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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Night of the Warrior (1991)

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This is one of the few Lorenzo Lamas joints from the late 80s early/90s that I hadn't already seen, so I was stoked to finally get a hold of it. It just sounds awesome, right? "Lorenzo Lamas in Night of the Warrior", I mean, how can you go wrong there, right? Ty at Comeuppance Reviews did this one a little while back too, if you want to see what he thought and compare with me.

Night of the Warrior has Lamas as a fighter, fighting for Luke of "Luke and Laura" fame, in order to pay off the mortgage to the exotic club he and his mom own (played by his real life mom Arlene Dahl). After the mortgage is paid off, he thinks he's done, so he goes off to win over art history major/waitress Kathleen Kinmont, who is turned on by his amateur photography/exploitation of the local homeless population that are his subjects. Anyway, Luke needs him to do one more fight, because a Korean mob boss will kill him if he doesn't, so Luke leans on him, using Lamas's mom and girlfriend for leverage.

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Let's get one thing straight first, this is not an action film per se, but rather an attempt at a modern Film Noir piece. The problem is, writer Thomas Ian Griffith, though an English Lit major at Holy Cross, is no Dashiell Hammett, meaning Night of the Warrior has it's good moments and its bad, but overall doesn't quite work. The music and cinematography definitely had that Noir-ish vibe down; but then you had these attempts at action movie clichés, like the kidnapped girl; and then there were some of their Noir themes that they didn't follow through on, like Kathleen Kinmont's character, who started off very well rounded, and finished off very blah, or the introduction of Lamas being framed, which comes and goes rather quickly and effortlessly. It was like, it had too little action to be good for the action film fans, but didn't handle the Film Noir aspects well enough to be good for those fans either, so we were left with nothing. Oh, and I can't forget the bad Madonna video scene with Lamas and some other dude fighting while covered in mud at the beginning.

From the Lamas perspective, this looked pretty good at the beginning. No, he didn't do the Noir protagonist who is also a photographer as well as Michael Paré in Sunset Heat, but had the writing stayed true, based on the beginning, I think he would've still done well. But then there was this odd dramatic aspect, that wasn't written well, didn't look natural, and made Lamas look foolish. I don't know, at the beginning, when he's in the diner hitting on Kathleen Kinmont, there was a sense that he might pull this off. Who knows if, given the chance, he might have done it. As far as the action goes, he has a few good scenes, but also a couple weird ones, including a fight with his crippled friend. The less said about that the better.

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Kathleen Kinmont got a bit of a raw deal in this one, because she started off strong in that Noir-ish female lead, then her character was almost written out of the film altogether, only to come back for the sole purpose of being kidnapped. It had never crossed my mind before that she'd make a great lead in a Film Noir picture, but it makes sense after seeing it, because she's smart-- which comes out on-screen when the role allows her to-- very pretty, and can wear the hell out of a short black dress. I had a feeling, though, that Thomas Ian Griffith, in writing her character, might have been over his head, because there's a scene early on where she and Lamas are in his apartment, and she tosses him a camera and tells him to take her picture. Then she asks him how to pose, and he says that's not how he works, so she starts trying to affect sexy poses for him. It was way too unnatural. The sexier thing would've been to have her not try to be sexy, but just be who her character is, and have him capture that and see her sexiness naturally. Anyway, it wasn't long after that before she was almost done completely, her character devolving into an action movie damsel in distress.

I'm not sure which is cooler, that Lamas's mom starred in this, or Luke of "Luke and Laura" fame from General Hospital. On the one hand, it's his mom, which is cool; but on the other, Lamas being a soap actor himself, to be paired with such a luminary as that is huge. The only thing cooler would've been if Rick Springfield did a movie with Lamas too. Favorite Rick Springfield song? I may have to go with "Don't Talk to Strangers", even though, like everyone else, I love "Jesse's Girl" too. Also of note, the late Bill Erwin-- who just died recently at the age of 96-- plays Kinmont's uncle. Great cameo from him.

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I'm wrapping up with this seventh paragraph for all my horror readers out there. That's right, Ken Foree, from one of my all time favorite horror films, Dawn of the Dead, stars in this as Luke's hatchet man. This is actually the second Foree film we've done, the first being Dolph Lundgren's Army of One (which I should note is my most popular Dolph film on here by views, by virtue of the fact that people searching for nude pics of Kristen Alfonso are directed there. No joke). One of the best lines from a horror film ever is in Dawn of the Dead, near the beginning, when Foree and Francine are in the helicopter about to escape, and he tells her "I lost a lot of brothers." "Real brothers, or soul brothers?" "Both."

This is a bad deal. Don't be fooled by the title or the cover, there's very little action, and the Film Noir material isn't handled well either. The payoff just isn't there to warrant a recommendation. As far as availability, you can buy it new on DVD, but for some reason or other, Netflix doesn't offer it, so for the price asked, it's not worth it anyway.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102535/

18 comments:

  1. "nude pics of Kristan Alfonso" I think that's how I got here myself.

    Besides we all know everyone who stumbles into the website is looking for shirtless male bondage.

    As for this movie, It stinks and I really have little to add. Also why they tortured Lamas' mother was stupid. I'm willing to guess that Griffith's script was solid (You will see when you see the Underrated noirish Ulterior Motives) but I would guess this got rewritten to death as soon as Lamas joined on.

    I do recommend Ulterior Motives highly to you though.

    Lastly, this movie was a rip off of not only Bloodsport but Cocktail. Indeed someone uttered the line "Bloodsport meets Cocktail with Lorenzo Lamas" and some idiot greenlighted it.

    It is a really boring movie and very stupid.

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  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HP8Vd3GxvA I wish the trailer didn't give so much away but I really thought this was a very good movie.

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  3. Yeah I didn't like this film too much myself, the fight sceenes at the end were decent enough and Kinmont and Foree both did the best with what they had, but for the most part this is a pretty dull and unimginative film with little to offer(though I still think it's better then those lame Swordsman films he did, those were even MORE boring then this film), I only saw it in the first place because my local library just happened to carry it and I was working my way up Lamas's filmography, Bad Blood, Blood For Blood, Mask Of Death and the Snakeeater films are all far superior to this film.

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  4. I'm going to go with your hypothesis that Griffith's script was messed with, because I did feel that someone with his educational pedigree would've done better than this, and I will check out Ulterior Motives based on your recommendation, and because I want to give Griffith another shot.

    I haven't had a good shirtless male bondage flick in a while, but I'm glad you still remember that. I know that that was what got a lot of readers in initially, based on Van Damme in The Shepherd. For people who don't know, upon my initial look at imdb for The Shepherd, one of the first tags I saw was "shirtless male bondage", and I realized that one of the screen caps I took was of Van Damme shirtless, tied up, and hanging upside-down. So, I figured I'd give a little shout out to any shirtless male bondage fans I had who were checking out the site, and it just kind of stuck as a joke theme for future posts.

    As an aside, I looked at my Google stats, and the exact phrase is "kristian alfonso boobs". Type that in and I'm second on the list. Also, they weren't her boobs in the film, but a stunt double's.

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  5. Honestly in terms of hot Dolph Lundgren love interests, I don't see anyone that measures up against Bridge Of Dragons chick Valarie Chow. Then Agent Red'ds Meliani Paul.

    After that though while Tia Carrere, Kristian Alfonso, Maruschka Detmers, Melissa Smith,Charlotte Lewis and Monika Schnarre (Peacekeeper) are attractive, they aren't the knock outs the two I listed are.

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  6. What about Kylie Bax in Storm Catcher, or Gina Bellman in Silent Trigger? I'm going to give you Valerie Chow in Bridge of Dragons for the win though, because I can't argue with that.

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  7. They are hot. The only one who comes close Meliani Paul. Also the chick from The Last Warrior is pretty hot.

    Van Damme's hottest love interest, I'm gonna have to say the chick from Timecop or Death Warrant.

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  8. Mia Sara, definitely, both in Timecop and Ferris Bueller's day Off. Other candidates for me are Laura Herring in Derailed, and Ming Na and Kylie Minogue in Street Fighter. Also, I'd throw in an honorable mention for Vivica A. Fox in The Hard Corps.

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  9. Nice review. I love that the villain had his own head shot. It needed to have more punchfighting. Viper and Bounty Tracker are better Lamas movies.

    Also thanks once again for the link.

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  10. Don't mention is about the link. I was surprised as I went through the similar blogs I follow that you were the only other one I found who'd done this one before. Also, I totally forgot about Luke passing around his head shot. I think this was the time period when he wasn't working on General Hospital, and before he had that small part in UHF, so he needed to get his head shot out to anyone he could, and Lamas's mom being in the biz herself, was a good candidate to help her. His agent was probably insisting that he do that off screen, but when they needed something for him to write on, he was like "Oh, I've got plenty of these to use!"

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  11. I agree with you on all the love interest except for Vivica, she was just really "meh" looking to me.

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  12. Ming Na is a great choice, can't believe I forgot. Kylie and Vivica would be honorable mentions. Natasha Henstridge is another one. Mia Sara would be my number one pick. Hell she might even trump Valarie Chow.

    You know the movie stinks when it turns into a Hottest Chick discussion from stars who had nothing to do with the movie.

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  13. Wow, Thomas Ian Griffith wrote this? The same guy who was in Excessive Force? I must see it now.

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  14. I think I agree about Mia Sara being the hottest, though Ming Na as Chun Li is pretty sweet too.

    And if you're looking to watch this, you tread at your own peril. My prediction for this film: Pain!

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  15. Yeah the "written by Thomas Ian Griffith" thing made my ears perk up. Griffith has always been one of my favorites ever since Karate Kid 3 in which he gave one of the Greatest Performances EVER. His writing isn't too bad either (like Excessive Force) so I too am willing to guess that his script was probably f'ed with during filming. Had he been the star instead of Lamas, perhaps things would've been different.

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  16. Great review Matt. I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I've literally NEVER seen a Lorenzo Lamas movie and I feel that somehow I'm better off for it.

    I remember coming across his Renegade series on television all the time in the mid-90s and really finding he had the mega-douche quotient in spades. After reading up on him a little and finding that Loren Avedon had a rather unflattering anecdote to share about Lorenzo, I've completely sworn off the Lamas. If there are one or two flicks out there that are must-sees, I'll certainly reconsider but I don't anticipate dedicating 1200 words to a dude I couldn't care less about. I'd be bringing too much bias to the table.

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  17. I certainly won't sit here and try to defend Lamas to you, because I've heard a lot of bad things about him too. When I first started the blog, it actually was that douche-quotient that made me want to put him in the hall of fame, because he's something of a cheeseball, which is funny to me. Since then I have seen some of his that are pretty good. You might like Bounty Tracker, co-starring Matthias Hues, or some of the Snake Eaters. That being said, again, I don't begrudge you not being a fan of his, or boycotting his work. There's plenty of other great DTV action out there, and you've been doing a great job hitting it without any Lamas films. I should point out though, that Steven Seagal has a bigger douchebag quotient, so keep that in mind for any future boycotts.

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  18. This film was really poor. I only recently started watching Lorenzo Lamas and there are better films he has done, Final Impact for one, which is really good.

    Good review Matt.

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