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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Revamped (2007)

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This one caught my eye because it had Martin Kove and Fred Williamson. Of course, I mistook it for another film in my queue, Kiss of the Vampire, which has Martin Kove and Gary Daniels. Sometimes there are just too many movies for even the self-professed connoisseur to keep them straight. Of course, I now want to do Kiss of the Vampire, but I also have another Gary Daniels film in Riot I want to cover, and the Kove classic To Be the Best... so many choices, so little time.

Revamped has Jeff Rector (who has done his share of vampire flicks) as a rich dude who finds out his wife is cheating on him with Kato Kaelin (I'm not kidding). So he hatches this brilliant scheme to become a vampire-- which he can do through a commercial service offered by vampires to turn any mortal looking to join up-- and fake his death, return to life, and get his revenge. Things don't work out when he forgets she'd need his estate to pay for the funeral, so being cut out of the will, she can only afford to cremate him. His ashes are brought back to life five years later, and the world is different: vampires and humans are at war. Now it gets convoluted, and we have half-breeds, government slayers, etc. all vying for power, and Rector is the only one that save everyone and take out all the baddies.

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This started out like a comedy, and on that level it worked. But then there were all these layers that were tough to follow and seemed extraneous. Not to mention it made the film boring in parts, and even the action that was there was kind of lame. So if the comedy and action are lame, then we need either the horror/gore or the sexiness to step up, and neither really did that either. That's too bad, because the initial idea of a company that sells as a service vampires turning humans into vampires, plus the some of the other comedic elements that they went away from, worked. Sometimes less is more.

And that's a shame, because Rector, Kove, and Williamson were all great when their roles demanded they be off-beat. Kove and Williamson especially are two guys that have been around for a while for a reason-- because they're good. The problem is, they're only as good as the material they have to work with, and this material was too all over the place. I think maybe the comedy was where they should've focused, because that was where they did their best stuff, and as such, it was where Williamson and Kove were able to do their best work too.

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This is actually the most recent film available with Fred Williamson in it, and he's not in it much. I'm waiting for Spaced Out, a film he did with Robert Z'Dar, to come from Netflix, but I think if I'm going to really showcase what Fred Williamson is all about, I need to go further back in time, to the 80s and 90s. One that I have in my instant queue is The Big Score, which also has John Saxon and Richard Roundtree, so maybe I'll do that one in a couple weeks.

I would've liked more Martin Kove as well. He is someone, along with Richard Lynch and Robert Z'Dar, that I'm looking to feature more this year, so it's unfortunate that the first one out of the gate in 2010 has him in it in a limited capacity. Still, when he was there, he was good, and he also played a good guy, which was a different turn for him. We'll see if we can't improve upon this, whatever the next Kove film is.

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One of the harder parts about doing the DTVC is getting images for the films I review, especially off DVDs. I should probably buckle down and pay for a good movie player for my computer, like say register my version of WinDVD, which worked well in the trial phase. As it is, I'm using a Beta version of BSPlayer, and often it won't open the part of the film I need for the picture I want; and with this film it wouldn't open anything at all. I was able to go to the film's official website, http://www.revampedthemovie.com/, and though they weren't the exact pics I wanted, they did in a pinch. I'm not sure how they or any of the other people who make the movies I review feel about me putting images of their films on here. Albert Pyun didn't seem to mind when he commented about liking what we do, so I take that as a good sign. At the very least, I'm getting the name out there for all of these films, even if I'm giving them poor recommendations.

For a film that started out so well, it was disappointing to see it fall off as it did. It wasn't atrocious-- I mean, I've seen much worse here-- but it suffered too much from an identity crisis. It tried to cover too much ground in one story, and ended up covering very little and leaving more to be desired. Still, it was an interesting take on the vampire genre, so they should be given credit for the effort, even if the film itself fell short.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918558/

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