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.

Announcement

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.

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.

--Matt

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Strike Commando (1987)

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This was another one of the films our buddy from down under, Sutekh, sent us in a package that also contained Deadly Prey and Robowar. Like Robowar, Strike Commando is a Japanese VHS rip, which comes complete with Japanese subtitles. If you want you can check out his review of both this and the sequel, at his site, Explosive Action.

Strike Commando stars DTVC favorite Reb Brown as Sgt. Michael Ransom, the best guy we got, doing special forces work in Vietnam. He ends up stranded, thought to be dead, after a mission goes wrong-- because evil colonel Christopher Connelly screwed it up. Now Reb is back at the US base, and he has proof that the Russians are involved. Connelly wants more proof, so he sends Brown back in, only for him to get captured and tortured by the evil Russian officer Jakoda. Problem is, all they've done is awoken a sleeping bear, because Reb Brown is pissed, he's armed, and he's beefy, and everyone's gonna pay!

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This is fantastic in every way imaginable. Is this good Reb Brown? No, it's great Reb Brown. Is this great Bruno Mattei? No, it's exceptional Bruno Mattei. Is this a good Vietnam War in the Philippines movie? No, it's pretty much as good as it gets. This is just the perfect get your buddies together and laugh at the screen kind of film. I know my buddy and I watched it while he was house sitting last year, and we loved it. It might be a difficult one to find, but if you can get it, by all means.

What do you think of when you hear the name Reb Brown? Beefiness combined with screaming, right? And this has all of that. I uploaded the end fight scene with the major baddie (you can check it out on the image page), but I easily could've uploaded seven or eight more. There's the torture montage, which shouldn't have been funny, but was. Or the tearful goodbye where Reb Brown tells a kid all these lies about Disneyland as the kid dies in his arms. Come to think of it, any scene with Reb Brown in it in Strike Commando is great. (I don't want to give away the context of that first image above, but it's equally fantastic.)

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This is only the second Bruno Mattei film we've looked at, the first being Robowar-- and both with him credited under the pseudonym "Vincent Dawn". That number will only go up as we swim in more of his circles, but his movies aren't exactly the easiest things to find either. He passed away in 2007, and of his last five or six films, I'm not sure that any were released in the United States. At the very least, we still have Strike Commando II to cover, so we're not done with him yet.

Christopher Connelly plays the bad colonel. If you've watched any TV shows from the 1970s, you'd recognize him. He passed away shortly after this was made, though there were two other films released after his death, Night of the Sharks, co-starring Treat Williams and Antonio Fargas; and Django II, starring Franco Nero and Donald Pleasence-- both films were Italian productions, though neither were directed by Mattei.

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The best judge of an action film is how many end fights they have-- and how great they are. This has two-and-a-half, each one better than the first. I uploaded the first one, with big baddie Jakoda. Then he has one against the American that double-crossed him. Then he has a half of one after that against Jakoda, just to finish things off. This is a very important lesson for people who drag their films on. First, if you cut down on the boring early on, you can get away with multiple endings; but second, and most importantly, each one needs to be better than the first. If you're thinking of drawing your film out more, go to Strike Commando for a clinic on how to do it properly.

This can either be purchased on VHS, or is available on a big Grindhouse collection, which the reviews of on Amazon describe it as varying in quality. Really, anyway you do it, this is very worth it. It's some of the best Reb Brown you can ask for.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094059/

10 comments:

  1. Great Review! Strike Commando rocks and Reb Brown is at his best.

    The fight you uploaded was amazing. The headbutt bit is classic!

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  2. Oh yeah, this was tons of fun, and I was mad because my DVD image capturing softwar wouldn't let me get a quality pic of that head-butt for the blog-- but at least we go to see it in the fight.

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  3. First, thanks for the mention and links Matt, appreciated as always. Second, this movie is amazing and those Disneyland scenes almost have me wetting myself in laughter. Sensational stuff.

    I can hook you up with burns of some other golden Mattei action flicks, including Born to Fight which stars Strike Commando 2's Brent Huff, Cop Game - also with Brent Huff - Double Target with Miles O'Keeffe, and the glorious Aliens/Terminator rip off Shocking Dark aka Termintaor II.

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  4. No problem on the links, again, it's the least I can do after you provided us with these great gems.

    Anything you want to send is obviously very appreciated, but I don't want you to go out of your way if you don't have to, especially having to ship to here all the way from Australia, so it's up to you. I'm pretty sure I can get the ones you listed, and they all sound amazing-- in particular the Miles O'Keeffe one.

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  5. I need to see this. I need to own this. I love Reb Brown.

    I see that somebody posted this on YouTube in 15 minute parts. Probably gonna have to watch that. And it's kinda poetic in a way because that how I first saw Robowar for the first time.

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  6. Oh yeah, I know you'll love it. How ever you can watch it is good.

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  7. "JAKODA!" is the "serenity now!" for the action b-movie set. LOVE this film and this is a great review.

    For anyone not ready to commit to the purchase of the full Grindhouse set, you can also rent this through Netflix. It's on a disc with Operation Nam, Death Raiders, and Mannigan's Force (American Wardog).

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  8. Hey, thanks for the tip on that, that's a great way to check this out without making that commitment, I can't believe I didn't check Netflix too. And the Jakoda scream, especially when he's trashing what he thinks is their hideout, is so fantastic. I mean, Reb Brown can pretty much scream anything and it's awesome, but that was even better.

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  9. Very enjoyable movie. I couldn't stop laughing on those Jakoda screams, the second where he is shooting up there base is the highlight of the movie for me.

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