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.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Global Effect (2002)
I had planned to do another Daniel Bernhardt flick in this spot, but Netflix was removing this from Watch Instantly, and I figured I wouldn't be getting to it any other way, so I didn't want to miss this chance. Should I have passed it up though? We'll see.
Global Effect takes place in South Africa, where a nasty virus has popped up, killing all 85 members of a small village. After the area has been firebombed to contain it, some hazmat cats find a boy that escaped, and they take his remains to the lab, where Mädchen Amick researches the virus and discovers a cure. Enter a terrorist group, which kidnaps her, and takes the virus and what they think is the antidote with them. Their plan: spread the virus among the South African population. Now it's up to Daniel Bernhardt and MacPhearson from Space Mutiny (anyone else want to confuse loyalty with treason?) to save the day and stop the spread of the virus.
Which they kinda don't do. I'm not kidding. Cape Town is completely leveled. There you go, we've wiped out an enormous city. And the funny thing: it didn't have to happen. This movie employs the Two Ending Padding Maneuver, meaning the film comes to what should be a natural ending, only to be extended for the sake of taking on an extra 20 to 30 minutes. And it's in that extended time that Cape Town just happens to get blown up. How is that something we want to see? Who goes into watching a movie thinking "man, I hope an enormous S. African city is leveled and millions of men, women, and children are killed?" And I don't mean War of the Worlds style, I mean we could've ended the movie but just decided not to in order to level this city. Seriously, did the people making this movie not like Cape Town? Oh yeah, on top of all this, the movie dragged, had some good action but not enough of it, and spent more time in the Pentagon with character actors bickering than it did with Bernhardt and Amick not saving the day.
Mr. Bernhardt, it's been over two years, but you finally have your 10th tag. I kind of liked him here. He got to flex some martial arts muscles, but not really enough for what he should be cast for. A lot of great Bernhardt close-up though. If you ladies-- and some men-- are into Bernhardt's dark chiseled features, you may enjoy this-- though there are no shirtless scenes, so maybe you won't. The other problem is, due to the way the story unfolds, we lose him for a good chunk, which is a waste. This should've gone to it's natural ending, where Amick gets back to her lab and creates the antidote, but instead of the terrorist coming back and taking it-- which led to another 20 minutes of crap and the death of Cape Town--, Bernhardt should fight them off, then pursue the baddie and his gang as they're trying to board their ship to escape, which would be a better ending with a big action finale.
We're a long way from Twin Peaks, aren't we Ms. Amick? I can't imagine what she was thinking in this movie. I guess, considering this wasn't her first trip on the DTV rodeo post-Twin Peaks, she was probably old hat by 2002. This is also the classic Damsel in Distress Disguised as a Strong Character Maneuver, where Amick is sold that she's a big shot doctor who cures the world of a horrible plague, but still spends the bulk of the film strapped to a chair and menaced by the lead baddie. Whether you're a doctor or a stripper, when you're in an action movie, you're in need of rescuing.
This had a pile of other character actors that are common to South African late 90s/early 2000s DTV, people who we either recognize from Dudikoff flicks early in that span, or Seagal flicks later on. One that stood out for me was Kirk B.R. Woller. He's pretty much done every syndicated TV show and broadcast crime drama-- including a reoccurring role on The X-Files-- but we at the DTVC remember him best as the FBI agent in our first review ever, Boa vs. Python. As always, in every film he does, he makes gross faces and acts like a jerk. Sometimes he's a good jerk, and sometimes-- like here-- he's a bad jerk. That's Kirk B.R. Woller, if you need him.
"Who else wants to confuse loyalty with treason?" "Um, I'd like to confuse bok choy with cabbage, sir." Yes, it's the crippled bad guy that Reb Brown burns alive in Space Mutiny, playing Bernhardt's commanding officer. Another of the film's lame moves, they kill him off rather early in-- a much more dignified death than the one in Space Mutiny--, but still. Also, I can't believe I didn't notice before that he was the bad guy in Kickboxer 5. Yeah, the guy who starts the kickboxing organization and kills people who don't join. (I even just looked at my review of it and saw his picture up there!)
Not a great movie, I can tell you that. Convoluted plot that wrote itself into a weird corner that allowed only for blowing up Cape Town, combined with too much crap in the Pentagon and too little of the great action and martial arts we need from Bernhardt. If you miss this on Watch Instantly, you're not missing much.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0330333/