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 2, 2009

The Librarians aka Strike Force (2003)

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There's a weird story surrounding this film. I looked Daniel Bernhardt up on imdb, and saw a movie called The Librarians listed that also starred Burt Reynolds. According to Amazon, it wasn't available to buy. Anyway, so I'm waiting for word about that one, and in that time, I find a movie at my local record store called Strike Force, which listed William Forsythe, Erika Eleniak, and our hero, Daniel Bernhardt. I bought it along with the Rothrock classic Outside the Law, watched and reviewed that one, and Strike Force was lost in the shuffle. So I find Strike Force while digging up Dolph Lundgren's Cover Up, and figure I'll give it a shot. That's when I type it into imdb's database, and it comes up The Librarians. Crazy how the world of DTV movies works, huh? (Is that the longest opening paragraph to a post ever?)

The Librarians has Forsythe heading a mercenary team, including Bernhardt, that specializes in rescuing kidnapped peoples. They're hired by an old friend to find his grand daughter. She's been kidnapped by a dude who's into all kinds of bad stuff, including white slavery. Erika Eleniak is after this dude as well, because he captured her sister. Forsythe and his crew really have their work cut out for them dealing with this guy-- at least that's what the movie tells us, but they seem to make it look easy.

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This is pretty funny. It's not awesome, at any point. I got the sense that Forsythe was tired of playing bad guys, so he made this movie with a buddy of his so he could play the good guy for once. Not only that, but I think he hates punk kids. The evil white slavery et al gang he fights call themselves the Techno Kids. This is pretty much Forsythe's personal applause movie. Is it as bad as any of Kevin Costner's (For the Love of the Game, for instance), probably not. The action's pretty good, but disappears quite a bit in favor of silly conversations where women remark on how "smooth" Forsythe is, or where Forsythe tells us why what he's doing means so much to him, which is really annoying. Of course, we also get to see Forsythe's perma-scowl the whole time, so it's funny.

I think more than anything, Forsythe was in over his head here, and though it comes off as ridiculous, it actually could've been more enjoyable in parts. Bernhardt fights Matthias Hues in one scene, and that should've been hot. Instead it was a series of silly images of Bernhardt doing roundhouses at nothing and Hues flying backward. Yes, it was great to make fun of, but I was also disappointed that I was promised a fight between two great DTV action stars, and got a bunch of crap. That's the problem with these kinds of things: is it worth renting this to make fun of, when it's so bad?

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I probably should've reviewed this on Monday, because that was Daniel Bernhardt's 44th birthday. Well, I'm sorry. Happy belated birthday, Danny. This is his ninth film here at the DTVC, which is more than some Hall of Famers (Cynthia Rothrock, for instance). He'll be tied with C. Thomas Howell for most among non HOFers. What scares me about Bernhardt is that he's following Howell's path. In Howell's case, he's made enough films to be considered, it's just a matter of if they're good enough or not, and a lot of them aren't. Bernhardt doesn't have the resume, but his recent spate of films hasn't done him any favors either. This movie makes it three posts in a row where Bernhardt wasn't the main star of the film. That's even worse when you consider those three are the three newest films of his we've reviewed. According to imdb, he hasn't been top billed since 2004's Nature Unleashed: Tornado. He has a new film that hasn't been released yet, called Ultimate Champion, where his name is right under UFC star Stephan Bonner's. We'll see what happens there, but it's not looking good for the Poor Man's Van Damme.

This is the second film we've done with the great Burt Reynolds, the other being the Albert Pyun mess Crazy Six. I looked him up on imdb, and saw he was in a movie called In the Name of the King. Remember that one? Jason Statham, in the theaters about two years ago? Wow, I never actually saw it, but it looked hilarious, and I saw that it only made about $5 mill in the box office. Maybe I should do a week of movies that should've been DTV, but weren't. So far I got that one and Basic Instinct 2. Can anyone think of any others?

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I want to devote a paragraph to this guy. Ed Lauter. He was also in two other recently reviewed movies: The Sweeper and Mercenary. A That Guy if there ever was one, he's usually cast as a detective or government agent of some sort. Often, he's not a good guy, so if you see him, he's probably up to now good. Considering he's shown up so much recently I needed to give him some love, so this is for you Ed Lauter, you're one of the good ones.

If you can get this cheap, go for it. I found it on DVD for $3, and that may have actually been too much, but in NH we have no sales tax, so it was a solid $3. That's definitely the breaking point. At the very least, it's funny to watch Forsythe go through all the trouble just to make himself a good guy. We're sorry you make such a great bad guy, it's not our fault.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362820/

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