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.

Announcement

Announcement

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.

--Matt

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hawk's Vengeance (1997)

Photobucket

Word on the street is this is a Snake Eater sequel, only sans Lorenzo Lamas. Believe me, you won't have any problems understanding the subtle nuances of Hawk's Vengeance's plot if you haven't seen the previous films.

Hawk's Vengeance has Gary Daniels as the eponymously named British special forces dude who comes back to the States when he finds out his step brother (though technically it's his half-brother) is murdered. As he investigates things, he finds there's more to a war between a Chinese gang and some local skinheads than meets the eye. Unfortunately, his methods of investigation are a tad on the violent and deadly side, which has caused his brother's partner some alarm. Not enough alarm to not have sex with him, just enough to slap him in the face. Anyway, as he closes in on his brother's killer, we close in on a first class Daniels style beatdown.

Photobucket

My feelings on this film can be summed up in one scene. Towards the end, Daniels is going through the baddie's office building, confronting various henchmen, and one of them in particular almost beats Daniels in a fair fight, Daniels only besting him by running a power drill like device through the guy's eye. The gore doesn't bother me, because we barely see it. It's the fact that our hero isn't good enough to take out a henchmen-- and a henchmen who's appearing in only that scene-- without resorting to underhanded methods. Why, then, should we believe it when he takes out the head baddie? And this is common throughout Hawk's Vengeance. Lesser bad guys that should be getting wasted by him are giving him a hard time, to the point where he needs back up to save him. This is not what we sign on for with a Gary Daniels flick. I liked a lot of the action, explosions, etc.; and some of the fights scenes were good; but I expect a certain level out of Daniels, and this just wasn't quite there.

Maybe I'm being picky, but I just feel like I expect Jim Rockford to get a bottle broken over his head when facing a group of thugs, not Gary Daniels. Daniels should be able to whip around and block it without looking. This brings up an interesting issue that we often see the converse of in Steven Seagal films: how does one find the balance between making it too easy on the hero to the point that he's almost omnipotent, and making him look like Kane's wussy son on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues? I guess it's all personal taste. Look at something like Drive, where Dacascos was better than any of the henchmen he faced one on one, but in groups, though he could still take them, it took a lot of work and a lot of ingenuity. I think that's the part of the scale I like best, and I would say Hawk's Vengeance was just a little too far on the Kane's wussy son side of the scale for my tastes, and personal tastes differ.

Photobucket

Mr. Daniels is slowly making his way up the ranks, with this being his 14th film reviewed, which puts him eighth among Hall of Fame actors (Dolph 33, Seagal 20, Van Damme 19, Lorenzo Lamas 19, Dudikoff 18, Busey 16, Lambert 16). With like 25-30 left, and also like 9 or 10 in development credits, including the upcoming Tekken, the potential is there for him to be the most tagged actor of all time. I think our next one will be Epicenter, based on the great review I saw of it on my friend Mr. Kenner's Movies in the Attic. I'm trying to figure out what will be a good time to kick off our next genre series-- at least not for a few weeks-- but once that happens, the opportunities for Daniels to get more reviews will fall off considerably.

We often talk about my lack of ability to handle too much gore in action films. Horror films usually aren't so bad, because it's so over the top; but in action films it's sometimes overly cynical or completely unnecessary, and in those cases ruins the film for me. Hawk's Vengeance had two such scenes, both involving the same guy in something of a macabre running joke, where first he has his fingers accidentally slashed off, and then his ear. It was just weird and gross, and told me what kind of people were making the movie. There were plenty of other scenes in the movie that I was fine with, from the drill to the eye (off screen), to the dude's head sent through a spinning fan, to the heart transplant-- but none of those things were played poorly for laughs. I remember Django had a famous ear removal scene, and that one worked for me too. Again, it just looks like a personal taste thing, but in this case the finger and ear slashing was the action film version of the dick and fart joke, only sicker.

Photobucket

Best part of the film: Daniels date with his brother's partner. I've been on my share of first dates, some good, some bad; but I've never had a woman show up in a leather skirt. The whole outfit looked like she raided the vice squad wardrobe. And of course, the next scene, after she and Daniels rent a cheap motel room to have sex in (classiest first date ever), she walks around with just her bra on, while in the skirt, nylons, and heels. Another point to make. When I first started the blog, and didn't have any software to capture images, I was at the mercy of the Internet for whatever I could find, and often all I could get were pics of whatever actress in the film took her clothes off. As I was looking for an image of Hawk's Vengeance's cover, my search results turned up the old suspects of all the nude pics, and I felt a little nostalgic for the old days.

Hawk's Vengeance would probably go somewhere in the middle of Daniels' films for me, but as a fan of his work, I've seen a lot better. I think even on its own merits as a DTV action film, especially from the genre's Golden Age in the 1990s, it's still pretty pedestrian. For comparison sake, check out Kenner's review here (it's at the bottom).

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116500/

8 comments:

  1. Yeah, always found this dull and lackluster. Though the poll has closed and Hong Kong has won and it's only fair since we made a case for such. That said i'm amazed Troma went the Detroit Lions approach with no votes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm beginning to learn more and more that people don't exactly come here for the bad horror, they come for the bad action. It might be something to consider that the Troma series might bring in new fans, but doing the Hong Kong cinema will be better for the fans I already have. It is an intersting way to look at that poll though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well I must admit...I'm really looking forward to your takes on The Big Boss, Legacy Of Rage (With Brandon Lee), Riki-Oh, Hard Boiled, Full Contact, Police Story and so on...I mean I'm truly excited for this. Meanwhile I'm watching Hijack with Jeff Fahey,Ernie Hudson and Patrick Kilpatrick (Sandman in Death Warrant as well as the bad guy in Substitute 4, another good movie you were indifferent to)

    The thing is though, is it just me that when I see Patrick Kilpatrick you just know he's the bad guy, he's like Bolo Yeung, Matthias Hues, Soon-Tek Oh,Cary Tagawa and John P. Ryan (Bad guy Avenging Force, Runaway Train, Death Wish 4) They play the same bad guys each time and yet they're convincing everytime.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll throw in Bruce Payne as another commnon baddie. I think I've reviewed four or five Kilpatrick films, and he's a baddie in all of them. That movie sounds awesome by the way. Any thoughts on Quiet Fire starring Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Robert Z'Dar? I'm kind of surprised this is the first LHJ film I've done, since I've seen a bunch back in the early-mid 90s. They've all kind of melded together in my mind.

    I hate to rain on your parade somewhat, but I won't be reviewing Riki-Oh. Maybe that's one you should tackle on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is rather expensive to find, I paid 17 bucks for my copy and it was worth it. I will review Riki-oh you can bank on it, but then I'll review the Bad Lieutenant movies as well. And probably all the HK movies. Because we cover the same ground.

    If you don't mind me asking why won't you be reviewing Riki-Oh. is it because the awesomeness of that can't be expressed on your DVD player. I know how you feel it's why I can only watch it once a year. Also here is a clip to remind you why this film isn't a Bad Movie Prophet, It's a Bad Movie Prophecy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vMKN1tYknE Truthfully to really appreciate such classic, you have to see it dubbed because it is priceless, So while you might not do it for HK I hope you do it eventually. I mean it's so awesome the Daily Show and Ensyclopedia Dramatica featured it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Other such great bad guys?Judd Nelson,Malcolm McDowell,James Remar, Michael Ironside,Richard Lynch,Brion James, Lance Henriksen,Professor Toru Tanaka, James Lew and Charles Napier. Seriously these guys deserve credit for really bringing it as bad guys.

    I'd say Billy Drago but he tends too overdo it a tad too much and that's never good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love Drago as a bad guy even if he does overdo it sometimes. Also you forgot to mention Richard Tyson, Eric Roberts, James Russo, Kim Coates and Michael Madsen, Madsen especially, he's one actor that you jsut can't buy as a good guy for a millisecond.

    ReplyDelete