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 3, 2009

Undefeatable aka Cui hua kuang mo (1993)


This post has been a long time coming. First, it was an issue with getting the movie from Netflix. It would fluctuate from "available" to "short wait" to "long wait" to back to "available"-- and no matter what it said for its status, it would always be skipped in my queue for something else. Finally, the DVD arrived, but then my own personal life got in the way, and it sat, unwatched, on my desk. I decided yesterday to put a stop to all of this and finally get it done.

Undefeatable has Rothrock as a former member of a gang that makes money to send her sister through college by competing in underground fights. Don Niam is a fighter who has lost his mind, and his wife runs away to escape him. Now he wants to kill any woman that looks like her. Rothrock's sister looks like her. Now Rothrock wants revenge, so she teams up with a police detective, and they kick tons of ass.


This has some amazing fight scenes, Don Niam is great, and the acting is hilarious. On that score, this is one of the all time greats. The final fight is just amazing. "Yeah, see yah!" Maybe best line ever. This has all the hallmarks of a classic.

I didn't like the brutal nature of the killings though. It took away the silliness of it for me. Niam's victims were all tortured and had their eyes gouged out. Eww. I will say, I've talked to people who didn't see this as as much of a drawback, and so maybe it's just an issue I have. You never actually see anyone's eyes gouged out, except for a Karate master that Niam gives the Three Stooges treatment to. I watched Ran right after I saw this (I know, quite a juxtaposition), and I found that I was more uneasy with the character who had his eyes gouged out and it was never shown, than I was with the guy who took an arrow in his eye in the battle scene.


My friend at Movies in the Attic mentioned the brutal nature of Showdown in Little Tokyo, with a woman getting beheaded, Tia Carrere's rape scene, and people cutting off their fingers. He's right about that. The one thing Undefeatable had that Showdown didn't was a lot of innocent women brutally murdered, when in Showdown, the beheaded woman was a crackhead, and the guys getting their fingers cut off were mobsters. Had they maybe only killed Rothrock's sister, it still would've been brutal, but not as bad, and I could've enjoyed the great fighting and silly acting more.

This is one of Rothrock's best movies. She definitely reaffirms her place in the DTVC Hall of Fame. Every scene she's in where she fights is great. She actually did well as an actor reacting to her sister's death, though I didn't pay any attention to that because there was an eyeless corpse in the same shot. It frustrates me to no end that some of her other greats, like China O'Brien, haven't been released on DVD. Well, I guess that one was released on DVD, but now it's been discontinued. Whatever, it still sucks.


Don Niam, according to imdb, has done pretty much nothing other than this film. Why? That has to be his choice. He was hilarious in this. And his martial arts skills were off the chart. Is he dead? There's just no logical explanation for why a guy would do one amazing role, then do barely anything after. Who is this guy's agent? Are they scared off by the mullet? Then you got John Miller, who plays the cop. He was a great fighter too, and he hasn't been in anything else either. In his case, he couldn't deliver a line properly to save his life, so I could see that being an issue, but for me, that made him even better. "Yeah, see yah!"

I think this is a classic that needs to be seen. It is brutal, so don't go into it expecting all laughs. The fighting is as good as anything out there, which was sweet. One thing that's good is you can get it on Netflix now. I'd rent it first if you haven't already seen it, but chances are you'll want to buy it. I know I will be soon.

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