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.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Friday, April 24, 2009

Modern Vampires (1998)

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After the disappointing Against the Dark, the Seagal vampire flick, DTVC reader RepoGenetic (who you'll find in the "Followers" section of the blog) suggested this film. It definitely has a star studded cast, with yet another Oscar winner in the late Rod Steiger.

Modern Vampires has Casper van Dien as a vampire rolling through Los Angeles to see what's going on. Count Dracula (Robert Pastorelli) is less than pleased with him because he had a chance to kill vampire killer Van Helsing (Steiger), but didn't do so. He's made things worse for himself by protecting a young vampire acting as a prostitute and killing men with impunity, because she's drawing too much attention to the activities of other vampires. Now Van Helsing's followed him out to LA, and he has a posse of Crips ready to aid him in his quest to kill all vampires. They're on a collision course to wackiness. This also has Kim Cattrall, Udo Kier, and Natasha Lyonne.

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Wackiness is the key word here. Or off-beat might be a better one. This was very bloody, had lots of nude chicks, and tried to make it all as silly as possible. I think it worked a fair amount of the time. Comedians like Craig Ferguson and Robert Pastorelli didn't hurt. It was a tad ridiculous at points, and some of the jokes didn't work, but I think overall it was a pretty solid effort. Better than Against the Dark.

Casper van Dien was all right. This is the third film of his we've done, the other two being Cutaway, with Stephen Baldwin and Dennis Rodman; and the recently released Starship Troopers 3. I'm not sure what to do about future posts for him, because a lot of his films listed on imdb are said to be TV movies. Cutaway was listed as a TV movie, which made no sense, because I didn't remember it ever being on. Then I saw that this movie was supposedly a TV a movie too, and that makes even less sense, because it's filled with blood, nudity, and swearing. I looked into it further on imdb, and couldn't figure out in what country it was released on TV. Definitely not here. Brazil maybe? I looked it up on Wikipedia, and they say it's straight to video, so that's what we're going with.

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It was great doing a Rod Steiger film. Obviously my site doesn't lend itself to classics like On the Waterfront or In the Heat of the Night (his role in the latter movie garnering him his Oscar win). He was pretty sweet in this movie, and although he had a bad fake accent, I liked his better than another Oscar winner, Ernest Borgnine, and his bad accent in the Brandon Lee hit Laser Mission. Steiger died in 2002, otherwise he would've celebrated his 84th birthday ten days ago. Another Aries, like me and Steven Seagal.

Craig Ferguson was funny in this, as you can imagine. I'd only seen him on the Late Late Show. When I was in LA back in 2001, Craig Kilborn did that show, and my buddy and I got free passes from some dude in front of Mann's Chinese Theater to be in the audience. What a weird experience. First, we were told if we were a "good" audience, we'd get a special gift, and what we got was a copy of the Gear magazine Kilborn had guest edited. Also, we were conditioned to laugh at anything that could possibly be construed as a joke, and that conditioning was handled by a self-styled stoner comedian. He was really unfunny, his pot jokes were what you might get from the dude in college who smoked like twice and thought he was a rebel, and in order to validate his on stonerness, he gave a special gift to the two real stoners in the audience. The three guests were Tyrese, whose performance had to be redone because his mike chord was unplugged; Jesse from Saved by the Bell, who was promoting he role in a Woody Allen flick; and Hector Elizondo. Perhaps the best was when my buddy and I got back to his mom's house in San Diego to watch ourselves, and we heard the audience noise filled in with an artificial laugh track.

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One aspect of this movie that I believe was unintentionally funny was the disjointed dialog. People would respond to other people's words in really unnatural ways. Casper van Dien would say something innocuous, and the girl he was protecting would blow up at him. I'm wondering if the scriptwriter or director had ever had any experience with normal human conversations. Maybe that's just how people act out in LA. "I think we should go get a burger, what do you think?" "What? Take that back you fucking bastard!"

This isn't a bad movie. I'm not sure in terms of a monetary value how much one should spend on it. If you're into horror comedy, you should definitely stick it on your Netflix queue. Anyone else, I'd say watch it, but don't necessarily make a priority out of it. If you haven't seen The Circuit yet, you should probably do that first. If it's on a TV channel like HBO that shows films uncut, watch it there, but definitely not on Sci-Fi (Sy-Fy?), because an edited version would suck.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120805/

The Operative (2000)

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There's been a call from readers of the DTVC for more Bosworth films, so here goes. I picked this out of a couple Boz movies I had on Netflix's Watch Instantly because the cover looked the best. Now I understand why wineries spend more money on designing the lable for their bottles than they do on the actual wine that goes into it.

The Operative has the Boz as a CIA agent who's captured by the Soviets in 1989. He spends the next eleven years in an insane asylum over there despite the fall of the Iron Curtain. The KGB interrogator who captured him frees him so he can steal a painting in Boston. That's when things get crazy. There's a shootout, a stand-off at the bank, a Texas billionaire who looks like the Boz (because he's played by the Boz), and a bunch of other crap. Who can the Boz trust? Do we care?

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Zzzzzzzzzzzz... forget Tylenol PM, The Operative will put anyone to sleep. This film was so boring I had to watch it over three days because I kept falling asleep. I'm not kidding. The film starts nice, with the Boz firing his gun at cars and then escaping the insane asylum. Then all action ceases, and we just get a series of scenes where the Boz makes a stand, then gets hit in the back of the head with the butt of a pistol. This must be made abundantly clear: no one watches Brian Bosworth in a movie to see him act. We want him to kick ass, we want shit blown up, and we want cheesy one-liners before anything happens. Some dumb attempt at a slick, stylish, everyone's got ulterior motives movie is simply a waste of everyone's time.

And what a shame that is. The Boz, God damn it! Kick ass and take names. Instead he's constantly being taken out by lesser foes with the butt-end of a pistol to the brain stem. Are you kidding me? I'm supposed to root for that? Why not just get Treat Williams? Amp up the heavy metal, line up a bunch of stuntmen with ponytails in black blazers, and just have him run through them. It's not like we're calculating the volume of a sphere using a triple integral, it's a pretty simple equation.

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The movie takes place in Boston, and the Red Sox come up a few times. In 2000, not only had the Sox not won yet, but the Patriots were still a year or so away from their first Super Bowl, which was really the one that broke the Buckner Curse. When I was out in Seattle recently I was surprised at the volume of Red Sox stuff available. It was equal to what they had for the Yankees, which was a little scary. I feel like I shouldn't apologize for the recent success of Boston teams, because they were so bad for so long, but I can't blame anyone for hating them.

I had said before that I couldn't review the Bosworth classic Stone Cold here on the DTVC because it ran in the theater. As I've made exceptions for a few other films recently, and the fact that it didn't make that much money when it was in the theater, I think it's time to get it up here. That'll be the next Boz film we do.

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I couldn't think of anything to write here for the seventh paragraph, so I thought I'd mention my experience yesterday helping my roommate change the headlight in her car. It's not that exciting, so I'll spare you the details, but I think the makers of this film would've found the process exciting. Compared to The Operative, changing that light bulb was riveting, heart-stopping, edge-of-the-seat action. When a neighbor, coming home from work, commented: "Will the patient make it?", it was a much needed moment of levity that cut the tension like a knife. Were we going to pull it off? Could we change that headlight in time, or was she going to have to drive to the airport to pick up her friend with a p'diddle (sp?)? The suspense is probably killing you.

Skip this fucker like the plague. That's unless you really have to be up in the morning for something, and you're having trouble sleeping. Then, by all means, pick this up. I was definitely not sleep deprived after watching it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258862/

Monday, April 20, 2009

Snake Island (2002)

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I've had this in the can for quite some time. The problem was it starred William Katt, which in and of itself isn't exactly a problem, but I didn't know he was also in Cyborg 3, and I couldn't have too many William Katt films too close together, so I had to shelve this bad boy to post it later.

Snake Island has William Katt as an author doing research for a new book. He goes to a resort on Snake Island, and things go from bad to worse. A tourist group is stranded there, waiting for supplies to get them away. The snakes don't want them there, and they make that clear. Can Katt and the tour guide survive the night and get off the island?

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This wasn't too bad. Pretty silly. It tried intentionally to be silly, but that didn't hurt it as much as it might have in other cases. The first half of the film was all close calls, which was kind of frustrating. You gotta start the body count quick in a film like this. There's a party scene where two women inexplicably take their tops off, which is fine with me, but might annoy some. One thing I found was the African feel-good music they played during the credits sounded just slightly like Erasure's "A Little Respect", which put that song squarely in my head for days afterward.

This is the second William Katt film we've reviewed where he plays an author (third film overall). Here he's an established author, while in Alien vs. Hunter he's trying to make it work. Is there something authorial in his demeanor? For me I can only see a man who gains superpowers when he puts on a special outfit. Though this film didn't have him don the suit and save the day, they did the next best thing and had him wear a cricketer's gear.

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Cricket's awesome, and I think more movies should be based on it. Don't ask me how cricket works, it's just the idea of the sport I like. What about a dude who goes around Casey Jones style beating the crap out of baddies? Or a group of English terrorists posing as a traveling cricket team? The possibilities are endless. If they can make a movie based on Modern Pentathlon, they can make one based on cricket.

A man named Wayne Crawford wrote, directed, produced, and cast himself as the hero in this. He also got to hook up with the hottest chick in the film. No shame in his game, apparently. I guess if he didn't hook himself up like that, all his friends would be giving him a hard time. Just the same, it's smells a little Woddy Allen-ish. Maybe Wayne Crawford is going to marry his wife's adopted daughter too.

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This will be the sixth snake movie we've reviewed here, and I'd say it's up there as one of the better ones. The worst snake film we've covered was Snakes on a Train, and I'd say the best was Boa vs. Python, which was also the first film we've ever done. In that range, Snake Island was much closer to the latter than the former. The further any film can be from Snakes on a Train the better.

This isn't a bad deal. If you see it on Sci-Fi (Sy-Fy?) late at night, give it a go. I wouldn't spend any real money on it, unless you're having a snake film film fest, then you can add it in. I think it's best kept on Sci-Fi at 3 AM, personally.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320483/

The Shooter aka Deadly Shooter (1997)

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After the disappointing The Silencer, I needed to get the Dudikoff train back on the tracks, and I felt nothing could be better than a western. I found this on Netflix's Watch Instantly feature. It didn't look great, and the poor quality made me feel like I'd found it on VHS in a bargain bin somewhere. Part of me thinks that's cool, and part of me thinks that's a little ghetto. Let's get your shit together Netflix.

Deadly Shooter has Dudikoff as a traveling gunman who happens on a hooker being whipped by some dude and his three buddies. Duds doesn't like that, so he shoots all four of them dead. Turns out the guy whipping the hooker was William Smith's son, and that's always trouble. Smith and his gang have been holding the nearby town of Kingston hostage for years. The town recruits Dudikoff to help, but there's other shit going on, including country singer Randy Travis, who seems to want to help Dudikoff, but his motives are unclear. Will it all be too much for Dudikoff? Is it ever?

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This was pretty cool. I would've liked more Dudkioff kicking ass, and less him getting his ass kicked by William Smith and his goons. Compared to the two other western's I've done recently, this is way better than Sorbo's Prairie Fever, but not as good as Gruner's Savate. I think this tried too hard to incorporate the Yojimbo aspect of the two sides and the hero needing to be nursed back to health, which works when Kurosawa's directing it, but when it's a DTV action film, I want my hero kicking asses and taking names. I don't remember Gary Cooper in High Noon spending twenty minutes getting his ass kicked by the baddies, and I think movies like this should follow that example more than Kurosawa's.

Dudikoff was solid as the Western hero. He really incorporated the best elements of greats like Cooper, Clint Eastwood, and John Wayne. The problem was the filmmakers for one reason or another couldn't make the best of that. He had a presence that made us as the viewer feel like he had control of every scene he was in. That made it so disconcerting when he was captured by the baddies on two occasions. I think story writers are trapped by this Greek dramatic idea of a hero needing to be knocked down a peg before he can finally triumph. The problem is in a film like this Dudikoff is built up as so strong, and when he's defeated by tactics that he dealt with so easily a few scenes before, it's more frustrating than good storytelling.

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Randy Travis was pretty sweet here as his character. I saw him on American Idol not long ago, and let's just say he looks much younger in this film. It was kind of weird actually. I guess I probably looked much younger when this came out too, twelve years ago. Deadly Shooter came out right before Black Dog, and I think he was actually better in this than he was in that, as if the people making Black Dog were afraid to give him a character with too much nuance.

I had a conversation with a friend about William Smith recently. I was pretty sure he was the character in our favorite Rockford Files episode, the pilot, who gets decked by Rockford in this great scene. My buddy was under the impression that the guy in that scene was in that one scene only for his whole career. Turns out William Smith was that guy. Of his 270-plus credits, that Rockford Files one was probably his best. As far as the DTVC goes, this is his fifth film, and it probably won't be the last. He just turned 76 last March, which is insane to think about. William Smith almost 80?

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The guy from the Night Eyes series is in this as a writer. I can't believe I haven't reviewed a Night Eyes movie yet, because my friends and I used to watch them all the time on USA. Anyway, the Night Eyes guy's character in this reminded me of an obscure SNL sketch with Mike Myers called Johnny Letter. The character lived in the Old West, and was the only literate person in town. That made him the most powerful, because he could write letters about people and get them in trouble. No one I know remembers this.

This is a pretty good deal. Don't spend a lot on it, and that should make you happy. As westerns go, it's okay; but as a Dudikoff film it's better. The addition of Randy Travis really puts it over the top (Stallone style). Everyone involved should have a lot of fun.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120121/

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No Tomorrow (1999)

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I was looking for some Gary Daniels films to review here, and found this gem with DTVC Hall of Famer Gary Busey. I was skeptical, considering it was directed by Master P, who did the atrociously painful Hot Boyz, but I didn't see Silkk the Shocker's name anywhere near the top billing, so I figured it would be an okay bet.

No Tomorrow has Master P as a gangster out for revenge on Gary Busey, who's an arms dealer that shut Master P out of a lucrative arms deal. Daniels plays a computer programmer that just happens to be good in a fight, which makes some suspicious. He saves Busey's life, which puts him in his good graces. While all of this is going on, Pam Grier is a cop looking to take them all down, because Busey's trying to steal some chip that let's him set off nuclear bombs. What a mess.

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This was pretty good. The beginning had the same problem Hot Boyz did, with a massive amount of repetition. In the other film, it was Silkk running around in an overly-looped chase scene that went on way too long. In this one, it's Master P setting the same stunt men on fire with a flamethrower for about ten minutes. Really, all the scenes that didn't have Master P were the good ones, with Daniels and Busey stealing the show. That's a shame, because Master P was one of the few good spots in Hot Boyz. Plenty of explosions and gunfire, not so much on the martial arts front, which sucked considering we had Daniels. Overall, not bad, but not good.

Busey was awesome. He had some great one liners, was hilarious when talking down to Magnum PI's Larry Manetti-- just a solid performance. On the Abusive Scale, I'd give this a solid seven. It's been a while since we've had a film of that quality as far as Busey's concerned. Great pairing with him and Daniels. My only complaint is that I'd've liked more Busey.

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There's been a push to get Daniels into the Hall of Fame this fall, and he's definitely up for discussion with the career he's had. This movie's not gonna quite get him there, especially since his martial arts skills weren't utilized at all. He was great in every scene he did with Busey, which is a huge plus. I've got six months before new HOF inductees are announced, so we'll work on getting a larger sample of films up.

Pam Grier is in this. It's the second film of hers we've covered (the other being the Lambert classic Fortress 2), and in both cases, she had to make a lot with nothing. She'll be 60 in late May, which is just crazy. I think her biggest problem isn't her problem at all, but Hollywood's. She came around at a time when African American leading men, let alone leading ladies, weren't in high demand. As such, she's been stuck with these stinkers. She deserves better, and it's too bad only Quentin Tarentino could see that.

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Silkk the Shocker does make a cameo as a rapper, and that cameo reminded me just how badly he was cast in Hot Boyz as a lead in an action film. It was such a stretch, I just can't believe Master P thought he could sell that to us. Any complaints I had about this film faded when Master P reminded us of his other one. I just kept telling myself: "At least it's not Hot Boyz".

If you see this in the video store, and you like Gary Busey, and you want something to laugh at, you could give it a go. Don't spend too much money on it, though. I don't know what a good price is, but no more than a dollar to a buck-fifty. It has the ludicrous explosions, gunfire, and bad plot, but sometimes that's just not enough, and this film straddles that line.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0189810/

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bounty Tracker (1993)

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I saw this while I was paging through the movies available on Netflix's Watch Instantly feature. It had DTVC Hall of Famer Lorenzo Lamas and I Come in Peace's Matthias Hues in it. On the cover it looked like they were partners, which I thought was kind of dubious, and I was right: Hues was the bad guy.

Bounty Tracker has Lamas as a bounty hunter in Boston whose brother is almost killed out in LA. He visits, and when he gets there, whoever almost killed him before kills him now. Turns out the mob's been after him and his partner for this or that, and Whip Hubley, the DA, is stuck with only one witness alive to put this major mobster away. Hues is trying to kill this witness, and Lamas is trying to kill Hues. Sounds pretty cool, until the plot goes wrong and some random teenagers show up to help Lamas battle Hues and his thugs.

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I don't know what happened here. This was going so well. Then these three teenagers show up and everything gets silly. And not silly in a cool way, silly in a cheesy way. There are some very specific rules to making a bad action movie, and one of them, at least in my book, is kids never work. I don't care if they're teenagers from the streets of LA, they only detract from the action. I understand the idea that maybe Lamas couldn't go it alone, and that's cool. Just insert another D-list action star and have them team up.

Lamas was great in this. He was straight off the Renegade set during this era, and it showed. His first scene is awesome, where he pretends to be an uptight Boston socialite who appears to be lost when he enters an establishment frequented by African American gangsters. Then he starts a fire, then he kicks some ass. Later, when his brother's house is under siege, he's just as great taking guys out and dodging bullets. My favorite part came when he took out a bunch of stuntmen at a martial arts dojo. Why they had to dull this fierce fighting blade by adding the teenagers is beyond me.

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Matthias Hues is a great baddie. I liked him here, and I loved him in I Come in Peace. Big Germans with mullets who know martial arts always make great bad guys. It's even better when you pair them with smooth talking Brits. His final fight scene with Lamas was great, but while I was watching it, I couldn't help remembering my initial concept from the cover that they were a team. The idea of a Lamas/Hues buddy picture just seems more fantastic than words can describe. But who would be the villain? Who else, Bruce Payne.

Ken Ober plays Lamas' brother's partner. You may remember him from MTV's first non music TV show, Remote Control. Many look to that as the death knell of music on Music Television, and though they're probably right, I loved that show. Anyway, at my age, I'm not sure I need to see music videos on MTV when there's From G's to Gents and The Hills and the all-time best Paris Hilton's My New BFF. I have digital cable, so I can see Howard Jones' "What is Love" on VH-1 Classic, and leave the Lifehouse to the kids.

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I mentioned earlier that this has Whip Hubley in it. (I'm not sure if I've done another film of his on here, so I may be going over territory I've covered before. If I have, don't get angry, I'm just tryin' ta make a dollar outta fifteen cents.) I've always wondered what it's like to work with him, and have people ask him what it's like to work with Tom Cruise. It must be so cool. I bet he had the whole crew in awe as he told stories about his time on the set of Top Gun, especially when Lamas was in his trailer. He would parlay his success in this film to a role in the syndicated hit Flipper with Jessica Alba, which would sometimes be on at 3 AM on a Saturday. Whenever I watched an episode of it, I always felt dumber.

I dug this. The kids screwed it up for me, but overall it was okay. The beginning is good enough to warrant watching it on Netflix if you have the Watch Instantly feature, or if you see it in a bargain bin on VHS for a dollar or something.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106470/

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Day (1986)

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This is it. I am hitting the big 3-0 today. I thought in honor of that I'd review a film based on the day, but instead of the new 2008 film with the same name, I figured I'd go with this one from 1986, when I was seven, and I couldn't wait to be thirty. What a moron I was back then. Well, maybe. The seven-year-old me wasn't allowed to eat a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for supper, but the thirty-year-old one can!

April Fools Day has a bunch of kids going out to a rich friend of theirs' island mansion on some lake somewhere. They just happen to go on the first of April, and the classic range of pranks ensue. But then they turn deadly! Dun-dun-daaaaah! Will these 80s kids with their feathered hair and ripped sweatshirts and preppy polos survive?

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This wasn't too bad. The ending was a little contrived, but what do you expect. As far as the teen stuck in a remote area getting picked off one by one genre goes, it's okay. My standards are Friday the Thirteenth parts IV, VI, and VII (especially VII), and also Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. This movie isn't at that level, but it's way better than its modern equivalents, like See No Evil.

Big name alert. We got Biff from Back to the Future. I couldn't believe it when I saw him. This came out one year after he made that, so who knows timing wise which he made first. For the most part now he does parts on prime time broadcast dramas, like CSI and whatnot. I think that's pretty respectable.

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We also have actors from two of my personal 80s faves: Just One of the Guys and Summer School. From the first, we have the best friend slash love interest of the girl pretending to be a guy. His famous line came after the girl that everyone thought was a guy kissed him at a big dance: "It's okay, she's got tits". From the second we have the guy who played Larry. I'll take that because I had no choice, but if I did have a choice I'd take Chainsaw, the same guy who played Dave Marshak in the Ski Schools.

I didn't know there was a new April Fools Day that came out in 2008 until I looked this one up as I was typing the review. I don't really know what to do about that, I mean it's a DTV film, and it's out there, but the charm of reviewing it on April Fools Day is gone now. I guess I'll have to wait until next year, when I'm 31. Ugh!

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People always ask me what it's like to have my birthday on April Fools. One of the big things is that people are always gunning for me. Who better to play a prank on than an April Fools Baby, right? That got old, of course, when I started taking my birthday off from school, not because of the pranks, but because I felt birthdays were too cool a thing to be wasted at such a shitty place as school. No one should have to go to school on his or her birthday. Anyway, it's kind of a cool novelty to have a birthday on a day like that, and it kind of fits my personality, so I wouldn't trade it for another birthday.

This movie's just kind of there. It probably wouldn't have even made the site if I was born on a different day. I'm not sure if that's its loss or gain, because I'm not exactly recommending it either. It just kind of is. I guess you could rent it and get a kick out of the 80s-ness of it, if anything else.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090655/

The Circuit (2002)

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With the addition of Savate recently, there has been a concerted effort at the DTVC to get more Gruner up here, and this film is a result of that effort. The film also stars Brian Genesse, the Kim twins, and the always creepy Billy Drago.

The Circuit has Gruner as a former pit fighter working as an adjunct coach to a local college's athletic department, where his younger brother is playing football. Gruner used to fight in an underground tournament called The Circuit, where he retired undefeated. The current champ, one of the Kim twins, wants a crack a Gruner to solidify his legacy, and Brian Genesse, who runs The Circuit, likes the idea of them fighting. He uses Gruner's brother as bait to lure him in, and it takes his old pal Billy Drago to train him in order to take Kim and Genesse down.

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Now that's what I'm talking about. This may have been made in 2002, but other than the cars and cell phone technology, you'd have never known it. It looked and felt like something from 1992, but it was done in that tradition, not mocking it. When Gruner shows up at The Circuit in a tractor, and tells Genesse "I want to fight", and this driving guitar starts in, I feel like the world could never be more awesome.

This is kind of the problem with so many great bad action stars out there with so many films and so little time to watch them all. This is only the third Gruner film we've done, and I admit that's a travesty. This guy is too good to be ignored. But then I've got other cats I want to mix in, like Gary Daniels and Jeff Wincott and Brian Bosworth; and then there's Hall of Famers like Cynthia Rothrock who need more love-- it's a mess, but it's a fun problem to have. Oh, did I mention Gruner was awesome in this?

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One of the best casting decisions ever: Billy Drago as a good guy. Never saw it coming. Still don't see it coming. I could watch this film thirty times and still not see Drago as a good guy coming. I'm not saying that makes him less creepy or gross to me, and obviously if every movie used him as a good guy it would cease to lose its novelty, but it worked here, and I dug it.

I hadn't seen Brian Genesse in anything since the Carl Weathers syndicated hit Street Justice, which was usually packaged before Renegade I think, right? Either that or Dudikoff's Cobra, but I think that was packaged with something else. Anyway, Genesse has been working steadily since then, and I even have a few of his films in my queue, like Cyborg Cop III. It'll be nice to get back in touch with an old friend like that again. Here he was a cross between JD Roth and Ryan Seacrest with a little John Mellencamp sprinkled in (not the Cougar, but the modern one sans the Cougar).

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Contrary to popular belief, the Kim twins have not acted together in every role they've done. Ironically, though, they both have 18 acting credits on imdb. I was going to go through and list what four each have done without the other, and then I figured it'd be a waste of time and that you probably don't care either. What's gotta be weird is when one gets a job without the other. Does the other fear he may end up doing commercials? They might think the other one acts better? When I was a kid I thought having a twin would be cool, but now that I'm older I think I'm glad there's just me.

If you haven't seen this yet, you need to. This is an absolute. Make it happen. You won't be disappointed.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0309452/