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, April 17, 2012
Return of the Outlaws aka Mexican Gold (2009)
This was on my radar because it has Lorenzo Lamas in it. Anything with a Hall of Famer will always make my radar. It's probably been in my Instant Queue for two or three years now, and when Netflix finally decided they were going to dump it, I decided I needed to finally watch it and review it.
Return of the Outlaws is about some bad guy who gets out of jail and is looking for the gold he and his buddies stole before he went in. So he goes to the first buddy, and when that guy isn't forthcoming with his info, the bad guy kills him and his wife, leaving his son an orphan. This brings the local sheriff into things, but when the bad guy is let free on a technicality by a crooked judge, the sheriff thinks something's up and wants to find out what. At the same time, this bad guy meets up with some other friends, and finds out his gold is being stored in a safe in a loony bin. Now he just needs to find a way in and get it.
Notice I didn't mention Lorenzo Lamas's name in the synopsis. Guess how much of him is in the film? Exactly, and we'll get into that later. The bigger issue is whether or not this is a good movie, and I'm sure you have a feeling where I'm about to go. The thing that derailed this the most was how all over the place the plot was. Weird interludes that really didn't advance the plot, and even as padding didn't make a lot of sense. Large tracts of character development that, again, didn't get us anywhere and made me wonder why they felt the need to do it. The plot was saddled with elements that hindered as opposed to added depth to it, like the whole thing with the orphaned kid. Then, on top of all that, they did barely anything with the insane asylum, throwing it in as an afterthought. That's where this film could've made it's money, but, ended up being another bad decision in a movie full of bad decisions.
As always, we reserve this paragraph for a film's Hall of Famers, so here's where we'll talk about Lamas. He plays some small supporting character, a guy in jail who seems to know more than he's letting on, helping the sheriff out from behind bars while he plays solitaire. The biggest question I have is why? Why were you in this Lamas? Who were you doing a favor for? Was it about the money, did you need it that badly, and was it the bulk of their imdb listed $1.1 million budget? The worst part was seeing Lamas at the end in his Old West outfit, wondering what could've been if this had been a Lamas-centric western.
The insane asylum miss was one of the biggest disappointments. It was one of those things too where I'm watching the film, they're talking about the gold in this loony bin, and I'm expecting some really good stuff, but I'm noticing that a lot of time is being wasted on interludes and useless character development, and the amount left for insane asylum scenes is dwindling. Again, this is where this movie should've made its money. The insane asylum with the gold in it shouldn't be the afterthought, it should be the goal, the denouement, if you will-- but I know you won't because you didn't.
The other standout for me in this was the beautiful Samantha Lockwood, who plays a hooker that the bad guy is in love with, and whom he hopes to run away with after he gets the gold. She's actually been in another film here at the DTVC, X-treme Fighter, which also has Lorenzo Lamas in a criminally underused role, and has the distinction of being the only "X" titled film we've ever reviewed. Because of the poor writing, her character seems to come out of nowhere near the end, playing a bigger part when she was more of a background character for most of the movie. Her character should've been a bigger deal from the start, it would've made more sense.
Finally, I want to end on the images I've included for this movie. No, not the fact that all the ones in the post are Lamas, though I did do that on purpose because I was annoyed that he was so underused here; no, I'm mentioning the images because, as you may have already noticed, they look stretched, almost as if a full screen image was turned into widescreen. I want to make clear that this was a Netflix thing, not the film makers or distributors. For the most part the film looked like this, but occasionally it popped back into the original aspect ratio, which looked much better. The thing is, I saw this one right after Watch Instantly was down for a night, and considering the movie was going to be dumped the next day, I'm wondering if these were new issues with the film that Netflix decided to just let lie with the film on its way out anyway. I wonder too if the film makers have any recourse for something like that.
Because, even if the film is sauteed in wrong sauce, it deserves to be shown right. Anyway, you see Lorenzo Lamas in a western and you think you might want to check this out, don't. This is a painfest, with very little Lamas to lighten the load. Stay away.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0830593/