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, January 26, 2012

Undercurrent (1998)

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I found this used on DVD at the bargain bin of our local record store. After my discount for spending my accrued frequent buyer points, the movie came out to: $.49. Even if this thing sucks-- and I have a good feeling it will-- fifty cents for a Lorenzo Lamas flick I haven't seen yet is worth it.

Undercurrent is a pseudo-Neo Noir starring Lamas as some down-on-his-luck former cop going to see his old cop buddy (Frank Vincent) at his old cop buddy's strip club down in Puerto Rico. What happens next? His silent partner, a local mob boss, wants Lamas to sleep with his wife so he can divorce her and keep his cash, and Lamas is stuck because that old cop buddy is into the mob boss for some money. But like in all Noir flicks, things aren't what they seem, and Lamas needs to navigate these shark infested waters before he's bitten.

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This was pretty painful. The first like hour or so is just a slow burn-- like really slow. By the time the hour mark hits and we start getting any semblance of intrigue, it's too late, they've already wasted too much time. A lot of the issues stem from the front loaded plot. Lamas's Noir hero is too altruistic, and as such, it takes us a good twenty minutes before he's even willing to accept the job. Then we get another twenty minutes of him convincing the wife to have an affair with him. This is all crap that easily could've been told in Cliff's Notes form to the police detective. On top of that, the end was pretty drawn out, and with the opening that was already too long, the film couldn't afford that.

That's too bad, because I think Lamas would've been great as a grittier Noir hero, maybe something like Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity, a guy who isn't all nice. The fact that he's doing a guy who doesn't deserve it a solid hurt a lot of what could've made this film fun. Make Lamas a bad guy, an opportunist, who takes the job because he wants the dough. It was like it was afraid to go bad in some parts, but went bad in others, and almost every choice was the wrong one. As far as Lamas goes, this is tag number 29 for him, meaning he's one away from that prestigious 30 mark. Hopefully we'll get him there soon.

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Just a quick question: do you think Embassy Suites likes having their brand associated with cockfighting? Did they sign off on that? Is cockfighting a sponsored event in Puerto Rico, and that's why the Embassy Suites logo is on that mat? The funny thing about the cockfighting is that it's the second Seinfeld connection in this, the other being Brenda Strong as the mobster's wife. She was the woman who never wore a bra, then walked around with it on the outside, causing Kramer's accident and lawsuit.

I'm a huge Frank Vincent fan, and while he was good here, I would've rather seen him as an out and out mob boss himself, especially because the kid that was playing the mob boss couldn't hold a candle to Vincent. He's currently in a vodka commercial with Diddy and (what looks like ) Luke Goss, where he meets Diddy and his entourage at their private jet, and takes them around Vegas VIP style. The commercial should just be Vincent, in a tux, in Vegas, doing whatever. I'd buy that vodka in a heartbeat, and I don't really drink vodka.

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Is that Hunter S. Thompson? I guess not, but it looks like him, right? Funny thing about that, it was in another Lamas flick, Blood Angels, where there was a guy dressed like HST in one scene. I wonder if Lamas is a Hunter S. Thompson guy. Probably not, I think he's more a FOX News guy. I'm guessing about all of this of course, I have no idea who Lamas likes or who Lamas reads or who Lamas votes for.

But I know who I vote for, I ain't votin' for this movie (like how I did that?). Even at fifty cents, it's a tough sell if you don't have a review site and need to fill in posts. It just took too long to get to the important stuff, and by the time we got there, it was too late.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145551/

4 comments:

  1. I think I paid the exact same price for this. It sits on the shelf. Looks like it will stay there until I've done better Lamas films.

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  2. This was definitely one of Lamas's weakest films, way too slow-moving for it's own good. I too love Frank Vincent, he's a terrific character actor, but "This Thing Of Ours" and "Chicago Overcoat" are much better examples of his talent then this film.

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  3. Totally agree with your review. Saw this awhile ago and it was really boring.

    Poor Frank Vincent.

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  4. That is so cool that you found this in your bargain bin too Explosive Action. It seems like the market for used Lamas flicks is the same in Australia as it is in the States!

    Poor Frank Vincent is right Ty. Maybe we should send him a Pick-Me-Up bouquet, letting him know we just saw this and we're sorry.

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