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

Monday, March 2, 2009

Scorcher (2002)

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This is not one of the fictitious films Ben Stiller's character starred in in Tropic Thunder. Though that would be awesome, instead I picked this 2002 film because it stars DTVC Hall of Famer Rutger Hauer, and future Hall of Famer Mark Dacascos. Really, if I could, I'd love to see the fake one in that movie with the monks that had Robert Downey jr.'s character and Toby McGuire. That was hilarious.

Scorcher is a disaster movie where all sorts of bad stuff is happening to the Earth, and if no one does anything to stop it, we'll all die. In this case, the Chinese have made the tectonic plates under the Pacific shift after some underground nuclear testing. John Rhys-Davies and his daughter are experts in the field, and they tell our president, Rutger Hauer, that a nuclear bomb must be set off in Los Angeles to stop them, or we'll all die after the Earth incinerates itself. Mark Dacascos is called in to make sure he and his team get the bomb down there after LA is evacuated. As an aside, Dacasos's daughter doesn't make it out of the city, and is stranded. She's captured by some nutjob with a burned face who wants to set her on fire. It's not a question of whether Dacascos will pull everything off, just a matter of how plausible it will be by the time the 91 minutes is up.

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You want your answer? Not very. These kinds of low budget disaster films are usually crap anyway, but this one just got bogged down in the miasma of trying to fill 90 minutes worth of movie with 15 minutes worth of movie material. Really. Syndicated action shows have done more in 42 minutes. So to fill time, they had random ambushes, the thing with his daughter, and a conflict where this creepy guy who's been in every CBS crime drama is a bad guy sent to make sure Dacascos has a hard time. What we got was a total snoozefest.

Let's start where we always do, with the film's Hall of Famer, in this case Rutger Hauer. Amazing casting choice as the president. Almost as good as Jerry Springer in The Defender. In one scene, he says, after given an explanation by Davies of what's happening to the planet, "In English, please." You mean in Dutch, right? As is always the case, though, with movies like this, we see very little of Hauer. He gives a state of the union address that's pretty take-it-or-leave-it. For the most part he's just a dupe that has no idea what's going on and is easily swayed by his generals. Just not what I want from my Rutger Hauer president. He needs to kick ass, cut through the red tape, and get shit done. Good casting decision, but missed opportunity.

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Dacascos isn't bad, but this is kind of a step backwards from I Am Omega and... and... wow, the last Dacascos film I did before I Am Omega was Redline back in June of '08, which also had Rutger Hauer. I didn't know it had been that long. He was definitely better in either of those than he was in this, but not for lack of trying. He was saddled with a bad script and poor plot premise. There just wasn't much for him to do. I also noticed he seemed to be trying to mask his Hawaiian accent some. Bad move. The Hawaiian accent, like the Southern or New York accent, is one of those ones that works, and doesn't need to be covered or changed. It's not like he's from Maine, like I am. Now that's not a cool accent. I do my best everyday to avoid dropping my "R's". I'm thinking after this picture it's time to go ahead and finally cover Kickboxer 5. I know what you're thinking "do you have to?" I do. Sorry.

The subplot with Dacascos's daughter was pretty superfluous and really annoying. First off, the guy that captured her had a gross face. Why? Second, we knew she wasn't going to be killed, so each scene where she tried to escape or tried to get her Blackberry or whatever was just exasperating. And finally, we knew that crap was only in the film because there wasn't much to tell about military guys taking a nuclear bomb to some place in LA and setting it off. The moment they started adding stupid crap to pad out the film should've been the moment they realized they needed to make something else. Maybe a post-apocalyptic actioner where Hauer is still president, and he and Dacascos are trying to hold together the remains of civilization. Sounds better already.

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John Rhys-Davies is in this. I bring it up because he's not in the new Indiana Jones movie, at least according to imdb. I haven't actually seen the film yet, so I don't know. I plan on watching it, I just don't want to pay for it, because I saw it as a transparent cash-grab. Now, I must confess that I did, in fact, contribute to the film's earnings, when I had the Indiana Jones burger at Burger King. That was my one moment of weakness. No matter how principled I am, fast food will always bring me down. Ugh! I hate myself sometimes...

This might not be so bad if you see it on Sci-Fi or something, but to go out and rent it is a bad idea. There just isn't enough material to make a full length movie, and the stuff they add is just that, stuff they add, and it doesn't fit organically within the film. I'm sure at the drawing board it seemed like a good idea, and they did manage some grade A talent, but in the end it just doesn't come off, and worse over, it's just plain boring.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0303017/

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