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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spitfire (1995)

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As we're trying to make our way through Albert Pyun's vast DTV catalog, today we make a stop at the Lance Henriksen spy romp, Spitfire-- or, if you're Irish, Spetfoyer. Seriously, say it like that, it's addicting. I was stoked to not only see a Henriksen/Pyun collaboration, but this one also features Pyun mainstay Tim Thomerson, and DTVC favorite Brion Jones. I was excited to sink my teeth into this bad boy.

Spitfire is less a spy thriller and more a teen spy romp, featuring Henriksen as an aging agent who finds out he has a daughter, and as any great dad does, he dumps the keys to a locker holding the launch codes to some Ukrainian nukes on her. The baddies want it, they capture Henriksen, and find out the daughter has it, so they're after her. Only thing, she's a spunky little gymnast/martial arts expert with a mean streak-- ask Tim Thomerson, who as a husky Andy Warhol-looking sportswriter, he's gets plenty of concussions from the heavy right hand of this capricious little Spitfire. Oh, concussion humor, how we miss ye...

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Let's start with what's good. Though this kind of misses the mark, it's not an action film so much as it's, as I mentioned above, a teen romp. You could actually combine this with Arcade and Alien from LA to make a kind of Pyun teen trilogy. Spitfire plays out as an Inspector Wears Skirts combined with Spy Kids. I know Spy Kids came after, which is why I brought it up, because Pyun is known for being ahead of the curve on things, and though he didn't have the resources to make Spy Kids, we saw with the Spy Kids movies that were made with better resources and were pretty successful, that this formula is profitable. It's like with him using rappers in films before anyone else.

Herein lies the rub though. Would our readers get down on something like this? Probably not. Do we sign on for Lance Henriksen as the cool spy in the opening scene, fighting off Brion James and some other thugs while in a tuxedo and with the woman he's about to lay lying next to him with her boobs literally exposed? Yes! Do we sign on for the Lance Henriksen we get for the rest of the film, handcuffed and kicked around, totally helpless? Absolutely not. Do we sign on for a teen romp that, minus a few cold blooded killings, would be perfect for ABC Family. Definitely not. This is not what you signed on for, and you won't be impressed.

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Albert Pyun is close to launching Tales of an Ancient Empire. His previous release, Bulletface, is slowly making its way into the secondary market, so maybe I'll be able to cop it used. I really want to check them out, and with the support he's given us here in the past, I'd like to return that favor. It just would be a lot easier if his movies were available on Netflix. Anyway, here's the link to his website if you want to check it out: http://www.albertpyunmovies.com/. I'm not sure where the Pyun train will take us next. I'm thinking Nemesis 2, but we'll see.

What do we make of Lance Henriksen? I don't mean here, but in general. I don't know, sometimes he's good, but a lot of times I feel like he's cast when the first choice isn't available, yet has a way of acting like the movie is centered around him. I just realized too that I've kind of accepted that Henriksen is worth the price of admission, but I can't point to a single instance where I could prove that axiom to be true. I don't begrudge anyone the prerogative to dig Henriksen, the question is, do you like him, or the idea of him?

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Spitfire does not feature a Brion James bait-and-switch, rather, he just has a small cameo. In a sense, you could still call it a bait-and-switch, because he shows up at the beginning, so you think he'll be rockin' with us for the duration, only for him to die off in that opening scene. It's like the whole film is a bait-and-switch, that great opening scene with Henriksen in a tux, his lady lying there with her breasts out, the bad spy woman delivering one of the best movie lines ever: "I hate getting blood on Herm├Ęs sheets", all heralding a film that never was, was never going to be, replaced with a teen romp.

That's it in a nutshell, a teen romp. If you're down with a teen romp, go for it, but I know most of our readers aren't so much. What I want to do instead, is write this post as a warning to anyone who sees "wow, Pyun spy film starring lance Henriksen, sweet!" No, not so sweet.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111264/

11 comments:

  1. I like Lance Henriksen a lot, but doesn't look like his best work. Plus Pyun burned me on Ticker a few months ago.

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  2. I went back into the archives and pulled out this gem Ticker. I kind of loved Ticker for its bad movieness combined with the stellar cast. Did you know (and I found this out after the post) that Pyun filmed Ticker in one day? Not a bad deal.

    As far as Spitfire, definitely not worth your time. Pyun isn't one you should write off, though. Get in there and see what Omega Doom and Nemesis are all about. I think you'd like those two if you haven't seen them already.

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  3. This is why your blog is so important Matt, you take one for the team when the promise of "Pyun + Henriksen = Awesome" does not pay off. I shall duly avoid.

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  4. Ha ha, that's right baby, we're fighting the good fight here at the DTVC.

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  5. Woah! didn't know Pyun filmed Ticker so quickly!

    I've seen Omega Doom, but not Nemesis. We will have to review Omega Doom soon.

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  6. Hi DTV C,

    You may have noticed that the cast in Hong Kong '97, Spitfire and Heetseeker has an overlap of actors, that is because we actually shot all three films virtually at the same time.

    Thanks for the interest!

    Albert Pyun

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  7. That's really cool to know, and thank you as always for stopping by and sharing things like that with us. Knowing what went on behind the scenes always helps our understanding of why something was the way it was, or wasn't the way it was, which just enriches the whole experience.

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  8. And please DTV Connoisseur, give Mean Guns another shot! Its free on hulu.com so you don't need to waste any space in your queue! I'm trying to final a remake of it so I'll pay close attention to your voices!

    Albert Pyun
    Albert Pyun Movies / facebook
    Pyun.com

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  9. Hey, id be willing to trade you Bulletface , the original dvd for a copy of spitfire. If you like that idea, let me know.

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  10. I already own Bulletface (review here.), and I actually never owned Spitfire, I borrowed it for the review.

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  11. yeah, the review is old, shouldve considered that....u got that together with cyborg dc i guess.nevermind...

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