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, December 17, 2008

Laser Mission (1990)

Photobucket

I had heard of this movie a long time ago, but had completely forgotten about until reminded by my friend at Movies in the Attic. I knew it was vital to have this reviewed for the DTVC, especially since it has Brandon Lee before he died, and Ernest Borgnine.

Laser Mission has Lee working as a freelance spy-type dude who's hired to free Ernest Borgnine from the Soviets, or the Germans, or the Cubans, or some guy who likes to hunt... or... I don't really know, and does it matter? He's joined by a hot blond he thinks is Borgnine's daughter, and they travel to Trinidad and Tobago... or maybe it's Angola... or Namibia... or Grenada... again, does it matter? Hella explosions, sweet Brandon Lee martial arts: just a good old time.

Photobucket

Me and some friends watched this the night after seeing Lorenzo Lamas and Mystikal in 13 Dead Men (which I've reviewed below), and one of them couldn't take it anymore. He wanted to watch "something good", and we rented that James Bond movie Casino Royale on On Demand. I know I usually sound facetious when I make comments like this, but I thought Laser Mission was better. Other than the best foot chase since Point Break, Casino Royale had nothing going for it that I couldn't get out of a Steven Seagal flick. Laser Mission, on the other hand, was hilarious, and plot wise wasn't much more of a stretch than the yarn I was served in the Bond film. Just because the store packages the generic cola in a better looking bottle, doesn't make it taste more like Coke.

For a Dr. Rocket or Mr. Pibb, this wasn't a bad alternative to Dr. Pepper. I mean, it was cheap as hell; the plot made no sense; and I had no idea who anyone was or where in the world we were. One minute Lee's in a desert, the next he's in Trinidad and Tobago. But it hit it's spots. The main baddie kept coming back to life, and finally died when Lee rammed him into a concrete wall that exploded when he hit it. That's what I'm talking about. The movie also had it's surprises. There was a helicopter that managed to avoid being blown up. I was shocked.

Photobucket

Brandon Lee was pretty sweet in this. He wasn't used as effectively as I would've liked, with the director favoring shots of him hanging outside of a van with his mouth open firing an uzi, as opposed to him flexing his martial arts; but overall, he was good. He was as funny as he was in Showdown, which is impressive, when you consider how often these bad movie fall on their face when they try to make jokes (see the recent Zombie Strippers! for example). It's really a shame we only have a few movies with him before he died, because he'd have been a definite in the DTVC Hall of Fame after his career waned with Van Damme and Seagal's (you know it would've, I'm just keeping it real).

Ernest Borgnine was totally wasted here. He was given a crappy accent. I just don't get this fetish people have with making actors affect crappy accents. They sound stupid. Granted, some sound funny and stupid, which can be great to laugh at. But most seem to me as ways to ruin what could've been otherwise great appearances by great actors. Would anyone have liked The Wild Bunch better if Ernest Borgnine had a bad accent in it? No, they would've thought it a stupid move on the film maker's part. As an aside, Borgnine won the Best Actor Oscar in 1955 for Marty, even though I've always thought James Dean was better in Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden, both from the same year.

Photobucket

One thing that was interesting about seeing Casino Royale and Laser Mission in the same night was the juxtaposition between the Cold War and espionage, and now the attempt to remake the genre with international terrorism as the monolithic bad guy. I guess there isn't much to juxtapose: whether it's big budget gritty new millennium fare, or campy low-budget Regan era fare, it's pretty much the same thing. I haven't seen Quantum of Solace yet, but I'm not too excited about the prospect either. I think the spy film needs an overhaul, and selling it as hard-edged because a guy gets hit in the balls a lot and another one cries blood out of his eye, isn't reworking it. These people need to go back to some greats like Le Samourai or The Maltese Falcon, neither of which is about spying, per se, but the suspense and action and cool characters are all elements we'd want out of a good spy picture.

You need to see this if you haven't just for the Brandon Lee factor. He doesn't have much work out there, but what he has is all good-- at least he is in them, in my opinion. It's a fun actioner with plenty to make fun of, but beware, it's very bad and very low budget. Be ready to crack plenty of jokes.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099978/

4 comments:

  1. But what I really want to know is did Borgnine have the biggest dick he's ever seen on a man?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to assume no, but it's entirely possible that since he hadn't met Dolph yet, that he could've.

    ReplyDelete
  3. nice, how they use a pic from rapid fire for this piece of crap...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Piece of crap perhaps, but an extremely entertaining one. This was totally a fun time.

    ReplyDelete