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, April 19, 2011

Reptilicant (2006)

Photobucket

Word on the street is Gary Daniels did this film as a favor to producer David Huey, who also produced a lot of Daniels's early US flicks, like Capital Punishment. As an aside, this film should not be confused with the Jean Claude Van Damme flick Replicant.

Reptilicant is a flashback heavy tale about a group of treasure hunters/criminals looking for diamonds hidden in Alcatraz. Then they come across this alien reptile that looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, which can replicate the people it comes in contact with. Daniels is an FBI agent who shows up after everyone is dead, and he interrogates the one sole survivor.

Photobucket

This is pretty rough. It would be a good bad movie if not for a few fatal flaws. First off, a movie should almost never be told in flashbacks. It's a plot device that tends to be more tedious than creative. I get that you needed a way to work Daniels into the film more, but that's not the way to do it. The film further suffers from what I call the Ninja Gaiden II Effect, and by that I mean it can't end enough. Every time we think it's over, it isn't-- just like how in Ninja Gaiden II every time we thought we'd killed the end boss, another one took his place. Those two factors together take an 83-minute film, and make it feel like 183 minutes, which is a bad look for the so-bad-it's-good type. If this had more fun action, more of the Creature from the Black Lagoon at an earlier point in the film, more Daniels kicking ass, and more of the Asian chick with the leather tank top-- more on her later--, we might have been better off. Or maybe just her and Daniels running through Alcatraz fighting the Creature from the Black Lagoon for 75 minutes. Or maybe a remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. That would've been sweet.

It's hard to put this one in a proper context for Daniels's career at the time, because he was kind of all over the place. You had Retrograde and Submerged, two flicks where he had small roles (almost nonexistent as far as the latter went) with bigger DTV stars, and Diamond Cut Diamond, a flick where he was the main star. I get the sense though, after this one, that he started that trend we're seeing now, where he takes supporting parts with bigger names. Maybe the combination of Reptilicant and Retrograde and Submerged made Daniels see the potential of making new friends in bigger places. Hey, I can't knock him, taking the part he did in The Expendables was a great move. Hopefully, in the end, he'll be back to leading pictures though. As far as Reptilicant goes, Daniels spends most of the film behind a desk interrogating the lone survivor, and then he has a great showdown with the alien that made me wish we'd had more of that earlier in the film.

Photobucket

I loved the monster in this. He was a great throwback to the 1950s monster flicks, the way he jumped around and moved his head. Why they bothered with the whole "he can make himself look like the people he comes in contact with" is beyond me, because it wasted what was one of their best elements: the silly monster. Sometimes these low-budget flicks are just too afraid to go all the way, too afraid to get totally campy with it. You gotta go with what you got. Halfway in one direction or another often spells failure.

The most tedious element of Reptilicant was how people would take forever to explain the simplest things or answer the most straightforward questions. "Why did you do such and such?" "You wanna know why I did such and such?" [Pause.] "I'm gonna tell you why I did such and such." Seriously? Just spit it out! What looks like only a few lines in a script can feel like forever when it's finally acted out on-screen. These are the kinds of things that, when added up, take what could've been a fun bad movie, and instead make me look at my watch and eventually fall asleep.

Photobucket

In one scene, we have an Asian woman (I thought she was Japanese, but her name's Neeta Kim, which doesn't sound Japanese, and her bio doesn't say one way or the other) in a leather tank top sitting in an electric chair eating a piece of licorice. Is there a fetish centered around that? There has to be. This movie seemed to have all the elements for a classic: Gary Daniels, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and a hot chick in a leather tank top sitting in an electric chair eating licorice. How they screwed it up is beyond me, but they did.

I'm not sure how you'll get this. A buddy shot me a copy. Amazon doesn't list it. All that work to get Gary Daniels and it's not even available on Amazon to buy? I'm not so sure that's such a bad thing though. This is one of those siren song flicks, where it just sounds like it should be so much fun, and then you get it, watch it, and the next thing you know it's the credits and you've fallen asleep.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433441/

6 comments:

  1. Sad, this looks like it could have been awesomely cheesy. I hate it when these turn out to be boring as hell.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have most of Gary Daniels movies on DVD ("Ides of March" is still missing). This one I own on Czech DVD. Youy have to be a Gary Daniels completist to buy that one, because the movie itself is very bad.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is unfortunate that this is a dud. Great idea, bad execution. Gary Daniels is still awesome though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Definitely for Daniels completists, but seeing how it could've been good makes it all the more upsetting. We'll try to get some better Daniels up here in the near future.

    ReplyDelete
  5. yeah this cheapy was disappointingly dull.a monster movie with Gary Daniels in it should have been fun. alas, it was not to be....

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yeah a missed opportunity. I just realized I forgot to check your blog to see if you covered this one too. Sorry about that. Here's the link to his post over at Cool Target Action Reviews

    ReplyDelete