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.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)
I first saw this film on FX. I had seen the first three (one with Van Damme, and two and three with Sasha Mitchell), and I had some time to kill before I met a friend for lunch. Not only did this movie put me in the right frame of mind, but it gave us something to talk about over our meal.
Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor has Sasha Mitchell falsely accused of murder by the Evil Tong Po, and sent to prison. About a year and a half in, he's called out by federal investigators because his woman has been kidnapped by the Po Dawg. They send him down to the compound in Mexico, where Mitchell sneaks into the kickboxing tourney Po's throwing. As you can imagine, the Evil Tong Po wants nothing to do with Mitchell, because he kicks Po's ass whenever they fight. He was right to be worried: a pissed off Mitchell chases him to some outside banquet setting, and beats the tar out of him.
You know a movie is good, when the bad guy kills people for strange reasons. The Evil Tong Po kills some of the tourney fighters after he announces the fight is to the death, and they don't want to fight like that. His guys on the balcony with Uzis mow them down. I just didn't get that at all: "What, you don't want to break people's necks in the tried and true bad action movie method of turning the head to one side? I'm going to shoot you for that."
You also know a movie is good when people don't do a great job playing dead. In one scene, the Evil Tong Po shows Mitchell the undercover federal agent and chick that he killed. If you keep your eye on the woman as Po and Mitchell go back and forth, you can see her breathing. As a DTV veteran, I look for that kind of stuff in the background, because I've heard the dialogue so many times before.
I dug Mitchell in this. He's understandably pissed off, and as a viewer, you just can't wait for him to start kicking ass. The Evil Tong Po comes off more as the annoying kid who played a prank on Mitchell (kidnapped his wife), and now he's paying the price. I just never saw Po as a potential threat to our boy.
Class of 1999 II saw Mitchell as a bad guy, and I couldn't get behind it. On the other hand, I liked Mitchell as the brooding, angry, good guy. It added a dimension to his ass kicking. I wish he'd go back to DTV, but according to imdb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0593711/), he hasn't done anything since ER in 2005. If he's through, that would be an unfortunate waste of talent.
The problem with this film is the Evil Tong Po. By number four, we've had it with him. He was an amazing villain in the first one, where he fought Van Damme at the end. But here, we knew he was going to get the snot beaten out of him. Besides, Po is kind of gross looking. I nearly threw up when I saw him licking Mitchell's wife. I would've like Po replaced by a real villain like Gary Busey. I know what you're thinking, how could Busey be a threat to Mitchell? The answer's simple: they could've made him a cybernetic Gary Busey, with super human strength that Mitchell would've had to overcome. That would've been hot.
This movie's worth a look at if you've seen the others. It's packaged with some other movie-- I can't remember what, but that kind of defrays the cost for you. This movie has all the elements for a bad movie night rental: bad acting, bad script, bad plot, and bad editing. Your friends will enjoy it.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110255/