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, January 21, 2009

Cyborg 2 (1993)

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I first saw this on Spike really late at night. The crazy thing about it is that it flew completely under my radar. It came out in 1993, but I had no idea it existed until like 2006. And not only that, it has Oscar winners Jack Palance and Angelina Jolie in it. I figured with the Academy Awards last Sunday, this would be an apt post.

Cyborg 2 takes place some time in the future after the first one. Things are somewhat better, and two companies, Pinwheel and Kobayashi are vying for corporate supremacy in the field of cyborg technology. Pinwheel has created a cyborg that doubles as a bomb, and they've made Angelina Jolie into one. Elias Koteas is her fight trainer, and Jack Palance, playing a disembodied voice, convinces the two of them to escape Pinwheel. Pinwheel sends the always gross Billy Drago after them, but Pinwheel's CEO has other plans, and he sends a cyborg of his own to get things done. Palance manages to get the two on a ship to Mombasa, the free-zone for cyborgs.

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This wouldn't have been a bad film, except for Billy Drago. Not only was he in it, which was bad enough, but they made his face all bad after he gets glass in it. Eww. He has a fight scene with Koteas at the end, but with a gross face, I didn't enjoy it. Why do people do things like this? Whose idea was it to A: have Billy Drago, and B: make him grosser than he already is? He was all preening in the mirror and pulling his face apart like he's trying to make himself look nice for William Holden in Sunset Boulevard, and it made me cringe the whole time.

I'm not saying it totally ruined the film. The future was pretty cool. I'm not sure what happened to the great Atlanta from the first one, but this was a pretty bleak time. Koteas, Jolie, and Palance were all good. What wasn't Billy Drago all gross was pretty awesome actually. But like Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, the specter of Drago lurking made even the scenes he wasn't in intense.

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Obviously The DTVC doesn't come across Oscar winners often, so when we get one, it's kinda a big deal. This time we got two. Jack Palance technically did win in 1991 for City Slickers despite the fact that Gary Busey should've won for Point Break; and then there's Angelina Jolie. I realized when looking her up on imdb that other than this and Hackers, I haven't seen any of her films. I think I saw five minutes of a Tomb Raider movie on TNT, and who knows why that was. Anyway, even with Elias Koteas and Jack Palance, Jolie is head-and-shoulders the better actor/actress. I didn't realize she's only 33 years old. That's four more than me, but also 12 less than Brad Pitt. I don't know why, but I always thought she was older and closer in age to him.

Speaking of Brad Pitt, Elias Koteas was in the Oscar nominated The [notso] Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Personally, I liked his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Crash better than either this movie or the one that garnered all the award nominations. And let's be clear, the Crash I'm talking about is the good one with James Spader, not the sack-of-asscrack that won best picture when Brokeback Mountain was ten times better. Also, Koteas is the second TMNT alum featured on the DTVC, Corey Feldman being the first.

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I wasn't sure what to do about tagging Jean-Claude Van Damme. He's in it in the form of clips from the previous movie. I guess I'll tag him, and then whoever reads it can see that he's really not in it, only sorta kinda. Word on the street is that he and Dolph are teaming up again for another Universal Soldier. I hope it's DTV, though if it is in the theater, I'll make an exception and review it here.

If you think you can handle the Drago grossness factor, I say give this a shot. It may just be something wrong with me, too. Most people probably don't find Drago that gross, even when his face is all cut up and falling apart. This isn't as good as the first Cyborg, but how many Godfather II's are there out there anyway? It's good for what it is.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106639/

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Terminal Justice aka Cybertech PD (1995)

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I really don't know where I first came across this. I was probably drunk and fooling around on Netflix, and added it to my queue because the cover had Lorenzo Lamas, then was shocked when it showed up on my doorstep, wondering when in the hell I could've put that one in. Then it was like "well, since I have it, I might as well watch it."

Terminal Justice aka Cybertech PD has Lorenzo Lamas rocking blue contacts in the year 2008. If that doesn't sound ridiculous enough, this so-called future we just lived through last year has virtual reality sex as it's big thing. Sorry Wii, you just weren't cool enough. Anyway, this one chick is a great virtual reality sex star, and Chris Sarandon wants her blood so he can clone her. The only thing better than Virtual reality sex, is sex with a clone. Lamas isn't a fan of Sarandon anyway, and when he and this sex star fall in love, he's all about protecting her and bringing him down.

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Wow. Why? How long was it? Really, not three hours? This movie was hardcore. I knew it when I saw Lamas' eyes. Why would you do that? He looks like a moron with blue contacts. And did the people who made it stop to consider for one second what 1982 was like compared to 1995? Yeah, there were some great advancements in technology, but enough to make them think that from 1995 to 2008 we'd invent something that acts like the holodeck on Star Trek? Or that our entertainment industry would change so drastically that it would fail to resemble the one that existed before? If this had been silly enough, I would've ignored all that, but I just couldn't get past Lamas' eyes.

And with that, this film also surpasses Succubus: Hell Bent as Lamas' worst. In that one, he was barely in the film for more than five minutes, which was why I rank it so poorly. This one he was in plenty, but he was never really in it with those blue contacts. The idea was supposed to be he had his eyes removed by some baddies in the Russian Cartel Wars (they never show that, which is good), and they're replaced by cybernetic ones that act like cameras and can see things in infrared and whatnot. Again, technology we picked up from 1995 to 2008. Right. What a waste of Lamas this was. His only great moment came when he had flashbacks to his time in the war, where he'd freak out on this drug called Hellraiser. That was hilarious.

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It is a weird thing to be 8 years beyond the year 2000, considering before it there was this idea that the world was going to be so different after it. It was like the difference between 1999 and 2000 was a hundred years. Okay, so maybe most of us didn't really think that, and were much more pragmatic, but plenty of sci-fi film makers did. It looks so ridiculous now. I mean, I'm not expecting them to have predicted the iPod, but a little more creativity beyond simply Virtual Reality sex isn't too much to ask. I also don't understand why they put these false constraints on themselves with futures that aren't that far in the future. Bump it up thirty years, and it'll be at least a little more believable.

I couldn't decide whether to devote this paragraph to Kari Wuher or Peter Coyote, both DTV movie veterans that both star in this film. I took a different route, choosing to talk instead about Tod Thaley, who plays Lamas' partner after his first one dies. This guy wasn't too bad of an actor, and from what I could tell, he usually plays Native Americans, while in this movie he played an Japanese American. Of course, when I say not too bad of an actor, remember that it's in the context of a mid-90s Lorenzo Lamas sci-fi actioner.

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Finally, I cannot in good conscious discuss this film without mentioning the hilarious remote control helicopter with a gun that chased Lamas because it was trained to track his pheromones. How this scene wasn't cut the moment after it was shot is beyond me. It was so ridiculous. This was almost as funny as Freddy's hand running around in Wes Craven's A New Nightmare. And then Lamas sprays himself in Lysol to mask his scent. Good thinking. He's a resourceful hero. Too bad he didn't have a more resourceful agent, huh?

Stay as far away as you can from this. I mean it. It hurt. It's got Lamas in it. So what? He's got blue eyes which make him look silly. After that this sack-of-asscrack has nothing going for it. If you need a Lamas fix, rent Renegade on DVD.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114648/

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Contest (1994)

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I first got wind of this movie when I was looking up Rowdy Roddy Piper films on imdb. My friends and I are huge fans of his, and after Dead Tides, we were hungry for more. It wasn't an easy film to find, though, and I had to wait until I got Netflix to see it. Then it was pushed down on my queue, and when it finally made it to the top, it sat on the TV for a while before I finally watched it.

No Contest has Shannon Tweed as a martial arts film queen hosting a beauty pageant that is taken hostage by Andrew Dice Clay and his baddies, one of which is Rowdy Roddy Piper, and another of which is the guy from that Da Vinci's Inquest show. Anyway, Robert Davi was hired to protect Miss America in the pageant, and he helps Tweed make her way through the bad guys to try and save the girls.

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This was what it was. I hate using that term, is what it is, but it's the only way to describe this picture. Bad Die Hard rip-off that might have been cooler with The Dice Man and Piper, but just wasn't. There were some nice explosions, but they weren't that nice. There was some weird thing going on where The Dice Man had the girls wear explosive wrist bands that would detonate if they were too far from something, and then the Da Vinci guy had one triggered to his heart that would go off if The Dice Man tried to kill him, but The Dice Man's computer nerd just reprogrammed it with some random keystrokes and it was set to his heart beat instead. Weird stupid stiff like that that just didn't do it for me.

Piper was a supporting character, so obviously he wasn't in it as much as one would've liked. Also, he was a baddie, so we knew he'd get the crap beaten out of him eventually. This wasn't the awesome baddies he's played on Highlander: The Series or Terminal Rush with Don "The Dragon" Wilson; this was a one-note baddie with no character whatsoever. His death scene was kind of cool, and he had a good fight scene with Shannon Tweed, but overall he was wasted here for my money. At the very least he could've put Tweed in a sleeper hold to give us fans of his something to get excited about.

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The Dice Man. Credited here as "Andrew Clay". Really? You're gonna try the Rick Schroder approach to respectability? You're The Dice Man, damn it. "Jack and Jill go up the hill, both with a bucket of quarters...". He had some great Dice Man moments, though. His disguises were great. When he first gets on stage to take the contestants hostage, he talks about his handsome blue suit, which was pretty funny. He also had a great CGI death scene, where he fell into a green screen. It was like killing off a local weather man. Overall, considering he didn't have much to work with with this movie, he did a decent job. He just needs to cut it out with that "Andrew Clay" crap.

This is the third film I've done with Shannon Tweed in it, the other two being Of Unknown Origin with Peter Weller and Cannibal Women of the Avocado Jungle. This one was well after those two. I think if I was going to pick my favorite, it would be Cannibal Women, because Shannon Tweed seems to do funny really well. I think she wanted desperately to do it in this movie. The movie probably wasn't doing much for her, considering how crummy it was, and I think she wanted to sit with the audience and make fun of it too. As a fan of DTV films, she pops up quite a bit, so I'm surprised this is only the third film I've done of hers. I imagine this won't be the last, though.

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Miss America was played by a Canadian woman named Polly Shannon. I bring it up, because she was also in Direct Action with Dolph Lundgren. At first I thought it weird that she'd play a high school girl in this movie, and then a rookie cop in the Lundgren flick, but then I realized the films were shot ten years apart. Sometimes I see so many of this things they exist in their own time: cops and action heroes and women all wearing roughly the same outfits, speaking the same lines; it's only the cell phone technology that changes... how I long for the days of the Zack Morris phone...

Skip this. No buts, just skip it. It's nothing special. Piper's not in it much, and his character's not that fun; The Dice Man and Shannon Tweed don't have much to work with; and there are plenty of better Die Hard rip-offs out there. I had a feeling this was going to be lame, I just needed to make sure for the Piper factor.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110675/

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Direct Action (2004)

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I first saw this film after some friends and I went to a video store looking for The Punisher. We got The Punisher Bait and Switch, where the people at the store told us over the phone they had the Dolph version, but when we got there, they only had the Travolta. We rented this and Army of One as a consolation. I fell asleep before it was over.

Direct Action has Dolph as Frank Gannon, a detective with a large clothing budget on an elite police squad that's gone very corrupt. He plans on testifying against his fellow officers, but before he can, they try to kill him. Now he's been framed for killing some of them, and has so many hours to clear his name and get evidence against them before he's scheduled in court.

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Man, I don't know. It's good because it's Dolph, but otherwise it ain't. Maybe the best part was the DVD menu, where we get a montage of clips of Dolph beating people up in the movie. They show us the best parts. The plot was thin, and we knew who was going to double-cross whom at what times. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because sometimes it isn't, but I think it was here. Also, there weren't that many explosions, which for me was a disappointment, because there was plenty of machine gun fire that was hitting vehicles. I know cars aren't as volatile as movies would have us believe, but I don't want film makers to get the wrong idea and start trying to get all realistic on my ass. Blow them cars up!

Dolph was Dolph here, but I'm not sure what that means. This movie was fun with him, but he's done way more entertaining work. If one were having a Dolph Fest, this one, if it's included at all, should come late at night when everyone's either wasted or not paying attention, because that way you just get the good parts of him kicking people's asses. He still does that well, no matter how boring the rest of the movie is.

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This is directed by Sydney J. Furie, who also directed Dolph in Detention. I liked Detention way more, mostly because it was sillier. I didn't know he also directed Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, perhaps one of the finest superhero movies ever. Maybe Dolph and Furie should get together and do another superhero pic, like Moon Knight. I think Dolph would make an awesome Moon Knight. I wish the two of them had contacted me before they made this sack of asscrack, because the last thing we needed was another lousy cop drama, while a Moon Knight movie with Dolph in the title role would have made for an inspired picture.

This might have been the trendiest Dolph has looked in a movie ever. $200 jeans, $45 T-shirt, $100 hair cut (before tipping the shampoo lady, of course). I'm not sure how well it worked. I know in real life Dolph probably wears that kind of thing, but his cop is supposed to be some kind of no nonsense dude who gets shit done. He seems more like the go to the same local barbershop for fifteen years than $100 salon styling type. It also hurt to watch his clothes get destroyed knowing they could've been worn by someone less fortunate, and made that person look nicer.

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There's a dude named Alex Karzis in this that you may recognize from Detention. He plays the Euro Trash baddie in that one, and in this one he plays a CIA agent. I'm not sure why he didn't just play the Euro Trash baddie again. Maybe the Euro Trash baddie as a CIA agent. Or maybe the Euro Trash baddie as the main villain in the Moon Knight movie. I'm so mad now that they didn't make that movie.

If you're a Dolph fan, rent this just to see it, but otherwise skip it. If you're a new Dolph fan, still making your way through his filmography, make this one of the last you see: he has so many better ones out there. I think if this film tells us anything, it's if a film maker is given the choice between another crummy cop drama and a Moon Knight film, they should always go for the Moon Knight film, but they probably never will.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368688/

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Foreigner (2003)

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Steven Seagal is definitely rising fast on the DTVC. He may never catch Dolph, but I think I can say he's caught Van Damme and Lambert to take the spot right behind Lundgren. That's a bold statement, I know, but his body of work has been undeniable. Don't get me wrong, I liked 2008's The Shepherd: Border Patrol, but for Van Damme that was after a string of off films; and Lambert has fallen into more "respectable" roles in European films. I'm not knocking either Van Damme or Lambert, I'm just giving Seagal his due.

The Foreigner has Seagal as Jonathan Cold, a former US agent working freelance in Europe. He gets involved with picking up a package and is almost killed in the process. Holding the package, which a lot of people want, he has to fend them off while at the same time find out what this package is and who should get it. Double crosses abound, and all we know for sure is we can trust Seagal.

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This was amazing. Probably his best, and one of the best DTV films I've seen. It had that Film Noir/Neo Noir feel to it, and was especially reminiscent of Le Samourai. I loved Seagal and his conflicts with other secret agents. The mystery, the screen shots, the lighting, it was all there. Yet, at the same time, it hit all the classic action movie beats, with solid martial arts, amped up music, and plenty of ridiculous explosions. This was better than a lot of films that were being produced for major theater release at the time.

And you probably couldn't make this kind of film with anyone but Seagal. Maybe Dolph or Lambert or Wesley Snipes. He had just enough Robert Mitchum to pull off that Noir lead, but retained plenty of Seagal to remind us we were watching an action movie. Looking at his filmography, and considering there are still a few I haven't seen, I'd have to say this is by far his best, bumping Above the Law, his first feature, from the top spot. Simply amazing.

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Speaking of Le Samourai, Seagal's main rival, played by a dude named Max Ryan, looks a lot like the main character from that French Neo Noir classic. His character doesn't act at all like that character, being much more crazy and loud. There's one scene where he and Seagal have to team up, even though they're rivals, which was a pretty sweet scene. The spy versus spy thing works when done with cool characters, and it works even better when they have to join forces temporarily.

I couldn't get over the surreal sets in this film. Hotel rooms that looked like they were from another time, yet with a modern touch. There's this great scene where Seagal is talking to a woman in a bathtub, and we get this one frame of him, her, the bathtub, and this 18th century backdrop that just looked amazing. I hadn't seen settings that nice since Miami Vice in the mid-80s.

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That doesn't mean this didn't have its silly moments. When Seagal and his rival first try to retrieve the package, they're attacked by two men, and they barely escape. They try to figure out who the guys might be, and Seagal says "They were definitely speaking Danish." I had to rewind it and put on the subtitles to make sure that was what he said. In fact, they were Danish. Why, I have no idea. The only thing that would've been better, from my stand point, is if they had been Finnish. I know, I might be one of only a few Americans that finds Scandanavians as funny as I do.

If you haven't seen this, you gotta check it out. It's not just a bad action movie kind of thing. This is really good, and maybe one of the best I've reviewed on here. I mean that. I'm not just messing with you, this Steven Seagal DTV flick is really good.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0312700/

Sunday, January 4, 2009

One Man Army (1994)

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After my friend at Movies in the Attic turned me onto Jerry Trimble's Live By the Fist, I was hooked. Trimble was the man, and that movie was amazing. I knew, since his others wouldn't have George Takei, they wouldn't exactly be as good, but I had a feeling they'd still be awesome. I mean he was no Takei, but Trimble was pretty sweet in it too.

One Man Army is a Walking Tall retread, only Trimble is way cooler than either Joe Don Baker or The Rock, so really this isn't a retread, it's more of an improvement. Anyway, Trimble returns to the small town he grew up in after his grandfather that raised him dies, and the town's in bad shape. In a move reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson, he runs for sheriff in an attempt to clean the county up, and wins. But the people making money off the poor townsfolk have other ideas, and Trimble needs to kick some justice into their heads.

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No Live By the Fist, but what is? It was pretty sweet just the same. Why they made that stupid Walking Tall with The Rock, or it's bad sequels with Kevin Sorbo, when we have the model for how to do it properly right here, is beyond me. I'm not saying I don't like The Rock, and Sorbo's great as Hercules, but when it comes to guys coming back to their small home towns to clean up corruption, I want it done by Jerry Trimble in a low budget actioner. It's just way more fun.

What else can I say about Jerry Trimble? Two-for-two, and it's not even close. This guy just brings it every scene. You can't help but root for him. At the end of the movie, they release all the bad guys he's arrested and let them loose in the town. It kind of reminded me of when I play Mega Man, and I have to fight all the bosses one more time before I fight Dr. Wily. The only difference is, with Mega Man, I gotta do the work, and it sucks, while here I get to watch Trimble do the work, and it's awesome! He was in The Last Sentinel with Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and I think that'll be a good one to do next for both of them, because they're both world kickboxing champs.

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I think this movie was shot in the Philippines. It definitely wasn't shot in the US, no matter how much they'd have you believe that. It didn't look like any American South to me. The best was they tried to pass the least Asian of the local population as Mexicans. Bringing Sorbo and Hercules back up, it was like watching all the local Maoris playing Ancient Greek thugs. Good stuff.

My one complaint was the use of the dog as his partner. Cheesy. Why go Rin Tin Tin on our asses, when you've got Jerry Trimble. I like having the dog there as his pet, but having it save his life? And more than once? Perhaps the most hilarious was when he was in a burning house, and the dog was helping to drag him out. Straight up ridiculous.

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I was watching this with a friend, and I told her the moment the female lead showed up on screen that we would be seeing her boobs. I was right, but I don't think I'm gifted with powers of foresight more than I've just seen enough of these to know how they work. Her love scene with Trimble was set to smooth jazz, which was pretty funny. It was like The Weather Channel, and I was expecting a voice to come in and say "The current temperature is... 45... degrees under... PARTLY CLOUDY... skies." The woman's name is Melissa Moore, and she's been in some of the Vice Academy movies, which were an Up All Night staple with Gilbert Godfried and Rhonda Shear. I need to check some of those out again.

Get this. Get it with Live By the Fist if you haven't already seen that too. Trimble is a machine and there are very few lull points: it's constant action. I just wish all action movies were at least this good.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110733/

Inferno aka Operation Cobra (1997)

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Back in June I did a post for American Kickboxer 2, which starred an amazing actor named Evan Lurie. My goal was to get more of his films on the site, but things happen, and it's taken me over six months to get another done. This one stars DTVC Hall of Famer Don "The Dragon" Wilson as well, which made it a more intriguing pick.

Operation Cobra has Donny as a cop whose partner, played by Rick Hill, is killed in an explosion set by Lurie, a bad guy drug dealer. Donny chases him to India, where he's working on some computer program. Turns out there's some other bad guy named Grayson, and Donny can't figure out how he and Lurie are linked. Then it turns out his partner didn't die after all, but is actually Lurie's boss, or something or other. Either way, D "The D" Dubs is kicking ass and taking names.

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Loved this. 82 minutes of pure action movie fun. I was over two-thirds of the way through it before I checked to see how much was left, which is a good sign. Usually I'm twelve minutes in when I do that! (It's called ADD!). The action was great, Wilson, Hill, and Lurie were all awesome, and the martial arts scenes were very solid. Sure, it was silly as all hell, but it was never pretentious, never tried to take itself too seriously, and it knew its audience and what its audience wanted. Can you ask for anything more?

A definite hit for Wilson. He's better when he doesn't have to act too much and can let his martial arts skills do the talking. They spoke loud and clear here. He kept fighting these Indian ninjas or whatever, and they'd pop up all over the place. One time they saved him from having to dance, which we saw him do in Redemption. Two great fight scenes with Lurie, but probably would've liked to see more. Either way, a great Wilson flick.

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I can't believe it's taken me so long to get more Lurie up here. He is just so amazing. His smooth voice juxtaposed with his vicious martial arts skills are a perfect combination. He's so cool I don't even mind that he has a ponytail, which is a huge thing for me. He isn't killed by Wilson, but instead is bitten by a snake. While I was getting the image of that, the BSPlayer I use for some reason was playing the film with the director's commentary audio track on. Anyway, the director was talking about how the snake actually bit Lurie in that scene, and after he mentioned it, I could see it. Watch for that when you get that far, it's pretty sweet.

Rick Hill is the bad guy here. He's been in two other films I've reviewed: Class of 1999 II: The Substitute and Dune Warriors. He's one of those guys that's been in quite a bit, and he tends to focus more on post-apocalyptic sci-fi actioners and Conan the Barbarian rip-offs. I don't blame him, those are fun. Unfortunately not many of his movies are on DVD, making him slightly more inaccessible than some actors that don't do as many good movies. I'm going to see how I can mitigate that, because I grew up with a lot of his pictures, and they're a big part of why I'm doing this.

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There's one scene I have to mention that was hilarious. Don, lying in his bed, has a snake crawl under the covers with him. It's so hilarious. I don't want to give too much away, but it's the kind of thing someone should post on YouTube. From what I can tell, The Dragon does more of these silly scenes than anyone else in the DTVC Hall of Fame. Of course Dolph has his share too.

You gotta get this. It's on Netflix, so it's an easy grab if you have that. This is what bad action's all about. Donny doesn't disappoint, and the star power of Lurie and Rick Hill is well exploited. If fun is what you're after, there's no shortage of it here.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119367/

The Gingerdead Man (2005)

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This just seemed like a no-brainer: Gary Busey in a movie about a murderous gingerbread man. But I've read this book before, and I've been around the block enough to know a Busey bait-and-switch when I see it. I could only hope I was wrong.

The Gingerdead Man has Busey as a mass murderer who is convicted and sent to the gas chamber. His mom takes his ashes and puts them in a box marked "Gingerbread Spice", and sends to the bakery owned by the mom of the girl who testified and put Busey away for killing her dad and brother. The spices are put into the gingerbread batter, and voila, mass murdering gingerbread man.

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I don't know what this sack-of-asscrack was. After Busey's one scene at the beginning, I kept hitting the display button on my remote to see how much time was left. My friends and I tried to make fun of it, but it was just too blah. The best parts of this were the one scene with Busey, the Busey outtakes, and the interview with him during the making of featurette. This just hurt too much otherwise.

And believe me, we went into it with an open mind looking for something silly. They just didn't pull silly off well. The jokes weren't funny, the idea of a murdering gingerbread man probably sounded better on paper, and the lack of Busey meant nothing to hold onto. Supposedly he's the voice of the Gingerdead Man, but it sounded so weird it didn't matter. When I want Busey's voice, I want him as the cop talking to Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing, or him taking on Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. Here he sounded like the Leprechaun, which was just dumb.

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On the other hand, Busey is so amazing that his few scenes and outtakes and whatnot were worth having this on my Netflix queue. I don't know how I'd feel if I spent $10 buying it, but with the small investment I did put down, I think I got my money's worth. My friends agreed. We just wanted more Busey, and we got so little. I'd give the movie an Abusive rating of 2, and the extras a 4. I'm sure Busey was attracted to this role because it allowed him limited screen time and some added voice work, making it easy money, but his fans out there need more. He was so good in that first scene, and the rest of the cast was so bad overall, that it just felt like a wasted opportunity.

Most of the other actors you'll probably recognize from commercials and bit parts in this or that movie. One of them seems to be more on the rise than the others, based on his imdb bio, and that's Jonathan Chase, who played Brick Fields. He's been in some TV shows, and also had a part in the Shia Labeouf crapfest Eagle Eye. There's two other credits he has that look particularly interesting. First, Another Gay Movie, with Scott Thompson, who I think is hilarious; and second, 7eventy 5ive, a horror movie which also has DTVC Hall of Famer Rutger Hauer. That's in my Netflix queue, and this film reminded me to not only bump it up, but also that I haven't reviewed a Hauer film in a while. Of course it's also listed as "Very Long Wait", so who knows if I'll get it...

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An actress named Daniela Melgoza has a small role playing a Latin girl working at the bakery who's knocked out by the Gingerdead Man, stripped naked, decorated like a cake, and thrown in the freezer. Maybe not her best moment in her short acting career, but according to imdb, she did a film version of Richard III with David Carradine and Danny Trejo that was made in 2008 where the eponymous lead is a Mexican drug cartel leader. I'm curious to see it, but can't find a release date. I hope it's out on DVD sometime in 2009.

This movie sucks bad, but for the few seconds Busey's in it, he's good. I don't know what that does for you. What I do know is don't be fooled into thinking this is a fun goofy horror film, because it's not: it hurts, and at 70 minutes the hurting doesn't end quick enough. It's fun to watch Busey in things, but sometimes I wonder if it's not better to just watch Point Break again if I want my fix.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364376/

Busted (1997)

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I was looking up movies with the two Coreys on Netflix, and found this potential gem. We're talking Corey Feldman's directorial debut. Not only that, but according to imdb, this is his only job as director, until 2008's Bloke Goes to Hollywood, which is in post-production right now. I figured this had to be good.

Busted is about a small beach side town in California that has no crime and a bored police staff. In order to clean up prostitution, they have decided to run a brothel inside their jail. Feldman is the second in command, and when his boss is suspended so the department can be audited, it's up to him to keep the sex-for-money under wraps so they can all keep their jobs. Corey Haim is barely in it.

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This is like a Skin-a-max style comedy, with lots of sex and nudity, and some really bad jokes. We're talking jokes on the level of National Lampoons Last Resort, also starring the Coreys. The music was awesome, especially the title song that plays at the beginning. Really bad rock with a guy who sings like someone making fun of Bob Seger. The issue I tend to have is that making fun of comedies can be a challenge, like the guys at MST3K said when they took on Catalina Caper. While at moments it's fun to mock the bad humor, at other times it just hurts.

I liked Feldman as a director, though I'm not sure how much effort goes into directing a de facto Skin-a-max flick. I'm curious to see what the next one's like. I like Feldman in general, and I try not to get too down on him for the bad movies he did during the nineties. He was still trying to eke out his living as an actor after the industry had labeled him a pariah. But as a comedic actor, he was still trying to find his instrument, and the growing pains showed, as we felt them too in every bad joke we had to endure.

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Corey Haim, on the other hand, is second billed, and barely in the film. His drug issues were probably the culprit, but it's interesting how Feldman mitigates the problem of having someone who was supposed to have a major role suddenly appear in only a couple scenes. When Haim pops up, all the characters interact with him like he's been there the whole time, and we as an audience are supposed to buy that, I guess. Either that, or should we care, especially if we're watching a Corey Feldman directed Skin-a-max comedy.

One person I wouldn't expect in a Corey Feldman directed Skin-a-max comedy is Elliott Gould (spelled with one "T" in the credits). I wonder if he sat in his trailer thinking "I was in M*A*S*H damn it! I've been nominated for an Oscar!" I wonder if he even had a trailer. He plays a game show host for a dreamlike game show called Would You Believe? that pops up whenever Feldman has to lie to someone. Not only does he mail it in, but he doesn't even use first class postage.

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I was wondering how I'd use my last paragraph before the final conclusion. Todd Bridges is in this, spending most of the movie in a jail cell, and I thought that would be funny to comment on, but also maybe too easy. Then there's Feldman's simplistic view of prostitution being something that's not so bad because it's not hurting anyone, but I felt commenting on that would be too soapboxy, and who wants to read that. I decided on discussing Feldman's partner, who looks like Jacoby Ellsbury, star five-tool outfielder for the Boston Red Sox. If you're someone who hates the fact that all the Boston teams have been winning lately, this Ellsbury lookalike might be too much for you. Me, having grown up an hour away from Boston, obviously like that the teams are winning, but I am a little guilty and a little embarrassed about the way some of the bandwagoners in New England have suddenly become huge sports fans. Just know that not all Boston fans are obnoxious, and some of us understand why everyone else was rooting for the Giants in last year's Super Bowl.

Unless you're a hardcore Two Coreys fan, stay away from this one. Maybe if you really like to make fun of bad movies, and you want the challenge of a bad comedy, you might put this on your Netflix queue. I will say it is a different ball game than making fun of bad horror and bad action, so if you've got some experienece under your belt and think you're ready for the next challenge, this would might be the way to go.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115791/