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.

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Announcement

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--Matt

Monday, June 1, 2009

Driven to Kill (2009)

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This is the new Seagal flick. I'm not sure if it was eagerly anticipated, but I was excited for it the week before it was released, so that's kinda fun. Really, I just wanted to get the bad taste of Against the Dark out of my mouth.

Driven to Kill has Seagal as a Russian mobster who comes home to Jersey to see his daughter get married. Well, she doesn't quite make it, because some Russian mob thugs get to her first, and now you've got yourself a paint-by-numbers revenge actioner. It's not a matter of if you die, but when, and how horribly.

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And it can get pretty horrible. How about a pistol barrel through your eye? Maybe a cart with an incendiary device and a bunch of sharp metal objects in it? With those options, getting my ephemeral artery slashed just doesn't seem so bad. This was brutal, yet not too brutal, in that there was plenty of good action in it as well. A guy gets shot in his earlobe, but that's it, they don't dwell on it and make us look at his mangled ear. I like that: be gross, but don't get caught up in it. We're here to watch Seagal kick major ass.

He's pretty good. You can see his age, but he still takes care of business. The Russian accent isn't as funny as it could be. He mails it in, and in some scenes he doesn't have it at all. Why even try if it's going to be like that. I'm fine with him speaking Ebonics. He's been spitting out movies at a pretty impressive clip over the past few years, and it looks like he may slow some. That's okay, he still has The Keeper coming out at some point this year, and I still have Belly of the Beast and Kill Switch from his back-catalog to review, so he'll still be a fixture at the DTVC.

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For the most part this is your run-of-the-mill revenge film, but it had a few things about it I liked. First, it was DTV, so paint-by-numbers can be easier to take if I'm not dropping $20 for a night at the movies on it. Second, Seagal is definitely Seagal. He's older, and he goes in more for weapons than hand-to-hand combat, but this is pretty good stuff. I'd rather see him in the revenge thriller than say Liam Neeson. Finally, there were some inspired gunfights. The best was in the ICU unit of the hospital. The plot can be crap if the action's there, and though I've seen better, the action was there enough.

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In JCVD, there was a joke made that could possibly be seen as a crack at Seagal. Van Damme is groaning over the schlock DTV fare that his career has become, and he decides to take a picture he had originally turned down because he has legal fees. When he goes back to his agent, the agent says "Steven took it. He agreed to cut his hair." Maybe I'm reading into things, but it seems like V-Diddy's saying "Seagal will act in anything for a paycheck." Though I may agree on some levels, when I look at the Van Damme pics where he's trying to do more than the average DTV actioner, the films fall flat on their face. In Hell, The Hard Corps, Second in Command, and Until Death just didn't do it for me the way Shepherd: Border Patrol did, and the latter film really was a return to what Van Damme does best. Pistol Whipped and The Foreigner were better than any of Van Damme's DTV films, in my opinion. As opposed to having directors that tried to emulate greats like Kurosawa, with those two you have people that are throwing up homages to them, and with the talent these directors and actors have, homages just work better.

That last paragraph was almost two paragraphs long, so I'm gonna call it a blog here. If you're a Seagal fan, you'll dig this. It's not must have stuff, but it works enough for what it is. Who knows how many more of these we'll have with Seagal getting up in age, but this model works well enough that I could see him doing it into his 60s.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1227177/

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, Seagal is definitely trying to fill the old Bronson niche lately with the endless revenge flicks. I think he's actually doing pretty well with it, you know what to expect. BTW, off the subject, but 'Direct Contact' with Dolph is now on Netflix's instant watch.

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  2. I know, I'll probably see that tomorrow. Yeah, I kinda like the Seagal revenge flicks too. Is The Keeper supposed to be another one?

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