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] I'd love to check out what you got.



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.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mercenary (1997)


I bought this on VHS a while ago, and just kept putting off watching it. I mean, I've had it since like May, so I don't know what took me so long. Anyway, here it is now, finally.

Mercenary is an old HBO movie with John Ritter as a really rich man whose wife is killed by terrorist Martin Kove. He hires Gruner and his mercenary team for revenge. The catch: Ritter wants to be there to shoot Kove in the head. That's an issue, because Ritter doesn't have any special forces experience, and he's not in the best shape. That's not the real kicker, though. Someone's tipped off Kove and his boys that Gruner's coming, and they're ambushed. Now Gruner has to get him and Ritter out alive and find out who set him up.


This was pretty good. It had a nice bad action feel to it. Gruner lived up to his end, Kove was a good bad guy, and it had Ritter and Robert Culp. It did get redundant, especially near the end, when we were treated to twenty minutes of nothing happening as Gruner and Ritter try to escape in a helicopter and crash in the wilderness. Maybe HBO's time restrictions forced them to make the movie longer than necessary. Who knows, it still put me to sleep, which sucked, because the ending wasn't bad.

Gruner was great. At the beginning, he has to rescue Jaime Pressly from kidnappers, and it's an awesome scene. Why the rest of the movie couldn't be that is beyond me. It came close to it a couple times, but never quite got there. Gruner with a gun isn't Gruner fighting guys hand to hand. When he's unarmed and being taken into his cell, we can't wait to see him dismantle his two escorts. The same vibe isn't there when he's shooting an AK-47 behind a barrel.


John Ritter in 1997 was doing a bunch of TV movies and whatnot. I think his role as a gay man in Sling Blade was his one major job at that time. It wouldn't be for another five years that he started his comeback on network television in the sitcom Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter. Then he died. One thing I can say, no matter what role he did, he was always Jack Tripper. There was a sense, in this movie, as he escaped with Gruner from this or that dangerous situation, that he was really covering up his hijinx from Mr. Roper. Can you imagine Gruner on an episode of Three's Company?

Robert Culp and Martin Kove rounded out the cast. Culp, we know, was in I Spy and Greatest American Hero. He's just great as the wise older member of the team who's a little off-beat, but can still kick ass when the situation calls for it. For Martin Kove, I think no matter how many hours he's logged at the Cobra Kai, he's no match for Gruner. Wouldn't Karate Kid have been better with Gruner instead of Ralph Macchio?


People who have read my Shepherd: Border Patrol and Jill the Ripper posts know about my coming across an imdb tag stating the films featured "shirtless male bondage". Well, this film has the same tag. If you are a fan of shirtless male bondage, I have to apologize, because I decided to forgo the Gruner pic for this review. I just can't afford to be hit with the adult content label. If my blog gets a reputation for shirtless male bondage, I'll have to start carding people at the door, and no one wants that. Buy the movie if you're really that into it.

You can only get this on VHS right now, unless it pops up on an HBO or something. That means to get it on Amazon, you'd have to pay whatever it costs plus $2.99 shipping and handling. Anything more than $2 total is too much, so I'd just keep an eye out for it in a bargain bin somewhere.

For more info:


  1. My friend at Movies in the Attic told me that this movie is available on DVD, it's just out of print. When I bought it back in May, none of Amazon's sellers were selling a DVD copy, so I went for the VHS. I checked again after he told me, and saw that there are some DVDs available now, but they're like $15 a piece, and I wouldn't pay that much for this movie.

  2. Have you seen the sequel to this movie: "Mercenary II: Thick & Thin"? It co-stars Robert "Meteor Man" Townsend!

  3. That sounds awesome. I'll keep my eyes peeled for it.