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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dollman (1991)

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This movie has the triple threat of Charles Band, Tim Thomerson, and DTVC Hall of Famer Albert Pyun. Throw in its availability on Watch Instantly, and it was a must. I mean, how do you not love the idea of Tim Thomerson as a cop from another planet who chases a criminal to Earth, where he only stands 13 inches tall?

Dollman is pretty much what I just said above. Thomerson plays Brick Bardo (classic Pyun name), a renegade, violent cop from a planet 10,000 light years away, who chases after the living severed head of one of his oldest enemies, into a ban of energy that transports them in their space ships to Earth, the South Bronx to be exact, where they're only 13 inches tall. Bardo finds he can help a local woman in her fight against crack dealing gangs that have taken over her neighborhood, but she isn't sure she wants his help because he's so violent-- even at 13 inches!

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This is a lot of fun. Sure, it has a couple too silly for words moments, like when Bardo jumps out of an upper story window to the street below, where he grabs onto a moving car and rides it to where the baddies' hideout is; but for the most part it's just a fun low-budget sci-fi actioner, with a lot of familiar faces and some pretty gory shoot-outs. The film starts with a hostage situation in a laundry mat on Bardo's home planet, and he shows up, everyone there expecting he wants to help. Nicholas Guest, the cop on the scene, asks him what he plans to do. "I'm going to wash my whites in hot water, and my colors in cold water with a warm rinse." "What?" "This is where I do my laundry, and that's what I plan to do." It starts out this awesome, and pretty much keeps it going from there. Throw in appearances from other Pyun mainstays Vincent Klyn and Michael Halsey, and a baddie played by former child actor and current it actor Jackie Earle Haley, and you have a formula for a good time.

We've been on a pretty good string of Albert Pyun films lately, so hopefully we'll keep that up. It's hard to go wrong with a movie about a violent cop played by Tim Thomerson that's only 13 inches tall and likes to blow people apart with his custom made firearm, and with a running time of 75 minutes without the credits, that's usually an even surer bet. Beyond the camp, there were also some really cool sets and shots, especially of Tim Thomerson with a fallen building behind him that looks like an old mushroom box or something. Obviously, this movie is more about fun than anything, but it's always good to see some shots that are more on the artistic side, because it tells us, the viewer, that at least the process is being taken seriously, even if the content isn't meant to be.

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This role by Jackie Earle Haley came a few years before his 13-year hiatus, which saw him come back in 2006 with an Oscar nomination. Not a bad deal if you ask me. I actually really liked him on the few episodes I've seen of Human Target. Here he plays a gang lord who comes across the severed-head bad guy Thomerson was chasing, and while he's trying to carve out supremacy in the South Bronx, he's also after Thomerson because the severed told him he could become a problem. It was a good role. I don't know that we could get him in another Pyun film now though.

"Back off Warchild, seriously." It's time to take inventory of this film's Pyun mainstays, starting with Thomerson. There was also Nicholas Guest, Michael Halsey, and DTVC favorite Vincent Klyn, listed here as "Vince Klyn". None of them get more than a scene or two outside of Thomerson, but it's always good to see them.

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According to imdb, Dollman was filmed both in LA and in the South Bronx, so I'm not sure how much of the South Bronx stuff was filmed on location or back out in LA. I've actually been to the Bronx before-- maybe not the South Bronx, I'm actually not sure where exactly I was, because we were lost. I was with a couple classmates in college going from UMaine to DC for an anthropology conference, and the girl driving had these weird directions that involved getting off of one Interstate in the Bronx, then getting onto another. It was a trip, and when I saw the highway we wanted, the girl was like "we can't go that way, it's a one-way street", and I was like "Jesus, just go, let's get the hell out of here." It's always funny to get rural Maine mixed with the city, because rural Maine never has any idea how to cope with it. I would like to go there again under better circumstances though. The parts we were in didn't look that bad.

You've probably learned more than you wanted to about my brief experience in the Bronx, so I'll wrap this up. Simply put, 75 minutes, Albert Pyun, Tim Thomerson as a 13-inch violent Dirty Harry style cop, and a good amount of gore and fun. What more could you want?

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101751/

6 comments:

  1. Dollman was a helluva series....

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  2. Yeah, it should be fun to make our way both through those and Thomerson's Trancers flicks. The more Thomerson the better, that's what I always say.

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  3. I agree on the more Thomerson the better. He should be in everything.

    Dollman is awesome. I love that movie. That part when he jumps out of the window is priceless.

    Great review.

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  4. Yeah, the jumping out of the window is definitely the dividing line, and though it looked so bad, it really drove home just what kind of film we were watching, which was a lot of fun.

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  5. Ah, the South Bronx. I work there and while it's fine during the day, I'd hate to see any New England friends lost in Hunts Point late at night. Unless you're looking for hookers and then you're in good hands. Point is, be careful!

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  6. Hahaha, thanks for the tip Emily! Luckily it wasn't late at night that we were lost, it was more that we didn't know where we were, the two people I was with had less experience in urban settings than I did, and I just felt like we'd be better off driving the wrong way on a one-way street and getting to our on-ramp, instead of obeying traffic signs but risking getting more lost-- growing up near Boston, where the streets make zero sense, I think I may have gotten more nervous than I should have-- though had we seen some hookers I bet the people I was with would've freaked, which would've been hilarious for me.

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