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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--Matt

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Equalizer 2000 (1986)

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I'm not sure why this is called Equalizer 2000. Richard Norton with an enormous fucking gun that he uses to blow tons of people away with in the post-apocalyptic Philippines is more like it. I had had this one on my radar for a little while, and then I saw it reviewed over at Cool Target: Action Reviews and knew I had to have it. Both the film and the site are worth checking out.

Equalizer 2000 takes place in post-apocalyptic Alaska, which has been turned into a barren desert wasteland with very little water or oil. One dictatorship has tried to consolidate their power, while some outlying villages look to unite or stay out of the fray. Enter Mr. Norton, who used to be with the big boys, but now he has a score to settle, and he finds himself in one of the other tribes, after rescuing Ken Wahl's (then) wife from Robert Patrick and his gang of thugs. She's working on some big gun, but with Norton's know how, it becomes something more, something totally kickass!

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This is a great one. Directed by DTVC Hall of Famer Cirio H. Santiago, it's pretty vintage stuff from him. Plenty of junky cars with spikes and shit on them, dudes in crazy black outfits with eye patches or goggles and silly hats or bandannas. Then you have Norton and his too sweet pecs blasting the place apart with the greatest gun ever. How amazing is that? The key is, either you like movies like this or you don't, but for those who do, this has what you want.

This is one of Norton's best, maybe after some of his great stuff with Cynthia Rothrock. The gun is just beyond hyperbole, and Norton wears it (and very little else) very well. For most of Equalizer 2000 he's pretty much brooding with revenge on his mind, but even that works with that awesome gun. You may have noticed, with all the things I plan on discussing with this film, I've chosen to only embed images of Norton toting that fantastic firearm. Enjoy.

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Cirio Santiago does a great job here of keeping things low budget, and in that sense kind of silly, but adding in a lot recognizable cinematic conventions that add a level of nuance, like the way his future felt more like a Western, with Patrick's gang working as the bandits, the powerful warlord more like the Mexican general, and then the village Norton falls in with with the local townsfolk trying to stay out of everything. Not to mention you had Philippine movie industry mainstays Vic Diaz and Ramon D'Salva leading what looked like a tribe of Native Americans. It was very Spaghetti Western-ish, which made it more fun. Oh yeah, and there was Norton's gun.

Speaking of Vic Diaz and Ramon D'Salva, anyone who has seen a fair amount of Philippine low budget movies between the 70s-90s will recognize them. Usually they play Vietnamese generals, essentially bad guys, in Philippine Vietnam War films. If you're into those kinds of movies (and I am because of the carryover into what we do at the DTVC), you might want to check out Jack over at When the Vietnam War Raged... in the Philippines.

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The female lead was played by Corinne Wahl, Ken Walh's wife at the time. She was a Penthouse Pet as well-- probably how Wahl met her. Anyway, she's really hot in this, and rocks this tank top with no bra, and thigh high leather boots. Hey, it's the future, after the apocalypse, in Alaska, I'd think you'd want to go for something a little more functional than that, but who am I to say, I get to sit here on my computer and make snarky jokes about the nuclear holocaust, I don't know what it's like out there, in Alaska/Philippines, dealing with bandits and Vic Diaz the Medicine Man. Then there was that gun Norton had... simply the best!

This is VHS or bust, and Amazon is selling it for a pretty steep price, so I'd keep it in mind say if you're digging through a bargain bin or something. It's really great Richard Norton directed by Cirio H. Santiago. This is what you wanted, this is what you came for, get after it. Also, if you haven't already, go check out Cool Target: Action Reviews.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091012/

9 comments:

  1. Holy Freaking God. This looks positively amazing. I have to get this.

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  2. Yeah, it is definitely amazing, I think you'll really enjoy it.

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  3. This looks awesome! Will try to track down a copy!

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  4. Awesome flick. So much gunfire. Just brilliant.

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  5. So much gunfire, with such an awesome gun, and such an awesome dude wielding it.

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  6. Cirio and Norton put together a nice trilogy of post-apocalyptic action movies together, and while I've yet to see Raiders of the Sun, I liked this one good enough.

    I seem to recall Norton firing his weapon from the hood of a moving car, one of several unsafe stunts from this film.

    Norton's a really underrated guy in action cinema and an absolute workhorse. He's teamed with everyone from Rothrock to Santiago to Jackie Chan and Leo Fong.

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  7. Yeah, Norton is the man, and I do need to get more of his staring roles up, because he usually pops up as a co-star (including the next Dudikoff film I'll be doing, Strategic Command).

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