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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Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Command Performance (2009)

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Considering today is Dolph's 52nd, what more fitting way to celebrate than to review his new film, Command Performance, on the day it was released. I feel bad, because my friends and I celebrated Van Damme's birthday a couple weeks ago when it happened, but I was away and didn't get an announcement up. Would I ever make that mistake about Dolph's birthday? Well, I did almost forget it because of the big election here in Maine today-- almost.

Command Performance takes place in Moscow, and has Dolph as Joe, the drummer in a band that's looking to tour with US pop sensation Venus. She's performing in Moscow for a special show on behalf of the Russian President and his two daughters. If that smells like the perfect place for a terrorist takeover in a Dolph film, you couldn't be more right, and, as luck would have it, our hero just happened to be in the bathroom smoking a joint when the terrorists attacked, leaving him the freedom to save the day Die Hard style.

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This wasn't bad. To be frank, I probably wouldn't like it if it wasn't a Dolph picture. But it was, so we can't deal in what ifs here. The plot was essentially the same as the movie No Contest with Andrew Dice Clay, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Shannon Tweed. I have to admit, if it was a Miss Universe contest and Dolph was hosting it it would've been way cooler. The action was pretty good, but it seemed to be more terrorists shooting innocent people than anything else, which gets old after a while. Dolph's character's hand-to-hand skills are explained by him being in a biker gang, which is no fun either. He should've been a former Navy SEAL or US Special Forces who left in disgrace and ended up in Moscow as a drummer.

This is Dolph's fifth turn as director. If I would say there's any hallmark in his style, it's that his films are getting more and more violent. The Defender and The Russian Specialist weren't too bad, then Diamond Dogs, which he pinch hit in to direct, was a little more so, and then Missionary Man was very bloody, with the explicit shotgun blast to the head baddie's dome. This one was a step further, with things like a drumstick shoved from under a dude's chin up to his eyes, various gratuitous throat slashes, and Dolph stabbing a dude in the top of the head. I don't have a problem with it, just pointing out.

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In fact, it kind of fits with his image as our generation's Bronson. Think about it: Bronson always played these roles where he was once a proud hero, but now he's an alcoholic or something, wasting away somewhere, until he's called into action and saves the day as a one-man army. What other action star could you see smoking weed in a bathroom? What didn't wash in this was how the pop singer and a reporter were talking about how cute Dolph is. That's Van Damme stuff. He needs to be told every five minutes how many chicks dig him, not Dolph. I'm not saying Dolph doesn't get the female lead in all his movies, I'm saying he usually earns it: he wins the girl over with his confidence and ability to take charge of dangerous situations. I hope this is the exception, and not the start of a pattern, because the last thing we need are Dolph's bare buttcheeks in movies too.

The girl in this is played by someone from Diddy's hit TV show Making the Band. If you're curious, she tried and failed to make the band. Casting her makes sense, though, because she, like the other fifteen or so girls that competed, may not be able to make Diddy's band, but they were pretty enough and talented enough to play a pop star in a Dolph movie. As an aside, I think Diddy is absolutely hilarious, and my friends think I'm crazy for that. I know he's not intentionally funny-- that he thinks he's cool when he acts ridiculous-- but it's still entertaining. I generally don't watch the shows because he's not in them enough, but if I'm flipping through the channels and I see him, I'll stop and watch, and my friends will shake their heads and get angry. I don't know, am I wrong?

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This film combines two things Sweden does best: Dolph Lundgren and Music. According to Wikipedia, Sweden is the third biggest world exporter of music. Think about it: ABBA, Roxette, The Cardigans, Ace of Base, The Hives, and now Dolph. After the US and the UK, who else can you see even coming close? When I was at a wine and cheese shop in Massachusetts recently, I found this Swedish cheese called HerrgÄrdsost that was just amazing. Should I have been surprised since the Swedish did it? I'd like to know what they can't do.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, it's time to wrap this up. Out of the two Dolph films to come out this year, I'd put Direct Contact slightly higher Command Performance, but only slightly, and by no means is this not a fun Dolph film. Out of all the imports Sweden has sent us, and there are many, Dolph will always rank up as the best. Sorry Bergman. Both Bergmans.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1210801/

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6 comments:

  1. I really think you need to edit this post to include a still of the drumsticks down Dolph's butt crack.

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  2. I'll get right to it. I seriously don't know how I forgot that, especially considering what he did with them after.

    Oh yeah, and how's that Netflix Watch Instantly working out for ya?

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  3. Ian and I both had commented how ridiculous it was that the pop star and reporter were so crazy over him. He's gettin' kinda ragged. Like in the scene where he's smoking in the bathroom, his stomach looks pretty nasty. Come on, cover it up, we don't want to see that. It's just sad. Thing is, from reading the credits, it seems like Dolph had a lot to do with the story and everything. I hope he's not going the way of Van Damme.

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  4. Again, we're good as long as he doesn't start doing splits and showing off his buttcheeks.

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  5. Just got done watching this, thought it was hilarious! Very much Die Hard in a rock stadium. Better acting than Direct Contact by the non-Dolphers on screen. Loved the gratuitous violence. Hated the singing bimbo girl.

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  6. Yeah, I loved this movie. Dolph really showed up in 2009.

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