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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

South Beach (1993)

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This was another I picked up from my local record store, along with Undercurrent, and like Undercurrent, it was only $.49. How do you not love that, especially for a flick with DTVC Hall of Famers Gary Busey and Fred Williamson? It's because it stars the latter that I decided to post on it this week, because this is our Super Bowl XLVI week, and Mr. Williamson was in the very first Super Bowl, where his Chiefs lost to the Packers.

South Beach has Williamson as former NFL great and former cop Mack Derringer. He and his former NFL buddies Gary Busey and Peter Fonda run a private detective agency-- or maybe just Williamson is the PI, and Fonda runs a bar, and Busey does whatever, I'm not sure. Anyway, someone is out to get his ex-wife (Vanity), and someone else has set him up for murder, which gets him in hot water with the law, including old college buddy and Miami police detective Robert Forster, and with mob boss Henry Silva. Will Williamson put the pieces of this deadly puzzle together before his time's up?

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For the most part this is a yawner that's saved by the great cast, which includes all the people I mentioned above, plus Frank Pesce and Isabel Sanford (Louise Jefferson). The end though is a bit much, all over the place and not sure where it wants to wrap up. We're talking about a classic Kafka-esque Noir-ish actioner, where Williamson is getting all kinds of screwed over, and has no idea who is doing it or why. Plus, a lot of it is Williamson loving him some Williamson, which is kind of fun in spots, but also gets a bit much in others. Overall, it's a matter of how much you like these guys and how much you want to see them-- and how cheap you can find this, because fifty cents makes a movie much more palatable.

We might as well start with The Hammer, since this is Super Bowl week, and he did play in the first one. If you don't know the story surrounding that, he bragged about how he'd crush the Packers wide-outs with his patented Hammer, only to be knocked out himself in the fourth quarter of the game by a knee from the Packers running back. In this movie, he makes himself younger, and a better player than he was-- at least that's what it seems like. The one thing we do know is, he's had a much longer and more prolific career as an actor, and for that we're thankful, because he's given us a lot of great performances.

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After I did Peacemaker, I found out just how many readers loved them some Robert Forster, so I figured I'd devote an entire paragraph to him. He unfortunately doesn't have a big role in this, appearing more at the beginning, then a little bit at the end. I think for Forster fans that'll be disappointing, because he's in it enough early to make you think he has a bigger part. Anyway, hopefully this'll just whet your appetite, because I plan to have more Forster up this year. I'm a big fan too.

Busey is pretty solid here, but as you can imagine, with him not mentioned until the sixth paragraph, that this isn't totally Abusive. Though he's on the cover, and this starts off like it's going to be a Williamson/Busey buddy picture, he disappears for a chunk of the middle. In a way, Peter Fonda steps in as Busey's surrogate, because the two seldom appear together on-screen. What I love most about Peter Fonda's part: the mustache and ponytail. Then we have the always hot Vanity as Williamson's ex. She plays a phone sex operator who is harassed by killer. Finally, how do you not love Louis Jefferson? She plays Williamson's mother. What a coup it was for him to pull that off.

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Wanna know the one thing I dislike most about the Super Bowl? The commercials. I dislike commercials in general, but this time of year, when something so uncelebrate-able is celebrated, it makes me nauseous. The worst of the bunch are definitely the beer commercials. Other than a few exceptions-- Dos Equis, Keystone Light, Sam Adams-- most national chains have the most disturbing abominations ever created. That's why I drink PBR. Have you ever seen a PBR ad talking about your "man card"? Ever seen a can of PBR that changes color when it's cold? Ever heard PBR tell you that you aren't a real football fan unless you drink their beer? Not a chance. PBR doesn't have any commercials, and for that reason alone, I'll be drinking them while watching my Pats this Sunday.

All right, done with that rant. At fifty cents, this isn't a bad deal, but even then it's a stretch. Cool cast, which makes this a better time than it otherwise would've been, but not quite good enough in my book. Save this for your thrift store/bargain bin find.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104997/

7 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm afraid, though, for me, you could have that cast sitting around a table discussing pasta salad and I'd love. Please mark me down as a major Robert Forster fan - I'm thrilled he's on the new series Alccatraz - which I'm really enjoying - but wish he was on it more. There's a VHS tape out there of an 80's show called Once a Hero that ran for about three episodes - I think the whole run might be on the tape. Basically it's about a Superman-like hero who somehow comes out of the comic strips into The Real World, and how hard it is for him to live the same life because people tend not to fall for glasses as a secret identity disguise in The Real World; like that. Well, for some unknowable reason, they also included a detective comic strip character who also comes to life - and it's Robert Forster as an extension of his 70's Banyon character - he's AMAZING spoofing this kind of hardboiled detective character - if you ever get a chance to get ahold of that - check it out!

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  2. Hey, DTVC. Would you mind re-joining www.funwithhorror.com via google friend connect? I exported to Wordpress and lost all of the site followers in the process.

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  3. Great review! Looking forward to seeing more Forster reviews.

    Saw this ages ago on VHS, and you absolutely right: It was pretty slow-going and there's not much action.

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  4. It seems like you should Craig, and I think if that's what the movie was about it might have been better than this, but unfortunately we lose elements of the cast for big chunks, and again, the ending is all over the place, which ultimately hurts it. And I should check that TV show out. I'll see if I can find it.

    I got a few Forster flicks in mind coming up. It may be a while before we get to them, but there on my radar.

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  5. Can we hotlink your picture of the South Beach cover?

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