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

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.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Sweeper (1996)

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My friend at Movies in the Attic suggested this bad boy to me. I hadn't done a C. Thomas Howell film since the surprisingly good Da Vinci Treasure. With another look at the DTVC Hall of Fame on the line, Howell still has some work to do if he's not going to have wait another year.

The Sweeper has Howell as a kid who sees his dad killed by mobsters or something, and he grows up with a chip on his shoulder. He becomes a cop and has a penchant for killing suspects in the act of arresting them. After the ninth kill, a group calling themselves Justice Incorporated (I'm not sure if they're publicly traded or not) invites Howell to join them. They take the law into their own hands and kill criminals instead of allowing them to be arrested and tried and sent to jail. Howell likes things at first, but he realizes things aren't what they appear. Now the question is, will they let him walk, or is he going to have to kill them all.

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This is pretty sweet. Massive explosions, nice chase scenes, and some good gun fights. It has a high ridiculous action quotient, in that things happen that are completely unrealistic simply for the purpose of blowing shit up. My favorite was a chase scene where the guy Howell was after cut the supports on the back of this truck carrying oxygen tanks. So the tanks are rolling down the road, and the bad guy is shooting them so they explode in front of Howell's car. Forget the sheer ludicrousness of it, or how hilarious it is, it's so awesome too.

The thing is, as far as Howell goes, though I like him, I can see how some people I know don't. The goatee, the long hair-- it looked silly, and worse, it looked gross when he was making out with his female co-stars. Towards the end, there's a sweet scene where he drives his car under an oil truck, and it cuts the top off of his car. He then kills that sweet scene by going "Heh, now it's a convertible" in this really annoying voice. This was a good movie, but perhaps it was good in spite of Howell, and as such, it's not a Hall of Fame worthy entry.

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I looked up the exact definition of "incorporated" online. Sure, the literal definition is unity, or a collection of beings united into a single entity; but the context here suggests a legal entity formed into a corporation. So, the question is, is this group traded publicly? Can I buy stocks in Justice Incorporated? What kind of dividends do they pay out? On the other hand, as I'm mocking them for this, is it not all the more awesome that they misused that word? It's essentially the same thing as the oxygen tanks in the chase scene.

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Jeff Fahey plays the dad in this. I've never had a good feeling about him. He seems like a good idea at the time, kind of like a Chinese food buffet, but afterwards I don't feel so good. He's the kind of cat that appears here and there in DTV movies, along with other similar genres like Lifetime movies and Sci-Fi pictures originals. The last film we did with him in it was the Gary Daniels Gary Busey pic No Tomorrow. I don't know. He's got quite a bio on imdb, so if anyone's seen him in something awesome, let me know.

This is a good bad action movie. I must warn you, if you're not a Howell guy, you won't like it. There's a lot of Howell to contend with, and it hurts at times, even for me, and I'm a self-styled Howell guy. The goatee doesn't help. It just looked like this hairy rodent enveloping the women's faces he was kissing. But the action is there, and it's fun, so if you like Howell, you need to see this.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114590/

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I know I'm a couple years late on this, but I finally saw the fourth installment in the Die Hard series last week. The first Die Hard movie was to my mind one of the most influential action films ever. The paradigm of the lone hero picking off one baddie after another in a building that's been taken over by a major terrorist organization has been used in myriad DTV action films. Part two was a solid sequel, but I felt like things were getting tired by part three. Of course, now, all the old actors are coming back to reprise roles that we liked in the past: Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis; and word on the street is Eddie Murphy is looking at a fourth Beverly Hills Cop. The truth is, this film was just a big bunch of special effects and ridiculous action with a plot that seems nuanced, but is pretty paint-by-numbers. I included a review of it here with The Sweeper because I wanted to make a point: The Sweeper was a better movie. Just because one had a bigger budget, the smug bastard that plays Apple in those Apple commercials, and Bruce Willis reprising a role that we liked in the late 80s early 90s, doesn't make it better than the 1996 C. Thomas Howell bad actioner. One just has a flashier cover.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337978/

4 comments:

  1. Indeed, C. Thomas Howell makes some pretty sweet C movies. I have nothing but good things to say about his other classics, 'Jailbait'and 'Dilemma.' I was watching Nic Cage's 'Knowing' the other day, and thinking how 'Jailbait' was a million times better. In fact,'Kill Switch' was better than that one too, now that I think about it.

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  2. Yeah, "Knowing" hurt my soul. I was at a BBQ on Sunday discussing Nic Cage, and we decided it all went bad starting with Face/Off. It's like, after Leaving Las Vegas, where he put in an Oscar worthy performance, he went from being an actor to a guy that just cashed huge paychecks. I could name fifty movies I've reviewed on here that kill the "National Treasures". It's amazing.

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  3. Jeff Fahey was in a fun PM Entertainment flick called "The Underground". It co-stars Brion James.

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  4. PM Entertainment and Brion James is a combination that can't lose as far as I can tell.

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