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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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Project: Shadowchaser aka Shadowchaser (1992)

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I've had this one for some time now, but put it on my back burner in order to get a few other reviews up instead. Then Netflix sent me the DVD with parts two and three, which put my feet to the fire and made me shuffle things around some. It works though, I've been meaning to get some Martin Kove up here anyway. Also, our man Ty at Comeuppance Reviews has hit this one too.

Project: Shadowchaser has Frank Zagarino as Romulus, an android killing machine designed by diabolical scientist and apparent big time Susan Powter fan Joss Ackland. Romulus has something of an existentialist crisis, and takes it out on everyone else by taking a hospital hostage that just happens to have Meg Foster, the President's daughter, visiting. The feds need to get her back, so they erroneously take Martin Kove out of his deep freeze imprisonment, thinking they're freeing the hospital's architect with the hope that he could give them some insight into a rescue attempt, only to have the team die in an elevator explosion. Now Kove is knee deep in it, but he may also just be America and the First Daughter's last hope.

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This had its issues, was pretty derivative-- see Die Hard in a hospital-- but overall I think it worked in that 90s DTV sci-fi action cheese vein. I mean, you're not looking for Kurosawa when you fire one of these bad boys up, and this pretty much hit all the spots you'd want it too. It did have some slow areas, but with Kove involved they weren't too intolerable. He had fun with this, and his attitude had a trickle down affect through the cast, with everyone playing off him, and that fun translated well to the viewer. Maybe a little unremarkable, but for what it was, it worked for me.

Kove was great. He really played up that slick talking resourceful guy who finds himself in an impossible situation. We often don't get to see Kove as the hero (I know there are obvious examples of films where is the hero, I'm just saying they're outweighed by the roles he has as a baddie), so any chance we get is a bonus, because he's so good at it. I can see though why he might prefer being a baddie, because roles like this where the good guy is as fun as the baddie is a rarity-- have you ever noticed the baddie is almost always the most fun role in the film?

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Frank Zagarino makes an excellent robot baddie-- though one could make the case that he's even better in part two when his character is given more of a personality. Either way, this is the role Frank Zagarino was made for. How is it that film makers don't look at this and say "man, this guy is so wooden, why don't we do a Project: Shadowchaser and cut the amount of acting that's required?" Also, love the Susan Powter look.

Meg Foster's character was one of the parts of the film I didn't care for, and not because of her, but because it was written very inconsistently. At the beginning we had a tough woman, won't take any crap, not just another pretty face/rich daddy's girl style character that worked really well. Then, as Kove's rescuing her, she suddenly turns vain, decides she needs to change into a dress and heels for her escape, completely betraying anything good the character had built up to that point. Over-writing strikes again, and make a muddled mess out of something that could've been so good-- and that's too bad, because she and Kove had great chemistry.

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Your eyes aren't deceiving you, that's Kove with a glued on Grizzly Adams. It doesn't get any better, does it? Forget the goatee, the glued on Grizzly Adams is the way to go. I wonder if he's ever rocked the Grizz in any other roles? See, this is where the reader comments section comes in most handy. If you're going to dismiss discussing the movie completely to read off a list of other movies the cast have been in instead, give me something more than just "such and such was a WAY better movie IMO", give me some meat damn it, tell me some other movies that Martin Kove has been in where he rocks the Grizz. The request/suggestion box is full of movies right now, so if you want to stand out you need to bring it.

Now I'm rambling, so it's best we wrap this up. As far as I know, this is only available on VHS, and can be pretty pricey, even used. Not sure it's worth that, but this is a good one for collectors, so you may want to make that decision for yourself. For me, if you can't get it for less than $5, I'd wait.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105178/

11 comments:

  1. i've had this one for awhile, i'll definitely see it ASAP, you should also check Kove in Steele Justice.

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  2. Nice write-up! Loved Kove's glued on beard. That was classic!

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  3. weird timing, we just posted about this movie.

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  4. Gotta love that Grizzly beard! I think I have a Shadowchaser VHS, but isn't there something like three of these?

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  5. The glued on Grizzly Adams was fantastic, even if for only one scene. That's crazy you guys did this the same day, I'll have to check out your write-up. And there's actually four of these, the last one called Orion's Key-- or some such crap.

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  6. Good flick. One of my favorite bad movies. Found a screener tape of this film back in 2008. I find it weird as to how parts 2 and 3 (And the unofficial part 4 (Alien Chaser)) are on DVD, yet part 1 remains only on VHS, at least in the U.S.

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  7. Yeah, I wonder if it has to do with the fact that the later ones were distributed by Nu Image, and whoever had the rights to the first one didn't want to bother putting it on DVD. Too bad either way though.

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  8. the best thing about the beard is that i was thinking maybe he keeps it on throughout the movie or they show him shaving it off but neither happened. it was just in one scene and next time you see him he's beardless.

    i got it on vhs for about US $3 and it's about right.

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  9. Yeah, it was glued on in one scene, off the next. You can just see "The Assistant to Mr. Kove" tugging on it off-set, using his foot against the table for leverage, thinking "this is a shitty way to break into the film business."

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  10. Just picked up the Australian DVD and it looks the same washed out VHS mess that your screenshots imply. Perfectly watchable but no better than a tape. Oh well.

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  11. Yeah, it gives that nostalgic VHS feel, but if you're ponying up for a DVD, you want DVD quality, I can understand that.

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