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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Best of the Best 2 (1993)

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This is a movie I've been trying to get up for a long time. It's one of those movies that makes me proud to be a connoisseur of DTV video (is that redundant?). Watching it again recently just reinforced how much I love it.

Best of the Best 2 takes place some time after the first one. Phillip Rhee, Eric Roberts, and Chris Penn have all opened a karate school in Las Vegas. Penn has also found his way into an underground fighting ring called The Colosseum, run by Ralf Moeller and managed by Wayne Newton. He's killed by Moeller in a fight, and has his body dumped in the river, but not before Roberts' son witnesses the event and tells Rhee and Roberts. They go after Moeller and Newton, only to have to go into hiding to train to fight Moeller when he sends a hit squad after them. He's salted because Rhee sent his face into a mirror, cutting him badly. Long story short, Moeller catches Rhee, makes him fight him, while Roberts rushes in to help save the day.

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Don't get me wrong here. Though I may call this awesome, and it is, I must stress that it is extremely silly. One of my roommates came in as they were dragging Penn's body from the river, and Rhee says to Roberts "They're calling it an accident!" She burst out laughing. That's what you can expect from this: it's paint-by-numbers, but paint-by-numbers done well. Great martial arts, a fair amount of gunfire, some explosions mixed in, and a plot that didn't get in the way of the action.

Phillip Rhee was better here than in part 1. His martial arts skills are off the hook. He has one scene when he and Roberts are taking out a Ralf Moeller hit squad, and this guy has a gun on him. So he disarms him by twisting his wrist, and he's got the guy arm, and he's saying to him "do you want to shoot me now? Huh? Do you?" That being said, I was unimpressed with the scene where he's captured by Moeller's goons. I know I tend to give Seagal a hard time because his characters seem to be omnipotent, but at the same time, it's annoying to see a hero so awesome relegated to wuss status so easily by a few armed men. The same armed men he took out just as armed however many scenes before. We as movie watchers would've believed it just as much if he'd not been captured, but instead infiltrated the fight the way Schwarzenegger did in Conan, or Bernhardt did in Bloodsport 3.

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This film makes the rather dubious claim that it's introducing us to Ralf Moeller. I was suspicious, so I looked him up. Not only was he in Cyborg, but he also did Universal Soldier. Why would they make a claim like that? They must've thought he'd be the next Schwarzenegger. If you listen, he even sounds like him sometimes. I think even as a poor man's Arnold, he's not quite there, if you consider his work on the Conan series. Could you see him now trying to drum support for a gubernatorial campaign? "Help me get special interests out of Sacramento." It just sounds better when Arnold says it.

Chris Penn is killed off here, and unfortunately, they don't bring him back as a twin brother or something later on. I guess it had to happen, I was just disappointed when it did. Penn is no longer with us in real life, but he left behind quite a legacy in the film world. His imdb bio is interesting, because it fluctuates between big screen blockbusters to DTV actioners starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson. I'm not sure who his agent was, or if he just owed a lot of people during his career, but you'd think he'd've been able to turn one or two of those bigger movies into something where he didn't have to do the bad ones anymore.

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Wayne Newton plays a definite heel here. I'm not sure I care too much about that. He very easily could be a heel in real life. One thing I do know is that his birthday is two days after mine, so he and I are both Aries. As is Steven Seagal. I wonder if there's anything to this zodiac stuff, and if so, if Newton, Seagal, and I all have certain personality traits in common. Maybe the three of us could go on a picnic this summer and find out. I'd like that.

This is a good time. If you love bad action, you'll love this. It's got everything you could want, without being bogged down too much in the stuff you don't. You're best bet is to slap it on your Netflix queue.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106393/

4 comments:

  1. Definitely one of the classic bad action movies out there. I remember seeing this three times at the theater back in the day, but it's nice you made an exception for such an off-the-chain movie. It's DTV in spirit. Great site, btw.

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  2. Thanks for your comments, and also nice to have you as a follower to the blog. Yeah, my not so hard and fast rule is if a movie made less than ten mill in the theater I include it, but I've recently gotten a little looser after my inclusion of Cyborg. That's so cool that you got to see this in the theater, because it didn't play in my area, and I only got to see it on video. It really is off-the-chain.

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  3. Classic B-flick!

    Wayne Newton was hilarious in this! I think he said Moeller's name "Brakus" a million times!

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  4. Yeah, Wayne Newton is someone you just can't go wrong with, especially in a bad action movie.

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