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, May 11, 2009

Enter the Dragon (1973)

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When I first started the DTVC, I had no idea I would be still writing it two years later, or that I'd be writing my 300th post. When I look at the archives, I see films like Bad Taste, that were DTV, that would've probably been a better choice for number 300, but because I was trying to get as many films up as possible in the early going, have already been covered. I tried to think of what would really fit a milestone post, and I came up with this. Even if it isn't DTV, it's had a such a huge impact on so many DTV films, that it deserves a place here on the blog.

Enter the Dragon has Bruce Lee working for the British in Hong Kong. He's sent to infiltrate this guy Han's stronghold by way of entering in a fighting tournament Han hosts. Also in the tournament are John Saxon and Jim Kelly. Lee has to do his thing in the tournament by day, and then sneak around the compound by night looking for incriminating evidence so the Brits can call in their forces. The whole thing ends in a huge melee.

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I think you know what I'm going to say, otherwise this wouldn't be post 300. This is obviously a classic. I might go out on a limb here for a second, though, and say this isn't necessarily a great film on its own: the plot is pretty uninspired, there's plenty of ridiculousness, like Jim Kelly beating up two cops and driving off in their cop car-- what I'm saying is there isn't much to separate this film from others in the genre.

There isn't much, but the one huge factor this does have that the others don't is Bruce Lee. He's what turns the whole film into a classic. He's so powerful a presence that he can steal a scene just through one look. You almost feel robbed with every second he's not on the screen. It's like watching a bad Film Noir from the 40s with Humphrey Bogart in it. Some actors just have the ability to transform ordinary crap into brilliance. The shame is that this would be the last film of his released while he was alive, because he died the same year, in 1973.

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I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone reading this about how huge Enter the Dragon's impact has been in the movie industry. Mortal Kombat was almost a straight remake. What about Bloodfist 2? Just think of all the martial arts films that involve some kind of tournament run by an evil crime lord. All because one man elevated a mediocre movie into something truly amazing, and a generation of film makers saw him and said "I want to make a movie with him", and a generation of actors said "I want to be him".

After Bruce Lee, the next big name in the film is John Saxon, who plays a smooth talking fighter with a compulsive gambling problem. Most of us are familiar with Saxon either through his work in the MST3K hit Mitchell, or his role in Nightmare on Elm Street. I think it's a no brainer that this character in Enter the Dragon is his best. He's cool, funny, flawed, yet at heart a good guy. We wonder at the end if he chooses not to fight Lee because he knows he can't win, or because he really has altruistic motives, but it's immaterial, because he still makes the right decision.

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I mentioned above Jim Kelly is in this. He's pretty sweet, as always. When I was in high school, one of my friends wanted to have an MST3K style party where we each rented a bad movie to make fun of. I thought I was a shoo in for the movie of the night with Black Belt Jones 2 aka The Tattoo Connection. It was great, and it had Bolo Yeung. I would be undone, though, by my friend's selection of Bad Taste. "Look Poirier", he said "so great your VCR will cry out for windshield wipers. We have to get it!". That film would go on to be the biggest movie among my group of friends, with us watching it literally hundreds of times; and with it's director, Peter Jackson going on to win an Oscar; while I haven't seen The Tattoo Connection since.

We all love Bolo Yeung here at the DTVC. Wanna guess how old he is? 70. I am not fucking with you. 70 years young. I haven't seen him in anything recently, so I don't know if he looks good for his age or not, but he was 50 when Bloodsport came out, and I thought he looked pretty good for 50 then, considering I had no idea he was even close to FIFTY! According to imdb he swam from China to Hong Kong in the '60s to escape Communism. How is he not the greatest man that's ever lived?

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I know in my last post I ripped Wanted for being a sack of asscrack, and I think I'm going to do it some more, though not just Wanted, but most new movies in general. There's a scene in this film where fruit is thrown in the air, and people throw daggers into them. All we see is the fruit going up, someone throwing a dagger off screen, and then the fruit falling with a dagger in it. I bring this up, because if this had been made today, the whole thing would've been done with CGIs, and the film makers would've been extremely proud of themselves, like in Wanted when they had bullets flying into each other. Why do they think we need that? It worked fine in Enter the Dragon without that crap, in fact it worked better, because it looked much more realistic.

If you haven't seen this, what are you waiting for? This is a must watch if there ever was one. If you haven't seen it in a while you probably should catch it again too. This is really what's about. So much has come from this one film, and I'm sure so much will come from it in the future. A true masterpiece with a true master of the craft in Bruce Lee.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070034/

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on 300, and let me say thanks from us loyal readers. You put in a lot of work Matt, and it is appreciated. Wish we could do more for you!
    I can help you out with a dvd of Nemesis, or I Come In Peace, or whatever else you may need if you would like, just let me know.
    Call it a anniversary gift of appreciation for the great posting.

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  2. Just reading, commenting, and making suggestions is thanks enough, and I appreciate that. I know a reader a while back offered me a DVD of I Come in Peace, but I never heard back from him. That would be amazing if you had a copy of it you'd like to part with. I still don't know why that hasn't been released on DVD yet.

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  3. I got you covered there for sure. It's a real legit transfer too, not from VHS and what not. I cant believe they haven't put out a release here either. Shame. You know Dolph has Direct Contact coming out on release on June 2d, right? GOT to be better than Diamond Dogs. The trailer looks decent. You know....if you are a DTV Dolph guy.

    http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2009/04/08/Trailer-for-Dolph-Lundgrens-DIRECT-CONTACT

    Oh, And THANK YOU for finally putting up Stone Cold, I'm making it mandatory viewing here tonight in honor. Damn that mullet is the stuff of legends.

    Hit me up at RepoGenetic@yahoo.com and we can work out the details for me to get your DVD.

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  4. Oh, if there's anyone we love here at the DTVC, it's Dolph. He's like our Babe Ruth. I have Direct Contact at the top of my queue, waiting for it to be released. I've kind of slowed down on reviewing his movies, because one, I've almost reviewed them all, and two, I'm trying to give cats like Gruner and Daniels a little more run.

    ReplyDelete