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 12, 2009

Nemesis (1993)


This has been a long time coming. Nemesis is one of those movies the DTVC was made for, and it's one of those movies that should've probably been one of my first ever posts. But back then I didn't have a copy of the movie. I finally got around to ordering it on Amazon, and the front end of it was cracked, and it didn't look like it would play. I watched The Circuit 2 just in case I couldn't make it work, so I'd have another Gruner film to review in this spot. But alas, we made it, and here it is. Also, this is the maiden voyage of my video capture software which will allow me to grab images off VHS. Not great, but the video wasn't great, so given the circumstances, pretty good.

Nemesis takes place in 2027. In it Gruner plays a cop tracking terrorists, who's ambushed and pretty much dies. He's reborn with cybernetic parts, and Tim Thomerson sends him after an old cyborg flame of his to get some data from her. If he doesn't do it, a bomb in his heart will detonate and he'll be donezo. But things aren't what they seem in 2027, and Gruner doesn't know who's good and who's bad. He doesn't even know if he's human anymore, or what being human even means. Luckily for us, he recovers from this existentialist nightmare in time to kick some major ass.


I'm not sure if, other than maybe Stone Cold, there's been a more requested film on the DTVC. And the demand for it has only gone up since I've made a concerted effort to get more Gruner here. I actually realized when I watched it last night, that I'd seen it before. For some reason I thought Nemesis was something else. The film came out in 1993, and I probably watched it somewhere around then, so that's 15 or 16 years ago. It's crazy to think that.

This is a decent film. It's essentially a futuristic western, which is cool. The action and fighting are decent, with plenty of sweet explosions and gun play. There were tons of silly elements too, like the idea of Japan and The US merging, or that we'd annex Mexico and turn it into New America. And I have no clue what New Rio de Janeiro is. Did the Brazilians become a colonial empire in the future? Maybe all the soccer players and MMA fighters broke off and started their own country on an island in the Bahamas. The truth is, that kind of silliness makes the movie for me as much as the action does.


Gruner's great here. This is the fourth film of his we've reviewed, and I think it's right up there with The Circuit. Maybe just a bit behind it. But I can't argue with anyone who likes this better. Especially when one takes into account the mullet he has in one scene that looks like Adrian Paul in a Scottish Highlands flashback sequence. Amazing. As it stands right now I'm looking at Gruner and Gary Daniels as inductees for the 2009 class of the DTVC Hall of Fame. With the response I've gotten from readers about both actors, I think that'll go over well. Look for The Circuit 2 in the next 8 posts or so as his next film.

The last Pyun film we did was Cyborg, back on post 251 (it was supposed to be 250, but I miscounted, and Beer for my Horses with Toby Keith was 250), so it's been a whopping fifty entries since his last review. That's crazy, and I don't know how that happened, because he has quite a bit out there that still needs to be covered. I may do Alien From LA next, just because it would be interesting to see the non-MST3K version. As far as this film goes, I think going up and down the list of Pyun films, I put this right behind Cyborg, and maybe make it even with Omega Doom. I really like Omega Doom as a Yojimbo remake. This film really has those elements I like too: that kind of western/samurai movie set in the future. I'm excited to see what Tales of an Ancient Empire ends up looking like.


This is quite the ensemble cast. You have Pyun mainstays Tim Thomerson, Vincent Klyn, and Thom Mathews. Then there's DTVC faves Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Brion James. Then there's a cameo from Branscombe Richmond of Renegade fame. A young Thomas Jane plays Billy, and I must say he's more believable as Billy than he was as the Punisher. Sven-Ole Thorsen has one of the most memorable scenes, when he's blown away by an old lady. Finally, Marjean Holden has a part, and I don't remember seeing her. If you don't know who she is, then you've never seen the Beastmaster TV show, and it's possible you might be better for that. If there's one thing Pyun does well, he loads his films with talent.

This is a difficult find. You can either try Amazon and get it used on VHS, or search the bargain bins in your area and hope you strike gold. It's definitely a necessary watch, and it'll be worth it once you finally do track it down. Why this isn't available on DVD anymore and easier to come by is beyond me.

For more info:


  1. How the heck has nobody commented on this awesome piece of Pyun gold yet?!
    Great review. I love this film with a passion, mainly for how stylish it is and for the balls to the wall action. It's just insane.

  2. This is one of those reviews that came before I was receiving regular comments, meaning before I had a solid core of readers, so probably most readers don't even know I reviewed this one! It is a great flick though, isn't it? And I appreciate you coming in and dropping some love on one of our earlier, less read posts!

  3. Well, I'm honored to be the first then. lol. I'm still shocked nobody's gone back to scour your back catalog of reviews. I mean, even I do that from time to time. But you do have a pretty impressive core group of followers now. That's really great and a testament to your great site. Keep up the good work!