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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Monday, October 5, 2009

Shadow Man (2006)

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Not long after completing the Dolph Lundgren DTV catalog, we are now doing the same with Steven Seagal. Again, it feels great to have every film reviewed on this site. If you need to know about a Steven Seagal DTV film, the DTVC is your source, as it is with Dolph Lundgren.

Shadow Man is another Romanian DTV actioner, this time placing Seagal as a former operative on his way home from Bucharest, when his father-in-law is blown up in a car at the airport, and his daughter is kidnapped by a mysterious cabbie. Now he's tearing a swath through the city searching for his daughter, and every clue he finds also uncovers the mystery as to what his father-in-law was carrying that made him a target for bombing. The CIA and the Russian Mob are hot on his tail, but really, they're the ones looking for trouble if they think they want a piece of Seagal.

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This is pretty sweet. Again, extremely ridiculous, but what else do you expect from Seagal. One thing that frustrated me was how, in the beginning, they showed Seagal teaching a martial arts class on the importance and power of Chi, and he was like busting watermelons and blowing people through walls with his hands. I wanted him to be Chi-ing people all over the place, but he didn't until the very end, when he took out one dude. There was one scene, where, only in a Seagal film, he's locked in a room of a mansion, supposedly as a set-up to be taken out by some dudes. Of course, that room has shotgun shells and various items and devices he can use to turn that room into a fortress, and he can do all that in about five minutes. I just didn't get it, when he should've just Chi-ed the door open, ran into the hallway, and taken out the bad guys Apache style, only using Chi instead of knives. I guess I feel if these movies are going to be so ridiculous, why not just go all the way with the ridiculousness.

There's no concrete word on when The Keeper, Seagal's next film, is supposed to be released. Imdb has it listed at 9/22/2009, but we're well beyond that now. Who knows, between distributors, etc., these films can be passed around and left on a shelf in a warehouse somewhere for years. That means, though, that Shadow Man will be our last taste of Seagal for a while, and I think that's okay. He was pretty good. His martial arts were solid, and his use of Ebonics was sublime. My favorite scene came when he was talking on the phone to some guy he knows that hacks into things, and he ends the conversation with "Do yo' thaaaaang," in a slightly high pitched voice. I'm considering ending all of my phone with that line from now on.

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We all know Seagal often gets his share of women in these films, and in many cases it makes no sense. Women tend to just have sex with him, while he keeps his sweatshirt on. In this movie, he has a really hot girlfriend, and then the woman who kidnaps his daughter is a hot chick from England. When he and that hot chick link up to find his daughter (long story), for no apparent reason, as they're waiting overnight in an apartment for something to happen, she takes her shirt off and approaches him. She has this weird look on her face-- not of seduction, but rather Steve Perry in the Run DMC video for "Walk This Way" when the rappers break into his concert. Then Seagal says, apropos of nothing, "I know you, you want us to believe you cold as ice, but you got a heart in there," and she starts crying, and he's like "come here," and he holds her-- end scene. Come to Daddy, that's right, Steven will make it all better.

As in many Romanian action movies, parts of this film are shot in a discotheque. I don't know what it is, but the idea of going to a club in Eastern Europe scares me. Okay, I do know what it is: the Russian mob, angry vets of the Balkan Wars, and various other unsavory characters that can't wait to get their hands on a naive American like me and force him to give them everything he has on him. If I ever make the trip to Bucharest, Bratislava, Budapest, etc., you best believe that I won't be going anywhere near a club, unless someone like Man Utd. star striker Dimitar Berbatov is going with me.

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The fact that we've covered every Steven Seagal film is big in a different way from Dolph Lundgren, because with Seagal, he was someone I wasn't as big a fan of. I still don't like him as much as Dolph, but this journey through his DTV catalog has made me appreciate him more than I once did. Sure, I loved Out for Justice and Hard to Kill as a kid, but his DTV stuff just never really did it for me. Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of clunkers and disappointments along the way, but just the same, it's been a fun ride. Looks like Jean Claude Van Damme would be the next one to have his whole catalog up, but I can't find a cheap enough copy of either No Retreat, No Surrender or Black Eagle on Amazon, so it'll be a little while before that happens.

If this is the last Seagal film I review for a while, it's a good one. You'll have plenty of fun with this, so put it in your Netflix queue or pick it up if you see it at the video store. Seagal in Romania or Bulgaria is a good look for him, especially when it's done as ridiculously as it is here.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448114/

4 comments:

  1. I think the last watchable Segal movie I saw was The Glimmer Man (coincidently, I think it was his last theatrical film) this dtv films title sounds almost like a sequel to The Glimmer Man.

    Segal looks like he isnt phisically capable of doing martial arts any longer. Are his action sequences faked? Does he do his own stunts anymore? He just looks so out of shape to me!

    I couldnt believe it when I saw he made his first vampire movie! Oh how the mighty have fallen, these guys were so huge back in the 80s! Out for Justice...Hard to Kill...

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  2. I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you as far as the mighty having fallen. For us DTV fans, he's never left. The vampire movie (Against the Dark, which I've reviewed if you want to check it out-- just click the Seagal link in the labels section), was a disappointment, but had it been more like Blade 2, it would've been better. You may want to check the list of reviews for some other watchable Seagal films as well, because there are plenty.

    Seagal is, unfortunately, losing his martial arts prowess. He's 58, so the mere fact he even has any prowess now is remarkable. It's also important to note that his first film wasn't until 1988, when he was 37 years old. That means I still have another 7 years left to start my own career as an action star.

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  3. I went through your Segal reviews, and read the one for his vampire flick Against the Dark. I hate it when they do that thing where the "main star" only appears for a few minutes. It feels like a rip off when they do that! I mean, isnt Segals name the top billing on the cover of the film?

    I believe they also did this in another Segal movie, the one with Kurt Russell? Executive Decision. Where Segal only appears at the beginning of the movie then suddenly he just dies!

    Yesterday I went through a bunch of your reviews man! Commented on a few of them! Nice job on all these reviews, a lot of them make me laugh out loud with their sense of humor.

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  4. Thanks a bunch for your support. Yeah, Against the Dark was an extreme disappointment, and it could've been so good!

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