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

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--Matt

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Prairie Fever (2008)

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When we last left Kevin Sorbo, I was still trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the God-awful Walking Tall 3. It was a very bad scene to say the least, and Sorbo's DTV career was looking rather inauspicious. But I still loved him from Hercules and that Stouffer's macaroni and cheese commercial, so it was only a matter of time before I gave him another chance. Let's see what e did with it.

Prairie Fever is a western that has Sorbo as a disgraced sheriff who has turned to the bottle after fatally shooting his wife in a hostage crisis. In order to pay off his bar tab, he agrees to take three crazy mail-order brides to the train in Carson City. On the way he meets a woman he saw earlier in a bar that was playing poker. She had been traveling the country scamming people with Lance Henriksen, and she decided she'd had enough of him, and she bolted, and he chased her. As they travel, they all grow closer, and have to deal with problems like Henriksen, Don Swayze, and one of the brides' husband and his brother.

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This was pretty iffy. Not much action at all, and pretty slow moving: I was excited when I saw it had an 80 minute running time, but when I thought I was 30 minutes in and checked the display counter only to find I was only at 7 and a half, I realized I was pretty bad off. But that being said, it was kind of nice, especially when we learned the brides weren't really crazy, they just each had situations that traumatized them. The last twenty minutes were pretty decent, but there was just a bunch of nothing going on before it that was hard to sit through.

I watched the Sorbo interview after, and he talked about how he liked the project because it seemed like a nice movie with a positive message that people could enjoy watching. I can see that, and I can get behind that. There were two problems though. One, even with a short running time, there wasn't enough material to keep a viewer from getting bored. It would've worked cut in half as an episode in a TV series. The second thing was that the cover and description make us think we're getting more of an action movie, and it didn't deliver on that at all.

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I liked Sorbo here, and it definitely fit him better to play this flawed, yet good and comedically off-beat character as opposed to the brooding ready to kill character he played in Walking Tall 3. Going back to his comment about him wanting to make positive movies with positive messages, I'm totally behind that, but Walking Tall 3 wasn't that at all. I don't see how cutting a woman's thumbs off squares with that concept. I'm not going to lie, I'd rather see him do these westerns than try the overly serious sack-of-asscrack ever again.

I didn't get the Don Swayze part at all. He played a dude after Sorbo for revenge because Sorbo put him away a while before. He pretty much looks like Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He just didn't seem that threatening, and when he was threatening to Sorbo's character, it made me respect Sorbo's character that much less. In one scene he and his partner are chasing after Sorbo's mule-drawn carriage. Any self-respecting hero would just park his carriage, get down, and pistol whip anyone that looked like that. There are plenty of Canadian character actors that feature in Dolph Lundgren movies and Stargate episodes that would've been perfect for that role, and would've looked sinister enough.

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This also has Dominique Swain. I hadn't really seen her in anything since the Shawn Mullins video "Lullaby". At that time, both her and he were touted as the next big things. I don't know what happened to her, but I'm assuming in his case he could only do the Lou Reed thing so many times before people just decided to listen to Lou Reed instead. I still hear "Lullaby" on the local pop station, forever relegated to 90s one-hit-wonderdom with the likes of "Life is a Highway", "Breakfast at Tiffany's", and "She's so High".

This was a much better effort from Sorbo than Walking Tall 3, but really anything that didn't involve cutting people's thumbs off and Mexicans as drug dealers was going to be better. This is just too slow going to really recommend it. It was more like the first episode of a syndicated TV series with Sorbo at the helm. That's the reality of things right now: he hasn't shown yet that he has the leading man qualities that a Dolph or Seagal or even a Daniel Bernhardt do. We'll see what happens.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1160018/

4 comments:

  1. Kevin Sorbo and Wings Hauser have a western called 'Avenging Angel'. check it.

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  2. I saw Avenging Angel when it first premiered on the Hallmark Channel. I have considered posting it, I just haven't yet because it was a TV movie as opposed to DTV. I think I still have buried it in my Netflix queue though.

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  3. I went into this movie expecting pure cheese but was pleasantly surprised. I bizarrely enjoyed the change of pace in the final confrontation - no big standoff and gunfight, just a... peaceable exchange of words? Huh.

    Well, it was different anyway.

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  4. It was different, there just wasn't much going on, which hurt it for me.

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