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, February 2, 2012
Fist of Honor (1993)
We finish off our Super Bowl XLVI week with Fist of Honor, which has a small role from the late Bubba Smith. Known mostly for his role as Hightower in Police Academy, Smith also played for the Baltimore Colts, where he won Super Bowl V, and lost Super Bowl III to Joe Namath's New York Jets in what was, for almost 40 years, the biggest upset of all time-- I think the Giants ending the Patriots undefeated season in '07 beat that.
Fist of Honor stars Sam Jones as our eponymous hero-- that's right, his name is Fist, or rather, nickname-- as a dude who makes money collecting past due loans for the mob. When a truce is signed by the two major mob families in LA, the one Jones works for is antsy and wants more power, so the boss teams up with some underlings in the rival family and puts out a hit, killing his counterpart in the other family, played by Abe Vigoda. The cop he has in his pocket, Bubba Smith, says in order to maintain the truce, they need a fall guy, so Jones's boss gives up Jones. Now Jones wants revenge, and needs to clear his name.
If this hadn't been a PM Entertainment flick, it would've been much more painful, but fortunately it had enough fights and explosions to keep me from playing solitaire on my cell phone. The plot starts out with some action, only to grind to a dead stop for over forty-five minutes. Pretty much everything that happened in that 45 minutes could've been given to us in ten. Not only that, but what are we doing with Sam Jones as a lunky beefy guy with a flat top who gets beat up and beats people up? What is that doing for us? Either make Sam Jones a bad guy in a leather jacket, or make him a special forces dude, but what he was here wasn't enough to carry a quality film, let alone something like this that had a bad plot that needed propping up.
Bubba Smith is unfortunately not in this much, which makes it kind of a bad one to pick to spotlight him, but we all know the real spotlight films for him are the Police Academies. It goes without saying that I never saw him play football, obviously, and didn't know he played until well after I knew of him as Hightower. If you look at the time this movie came out, Smith was pretty busy, which is probably why he was in this for such a small part, but the way the film played out, he'd have been better in Jones's part, and Jones would've been sweet in Smith's part, especially with some more scenes. As I'm sure you know, Smith passed away in August of '11, after taking a diet pill that stopped his heart. Here's to you Bubba Smith, you were one of the good ones, rest in peace.
Ah-ah-ah Abe Vigoda. (Yes, I just sang Abe Vigoda's name to the tune of "My Sherona".) He's not in this much either, as he gets the ax about thirty minutes in, but when he's there, he's great. He even makes a reference to The Godfather, which, I don't know, was that meant to be like "hey, one time I did Oscar winning pictures, now I do this PM Entertainment swill!"; why would someone write that into the script? Anyway, Vigoda is closing in on his 92nd birthday in a few weeks. If I make it to 92, and I'm with it, I'll be pretty stoked.
What do we do with Sam Jones? As a baddie or baddie's hatchetman, he's pretty solid. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have in the early 90s sporting a flat top, black leather jacket, and a bad attitude. I went back to my American Tigers review, which was the first time we saw Jones as the main hero, and I said pretty much the same thing. Hey, the guy has a ton of other credits, so maybe I'll find the one where he proves me wrong. I hope so.
Let's finish with another quick football discussion. Bubba Smith's career brings up two teams that are important to me as a Pats fan, the Colts and Jets. They are our two biggest rivals, and it has to be killing both of them that the Pats are in this game this week. First, as we mentioned in the Meet Monica Velour post, the game is taking place in the Colts' home stadium in Indianapolis, and if the Pats can win it, to see them celebrating a Super Bowl on their field would be traumatic. It's even worse for the Jets though, because not only do they hate the Pats, but they hate the Giants too, so they lose either way-- I almost think they'd rather have the Pats win so they won't have to see another Giants parade in their home city.
Hopefully my Pats will do better on Sunday than this movie did, that's all I can say. The occasional PM explosion or nice fight scene doesn't overcome the overall boredom factor here. You can get it on DVD from Amazon, but, as you can tell from my review, it's not worth it.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106921/