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, August 20, 2009

Belly of the Beast (2003)

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This is the second to last Seagal DTV film we have to review here at the DTVC, the last being Shadow Man. That, of course, is until The Keeper comes out. Does anyone know when that's going to happen? I will be reviewing Dolph's Cover Up before I do Shadow Man, just because I want to have all of Dolph's DTV films reviewed before Seagal's. Nothing personal for Seagal, Dolph just has a special place in my heart.

Belly of the Beast has Seagal as a CIA agent who works mostly in Thailand dealing with Golden Triangle drug issues. Back at home, he gets word that his daughter and her friend have been kidnapped by an Islamic terrorist organization in Burma or Thailand or something while vacationing in the jungles of Thailand. Now Seagal's gotta go in there and take care of business.

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This was pretty good. There were some hilarious scenes where a Seagal stuntdouble was jumping and sliding all over the place. At the end, he's almost felled by a Seagal voodoo doll, and only the backing of a bunch of Buddhist monks praying for him keeps him alive. Then you got this ridiculous effect of a guy shooting arrows and Seagal shooting those arrows with his gun. It was like Wanted, but even funnier. The only thing I didn't like was how they killed off his partner at the end. I've always hated the idea of the guy helping the hero dying for his trouble.

Seagal was great. In 2003 he was only 52 (only 52!), and seemed a little more spry. I imagine at that age it must go pretty quick. I was listening to a couple of dudes in their 60s today talk about how Tiger Woods was getting old and past his prime. Tiger? The guy would've been a couple classes ahead of me in high school. And from Seagal's standpoint, at Tiger's age, he still had another five years before his first movie. Anyway, this is classic Seagal, and you'll dig this one.

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One thing I didn't like was how they killed off his friend at the end. The guy was played by the guy who played Ryu in Street Fighter, and he was awesome-- a great sidekick for Seagal. How is he thanked for his great work? They kill him off. I'm sorry, it's just one of my pet peeves. It makes the hero less heroic for him to be alive and his friend that helps him dead. This is even worse when the guy is as cool as this dude was.

I haven't traveled that much in my life. England and Scotland, the bulk of the Northeast, all the major cities on the West Coast, the east coast of Florida from St. Augustine to just north of Miami, and San Antonio. Again, not much, so I don't know what weight my opinion has in this matter, but why would anyone vacation in the jungles of a Third World country? Aren't you just asking to be captured by insurgents? Especially if you're an American. I wouldn't go to Juarez right now for fear of something happening to me, forget the effin' jungle in Thailand.

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I haven't seen Taken with Liam Neeson, but the plot sounds pretty similar. Is that possible? Did a mainstream movie company see Belly of the Beast and repackage it with a star like Neeson and release it to a mainstream audience? It just shows that what's popular and considered entertaining to people is less about the content, and more about how it's sold to them. Seagal, bad. Neeson, good.

This is a sweet deal. I'd put it in the top half of my Seagal DTV work. It gets plenty silly at points, and you may find yourself saying "What the hell am I watching?" Just go with it. If you take it too seriously, you'll be sorely disappointed. It should also be noted that this film is better when viewed in a group.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0357474/

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