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. 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. And check out my book, Chad in Accounting, over on Amazon.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Alternate (2000)

We finish the month of October with the last of our 2021 Hall of Fame inductees, Ice-T and Sam Firstenberg. With that in mind, what better film to cover than one that starred Ice-T and was directed by Firstenberg? Well, I guess we'll see how good a film it was before we say. In addition to us, our friends at Comeuppance, Exploding Helicopter, and Cool Target have covered this, so you can go to their sites to see what they thought.

The Alternate has Bryan Genesse as a CIA agent tasked with an interesting job: stage a kidnapping of the president to help boost the prez's poll numbers ahead of the upcoming election. He forms a team, including maverick former CIA guy Eric Roberts, they succeed in taking their target, only to have Genesse decide he'd rather make this a real kidnapping. Now only Eric Roberts can stop him, with his only assistance in the form of a Michael Madsen on a phone on the ground who is really only there to smoke and look cool for the camera.


Does it sound Die Hard-y? It does, doesn't it? The thing is though, it's a slimmed-down lite Die Hard. Shorter run time, not as many baddies to manage, smaller location, and fewer explosions. I think this film might have been a fun DTV actioner, the problem is, it fell into the trap a lot of modern DTV flicks do: it only had enough material for an episode of a syndicated TV show. This was especially rough when we get to the end, where it seems like our hero and the baddie are having their final showdown, but the slider bar is telling me there's 17 minutes left. How can this be? False endings of course. Oh, we thought Roberts had killed Genesse? There's still 15 minutes left, time for Genesse to pop back in again. It's like the cinematic equivalent of using a larger font and greater line-spacing to make that high school paper seem longer. By the same token, an episode of a syndicated TV show wouldn't have had the prodigious cast this had. So where does that leave us? Maybe our friend Will at Exploding Helicopter said it best: "What you get here is more Try Hard than Die Hard."

Last year when I had Jon Cross of the After Movie Diner (which just celebrated 10 years!) and Miscellaneous Plumbing Fixtures on to talk Fred Williamson, he mentioned having Ice-T in our Hall of Fame, and when he said it, there was a sense of "yeah, why isn't he in the Hall of Fame?" He's got pretty solid numbers (this is his 16th film on the site), has worked with a lot of the greats--Pyun, Firstenberg, Olen Ray, Williamson, Wynorski, and Camacho--, and it seems like no matter how good or bad the film is, he brings it. In this film, I found out in Marco Siedelmann's Stories from the Trenches that despite Ice-T only being in this for a short time, because his character was a CIA agent, he felt he needed to cut his hair. That kind of commitment takes a film like this, and elevates it simply from his appearance. I can't think of a better reason why he should be in the Hall of Fame.


Our other inductee, taking the director spot for 2021, is Sam Firstenberg. We know his rap sheet: Ninjas, American Ninjas, Dancing Ninja, Cyborg Cops, and Delta Forces. He helmed some of the greatest DTV flicks ever. I think with this one, you can see his skills in the way the film was put together, it seems more competent than your usual DTV fare; by the same token, you can see the limitations in both time and budget that prevented him from making this what he really wanted it to be. In Marco's book, he both said he really liked this film, and admitted to those limitations. I get that on both scores too. This feels a little more serious than an American Ninja 2, Cyborg Cop 2, or Breakin' 2... Electric Boogaloo; but, I can't let this film think it's so much better than those other movies, because the terrorists were taking out the CIA agents by blowing laced toothpick through straws because they could get them through security. Watching Eric Roberts and Bryan Genesse blowing through straws and then CIA agents grabbing at their necks and falling over isn't too far away on the silliness scale from Ninja III. Overall, this film is better, not worse, for Firstenberg's direction, and that tends to always be the case with his films, which is why he's being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

I already have the something for the seventh paragraph, so it's actually this sixth one I wasn't sure about. One idea was extolling the virtues of the one set Michael Madsen role. Maybe he's mailing it in, but it was a lot of fun watching him do it. The sunglasses, cigarettes, and gravelly voice always work. Another was the fact that this was supposed to be called The Replacement, but Ty from Comeuppance surmised--I think correctly--that the big screen Keanu Reeves film The Replacements came out the same year, so perhaps that's why they changed the name--though they didn't change Eric Roberts at the end saying "call me the replacement..." Or maybe it was the fact that Bryan Genesse wrote this, which is a fun fact, and I don't think it was a horrible effort, but it also makes me wonder if he or anyone else work-shopped the laced toothpicks shot out of straws idea. 


Finally, the president in this film is played by John Beck. I've lost track of how many times we've done a film that featured someone playing the president, but I believe this is the first mustachioed one. It made me wonder: when was the last time we had a mustachioed president here in the US? My guess was Teddy Roosevelt, and I was close--it was Taft right after him. In fact, we haven't had many 'Stache Prezes in US history. Most opted for no facial hair--I think Lincoln was the first with his non-'stache beard. Chester A. Arthur had a 'stache prior to becoming president, but as far as I can tell, in office he only had that mustache that connected to his sideburns, which in my mind is still a form of beard and doesn't count. That would make Grover Cleveland the first, and Harrison after him had a beard, so that makes Cleveland the second as well. From there we just have Roosevelt and Taft, and that's it--and not only that, Taft was the last prez to sport any facial hair. What that tells me is the entire premise of this film is off: why would the first mustachioed president since Taft be losing in the polls? That's less believable than the straw-toothpick darts. Just the slogan "Four More Years of the 'Stache" would win it, there'd be no need for all this Genesse tomfoolery to make him look better.

And with that, let's wrap this up. Here in the States you can currently get this on Tubi. While I say 90 minutes on Tubi is a good deal, this one feels like closer to 100, so keep that in mind. On the other hand, you have a great cast directed by Firstenberg, so that mitigates those issues somewhat. Congratulations again to Ice-T and Sam Firstenberg for being the last two of our 2021 Hall of Fame inductees. We'll see who gets inducted next year at this time!

For more info:

And if you haven't yet, check out my new novel, A Girl and a Gun, at Amazon in paperback or Kindle!


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Shootfighter II (1996)

As we continue with our October Hall of Fame inductions, joining Julie Strain in the class of 2021 is the one and only Bolo Yeung. In trying to find a good induction post, I was originally going to go with the first Shootfighter, until I realized I'd already seen and reviewed it! I guess with over 1100 reviews over 14 years, I'll forget some, but I feel like Shootfighter shouldn't have been one of those. Anyway, I settled on the sequel, which was on YouTube. In addition to us, our friends Ty and Brett at Comeuppance have done this one, so you can go to their site to see what they thought.

Shootfighter II takes place after part one. A mysterious man named Lance (Joe Son) has his own shootfighting ring in Miami, and after a San Francisco cop's son is killed in it, he enlists our guys from part one (Yeung, William Zabka, and Michael Bernardo) to go undercover to take it down. The cop also gets another fighter named Shark (Brett Baxter Clark) to help infiltrate them, which causes some tension because he's a bit older--a Boomer vs Gen X vibe in the late 90s. When it's revealed that Lance is Yeung's brother, all bets are off, leading to a massive climactic fight at the end.


This definitely does the trick for 90s action. It doesn't quite hit the notes part one did for me (which is strange that I can say that considering I didn't even remember watching it until I saw my review, but that's neither here nor there), but it was still a lot of fun. Evil fighting ring? Check. "Rich people" in 90s fashions waving money around and yelling at the fights? Check. Baddie in double-breasted suits and a ponytail? Check. One of our heroes with a too-sweet man mane? Check. William Zabka? Check. And of course Bolo Yeung unleashed at the end? Check. This is the 90s VHS video store banger you came for, only now you can watch it on YouTube and don't need to worry about rewinding or late fees.

Bolo Yeung probably should have been in the Hall of Fame sooner, but I think the thing was I hadn't done a lot of movies with him in them, and some of the ones I had done had him with a smaller part. On the other hand, he was such a staple of late 80s/early 90s DTV action, and the Shootfighter movies were a great example of that. The other thing about Yeung is he was one of the great bridge stars, at least for me. We all remembered him in Bloodsport and Double Impact, and then seeing his name on the cover of a DTV flick at the video store, my buddies and I would have to watch it. That was one of the ways we learned that the DTV world even existed, and Bolo played a big part in that. What's great here is how unleashed he is at the end. It's just pure Bolo taking out baddies. Truly one of the all-time greats, and probably should have been inducted sooner.


The last time we saw William Zabka on here, it was 2011's Cross, which was chock full of other B- and C-list stars, of which Zabka would have been on the lower end in terms of recognizability (which I don't think is a word). Fast forward to 2021, and he's by far the biggest name in that cast or this cast, even bigger than that film's star, Brian Austen Green. A big-time Netflix hit series will do that for you, but it's been great to see as someone who's been a fan of Zabka for a long time. Here, of course, he's not the Zabka he is now yet, 25 years ago it was just Karate Kid name recognition, combined with Bolo Yeung's, that makes us want to rent this movie when we see it in the video store. I wonder if the new success will lead to more DTV opportunities for him now. I looked on IMDb, and he hasn't done much other than Cobra Kai since that took off, so maybe it's just a matter of time before the roles come.

One thing that makes a film from 1996 better in 2021 than it was in 1996, is the nostalgia factor, which this film definitely has, especially in Michael Bernardo and Brett Baxter Clark. Bernardo's man mane is absolutely fantastic, and what is that shirt he's wearing? You could see him in a Charles and Eddie- or Club Nouveau-style 90s pop band giving us his best overly affected wannabe soul singer voice on an upbeat slightly reggae infused Donnie Hathaway or Bill Withers cover. And then Brett Baxter Clark, probably best known to DTVC readers as part of Kahn's gang in Star Trek II or in the Andy Sidaris classic Malibu Express, here he could have been the hunky yet suspicious supporting guest part in a Murder, She Wrote of Matlock episode, the guy we think could have done it, but we find out didn't, despite having plenty of other sketchy things going on. Throw Zabka in there, who's 31-playing-25 with his post Chessking outfits, and the villainous Joe San in his oversized double-breasted suits, and it doesn't get much better.


Finally, this movie touches on what is ultimately the major design flaw in the sport of Shootfighting: you're killing off your product, so to speak. Part of how the guys are able to infiltrate Joe Son's shootfighting ring is he needs more fighters, because every night his number of fighters is always cut in half. The thing is, we have this sense that Joe Son is very successful, because he has all number of people on his payroll, from his own guards, to a guy who runs drawbridge, to a helicopter pilot--not only that, he has a limo outfitted with something installed that makes the back seat airtight and then deploys a sleeping gas through its ventilation system. None of these things are cheap, yet somehow he manages to make all of this money off a shootfighting ring where his best and most popular fighters are always one bad night away from being gone, forcing him to sell new fighters to his rich fan base. Imagine if the NBA had worked like that? Once Michael Jordan lost in the '86 playoffs he's dead? Or would they have beaten the Celtics because Larry Bird would have been killed after the C's lost to the Lakers the year before? But wait, the Lakers lost to the Celtics the year before that, so then would that have meant Magic Johnson died first? I guess we can all feel lucky that the NBA doesn't work on the shootfighting construct.

And with that, let's wrap this up. Unfortunately right now YouTube is the only way to go, which is bad because the film also features a "B n' B" love scene--boobs n' butt--so it has an age restriction, which I found out means if I try to watch it through the YouTube app on my cable box, I have to do this convoluted process where I need to start the film on my phone app, then link it to my TV with a code, which then allows me to watch on my TV with the age restriction. At 42 years old, it feels like a bit much, so hopefully someone out there will pick it up on a streaming site like Tubi. Also, congratulations again on Bolo Yeung's induction to the DTVC Hall of Fame. It's much-deserved and long overdue.

For more info:

And if you haven't yet, check out my new novel, A Girl and a Gun, at Amazon in paperback or Kindle!


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Atomic Eden (2015)

After seeing how great Mike Möller was in Ultimate Justice, I was excited to see what else he had for us, and found this on Tubi. Throw in The Hammer, who I'm always saying I need to do more of on the site; and then Lamas tacked on in some way, and this seemed like a no-brainer. As we know though, it's often the no-brainers that turn into the not-so-good ones. In addition to us, our friends at Bulletproof Action have looked at this as well, so you can see what they thought as well.

Atomic Eden has Williamson a private military contractor who's been hired for a big job retrieving an item in Chernobyl, so he needs to round up his old crew and go in there to make it happen. As is often the case though, things aren't what they seem, as a bunch of men in white hazmat suits and gas masks descend on them, and now they need to do everything they can to fight their way out. Will they make it out alive? And exactly what is this device that they're risking their lives to retrieve? Is it worth all this trouble? And how does Lorenzo Lamas figure into all this?

Man, that's a great question, right? Is it worth it? I can ask the same thing about this movie. I mentioned that I was watching it to Ty from Comeuppance, and he asked, based off the name "is it a space slog?" I responded "no, it's a one location slog." I think that unfortunately sums it up. There were some pacing issues, especially with this device where the film starts at the 20-minute mark where they get ambushed in Chernobyl, and then goes back to Williamson rounding up his crew. That was clunky and caused me to lose interest a bit. Then we have the crew interacting with each other, which was also clunky. Then the action starts, and it's mostly the crew getting picked off like the cast of a horror movie. I don't know, I like that device in a horror movie, but action movies are not meant to be "Last Girl"-type constructs. Beyond all that though, We got a good amount of Williamson, and he was great in that good amount of him; I like Möller's fight scenes, which were fantastic again--and well-choreographed by him; and I liked his pairing with Hazuki Kato. To some extent, the movie might have been better if it were just those three kicking ass and taking names, rather then adding in a bunch of characters who are just there to be developed then killed off.

This is the space reserved for our requisite "we had planned on doing more Williamson on the site, and we've been woefully derelict in fulfilling that promise" paragraph, but when I looked I saw that the last Williamson was Jackson Bolt in June, and with the last one before that being Down 'n Dirty in February, it seems like we're doing a new Williamson every four months. When you compare that to Dolph, who's about one every three months, and Seagal is actually where Williamson, averaging about one every four months, I guess that means I have been doing more Williamson on here. And what I liked about this one was how much Williamson we got. It seems like a lot of his newer ones have less of him in them, and I can't blame him for that considering he's done plenty of great ones and he's in his 80s now; but here at 75, he could still get after it, which may bode well for some of the other DTVC Hall of Famers out there that are over 60.

Someone who isn't pushing 60, Mike Möller, who showed up again with some really fantastic fight scenes. The problem here was we had so much else going on with all the other characters, that we didn't get as much of him as we'd have wanted. His stuff is absolutely electric, you could put him up there with guys like Iko Uwais, the problem I think is Uwais speaks fluent English, which allows him to carry the non-action scenes off better. I don't know if we'll get Möller on that level, and it looks like after Ultimate Justice he went back to strictly German films. I feel like with the proliferation of action films being shot and produced by guys like Jesse V. Johnson, Ross Boyask, and Daniel Zirilli, there has to be a place for Möller in at least one of them. We need more of this guy!

The Lamas extra was an interesting twist. I had no idea he was in it until his name came up in the credits. It was a nice surprise, since we hadn't seen Lamas in over a year, when we did Gladiator Cop, which was really just him in edited footage from The Swordsman. This is now 35 for him, and out of all the actors in the 30 Club, he's probably best poised to get into the 40 Club. I have one in the can that I've seen already, Bordercross, which was taken off of Tubi before I could get images of it; and then I saw a few others are available on Tubi as well that I could make happen. We haven't moved anyone into the 40 Club since Cannon went in, so it'll be interesting if Lamas is that one.



Finally, this film used baddies in gas masks to allow them to have only a few stunt actors be as many as possible. A great trick for stretching the budget, and beyond that, I personally enjoy that approach: it's like this mass of endless, faceless killers coming to get them. I guess that added to the "Final Girl" horror element we had here, but I liked it better from the standpoint of the bad guys than from a plot device with all the heroes getting picked off one-by-one. I get too that it probably sounds inconsistent. How can I like one thing and not the other? My response is, "how can I not?"

And with that, let's wrap this up. Free on Tubi isn't the worst deal, but because of a lot of the extraneous character development and unevenly paced plot, the 90 minutes feels closer to 120, which hurts. I think if you're looking for more Williamson, and want to see what Mike Möller can do, this might do the trick for you though.

For more info:

And if you haven't yet, check out my new novel, A Girl and a Gun, at Amazon in paperback or Kindle!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Corbin Nash (2018)

This was recommended to us in August of 2020 on our Facebook page by one of our readers, Kevin Hazell, and it's a little embarrassing that I'm just now getting around to the review. I had planned to do it as part of a move to get more horror on the site overall, and if you look back to what I've reviewed over the past year, you can see how well that's gone--I've done just two horror films since October of 2020, Welcome to Willits and Zombeavers. In addition to us, our friends at Bulletproof Action have covered this as well, so you can head over there to see what they thought.

Corbin Nash has Dean Jagger as the film's eponymous hero, a NYC cop who finds out from an old family friend, Rutger Hauer, that his parents were vampire hunters who were killed out in LA. So Nash goes out there, gets work as an LAPD detective, and starts investigating a series of mysterious missing persons cases. He gets too close and finds himself caught and held prisoner in some kind of human kennel, where he's fed bad food and forced to fight for the enjoyment of a group of evil vampires, among them DTVC favorite Corey Feldman. Will he make it out alive? And if he does, can he stop these vampires?


This is one of those ones where I don't know where to go with it. It's much darker than I prefer my horror, especially with the idea of the evil vampire kennel. By the same token, I liked a lot of the performances, and I liked the action elements. Where does that leave us then? I don't know how to explain what I think is wrong with the film without spoiling it, so as you're reading, if you don't want to go any further, skip down to the next paragraph. The thing is, Nash never really figures out how to beat the vampires, he just gets turned into a vampire by them when they try to kill him, and now imbued with vampire powers, he's strong enough to take them out. It's like Justice League just waiting for Superman to come in and save the day. It would have been nice if, at the very least, he figured his own way out of the kennel. Ultimately though there was enough good in this that I could appreciate it, and maybe with a movie like this, that's not a bad deal.

Normally, we start with the film's Hall of Famer, but in this case, for me the standout was Corey Feldman. He played an evil, transgender vampire, and he completely immersed himself in that role. From the DTV angle, Feldman in that role would be enough of a novelty to make it worth watching, but the fact that he nailed it as well as he did was something else entirely. He elevates the movie beyond simply that DTV level, especially with all the other names in this to help prop it up. At the same time, as I was looking up his filmography on IMDb, I saw something called "Corey Feldman, feat Snoop Dogg: Go 4 It (Video Short)" for the same year Corbin Nash came out. What was this? I had no idea Corey Feldman had a music career, or that he performed this song on the Today show in 2016. Wonders never cease. In terms of what I think of the song? I suggest checking it out for yourself...

Now for our film's one Hall of Famer, Rutger Hauer. We last saw him in 2014, when we did the film Blood of Heroes, which I did as part of the Drunk on VHS podcast. He has a very small part here, only in the beginning, when he's introduced to our eponymous hero through another DTVC favorite, Bruce Davison, who also has smaller part. This was the last film released before Hauer left us in 2019, with the other films he shot before then released posthumously. In addition to them, we had Malcolm McDowell as the "Blind Prophet," whose character is exactly as his name says. He sits on a bench in LA, and the main character talks to him from time to time. All of these guys are as good as you'd want them to be, but there is a sense that, with Hauer and Davison we want more of them, and with McDowell we want more of a character than just the standard blind wise man. With DTV sometimes you take what you can get.

Getting back to the fact that this is only the third horror film I've done in the last year, I looked at some other major DTV genres to see how that compares to them. I've done four Sci-Fi films, two documentaries, and four comedies--of which, two were Welcome to Willits and Zombeavers, so that covers our two horror films, and also means this is the first non-comedy horror film I've done since I did the screener Coven of Evil in September of 2020. I want to say here that my plan is to do more horror in the future, but I said the same thing last year, and look how that turned out. When I first started the blog in 2007, horror was expected to be a big part of what we were doing, but I noticed early on that action films were the ones getting the most traction, and it wasn't so much that I leaned into that to get more people to the site, it was more like I'd get comments saying "oh, this was good but did you see X from this person?", and then I'd watch and review X, which led to more people commenting on X saying "have you seen Y yet?" or "I think Z was even better by them," so then I'd watch and review Y and Z too, and things grew from there. I also think the horror review ecosystem is much larger than the action film one, so my reviews of action films don't have the competition that the horror ones do. An interesting side note to this though: the 1991 horror film Mom is one of our most-read posts, and when I went to its IMDb page, I saw we were only one of 12 critic reviews listed, which is a common number for us when it comes to action movies, but rare for horror. 


Finally, this film also has Courtney Gaines in it. That's important, because it marks a reunion with his costar from The 'Burbs, Corey Feldman. Thinking back 36 years to when that movie came out, it made total sense that not only would it be in the theaters, but that it would be a box office hit. Nowadays, could you ever see a film like that making it to the theater? It would a Netflix original, with maybe a limited theatrical release, but beyond that, it would only exist on Netflix, and in order to see it, we'd have to shell out $13 or whatever a month, as opposed to what we did back then where someone bought it on VHS, and we always had it. Yes, you can get The 'Burbs on Blu-ray for $5, but what about the new movie out there like The 'Burbs that's looking to be made now? Netflix will gobble it up, add some big stars, and give it a social media campaign that makes us think everyone who's anyone is watching it, keep it on their streaming site until they decide they don't want it anymore, and then, long after the faux social media buzz has worn off, it disappears, and we barely remember it ever happened; as opposed to The 'Burbs, where people of a certain age all know and remember it.

And with that, let's wrap this up. You can currently stream Corbin Nash on Tubi here in the US, which I think is a good deal. There were aspects of it I didn't like, and it's definitely on the darker side for me, but there were also some performances worth seeing, especially Feldman's.

For more info:

And if you haven't yet, check out my new novel, A Girl and a Gun, at Amazon in paperback or Kindle!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Day of the Warrior (1996)

It's October, and you know what that means here at the DTVC: Hall of Fame inductions! It seems like we were just doing these, which sounds about right since I fell behind on them last year and they went into early 2021. Anyway, our first inductee is the great Julie Strain, becoming only the second woman in our DTVC Hall of Fame. This is also our 1100th post at the DTVC, so what better way to mark that milestone than by celebrating Julie Strain and her work. For more on her and the Andy Sidaris films, you can go to the DTVC Podcast episode that Mitch from the Video Vacuum and I did last year.

Day of the Warrior is the penultimate film in Andy Sidaris's LETHAL Ladies films. In this one, a former agent (WCW great Buff Bagwell) has broken off to form a crime syndicate, and he knows where all the undercover agents are, so he's looking to take them out, one by one. That means agent Willow Black (Strain) needs to let all of them know before his men can get to them, and then have them join her in taking the Warrior down. Will they be able to stop him before his nefarious evil schemes come to fruition? Only time and gratuitous hot tub and airplane landing scenes will tell.


For me, this is one of my favorites of the LETHAL Ladies series. It has all the elements that you want in a Sidaris film--especially in these late entries--plus you have the great Buff Bagwell! Julie Strain is great as well, as she turns from a villain to a hero, and continues to enhance this series after joining in Fit to Kill. The film adds in a bit more overt camp than the previous entries, and I think bigger than going from villain to hero, Strain navigates that pivot even better. Beyond that, we had great supporting performances, including Julie K. Smith, Gerald Okamura (which we'll get into later), Sidaris mainstay Rodrigo Obregon, and the great Ted Prior. This is what 90s DTV should be, just a fun, 90-minute ride.

While we don't have a lot of Strain's movies here on the DTVC (this is only her fourth), I felt like if anyone belonged in the DTVC Hall of Fame, it's her, especially with her great resume, and it's more on us to catch up and review more of her films. I think one of the problems is our site has become more action-oriented, and she didn't do as many action films, especially beyond the Sidaris movies, so the rest of her oeuvre tends to fall off our radar. What makes her so great, especially in these LETHAL Ladies movies, is, while they have a lot of TNA and women in little to no clothing, the women have a lot of agency, and Strain was one of the best at marrying sexy with agency. In the DTV world, where racy covers can be the difference between a rental and someone moving down the aisle, Strain could make impression as well as anyone, but, similar to others in the LETHAL Ladies series like Dona Speir and Julie K. Smith, while the sexy gets us in the door, we then get the strong female leads that mainstream Hollywood has always been reluctant to create. Here's to you Julie Strain, you were one of the greatest.


After Strain, the other great name in this is Marcus "Buff" Bagwell. He proves yet again how great professional wrestlers can be in action movies. The presence is there to match Julie Strain's, which is important if they were moving her from villain to hero, they need a baddie to work on her level. I looked on his IMDb, and he did the sequel to this, LETHAL Ladies: Return to Savage Beach, and then has a couple small parts in a film called Terror Tract and an episode of Charmed, and that's it. How did that happen? He was one of my favorites when my buddies and I watched Monday Night Nitro in the late 90s. I see that he floated around after WWE bought WCW, doing some TNA wrestling as well, then dropping down to more indies; but at his age, he could do more DTV stuff. Maybe not as an action lead, but supporting roles? Then eventually move into bigger roles like this one? I need more Buff Bagwell.

We've seen a lot of great Gerald Okamura scenes in our time here at the DTVC, but Elvis Impersonator is by far the best. It just doesn't get much better than that. And then, while he's doing his Elvis impersonation, Julie Strain is there in the lounge in a red gown yucking it up as he's singing, making the whole thing even better. I would say, in terms of Las Vegas casino scenes, it would be behind only Mick Fleetwood taking one between the eyes from Robert Patrick in Zero Tolerance for me. If I knew that every time I went to Vegas I'd see Gerald Okamura as an Elvis Impersonator, I'd probably move out there.


Usually I tell you how you can find something in the last paragraph, but I wanted to do it here to continue my rant about how streaming services dump films from their library. Last year I was able to do a marathon of all 11 of the LETHAL Ladies movies on Tubi. When I went to grab images for this review, I discovered that they were gone, and to see them on Prime I had to subscribe to the Full Moon channel. What? Luckily this is on YouTube, but look at the quality of YouTube screens? I'm not saying it's at the level of Metallica and what they did to Napster in the late 90s, but Full Moon pulling these off of Tubi is pretty bad. These should be free and great for everyone. If you don't do it for us, do it for the kids.

And with that, let's wrap this up. This is one of the most fun of the LETHAL Ladies movies for me, though you really can't go wrong with any of them. In particular, newly inducted Hall of Famer Julie Strain does a great job. If you haven't seen this, definitely check it out on YouTube--and hopefully soon Full Moon puts these back on Tubi.

For more info:

And if you haven't yet, check out my new novel, A Girl and a Gun, at Amazon in paperback or Kindle!