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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--Matt

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Way of War (2009)

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I watched this not long after I saw Wrong Turn at Tahoe, because I had it on Watch Instantly, and Netflix was removing it. I would've waited on it to put some space between my Cuba Gooding jr. DTV films, but when forced with the decision of whether to waste a DVD rental on it in the future, or get it out of the way now directly on my computer, I chose the latter. Maybe I should've just let it evaporate from my queue and never watched it-- ever.

The Way of War has Cuba Gooding jr. as an elite special forces guy sent on a secret mission that was bad and stuff. What follows is a mess of double crosses and people killing people related to this or that element. To say anything more would be to pretend this was somewhat decent.

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The first user review I saw of this on imdb was titled "CUBA, what were you THINKING !?!?" The only thing I could think was he did it for children who have trouble sleeping, because this snoozefest, if it wasn't for the violence, would work better than anything I could think of to put kids to sleep. Hell, it put me to sleep twice when I watched it. I'm not kidding. It's like Lunesta without the side effects like depression and thoughts of suicide. Pending FDA approval.

Hey Cuba, how has your stay been at the DTV Hotel? You need more towels? Oh, because you have to take so many showers to wash away the dirty you feel after making such a sack of asscrack as this. I guess looking at the Oscar on the mantel doesn't work anymore like it did with Snow Dogs and Daddy Day Camp. The reality is, if this is the best you can do in the DTV world, why not just stick to Boat Trip? Is it worth it that much to play a dark, brooding, cold-blooded killer, even if it's in a horribly written cinematic tranquilizer?

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For most people who find out that I have a blog that focuses on Direct to Video movies, when I mention Cuba Gooding jr.'s films they always say "Cuba Gooding jr. does [DTV]? Didn't he win an Oscar?" imdb is not very clear on what happened, so I went to Wikipedia to get the lowdown on him. All they could say was that after As Good as It Gets, his films were "inconsistently successful" and that he did some that were critically panned or did poorly in the box office. They also mention his bright spot recently in American Gangster. Maybe he just decided if the best he could do in Hollywood was Norbit, he'd try different roles in DTV. The Wikipedia article does say he trained in martial arts before becoming an actor, which I didn't know, so maybe Hollywood, based on his reputation as a good guy, would never let him be the action guy he wanted. The problem is, he's taking DTV roles that are complete crap. I guess the question is, again, is it worth it?

The dad from Juno is in this as well. He was one of the bright spots, and he and Cuba acted well together. The best way to look at his part is pretty much the dad from Juno as the head of an elite special forces unit, only without any of the great Oscar winning dialog. There's a reason why, on imdb, Cuba's name and his name are set apart from everyone else's. The only other talent was Clarence Williams III, or Link from The Mod Squad, and his name is buried near the bottom-- probably better than being at the top when dealing with a sack of asscrack like this.

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One thing that was kind of cool was the amount of Washington Redskins memorabilia. I do think they should change their name to something else, in part because the name's offensive, but more because it doesn't really fit the city. The Beltways or Traffic Jams is better, or maybe the Taxations without Representations. Anyway, I remember in the 80s and early 90s, the Redskins were good, and as a Patriots fan, I was jealous of how good they were. Boy do times change. One team gets a good owner, the other gets a shitty one, and the rest is history.

I don't know how much more explicitly I can say this: STAY AWAY! According to imdb it's airing on TMC on Tuesday December 29th. Again, STAY AWAY! If you're having trouble sleeping, watch the Weather Channel or drink some warm milk.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1133995/

7 comments:

  1. Yeah, I never did get the downward spiral that Cuba Gooding's career took. I think aside from the ones that you mentioned, he also did What Dreams May Come, and that one was watchable, if only for the fx.

    But when Boat Trip came out, I was like...what the hell is Cuba thinking? It seemed like a desperate move, like someone desperately in need of cash? This is one of those actors who did not use his Oscar win in a good way.

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  2. I think you make a great point that's worth exploring more. What Dreams May Come came on the heels of As Good as it Gets, which made three sentimental roles he did well in in a row.

    If you look at his body of work before "Show me the money!"-- pre Oscar-- he has some great notsonice movies, like Gladiator and Boyz in the Hood. What happened was those two films lost their relevance at the same time he was being pigeonholed into sentimental roles: Gladiator had the curse of having the same name as an Oscar winning picture, and Boyz in the Hood became a dinosaur when Ice Cube was doing his own Daddy Day Camp with Are We There Yet.

    Unlike De Niro, who has Raging Bull and Taxi Driver in his tool belt, Gooding couldn't survive the Radios and Men of Honors and Pearl Harbors, and when the smoke cleared, all he had was Boat Trip and Snow Dogs to fall back on-- but why cast him for those, when you can have Ice Cube.

    That's my theory on his decline, and I could be completely wrong. The question now, of course, is whether or not it's worth it to add those darker tools to his tool belt, if he's doing it in such horrible DTV films as these?

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  3. Hey, Id forgotten about Gladiator, I LOVE that film! I remember seeing it all those years ago when it was first released. That movie made me wonder why it wasnt more popular! It was one of those movies that got me really worked up when I saw it!

    Its one of Cuba's best movies, pity not many people know about it.

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  4. Two pretty decent DTV Cuba Gooding Jr. films are Hero Wanted with Ray Liotta and Linewatch.

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  5. Yeah, I'm mad because I missed Hero Wanted when it was on Watch Instantly, and I've heard good things about Linewatch. Two that I have in my Instant Queue that I've been meaning to get to as well are Lies and Illusuions, with Chrstian Slater, and Dirty, one my buddy has seen on BET a lot recently.

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  6. Hero Wanted is definitely a decent Cuba flick. Liotta's role is a little lacking though.

    Dirty is a good cop movie. It is basically Cuba trying to be like Denzel in Training Day. Keith David is in it for a little bit.

    Also Cuba's End Game is a not bad political action thriller. James Woods, Burt Reynolds,and Peter Greene co-star.

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  7. Keith David is one of those cats that when a good director employs him, he's amazing, but when a bad director employs him, the result is usually a mess of laziness. I guess that's the case for a lot of great character actors.

    Cuba's definitely one I need to get back to soon. It's always great to have an Academy Award winner living in the world of DTV.

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