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.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Code of Conduct (1998)

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I had forgotten this one was in my queue for a while, but when RepoGenetic put in a request for more Mark Dacascos this year, I found it again when I did a search of him on Netflix. The star power alone made this a must see, with the aforementioned Dacascos, Charlie Sheen (as Charles), Martin Sheen, Bret Michaels, and the great Paul Gleason. This just couldn't go wrong, could it?

No Code of Conduct is a tedious crime drama about Charlie (Charles) Sheen as a disgraced cop whose wife doesn't like him and whose dad (Martin), who's also his boss, wants him to get his shit together. One night, while accompanying his partner, Dacascos, doing some vice work, they fall into his dad's drug investigation, when one of the dealers picks up an undercover cop as a prostitute. Now the drug case is blown wide open, and Sheen wants to see it through, while his dad is wondering why his superiors, Paul Gleason and the sheriff from Murder She Wrote, are stonewalling him.

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Wow. All that talent, and the best you can do is bore me to sleep for the first forty-five minutes, and barely make up for it with a decent last half-hour. I mean, after the first five minutes, where there's a drug deal gone bad, I'm thinking, this might not be so bad. But suddenly I'm transported into a world of poorly written, endless dialog inundating me with useless backstory and undramatic drama. It just goes to show, you can line up all the acting talent you want, but if the story sucks, you got nothing. Oh, and before I forget, the head baddie was played by the sheriff on Murder She Wrote. Not only that, but the good guys don't take him out, he dies when he's unable to properly back his van out of a parking garage and it explodes. I am not kidding. Even Harold Pinter couldn't make that work, so it wasn't all writing that was wrong with this.

Of course, at the DTVC, we work hard to dispel the myth that bad writing makes for a bad movie experience. We frequently showcase films with zero acting, directing, or writing talent, and we frequently extol the virtues of those films. That's because the people who make the ones we like know their shortcomings, and make up for it with plenty of mindless action, or ridiculous gore. That first forty-five minutes in No Code of Conduct that bored me to death could've been scrapped and made into some great action scenes. You've got a great talent like Mark Dacascos, why not have him and Sheen get into a bar room brawl? You can tell me all you want that that kind of thing happens in every bad action film, but you didn't do any better-- in fact you did worse, because you just made a bad action film with no action, which is even worse.

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So I have to apologize to RepoGenetic for this first Dacascos effort of 2010, because he's completely wasted here. I just don't even know why you cast Dacascos-- I don't care if he's doing you a solid or helping out a bud in their independent production-- if you don't utilize his strengths. One of the baddies showed some knife skills early on, why not have him fight it out with Dacascos, instead of they way they killed him, by running him over. Just another way this film was totally sautéed in wrong sauce.

In watching this, I have to re-imagine the world as it was in 1998. Martin Sheen was a year away from The West Wing, Charlie (Charles) Sheen was two years from taking over for Michael J. Fox in Spin City, and five from Two and a Half Men being the hit that would bring him Hanes commercials with Michael Jordan and what not. Even Bret Michaels was still trying to make sense of a world post Hair metal, as Rock of Love was still a long ways off. It just shows how quickly one can be done and come back. I mean, Charlie Sheen had resorted to calling himself "Charles", how hilarious is that?

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I forgot to capture an image of Joe Estevez. He was great. He played some guy named Pappy, was overweight, and had these stubby little fingers. More than anything, he looked like disgraced former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. I'd love to see a biopic about Mike Leach made with Estevez in the lead role. You could really play some of the better angles of the story, like Leach's obsession with pirates, or his press conference where he said his players needed to stop listening to their "fat little girlfriends". The question, of course, is whether or not Joe Estevez would have time for a movie like that. Since this came out, he's been in 97 movies, including 13 that are still in various stages of development.

This does not live up to the star power it advertises. A decent last twenty to thirty in no way makes up for an excruciating first forty-five. Poorly written, no good action to make up for it, a total waste of Mark Dacascos' talent, and the hilarious casting decision of the sheriff from Murder She Wrote as the baddie, adds up to a whole lot of bad.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0131502/

2 comments:

  1. Oh man Matt, yeah, you picked a winner here. Let me first thank you for kicking off with some Dacascos right away, and apologies for the late acknowledgement, I've been in Colorado for a week. Yeah, I should have warned you off this one. It's brutal, right? And given the line up, no excuses. As a Dacascos completist, I have also endured this one, and yeah, no one's finest hour. Let me know if you want a few suggestions, as the last thing I want to do is bore you. Also, check your email, I got a few good things I want to get your way.

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  2. Yeah, I think even with your warning, I would probably have to have done a post on this just to have a warning in the archives. This is the kind of thing that looks good on the shelves, which can be the most dangerous.

    Suggestions are always welcome, because the world of DTV is a vast one, so any direction anyone can point me in is always appreciated.

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