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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1985)

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I've been meaning to get my hands on this one for a while, but somehow it was buried deep in my queue. Then I got it, but decided to save it for a trip to Mass to visit a buddy that I knew would enjoy it. So here it is now, a long time coming, but so worth the wait.

Sword of the Valiant has Miles O'Keefe as Sir Gawain and Sean Connery as the Green Knight. It starts with Connery riding his horse into a castle at Christmas, standing with his butt out, challenging any knight there to lop off his head with his axe. The catch, if Connery survives, he can return the favor. Miles steps up, disarticulates Connery's head from his shoulders, only to discover Connery can just pick his animatronic dome off the floor and reattach it to his neck. He decides, magnanimously, to allow Miles to live for a year, and if he can solve his riddle, Connery will let him live. What follows is a hilariously star-studded romp through various adventures, ending with one last showdown with everyone's favorite Scot.

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Wow, this is utterly amazing. They just don't make movies like this anymore. Let's start with Miles, since he is the card carrying HOFer in the cast. I didn't think he could surpass his performances as Ator. I was so wrong. Party on Gawain! And Sean Connery outdoes himself. No one stands with his butt out better than he does. This also has Peter Cushing, John Rhys-Davies, and David Rappaport, who all turn in career making work. And the story is pure gold. In one scene, Miles fights a knight who sounds like a robot. That's just so hot. And that scene actually made sense! The rest of them we were like "why is Miles here in this kingdom? Why does it matter? He's just so awesome!"

The reality is, none of us knew too much of what was going on, because we were making fun of it the whole time. But that's what made it so fun. I mean, how do you not like a Sean Connery who looks like a cross between Santa, the Green Lantern, and Diana Ross? I think if you don't like that, you don't like life, and you need to do some soul searching. What blows my mind is how a movie like The Box can be greenlit (greenlighted?), while a movie like this is sitting on the shelves, waiting to be rereleased into the theaters. Anyone who thinks a guy with a chunk taken out of his face offering Cameron Diaz a million dollars as long as someone dies is better than Sean Connery looking the way I just described standing with his butt out, also needs to do some soul searching.

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Like I said above, this is the best Miles movie ever. One of the amazing things was seeing him act opposite people like Sean Connery and Peter Cushing. Usually he's in movies like Cave Dwellers and Cartel with a bunch of nobodies. The best he's ever done as far as I can tell is Fred Williamson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, or Robert Patrick. What's good about that, is it makes Sword of the Valiant the most accessible of Miles' films. I mean, don't get me wrong, this is horrible, but it's a hilarious horrible, and all the familiar faces will make it easier to get through and make fun of for the bad movie novices out there. A great place to start for anyone wanting to get into Miles O'Keefe's oeuvre.

Speaking of oeuvres, whither Sean Connery? At least as far as this film was concerned. In 1983 he had just done Never Say Never Again, which was a major commercial success (though not doing as well as Octopussy), and right after this was Highlander, which wasn't a huge success, but garnered a cult following. Not only that, but he was only three years away from Last Crusade. The only thing I can think is he did this in part for the money, and in part because he saw names like Peter Cushing and John Rhys-Davies, and thought he'd be all right. Believe me, this feels more like a Miles O'Keefe film than a Sean Connery one. That being said, this was way better than Finding Forrester.

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One final note to make is the pairing of John Rhys-Davies and Sean Connery, because they both played Egyptians at one point or other in their careers. What is it about Scots and Irishmen that makes us believe they're Egyptians? And it's weird, because a day doesn't go by where I don't have egg on my face mistaking one for the other. You'd think I'd learn by now. I'm watching those new Star Wars movies and I'm like "that Obi Wan is played by an Egyptian." Turns out Ewan McGregor is Scottish! I went and saw U2 with a buddy, and after I'm like "that's the best band to come out of Cairo ever." Turns out U2 is all Irishmen. It just makes sense to cast people of Scottish and Irish decent as Egyptians.

If you haven't seen this, you need to get on it right away. Netflix has it, so your best bet is to stick it at the top of your queue immediately, and return any movies you currently have at home. Also, I would strongly advise watching this one in a group. You'll need other people with you to share in the experience of one of the greatest films of all time.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084750/

2 comments:

  1. I remember seeing this one in theaters and feeling cheated! I was like "what is this shit Im looking at!" And I was like 12 or something.

    But Im sure that if I watch it now, Ill enjoy the hell out of it on a Troll II, Mac and Me sort of way.

    Hey, ever seen Lucio Fulci's Conquest? I have a review for it on my blog (http://filmconnoisseur.blogspot.com/2009/09/lucio-fulcis-conquest-1983.html)

    That film is similar to this one in nature, its a glouriously fun watch.

    What always got me about this movie was the way the hero looks, that blond wig is just too much!

    Im giving this one a re-watch soon! Thanks for that review man!

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  2. I did check your review of Conquest out, and I am curious to see what it's all about.

    Yeah, this movie was just utterly fantastic. I'm not sure it gets any better.

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