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] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sniper: Reloaded (2011)

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This is one I've meant to do for a long time now.  I did Sniper 3 about a year ago, and intended to do 2 as well, but it was removed from Hulu before I could capture images for it; and then I saw this was on Instant, put it in my queue, and forgot about it.  Now we're finally making it happen, so let's see how it did.  Also, our friend Simon from Explosive Action hit this one, and you can go there to see what he thinks.

Sniper: Reloaded follows Tom Berenger's character's son as a Marine who is sent to the Congo to train the army there.  He's not a sniper, but he and his men, while on a mission, are attacked by one, and all but he are offed.  Now he wants to know who did this, and is looking for answers and revenge.  That's when Billy Zane comes to town, feeling he owes Berenger, to help the son.  Can the two of them together defeat the sniper?

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This had its moments, but overall it's not very good.  Biggest problem: the action grinds to a halt in the middle, and none of what happened in those moments was very compelling.  There was a love story that felt grafted in, some investigative work that felt like it was going where we knew it would, and by the time we get back to the action, the film doesn't have enough to recover.  The other problem was the lead wasn't a sniper.  What the hell is that?  That would be like calling Commando "Flight Attendant Pilot".  Billy Zane was really good, but probably too good, because he totally overshadowed the lead and had us wanting more of him and less of everyone else.

I loved Billy Zane though, so I decided to dedicate all three images on here to him.  He has this swagger and charisma that makes every scene he's in great, and great because he's in it.  I don't know if maybe the film could only afford him for a shorter role, or maybe he didn't want to shoot down in South Africa for too long, but this should've been his movie.  He would've been great in the action scenes, and carried the dull middle when the film ground to a halt.  If they do another one, I need to see more of him.

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I liked the lead, Chad Michael Collins, but I was trying to figure out why he didn't work.  I think he would've worked if there had been a teacher/pupil dynamic between him and Zane, but that was oddly explored for one scene before it was totally abandoned.  He's my age, which, isn't exactly young, but I think he's too young for a role like this.  It would've been like if Zane had been the lead instead of Berenger in the first film.  We need haggard tough men with weathered features and lantern jaws leading these films, not guys who look like kids (and I look like a kid at 34 too).  Guys like Chad Michael Collins are the ones who get killed off at the beginning of the Expendables sequel, not the guy who plays Stallone's part.

One of the funnier aspects of movies like this is the sophisticated Brit who is written poorly.  We had it here with Annabel Wright's character Lieutenant Ellen Abramowitz (you may remember Wright from Godforsaken, or you may not...).  First off, she doesn't even know how to pronounce her own rank.  She's from the UK, but pronounces "lieutenant" the way we do, as opposed to "left-tenant" the way they do.  Then eating in the officer's tent with Collins, she says "between you and I", as opposed to "between you and me".  Only people who think they're sophisticated say "you and I" when it isn't appropriate.  It's touches like that that I love about DTV flicks.

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Finally, I was pressed for time this week, and watched the last twenty minutes of this film on my phone.  It was my first time watching a movie on my phone, and I gotta say, it's not the best experience.  I have an i4, so the screen was small, though the picture was sharp and the sound decent.  The size was the biggest issue though.  Even on my laptop, I can make up that size difference by sitting close to the screen, and DTV flicks are enjoyed on TVs anyway, but I think the cell phone is a bridge too far.  I went back and redid the last 20 of this on the laptop to give it a fair screening.  I don't think I could ever say I saw a film if I saw it on my phone.

But even on the laptop or a TV, this is a pass for me.  Though Billy Zane delivered a stellar performance, too much of this was sauteed in wrong sauce for it to work.  You can get it on Instant for the time being, so if you'd like to give it a look that's a low risk option for you.

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