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.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Phase IV (2001)

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I found this on Netflix's Watch Instantly. I liked the idea of The Boz, but I put it on hold in order to do Stone Cold. Now that that's done, it's time for the next Boz pic, and this is it.

Phase IV has Dean Cain as a former Navy SEAL going back to college in his thirties to get back into football playing shape after a bad knee injury. He has a buddy that's framed for murder, and the guy comes to him for help before he's killed. Something's up with some pills and a pharmaceutical firm, and Cain's on the case as campus reporter. Brian Bosworth is a local detective working for the firm to keep their shady business a secret, and he gives Cain a hard time. Can Cain expose the truth before he becomes their next victim?

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This wasn't a bad film. It was more a Lifetime film disguised as an action pic with almost no women in it. Cain was surprisingly believable as the Navy SEAL, but part of that was that they didn't make him an unbeatable fighter that can take tons of dudes at once, but rather an experienced elite fighter that can handle himself better than most in sticky situations. I didn't like The Boz as a bad guy, but he worked. All that being said, there really wasn't anything special about this to merit a recommendation.

I hated the idea of The Boz as a bad guy. Why would you take the star of Stone Cold, and put him in a role where I can't root for him? I get why they had Dean Cain as the hero, and I don't think Bosworth would've worked in that role; and I'm not saying Bosworth wasn't good as a bad guy, it just wasn't any fun to watch him. For those Bosworth fans out there reading this, Phase IV is a bad way to get your fix.

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I liked Dean Cain here. I know, it sounds silly: Dean Cain, former Navy SEAL. But it works surprisingly well. They weren't going for a Dolph/Seagal type dominating figure that can take out ten guys at once. They were going for a more realistic Navy SEAL that could handle himself better than the average guy. He could fend off five guys at once, but only for so long. The problem with all of this is: I don't want a realistic Navy SEAL. I want fucking Dolph Lundgren beating the crap out of ten dudes at once. I'll settle for Jerry Trimble doing it, but it's what I want.

The crux of the plot is that this drug company has found the cure for AIDS, but kills it because they make more money forcing AIDS patients to live on a coctail of expensive pills that only mask the symptoms. It sounds like a brilliant yet diabolical idea in theory, but we're seeing with GM right now that the model doesn't work. GM decided if they made their cars breakdown sooner, people will buy a new car sooner, making them more money. That worked well, until the Japanese got into the American market, and people got past their fears of not buying American. Now GM's bankrupt, and their ads are pleading with us to believe them that Hondas and Toyotas suck. I guess what I'm saying is, if a drug company invented a cure for AIDS, it would behoove them to sell it and market it, because eventually another drug company will discover a cure too, and then they'll reap the rewards.

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This film was supposed to take place in Maine, but for me, growing up in Maine, I didn't recognize anything. It turns out it was filmed in Halifax. On imdb, they came up with all these gaffs that the film made giving away that it was filmed in Canada, like a random sign with measurements in metric. Really? How about the fact that Halifax is a much larger urban environment with skyscrapers and three lane one-way streets that no city in Maine has. Then there was the fictious New England University (there's a tiny school in Biddeford, Maine that's the University of New England), that was larger than any school in Maine. The biggest thing I noticed is how the film makers seem to think Maine has bigger things happening in it than it really does. Maine is a small town with a population around the size of the Bronx in New York. The average Mainer lives 45 minutes away from the nearest McDonald's. Believe me, I live here. Nothing's going on in this state!

This is a total skipper. Don't waste your time. It's fun, and Bosworth and Cain are cool, but for what it is-- a more violent Lifetime movie with no women in it-- there's just no point in taking 90 minutes out of your life to watch it. My advice, just watch Stone Cold again.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289758/

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