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

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Streets of Blood (2009)

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This was suggested to me when I was adding other movies to my queue. I added it purely on the strength of Val Kilmer, 50 Cent, and Sharon Stone. The idea of a new DTV film with those three actors intrigued me.

Streets of Blood takes place in the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Kilmer and 50 play narcotics cops trying to maintain order as drug cartels from around the country try to fill the vacuum left by the devastation. Sometimes they have to bend the rules, and the question is are they doing it for the right reasons, or the wrong ones. Sharon Stone is the precinct's psychiatrist, and she's called in from time to time to evaluate their psyche. Now the FBI is causing problems, and FBI agent Michael Biehn sees an opportunity for power in the rebuilding city. That's not the worst part. There's a snitch for the FBI in their squad, and Kilmer doesn't know who he can trust.

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This was a really good movie. I didn't like the end-- it kind of betrayed the way the characters were written-- but otherwise, this was good. I don't mean good because you can make fun of it good, I mean really good. Kilmer, Stone, Biehn, and 50 Cent all turned in solid performances. I didn't have a problem with Kilmer's New Orleans accent, or Stone's Southern Drawl. The story was solid, except for the end, and I think there they just wrote themselves into a corner. I mean, it was no The Departed, but not much is, and even The Departed had a bad ending.

I didn't intend to review another crime drama set in post-Katrina New Orleans so soon after Death Toll (Death Tool is more like it), but I'm glad it worked out that way. The people who made the sack of asscrack that was Death Tool can look at this and see how it's supposed to be done. Dialog that makes sense, characters that are both conflicted yet have realistic motivations, and a story that makes us care about what happens in the end. And you wanna know what else? The director calls himself Charles Winkler. What? No "Phenomenon"?

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I've always been a big Val Kilmer fan, so I was worried he might mail this one in. No worries, he turned in a great performance. It wasn't quite John Holmes in Wonderland, but he also didn't have that kind of material to work with. Now I'm excited to see him in more stuff. According to imdb he has like 11 projects in various stages of development, but he also has like five or six other DTV films that have come out recently. Where I was for that? None of my video stores got those. I'll start pouring through those ASAP. Also, in November, he's in the Werner Herzog film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which should be good. By the way, if you have Netflix, you should look him up on there. He has the funniest picture ever.

I can't believe I'm going to say this. 50 Cent was good. I know, I know, someone should check my forehead to see if I had a fever. Now, his lack of acting ability did show at the end when the writers abandoned him and made his character lose his direction, because he wasn't able to pick up the slack there the way Kilmer did. He has a DTV film coming out called Before I Self Destruct, which he not only acts in, but wrote, produced, and directed. I'll probably pass on that one. I don't see Fitty as the next Orson Welles.

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Rounding out the cast we had Michael Biehn and Sharon Stone. Biehn's bad FBI agent came across exactly like the bad agent he played in Art of War. I found a few films in his DTV repertoire that might be good, but usually when a DTV film wants Michael Biehn, they settle for the Night Eyes guy, because he makes a pretty good poor man's Biehn. Sharon Stone's a different ball game. She was huge in the 90s, and then that was it. I'm surprised she can't get more roles like the one in this film in bigger motion pictures. I looked up Basic Instinct 2, and according to imdb, it only grossed $5 mill in the box office. Hmm... I wonder...

This isn't a fun DTV action movie, it's a solid crime drama. If you're in the mood for a serious movie, this is a good outside of the box choice if you see it at your local video store. Beyond the story and acting, it also gives us a look into what New Orleans is like three years later. I'd call this another one of those DTV hidden gems.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1203523/

1 comment:

  1. Thought this was ok. Val Kilmer and Michael Biehn put in good performances.

    ReplyDelete