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.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Striking Range (2006)


I found this on Netflix's Watch Instantly feature. Between the small amount of Jeff Speakman in Plato's Run, and how Lou Diamond Phillips was the one bright spot in Death Toll, I figured I'd give this a shot. The trailer for it on imdb made it look pretty good.

Striking Range is about a team of mercenaries or private security guys or something headed by Lou Diamond Phillips. His old flame, Yancy Butler, has hired him at the behest of her boss to protect him and his son and their new weapon. It's this thing that puts holes in people with a laser that changes the molecular structure of whatever it hits. Jeff Speakman wants it, so he sends a team of his thugs in after it. Then there's some random dude with a mask who's good with a knife that's causing problems too. Double crosses and plot twists abound, and all we know is LDP is our guy.


I kinda liked this. It had some dull parts, and there were points where even the action was boring, which is never good. I also didn't like the lack of good Speakman fight scenes. He did some roundhouses at the end just as an afterthought. Considering the film only had a 90 minute running time, how hard would it have been to have a five minute scene where Speakman is jumped by some thugs in an alley and he beats the crap out of them. On the other hand, the dialog was funny (both intentionally and unintentionally), there were some good shootouts, and LDP was nice. I'll give it a mild thumbs up.

I'm liking LDP. This guy's a pretty good actor. I was looking over his imdb bio, and I had forgotten about Extreme Justice. I put it in my Instant Queue, and hopefully I'll get to it soon. As far as this film goes, he did his thing. I normally wouldn't think he could carry an action film as the lead, the way a Dolph or Seagal or even Snipes can, but he did it. It looks like he's doing more TV movies and crime dramas right now, so who knows how many more newer films we'll be able to review with him in them, but there's a huge catalog from the 90s and early 2000s to explore, including Extreme Justice, so this won't be the last we hear from him.


All right, I know I keep promising more Speakman, and we're getting there. First we had Hot Boyz, where he has a total of five minutes of screen time. Then there was Plato's Run, where we see him at the beginning and end, with nothing in between. In Striking Range he's the bad guy, so we see him a little more. We're getting there. He was good for what they were having him do. He had one line where he pulls up to the building where LDP is working security, and at the gate a guard asks Speakman for his ID. He replies "No ID, no appointment, I'm just here to kidnap and torture Billings for information." (The quote is actually featured on the imdb entry.) I know, I know, I need to just bite the bullet and review a film where Speakman is the main star.

I've never understood the concept of Yancy Butler. I just don't see it. Maybe someone could explain it to me. Like Witchblade. Did that make sense to anyone? Is she supposed to be hot? A sex symbol maybe? I decided to do a Google image search of her, and there definitely were some hot pictures. Maybe what it is is she's always scowling in all the roles I've seen her in. In Striking Range, even when she was smiling it was a fake smile. I think when she plays the tough chick, she always overdoes it, maybe because in real life she isn't as heartless as the characters she plays.


The guy who plays Billings son is played by Troy Baker. Nothing special, his resume is mostly a bunch of video game voices. So why am I mentioning him? Because he's another April Fools Baby. Born on April 1st, 1976, three years before me. That's two in three weeks, with Sung Hi Li from Art of War III, who was born on the first in 1970.

If you have Netflix's Watch Instantly, and you have 90 minutes to kill, this isn't a bad option. You may even want to through it on your DVD queue. It's not anything special, and it could've been better in parts, especially as far as Speakman was concerned; but for what it was, it does the job all right.

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