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.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Battle of Los Angeles (2011)
I saw this while visiting some friends last week. We pulled it up on Watch Instantly, and we were all like-minded movie watchers, so we figured it would be fun. The Asylum always feels like a can't miss proposition, but we've seen it hurt as much as it's been great. Let's see how this one went.
Battle of Los Angeles is an Asylum flick about a major invasion, Independence Day-style, and a small group of Air Force soldiers have held them off somewhat. Then they come across a soldier from 1942, whom they don't question after he doesn't question the fact that they have integrated troop units; and later Nia Peeples as a samurai sword wielding special agent that knows all about these aliens. Is there something suspicious about this soldier from 1942 who isn't concerned about black men and Asian chicks serving with white men? What about this Nia Peeples samurai woman, what's her deal? And can they save the Earth from these horrible aliens?
This was pretty fun. It had its goof-tastic moments, which you expect from The Asylum; plus it had its tedious moments where I just want them to get on with it, which you also expect from The Asylum. This was a fortunate case where the former outweighed the latter. I also loved the Nia Peeples character. It was a total everything but the kitchen sink move to toss her in there in that capacity, but it worked really well. The other star was Kel Mitchell, from the hit Nickelodeon show Kenan and Kel. Not as cool as Jaleel White was in Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus, but at least he was someone we recognized. I wonder how he feels looking at all the success Kenan's had on SNL...
This one was distributed by SyFy, even though imdb lists it as "video" instead of "TV". My buddy asked, after we saw the SyFy logo on the screen, if this would be a legitimate candidate for inclusion on the DTVC, considering we thought it was Made for TV as opposed to Direct to Video. With The Asylum-- and with a lot of the SyFy pictures movies-- the big thing is that they're in the spirit of DTV; plus, The Asylum started out as DTV, and if they can use SyFy as a means to get their movies out there-- movies that otherwise would just be DTV anyway-- why not go for it. Besides, DTV is just a guide, there's no hard and fast rule for inclusion.
As I mentioned above, Nia Peeples was great. She was in this hot, Kill Bill style outfit, and by the end of it she even had an eye patch, which made it even better. This would've been a cooler movie if it had just been about her going around and kicking ass, and hopefully The Asylum will do that in the near future. As an aside, she was married to the stuntman who directed the Seagal flick Born to Raise Hell. According to imdb they divorced in 2004.
Recognize Tim Abell here? He was the jerk cop husband that was killed by Carol Alt in Storm Trooper, or the bad guy sergeant in The Base. He's not in this much, but really, he's not in many of the films he acts in much-- The Base might actually be a record for him. I'm not knocking it, I think it's actually a pretty cool deal to pop in on DTV flicks and do a small part then hit the road.
One thing my buddy and I got a kick out of was how much the 1942 pilot was okay with the integrated troop unit, or the fact that there were women soldiers. It wasn't like he said something obnoxious about it, and then everyone set him straight and let him know that this is how we do business in 2011; he was acting as if women, Asians, and African Americans had always served with white male soldiers, which in 1942 was very far from the case. In some ways, though, it makes sense when you see what happens later with him, and perhaps The Asylum is making a statement about how little young people know about their history that none of them would've questioned how little the soldier was shocked by the people in the modern unit he bumped into.
I went back to my Mega Piranha review, and pretty much said exactly what I'm about to say here, only this had both fewer tedious moments, but also fewer memorable moments (nothing that approaches the amazing bicycle kick scene.) Overall though, it's a great bad movie night flick, the perfect thing to watch and talk over with your buddies.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1758570/