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.

Announcement

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.

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.

--Matt

Thursday, August 27, 2009

War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave (2008)

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I knew this would be a bad idea. I knew an Asylum War of the Worlds sequel, directed by C. Thomas Howell, would hurt me. But I had reviewed the first one, and needed to do my job as a DTV film reviewer to sit through this one and tell my readers what it was like.

War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave picks up two years after the first one. Humans are rebuilding their lives after the first invasion, and they haven't done a great job of it. There's very little infrastructure and people are living in near post-apocalyptic conditions. Howell's wife has died, but his son's still alive-- that is until the aliens come back and one of their walkers zaps him. Now Howell doesn't want to live either and wants the aliens to zap him too. At the same, some scientists have a base where they're working on a way to combat the aliens. In two years, despite having lost all of our infrastructure, these scientists have managed to create new airplane and weapons technology. Things resolve themselves pretty much as you'd expect.

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All right. Deep breath. And.... This was utter crap. Ridiculously bad. What was Howell thinking? And this wasn't just bad, it was weird. Like waiting on the platform for the subway and a random guy who smells like urine is talking to you weird. The whole time I was just waiting for the train to come so I could run away from it. On the ships, people were put in these rooms where they had gross nets on them and hoses stuck in their mouths. A girl who had a nasty virus and cuts on her face would save them. Howell and Kid from Kid N' Play escape a ship, only to appear in some holographic world where they meet the virus girl and her virus guy friend. What kind of mind conceives weirdness like that? Then, for no good reason, Howell injects himself with their virus. I mean no good reason, because he then draws some of his infected blood and sticks it in the alien, thus recreating the end of the last movie. Why didn't he just inject the virus into them directly, i.e., not infect himself with it first? Why, I ask? Because that would mean doing something that made sense, and that was far beyond this film's ken.

On imdb, someone tried to defend this by saying we needed to suspend belief and allow ourselves to be taken into Howell's HG Wells world. Are you kidding? Why don't I just go hitchhiking in the Midwest at 3AM and hope some crazy dude talking about the time machine he invented gives me a ride (actually happened to a friend). This person then went into all the things that were wrong with it, from the story to the special effects, etc. I'm actually good with the bad special effects and silly story. It's the weirdness of this world that I don't like. It made me uncomfortable, like I was sitting in a car next to some random dude that picked me up.

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C. Thomas Howell. Anyone who watches soccer understands the metaphor I'm about to draw here. A player has just made a nasty slide tackle. The whistle blows. He slinks off, but the ref calls him over. He sulks, shakes his head, and the ref just smirks and holds up the yellow card. Well, Mr. Howell, you don't just get a yellow card, I'm forced to give you a red. That's right, and a five match ban. Forget your feeble attempts at artistic wide shots of people walking in front of buildings-- that stuff was actually kind of funny. As were the ships that could communicate with Earth from Mars via radio without delay, or the fact that you're still going with aliens as Martians when we know no life has ever been on that planet. It was the weirdness that hurts me. It makes me question everything I've ever seen you do. I loved the overacting after your son was zapped. That was hilarious. I was weirded out by the people with nets on drinking fluid out of hoses. I was weirded out by the virus girl trying to save the day. The fact that stuff didn't weird you out makes me wonder.

The best film trilogy of all time is the House Party series. From the dance scene in part one, to the pajama jammy jam of part two, to David from the second Real World in part three, these movies truly did have it all. That makes Kid's role in this movie all the more troubling. Did he need the work? Was Howell calling in a favor? And what was up with his hair? I'm not saying it all needs to be standing up in the air like like it used to, but at least make it cool. He looked like he just got off work as a pharmacist at Wal-Mart. No offense to pharmacists at Wal-Mart, I'm actually friends with a couple, but you could just see his picture on the wall under the title "Pharmacist on duty".

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The first film had Jake Busey. He would've made a huge contribution to this one. Sure, he was killed off in the last one, but what does that matter. First off, continuity was a loose concept on this production to begin with. Second, the scientist woman was cast in the first film in another role. Busey could've played someone else too. This movie just needed something, anything, and Busey could've provided that. Of course, maybe Howell called Busey, and he looked at the script, and then promptly went to the court house to get a restraining order telling Howell he couldn't go within 200 feet of him.

If this wasn't so weird, I'd say rent it for the silly factor, but the truth is, it is weird. I'm not sure if I blame The Asylum or Howell or both-- there's plenty of blame to go around. I read on Netflix or imdb that someone actually rented this thinking it a sequel to the Spielberg film. I guess that means, from the Howell and Asylum perspective, this was a success. Godspeed guys.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1183733/

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