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, September 24, 2013
Last Flight to Hell aka L'ultimo volo all'inferno (1990)
A friend of mine hooked me up with a copy of this from his VHS. It looked fantastic, especially with Reb Brown and Chuck Connors, plus it's and AIP flick. Let's see how it turned out. Also, our friend Ty at Comeuppance Reviews has hit this one. It definitely looks like a Ty kind of flick.
Last Flight to Hell has Reb Brown as a DEA agent in the Philippines(?) working to take down drug dealer Mike Monty. His boss, Chuck Connors wants him brought in alive, but when he's close to catching him, some Chinese drug lord scoops him up and holds him for ransom. So now poor Reb Brown has to go into the jungle after him, where he meets up with Monty's daughter, who has been sent in to pay the ransom. Will they get Monty and get out alive?
Maybe my one complaint is that it's light on the Reb Brown screaming, but otherwise this delivers. Brown is awesome, Chuck Connors is awesome, Mike Monty is awesome-- the whole thing is awesome. Plenty of action-- they get the chopper explosion out of the way quickly--, plenty of silly low-budget moments, and tons of hallmarks you expect from Italian exploitation flicks shot in the Philippines. We had exploding huts, we had jungle chases, and myriad local stuntmen shimmying through hails of gunfire. The best moment comes near the end, when Brown shoots the baddie between the eyes as the guy is driving a truck to him. The truck veers out of control, into an abandoned shack, causing it to explode, to which Brown says "just like the fourth of July" in the calmest, soberest voice possible. Not quite as iconic as Strike Commando or Robowar, but still plenty of fun.
This is some great Reb Brown. I think he's supposed to be more of a maverick type, with his unkempt hair and five o'clock shadow. It doesn't come off, Brown is too good a guy, but that doesn't make you want to root for him any less. As I said above, he doesn't really have any great screaming moments, but he has a few near ones that were nice. The thing is, this script was cobbled together, so just watching his earnest attempt to make the most of it was plenty for me, and I'm sure you'd enjoy it too. Depending on how big you wanted your Reb Brown film fest to be, this is a potential inclusion.
The Rifleman Chuck Connors is great in this as well. Growing up my father used to watch The Rifleman, and I watched it with him, so that made it really cool to see him in this and get a film of his on the DTVC. Also, I'm not entirely sure, but I think he now joins Rick Fox, who was in Resurrection, as the only two former Boston Celtics to have films on here. Oh wait, that's right, I did Steel with Shaquille O'Neal, and he finished his career with the Celtics too. Anyway, Connors brings that imposing screen presence to this film, and it works so well with him opposite Brown. It must've been an honor for Brown to work with him too, and I think, while we want to mock these movies and act like being in them must be the worst things ever, I imagine for someone like Brown, to have moments like that, he must feel very lucky, and I think that's pretty cool.
The great Italian/Philippine exploitation mainstay Mike Monty is in this as the drug dealer Brown is sent to bring in. He's not in it much after he's kidnapped early on, though he makes up for it near the end. Still, it was disappointing, because he's so great, and I would've loved to have seen him in it more as a menacing, evil kind of figure. He has a rather prodigious filmography, but we've only done two others of his to this point: Strike Commando, and then the Miles O'Keeffe flick Phantom Raiders. Here's to you Mike Monty, you were one of the good ones.
Finally, I wanted to discuss the way this film handled the exploding hut element. Instead of it being innocent villagers suffering as collateral damage, it's Brown blowing up the huts on the baddie's compound. I've seen other films go this route before, and I have to say I like it much better. Why blow up an innocent person's home-- or give the illusion that you are in a film-- when you don't have to? It's much less problematic this way.
This is a really fun film, but as far as I know used VHS is the only way to go. Amazon does have it, but it's a little pricey, so maybe for collectors in that case, but if you see it in a bargain bin I wouldn't hesitate to jump on it.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102270/