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

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil

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With the third Behind Enemy Lines movie released recently, I realized I needed to get off my ass and review part two first. I guess I just never thought they'd make a part three... I was surprised a part one came out. I generally don't like the cash grab DTV flick, unless it's something like the Scorpion King 2, where it had Randy Couture and was directed by Russel Mulcahy. Of course, by that rationale, I should be doing Road House 2, because that has Richard Norton and Jake Busey. No dice on that one. I'll never review Road House 2 as long as I live.

Behind Enemy Lines II takes place in North Korea, and is about a SEAL team sent into to take out a nuclear missile that could potentially hit the US. Things go wrong, though, when an abort command is sent from the President while two of the SEALs have already parachuted in. Two more go in after them, and we have a problem. All the while, we're treated to exciting scenes of cabinet meetings by bad actors pretending to be politicians. The lack of suspense was killing me.

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First let me say, this wasn't what I expected from the title. Axis of Evil led me to believe this would be a Conservative rah rah the US rules and everyone else drools kind of thing. It certainly wasn't that, and in fact, on the political score was much more ambiguous and kept things gray. Funny that it could be nuanced politically, but so sack-of-asscracky filmwise. It started with the superfluous history lesson on North Korea (which the film continually referred to as the DPRK in a very pat-ourselves-on-the-back kind of way, even though no one with any kind of policy experience calls it that), and only got worse as the action became even more sparse. They could've called it Behind Enemy Buttcheeks and had it be about a bunch of Navy SEALs farting on and getting farted on by North Korean soldiers, and it would've been more compelling.

The reality is: who gives a shit about a fake President and fake Secretaries of Defense and State debating a course of action regarding a nuclear device in North Korea? This is a fucking action movie, for Christ's sake, and I'm sorry, but Peter Coyote and the guy who played Dalton on MacGyver are not the kind of actors that can pull off making high stakes behind the scenes negotiations dramatic. And when there's little to no action on the ground with the SEALs, those negotiations go from being tedious to annoying. Peter Coyote is not Christopher Walken. We don't find him compelling when he's on the screen.

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I got the sense that the people making this movie were trying so hard to not remake Rambo or Commando. Why? Why would you do that? Remake Commando. Please! It would be way more fun that what you gave us. It would make the overly sappy scenes of guys remembering their training and seeing their comrades fall funny instead of stupid. Cut down the amount of Oval Office talk, and give us more blowing shit up. You already knew you had a bad movie with the silly history lesson at the beginning, and the titles on screen introducing characters instead of introducing them organically through the plot like real movies do. I don't remember, did Seventh Seal pause the film and put the word "Death" on the screen so we'd know who was playing chess against Antonius Block? Exactly. You're making a DTV sequel of Behind Enemy Lines. Talk less and blow more shit up.

I always get on National Treasure when I talk about movies I couldn't stand, and one thing about it I hated was how smart it thought it was, especially when they discussed daylight savings time. The idea was that because there was no daylight savings time when Ben Franklin was alive, they weren't late getting to the next brick they needed to break open because the clock on the $100 was an hour behind. They thought they were so smart, except they didn't consider that standard time didn't exist then either. This movie had the same issue, where they thought they were so smart by saying things like "DPRK" or giving us a history lesson, but if you look at imdb, you can see the list of mistakes, in some cases rather big ones, that they made. The one I picked up was the use of "Sea of Japan and Yellow Sea" by the S. Korean ambassador, because he would've said "East Sea and West Sea". Not a big deal if you're making a movie focused on fighting and blowing shit up; but if you pat yourself on the back for your history lesson and factual accuracy, that kind of mistake makes you look stupid (which I guess you are).

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Am I being too hard on this movie? Maybe. In one scene, a guy gets a nail driven through his hand. Hmm... I could say that was a metaphor for the whole film, because it was as painful to watch as a nail through the hand... but that would be too easy. Besides, it had Keith David, the holy man from Chronicles of Riddick, and the voice from the Marines commercials. He was barely in it, but he was good. What I think shows a lack of creativity in a movie like this, was how he wasn't cast as the President. Gotta make him a drill sergeant type, and Coyote the President. Pedestrian. It is probably time I tagged David, though, because I believe this is the third film of his we've done, maybe fourth.

You don't need to see this. I just saw Behind Enemy Lines III, and there was nothing in two that you needed to get three. The only thing I can say is if you're curious to find out what it feels like to have a nail hammered through your hand, you may want to rent this. Otherwise you'll be snoozing.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497329/

1 comment:

  1. They actually filmed part III of this series where I live, a friend of mine was an extra. He carried a machine gun while riding a truck or something!

    ReplyDelete