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

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

White Tiger (1996)

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One of my readers, Elementary Beatbox Operator (who you can find in the Followers section of the blog), said that Gary Daniels should be in the DTVC Hall of Fame based on Bloodmoon and White Tiger alone. We've already reviewed the first one, so now it's time to take a look at the second.

White Tiger has Daniels as a DEA dude whose partner is killed in a bust gone bad. The killer, DTVC favorite Cary Tagawa. Now Daniels is out for blood. At the same time, Tagawa is trying to consolidate his power, and the Chinese mob is less than stoked. They apparently haven't seen Showdown in Little Tokyo or Bridge of Dragon, because they aren't big fans of him. This leads to a collision course with wackiness as all interested parties converge at the end of the film.

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This was pretty sweet. It was pretty much every Bloodfist movie after part III. I could've gone for some more fight scenes, but what we had was enough. That's because Gary choreographed his own stuff, and it was of a very high quality. I liked Tagawa as the head baddie, but it would've been nice if they had a solid second in command that Daniels could've really flexed against, maybe an action star from Hong Kong that doesn't speak great English. The car chases and explosions were pretty good, but in a Daniels film I'm going into it more for the martial arts, and I can't complain about what I got.

It's crazy. I was looking up Daniels on the site, and saw that this is only his sixth post. I didn't know I had so few Daniels films up. Of the the five previous ones, two of them, Retrograde and Submerged, have him in only a limited capacity. Not only that, but Bloodfist IV has him as a baddie, so he's barely in that as well, it's just that his final fight with Don "The Dragon" Wilson is so good, I feel like he wasn't entirely wasted like he was in the other two. I'm not sure if this film would be what gets him in the DTVC Hall of Fame, but Bloodmoon definitely is. Just the same, this film certainly won't keep him out.

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As I said above, we love Cary Tagawa here at the DTVC. He's a great baddie, of course, but when he's a good guy it works just as well. My younger siblings used to watch a show on the Disney channel where a kid who loved surfing was forced to move from Hawai'i with his parents to Vermont, and he left his awesome surfing grandfather behind. That awesome surfing grandfather was none other than Mr. Tagawa, and he was great. In this film he went from the classic mature, mysterious baddie, to a younger, more impetuous version, and again it worked. What didn't work was that he was playing a Chinese man. I guess he made a better one than David Carradine.

I mentioned above the Bloodfist paradigm. It's a paradigm that started after part III, which was a prison film, and continued through the last Wilson picture, part VIII. The idea is that the hero is all alone with no one, except for a hot woman, to turn to. He's usually a fugitive from justice, so law enforcement wants him; and then he's also being chased by a sophisticated crime syndicate with limitless resources. This film was pretty close to that. The crime syndicate wasn't so sophisticated, but they had resources; and Daniels was definitely wanted by the law. The woman was also hot, so they didn't miss there either. The paradigm actually predates the Bloodfists-- American Ninja is a great example-- but it was such a hallmark of that series that I've always associated it with it.

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This film was shot in Vancouver, like a lot of other ones, but this one was supposed to take place in Seattle, which was different-- usually they go for LA or NYC. I was lucky enough to visit Seattle a couple months ago, and I really liked it. Word on the street is it's even nicer in the summer. I've never been to Vancouver, but I've heard that's even nicer than Seattle. I'm curious to see if that's true or not. I do know that for me, San Francisco was nicer than Portland or Seattle, which goes against what everyone else has told me about the three cities, so maybe Vancouver's the worst one of all.

This is a good bad action film. I think it's worth a rental, but if you can, I'd either get it through Netflix, or take advantage of your local video store's two-for-one night. The Daniels versus Tagawa element is as sweet as you'd expect, and the martial arts are hot. There's also plenty to goof on and plenty of action. It just worked for me.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118159/

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