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, August 13, 2009

The Road Killers (1994)

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I found this on Netflix while looking for more Lambert films. It has quite an all-star cast, with James Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Shooter McGavin. Oh yeah, and David Arquette. Should he even count when talking about an all-star cast?

The Road Killers has Lambert as a family man traveling cross country from Wisconsin with his wife and daughter; and his brother and nephew in another car behind him. While fixing an issue with his car on a desolate highway in Nevada, his nephew is standing in the middle of the road, and is almost run over. The brother is less than stoked when he sees the kid that was driving the car in a road-side diner, and he throws a glass of water on him. Back on the road, the kids throw a chicken in his car while he's driving, he gets pissed, and loses a game of chicken to them, crashing and dying. Now the kids need to cover up their crime, and Lambert needs to save his family from them.

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This could've been good. Instead it spiralled out of control into a mass of random killings and ridiculous scenarios. Why? Here's where it went bad: Lambert was just a family man. He needed to be a military trained action hero. Why cast him in the male lead if he can't fight? He's not a great actor. Essentially the film devolved into a series of scenes where Lambert could almost get the bad guys, but they were always better than him. Stupid. What they should've done was a little divide and conquer, where he took them out one-by-one.

According to imdb, Albert Pyun cast Lambert in his upcoming Tales of an Ancient Empire. That should be good, because Lambert hasn't done a DTV film since Day of Wrath. I guess if anyone can pull him out of retirement, it's the best DTV director of all time.

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Josh Brolin is in this as one of the kids after Lambert. He does a great job with what he has to work with. I've been meaning to see W., because I've heard so many good things. One thing I should bring up is his GQ cover from a year or so ago. In it, he was smoking a cigarette with the caption "The rebirth of cool". People wrote in and talked about how appalling it was that GQ would associate cool and smoking. I can see that for a Disney Channel magazine cover, but GQ? That's a magazine targeted to mature men. I think there's a point where this anti-smoking stuff is ridiculous. Are adult males really that impressionable? Oh wait, that's right, we have beer cans now that turn color when they're cold. My bad.

As I said above, this also has Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's too young here for it to matter, but one film he did recently that's worth checking out is The Lookout. Richard Roeper had it as one of top films of 2007. I'm not sure if I'd go that far, but if you like good Film Noir like I do, then give that a try.

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I'm from Maine, which has pretty much one industry: tourism. I'm not naive, I get it, and I accept that Maine would have no economy if people from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, didn't treat it as their own personal Disney World every summer. That being said, nothing irks me more than when these degenerates come into my town and act like they own the place because their state is better developed and has higher per capita college graduates. If you can't get away with parking in the middle of the road, walking in traffic, or just plain standing in my way in your home state without someone yelling at you, don't expect it here either. In this film, Shooter McGavin, Lambert's brother, is that guy. First, his son is in the middle of the highway. Why would you let your kid do that? Then throw water in the dude's face who didn't hit him? Maybe he didn't deserve to be burned alive in his car, but he did deserve an ass kicking.

This movie is all kinds of wrong. If The Lookout is good Film Noir, this is atrocious Film Noir. If you like Lambert, you won't like him here, and Brolin and Gordon-Levitt weren't quite there as actors yet to matter. When I think Lambert DTV, this kind of crap isn't what I'm looking for.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110999/

2 comments:

  1. Gordon Levitt was also amazing in 500 Days of Summer this year, REALLY good in Brick in 2006, pretty good in Stop Loss in 07, and hilarious in this summers GI Joe flick. I mean, him playing Cobra Commander? Really?

    Seriously though, he's awesome. The Lookout is a great flick, although Brick is probably my favorite work of his.

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  2. First off, it's good to hear from you again. Yeah, I wanted to see Brick really bad, and my buddy bailed out when we had plans to see it, then he went the weekend after without me, and I just haven't gotten to it since. I need to see GI Joe, but 500 days of Summer is good too? And Brick better than The Lookout? I'll keep that in mind.

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