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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bloodfist VIII: Trained to Kill or Hard Way Out (1996)

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In seeing this on Spike recently, I had another case of bad movie deja vu. You know what I'm talking about: you think for sure you've never seen a certain movie before, but halfway through it, things look familiar, and it's more than just bad movie cliches. Then it dawns on you that yes, in fact, you have seen it, and you just didn't remember. With this film, it turned out I'd seen it a while ago, probably at a time when digital cable guides didn't exist, so I watched it without even knowing what it was. In my mind, the only thing worse than watching a bad movie once, is watching it twice because I didn't remember the pain I'd suffered the fist time. I guess as a connoisseur of bad cinema, I should probably get a journal like wine people do, so I can recall what it was like: film had bold explosions and potential with great actors, but horrible after taste with unoriginal plot. Also smelled bad once it had a chance to open up.

Bloodfist VIII, aka The Ocho, takes the overused Bloodfist premise of Don "The Dragon" Wilson against the world, and moves it to Ireland. I guess LA told Roger Corman that seven Bloodfists was really pushing it, and if he wanted to make an eight, he'd have to take his business elsewhere. Anyway, D "The D" Dubs is a former CIA agent turned high school teacher trying to raise his erstwhile estranged son. Someone puts a hit on him for killing a dude in Italy, and in order to clear his name, the trail takes him to Dublin. The CIA follows him there, because they want to kill ol' Donny too. As in every Bloodfist, he prevails against all odds.

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Wanna talk about pulling blood from a stone. They were scraping the bottom of the barrel when they put this one together. I can't lie, with the extreme success of Bloodfist VII: Manhunt, I probably would've greenlighted an eight too. It's not like any of the actors had anything better to do, I'm sure. Why not take a paid vacation to Ireland? I bet Donny hadn't been before they shot this.

Speaking of Donny, he really gives this the ol' college try. He's having trouble making the same stale storyline not so stale. I bet he's the guy you have as a roommate that saves every scrap of food because he thinks he can make a taco bake or something out of it. I'm that guy too, and I know sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and throw that stuff out. And then you gotta bite the bullet again and buy some new food at the grocery store.

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I guess that's the issue with the Bloodfist series: they never did anything new. There was nothing that I could discern from the earlier movies that said explicitly that movies IV through VIII absolutely had to have a guy that was some sort of fugitive with everyone against him with no one he could trust. The first two weren't like that, and the third was only sorta kinda like that. Why they felt compelled to make the others essentially the same film is beyond me. I know after this they really tried to mix it up with Bloodfist: 2050, but that doesn't do anything for me here with number VIII, which is what I'm reviewing.

This may be one of the most nondescript films I've ever done for the DTVC. Other than Donny, there's nothing in it that makes it memorable at all. I've had trouble grinding out more than four or five paragraphs. It's not extremely bad; but on the other hand, if it was, it might be more entertaining. Instead it's just a big pile of blah. The only way I'd recommend watching it is if you're suffering from insomnia or up late typing a paper, and this is on at 2 AM, and it's your only option. Otherwise skip it. It's not worth any money you spend on it, no matter how small; and it's not worth any time you could spend doing something else, like watching another movie, or reading a book.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115711/

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