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, April 13, 2010

Quiet Fire (1991)

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I found this movie on Netflix when I was looking up more Robert Z'Dar films to review. I'd been meaning to get some Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs up for some time, so I was able to kill two birds with one stone. Even better, it's a PM Entertainment picture.

Quiet Fire is about some dude running for senator on a great war record who's trying to bump off a fellow soldier who knows he's lying. He succeeds in bumping the guy off, but not before he tells what he knows to another of their fellow soldiers, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Now Jacobs is on the run from the senator's hired thugs, and he can't turn to the cops (one of whom is played by Mr. Z'Dar), because they're in on it too. When a couple drag queens/female body builders/hired assassins kill his girlfriend in an attempt to get to him, he gets fed up and returns to his old special forces in the Army ways.

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For a PM Entertainment actioner, this was a little light on the actual action. Yes, it was ten kinds of ridiculous, and plenty good to make fun of, you just have to decide if that's enough for you. One thing I can say is, just when you think the movie's as silly as it's going to get, it gets sillier. I personally gave up when the two female body builders showed up as professional killers. I mean, this was done with a straight face, and we were supposed to take it seriously, which made it all the more amazing to me. One of them looked like Pee Wee Herman on steroids in drag, and the other one looked like the American Gladiator Malibu going to a Halloween party as Taylor Dayne. There was a scene where they were reporting to the senator to let him know they failed in killing LHJ, and Robert Z'Dar and his partner are there, openly laughing. I know they were technically laughing at their failures, but I think it helped that they were so ridiculous.

I've mentioned before that there are subtle differences between PM Entertainment and the more successful Golan-Globus, but I think after seeing this, the differences are probably more stark. Golan-Globus almost has this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mentality, while PM Entertainment's is "who cares?" Illegal chop shop or garage at some dude's suburban LA home? Who cares? Robert Z'Dar's partner looks like he has old lady's hair with his long gray ponytail, maybe we should fix that. Who cares? Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs' martial arts look beyond unconvincing. Who cares? The truth is, they're right. This is an early 90s Direct to Video action film directed by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and starring Robert Z'Dar. The only people who care love this crap, so why worry about it.

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One thing I love about Robert Z'Dar is his voice when he's trying to hide his Chicago accent. I don't even know how to explain it to someone who doesn't know what I'm talking about. It's like John Tesh radio hour wannabe, or smooth jazz DJ. I can just see him saying "all right, that was Wham!'s 'Careless Whisper', followed by Taylor Dayne's 'Love Will Lead You Back', and finally, Carole King with 'It's Too Late'. Let's take a little break and pay some bills. This is Robert Z'dar, and you're listening to Soft favorites, 92.9FM." Wow, that was two Taylor Dayne references in one post, I bet that's a record (if it isn't I'm sure someone will comment and correct me-- "You're wrong about that being a record for Taylor Dayne references in one post. Back on August of 2009 you mentioned her five times..."). Anyway, I was just doing my best to write a paragraph about Robert Z'dar without referencing his enormous face... oops... God damn it!

On May 7th of this year, we'll mark our third anniversary, and it's surprising to me that it's taken this long to get a Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs film reviewed. I would say even more amazing is no one's mentioned it either. His PM Entertainment films are as quintessential bad 90s action as anything. I don't know about anyone else, but I think one out of every five movies I rented had a trailer for one of his films on it. He's still making stuff, including one on Netflix's Watch Instantly called Killer Drag Queens on Dope. I saw the trailer, and it looks pretty horrible film quality-wise, but who knows...

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Finally, there's a scene where LHJ's woman goes to an electronics store. Check out the 1991 prices on VCRs. $279.95? You know why it costs that much, don't you? That's right, it's got four heads. We're talking top of the line shit right there. I've noticed a trend towards nostalgia lately in some of the blogs I read, for the good ol' days of VHS. I've been guilty of it myself. This isn't like records versus CDs, where the records actually sound better than the CDs; in the case of DVDs versus VHS, DVD is better hands down. What I like though is the feeling I get when see an old VHS, especially one sold from an old video store, of the late 80s and early 90s, watching bad movies on a Friday or Saturday night sleepover with friends. The junk food, the soda, rewinding our favorite scenes and watching them over and over-- all of it. The only reason why I need VHS to feel this nostalgia, is DVDs weren't invented then. Believe me, in no way is VHS superior to DVD, just like tape Walkmans aren't superior to iPods, but sometimes it's just fun to look back to an earlier time.

How bad do you like your action, that is the question. This is closing in on the Penhall/Strain level, which is sometimes too much for a lot of people to take. In addition, it's a little light on action, and though it makes up for that with ridiculousness, there are more fun movies to make fun of out there. Considering we needed to get more Robert Z'Dar up and finally review something with Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, we could've done a lot worse, so I'd put this in a special category as great for the site, but maybe not something you want to go out of your way for.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102743/

2 comments:

  1. Classic bad action!

    Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs at his bug-eyed best. Also his martial arts were amazing! It was nice to see Z'dar also.

    Thanks for your comment on our site too.

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  2. Thanks for commenting here too. Yeah, this really was a good time, and like I said on your blog, I'm glad you gave it a new life over there.

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