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, March 30, 2010

Fast Getaway (1991)

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I first saw this who knows how long ago when I rented it. Corey Haim, why not, right? I didn't like it, but when I started the DTVC three years ago, it was one I really wanted to review. The only problem: it's not available on DVD. I guess I can kind of see why, considering it was rather unremarkable, but it was still quite an impediment. Anyway, just recently, I found it used on VHS at a local record store (along with Lady Dragon), so that wasn't a bad deal.

Fast Getaway is about a father and son bank robbing team (played by Leo Rossi and the late Corey Haim) plying their trade in the pristine mountains of Colorado and Utah. When they have an acrimonious split with their partners Cynthia Rothrock and Ken Lerner, they strike out on their own, only to be set up when Rossi agrees to go along with a heist Haim insists on doing. While in jail and waiting for Haim to break him out, a mysterious woman played by Welcome Back Kotter's Marcia Strassman comes to take Haim in. At the same time, Rothrock and Lerner, with Rossi out of the way, want to get their hands on Haim to force him to help them with their next heist.

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Before I get into whether or not I liked this, let me take a moment to discuss the recently departed Corey Haim. I think I speak for everyone in our generation in saying that Haim and his friend and oft co-star Corey Feldmen were true staples of the 80s. We grew up watching these guys, and at least for me, they played a big part in my eventual love of movies. What's saddest about Haim's passing was that it didn't come when he and Feldmen were has-beens or poster children for Hollywood youth gone wrong; it came when he was making his way back to some form of relevance. I just remember watching License to Drive twenty years ago (it's crazy to say that!) and thinking how cool and amazing LA was, and how we here in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts had nothing like that-- and I associated that world with Haim, with no clue that that world he inhabited on screen was killing him off-screen.

All right, as far as Fast Getaway goes, I guess I was left with this feeling, both now, and all those years ago when I first watched it, of what was that? First off, was I rooting for Rossi, who kidnapped his son when he's an infant and made his living by sticking a gun in people's faces and scaring and humiliating them? I can see that maybe this was some kind of comedy, but again, it was just too weird and depraved for me to laugh at it too much. A lot of these things could've been mitigated had Haim not been Strassman's son, or had Strassman abandoned her son, instead of Rossi running off with him. And she seemed pretty fine with that after all was said and done, which was even weirder for me.

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Rothrock wasn't bad. She's not in it much, and a lot of her martial arts work is done for show. I got this more for Haim than I did for Rothrock, but as the only DTVC Hall of Famer in the film, she needs a mention. I'm looking to get after it a little more with some of her better work that's only available on VHS, starting with Tiger Claws. One thing I often try to do is strike the balance between new DTV films, and catching up on a lot of the old favorites that got me into this, and I'm sure got a lot of you, the readers, into checking me out. What often happens, though, is those new ones are much more readily available, and as such, the great older classics get lost in the shuffle. It's definitely something I'll be working on in the future.

I've never got the whole concept of Leo Rossi. (I could see him potentially reading this saying "oh my God, I'm a concept now?") I don't know, he's just never worked. It's like he's Robert Z'Dar with a smaller face, which in my mind, defeats the point. It probably also doesn't help that his character in this film was wholly unsympathetic. I know Mr. Kenner at Movies in the Attic has been trying to get after me to review the Relentless series, so maybe I'll grow to understand just what Rossi is all about through those, but I doubt it. (By the way, I did review Relentless 2: Dead On because it has DTVC Hall of Famer Miles O'Keefe.)

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One thing I loved about this was the Colorado landscape in the background. I'm actually going out there in September to hit some mountains with a friend, so this just got me even more pumped. I understand that financially, filming in Sofia or Vancouver is probably a better bet, and don't get me wrong, those places have great natural landmarks as well, but there's just something about a movie taking the best America has to give and really showcasing it. It's not about a rah-rah jingoism or Toby Keith put a boot in your ass kind of thing, it's just about taking advantage of the great backdrop we have right in out enormous backyard, and letting the world in on a US that's more than just New York, LA, Chicago, or Texas.

I have to admit, I can kind of understand why this isn't available on DVD yet. I can see where it wanted to be charming, quirky, and funny, but in the end it gave us a very unsympathetic figure in Leo Rossi's character, did a bad job of making him someone to root for, and from there the rest of the film fell flat.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101857/

10 comments:

  1. Actually I think one thing you haven't considered is the Hong Kong binge. Mainly because then it would give you an excuse to review A Better Tomorrow 1-2, Legacy Of Rage (Brandon Lee and Bolo Yeung but only in a cameo, although Michael Wong is in it and you liked him in Knock Off) Also you can get some Bruce Lee, Bruce Li and so on in there. I recommend that, because such films were given life due to the videoshelf as nobody would release chinese movies that you had to actually read subtitles. I'm just saying.

    Relentless, Leo Rossi wasn't very good, it was Judd Nelson who sold the movie. Indeed while Relentless is a pretty decent movie (it inspired your CSI shows, I can tell you that) it was Nelson who sold it. You could've taken Nelson's performance and put in a oscar caliber serial killer thriller and he would've fit in. Indeed he is actually a tragic figure at the same time as menacing. Robert Loggia was also pretty good but it was Nelson that Made Relentless memorable.

    Also Fast Getaway, never cared for it, though Haim wasn't too bad. Rothrock was sort of wasted and I just think it wasn't funny enough to be comedy and not action packed enough to be action. It wasn't terrible but I didn't care for it. The sequel is about the same.

    Corey Haim technically we don't know if he's died from a drug overdose yet, but it's highly likely. He was actually making a comeback with Crank 2 hitting theaters and he would've probably been in a Lost Boys sequel. That's what makes it even worse. Though I still don't get why he was broke at the end, he had to have had some money, maybe it was coming in later or he was sinking such into his sick mother's care. In fact my take is that it was his mother's cancer that made him relapse, it's early still but it's my theory. In anycase it's still just a tragedy. He was also just a lonely guy, I was reading about he would go around the apartment looking to meet people and find companionship because nobody was there. Corey Feldman and Nicole Eggert are making movies so they were probably busy while he was shooting movies. Like I said, what makes this so much more tragic is just how he was at the end.

    It's even sadder than the way Charles Bronson went out.

    Haim though was as you said, huge, and so reading about how he had to look for companionship as well as the fact that his newer co-stars didn't really hang around him much, is just tragic. Hollywood is a cut throat business and he was probably too sensitive of a person.

    Ergo the worst part of such, is that Haim really hasn't been in too many good movies. I liked Lost Boys, Lucas, Silver Bullet, Licence To Drive and Crank 2. And Demolition Univeristy was hilarious but he really went the paycheck route to fund his drugs.

    Meanwhile the saddest part about Haim isn't his final act (which is very sad) but rather how familar these child star stories end up. Although even more heart wrenching was that he was on the verge of a comeback.

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  2. All great points about Haim. I put Relentless in my queue, and hopefully I'll get to it soon. The other two Relentlesses are on Watch Instantly, so we'll see what happens there.

    I did consider Honk Kong cinema. The number to look at, for whatever genre I go to next, is 12, because that's how many comic book movies I did. I'd like to do ten for this go round: five weeks of two a piece. The other thing is, do you think I should make it less intrusive as far as the rest of the blog goes? For a lot of those weeks I was doing only 2 regular posts and 2 comic book ones. Did you find that to be an issue, or did it even matter?

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  3. I don't think it mattered, Matt, If you're going to do a series, I liked the half and half balance of making it work. I think it kept it fresh, without having to space the series over what, 3 months? Easier to compare and contrast about what worked and didn't within the genre. Just my two cents. My vote is for vampires by the way, there is so much ripe material out there to mine for that genre, whether it be serious, or comedic, or what have you.
    Nice write up on Haim by the way, both of you. I too share a personal affinity for a few of his flicks, in particular License To Drive as well. Les Anderson was always my Ferris Bueller when I was younger. Ferris may have stood the test of time better (in terms of endearing popularity), but Les was always the character I wanted to be.

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  4. I always liked the special posts a week so the more the better. I think that especially considering how dull the DTD market is now...It's all relative. For the most part Supergirl, Steel,Punishers,Batman 60s and Elektra all fit. Batman And Robin worked as the big budget bomb. Daredevil and Hulk didn't really fit cause they made money...but aside from that.

    I think another fun binge to consider are movies not yet out on DVD. Although that is just familar terrain I guess.

    Hong Kong movies would be a binge that I'd actually check first thing after I got up in the morning.

    Kind of like the Cannon binge. Indeed the turmoil of having to make a choice between Avenging Force and Revenge Of The Ninja was tough.

    See, I also think you could do a binge with ninja films too. I don't know, I think that expanding ever so slightly from DTD is a good thing, and people forget that even before this binge thing, you reviewed movies that technically went to theaters.

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  5. I think those are both great points. What I liked about Vapire movies was like you said, Jeff, those films span so many genres. On the other hand, Hong Kong, though less diverse, as Kenner says, had such a great influence on a lot of the films we review here.

    I've always done some thatrical films, like Shakedown and Venom, but I always tried to make those small scale affairs. That was until I introduced the Wild Card post last summer.

    I think, based on what you two are saying and the reations I've gotten is, it's better to do a less successful film everyone knows, than a really obscure DTV film just for the sake of doing DTV. If you look at the period during the comic book films, only two of them didn't generate any comments, Ghost Rider and The Incredible Hulk, and I think the latter was only because its 2003 companion was reviewed the day before, so people commented on both that day. During the same period, a Gary Busey and a Rutger Hauer film, both obsure horror flicks, passed by with little to no notice.

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  6. I'd be down with a binge of Hong Kong films, esp. if you tackled some Woo films - BULLET IN THE HEAD anyone? That's one of his films that never seems to get enough love.

    I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed the comic book super hero posts - a genre I love and I really enjoyed the films you picked.

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  7. Totally off subject here, but I was unsure of how to send you this in a message, so I'll just post it here in your most recent post.

    I saw this movie and was curious to if you have seen it.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082399/

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  8. Glad you dug the comic book films JD, a lot of other people did as well. As far as Bullet in the Head goes, is it any surprise that Netflix no longer has that available to rent?

    As far as Force: Five, Heolstor, I've heard about it but never seen it. Was it any good? And yes, even if it has nothing to do with the film involved, comments are the best way to get a hold of me, so I have no problem with anyone asking me anything or commenting about anything on any of my posts.

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  9. I actually liked Rossi, he kinda resembles Robert Carradine to a degree, he was also in some other enjoyable films such as Felony, Raw Justice, The Assault, Crackerjack 3, and Fatal Conflict and Matt, i'll be glad to send you Fast Getaway 2 as soon as you get that P.O. box. Also on an unrelated note I think you should strongly consider adding Michael Madsen to the DTVC Hall Of Fame.

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  10. Force: Five was pretty decent. I've seen much worse. I did get a kick out of seeing Richard Norton with blonde hair. The chick was kinda lame as the movie progressed (fighting wise) but the action was pretty solid.

    If you get a chance, check it out, I think you'd enjoy it.

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