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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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Snake Eater III: His Law (1992)

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As I have all three Snake Eater films at my disposal, it was probably only a matter of time before completed the trilogy and reviewed the last one. I know Hawk's Vengeance was supposed to be the fourth in the series, but it really doesn't fit, so I don't count it. Am I aloud to do that?

Snake Eater III has Lorenzo Lamas back as Soldier, a cop who lives by the seat of his pants and never follows proper procedure. He's found himself suspended yet again, and this time a couple has come to him to take down a biker gang that kidnapped their daughter and used her as their sex slave for 18 months. Soldier calls in an old friend named Cowboy, and together they make it happen. Those bikers don't know what hit them.

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I think I like this one best of all. It wasn't really gross the way part one was, and didn't have those silly mental hospital digressions part two did. This was just a straight ahead 1990s DTV action film, and sometimes that's enough. Lamas was at his best, cracking jokes and playing his off-beat self, while still kicking ass and taking names Soldier style. In one scene he gets into this huge bar fight, and this one guy whose ass he kicked calls in his brother. The brother is huge, and he tells Lamas to apologize, to which Lamas says "I'm sorry. I'm sorry you're a stupid piece of shit!" How awesome is that? All in all, this just worked.

When he tries to play it serious, Lamas looks ridiculous; but when he plays it off-beat and is allowed to joke around, it works much more. It also helps when his acting takes a back seat to the action. This is a rule of thumb regarding him that you'll also find in Renegade: episodes where he's required to be serious and act don't work like the ones where he and Sixkiller are playing off each other, Lamas delivering roundhouses and Sixkiller headbutting baddies. This will be Lamas' 22 film, putting him firmly in second place behind Dolph for second most all time for an actor. I'm not sure if I put that out there as a trivia question that anyone would guess it right away without looking down the tags list. As far as star power goes, he's not in the category of a Dolph, Seagal, or Van Damme-- and some might even say a Gary Daniels-- but when he's allowed to do what he does best, he can be as good as anyone, and Snake Eater 3 really got the best out of him.

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The first Snake Eater film had Lamas rescuing his sister from inbred hillbillies, while the second two focused on Lamas as a vigilante taking out drug dealers and biker gangs. What all three have in common is this idea that the system doesn't work, that it doesn't have the power to clean up our society from murderous country-folk, drug dealers poisoning our streets, or biker gangs spreading their own kind of violent anarchy. In these small fictitious sample sizes, they work, because we have no need to distinguish the mountain man that wouldn't harm anyone with the dudes that'll go Deliverance on you, or the high level drug dealer from the woman delivering a package for her boyfriend with no idea what's in it, or the group of guys who love bikes and the lifestyle that have no thought of breaking the law from the hordes menacing our towns and highways. We know who the bad guy is, and we want Lamas to deal with him accordingly. He provides us with a sense of satisfaction we can't always get in real life, which is a good thing, because we often want movies to be a fun escape.

Bam Bam Bigelow is probably the only other name in Snake Eater III. Had I not reviewed this now, and saved it for some kind of spotlight on wrestlers in movies, would it have counted? I mean, he's not in it that much, but he's there. Another film he was listed in is the 2000 Die Hard at the Killington Ski Resort Bruce Campbell classic Icebreaker. I may need to check that out again and review it. Anyway, Mr. Scott Bigelow left us in 2007 at the young age of 46, from diabetes.

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This movie is based on a book called Rafferty's Rules by W. Glenn Duncan. I haven't read it, but it's available used on Amazon for $0.01 (which is like $3 after shipping). I couldn't find out if any of the other films are based on anymore of his books, or if they were based on any other books in general. I'd never even heard of him before I saw the connection on imdb while writing this review, so I don't know if he has a following, or if Snake Eater III is more popular than any of his books ever became.

Of the Snake Eater films, this is my personal faves, but I can see someone liking any of them. They're some of Lamas' best work, and anytime you can get a look at a DTVC Hall of Famer's best, it's a good thing.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105434/

To read my reviews on the other two films:
Smake Eater
Snake Eater 2

4 comments:

  1. Is it just me or does Lorenzo Lamas kinda look like Jeff Goldblum in the last pic? I think the problem for me was that there just wasn't enough plot to reign in the action, and the action was only competent and less slick than in the second. Plus the humor was stronger and Larry B. Scott was a far more enjoyable foil for Lamas than Minor Mustain who would've actually been better in a more serious role.

    Still I do admit that the condom sequence as wellas the way Lamas stops a robbery is inspired hu,or and the film would've been better with more humor. Also Bam Bam Bigelow (Who was pretty good all things considered, maybe make him the final bad guy Lamas fights)was wasted. I will say that the nudity factor was good though. The girlfriend Lamas has was hot and she was a far better actor than Lamas.

    Still one of the better Lorenzo Lamas movies even if it comes off as too much of a Stone Cold rip off.

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  2. It should be noted my first post said that such a post failed to post....obviously it didn't and I doubleposted like a jackass saying relatively the same thing.

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  3. The comments are similar, but not identical, so I'll let you decide which ones, if any, you want to delete, but as of right now I want to keep them.

    The Stone Cold paradigm you speak of was first used in a Ross Hagen film called Hellcats. Bo Hopkins guest starred in a Rockford Files episode that also used the same premise. Snake Eater III was different because Lamas wasn't infiltrating them, he was just taking them out, which was great.

    I liked the sense of humor here more than in part 2, where it seemed too canned and contrived. Pizza man in an insane asylum vent? Give me Lamas telling a guy he's sorry because he's a "stupid piece of shit" anyday of the week. And again, if I have to choose between plot and action in a film like this, I'll take action anyday. I just saw An Education this week too, and that had a great plot, story, and acting. There are plenty of films like that for me to go to when I want plot, Snake Eater 3 can be 88 minutes of unconnected scenes of shit blowing up, martial arts fights, car chases, and cute one-liners, and I'd be plenty happy.

    And as far as less slick goes, do you mean less contraptions?, because I'll agree with you about that, but by the end of part 2 those things were being done just to do them, so I'm glad they didn't try to force it in part 3.

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  4. Just picked up a copy of this the other day! Can't wait to watch this. Gotta love Lamas!

    Also slightly off-topic: Netflix really should add more seasons of Renegade...all they have is the 1st season.

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