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.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blood for Blood aka Midnight Man (1995)

Photobucket

I figured it was probably time to get more Lorenzo Lamas on this blog, so here we are. I'd been waiting on this one because it's on Hulu, and I'm not a big fan of Hulu as far as this kind of thing goes, i.e. watching a movie for a blog. It's hard to capture images, because there's a "Buffering" logo that remains on the screen during a pause, meaning I have to do a moving print screen and hope I caught the look I wanted at the right time. Then all the images are slightly different sizes, and the function to scan through scenes is not as user friendly as Netflix Watch Instantly. Anyway, probably more than you wanted to know about that kind of thing.

Blood for Blood is about a gang war in LA between the Russians and the Cambodians-- though none of the Cambodians are actual Cambodians. Anyway, foremost among these (non)Cambodians is Lorenzo Lamas, a cop who's brought in by a special task force so he can translate on a surveillance mission. And with that, things go bad, and Lamas is pulled in deep, so deep he has James Lew after him and his family. Will he survive? And what does Mako have to do with all of this?

Photobucket

This was a mess. Cambodians? Cambodian secret mystical warriors? And Lorenzo Lamas is one? All of that would be all right if the action were there, but it wasn't. In spots it was good, but overall we had big spots of stuff that I could've cared less about. When I think of a movie that did this well, Samurai Cop-- sans the bacon grease scene-- comes to mind. That's what this should've been, completely let loose and over the top. Do I want Lamas fighting Lew with his daughter crying to her mother in the next room? No, I want Lamas as a playboy that hits on as many women as possible and beats guys up with some mystical Cambodian energy that he's fully aware of and is carried off without any irony. All right, the Speedo scene in Samurai Cop was a bit much too, and we definitely don't need to see Lamas in a Speedo, but otherwise Samurai Cop would've been the way to go here.

Lamas isn't as bad an actor as movies like this make him out to be. When he gets a good script-- or he's allowed to be a baddie-- he's pretty good. But when he gets something rough like this one, where he's supposed to act on substandard, kitschy drama that has no business being in a bad actioner like this, it goes pear-shaped quick. Whose idea was it to saddle Lamas with this whole "I've never been in a shootout, I'm all stressed out about it" thing? And the family man crap was too much too. He needs to be single, flying in there by the seat of his pants, pushing the envelope, going completely against department regulations. And he can still be a secret Cambodian warrior, it'll just be a much more fun one.

Photobucket

James Lew, also not Cambodian, but playing one. He has some weird weapons in this too. One was a rope with a knot on each end, and he'd whirl it around and stuff. It looked pretty silly. Not as silly as the cape with blades on the end. That's a rough way to go, getting caped. Had this movie gone the Samurai Cop route, all of that stuff would've been great, but when you've been pounding me inside all night with crap about Lamas and his family and his bad dreams, I'm not going to take that fat one over the plate and hit it out-- I can only enjoy the fun stuff so much after all that pain.

Movie sucks? Better get Mako. And it almost worked. We needed more Mako though. We needed Lamas in a Mako led training montage. We needed Mako in Hawaiian shirts. Maybe Mako selling Italian ices near the beach, I don't know, we just needed more Mako. There was a lot of crap that this movie that didn't have to have that replacing it with Mako would've made better.

Photobucket

I'm not overly familiar with Cambodian culture, but I'm not so sure the people making this movie were either. There was no explanation why they were Cambodians, especially considering none of the actors playing Cambodians were Cambodians. There are not only so many cool things about Cambodia from a historical/cultural standpoint, but there is also a lot of turmoil due to the Pol Pot regime that could've been explored too. Again, what was the point of using Cambodians, if you're technically not going to use Cambodians?

It seems like Lamas has more stinkers than classics, and this is definitely in that former category. It wasn't just that it had limited action, it was the crap that went on when there wasn't action that hurt so much. Sometimes these actioners try too hard to be something other than an actioner, and as a result, we get something messier than it had to be.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110508/

8 comments:

  1. I thought this one was pretty good actually, the family stuf didn't really bother me, and the Cambodian angle made it more interesting(even though it's not exactly accurate in the details) to me a much better example of a bad Lamas film is The Swordsman and it's sequel, Gladiator Cop, both films are deadly dull with piss-poor action scenes and some of the worst acting you'll ever see. To me, the worst sin an aciton film can committ is being boring, i'm usually able to ovelrook minor like technical and historical errors, because I don't really care much about stuff like that anyways, and as long as a film is entertaining, it's easy to overlook, but if a film is boring, then it only serves to amplify all of it's other faults.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting.. I was looking at getting this a while back but ended up getting something else instead. Your screenshots look very DVD, I thought this was only on VHS?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I did a "print screen" to grab the images from Hulu's stream, which was 480p. I believe you're right though, other than Hulu, it's only on VHS. They must've cleaned it up for that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is on DVD at least in the UK (it's all-region, but naturally in PAL-format). I liked this a bit more than you did. I probably might've liked it even more, but this was from many of the guys who were also behind Bad Blood/Viper, so I was really expecting much more. For my money, Viper is the best Lamas film and actually among the best DTV-actioners I've seen. Viper does, however, lack a crucial scene that this one has. In Viper, Lamas never makes an orange (wasn't it an orange?) magically appear from under the sand! I wonder if even Matt Hannon could do that even with his amazing samurai skills?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Big Fan of Lew and Lamas, that is really unfortunate that this is a dud!

    Viper Rules! Love the bit when Lamas jumps 50 feet in the air over the car.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Viper was a pretty good deal, and I'm upset that I watched it on Watch Instantly, because I couldn't rip that scene where Lamas flips over the car.

    If this had been more that and less what they tried, this would've been much better.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thankfully that Viper car jump is even on the trailer (and what a trailer! "Lorenzo Lamas is violent! Vicious!"). Might be the best car jump? Exit Wounds? Regular jump. Action Jackson? Jump and a somersault. Showdown in Little Tokyo? Jump and a kick. Viper? Jump, somersault, and shooting while airborne! So Lamas topped Weathers. Perhaps Lamas could also top Lundgren? Jump over a convertible while kicking some guy inside it? We need a sequel to Viper! Perhaps with a cameo from Lew's Midnight Man character "caping" a few dudes?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think Lew is bald now from playing Shang Tsung, which would make him even cooler. I don't know if you could get Lamas to do it though, he seems to be done taking starring roles in big DTV action productions.

    ReplyDelete