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.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cold Harvest (1999)

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This is a bad boy I've been looking to get on here for a while. DTVC Hall of Famer Gary Daniels, Bryan Genesse, and directed by Isaac Florentine. Can this possibly be bad?

Cold Harvest takes place in the future, where a plague threatens humanity. Daniels is Roland, a dude who works as a bounty hunter in the lawless land that exists in the infected area. He also plays Oliver, his mild-mannered twin who has the gene that, when infected with low levels of the plague, generates anti-bodies. As he and his wife, Barbara Crampton are headed to the Free Zone with other humans holding antibodies, their convoy is attacked by Bryan Genesse (character name Little Ray), and everyone is killed, except for Crampton, who escapes. Turns out she's carrying a child with the antibodies as well, and when she runs into her brother in-law, he's able to protect her, get her to the Free Zone, and take out Genesse, all at the same time.

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This is really awesome. It's like a western, set in the future, with some really cool Hong Kong style fights. Daniels is sick, Genesse brings it, and Isaac Florentine shows us why he's one of the best in the DTV business at directing action and martial arts. I loved the aesthetics-- the mix of modern with Wild West-- I loved how he mixed western style shootouts with Hong Kong style fight choreography. This whole thing just worked.

This is up there for me with Bloodmoon and Rage as Daniels's best. Florentine really allows him to get after it with the martial arts scenes, and Daniels embraces the western aspects. When I see how skilled Daniels is in these fights, I'm angered a bit by all the films where he's not used to his full potential. We might have to start a new chant here at the DTVC: "Let Daniels Get After It!" He has a ton of stuff on the horizon, and we can only hope it's as good as this one.

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How do you not love Bryan Genesse? And why is this guy not in more stuff? What is always interesting for me, is seeing him as a baddie, when I'm so used to him being a good guy on Street Justice. And when I say good guy, that's kind of an understatement-- he was a really really good guy on that show. He has a sort of Evil Corey Haim style to him as a baddie, though, which is really fun. And, oh yeah, he can really kick ass. His final fight with Daniels is up there with some of the best DTV work of the decade, which is a bold statement, considering we're talking about the 90s here.

We love Isaac Florentine here at the DTVC, but it's become apparent that we're not the only people that need to learn to love the awesomeness that Ike Flo brings to the table. That's right, I'm looking at you Punchfighting Movie directors. Watch Cold Harvest or Undisputed II or Undisputed III. See how fight scenes should be shot. See what makes them look good. Cold Harvest should be a clinic on how to do DTV action, and how to do it well.

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Barbara Crampton plays Daniels's sister in-law. Her imdb lists her as having been born in two different years. Either way, she's very attractive, and works well alongside Daniels. One thing I didn't like was the forced construct of the damsel in distress that was thrust on her towards the end. Essentially, she and Daniels make it to the Free Zone, and Daniels says he needs to go back to take down Genesse. Sounds fine, right? Only thing is, the helicopter she's in is shot down by Genesse's men, somehow she survives, and she's taken captive. I mean, we've seen helicopters explode under less violent circumstances in other action films. It was just so unnecessary though. Daniels had made it clear that he was going back for Genesse anyway, Crampton being held hostage didn't add any intrigue or make thing more difficult for Daniels-- I don't know, it just felt perfunctory the way they were just tacking on this damsel in distress scenario.

But that was my only issue in an otherwise excellent flick. I believe it's out of print here in the States, but you can still get it used on DVD. I'd do it, both for the Daniels factor, and the Florentine factor. The Genesse factor doesn't hurt either.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167832/

7 comments:

  1. This movie got me into Gary Daniels. I came across it on DVD at a pawn shop and saw that Barbara Crampton was in it. I love her so I figured...what the hell? And it turns out I had a huge smile on my face for the whole thing. The fight scenes were so overthetop that it was simply amazing. I love this movie.

    And it just so happened I came across Blood Moon a short time later and that was just as amazing! Gary Daniels rules.

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  2. This looks fantastic. You've reviewed a lot of gold lately matt. Has Tekken hit stateside yet?

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  3. HAH I totally forgot I ordered this movie too. My four-movie DVD set of Hired To Kill, City of Fear, Traitor's Heart and Cold Harvest just turned up. Two pounds from a UK eBay seller. Happy Xmas to me!

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  4. My intro to Daniels was Deadly Target, which is good, but nowhere near as great as the other two you mentioned. That's a pretty sweet intro to the greatness that is Daniels.

    Thanks man, since I've been back from hiatus, I've been trying to really get after those greats from the 80s and 90s that I haven't hit yet-- get to the core of what this blog was about when I started. I'm glad your digging that.

    I think Tekken will be out sometime next year-- we'll see what happens there. That four-pack sounds good, especially the Genesse double feature of Cold Harvest and Traitor's Heart (which I haven't seen yet, but sounds good).

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  5. Nice Review. You are totally right! This is a Daniels classic! Rented it on netflix a long time ago. Now will have to buy it to review.

    The first two Gary Daniels movies i saw were Capital Punishment and Fatal Blade.

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  6. Capital Punishment as your first Daniels films? That sounds like a trip. Really awesome, though.

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  7. gleSounds tremendous. If you give this the 'Blood Moon' stamp of approval, then I need to get this pronto. FYI, my first Gary Daniels movies were 'City Hunter' & 'White Tiger.'

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