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.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lady Dragon (1992)

Photobucket

This movie was available on DVD, but is now out of print, meaning Netflix no longer offers it to rent. I was very upset about that at the time. This is a Cynthia Rothrock classic, I thought, how could they not have it? Anyway, I found it on VHS for like $2 at a local record store, and was pretty stoked. Then I watched it again for the first time in 15 years, and was much less stoked.

Lady Dragon has Rothrock as a former CIA chick on the trail of the arms dealer (Richard Norton) who killed her husband of two seconds. Her first attempt only makes things worse for herself, ending disastrously with Norton raping and beating her (none of which is shown-- thank you). She's dumped in a nearby village, where a wise old mute and his grandson nurse her to good health. Time for round two, Mr. Norton.

Photobucket

This could've been good. It had the bad lines, the sick music, the late 80s bad clothes (making them not only bad clothes but so five years ago), and the star power of Norton and Rothrock. What could they have done to ruin such a promising film? You guessed it, broke rule number one to bad action films: they let the plot get in the way. There were long periods of inactivity, plus a lot of the fight scenes were poorly choreographed. Norton himself doesn't fight until the last 30 minutes, and though it was awesome with him rocking the Miami Vice blazer and rolled up sleeves, that's way too late for our first Norton fight. In some of the Rothrock ones, the moves were clunky and over-rehearsed, especially the first one. Add to all of this, the movie went on approximately 20 minutes too long, and the final fight with Norton was ruined with some crap about the baddies having her friends, meaning she took a beating from ol' Norty that should've killed her, only to have her rally and beat him. It just didn't work.

I'm trying to figure out where I got it into my head that this was awesome. Maybe it was part 2 that was good. Maybe I got it mixed up with another Rothrock one that was actually good. Or maybe it was one of those where me and my friends were prank calling people instead of watching it; or the one we watched when the pizza came, so we fought over who got what while it was playing; or perhaps I was just too wasted when I saw it to fully comprehend how bad it was. Yes, there was plenty silliness to make fun of, like Rothrock on a dirt bike giving Norton the finger, but the large pockets of nothing happening killed any fun one might have.

Photobucket

Though I can maybe see why Lady Dragon isn't on DVD, Rothrock has a pretty extensive collection of movies that were either never released on DVD, or at one time were and then fell out of print. The recent release of Undefeatable on DVD by an independent distributor gives me some hope, but in the meantime, films like China O'Brien are available on eBay and Amazon for exorbitant prices used, which is very disconcerting. This is an alarming trend recently, as we've discussed with Gary Daniels on recent posts. In just the three years that I've been doing this, I've seen myriad titles fall out of print, but it wasn't until I inducted Rothrock into my Hall of Fame in 2008 that I realized just how bad this has gotten. I think the biggest culprit is the large number of bad theatrical films with major movies stars in them that fill up $5 bins and the airwaves of channels like USA, TNT, and Spike. Our biggest problem at the DTVC is Hollywood can't stop making bad movies, and these huge conglomerates that own them own the cable channels that would air them too. Not only that, but the average viewer would rather watch Mel Gibson or Tommy Lee Jones in something bad, than Cynthia Rothrock in something bad. Whatever the reason, it's a sad state of affairs, and it makes my job that much harder.

That was a bit longer than I wanted it to be, so let's talk about something more fun. I'm not sure how many women and gay males read this blog, but even if it's only one or two, this paragraph is for you. Richard Norton shows off his bare buttcheeks. No frontal nudity, but plenty of pecs action too. As far as the straight males and lesbians go, no such luck. There was some mud wrestling and women fighting over a ruby in a pool though. What was best about that scene was how Norton was watching the women, getting really turned on, and Rothrock was looking at him like "what a weirdo!" Anyway, statistically speaking, the kinds of movies I review are much more likely to have naked chicks than naked dudes, so when it happens, I'm willing to let the straight ladies and gay males have their fun.

Photobucket

Norton has this line he says, not once, but twice, that had to be a joke. "The kind of pain dreams are made of." What the hell does that mean? Now imagine that line with an Australian accent. "The kind of pine dreems a' mide hov." (I can talk in an Australian accent much better than I can write in it. An apology to Sutekh, one of our readers from down under, if I'm coming off as an Australian-ist, or rather, anti-Australite.) I'm just trying to make sense of that, because it sounds like a bad Disney commercial line. "The kind of pain dreams are made of".... Whatever, I'll just go with it.

Unless you're a Rothrock completist, I can't imagine this being much fun for you. The two Rage and Honor films are on DVD, and though China O'Brien is out of print, those are all still better than this one. My next Rothrock film might actually be Tiger Claws. I know, another VHS warrior, but I think I may have found parts 1-3. Cross your fingers-- or don't if you know better than I do and they suck!

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104667/

19 comments:

  1. You want a good Rothrock film to review then you should check out either Guardian Angel or Sworn To Justice, Netflix has em both, also Norton was in a film with William Forsythe called Direct Hit which was pretty decent, i've also heard grat things about Under The Gun, so you might want to check those out as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got you covered on Guardian Angel, but Sworn to Justice is in my queue, and who knows how long it's been floating around there, so I'm glad you called that one to my attention. I forgot that I just got Fast Getaway as well, which will be good for the Haim factor too.

    Unfortunately both of the Norton films you suggest are only available to Save on Netflix, but I'll keep my eye out for them in the future. As always, thanks for your suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well I own Direct Hit and i'm willing to part with it, though my copy is on VHS since the DVD is outrageously expensive right now. Oh yeah and I've also got Demolition High.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Martial Law 2 is a Rothrock great, because Jeff Wincott kicks serious ass in that.

    Tiger Claws 1 was enjoyable, the rest not so much.

    I didn't mind this but It's been a long time, another note is that this has the late Robert Ginty who was in the horrible Exterminator but also in the hilarious Exterminator 2.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really don't get why you hated Exterminator so much, granted it wasn't a very good film but I would hardly call it a horrible one, i'll admit Ginty was in plenty of mediocre films such as Programmed To Kill, Three Kinds Of Heat and Mission Kill, I happen to own the last two and definitely wouldn't mind giving those away (I once had Programmed but got rid of it)Also have Exterminator 2.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm glad you guys brought up Robert Ginty, because I totally forgot to mention him. Though the films you site are great, Ginty's best role was as Patrick Dempsey's dad in Loverboy.

    Hopefully on Monday I'll get a chance to hit the post office and get that PO Box taken care of. I'm going to look like a total weirdo asking for one big enough to fit VHS's. "I swear, I have a blog on movies and my readers send me ones to review. No, it's not for porn, I swear." But anyway, once that's taken care of, things will be all set for anyone to send me all the movies they want.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Speaking of dempsey, he was also in apretty good action film with Kelly Preston called Run, that one actually DID go to theaters(Ebert also reviewed it but didn't like it) but made very little money and never got a DVD release, so that film might be a good choice for your next box-office bomb. P.S. me and Vexer are the same person, somehow I wound up with two usernames.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I figured out a few posts ago that you and Vexer were the same name, but for some reason I didn't say anything because I was under the impression that you knew I knew, if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, I saw Run a long time ago, and that would make a pretty good one to do. As much as I loved doing this comic book series, it'll be nice to have a little more freedom to do other films in that slot.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Exterminator is one of the few films to make feel like I need a shower afterwards. The brothel with the male teen prostitutes including graphic men on teen sex before said man gets shot in the balls, the disfiguring of a female teen prostitute with a soidering iron, the fact that the action was badly put together. Also Ginty puts a mobster through a meat grinder despite the fact that we don't see him do anything to anyone else. Indeed Death Wish was much better and less graphic. Actually The Exterminator wouldn't have bothered half as much (I could've forgiven the meat grinder) if not for the hooker and male prostitute scene. Also I found the film going out of its way to be nasty for the sake of being nasty and by nasty I mean "mean spirited" I really HATE The Exterminator.

    Exterminator 2 was at least inoffensive and the action was okay, but you'll never get me to say that The Exterminator is anything but morally repugnant garbage.

    If i'm offended, I'm almost positive that Matt will be even MORE offended cause I didn't find Undefeatable gross in anyway or for that matter In Hell to be too offensive more just a rip off of Oz a far better prison thing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Also I knew too that Michael and Vexer were the same. Actually I encourage you to stick with Vexer, especially if you branch out into reviewing B.movies, cause Vexer sounds pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well that scene didn't really make much of an impression on me at all, i'll admit it was pretty unnecessary but i've come across plenty of films with scenes WAAAYYYYYY more disturbing then that one, like Ichi The Killer for example, once you've seen that pretty much EVERYTHING else looks tame by comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ichi The Killer is a good movie though. It is well made, there is a point to all the violence and most importantly a sense of humor.

    Exterminator though was just bad.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yeah well I don't really care whethe violence in certain films has a "point" or not, Ichi nearly scarred me with how violent and disturbing it was, and the black humor only made it even more disturbing for me, That scene in The Extemrinator on the other hand barely made me raise an eyebrow, I was just like eh, big deal who cares? Most of the time when I watch films, I don't think as deeply about them as most people do.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kenner's right, a scene where a prostitute is disfigured by a souldering iron is a deal breaker for me. Ichi the Killer is also a deal breaker-- I didn't even bother with that one. The hot bacon grease scene in Samurai Cop was almost enough for me to give that one a bad review, which should give you an idea of how I feel about that kind of thing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well I guess the reason that sort of thing dosen't put me off like it does for you guys is cause i've seen dozens of horor films that are filled with scenes like that, so i've sort of gotten used to see ing those sorts of scenes, they still do disturb me on occasion but they don't put me off enough to give a film a bad review JUST cause of those scenes, like Snakeeater for example, I completley ignored your review and saw it anyways and it turned out to be a decent enough film, though i'll amdit it isn't one of Lamas's better films.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's why I always point out that on the one hand, I'm not a fan of gratuitous gross stuff or bad torture scenes, on the other, if it seems to not fit or makes the film bad, it should be noted as more than just me and my personal tastes.

    I'm glad you ignored my warning on Snake Eater and decided for yourself. As always, my reviews are just that, my reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Snakeeater is one of those films I like in spite of myself. There is just something appealing about Rambo meets Hills Have Eyes (as that video guide put it) Plus there was the hilarious sequence of Lamas trying to escape from a sleeping bag in which he has to knock out said guy, who has taken the chick down, and he does this by swinging back and forth until he knocks the guy out. It was hilarious. Also the action wasn't bad for such a low budget. Snakeeater II was actually pretty good and i've been trying to get Matt to see that one for a long while. You'll love it Matt.

    Actually Matt as far as The Exterminator goes, it's one of those that fall in the category of STV, cause that one was a bomb in theaters but was very popular on video like years later. (in 86 or so when people really started going ape shit for VHS) Indeed despite my feelings for it, you do have to acknolwedge that it is a cult hit, that it is a heavyweight in the genre (and your genre too, this is like those Angel movies I sent you trailers for.) and ergo one has to deal with it to tell viewers about it, even if such is a warning which my review will be.

    Exterminator 2 though is defintely worth picking up, in fact I think you'll like it, it's from Cannon and it's hilarious like Undefeatable. The first one though is just depressing. But it is one of those musts that a B.movie site or STV site would have to do regardless of personal feelings.

    And Matt, you didn't watch Ichi The Killer? It's more than it is disgusting. The sad part is, it's not even as disturbing as Visitor Q. Takeshi Miike is a great director although luckily for you his films fall in the arthouse ergo if you don't want to review them you don't have to. Although personally I would recommend Ichi The Killer, I really wasn't all that disturbed by it, I mean years from now it'll be the new Story Of Ricky. I mean when that film came out, people were grossed out too but look how that has gotten even funnier with age. Ichi The Killer is in the same vein, it also is a great parody of comic book heroes.

    Actually Story Of Ricky...that's ripe for a review. In fact I gotta get that one reviewed soon. I love that movie.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yeah, Exterminator is one I probably should do, but given the backlog of other films I need to get to, I can get away with letting it slide a bit.

    Snake Eater II, you're probably right about me needing it up there, if only for the Lamas factor, it's just hard to get my hands on. I just re-read my Snake Eater post for the first time since I wrote it three years ago. My final analysis was see it but don't spend money on it, and I'll stand by that. The inbreds were just too gross-- which I know was the point-- but it could've been more fun for me. A movie has to be really good for me to tell someone to spend money on it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good review! Will be watching this real soon for the site...but that is unfortunate that it isn't that good.

    ReplyDelete