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.

Announcement

Announcement

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.

--Matt

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Debt Collector (2018)

It was about time we got some Scott Adkins up on the blog now that we're back, and he certainly has a lot to choose from.  I saw that this one has a sequel in post production, so I figured it would be the one to do.  Let's see how it went.

The Debt Collector has Adkins as a guy who runs a dojo that is short on funds.  His buddy, Michael Paré, gets him a job as a debt collector for an organized crime boss.  For orientation, he shadows one of the Mandylor brothers, Louis.  Things get crazy though when they take a job from Tony Todd that may not be what it seems.  Can the guys do the right thing, or will they carry out their job no matter what?



I don't know what to think of this one.  It had action, but was it the best action?  It had a nice 95-minute runtime, and I don't know that it moved slowly, but the earlier construct of the guys just doing jobs felt a little repetitive.  How many times do I need to see them go to collect money, Scott Adkins get thrown through a wall, then win the fight and the guys get the cash, before I get the idea?  I think the movie understood that too, because at the point where I might have said "this movie is just spinning its wheels," they interject the Tony Todd element into the story.  The problem was, beyond the dilemma the characters had in whether or not they go against orders, they were really just going from going place to place to collect money, to going place to place to get information.  I don't know how you mitigate that, other than maybe having less of that construct, moving up the dilemma to earlier in the story, and then changing the paradigm to something that's more cat-and-mouse or two guys trying to stay alive and clear their names.

This movie got Scott Adkins half-right.  The half they got right was keeping his native English accent, and not forcing him to affect an American one.  I know for me, I would rather have Scott Adkins as a Brit living in LA with no explanation on how he got there, than him affecting an American accent.  The half they got wrong was in the fight scenes.  They were too knock-down-drag-em-out, which to me wastes what makes Adkins so great: full-throttle martial arts action.  I want lightning fast kicks and chops, taking out three guys at a time, maybe throwing in a few jump kicks; not trading punch with big guys who pick him up and throw him through plaster walls before Louis Mandylor swoops in and smashes a vase on the big guy's head.  This might be the first Adkins movie I've seen where his non-fight scenes outshone the ones where he fought.



As I mentioned above, this has one of the Mandylor brothers, Louis, as the old veteran debt collector showing Adkins the ropes.  I would say between the two of them, he may have made more sense in this than Adkins.  I think you could have made a compelling, mid-to-late 90s independent flick about a debt collector with a tough past who found his way into this sordid life and now is trying to cope.  Dial down the action a bit, add in some quirky supporting characters, and we could have had something really compelling.  I think that might have been another problem, this movie didn't know what it wanted to be, hard-hitting action flick or 90s throwback indie character study, and I think if it had picked one or the other and stuck with it, we could have something really great.

Tony Todd's character felt like another miss, as it really could have been that offbeat yet very evil organized crime boss that a lot of 90s indie flicks, especially post-Pulp Fiction, featured.  The way that whole plot  comes into the film, with his character wanting them to track someone down, it didn't feel fully fleshed out, almost like it was there to mitigate that issue I described where the paradigm of them going to collect money started spinning its wheels.  I wonder if the better way wasn't to mix some of those earlier debt collections into a montage, then have this Tony Todd thing be a bigger part.  Again, it was just something about the film that felt like it didn't know what it wanted to be.



Michael Paré is looking to outdo Eric Roberts for most movies coming out.  If you look at his imdb, he's been doing like 4 or 5 movies a year for over a decade now, and he's not showing any signs of slowing up.  I remember imdb used to have this thing where you could look at two actors and see how many times they've worked together.  It would be interesting to see how many times Paré has been with Roberts.  I think those two would make for a great buddy cop movie, the problem is, neither of them would have time to be the leads if they're appearing in five other movies each a year.

I think you could have some fun with this one.  For me, it just felt like it had too much that wasn't fully fleshed out, plus, I personally prefer high-octane martial arts action as opposed to "I hit you, you hit me, then throw me through a wall, and then my partner will smash a vase over your head" kind of action.  At the very least, Scott Adkins keeps his natural accent, which for me is always a plus.

For more info: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7448180

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