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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Living to Die (1990)

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It's always good to get another Wings Hauser flick in, and this one, which is both directed by and stars the man, is a PM Entertainment flick as well, so I figured I would be in good hands. When it comes to great Wings, our friend Ty at Comeuppance Reviews is no stranger either, and you can click on the link to see his review of this as well.

Living to Die has Wings as a former cop living in Vegas as a PI or something. He gets a job from a local businessman (named "Minton", but pronounced "Mitten"), after the guy gets the squeeze from Arnold Vosloo over something to do with a dead hooker. As Wings digs deeper, he finds out said hooker ain't dead, and that he has a thing for said not-so-dead hooker. Is she trouble though, or really a down on her luck dame in need of his help?

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This is one of the best Wings Hauser flicks I've ever seen. This is one of the best movies I've seen period in I don't know how long. It starts off with quintessential Wings, with his trademark mouth half open shit eating grin as he hits on a female police officer. Then they pick up this paranoid dude that's being transported to a safe house, and as the guy freaks out, Wings freaks out even more, yelling "Are you on glue or something!" And the movie lives up to that awesomeness from there. Wings hits all the right notes in blending Film Noir with PM Entertainment sensibilities. One moment he's telling a dame that she and Vosloo were "trying to put the bite on Mitten", and then a few scenes later a guy has his brains splattered on a concrete wall. Not to mention there's a sweet smooth jazz score that sets the mood and makes me want to watch The Weather Channel. But ultimately, this is about the Wings, and it's all Wings all the time, from the lines, to the demeanor, to the mouth half open shit eating grin. I loved this movie, and I don't get to say that that often.

I went back through the Wings archives, and he has a surprisingly high rate of success here at the DTVC. It seems like for every bad one he has two good ones, which is like Dolph Lundgren territory. That makes this one potentially being his best a big deal, but I think it's the case. Between that beginning which is fantastic, to the middle where he's playing that combination of a Noir and a PM Entertainment lead perfectly, to the end, which I don't want to give away, but where he was excellent too. It's a great combination of a pretty cool movie, and the vintage Wings that you come to a movie like this for.

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There's nothing like a good Zack Morris phone appearance in a movie. It's better than a boom mic. It's also one of the great things about watching movies from the early 90s, to see things like that that bring on a sense of nostalgia. This thing wasn't called a Zack Morris phone back then, it was a sign of conspicuous consumption. It was the iPhone of its time, only it didn't come with the advertising blitzes that cell phones come with now. No one cared about 4G or updating their fantasy teams back then, the mere fact that you could make a phone call without leaving your poker game was enough-- and these guys played five card draw, not Texas Hold 'Em.

To continue on that point, look at Wings drinking from that Bud Light can. Remember when Bud Light cans looked like that? Maybe it's because I was 10 or 11 at the time, but it seems like Bud Light was much cooler back then. Again, at 10 I probably didn't know exactly what constituted cool, but it felt like Bud Light was a trend setter, not the choice of posers that it looks like now. Were the guys in the Bud Light commercials as not cool then as they are now? Was it a poser beer back then too? Man, I don't know, I just see that old silver can and I think cool, and I see the new blue one and I think "Here we go, bunch of tools."

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After a couple rants on nostalgia, I might as well look at some of the supporting cast. Arnold Vosloo is the other big name, though in 1990 he wasn't so much. He's great as the con man, especially with his South African accent. Asher Brauner is Minton (again, pronounced "Mitten") the bad businessman, and his character is interesting because he starts off as a not so bad guy, but becomes more of a heel as the film goes on. Our Film Noir femme fatale is played by Darcy DeMoss. She's pretty hot, but has a TMI love scene with Hauser that was a bit much. I guess being the director has its privileges, and we shouldn't be mad at him for that. Finally, we have PM mainstay RJ Walker, who is sporting some sweet hair in this. It's like the inspiration for Will Farrell in Zoolander kind of hair.

This is available on DVD or VHS, and you can even get it new for sale at Amazon. This is the Wings Hauser you came for, in my mind it doesn't get any better, so if you dig Wings, this is worth the effort to track down. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100039/

9 comments:

  1. Wow... better than Vice Squad? That's a bold statement. I'll have to check it out.

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  2. Great write-up! Thanks for the link. Wings put in his usual fun performance.

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  3. You sold me! I'm all over it!
    Great review!

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  4. Video Vacuum, I was thinking Vice Squad, but this is much more Wings-esque, and not a bad Film Noir flick to boot; plus you have the PM Entertainment angle.

    I'd say Horror Fan, Awesomely Awesome is a more accurate description.

    And no problem with the link Ty. Us great Wings honks have gotta stick together.

    I think you'll love this one roboGEEK, it's a lot of fun.

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  5. Can't agree more! Wings for life!

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  6. I haven't seen this one. I'm going to go and check it out immediately. Gotta love a lil Wings. Got a soft spot for Mutant. Excellent review.

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