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, July 2, 2013
Deadly Intent (1988)
This is another in our Netflix Dump 8, which came in April of 2013 when Netflix dumped a huge cache of low-budget flicks from the Instant catalog. I targeted 8 films I wanted to do here at the DTVC, and this one in particular because it has DTVC Hall of Famer Fred Williamson, plus DTVC favorites Lance Henriksen and Persis Khambatta. Do we need any more reason to review a film?
Deadly Intent is about a woman, played by Lisa Eilbacher, whose jerk husband, Lance Henriksen, dies in a car accident after returning from a big archaeological expedition in South America. That's when the fun starts, because it turned out Henriksen smuggled a massive jewel back with him, and all kinds of crazy characters are coming out of the woodwork for it. This spells trouble for poor Eilbacher, who has no idea what they're talking about, no one she can trust, and a whole host of shady people threatening her life. Will she make it out alive?
This is a bit of a slow-burner, definite Noir-ish suspense yarn, which might make it a little tough for some. Also, Henriksen, Williamson, and Khambatta have small parts. Even Steve Railsback, who plays Henriksen's buddy and Eilbacher's love interest, isn't in it as much as you'd think. This is really Eilbacher's movie, and I think she's definitely good in it, but if you're coming to it for those other people, don't expect to see them as much. We're stuck though, because, while this isn't exactly bad, it's rather unremarkable as well, so what does that mean for you? I say it's not a bad 2AM cable insomnia deal, otherwise it's nothing special.
Fred Williamson plays a guy who, with Persis Khambatta, is an old colleague of Henriksen, and they have a few scenes early on stalking Eilbacher and killing a friend of hers. At the end they have a bigger scene when they kidnap Eilbacher and hold her until their boss, Maud Adams, shows up to interrogate her. That's where we get the best Williamson, and it's pure, fantastic Williamson. Sometimes, when we're talking about an 83-minute Noir-ish suspense yarn from 1988, ten minutes of good Williamson is all you need to make it worth it. We've seen better Williamson films, but this one isn't bad, and I liked it.
Even in 1988, Lance Henriksen was Lance Henriksen. The disappointment of course is that he's killed off rather early on, especially when he's tearing things up so well at the beginning. The thing is though, his character needed to be played by someone with a screen presence like his, because he casts such a large shadow over the story, even as a dead character, and in that sense Henriksen is great. I guess I can accept less Henriksen in that case.
Some of the others in this included the aforementioned Persis Khambatta, who is great as Williamson's partner/spouse. She's in the film slightly less than him, because she's offed slightly sooner. Steve Railsback as Henriksen's friend and Eilbacher's love interest was about as Steve Railsback-y as you can imagine. It's funny, because I would've loved to have seen he and Henriksen interact on-screen some, because that would've made the movie more fun, so we were robbed of that opportunity unfortunately. Maud Adams played the curator of the museum who bought Henriksen's archaeological finds. She was very sinister in that Noir-ish black widow kind of way, though her role was very different because our hero was a heroine, in this case Eilbacher, which made it more interesting. Finally, the late David Dukes played a priest/con man/jewel fence, who, with his nun partner, was a lot of fun to see. It's characters like that that make movies like this work.
Finally, I picked this photo of Lisa Elibacher in the film because it's near the end, and it demonstrates how much her character was sent through the ringer. We often see the Hitchcockian-Noir theme of the man who is thrust into a situation and a world he has no clue about, so it was different to see a woman in that role. Sometimes she takes some agency in trying to fight her situation, while at others she just wants to be left alone, and by the time we get here, when she's chased down and wrestled to the ground by Khambatta, then tied up and gagged by Williamson, who later menaces and mocks her, she's had it. The whole film actually felt a bit before it's time. This could have been a mid-90s indie Neo Noir, and who knows, maybe if it had been made then, it would've had more life than a 1988 DTV flick.
So, again, nothing overly remarkable about this film, but it's a good 2AM cable TV insomnia flick, or as I used to say when I first started this blog over six years ago, something you can check out while procrastinating on a term paper. Now I'm just an old guy who drinks tea in the evening and is in bed by midnight-- making sure I watch Matlock first, of course. No more term papers though.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094970/