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 18, 2009

Stranglehold (1994)

Photobucket

I saw a trailer for this while watching another Jerry Trimble film. I can't remember which one it was, but I'm not sure how much that matters. With Live by the Fist and One Man Army being so awesome, I was geared up for another Trimble action-fest.

Stranglehold is about some chemical manufacturing plant in Malaysia run by an American corporation that's taken hostage by a huge Australian man and his cronies while an American congresswoman is visiting. The congresswoman's dad has a former CIA operative, Jerry Trimble, tag along for protection, and boy did they need him. Now Trimble's gotta get the congresswoman out alive, while stopping the Australian from escaping with some nerve gas.

Photobucket

This was a huge waste. Jerry Trimble, amazing kickboxer, and the director has him running around with an assault rifle the whole time. Trimble tried valiantly to pull it off, but that's not how he gets down. He looked like a fish out of water. Now, with Trimble in an extremely limited martial arts capacity, we're stuck with a low-rent Die Hard ripoff. For a film with a 70-minute running time, it felt like I was watching it for three hours.

The director of this film was Cirio H. Santiago, and he's done five other films reviewed here on the DTVC, including the amazing Live by the Fist and One Man Army. That makes this movie all the more inexcusable. What was this guy thinking? Did he not know the masterpiece he made with Live by the Fist? How could he not have? Sure, this had some great explosions, and there was plenty of shooting, but when I see Jerry Trimble's name on the cover, I expect Live by the Fist caliber fighting too.

Photobucket

In the few scenes where Trimble actually did have to do some hand-to-hand combat, he excelled, as one would expect. In the trailer for the film, all these martial arts magazines are credited with saying how great the film was, and after watching it, I'm wondering why, because there was almost no martial arts action. Was it out of respect to Trimble? Even the tagline says "Bare Hands. Fast Feet. Short Temper. Ryan Cooper needs no weapon." Sure, he needs no weapon, if an assault rifle doesn't count as a weapon. I can see him using the gun sometimes for the good of the story. I'm just looking for an 80/20 or 70/30 split, with the emphasis being on the hand-to-hand stuff, and this film was more like 90/10, all machine gun.

This had a great Australian actor named Vernon Wells, not to be confused with the Blue Jays center fielder. This guy was great, and his fight at the end with Trimble was reminiscent of Joe Don Baker and Merlin Olson in Mitchell. According to imdb, this cat has been in tons of great DTV stuff, and it's strange that he's never had a film reviewed here before. We'll see if he comes up in the future.

Photobucket

That's that, baby. Not much going on here. A waste of 70 minutes of your life. When I go in expecting Trimble, I want Trimble, not a misguided director's attempt to make him into a Schwarzenegger wannabe.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111300/

Photobucket

But while I have an extra paragraph to play with, I figured I'd mention the new Star Trek movie. It was pretty sweet. The new actors were all faithful to the characters they'd played-- except for one. Sulu was played by the guy from Harold and Kumar that wasn't Kumar, and for whatever reason, he didn't have a deep voice. What? I'm not saying it needed to be Takei deep, but come on, throw me a bone here. Everything else was good, though. For those who don't like Star Trek, I think you'll enjoy it anyway, because it works well as a sci-fi film outside of the milieu of the rest of the series; but for those die hards, it has enough inside jokes to keep you happy too. Just that lack of a good Sulu voice kills me. "Wang!"

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0796366/

2 comments:

  1. I've already had this on my Netflix qeue for awhile since I'm a big Trimble guy too, but since I see the great Vernon Wells is in here as well, I shall have to bump it to the top!

    We all love Wells from 'Mad Max 2,' but my personal favorites are 'Commando'- where he gave us the timeless villain Bennett, and 'Hard Justice' where he plays a dude named Galaxy5000.

    Not to get off topic, 'Hard Justice' is one of my favorite DTV films, and one of David Bradley's best-a sort of Death Warrant/Hard Boiled/Tarantino rip off from the mid 90s when everybody from Albert Pyun (think Mean Guns and Crazy Six) to Roger Corman (think Stripteaser) was putting their characters in inane pointless debates about He Man lunchboxes, Madonna songs, and other points of pop culture. Nevertheless, it's up there with 'American Samurai' (co-starring Marc DaCostas in a great, over-acted role).

    Viva la Vernon Wells. The man deserves a star on the walk of fame.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't believe I forgot to mention Wells in Commando. Between Schwarzenegger imploring him to "Let off some steam", to him telling Arnold "I'm not going to shoot you between the eyes, I'm going to shoot you between the balls!", how could I miss any of that? I also thought he was in Fortress, but when I looked him up, I confused it with the TV movie Fortress, which he's also in.

    I've got Hard Justice in my queue. Again, thanks for the support, and thanks for picking up my slack when I missed the obvious Wells in Commando role.

    ReplyDelete