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.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Coldfire (1990)

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I got this on Netflix a few weeks ago, and set it aside to use at a time when I needed something to post, and now is that time. It wasn't a rough weekend, but it wasn't an easy one either, and we'll leave it at that.

Coldfire not only stars DTVC Hall of Famer Wings Hauser, but he directs it as well. It's about some drug developed by the Soviets to use here in the US and kill us from within. It seems like the perfect high, but for months after the user takes it, any stimuli that excites him or her can cause a fatal reaction. Anyway, two rookie undercover cops stumble upon it, but they do such a bad job on their bust that they get desk jobs, and Hauser takes their case. Now the rookies have to make their name and solve it on the down low.

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This was ridiculous. It would've been decent (in a make-fun-of ridiculous way) if it had more Hauser, because he was hilarious, but instead he was directing, and spent more time behind the camera. I'm not sure I get that. There was nothing Hauser did as a director that any other bad late 80s early 90s DTV action director couldn't do, which meant we were left with less Hauser and the same lame movie. Don't get me wrong, there were some good parts, but it was long (almost two hours), and the lack of Hauser or anyone else gave it nothing to set it apart from the rest of the pack-- and with a pack as huge as the world of late 80s early 90s DTV, not setting oneself apart can be fatal.

Of course, this movie advertised Hauser. They promised Hauser. But did they deliver? Just because he's somewhere story-boarding the scenes or discussing what he wants shot with the cinematographer, doesn't mean he's in the film. The guy is always hilarious, and the few scenes he was in in this were nothing short of amazing, which made it all the more frustrating that most of the film was future soap star Michael Easton. Wings is the man, not anyone else. Another aspect of this that's frustrating is the relatively small amount of Wings Hauser available on Netflix. Most of his stuff is either only on VHS, or out of print, so for one of the few ones available to be a dud really hurts. What that means is I need to hit the pavement and find more of his stuff.

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I bring up Michael Easton because this is one of his first roles. In fact, he also appeared in two other Pm Entertainment films, The Killing Zone, and the Wings Hauser great The Art of Dying. From there he went onto do some syndicated action/sci-fi TV work, and when that niche dried out, he went to the daytime soap. The one I remember him most from was Two, but there was also Total Recall: 2070. Of course, talking about syndicated TV shows, I'm forced once again to bring up the greatest of all time, Beastmaster. My buddy and I were discussing it the other day, and he made the point that the Beastmaster's sidekick was created in the mold of Gabrielle in the early Xena episodes, meaning he was useless in a fight. The question of course is, was he as hot to the ladies and gay men as Gabrielle was to the dudes and lesbian women? Man, I want my old syndicated TV shows back.

Easton has a scene with a female officer where he's trying to hook up with her, and she tricks him into letting her handcuff him to a pole by saying "are you into kink?" Kink? Is that really short for "kinky"? That's just so Wings Hauser, though, to say something like that. "Are you into kink?" and he's like "kink? uh, yeah, yeah, kink's good..." Who comes up with shit like that? "I'm watchin' a little women's bask right now." If I said that to someone who thought I was seriously trying to be cool, I'd probably get punched.

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One thing about the 80s and 90s bad action film was the kind of damage one could endure with no lingering after effects, and Coldfire was no exception. One rookie's wife is kidnapped and when the cops go to get her, she's tied to the bumper of a car. She's also pregnant. Anyway, the car drives off, dragging her behind it. I'm talking about a pregnant woman being dragged behind a car at relatively high speeds, and when all is said and done all she has are some scratches and a dirty face. I don't know why, but I love stuff like that. I'm sure the stunt men and women didn't, but just so all you stunt men and women from the 80s and 90s know, there were a generation of kids who loved what you did.

Skip this. It seems great, but it so isn't. Also, you may see a trailer for it on any other PM Entertainment DVD, and the trailer looks awesome. Don't let that fool you, this is one film that doesn't live up to the trailer, even on the Hauser level.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101599/

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for commenting on "Hostage". I look forward to another Wings review from you! He's made a lot of ridiculously fun stuff in the 80s and 90s!

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