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.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Fugitive Mind (1999)

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This has been on Watch Instantly probably as long as I've had that feature, and I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to review it. It's not like I've been running through a slew of Dudikoff films lately, and here's one that's readily available. I guess I was saving it for an occasion like this when I needed a film in a pinch.

Fugitive Mind has DTVC Hall of Famer Michael Dudikoff as a maintenance guy for a lab corporation who lives a nice life with his nice wife, Michelle Greene; but he's plagued by these horrible dreams. Turns out, things ain't as nice for old Dud-y as he thought, and when he finds out Greene is in on it, he flees. He discovers that his job might be have something to do with it too, and he happens upon Scream Queen Heather Langenkamp, who just happens to be escaping when he's investigating. She lets him know all sorts of things about how they were kidnapped by the corporation and tested on. It's all making sense when he connects his dreams to a senator that's been causing problems to for them: they want to brainwash Dudikoff into offing the senator.

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I don't know how I managed to stay awake for this. I'm serious, my friends will tell you, I don't have a great track record as far as those things go. I'll fall asleep during interesting movies, let alone something as blah as this one. The best way to describe it is a Bloodfist plot with less awesome asskicking, and with Dudikoff on the payroll, that's simply unacceptable. Though imdb lists it as a Direct to Video film, it was more like a Lifetime suspense thriller than a DTV actioner. You could also call it a Manchurian Candidate rip-off, but that would still mean it's ahead of the remake. There were some pluses, though. The best was when Dudikoff gives a guy the old Life of the Party maneuver, ie he takes him out by shoving a lampshade over his head. The only thing that would've been better was if he'd then forced to the guy to say into a fan "Luuuuke Iiiii aaaaam yoooooour faaatherrrrr." God, I love those Life of the Party Guys.

Michael Dudikoff was my next candidate to get all of his DTV catalog reviewed on here. It's going to be no simple task, but when I neglect an easy one to review like this one for so long, I'm just making it harder on myself. He also, like Gary Daniels, has an immense DTV oeuvre, which means it may take me all of 2010, and then some, to make that complete. One thing about a film like this one, that ain't so great, is it underscores what a task it is to complete a filmography on a site like this. You really gotta take the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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I've always had a thing for Heather Langenkamp. I don't know what it is, but she's always just worked for me. In Fugitive Mind, she wears this over-sized sweater and baggy pants the whole time, and it's totally hot to me in this lazy Sunday by the beach in the fall kind of way. She hasn't done much beyond Nightmare on Elm Street and Just the Ten of Us. I don't know if that's her choice or if she just doesn't get a lot of work. For an action film like this, her Scream Queen-ness was kind of an issue, because she screamed a little too much in scenes when she was supposed to be afraid. The Scream Queen is a different set of skills from the action leading lady.

Dudikoff's fake wife is played by Michelle Greene, who's probably best known for her stint on LA Law, but who I also remember from an episode of Simon and Simon where she plays an archaeologist who's captured by a colleague over an artifact or something. After the whole Indiana Jones thing, archaeology and anthropology were seen as the most exciting careers ever, and on some levels they are, but not in the make a great plot for an 80s crime action drama series way. As far as the movie goes, towards the end, she wears this outfit that leads me to believe the wardrobe people really dropped the ball on this one. She's in this tight green shirt with no bra, so her boobs are all over the place; and then she's got on these tight white pants, so tight that we can see where her butt's crammed into her underwear. Her agent couldn't have been happy about that look.

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Finally, there was this dude in the film that wanted nothing more than to be Geraint Wyn Davies. You can see the image above and tell me I'm not right. It was like in every scene he was telling us "dude, I so should've gotten that gig on Forever Knight", while we were saying in every scene "dude, you so should've been Geraint Wyn Davies." I'm not sure if I would've liked the film any better if that guy actually had been Geraint Wyn Davies, but I know I wouldn't have liked it any less.

I would say no to this one. I needed a film in a pinch and I also hadn't done a Dudikoff film in a while, so I went with it; plus it's availability on Watch Instantly made it an easier choice. That doesn't make it right, though, and Fugitive Mind was very wrong. I don't really know what my next Dudikoff film will be. Netflix has a few I can get on DVD, so I'll start there. We'll see what happens.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141111/

7 comments:

  1. Yeah this film bored the crap out of me as well, so much so that I actually ended up fast-forwarding through part of it. If you want a good Dudikoff film to review, then i'd highly recommend Soldier Boyz, which IMO is Dudikoff's best film, I own that one as well, and since it's only on VHS and is kinda pricey, i'm probbly the best chance you have of seeing that film, I hope you'll like it as much as I did.

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  2. I'm way ahead of you on that one:
    Soldier Boyz

    You gotta go way back in the archives for that one, almost at the very beginning. I put that after the American Ninjas, Avenging Force, and Virtual Assassin as my Dudikoff faves, but it was still a good time, and I can see why you'd make it your number one. Gotta love Cary Tagawa.

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  3. All right, I just read my review of Soldier Boyz, and I wasn't too nice. I guess at that time I was afraid to recommend a film based on its silliness (or "ridiculosity" as I like to say now). Anyway, I thought I'd throw a heads up so you aren't too offended if you end up reading it, because again, I don't in any way begrudge you having it as your number one Dudikoff flick.

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  4. Oh yeah, nearly forgot about that, in that case i'd suggest you should check out either The Human Shield or Black Thunder next as those are both quality Dudikoff films. I should mention that I own Human Shield as well as Chain Of Command. And Dudikoff was also in one film with Lee Majors that never got released in the U.S. called Musketeers Forever, it was released inthe Netherlands and Brazil though if that helps.

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  5. This was in fact horrible. Where as I disagreed on The Silencer I am in total agreement. The action was lame,Dudikoff seemed bored and Langenkamp was wasted. This was a really dull attempt to rip off Total Recall minus the martian subtext and well action.

    Dudikoff also co-starred with Nightmare On Elm Street 4's Brooke Theis in Quicksand which brings back Dudikoff with American Ninja director Sam Firstenberg, however while I enjoyed Quicksand, know that it is more in the vein of Jill The Ripper (change of pace type role) than it is an action film so make sure you go in with that. But I was entertained also the musical score was hilarious.

    Aside from Human Shield, I always found Black Thunder enjoyable as well but aside from what i've mentioned such isn't very good.

    My favorite Dudikoff film is Avenging Force, with American Ninja 1-2 being close behind, Soldier Boyz, Bounty Hunters 2, Cyberjack, Shooter, Silencer and Freedom Strike were pretty decent IMO.

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  6. Let me stress this again though...Human Shield is a signature Dudikoff film and is a must. Like it should've been up like 2 monthes after your website opened, in fact it should be reviewed on mine as well but what can I say this backtracking is horrible. I do recommend Human Shield though.

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  7. Human Shield is just a tad too expensive, but I'll get on it, don't you worry. If I can find a used VHS for like $1-2, it'll make adding that $3 for shipping a little less hard on me.

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