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.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Body Rock (1984)

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Is there really anything to put in this opening paragraph, other than: Lorenzo Lamas in an early 80s rags-to-riches break dancing movie?

Body Rock has Lamas as Chilly D, a smooth talking ghetto rat who hangs out with some real break dancers, rappers, and DJs, all struggling to make ends meet. On a chance visit to a big wig, hoping the guy will represent them as graffiti artists, he over hears that the big wig is opening a nightclub and needs some talent. After the guy sees Lamas and his buds perform he decides... he just wants Lamas. Lamas doesn't want to leave his buddies behind, but his buddies think this is great, because he can get an in, and then get them an in. Be careful what you wish for, because Lamas becomes too caught up in his new found fame, and suddenly has no time for his old buddies. But fame can be a bitch-- it can all be taken away by one punch to a rich dude making a pass at you.

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In our line of work-- or our line of blogging-- we see the word "cheesy" a lot. It's some kind of blanket term we use when we have no idea how to describe what we're seeing, and though I think there are moments when it's apt, often it just comes off as a lazy dismissive. Take Body Rock, for instance. How does one explain the experience of seeing Lamas, who went to private school in New York, try to sound like a ghetto rat? Or try to affect a New York accent? Or try to use a word like "fresh" with any amount of authenticity? Or in a montage learning to break dance? Or rapping? Or bedazzled and singing? Or... or... do you see what I mean? Writing this off as "cheesy" does it an intolerable disservice. Maybe "awesome" is more like it.

I think I had more laugh out loud moments watching this by myself than I've had since I watched The Hangover with some friends last year. I considered on multiple occasions ripping entire scenes out of it and posting them on the image page, until I realized how many that would be. This isn't just Lorenzo Lamas singing, it's a bedazzled Lorenzo Lamas singing. This isn't just Lorenzo Lamas in a montage learning to break dance, it's a Lorenzo Lamas pretending to be a ghetto rat in a montage learning to dance. This is Lorenzo Lamas insert background song here: "She's a Maniac", "I Need a Hero", "Fame". It's too fantastic for words.

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The thing with this is, it teetered often on the brink of boring or too full of itself. It teetered on that precipice of let's get too caught up in the plot. But every time, every time I was about to be like "come on guys", boom, they hit me right in the face with a Lamas outfit, or a Lamas rap, or a Lamas line, or a Lamas look. They knew they had a formulaic plot, and they didn't get too deep into it-- that's probably because they had artists in the soundtrack they wanted to feature more, like Laura Branigan, Ashford and Simpson, Michael Sembello (Flashdance)... and... er... Lorenzo Lamas.

We've been talking in previous posts about getting all of the DTV films up of certain Hall of Famers, in particular Don "The Dragon" Wilson. Only three HOFers, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Steven Seagal currently hold that distinction-- though we're close on Christopher Lambert, it's just a matter of sorting out which ones are DTV, and which ones are foreign films or TV movies, or even movies worth reviewing. Anyway, Lamas is about 15 away, having not done a DTV film since Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, but like Lambert, there are some kids movies and TV movies and what not that need sorting out before we can get an accurate idea of how many really are left. The thing is, though, while Dolph or Seagal might be pretty consistent with straight ahead DTV actioners, a guy like Lamas doing everything from soap operas to kids movies, gives us gems like Body Rock, and for that we're eternally grateful.

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There are a lot of parts I'm afraid to get into too much because I don't want to give them away. For instance, this movie has the best fall-from-grace scene I've ever seen in this genre. I won't say too much, just that it involves a leather bar and a dude making a pass at Lamas. This also has the best too-big-for-his-britches scene, with Lamas walking down the road in a leather duster with the name Chilly painted on the back. The cut is "very popular in Europe this season" he tells us. This also has a great figuring-out-what's-important-in-life/moment-of-perspicacity scene, with a strutting Lamas happening upon some street break dancers, rocking a reverse Loverboy headband-- black instead of white. Would this film work as well with someone other than Lamas? I don't know, but I don't have to know, because it has Lamas, and it works.

This is available on Netflix, but I'm not sure for how much longer (they tend to dump these older Lamas flicks after a while), so get it while you can. It's what you need, and you didn't even know you needed it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086985/

3 comments:

  1. Wow. Just... Wow. This the furthest thing away from what I could have imagined the next review to be. I've only seen a couple of Lamas, like SnakeEater, and can't imagine him in this. I'll see what I can do about watching this one, it looks like a riot.

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  2. One Of The Greatest Movies Ever! Lamas is at the top of his game as Chilly D.

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  3. Yeah, like I mentioned above, the Halloween flicks didn't get much response, and I had Body Rock from Netflix, so I figured, why wait. The one cool thing about the two Halloween films, though, is they featured in Schizoid an early Golan-Globus film starring HOFer Klaus Kinski, and in Bloody Sunday some very early Michael Dudikoff, so in that sense, they had some value to the site.

    But Body Rock is a totally different story, and I'm glad I didn't wait on it-- in fact, I probably should've gotten to it sooner.

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