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.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Death Warrior (2009)


Death Warrior was finally released on DVD here in the States yesterday, and I must say, I was waiting for it. Sure, Never Surrender sucked a big one, but Confessions of a Pit Fighter was so good, and with Rampage on the cover, I figured he'd have a bigger role than he did in the last one, right? Hector Echavarria had to have learned his lessons from the last sack of asscrack of his we reviewed, right?

Death Warrior is another fight yarn about an illegal underground fight ring, this time where the guy who runs it holds the fighter's family over his head so he fights. This happens to our hapless hero Echavarria, and now he must fight or his wife, who has been injected with a neurotoxin (with side effects more like a bad hangover), will die, and only the bad guy has the antidote. This is pretty much the movie, until we reach the 80 minute mark of the film, and suddenly our bad guy with so much security he's untouchable becomes really touchable, and our hero takes him down.


Wow. I was watching this by myself, and at about the 22 minute mark I said, out loud, "This really sucks." If Never Surrender was bad, Death Warrior was abhorrent. I don't even want to know what Echavarria has in store next. You know your movie is bad when I'm rooting for Georges St. Pierre to beat the crap out of the good guy! That was like the only good scene. Our hero was this lunk who kept talking about how "I'll get you out of this honey" to his girl, but just let this bad guy push around continually. This is a fucking action movie! I'm watching it so the hero will beat the shit out of bad guys holding guns on him! Would Commando have been awesome if, instead of breaking the guy's neck in the plane next to him, crawling down to the wheel of the plane, and escaping in the water, he'd just let the bad guys take him wherever they wanted to go? Hell no, and and as a result, we got the amazing mall scene, et al.

Believe me, I like a bad movie as much as the next guy, but do it well. Echavarria has this need to cast himself as these heroes that he doesn't even do a great job creating. Maybe a UFC star can't be the hero in a movie and get ready for a fight at the same time, I understand that, but Echavarria has to do something other than what he has. Confessions of a Pit Fighter was good, and it was good in part because of Echavarria, not in spite of him. Maybe it's just the writing and the directing that he can't do.


Rampage was great again-- for five minutes! He's on the cover, what happened? In the beginning, the bad guy makes him fight Echavarria, and Echavarria breaks his neck, even though they're friends, because he "had no choice". Are you kidding me? A real action hero in a real action movie would not have killed his friend because he "had no choice". He would've broken the rules to save him, his friend, his wife, and everyone else. Because Echavarria is such a bad writer, he wrote his character into a corner, and had to bad write him out of it.

The worst was the end. Pretty much, the bad guy and his armed guards, who had been keeping Echavarria down the whole film, because it was the 80 minute mark, allowed themselves to be taken out. That's not entirely true. Out of nowhere, at about the hour mark, Echavarria takes out two armed captors that are taking him to a cell, but because the bad guy decides to just kidnap his wife, Echavarria gives up without a fight. Then, at the 80 minute mark, he suddenly has no problem fighting armed guards, even when they had his wife. I mean really, who writes crap like that and thinks it's good.


The one thing you'd expect with all these UFC guys is good fight scenes, right? Wrong. Only the scene where GSP beats the crap out of Echavarria was any good. One scene had the hero fighting Rashad Evans while the two are chained to some pulley system. Yeah, that makes a great fight, jumpcuts to chains whipping through a pulley. Man, Echavarria, hire Art Camacho to show you how this shit is done. If Camacho can do anything, it's choreograph fights. And I must mention Rampage had a hand in fight choreography as well. Please tell me his screen time wasn't cut down so he could do that. This film was simply sautéed in wrong sauce.

Don't waste your time, unless you're a hardcore UFC fan, and even then, the novelty of seeing them in it will be far surpassed by the pain you're putting yourself through. Remember, I hurt, so you don't have to.

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  1. Great review! Just watched this the other day. It could have been good if you see the punchfighting. Nick Mancuso saved this from being a total bomb.

  2. Thanks man, and I'll give you the Nick Mancuso, I was just too angry with how bad it was that I forgot to mention him.