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] I'd love to check out what you got.



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.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back (1995)


My friend at Movies in the Attic (a link to which you'll find in the section labeled "Other Great Sites") was not a fan of this movie, and he made no bones about telling me how he felt. As far as he was concerned, the film was racist for the sake of being racist, and it didn't go over well with him. I hadn't seen it in so long, and with my having reviewed the other Best of the Bests, I figured it was time to give it another spin.

Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back has Phillip Rhee back at it as Tommy Lee (not the well-endowed Crue drummer), this time visiting his sister in a small Southern town called Liberty. Her hubby is the sheriff, and the sheriff has his hands full with a group of well-armed Neo-Nazi terrorists. Obviously, he can't handle this on his own, so Rhee's gotta step up and take care of business. Throw in Gina Gershon as a prim but no less hot school teacher, and you got yourself a movie.


I must say I have to respectfully disagree with my friend here. The racism was depicted in this film as nothing short of evil. It may have been a little too visceral, but it was definitely plausible. One additional element I liked was how Dee Wallace Stone's son joined the Neo-Nazi gang because he was poor, jobless, and educationless. This is a formula that terrorist groups look to for recruitment all over the world, and it was a touch of realism I wasn't expecting in a DTV actioner. The film also did a great job discussing how separate but equal only reinforces the idea that one group of people is inferior, which is an important point in developing racial sensitivity in this country.

That being said, where this film was totally unrealistic was in how the sheriff wasn't in on it. What I mean is, had the local police been in cahoots with the skinheads, you could see them taking over the town; but with the sheriff actively opposing them, it makes no sense that he wouldn't call in the FBI. The federal government would love to know if a Neo-Nazi terrorist group was arming itself with stinger missiles and high-powered assault rifles, and in a few days they'd shoot down there and take them out. The common joke about the KKK is that they have more undercover FBI agents in their ranks now than actual members. It just would've made more sense if Rhee had to take down both the local cops and the skinheads.


Speaking of Rhee and the overall action, it was pretty stellar. Rhee is just amazing. I don't know how this guy ended up only being in so few films. According to imdb he's only 46, which, when compared to Seagal, makes him a baby. He just kicks so much ass, it's ridiculous that he has such a small filmography. He also directed this film, and the action was relentless. Once it kicked in, it didn't stop. Rhee understands what we want out of an action film: killer martial arts, major explosions, and extreme gunfire. This film delivered in spades.

Rhee's sheriff brother-in-law was played by Shooter McGavin from Billy Madison 2: Happy Gilmore. As far as the Billy Madison movies go, I think Happy Gilmore is probably the one I liked best, after the original, of course. By the time we hit Billy Madison VI: Little Nicky, I felt like maybe the series had run its course, but the film still made almost $40 mill, and who knows how much more after with rentals, DVD sales, and TV rights. I can't blame Sandler for still going to that well if the cash is there, even if the movies make me feel dumber for having watched them.


The bad guy was played by Mark Rolston, a pretty ubiquitous That Guy who you'd know if you saw him. He was in one film we've already reviewed, Scorcher, which had Rutger Hauer as the President. Anyway, who he is isn't important. What got me about him was how he wore these big black boots over his jeans. As I'm sure many people know this is a style that women rock quite a bit nowadays, and mentally I've kind of associated that look with femininity, so seeing him rock that look too made me him seem off. It was just weird. Maybe it's just me.

So I'm all in favor of this one. I say just take a night and watch all four, because even though I haven't reviewed it yet, I can tell you four's hot too. The racism in three is rough stuff, but it doesn't go unvanquished, and it's pretty well understood that it's a very bad thing that must be dealt with. Rhee's awesome, the action's awesome, how can you go wrong?

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