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] I'd love to check out what you got.



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.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Rescue Me (1992)


This Michael Dudikoff gem comes to us courtesy of Mr. Kenner over at Movies in the Attic. It's a very interesting film, because it was made in 1992, towards the end of Cannon's run as a great DTV movie house; but also because as a premise itself, it feels like it came about five years too late-- it belongs in the mid-to-late 80s. It's like we're watching a movie paradigm that's battling the calendar, while at the same time Cannon and Golan-Globus had already felt their own wave break and recede on them.

Rescue Me starts in a small Nebraska town, where Stephen Dorff is a high school senior, relegated to the geek crowd, but longing for something more. That more is especially embodied in the person of a hot high school cheerleader, and while he's out stalking her and her boyfriend near a secluded lake, he witnesses a botched black market deal between Michael Dudikoff and a couple bad dudes, which is interrupted by the arrival of the cheerleader and her boyfriend. The boyfriend runs away, and the girl is taken captive by the bad dudes. Dorff wants to rescue her, so he enlists Dudikoff's help, using the pictures he took of him making the illegal deal as leverage. What ensues is a coming of age road trip to LA, with all the bonding and adventure and sex with hookers one could imagine.


This is pretty good. It dragged in some parts, which is more noticeable in a film like this than say in a big time actioner, and that hurt it a bit. Though this has action elements, it's more of a comedy and coming of age tale in the mold of License to Drive, which is great if you love that kind of thing, but if you're looking for ass kicking Dudikoff action, maybe not your best bet. I had fun with it. Other than the dragging, it hit all the right spots, and made for a really good time.

I don't quite put this with Bloody Birthday as a Dudikoff acting against type, because he still plays something of an action hero, this just isn't an action film. That being said, Dudikoff is excellent, and handles this part really well. I think lost in the quality of his action films is the actual quality he has as an actor, and he really shows us that here. He's at his best when he's playing a really good guy. I don't know, there's something about him that just exudes really good guy. Like I feel like if I tripped and fell in front of Dudikoff, he'd be genuinely concerned about whether or not I was okay.


How's that Stephen Dorff treating you? He's playing the Corey Haim role of the supposed geek that actually is good looking. If you look at it from that standpoint, he does pretty well. We know him now as an actor with a much harder edge, taking on darker roles, like a head vampire in Blade, so seeing him here is a trip. My favorite Dorff moment was on an episode of Punk'd, where he was the victim. They had some dude pretend to be a big fan of his, and send tons of expensive beverages over to his table. Then, when the guy leaves, the waiter brings the bill over to Dorff, and it's like $4000. Dorff's like "that guy ordered it for me, I didn't ask for it!" I'm staying away from the joke that Dorff should have smelled something fishy when a guy said he was a big fan of his.

Every film like this has to have two bad guys: the smart older one, and the dumb younger one, and William Lucking and Peter Deluise play those roles perfectly, especially Deluise. There was an episode of Highlander: The Series where Deluise played a bouncer and body guard to a mafia dude. Duncan McLeod kicked the crap out of him, of course.


One moment in the film really hit home for me. Dorff's character sees the beach and the ocean for the first time, and he cries. I grew up about three miles from the ocean, and a little further from the beach, and I've always taken both for granted. I never will again, though, because there are a lot of kids in Nebraska growing up that may never get to see either, and if they do, it might be a life-altering experience. Here's to you, Nebraska. if I could let you all see the ocean just once, I would.

This is only available on VHS, which makes it a bit of a tough get. I'm not so sure you need to go crazy trying to track it down, but if you see it in a bargain bin or something, go for it. It's a fun 80s-style road trip coming of age film, with Michael Dudikoff as one of the stars. Pretty sweet.

For more info:


  1. This one's been on my radar for awhile now, but haven't found it @ a reasonable price. I remember seeing the trailers for this back when I was a kid (if I'm not mistakn). Interesting combo: the 'License to Drive' paradigm meets the Dudikoff/Cannon model. Need to see it.

    Great reviews, Matt. Have a great Christmas!

  2. This was a pretty morally confused movie as well. Mainly that Dorff is clearly stalking Dolenz. I like to think that it is due to Dudikoff's fatherly mentorship that Dorff rejects Dolenz and talks to the girl next door, mainly Dorff getting laid due to it. Indeed I wish my dad had taken me to a whorehouse, I might not have made the clusterfuck decision to get married out of high school. Actually it was because I went for the girl next door, if I would've stalked the hot chick, such divorce would not have resulted in the ultimate tragedy, mainly me losing a lot of my horror movies on VHS (which had the best covers), my David Bowie, Phil Collins and Scorpions CDs and of course the loss of a tv that I spent a 1200 on. In fact the ex most likely pawned my horror movies away because no one has VHS but us reviewers. The bitch. :)

    No in all seriousness, for some reason this film reminds me of high school, not because I identifed with the movie but because they used to play this with American Ninja 4 and Human Shield on channel 9 and I would always remember this movie. I ended up converting it to a DVD so I can watch such, waiting for them to rerelease on such but clearly this will be awhile.

    This is a movie that I like despite myself. I know that it features a stalker as a hero, I know that Dudikoff is a crook and the love interest is kind of a cunt, but it has such a bizarre watchability factor. The comedy is pretty lame, the action is okay but Dudikoff and Dorff have good moments.

    Also a special nod must go out to the opening credits and the song, this was so 1990s. The 90s ruled...I mean where else did you have really low budget tv programs that played such movies at 3:05 in the morning. I recorded this, The Karate Kid Part III and Showdown In Little Tokyo on one tape, in which the promo explained that "Brandon Lee stars as an L.A cop who joins forces with Dolph Lundgren to avenge his partner against the Yakuza." at least they got the Karate Kid Part 3 syn right "Ralph Macchio puts it all on the line to defend his title" (I just rewatched the tape I recorded and put to DVD, seriously, you gotta see the commercials of the day.)

    And if you're wondering, we are celebrating christmas a couple days later because my sister gets back from her In Laws tomorrow night. While my girlfriend and I are at my parent's house, sleeping in different rooms. Also there is nothing to watch on TV and it's times like these, I remember the good old days of Channel 9 and 13. (RIP)

    I guess you really can't go home again.

  3. I hope you guys both had a great Christmas as well. This movie is a lot of fun, so if you can find it cheap, I'd pull the trigger.

    Those were the days, back in the 90s, when so many channels aired great stuff like this. I think it's a lot of factors that brought about the change. One, you have channels like TNT that do better by showing Jersey Girl and Ransom-- movies that did okay to crummy in the theater, but have name actors that they can sell to people flipping through he channels. Another thing is how TV crime dramas don't have to wait the usual amount of time to go into rerun syndication. Now they can show them once a week or something-- we have a local station that shows Burn Notice on Wednesday nights, the kind of channel that would have shown a Rescue Me in that slot 15-20 years ago. The third reason, is just that so many cable stations are promoting their own programming now, and they re-air those shows so many times, there's really no room for movies. USA Up All Night is an obvious casualty, as is Joe Bob Briggs on TNT. One of the last hold-outs was Spike, who used to show Julie Strain/Bruce Penhall flicks as recently as three years ago, along with the Bloodfists. Now they have their own shows that they rerun in those slots.

  4. Just got back from my childhood home. The Detroit Lions were winning in December again which hadn't happened since I was living at my parents. Maybe you can go home again.

    The weird thing is how nostalgic you feel when you see your parents. I went through stuff and found numerous assignments I had done, ridiculous things I wrote about my point of view. As a 17 year old you really don't know jackshit and now that i'm's like holy crap.

    Now I know why I like having Christmas at my sisters, because when I stay at my parents I feel damn old. The thing is my parents didn't throw any of my stuff out, nor my sister's stuff. Suffice to say, my girlfriend had to read the grades and journal entries that had horrible grammar, ridiculous ideas and such jazz. In particular the huge project in 8th grade that I spent like 16 minutes to do (I was 14) to which the teacher gave me a D- and said "The labels don't match up, you cut the pictures out and basically mixed and matched the definitions and it's obvious you put minimal time and effort into such project" I noted that my 8th grade teacher was pretty perceptive. As I just said the hell with it, and fudged it in 16 minutes so I could watch Kickboxer on TNT. This wasn't an assignment you could fudge in 2 hours (You needed at least 2 days) and so I decided to say fuck it. Personally I was amazed that I got 60% on it.

    But I had a great christmas and with the Lions winning it made it that much sweeter. The weird thing about being at your house is that I still have my posters for Rambo, The Punisher, Kickboxer, American Ninja, Commando and Cyborg up. My parents are either too lazy to turn my room into something better or they don't change it out of nostalgia.

    This movie always has me nostalgic. This actually got a theatrical release as they used to play the previews on Nick at Night. This is the type of movie they don't make anymore. When I saw it though, I was surprised that they didn't have Dorff end up with Dolenz, but once again, I always seen as a tale where a kid wants to really get laid, and does so and finally learns that he should stick with the plain jane and steer clear of the high maintence chicks. The bonding between Dudikoff and Dorff is well handled and with a better script would've been actually good, rather than guilty pleasure.

    The John Hughes sort of ending was pretty decent, indeed, it's weird because the kidnapping is probably the weakest element of the film.

  5. I love that your parents still have your movie posters on the wall, very cool. I'm also glad your Lions got over on the Dolphins. They had one year where they won the division by a tie breaker over a Tom Brady-less New England, and they thought they were the Bee's Knees. Your Lions drove the final nail in their coffin, and now they get a Pats team mailing it in against them this Sunday. Thanks for playing.

    Sorry to any of my Miami readers, and before you respond, yes, I am aware that the Giants did you guys a much bigger solid back in '08. I'd rather have your team win 20 divisions than have to listen to Mercury Morris :-p

    Okay, way off track. As far as the theatrical release, imdb says the film made a hair under $200,000 in the box office. And if anyone has any local sports team issues or elation they'd like to vent, by all means, drop us a line.

  6. Well my sister's room has Saved By The Bell posters as well as 90210 pics of Luke Perry and that other guy on the show that nobody remembers, he was in that Gruner western. My parents are either too lazy or nostalgic.

    As for Miami...They haven't been good since Marino hung it up. Whenever you go 1-15 to 11-5 it means you're inconsisent and that you're building the wrong way, You need to rebuild, which is why 0-16 was improved by 2-14 and then at worst 5-11(I'm still pretty sure they will go 6-10) That makes for a sturdier team that will win. For instance the Dolphins were fakes that year and their back to back 7-9 seasons (Most likely unless the Pats pull their starters, but teams don't do that at home until way ahead) I take it the Dolphins are your rival? Or is that the Jets?

    The Lions meanwhile can become the next big team in the NFC, the only team I really seeing standing in their way for such would be the Packers and maybe the Vikings.

  7. The Pats main rival isn't as clear cut as it is for the other Boston teams. The Sox have the Yanks, the Bruins have the Canadiens, and the Celtics have the Lakers. With the Pats, I think the Colts are the biggest one, then it's spread equally among the other three teams in the AFC East. The Dolphins do have the distinction of being the most successful against the Pats in the Belicheck era, plus, there was that sweet possibility of getting a perfect season, and shutting up the '72 Dolphins forever. I know you and I go back and forth on this, but coming 1 minute away from a perfect season only to see it escape is way worse than having the team go 0-16.

    The other thing too is that the Pats don't have the tradition that the Lions, or that any of the other Boston teams have, and rivalries are born on tradition. As an example, of the four Boston teams, only the Pats have changed their logo and colors in the past 50 years. On some levels though that's a good thing, because Bob Kraft was able to start from scratch when he took over as owner, and we've seen the results. You may see it happen in Detroit though without a new owner. As long as Stafford can stay healthy.