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, September 9, 2011

Blood Warriors (1993)

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It was time to get a little David Bradley up on the DTVC again, and this one also starred Frank Zagarino, so I thought, what the hell. That, and I got this from a friend on VHS, had an open slot here, and figured I'd go for it. I can always go to David Bradley in a pinch.

Blood Warriors has native Texan David Bradley playing a Marine from Texas who finds himself in jail. His ol' Marine buddy Frank Zagarino bails him out, gets his sentence dropped, and covers the mortgage on his dad's farm. The catch: he needs to board a plane to Jakarta and help Zags out on some business there. En route, Zags is killed, so Bradley catches up with his hot sister. When Zags's business competitor finds out his casket is empty, things get crazy. Is Zags still alive? And if he is, can Bradley trust him? And isn't this action hero gig a pretty sweet deal when you get love scenes with the woman who played the model on Seinfeld?

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This isn't horrible, but it's not exactly great either. The beginning goes a little long before we get any good action, and while the action is decent, it's nothing spectacular. I felt like there were more missed opportunities than great moments, which is never a good thing. For instance, Zags is showing off for Bradley how well his mercs can fight. Bradley just sits there, then is all like "I don't want to be in your gang, Zags." What we needed there was a Jeff Wincott in Mission of Justice scene, you know, the one where he's supposed to walk this gauntlet, acts like he's not going to do it, then quickly turns and flips into the middle of all these dudes, and totally houses them. Bradley needed to kick all their asses, then throw on his cowboy hat, pop his collar, and tell Zags he'll be in his room if he needs him. With an action movie that has guys like Bradley and Zagarino, you can't have them sitting on the sidelines, and unfortunately, that happened too often.

Gotta love the Bradley in a cowboy hat look. Maybe not quite the fanny pack, but it's close. I know Bradley is from Texas, but he's too much of a dandy for Texas good ol' boy to work. He's a thinking man's lead, smooth, cleancut, sharply tailored suits and sleek automobiles. He needs to cruise into town in an expensive convertible and take out gangs of toughs with nice looking roundhouses and jumpkicks, throw on his sunglasses and tell the guys to have a nice day. The fact that Bradley co-wrote the script tells me he wanted to get away from that image some. Come on man, be who you are, and be proud of it.

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Zagarino isn't in this much. He's kind of like Orson Welles in The Third Man, only his name is "Stone" instead of "Lime". Keith Stone, actually, not to be confused with the guy from the Keystone beer commercials. As far as I can tell, beer commercials, and in particular light beer commercials, are so bad it's almost criminal, but the Keith Stone ones are one of the few I like. Really, I'm more of a man if I drink your light beer? Or maybe you're more of a moron.

Sam Firstenberg directed this, and as I'm sure you know, he has a pretty solid track record. American Ninja, American Ninja 2, Avenging Force-- though he was also the man who put Bradley in a fanny pack in Cyborg Cop-- though to his credit, he made fun of it in the sequel, Cyborg Cop II. This was a definite step down from any of the others of his we've reviewed, and it makes me wonder if maybe something went wrong in post-production that hurt this thing-- or maybe it's his Jersey Girl.

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Seinfeld fans will recognize Jennifer Campbell as the model Jerry meets flying home in first class, and then who sees him scratching his nose at a red light, and erroneously thinks he's picking it. I looked on her resume, and though she did do some action based TV shows, I didn't see another action movie after this, and I can kind of see why. She was pushed and pulled and dragged and carried and sent through the ringer in this bad boy. At one point, Bradley is carrying her over his shoulder, which made very little sense, since she seemed like she could run just fine-- and run faster than Bradley could run carrying her. It probably makes sense why we don't see as many repeat action movie female co-stars, it's a much easier paycheck looking disgusted when you think Jerry Seinfeld picked his nose.

This is not an easy find, out of print, only available on VHS. Maybe for completists, because it is Bradley and Zagarino directed by Firstenberg, but that's a big stretch. If you see it cheap in a bargain bin and don't have much else already in your basket, I guess you could go for it and add it to your bad action collection.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106432/

13 comments:

  1. I pretty much agree, this film was decent during the action, but not so great in the other areas, BTW how many David Bradley films do you have left to review? I think you should review Crisis next, espeiclaly since it was directed by Jalal Merhi.

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  2. It's funny. Apparently Bradley is from Texas and grew up on a ranch, so he's probably more himself in this than in his other roles, but still, this image doesn't really fit him. Weird. I agree with the review. This is not totally unwatchable, but this probably was a very, very quick and cheap shoot between the two Cyborg Cop-films. Needed more action and more Zags and less...well, all that other crap. If you're going to review the Merhi/Bradley-films, good luck. No Zags and no action, but lots and lots of "all that other crap". And I personally think it's very easy to look disgusted while thinking Seinfeld, whether he's picking his nose or not. The women who DON'T look disgusted, they deserve the big paycheck...

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  3. Excellent review! Thought about buying this, will hold off for now.

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  4. That means it makes all the more sense that Bradley wrote this and wanted people to see him more as the Texan who grew up on a ranch than the sleek dandy of an action lead. And as always, when it comes DTV actioners with bigger names in them, I'm going to have to do them all eventually, so the Bradley/Merhi flicks aren't an "if" they're a "when".

    I think you're good with holding off on this Ty, I'm sure you have better stuff lined up, and this won't give you as much to work with as far as a review goes.

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  5. Thanks for the heads-up. It is really tough to beat Hard Justice. That was a great Bradley flick!

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  6. Thanks for using "housed" in a sentence! I had totally forgotten about that little slang gem.

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  7. Oh, Keith Stone. I hate that beer, but I do like his commercials. At least it's not gimmicky. This sounds like a solid flick if I can find it.

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  8. This is on DVD with original audio at least in Australia. Pretty much VHS-quality, but it's cheap. eBay Australia is the place to go if you can play PAL DVDs.

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  9. I have yet to see a Bradley flick that rivals Hard Justice. And I'm not sure where "housed" came from for me, I guess it was just the first word that came to mind, but I believe this isn't the first time I've used it.

    I wouldn't say this is solid so much as it's unremarkable, but not horrible, if that makes sense. And I agree, Keystone beer is harsh, but the commercials are great-- love the one where he's dialing a payphone with an extra long Slim Jim.

    And that's good to know that the Aussies have a look at this on DVD, especially pertinent info for our buddy at ExplosiveAction.

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  10. I hadn't heard of this one. Great review as always.

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  11. Thanks man. Yeah, I hadn't really heard of this one either, just saw the names Bradley and Zagarino, and figured it was one that needed to be on the DTVC.

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  12. The worst thing about this movie from what I remember was the Incest elements. Why even have Campbell as Zagarino's Sister? The thing for me though (I think you'll see more of me now) is this brings up just how awful the landscape of Indonesia is. The film looks so dreary and it's because Indonesia is not picture esque. Also the fight scenes I thought were poorly staged. Plus as a whole the movie is utterly forgettable. It's been a long time, but there is a scene where Bradley tries to escape the bad guys running with Campbell firing his machine gun via Rambo, Commando, The Punisher etc and it was incredibly unexciting. Lastly is the sequence where David Bradley plays the guitar and sings which was funny and the only interesting thing in such a drabby movie. Basically this movie for me, was a real disappointment. Especially when you consider that the guy who directed it, directed American Ninja 1-2, Avenging Force and Revenge Of The Ninja. Indeed even Quicksand was sort of interesting. Cyborg Cop and American Samurai were middling efforts but this has to be the worst movie i've seen from Firstenberg.

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  13. You know, Albert Pyun made a comment about shooting a movie close to the equator. He said the light is such that it makes the film look drabber, if that makes sense. I know you're thinking about the scenery, but part of that is that the image just looks lackluster, and that's more the light being so close to the equator, than it is Indonesia. A lot of Caribbean films have the same thing.

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