Posts Tagged ‘DTV’

Maximum Conviction

Monday, December 17th, 2012

MAXIMUM CONVICTION is one of these powerful action team ups we get now in a post-EXPENDABLES world. Second-billed Steve Austin is probly the most reliable DTV guy after Scott Adkins, with a bunch of pretty good ones under his belt (DAMAGE, RECOIL, HUNT TO KILL) and a durable persona as seen-it-all-skullcrusher-with-an-inherent-sense-of-decency. Headliner Steven Seagal is… a guy I wrote a book about.

To tell you the truth I didn’t have alot of faith in him for this one. He seems to have grown comfortable as boss man on his ensemble TV show and lost the DTV eye of the tiger he had a few years ago when he did the historic URBAN JUSTICE/PISTOL WHIPPED one-two punch. His recent efforts (although some might not call them efforts) have been worthwhile for my deep Seagalogical analysis, but not too inspiring as works of entertainment. And the trailer for this looked pretty crappy, I thought.

(read the rest of this shit…)

One in the Chamber

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

William Kaufman is one of the elite few DTV directors whose names I remember in a positive way. So far he’s not an identifiable master of a style like Hyams or Florentine, and doesn’t have as many under his belt as Roel Reine, but he’s done enough that I keep an eye out. THE HIT LIST is a real solid Larry Cohen-esque high concept thriller that could’ve been a theatrical release if it starred somebody more theatrical-release friendly than Cole Hauser. SINNERS AND SAINTS is messier but earnest and with some distinctive touches. Both have a little bit of a political subtext that hints at an authortational type voice.

ONE IN THE CHAMBER is Kaufman’s newest, and has his best cast so far, by which I mean Dolph Lundgren is in it. Unfortunately I don’t think this one is really a step forward. Story-wise it’s more direct than SAINTS AND SINNERS, but not nearly as clever or gripping as HIT LIST. It’s about a war between Russian crime families (never really a good subject for a DTV movie) in Prague. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Ray Carver, not the author of Short Cuts (I don’t think) but an elite killer who’s hired to off some guys but fails to shoot one because the guy uses a woman as a shield and Carver has human feelings, etc., so that gets him fired. His replacement is Aleksey the Wolf, played by Dolph. He’s not in the first 25 minutes of the movie, but as soon as he shows up he steals the whole thing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Video Violence

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

You know, I got buddies who are really into the shot-on-video horror movies of the ’80s. Some of them, like SLEDGE HAMMER for example, have been getting loving re-releases lately (with limited edition VHS version, even). Personally, at least where I am in my journey as a man and spiritual being at this point, I draw the line at shot on video. If I rent one on accident I turn it off immediately, wrap it in 3 plastic bags and bring it back. I watch a z-grade movie like BLOOD MASSACRE shot on actual film and I think if these motherfuckers could get it together to achieve that minimum level of professionalism then there’s no excuse. Yeah, money, but maybe that’s a helpful type of elitism, a firewall put in place to protect us.

But I knew VIDEO VIOLENCE had a video store prominently featured, and I thought Fangoria did a nice retrospective on it a few months ago, and also I forgot it was shot on video until I put it in. And I decided to give it a chance.

(It turns out the Fangoria article I was thinking of was THE VIDEO DEAD, an early DTV zombie movie.)
(read the rest of this shit…)

Starship Troopers: Invasion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Remember how they made two DTV sequels to STARSHIP TROOPERS? Now there’s a new one, but I think the world will be sharply divided over whether we consider this part 4 or not. It does continue the futuristic bug war star trooping of Captain Carmen Ibanez (originally Denise Richards, now Luci Christian), master psychic Carl “It’s afraid!” Jenkins (originally Neil Patrick Harris, now Justin Doran) and Johnny Rico (now promoted to General). But one thing they did different, they gave it to the Japanese animation director Shinji Aramaki (APPLESEED) to computer it up. Now instead of deliberately white bread humans it’s creepy Real Doll type animated characters sort of along the lines of FINAL FANTASY and those types of computer animated pictures.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Past Midnight

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Do you guys know about this one? How come I never knew about it? Not that PAST MIDNIGHT – a 1991 thriller starring Natasha Richardson, Rutger Hauer and Clancy Brown that went straight to video in ’93 – is very good, but it holds an important enough place in cinematic history that I figure I should’ve heard of it before.

On his commentary track for TRUE ROMANCE, Quentin Tarantino talks about the time before he sold that script and directed RESERVOIR DOGS. He mentions a job at the production company CineTel, where he says he would do punch ups on scripts “which were really page 1 rewrites.” I don’t know if he’s exaggerating that part or not, but I’m sure it’s true that he rewrote a line here or there. So did any of those ever end up getting produced?

Yes, at least one did, and it is PAST MIDNIGHT, Tarantino’s first film credit besides production assistant on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video. Associate producer Catalaine Knell thought his contributions to the script were important enough that she shared her credit with him.
(read the rest of this shit…)

MAXIMUM CONVICTION trailer

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Well, I’m not gonna pretend this looks good. It seems to have all the most joyless aspects of DTV action. It happens to star two of my favorites, but both of them look bored, and it makes it look like they might only have one scene together. Director Keoni Waxman did THE KEEPER, A DANGEROUS MAN and many True Justice episodes with Seagal, plus the pretty-good-not-great HUNT TO KILL with Stone Cold. Writer Richard Beattie wrote PROM NIGHT IV, NO CONTEST II and episodes of True Justice. I’ll try to keep an open mind, obviously. If anybody’s gonna figure out a way to like this one it should be me, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yosoQ8HkmLQ

 

Ca$h (the Sean Bean one)

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

An Avenger and a Throne-Gamer butt heads over a suitcase of money in this mediocre DTV thriller

Wasn’t that awesome? I wrote a headline.

Chris Thor Hemsworth plays Sam, a Chicago knucklehead who thinks the Lord is smiling on him when a suitcase full of money is thrown over an overpass and lands on the hood of his station wagon. He’s not a streetwise tough guy of any kind, not a guy that knows how to handle the situation. He’s just a dipshit who thinks since nobody saw him take it as far as he knows he can just live off the money and there will be no consequences. At first his wife Leslie (Victoria Profeta) is nervous about it, but she decides to go along with it anyway. They pay off their debts in cash, buy a new Range Rover, a new house, new furniture, new TV. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wrong Turn at Tahoe

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Back when I saw the insane Lee Daniels mother-fucking assassin movie SHADOWBOXER I admitted that Cuba Gooding Jr. was good in it, but made fun of the generic covers of some of his other straight to video movies. Back then one or more people stood up for WRONG TURN AT TAHOE. I don’t think I believed them.

Since then I liked Gooding in HIT LIST, and started to realize that I was unfair to dismiss him as a DTV star. Just ’cause he did all that mugging on all those trailers for comedies I never saw doesn’t mean he can’t do other shit. I even kind of liked him in RED TAILS – not a popular stance, but an honest one. And I can’t continue to hold that ugly purple shirt from BOYZ N THE HOOD against him. It was the ’90s, it was a different time. At least he wasn’t wearing Zubaz.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Perfect Target

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Daniel Bernhardt is a Swiss martial artist and model who appeared in a Versace commercial with Jean-Claude Van Damme, then was hired to play the lead in the BLOODSPORT sequels. So it’s only natural that in 1997 he inherited Van Damme’s frequent collaborator Sheldon Lettich, who had already directed LIONHEART and DOUBLE IMPACT (plus the great Mark Dacascos capoeria-’n-teaching movie ONLY THE STRONG). But I’m sorry to say the substitute is not as good as the real thing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Talking DTV action with Movie Morlocks

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

tn_morlocksToday I’m interviewed on Movie Morlocks, the official TCM blog, about DTV action. This kicks off 3 weeks (!) of DTV action coverage by writer R. Emmet Sweeney “in the hopes of bringing more appreciative eyes to this last bastion of  the B-movie spirit.” If you read me regularly you already know what I’ll be talking about (Isaac Florentine, John Hyams, Scott Adkins, Steve Austin, the prestigious WWE Studios, action filmatism, etc.), but I’m happy to be able to share this important information with a wider audience.

A couple notes:

1. I don’t necessarily endorse the intro’s implied swipe at THE AVENGERS, which I’m excited to see this Friday

2. Whenever I see “TCM” I first think “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” before I remember it’s “Turner Classic Movies”

3. UNDISPUTED III and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION are now legally classified as Classic Movies due to their number of mentions on TCM’s blog.