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.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wrong Side of Town (2010)

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There was one reason, and one reason only why I eagerly anticipated the release of this movie: Curly from Baller Blockin' (number 3 on my Top Ten DTV films of the Oughts). If you haven't seen Baller Blockin', Curly (or rather, the guy who played him, Jerry Katz), has some of the best one-liners of all time, from "Who's the baller now, wardy?" to "I want all your bling-bling". The guy's just amazing, and that he's in a new movie was enough to make me very excited.

Wrong Side of Town has Curly as a crime boss in Baton Rouge who leaves his prestigious night club in the hands of his inept brother, only to have the brother try to sexually assault the wife of a former Navy SEAL (played buy WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam-- the Navy SEAL, not the wife). As he tries to protect his wife, the brother charges him with a knife, and in the struggle the brother is accidentally killed. Now Curly wants revenge, and Van Dam has to make it out of the city alive when all of the most ruthless criminals want to cash in on the bounty Curly put on his head.

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I didn't really get this. I'm rooting for a guy in an Affliction T-shirt who's rocking the ponytail shaved sides of the head combo. I'm rooting for a guy who snaps at his wife: "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you!"? Apparently the people who packaged the film didn't think anyone would buy a film like that either, so they put fellow WWE wrestler Batista front and center on the cover, with Van Dam and rapper Ja Rule (who has one scene in the film) lingering in the background. I'm not sure if I'd buy Batista anymore than I'd buy Van Dam, but from the cover you'd think he's the star, when he's barely in the film. I've never heard of the Batista bait-and-switch, but the fact that this film resorted to those means must give you an idea of how desperate they were to salvage this stinker. No dice.

The thing is, this could've been cool, maybe even with Rob Van Dam in the lead. Where it really goes off the rails is when they cram down our throat that his character is a Navy SEAL. No amount of inundating us with it will make us believe it if it doesn't work. Still, another wrestler, Rowdy Roddy Piper, starred in a similar film called Jungleground, and that one worked much better, because Piper worked as the hero. Also, Piper never said to his girlfriend "I'm not asking you I'm telling you!" The point I'm trying to make is, cut Van Dam's hair, replace the Affliction T for a Canadian tuxedo, and maybe you have something. Maybe I'd even buy him as a former Navy SEAL. Probably get rid of him pulling out his old Navy SEAL stuff for a stealth mission on Curly's lair, too-- that was just plain silly.

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Curly was pretty good, despite his material not being anywhere near as great as it was in Baller Blockin'. At the end, when Van Dam was all dressed in black and picking off Curly's minions with a sniper rifle, I was rooting in vain for the old Curl Meister to turn the tables. I'm not sure how to explain what makes Curly so awesome. You really just have to see Baller Blockin' in order to truly understand. It looks like post-Katrina, Louisiana has been working hard to bring more film projects to their state, and with Jerry Katz (Curly) seemingly only doing films there, it could spell good things for any future roles he might get.

David DeFalco is back after a brief hiatus at the DTVC, this time as director instead of producer. You may notice in the picture we have of him on here, he's wearing oddly colored contacts. According to imdb, he wears those, in addition to white spandex and spikes, at all times when he's in public. I don't think there's much to add to that, other than it's good to have you back Mr. DeFalco.

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Finally, Ja Rule and Omarion (of You Got Served fame) have cameos in this. Ja Rule's was better than Omarion's, only because Omarion didn't Serve anyone. I'm not sure why either of them were in this at all. Maybe they were doing David DeFalco a solid, though I'd think just returning his calls or acknowledging his existence would be doing him a solid enough, right? Gentlemen's Cinema starlet and Baton Rouge native Stormy Daniels also has quick cameo in this. That one made more sense.

I only know of a few people that would want to watch this for Curly, and that's purely for the Baller Blockin' factor. If you're a Rob Van Dam fan you may want to check this out too. If I can say one thing about this movie and his performance: though it was bad, it wasn't nearly as bad as Ted DiBiase and The Marine 2. Also, catching it on Netflix Watch Instantly is a plus.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1431191/

4 comments:

  1. Personally I didn't find Marine 2 anyhere NEAR as bad as you made it sound, i'll admit Dibiase wasn't much of a hero(in fact Randy orton was originally supposed to get the lead role, and he was a former marine in real life, so he would've been alot better in the lead role then Dibiase, but he got injured so Dibiase was basically a last minute replacement, so it's hard for me to put too much blame on him, he did the best he could with what he had. IMO It wasn't a great film but it was a decent one, I guess I enjoyed it because I wasn't expecting much after reading your review. Wrong Side Of Town on the other I was real excited to see, especially since Defalco was directing it, but it ended up being a major letdown for me, maily because like you said I couldn't really buy Van Dam as a SEAL, but I would've gotten past that if it weren't for the half-assed fight scenes, with the exception of the fight with Ja Rule, the fights just came across as half-assed and lazy in their execution. The boiler room fight in Marine 2 topped any fight scene in Wrong Side Of Town. It's too bad really as I was expecting so much more from Defalco, hopefully his next effort won't feel as lazy or half-assed as this one did.

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  2. The one thing you never mentioned about The Marine 2 was the sympathetic bad guys. Again, no one can condone hostage taking, but I'm much more willing to root for a group of freedom fighters looking to take back their native lands from greedy corporate interests than I am the people fighting for the evil corporations. More than anything that was my biggest problem with the movie.

    Thanks for the info about DiBiase for Orton, though. That gives me a whole new perspective on the film, at least as far as my criticism of DiBiase goes.

    Wrong Side of Town is the first DeFalco directed film I've seen, though I've been meaning to get around to Backlot Murders. Is that one pretty good?

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  3. Yeah Backlot Murders was a pretty enjoyable slasher film, some nice kills in that one, you should check it out, I honestly had no idea he directed that film. Also Personally I didn't find the bad guys very sympathetic, maybe it's because i've seen this type of plot done several times before in other films(i.E. the whole taking-our-land-back-through-extreme-measures thing)I remembered one other Die Hard clone which had a bunch of pro-environmentalists as the bad guys, they were also supposed to be sympathetic but since I honestly don't really care that much about the enviroment, I wasn't rooting for them. I'm certainly not want you'd call an eco-terrorist, but i'm no tree-hugger either, i'm pretty neutral about that sort of thing. I can see why you'd find the bad guys sympathetic, though I certialy didn't see them that way, if someone starts killing hostages, then I REALLY don't give a rat's ass what the hell they're "cause" is, i'm not rooting for them, granted Dibiase wsn't much of an action hero, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt since he was a last minute replacement. One thing I do agree with you on is that film took itself too seriously, I would've preffered if it were more over-the-top like the first film was, and I would've also liked if the bad guys were crazy megalomaniacs instead of would-be martyrs trying to reclaim their land.

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  4. The key scene for me was the kid on the beach that gets sent away by DiBiase's wife's boss. Not only that, but the guy who played Jango Fett is way cooler than DiBiase, which just added to the Destro Effect for me. We're not talking about insane eco-terrorists here, we're talking about people who want their land back from rich white people. It wouldn't have taken much to make the villains people who were using their own people's struggle for personal gain, nor to have some of the native people helping DiBiase, and in turn him helping them. Maybe he could've blown up the bad guys and the hotel.

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