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.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Total Reality (1997)
A buddy of mine had this in his collection, I saw that it starred David Bradley, and I went for it. Did I have the highest expectations? Maybe not, but I gotta say, Mr. Bradley is growing on me.
Total Reality takes place 200 years in the future, where a self-help/cult movement inspirational book written in the late 1990s has grown into an intergalactic dystopian nightmare. Bradley works for the side of the baddies, stamping out a rebellion, but when his CO blasts a ship full of innocent civilians, he blasts his CO and gets sent to military prison with a death sentence. Thing is though, a couple rebels have flown off in a time traveling ship, headed for Earth 1998, so they can take out the dude who wrote the book and the Senator whom he's in cahoots with. Bradley now has a battle of conscience, because if he doesn't complete his mission and kill these rebels, his head will explode, but if he does, the world he knows will continue to suck.
I liked the idea of this one. It was like one of those "if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?" kind of deals. The execution was off though. First and foremost, there was only one good Bradley martial arts scene. Seriously? Why not just do none at all? By doing one, you show us that you understand the concept of Bradley's martial arts, and are purposefully not using it. Second, to follow that up, the gun fights were the classic, really bad, two guys at point blank range firing obscene amounts of ordinance, with neither one hitting. Lame. Finally, the ending was a little weird, but I don't want to give it away. All I'm saying is it was weird. What we end up with is a cool concept, poorly done.
Don't let that be an indictment of Bradley though, because he was great-- though could've been better had he been allowed to by the material. I don't know what it is, but he just seems like a really good guy. Like when he saves a couple kids in a movie, it feels genuine, like he's the kind of guy who'd be good with kids in real life. I just don't get why he was cast and not given more than one martial arts scene. This was for the most part a sci-fi actioner, he was rolling around firing guns and evading explosions, why not take dudes out with some sweet martial arts? A little hand-to-hand combat goes a long way.
I have always been a fan of Ely Pouget, and she was great here. I didn't know this, but the only other film of hers we've done is Death Machine, co-starring Brad Dourif. I could've sworn we'd done another, but I guess not. In Total Reality, she played the ex-husband of the self-help guy, which brings her into Bradley's orbit as the two try to track him down. They don't have a love scene or anything though-- the weird ending precluded that possibility.
The going back in time thing is always a weird one for me. It's very messy, the idea of what is changed and to what extent. You have to assume if time travel were possible, someone would've already come back and killed Hitler or something, right? The best was this YouTube video some guy made where he analyzed a film from the 20s or something on a DVD that was shot outside of Mann's Chinese Theater. An old lady walks by, touching her head, and this dude is absolutely certain that she's clutching a cell phone. Yes, out of all the explanations of this, it's that someone traveled back in time and gave her a cell phone. It wasn't that she was touching her head because she's a crazy bag lady, was it? Has anyone else seen this thing? It's pretty funny.
Ely Pouget was not the only great actress in this, Misa Koprova played Wingate, a member of Bradley's extraction team. Absolute hottie. It doesn't get any better than a hunting vest, tight black pants, and big boots, that's what I always say. Fastest way to my heart is for a woman to wear that on our first date. Bradley had his work cut out for him here between her and Pouget, but somehow he managed to get through the movie with no love scene. Man Brads, you need a better agent-- or you could just stop making movies, which it looks like you did.
This isn't on Netflix, but Amazon has it used and new on DVD and VHS, but I'm not sure you need it in any case. This just doesn't quite have enough of anything to merit a recommendation, especially for what it would cost to procure it on Amazon. Better off passing.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120356/