into the DTVC Hall of Fame.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1233571/

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