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.

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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.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Against the Dark (2009)

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I'm sure everyone here who's been rockin' with the DTVC for some time know that I've been trying to get my hands on this movie for a while. Netflix had some trouble with its availability. I guess everyone wanted to know what a Steven Seagal vampire filck would be like.

Against the Dark is an I Am Legend style ripoff about a group of people trying to escape through a hospital before the vampire/zombie/mutant people can eat them, and before the generator shuts down and locks the security doors. At the same time, a group of former soldiers called The Hunters, led by Seagal, are sweeping through the hospital looking for survivors. At the same time as that, Linden Ashby is trying to keep military higher up Keith David from ordering the Air Force to bomb the hell out of the place before Seagal and his crew get out on time.

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This sucked. First off, total Seagal bait-and-switch. He's not the focal point, despite what the cover may tell you. The people trying to escape are the focal point. That means Seagal isn't in the film much until he meets with the group at the end. Ugh! I was looking for vampires at raves. I was looking for Seagal as a sword wielding vampire slayer. I wanted him to take out Dracula, or someone like him, at the end. Instead I got this sack-of-asscrack identity crisis that didn't know if it was a gross horror film or an action film or a sci-fi film or a samurai film; and didn't know if it was I Am Legend or just loosely based, and how loosely based it should be.

It was a shame, because there were some cool elements that could've been built upon. First, the I Am Legend theme in and of itself wasn't horrible, just the execution. Much of the film was this group of people walking around and almost getting attacked. There was also this samurai film element with Seagal dispatching the vampires/zombies/mutants with his sword in a style reminiscent of the genre. I know tons of people do remakes of Yojimbo, but it would've been cool if they could've taken some of those elements and blended them with the I Am Legend elements. Imagine the group approaching Seagal to help them fight the vampires and protect them as they try to get to a safe zone. But he's the reluctant hero, and it takes some convincing. What if they really shook it up and went Seven Samurai and had Seagal lead a group of warriors to protect people besieged by the mutants.

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Seagal is almost 58 years old. I say that because in this film, he doesn't do much except wield a samurai sword, while another guy on his team does most of the fight scenes. Is Seagal slowing down? I can't say I necessarily blame him if he's almost 60. Here I am complaining how I'm turning 30 next week, when he'll be 58 nine days later. Not only that, but he did his first film, Above the Law, when he was 37. Wow, so I still have seven years left to start my own career as an action movie star.

I never thought I'd say this, ever, but I'm about to: The Asylum version was better. I Am Omega, the Mark Dacascos film based on I Am Legend, was better than this film. That's bad, because the thing with The Asylum is they actually try not to try. They put in the extra effort to care less. You know your film really missed the mark if it was worse than a The Asylum picture. I guess the one thing this film had going for it was that no dead guy's head was shoved in a woman's crotch. Stay classy Asylum.

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This movie has Keith David in it, who you may remember from, among other things, The Chronicles of Riddick. I bring that up because I love that movie. I love Vin Diesel's quotes in it: "Stay on my leg when I cut fence, or die here", "It's been a long time since I smelled beautiful", and of course "You made three mistakes. First: you took the job. Second: you came light. Four man crew for me? Fuckin' insulting. And third: you guessed it, empty gun rack." Anyway, I bring this up, because my roommate watches Lost, and she thought Chronicles was ridiculous. Now I'm not saying it wasn't, but anyone who takes seriously a show that had something in it called a "Smoke Monster" has no right to call anything anyone else watches ridiculous. Am I right about that?

I needed to get the warning out on this bad boy ASAP. I just watched it this evening, and was so disappointed. You can rent it, but just know what you're getting into. We're talking limited Seagal, bad I Am Legend ripoff, and total identity crisis leading to paralyzing inactivity at points of the film. Just not what I personally wanted from what was sold to me as a Seagal vampire flick.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1194271/

2 comments:

  1. Bummer. For some reason I had high hopes for this one. I mean, you got to put in the work to mess up Segal and Vampires. Thanks for the work as always. I may suggest Modern Vampires with Casper Van Dien if you are looking for a sweet DTV vamp flick. It's funny as all hell and has Rod Steiger in it too, so you know it's legit.
    Hey, with the recent opening up of the rules and Cyborg and Best Of The Best 2 getting admission, any chance you may re-consider the holy grail of Stone Cold? Because it still breaks my heart The Boz is so underrepped here. Thanks Matt!

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  2. I got three of the Boz's hits in my queue: Mach 2, Phase IV, and The Operative. Which do you want me to do? Stone Cold is actually in play based on the old rules, because it made less than 10 mill (I didn't know that, I probably should've checked, oops), so we'll see that one in eventually as well.

    I like the idea of Modern Vampires, it's now in my queue as well.

    I'm not saying don't watch the Seagal vampire flick, just know you don't get much of him, which was a huge disappointment. It's no Blade II, I'll tell you that.

    Thanks for the support. And when I get back from Seattle I'll review one of those Boz flicks.

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