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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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.

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Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Man Force (1989)

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I saw Mr. Sutekh's review of this on his blog, Explosive Action, and I knew I needed to get me some. Then the light bulb went off in my head, and I realized I could post this film and showcase our man from downunder's site at the same time. Go check him out-- after you finish reading this post, of course. Cheers myte!

One Man Force is about this big bear of a man, Jake, played by John Matsuzak (Sloth from The Goonies). He doesn't do things by the book, and has a penchant for using large appliances to attack people (I was going to say "penchant for attacking people with large appliances", but the dangling participle made it sound like he attacks people who have large appliances...). This reckless style gets his partner dead, and in order to make amends and bring his partner's killers to justice, he goes out on his own. But what does the kidnapping of pop star Stacy Q have to do with his partner's killing and Latin drug cartels? Does it matter?

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Nope, it certainly doesn't. In the very beginning, when Jake's partner expresses his misgivings about the raid they're about to make on a drug deal, I got nervous. I was wondering how I'm supposed to like this when the hero is such an enormous tool that he gets his friend killed. Then this hilarious music plays while the friend takes a few deadly slugs to the torso, then Jake proceeds to lift up a refrigerator and charge another shooter. From there I was hooked. It was like watching a great physical comedian with Matsuzak. How can you not laugh when Ronny Cox tells him he's suspended, and he freaks out, violently clears off Cox's desk, and yells "fuck you!" Somewhere around the 35 minute mark, my attention started to wane, but out of nowhere, Jake's in a car chase, and he sends the people chasing him into a Pepsi sign and an exploding boat, and the next day, in the crash aftermath, he's drinking a 2 liter bottle of Slice. I could go on, but I don't want to give too much away, like the brawl in the S&M bar, or the poor stunt double that was taken through the ringer as Jake hangs from the window of a speeding truck, trying to choke out the driver. There was so much to love.

Matsuzak passed away earlier in the same year this was released. That's too bad, because it looked like maybe he was making a shift from bit parts in various TV crime dramas and action shows, into the DTV world. Based on what we saw here, the potential was enormous. He was just this big force, yelling out these hilarious obscenities and throwing his weight around. I don't know if it was all intentionally funny, but it all worked. It's a shame that he's no longer with us, but it looks like we also missed out on a lot of great work that never was.

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This film brought together three classic That Guys in Charles Napier, Ronny Cox, and Richard Lynch. One of these guys in a film would be fantastic, two, amazing, but all three? Oh snap! On top of that, you had Stacy Q-- who did "Two of Hearts" for of my readers born after 1980, or who aren't 1980s music aficionados-- and Sharon Farrell, who, among her many roles, was in one of my all time faves, Can't Buy Me Love-- I have to give a mention to fellow Mainer Patrick Dempsey whenever possible.

I have no clue why, but this stance of Matsuzak's below cracks me up. Am I crazy, or am I right? I mean, what is he doing there, stretching out his hamstrings? Getting ready to run? No, he's making small talk with the cop manning the evidence room. There was so much that Matsuzak did that was either intentionally or unintentionally funny, but for some reason this stood out as absolutely hilarious.

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Finally, this movie showcased a lot of product placement. Matsuzak only wore Adidas, while his partner's son wore Quicksilver. Then there were the Pepsi, Slice, and 7-Up appearances. There was even a Discover card sighting. The one that stuck out the most was the Miller Lite though, because I'd forgotten the old "Tastes Great, Less Filling" days. Back then I was young, and didn't understand that Miller Lite was only cool for kids in college playing beer pong (I didn't even know what that was), or what a person throwing a barbecue serves to avoid giving out anything really good that might cost more. Only a tool actually orders Miller Lite at a bar, at least if it's not on a special or something. Now their ads tell us "Man up and drink Miller Lite". Is it possible for commercial products to jump the shark? They do know they're Miller Lite, right? While they're suggesting that certain members of the male population are tools, they have to know that their product is the number one contributor to male tooldom in America. Either man up and order some straight bourbon, bitch, or don't start calling us out for not being manly enough-- especially because we don't drink watered down beer.

That rant went on way too long. I think it's because I watch too much ESPN, and those dumb beer commercials are ubiquitous. Anyway, we got off track, which is too bad, because One Man Force is awesome, and if you haven't seen it, you need to make it happen. It is available on DVD, but it's out of print and can be expensive. VHS is the better route, and if you're a collector of of bad DTV action, this is a must. Fantastic. And take a look at Explosive Action while you're at it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098026/

4 comments:

  1. LOVE this film! One of the entertaining DTV action films of the 80s, also Matuszak did one last film before he passed away-Down The Drain, that film also has Andrew Stevens and Ken Foree and ounds pretty good, any chance you could check that one out?

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  2. It's definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

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  3. Thanks for the spotlight Matt! I'm ecstatic to be able to introduce you to some of the gold I find when your blog has taught me so much, so quickly.

    A fantastic movie, and spot on about the fridge squash, Ronny Cox "Fuck you!" and that hysterical nightclub scene being the highlights. I love that the producers obviously knew they struck gold with the fridge scene and did it again with a pepsi machine.

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  4. Well, I'm glad to have helped out. With so many films and so little time, it's good to have a lot of us out there fighting the good fight.

    Yeah, that scene where Matsuzak tells Cox "fuck you!" was so abrupt, but so amazing. Coming right after the refrigerator scene, it set the tone for the whole film.

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