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.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quicksand (2002)

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This one took a fair amount of work to track down. Scratch that, it was really a matter of me finally taking the plunge and buying it used from Amazon-- for $0.01, $2.99 after shipping-- because Netflix, for some reason or another, doesn't offer it. Kenner at Movies in the Attic has looked at this one too, it's buried under a bunch of other reviews in his Avenging Force post. Also Kenner, I hyperlinked your cover photo for this post. Hopefully you're not upset.

Quicksand has absolutely nothing to do with the actual classic adventure movie trap. It's a modern Film Noir with Michael Dudikoff as a Marine psychiatrist called to another base to treat a general's (Dan Hedaya, playing Dean Stockwell, playing the general) daughter, Brooke Theiss. Things happen, dad's dead, and she's accused, but Dudkoff thinks there's more going on here than meets the eye.

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I was okay with this one. It had all the elements for a good Film Noir-- the handsome lead, the sexy, sultry female dealing with issues from her past, the more than meets the eye mystery-- hell, they even had the suspenseful phone call with only the bottom half of a man's face talking in cryptic threats. I think where it fails is that it sounds great on the surface, and the actors all handled their roles well, but I'm not so sure there was 90 minutes worth of material here. It seemed like it sounded better on paper, if that makes sense. Plus, there were some blah moments, like a silly chase scene that devolved into Dudikoff and his pursuers just doing doughnuts around each other. Still, to completely kill this thing doesn't exactly do it justice, because it wasn't horrible. The truth is, had this been made in 1940, instead of 2002, with Bogie and Bacall instead of Dudikoff and Theiss, I would've loved it, but it wasn't, so I didn't. Take that for what it is.

I think seeing the names Michael Dudikoff and director Sam Firstenberg, one would envision some awesome action, considering the two collaborated on American Ninja and American Ninja 2, plus, Firstenberg has a rich history of great to not-so-great action, including American Samurai, Cyborg Cop, and Cyborg Cop II. That's not what you're getting here, but Dudikoff still acquits himself very nicely in this Film Noir realm. Because Dudikoff is most famous for the American Ninjas, and because those films and his reputation in them are what has gotten him the DTV action work we're used to seeing him in, people have the erroneous idea that he's not an accomplished actor. This movie proves otherwise.

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Richard Kind was in this as the military detective-- that classic Film Noir detective role where we don't know if he'll help our hero our hinder him. He's easily one of the best comedic character actors working today, and his presence here provided a level of levity that was very unique and welcomed for the kind of role this was. It's always interesting to see an actor like this, who would go on to be much bigger, bringing his or her talents to a lesser DTV flick.

Brooke Theiss is known more for her TV work-- and TV work that has very little overlap with the kinds of films we cover here-- but like Dudikoff, she does really well, and I think it was harder for her, because her character was written all over the place-- and that's with the fact that she was supposed to be mentally unstable being taken into account. One interesting fact about Theiss: her husband is DTVC favorite Bryan Genesse.

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There are a lot things in a movie that tip off the fact that it wasn't filmed in the US, but I'm not sure I've seen one as blatant as the trapezoid lane on the basketball court here. Nothing spells international basketball like that-- it's like boysenberry syrup letting us know that we're at the International House of Pancakes, not some domestic one. The film was shot in India, but took place in Arizona, and before the trapezoid lane cinched it that this wasn't no Arizona, I think the palm trees tipped me off. Nice try on the cacti, though.

I can't recommend this, even on the $3 it cost me to buy it from Amazon. Unless you're a total Dudikoff completist, the novelty of him in a Film Noir wears off as the movie tries to flesh out what was barely 90 minutes worth of material. Great performances by Dudikoff and the rest of the cast, though, so kudos to that.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0282883/

6 comments:

  1. I actually liked it. It seems that you would say watching this on TV at midnight is the best option. I would actually say that for 2 dollars it's worth it. The thing that makes the movie is in fact the acting. This also is fairly well made (locations aside) the biggest factor is the intrusive music score. Indeed this overblown abortion often times lessen the impact that there is. I liked it enough to give it a marginal thumbs up and thought that it was never dull, the acting was pretty sharp and I got engrossed into the story.

    That said, I will always take American Ninja 1-2 and Avenging Force over this, but make of this what you will, Dudikoff's work with Firstenberg has always been interesting and this is no exception.

    The best performance though that made the movie was in fact Brooke Theiss'. She was in Nightmare On Elm Street 4 as the body builder chick (that was still kinda hot, unlike say most body builder women) anyway she was the one that got turned into an insect and got crunched by Freddy. Just giving that out there as this is yet another Freddy Krueger connection with Dudikoff, the other co-stars being Lezlie Deane in Midnight Ride (from Nightmare 6), Heather Langenkamp in Fugitive Mind (Nightmare 1 and 3), and Amanda Wyss in Strategic Command (from the first) I guess I could go on and say that his love interest in American Ninja was killed by Jason a year before in Friday The 13th The Final Chapter as well as being a co-star to Dr Loomis in River Of Death. But that's Dudikoff for you.

    Like I said I like this movie.

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  2. Kenner, you just absolutely crushed this comments section, I'm not sure there's much I can add after all that. I forgot to mention the music, so I'm glad you picked me up there-- jazz flute into bad hair metal electric guitar for the chase scene was the best. Also, great stuff on the Dudikoff Nightmare on Elm Street co-stars. Too bad he never did anything with Johnny Depp, huh?

    This goes down as perhaps the third best non-Albert Pyun comment ever, after your own Unrivaled one, and then elementarybeatbox's one on Lost Boys: The Thirst. Way to bring it.

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  3. With the Unrivaled one, I couldn't wait to hammer him. He was such a tool. The idea that we were taking out frustration on said chick because we hated women when his movie cast in her a role that was hardly empowered.

    Now let's try to make said discussion even better by adding personal touches in regards to my Unrivaled post. I really did marry a nerdy Asian chick out of high school which is still up there as one of my graeatest fuck ups ever and I really did have a cheerleader named Kristi who liked me as a friend only, I was in 8th grade and she was a senior. I actually sent her flowers and stuff...and because our moms were friends her mom talked to my mom and Kristi told me how I'm just a kid and how she thought I was a cool kid but I wasn't old enough. It's still awkward remembering how much of a douche chill it was, it's not helped by the fact that I see her every now and then Like lately at my cousin's wedding. Also for some reason my mom thinks it's a cute story, so she told my fiance.

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  4. I'm sure the Unrivaled guy would appreciate your candor, unfortunately for him though, I turned off the anonymous commenting function, so if he wanted to respond, he'd have to tell us who he is.

    The 8th grade crush story reminds me of a part in Hero Wanted that I forgot to bring up, where a 12-year-old girl CGJ saves has a crush on him, and he has to explain to her that that's not an option, without her thinking it's because something's wrong with her-- other than being born 20 year too late, of course. As an 8th grader, we can only see the hot older person and what we want out of that, we can't fathom that even a high school Senior would be looked down upon by her classmates for dating someone so young-- though a Senior dating a Freshman has always been kosher--. I can remember being in high school and working with older girls and having a crush on them, not knowing what them dating me would have meant-- probably jail time, or at least probation, and sex offender status. Then, when I got older, the shoe was on the other foot, as high school girls I worked with had crushes on me. Who can blame them though, right?

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  5. I remember enjoying this movie. Watched it a long time ago, will have to look for a copy. Nice to see Richard Kind and Dan Hedaya in the flick too.

    Also, that is amazingly cool that you will have every Dudikoff movie on your site!

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  6. I know, he'll be the fourth Hall of Famer that will have all of his DTV movies on here, the others being Dolph, Seagal, and Van Damme, but Dudikoff is such a DTV dude, that it'll be particularly special in his case.

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