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.

Announcement

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.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

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

--Matt

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chain of Command (1994)

Photobucket

This film should not be confused with the Roy Scheider film of the same name that came out in 2000 (Kenner reviewed that one at Movies in the Attic, which you can check out here). On another note, this Michael Dudikoff movie was reviewed by one of our long time supporters, elementarybeatboxoperator,storylike on his review site (you can check out his review here). He's totally been holding out on us, and I feel like a dork for not knowing it existed until a few days ago, but if you get the chance, go check it out. You can also listen to Tatu's cover of "How Soon is Now" on his blog's music player (one of many great songs.)

Chain of Command has Michael Dudikoff as Ross Merrill-- wait, sorry, Merrill Ross-- a former Green Beret who has seen enough killing and decides he wants a quieter life working for an American oil company in the Middle East. Looks like trouble has found him, because a former CIA agent with the most amazing mullet ever and his team of mercenaries takes the oil company plant hostage, and only Dudikoff escapes. Then a really hot chick who looks like she might be from a Michael Bolton video shows up, kidnaps Dudikoff, press-gangs him into helping save the hostages on behalf of her terrorist organization, because they're being blamed for the hostage taking, and they're less than stoked about that. From there it's twists and turns and intrigue and explosions.

Photobucket

This movie commits a cardinal sin in the world of action movie making-- the hero runs away from the baddie. This works in something like Dream a Little Dream 2, but not in an action film. We're paying to see Dudikoff kick ass, not run away; and then, why does he then fight the baddie at the end? Oh, now you can take him? This happens at about the 45 minute mark of what was looking to be a pretty solid film; but it's an unforgivable sin, and one the film couldn't recover from. Things then go from bad to weird, when our hot chick from the Michael Bolton video is tied to a pool table-- which in itself would have been hot-- only to be burned by the baddie with a cigar, and have her nipples and vagina menaced with a knife. Weird, and not a place they needed to take this movie. It wraps up well with Dudikoff mowing some stuntmen down with machine gun fire, but overall, not the greatest.

This is some great Dudikoff notwithstanding. His acting is really good, and he delivers lines his in a very entertaining fashion-- it all felt really natural and cool for a DTV actioner. He also swears a lot, which worked surprisingly well too. For the ladies, he has a great scene early on, putting on a pair of what looks to be 501s. A very dudely thing to do. But watching him run away was not his finest moment, and I just wonder what the idea was behind that? You also had the hot chick from the Michael Bolton video capturing him on two separate occasions. I just don't get how we're buying him as this great hero, when he's running away and getting captured. Anyway, as far as Dudikoff the DTVC Hall of Famer goes, this post puts him in a tie with Lorenzo Lamas for second all time-- but Lamas wins the tie breaker, because American Ninja 2 was reviewed twice. I didn't realize this, but we're only 8 away from having his entire DTV oeuvre up. If I can get my hands on those 8, I'll get to it as soon as possible-- even at the expense of the Don "The Dragon" Wilson completion project.

Photobucket

The woman I affectionately referred to as a "hot chick from a Michael Bolton video" was played by Keren Tishman, who now goes by the name Keren Aroni. imdb has this as her only credit, but she names a few more on her personal website (http://www.kerenaroni.com/), including a guest spot on 90210. It looks like the majority of her work now comes from hosting TV shows and interviewing people. As far as the moniker I gave her for Chain of Command, "hot chick from a Michael Bolton video", at the beginning, in her first scene, her dress is very dated-- very 1990-- and with her hair and her make-up, it was just very hot chick from a Michael Bolton video. You could see her breaking dishes with him in "How Can We Be Lovers if We Can't Be Friends". The one thing I noticed was, this was definitely her first acting gig, because she over acted her lines, especially the sexually charged ones with Dudikoff. I loved how she kept the "you sees" and whatnot, which sound great when the script is written, but sound unnatural when spoken out loud.

This film isn't officially a Golan-Globus production, because Menahem Golan had left at the time. It was also Cannon's last gasp as a production company, calling to end an amazing era in DTV movie making. Had they stuck to this kind of film-- low-budget action-- they might have made it a little longer; but they branched out, tried new things, and ultimately, that bit them in the ass. Also noteworthy, Chain of Command had some political implications, but there were no overt messages or preaching-- at least that I could tell-- though one could make the case that maybe they were saying Israel's place in the Middle East would be more secure if US oil companies were more insistent on OPEC Arab nations recognizing Israel. It's a minute message, and one that requires some sifting to get at, so I might be fishing. They avoided that cardinal sin, but as we mentioned above, committed one much worse.

Photobucket

Finally, this film sports a poor man's Andrew McCarthy. I know, I know, that beat out the too sweet mullet our baddie sported for the subject of this seventh paragraph, but I sprinkled mentions of it throughout the post, that counts, right? Okay, you're right, a beaver pelt that epic deserves it's own paragraph. I mean, the thing is a definite 9.8+ in Mulletude. When you see the baddie at the beginning, he has the awesomeness tucked away under a baseball cap, making him look more like he's cut from a Michael Biehn mold. Then you see him, and if you look closely, you can see strands of hair peaking out underneath the hat, and you're just waiting for that reveal-- and when it comes, it's a waterfall of sweetness beyond anything you can imagine. To make matters better, there are multiple scenes of the baddie and his ape drape with hair metal playing in the background. It made it all the more astounding then, when this same baddie is menacing our Michael Bolton video chick by burning her with a cigar and threatening to cut her nipples and vagina with a knife, because it took a lot of the fun out of it for me. First you show me you comprehend the power you're wielding in your film movie maker, but then you demonstrate you don't have the capacity to understand it fully.

And that's that. If you like your Dudikoff running away and getting captured, you'll love this. I think there's some aspects to like, like the mullet, or Dudikoff when he's not running away or getting captured; but the bad supersedes it for me. Oh, by the way, forgot to mention the character actor who always plays the drill sergeant is in this as well-- not as a drill sergeant.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001154/

6 comments:

  1. Good to know about Keiran Tishman, I was afraid this was the only film she was in, forever dooming me to wonder what if... Alas, now I can hunt down some new treasures. As far as Dudikoff running away from the bad guy, yes, that was hard to take- almost as hard as Mark Hamill hand the Dude his ass in 'Midnight Ride' every other confrontation- but it was, after all a baddie/Dokken roadie with the sweetest mullet ever. Perhaps it wasn't so much out of fear, as insecurity from not having a mane so thick that our hero ran (which I guess would make it even worse). Another great review, Matt! And thanks for the plug, too :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also, totally spaced and forgot that this was made during that weird time when the Golan-Globus boys were feuding/leaving each other's production companies, making bad Captain America movies, and having suits call the shots for Cannon itself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, the Dokken roadie was sporting a beaver pelt of epic proportions, so if that's the reason, I can see it-- the only problem with that is, they never mention that. Imagine a montage where he trains to be able to face the mullet for the final fight.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think Chain of Command would've been a lot better if it included a sex scene with the hot Israeli Mossad chick and Dudikoff. It would've been nice to see Dudikoff bang the Uzi out of her!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is one of the best lines ever! She could have also done a play on his line about how he knows a US military issue M-16 when he sees one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, thanks for notcing this film. I am Ben Handy, one of the writers of it. In answer to your wondering why he runs away, this orgiinally was written as more of a 3 Days of The Condor kind of picture. An ordinary guy caught in the middle of events way to big for him, but he manages to survive.

    When Cannon told us, "Cannon Heroes don't run," we asked, "Do they die, because he's unarmed facing two trained assasins with machine guns," (which is what was in the original script.

    In short, everything you liked we wrote, everything else was added without our consent. (In reality they added most of the cursing, and that ridiculous scene on the stairs was originally a pretty cool scene on a stairwell that ended with Ross clocking the bad guy (Rawlings, I think was his name) with a fire extinguisher. But since the hotel they were in apparently didn't have a stairwell they went a different way.

    ReplyDelete