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.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deadly Target (1994)


I first saw this about five or six years ago when it aired on either EncoreAction or ShowtimeXtreme. I actually wanted to review it when I first started the DTVC back in 2007, but I didn't remember enough about it (in fact, I didn't even remember the name!), so I just forgot about it and it was lost in the shuffle. A few weeks ago, though, when I was looking for some films to review because Netflix didn't have available the ones I wanted, one of our readers, Michael, suggested I give this one a try. Of course, as luck would have it, it too ended up not being available, then the storm hit, and everything just got all backed up. Finally, here it is, Deadly Target, in all its glory.

Deadly Target has DTVC Hall of Famer Gary Daniels as a Hong Kong cop in LA after Byron Mann, who's a big time drug dealer. The problem is, Mann's escaped, and Daniels has pissed of the LAPD to the point they don't want him involved. Lucky for him, a hot Asian chick has taken him in, and one dude on the force has taken a shine to him. Now it's only a matter of time before Daniels gets his man.


This is bad 90s action at it's pretty-good-est. I mean, it had some great fights, some great car chases, and some great explosions. Daniels did his thing, and believe me, we've seen much worse from him. Overall, I could dig it. One problem I had was with it though is his female friend who takes him in. She handles herself in a fight and with a weapon as if she's had quite a bit of training, when her character is depicted as a glorified Valley Girl grown up. That's kind of that point where silly becomes too silly for me, and not silly in a way that's awesome, like a car exploding from a minor collision as if it were filled with TNT.

I'm fighting an uphill battle to get all of Daniels' films up here at the DTVC. It seems like for every one film I get my hands on, Netflix makes two unavailable. The most recent victim is Fatal Blade. It could be worse. It looks like Netflix is systematically eliminating all of Jeff Speakman's library. I'm wondering if this isn't Netflix's fault, or rather the individual distributors don't want Netflix to have them. For instance, Albert Pyun's new film, Bulletface, is only available through the website, and not on either Amazon or Netflix (you can download a torrent of it, but I would never do that for a Pyun film, based on the support he's shown us here at the DTVC). Anyway, so maybe I shouldn't be giving Netflix all the blame.


One of my issues with this movie was the lack of a really great fight scene after the initial action. I mean, don't get me wrong, Daniels and his partner, Ken McLeod, were great, but with the studs they had, like Ron Yuan, Byron Mann, and James Lew, we should've been getting some of the best stuff we've ever seen. This shows yet again that you can line up all the talent you want, but if you don't use it, what good is it?

Daniels' love interest is played by Susan Byun, who was in one of my all time faves, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD. I've never really done any Troma films here because I've always looked at them as a different category to what I'm doing. I know this might sound silly, but I've always seen them as an independent film company. With the DTVC Wild Card look at comic book movies winding down next week, I'm considering options for a new series of films to examine, and Troma seems like a logical next choice (another I was considering was vampire movies). I think we'll take a break for a little while though before I start something new.


I don't remember which MST3K episode it was, but in one of them, a dude gets punched in the face, and the fake blood that comes out of his mouth causes one of the 'bots to say "Cherry Starburst." Ever since that time, every time I see a similar effect, I'm forced to say the same thing. I remember at one kitchen job I had, we served this Starburst Cake, and I always called it "Cherry Starburst Cake", and my boss would always be like "why do you keep saying that?" I think he felt like there was some inside joke or pop culture reference I wasn't letting him in on. Anyway, James Lew has an amazing Cherry Starburst moment, and I had to capture it for the blog. It was a thing of beauty.

I'm not really sure you need to throw this on your Netflix queue over anything else you've been considering watching, but if you have a hankering for some Gary Daniels and you've seen everything else, why not give this a shot. At the very least, if it airs on EncoreAction or ShowtimeXtreme, you could do a lot worse than watch it. It's not horrible, it's just, for a mid-90s DTV actioner, it's nothing special, just a solid bad action film.

For more info:


  1. Glad I was able to help you find a long forgotten film, and you should really enjoy Hawk's Vengeance and Epicenter, but I would definitely recommend that you stay the hellaway from American Streetfighter, Full Impact, and Spoiler. The latter of which, in addition to being one of the worst films I ever saw, is also incredibly bleak and depressing, so watch those at your own risk. Oh yeah and on an unrelated note, I happen to have a copy of The Perfect Weapon if you want that, since I know you've been wanting more Speakman, and Netflix also has the Speakman films Running Red and Land Of The Free.

  2. Unfortunately, both Speakman films you mention have also been relegated to the Save section. Like I said, it's getting frustrating. Also unfortunately, as much as I'd like to stay away from the three Daniels stinkers you're warning me about, I have to do my duty to the blog and review them eventually. All Daniels films must go down, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I do thank you for the warning though.

    I appreciate any films you or anyone else wants to send me. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll have a PO Box specifically for the DTVC, and when I do, I'll announce the address for everyone.

  3. Alright man if you say so, but i'd suggest you watch those dead last there's still several GOOD Daniels films you have yet to review, there's Cold Harvest, Firepower, Heatseeker, Recoil(which I own), Delta Force One:The Lost Patrol(I also own this one)Knights, Capital Punishment and Ring Of Fire(OK the last two aren't exactly "good" but they're certainly not as painful to watch as the "terrible trio")Oh and one interesting fact, Daniels was actually in one episode of a short-lived spin-off of Walker Texas Ranger(yes, I can't believe that show got a spin-off either) called Sons Of Thunder, and there's also a couple of Daniels films that were never released in the U.S.(though hopefully like Retrograde, they will evenutally get released someday)those films being Queen's Messenger(which Witness To A Kill is actually a sequel to) and Ultimate Target, both of those films are availible on Amazon U.K. I believe.

  4. Spoiler wasn't too bad...The other two I agree with but Spoiler is defintely one of G.D's better efforts. You had Jeffrey Combs the film was low budget but well made and Daniels was actually pretty good. The ice thing was inspired. In fact Hawk's Vengeance was pretty lame IMO...the action was infrequent and it's actually Snakeater IV, and it pales in comparison to Snakeeater II. Really it's a dreary and dull effort. I mean it's nowhere near as bad as Black Friday, City Of Fear, Capitol Punihsment, Delta Force Lost Patrol, American Streetfighter and Full Impact but it's less entertaining than even the lame efforts of Heatseeker, Knights (actually that's so bad it's funny), Deadly Target and Firepower.

    Indeed it's not a patch on Rage, Recoil,Cold Harvest, Fist Of The North Star (guilty pleasure) and Epicenter. (I'd also throw Spoiler in there as well...what can I say I liked it.)
    Indeed Daniels has truly made some wretched crap.

  5. Well I just REALLY don't like depressing movies like Spoiler and I don't really get why people like them. I found Hawk's Vengeance to be pure dumb fun, Spoiler just made me feel like i'd been to a funeral, which I definitely don't consider a good thing. I'll gladly watch a lame film over a depressing one ANY day, no matter how badly made it is.

  6. Fair enough, but I think it says something because I actually cared about Gary Daniels' character and therefore the downbeat ending was that much more effective.

    A Better Tomorrow, A Better Tomorrow II, A Bullet In The Head are very downbeat as well and they are classics with excellent action. I'm saying that it can't always be a rose garden. The Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie is pretty downbeat as well, so is Robocop, First Blood, Terminator 1-3.

    Although to be fair Spoiler isn't in the same league as such.

    And I've been trying for a LONG time to get Matt to review the Chow Yun Fat movies from John Woo.

    Hawk's Vengeance I can grant you maybe as it is competently made, and if you're a fan of Gary Daniels I'd understand why you might like it, but I'm afraid I can't extend that to Capital Punishment. Indeed i'm not sure if it's a bad title because it certainly death sentence to sit through. I don't knock your taste...For instance I love King Of The Kickboxers and No Retreat No Surrender 2-3, in fact this is another one my Patriots loving counterpart still has to get to. Interesting story that, we like the flipside teams, Matt follows a team that went 16-0 (actually 18-1) and I follow a team that went 0-16 (The Detroit Lions.) Now you know why I devote so much time to the's not like fall sundays provide great diversion unlike the 90s.

    Back to Gary Daniels' work, I remember there was this guy who used to run a review website for all kind of martial arts movies (he had golden kick awards) and being a big martial arts fan that I am (though an impartial one), I couldn't believe how he could give Black Friday high marks, say that David Bradley gave was a redeeming factor in American Ninja 3 (That performance was deadly in its badness), That Kickboxer 3 was better than Kickboxer 4, that No Retreat No Surrender 1 could get 3 stars, that Breathing Fire could get 3.5 stars out of 4, Bloodfist IV could get 4 stars (and I liked Bloodfist IV) Not to mention Gymkata getting 3.5 stars and not because of camp. My point is, that the thing that makes one a good writer and reviewer is being objective and being impartial. I could tell he loved Gary Daniels movies because all of them (including Spoiler) got almost 3.5 stars by default, indeed the only way you could tell if such a movie was awful was if said reviewer gave it 3 stars (Black Friday, City Of Fear, Delta Force Lost Patrol) That kind of devotion is ridiculous in my opinion.

    Even Matt goes off on Dolph Lundgren once in awhile, no case more surprising then Universal Soldier Regeneration.

  7. Actually Matt you so need to make Knights happen...You'll have to go the VHS route buyt it's freakin worth it. It is just as campy as Cyborg, with Lance Henriksen, Gary Daniels,Vince Klyn fighting (And this is the best part) Kris Kristofferson. K.K is not the guy would expect to play a cyborg avenger, and he looks in 1993 like Dolph Lundgren looks now. You so need to make this happen.

    By the way Mike (Vexer and you are the same?) Did you like Rage? It's my favorite G.D movie and I think it's his best. I also liked Bloodmoon,Cold Harvest,Fist Of The North Star, Recoil and Epicenter.

    The thing about Bloodmoon it was actually directed by a kung fu theater staple who was the star in those awesome kung fu movies like 36 Crazy Fists, you know the classic chop socky flick.

  8. Well I didn't mean I hated ALL dperessing films, I liked the ones you mentioned, but they weren't depressing all the way through like Spoiler was. And yes I LOVED Rage, it's my favorite Daniels film as well, and i'll admit I actually DID sort of like American Ninja 3 and 4, didn't hate or like Bradley, just thought he was average. And also Daniels was recently in a Spanish thriller called La Linea(A.K.A. The Line) was I recently saw, though I wasn't aware Daniels was even in it until I looked it up on IMDB.

  9. I'm still getting over the sting of the Pats losing that Super Bowl to the Giants, though I'm willing to concede that everyone else rooted for the Giants the way they rooted for the Pats against the Rams in 01-02.

    Mr. Kenner, you are always trying to get me to review films that push the boundries of good clean DTV. I have Hard Boiled in my top ten films of the 1990s. I'm not the DTV Connoisseur if I review that here. Maybe on Matt, Movie Guy...

    Knights is one I've been wanting to do for a long time because of the Albert Pyun factor. He's actually rereleasing a lot of his films on his website,, including some like Captain America and Omega Doom that were only on VHS. Maybe he'll take care of Knights too.

    I can see from this conversation that I have my work cut out for me as far as Gary Daniels goes, but that's a good thing. I'll try my best to be up to the task.

  10. I never said anything about Hard Boiled...I said A Better Tomorrow series and a Bullet In The Head :) Actually i'm not sure where the Woo films fit in the perspective...Cause on one hand they are more in league with J.C.V.D then anything else, independent art house film. They are in grey area because it is due to the video market that they are so popular and yet they are more Independent foreign films. I assure you this, you review such no matter where and I'll read it.

    And for the record 18-1 is still a heckuva lot better than 0-19 which was the streak before Stafford and co. pulled one out against the Redskins.

  11. No, 18-1 is only better than 0-16 when the 1 happens mid-season. I will say, I've never had an 0-16 season, but the Pats have had a 1-15 one in my time, and nothing compares to seeing the team come a minute away from 19-0 and a Super Bowl, and end up with nothing. I couldn't watch ESPN for two months after that.

    I think you need to cover those Woo/Fat films on your site, because the truth is, I'm still learning about Hong Kong cinema, and couldn't do reviews of those justice compared to what yours would be. Then, when you get them up, I'll link them on mine.