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.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia (2009)


It makes me feel like a bigger tool that I'm doing a post on a Navy SEALs movie after I was put on my ass and out of commission for the better part of a week with a cold. I've never had a cold like this in my life: massive sinus headache, low-grade fever, chest issues... I'll quit my whining. Even if these are fake SEALs in a movie, it still makes me feel toolish.

Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia is a sequel to the DTV hit Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil. This time, a new group of SEALs, still under the direction of Keith David, are sent into Columbia to see what FARC and the Colombian military are up to. What they're up to is setting up the SEALs to take the fall for a massacre so they can get the US out of Colombian affairs. Two SEALS escape, and another is captured, and none of them are going down without a fight, despite the fact the CIA wants to let them take the fall too so they can reestablish their foothold in the country. That's more than our heroes can take, so now they're out to clear their names, free their comrade, and let the Colombian military, FARC, and the CIA know, Navy SEALs ain't nothin' ta fuck with.


All right, now you're working with something here. Major step up from part deux. Action: better. Boring cabinet meetings: none. People negotiating: kept to a minimum. Thinking they're too smart for their own good: still an issue. Okay, three out of four ain't bad, right Loaf? Definitely more kick ass action, especially from the middle through to the end. We were saddled with another history lesson, but this one wasn't anywhere near as long part zwei's, so that helped. For the most part, it was an improvement.

For the most part, that is. For some reason this movie insisted on inundating us with myriad military acronyms and slang terms, I guess trying to make us feel inadequate if we didn't understand them. Three problems with this: first, according to imdb, you made a few errors, which means, yet again, you lose your credibility in trying to tell us you're smarter than us. Second, I'm not reading Finnegan's Wake here, I'm watching a frickin' DTV action movie! Stop trying to sound smart and blow more shit up. And third, after one exchange of what we now know was in part erroneous military lingo, one character says to the other: "Damn Skippy". Damn Skippy? Really, you want that in your movie? Damn Skippy is the fanny pack of slang: it was never cool, thus your movie was never cool.


The other reason this movie was bad was that it took almost a half hour for anything to happen. We're forced to watch a faux surveillance that doubled as a surprise party to start the film. That wasn't exciting or tense, it was stupid. Then, we get another twenty minutes of characters talking in military acronyms. Again, bo-ring! What made this all the more annoying was how good the action was once it got moving. I'm not saying I need 90 minutes of non-stop action, but if you could maybe mix in hot chicks and break up the lull periods so they aren't concentrated at the beginning, it would be a little easier to deal with.

This film was made by WWE Studios, and I must confess, I'm only marginally familiar with their work. I haven't seen The Marine, The Condemned, and 12 Rounds, but I have seen The Rundown, See No Evil, Walking Tall, and now Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia. I must say, of the four I've seen, this is second, behind The Rundown. I'm not really sure what the current state of professional wrestling is at this point-- if the UFC has really cut into their fandom or not-- but I would have to believe DTV action is a good place to put some of their wrestlers. Some guy named Mr. Kennedy is in this, and though he was responsible for the "Damn Skippy" line, he wasn't bad. I haven't followed the WWE in years, so I don't know who else is famous other than John Cena, but it just seems like a perfect marriage: buff guys who can act and do stunts. What more do you want?


I'm a huge McDonald's guy, so seeing a McDonald's continuity error broke my heart, and it was exacerbated by a comment to the effect of "they made me eat McDonald's". The captured SEAL is given McDonald's by his captors, but they give him a foil wrapper-- that's right, Wendy's! Blasphemy. Don't get me wrong, the Wendy's Triple is one of the Seven Wonders of the Fast Food World, so I'm not saying it's blasphemous because Wendy's is bad. I'm saying it's blasphemous to mix fast foods and not expect your audience to give a damn. And then to add insult to injury with a crack about fast food being bad! In case anyone is thinking I'm a fat dude with Whopper remnants all over my belly as I type this, I'm 5' 7", 160 lbs., and I walk on average 18 miles a week. Also in case you're wondering, I made a deal with one of my friends saying I'll give up McDonald's until Christmas, because I eat too much of it (might explain the cold knocking me on my ass too). We'll see if I make it.

Okay, I'm getting way off topic, so it's time to wrap this up. Boring first thirty minutes, pretty kick ass last hour. That's it in a nutshell. If that works for you, rent it, if it doesn't, don't.

For more info:


  1. This is the one they shot in Puerto Rico to make it look like Columbia! Some of my buddies were extras on it.

    Speaking of The Marine, I rented it and it plays out a lot like Commando, highly recommend you check it out.

    Their trying to make Sena look like Arnold. But hey, they blow shit up real good and the action is incredibly unrealistic! Theres a scene where they totally destroy this car with machine guns while on a chase gotta see it to believe it.

    Its a Commando wannabe, but it aint all that bad! I think you would actually love it.

  2. Hey Matt, glad you are feeling better. I am really liking the new format, with your takes on failed theatrical releases as well, good stuff. I've only seen the Owen Wilson Behind Enemy Lines (which I thought was dumb fun), so I may give these a whirl as well.
    Wanted to recommend to you a real beauty I saw this week, the just released The Tournament. It's an assassin flick with Ving Rhames and a few other notable actors. It was a real gem, and I think you would dig it. It's kind of batshit, but in a great way.
    I finally saw Lies and Illusions by the way, and ugh. I can handle anything but dull, and this had it in spades. Skip and wait for the next Slater vehicle.

  3. Yeah, I need to see The Marine. A Commando wannabe might not be that bad. That's cool, though, that you had buddies as extras in Behind Enemy Lines III. That kind of thing is always cool.

    I'll definitely check out The Tournament. I still have Lies and Illusions in my queue, so I may have to do it anyway, but absolutely, I won't say you didn't warn me.