8/31/2006

Replicant (2001)


Replicant (2001) -* * *

Directed By: Ringo Lam

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Michael Rooker










Unlike Seagal's crop of DTV crud, Van Damme has been making a very strong effort to make his releases better. Replicant is one of them. This is the fourth movie that Van Damme has been in where he plays two people. (See also: Double Impact (1991), Maximum Risk (1996), and Timecop, 1994). I wonder if that's in his contract. The plot is: A serial killer named "The Torch" (Van Damme) is on the loose. Rogue cop Jake Riley (Rooker) has to stop him. When "Torch" leaves one of his strands of hair at the crime scene, the idea is to clone him and stop him.

Van Damme plays the clone like a baby. He has to learn to speak, walk and fight. It's a very good performance. Michael Rooker puts in his usual gruff performance. Ringo Lam directs the action scenes with a lot of style and energy. The climatic fight between both clones is fun but we've seen it before.



Replicant is definitely worth seeing. The fans will enjoy it and non-fans I think will be surprised by Van Damme's performance.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Submerged (2005)

Submerged (2005)-* *

Directed by: Anthony Hickox

Starring: Steven Seagal, Vinnie Jones and Gary Daniels














Seagal's workload was huge in 2005. He had four releases: Into The Sun (2005), Submerged, Today You Die (2005), and Black Dawn (2005). As long as the paychecks keep coming, he churns them out like there's no tomorrow. This time around, Seagal plays "Chris Cody" who is released from prison to go on one last assignment: To infiltrate some double agents or something. It's very confusing. You also can't see what's going on most of the time because to hide Seagal's nonstop weight gain, he is shrouded in black:



All you see is Seagal's fat head. He also doesn't do his own ADR work. He once again uses a voice double that sounds NOTHING like him. But this time he was trying to be clever and put on an "Cajun accent" to fool people. The saving graces are the performances by top-notch British blokes Vinnie Jones and Gary Daniels.

Here's an idea: Vinnie Jones Vs. Gary Daniels in a duel to the death. Now there's an action movie!

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/24/2006

Hologram Man (1995)


Hologram Man (1995)-* * *

Directed By: Richard Pepin

Starring: Joe Lara, Evan Lurie, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, and Michael Nouri








Hologram Man is another entertaining movie from the PM Group. They released the most explosion-packed movies to video stores in the 90s. They are now defunct, but at the time they were the kings. Hologram Man is like the straight to video cross between the classics Virtuosity (1995) and Demolition Man (1993).



The plot is: Slash Gallagher (Evan Lurie) is baddest criminal around. When he kills the Governor, he gets sent to "Holographic Stasis", which means his body is discarded for a holographic one. But during his parole hearing five years later, he escapes and only one cop can bring him down: Kurt Decoda (Joe Lara).

This movie has non-stop explosions. Every car, person and building is blown up. They spared no expense on the pyrotechnics this time around. The body count is also very high, with hundreds getting killed. It makes for a fun evening. The acting is also first-rate. Evan Lurie and Joe Lara put in exciting performances. Michael Nouri, on the other hand, looks like he's reading cue cards. Overall, this is a very cool flick that's worth seeing.



Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/22/2006

Unstoppable (2004)


Unstoppable (2004) -* * *

AKA: 9 Lives

Directed By: David Carson

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Jacqueline Obradors, Kim Coates, Stuart Wilson, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje



Unstoppable is another assembly-line action movie from Snipes. This time around Wesley plays Dean Cage who is (of course) a CIA agent. A long time ago, he was kidnapped and tortured in a prison camp. He's mistakenly the target of Sullivan (Wilson), an evil drug maker. Cage is then injected with a drug that makes him hallucinate. If you look into Snipes' eyes, you can see he doesn't care about the movie.



He still puts in a professional performance though. It looks like he's forced to do his martial arts. The explosion on the highway is obviously green screened. Overall, it's not a bad movie, it's just lazy.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/17/2006

The Hard Corps (2006)


The Hard Corps (2006) -* * *

Directed By: Sheldon Lettich

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Vivica A. Fox










The Hard Corps came out only three months after Second In Command (2006). That was fast. The plot is: Phillip Sauvage (Van Damme) is hired to be a bodyguard for a heavyweight boxer named Wayne Barclay (Raz Adoti) who is receiving death threats from gangsta Terrell Singeltery (Viv Leacock). Sauvage not only has to protect Wayne, but also his sister Tamara (Fox).



The movie is fast-paced at 110 minutes, but it still could be edited a bit. One character named Leonard, who is Terrell's nephew, is annoying and has way too much screen time. Besides that, the movie has some good action sequences, including the Uzi gun battle in a parking lot, and a excellent fight between Wayne and Phillip. It shows Van Damme can still kick ass any time.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/16/2006

Zardoz (1974)

Zardoz (1974)-* * *

Directed By: John Boorman

Starring: Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling
















Zardoz is a classic sci-fi film. Zed (Connery) finds himself fighting off horny women on a lost planet. He also has to figure the mystery of Zardoz. It's a big rock head.



The whole movie is a lot of fun: The ridiculous plot, "terrible" sets, and a silly performance from Connery. The special effects are good for their time though.

There's something fascinating and inscrutable about Zardoz, from the
title on down. Only in the 70's could a movie like this be made. Thank
goodness for those times, or gems like this would never see the light
of day. Don't ignore Zardoz.



Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Ring Of The Musketeers (1992)


Ring Of The Musketeers (1992) -* * *

Directed By: John Paragon

Starring: David Hasselhoff, Corbin Bernsen, Alison Doody, John-Rhys-Davies, Timothy Stack, Cassandra Petersen, Ricky Jay, Brandscombe Richmond, and Cheech Marin










 Look at that cover. Just...look at it.


Hopefully in a few years, "Ring Of The Musketeers" will become a cult classic. It has everything you want: David Hasselhoff "acting" and "singing", Cheech Marin being a Mexican stereotype, and lots more!  John Smith D'Artagnan played by The Hoff, is a musketeer. Smith and his two other musketeers fight crime for a living. Smith seeks out the missing fourth musketeer, who is played by Cheech. The whole movie is fun. Cheech tells jokes, and The Hoff doesn't laugh. It's great.


Hasselhoff thinks he's doing Shakespeare with this film. Watch it tonight Or buy it! I did!



Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Big City Blues (1997)



Big City Blues (1997)-Zero Stars

Directed By: Clive Fleury

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Roxana Zal, Georgina Cates, Giancarlo Esposito, Balthazar Getty, and William Forsythe









Big City Blues is terrible. The main problem is the lighting. You can't see anything. I mean it. The whole movie looks like it was shot in absolute darkness. The bad quality cover you see above right is how the whole movie looks.



How can they release this on video? Besides the lighting, everything else is wretched. From what I could see of Reynolds and Forsythe, they couldn't care less. I think the plot was about two hitmen and their targets. The idea of a Pulp Fiction (1994) with Burt Reynolds is interesting, but this mess can only hurt him. Thankfully, not a lot of people will see this.





Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Raven (1997)


Raven (1997) -* * *

Directed By: Russell Solberg

Starring: Burt Reynolds and Matt Battaglia










If you loved other Burt Reynolds action flicks like Stick (1985) or Malone (1987), You'll like this one. Burt plays Jerome Katz, AKA "The Raven", an assassin for the government. When his latest mission busts, he goes underground. He turns up a few years later as a mercenary who plays by his own rules. His newest job is kill Martin Grant (Battaglia) who is a fugitive. As usual, it doesn't go as planned. The best action sequence was in the beginning.



The plot is lame and dialogue even worse, but Burt puts in his usual good performance.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/15/2006

Strip N' Run (1998)


Strip N' Run (1998) -*

Directed By: L.P. Brown III and John Sjogren

Starring: Michael Madsen, Charles Napier, Brion James, Martin Kove, Stoney Jackson, Robert Z'Dar and Todd Bridges










The barrage of Madsen direct-to-video junk continues!

In The Late 90's and early 2000's, Michael Madsen fell into a downward spiral of Direct To Video features Such as Choke (2001), Sacrifice (2000), Luck Of The Draw (2000), The Ghost (2001), Voodoo Dawn (1998), Primal Instinct (2002) and The Sender (1998).

Chalk up another mediocre Madsen flick. Madsen plays a gangster named Jimmie D who is the voice of reason for the other characters. To get straight to the point: The movie looks cheap, and the editing is jumpy. Madsen doesn't really do anything at all. He looks sleepy. The funniest part of the movie is the appearance of Todd Bridges as a hoodlum. He shoots people and goes way over the top. His death scene is pretty hokey. He just covers his chest after a poorly mixed gunshot noise.


In conclusion: The movie has the sleazy moments you want (stripper nudity) and that's it.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/14/2006

The Marksman (2005)


The Marksman (2005) -*1\2

Directed by: Marcus Adams

Starring: Wesley Snipes







The Marksman is the third DTV Snipes movie in a year. There was Unstoppable (2004), 7 Seconds (2005) and now this tripe. He looks like he doesn't want to be there. Maybe he has an intolerance towards Romania and all its citizens. (However his wild biases we've made up haven't prevented him from going back, based on his recent work.)  



The plot is about an expert painter or "Marksman" named Painter (It really makes you long for the days of Pete Nessip), who has to stop a dangerous terrorist. Most people who rent this stuff just want action and lots of it. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is this time. There's some good explosions towards the end, but that means you have to wait 70 minutes. It's not worth the effort. Rent Passenger 57 (1992) instead.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Den Of Lions (2003)


Den Of Lions (2003) -* *1\2

Directed by: James Bruce

Starring: Stephen Dorff, David O'Hara, Laura Fraser, and Bob Hoskins








Den Of Lions has been sitting on the shelf for years. It finally came out in March 2006. I don't know why it took so long to release it straight to video. Maybe it had competition from all the Seagal flicks cluttering stores. Mike Varga is an FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate the Russian Mafia. The head boss is Darius (Hoskins) who, like all kingpins, lets him in his circle. Mike eventually falls in love with Darius' daughter (Fraser).



This is the junky version of Donnie Brasco (1997) which means there's a scene where Mike can't take the pressure and starts yelling and smashing things. It doesn't have much action until the end, but it's worth seeing for the performances of Dorff and Hoskins.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

7 Seconds (2005)


7 Seconds (2005) -* * *

Directed By: Simon Fellows

Starring: Wesley Snipes










With 7 Seconds, Wesley Snipes joins the company road show of DTV: Steven Seagal works every day, pumping out a flick a month. Van Damme only works about a quarter of the year, with one or two releases a year. Those are the two main stars, other supporting characters include: Jeff Speakman, Sasha Mitchell, David Bradley, Dean Cain, and Michael Pare. Come out to your local video store today and support this show. It never ends!...Until they die of course.

7 Seconds was a goofy film. Of course it's full of clichés and stupid one-liners, but there's a lot of action and charm to spare. It's better than Unstoppable (2004). Wesley Snipes plays Jack Tulliver, a thief who inadvertently steals an expensive Van Gogh painting. Now tons of gangsters are after him: dead or alive. Wesley Snipes was great as usual as the wise-cracking hero. The first car chase was fun and the action-packed climax was very cool.



The drawbacks are: The obvious green screen and some of the Romanian actors need to work on their craft a bit more, but everything else is fine. One of the better DTV movies of late.



Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Liberty Stands Still (2002)


Liberty Stands Still (2002)-* *1\2

Directed By: Kari Skogland

Starring: Linda Fiorentino, Wesley Snipes, and Oliver Platt










This is it... The beginning of the end of Wesley Snipes. He has gone straight to video. He hadn't crossed into Seagal territory yet - at this stage of his career. But he did later. Trust me. The plot is about Liberty (Fiorentino) who is the wife of a gun manufacturer (Platt). She is held hostage outside, in a Los Angeles park, by Joe (Snipes) who is blaming his daughter's death on her.



How heavy-handed could this movie get? This is "subtlety" at it's worst. In a nutshell: "don't blame the person who pulled the trigger, blame the manufacturer." Besides that, the performances are strong. Snipes is always good. Fiorentino puts some energy into her role, but it still looks like she's sleepwalking. Overall, it's for Snipes fans only.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

8/11/2006

The Defender (2004)


The Defender (2004) -* * *

Directed: By Dolph Lundgren

Starring: Dolph Lundgren and Jerry Springer












This is Dolph's directorial debut. For the tight schedule and budget he had, Lundgren does a really good job. Here's the reason to watch the flick: It has Jerry Springer as the President!



Dolph Lundgren stars as Lance Rockford who is assigned to protect the prez from terrorists. Everything goes wrong and Rockford has to battle everybody. Springer puts in a decent performance and the movie has a lot of action. Worth Watching!




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Citizen Verdict (2003)


Citizen Verdict (2003) -* * *

Directed By: Philippe Martinez

Starring: Armand Assante, Jerry Springer and Roy Scheider












Citizen Verdict is an interesting movie. The plot is about airing criminal trials on television and the audience acting as the jury.

Jerry Springer plays Marty Rockman, the TV producer who thinks up this idea. Armand Assante is Sam Patterson, the defense lawyer. Assante And Springer put in fun performances. They both go over the top. If you loved Springer's performance in The Defender (2004) as the President, you'll definitely like this one. He has more screen time. He has a great speech near the end of the movie.



One of the problems with the film is that some of the other actors are pretty lousy. (the actress who plays Patterson's wife and the Citizen Verdict TV Commentators). Another problem is that there are too many cutaways to the "man\woman on the street" interviews. It hurts the film a little. Besides that, the movie is worth watching to satisfy your longing for the Armand\Springer team up you always knew was coming.






Comeuppance Review By: Ty

8/10/2006

The Mechanik (2005)


The Mechanik (2005)- * * *1\2

Written and directed by: Dolph Lundgren

Starring: Dolph Lundgren and Ben Cross











The Mechanik is Awesome! Dolph is at his best here. His previous directorial effort The Defender (2004) is also good. This is better.

The plot is simple: slimy Russian gangsters murder Nick's (Lundgren) family. He wants revenge. Everything is perfect here: The acting by Dolph is excellent. The bad guys are very evil. You root for them to die brutally. All the action scenes are very well-filmed. There's no watered-down violence here. Every gunshot or stab wound bleeds profusely.



If you want a top-notch action flick, you can't go wrong with "The Mechanik"





Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Control (2004)


Control (2004)-* * *

Directed by: Tim Hunter

Starring: Ray Liotta, Willem Dafoe, Stephen Rea, Polly Walker, and Michelle Rodriguez









It looks like Control fell through the cracks for a theatrical release. Just because it's Direct To Video, doesn't mean it's awful. It is not. All the performances are first-rate especially Ray Liotta. He does a great job as the reformed killer. Willem Dafoe is his usual good self as the helpful doctor.



The weakest point in the movie is the ending. It feels rushed and pat. Besides that, this is a pretty clever movie that is worth checking out. Control has a near-perfect balance of action,suspense and emotion. Just pretend you didn't see the ending. The scene before that is powerful if a little clichéd.




Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Eye See You (2002)


Eye See You (1999) -* * *

Directed By: Jim Gillespie

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Charles S. Dutton, Polly Walker, Kris Kristofferson, Jeffrey Wright, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick, Dina Meyer, Sean Patrick Flanery, Robert Prosky, and Courtney B. Vance







First off: "Eye See You" is a terrible name for a film. An investigation proved that wasn't the real title. It's "D-Tox". Another one for it was "The Outpost". With a title like "Eye See You", no wonder this was on the shelf for almost 4 years. It was supposed to be released in 1999 by Universal, but they dumped it from their schedule and their company all together. They sold it to DEJ Productions and they put it out on video.



Poor Sly. He puts in one of his better performances here. (His best one is Cop Land, 1997 ). He plays FBI Agent Jake Malloy. When a serial killer claims his girlfriend, Malloy goes into a drunken stupor. He is sent to a D-Tox program for other alcoholic cops in a remote part of the snowy wilderness. Unfortunately, the killer has followed him there and he's picking off the cops one by one. Can Malloy save the day?



The movie is well-acted, but the writing could've used some work. For example, if you look at the above picture, you can probably hear Sly's voice uttering the words, "Yo, I'm Cold.". The huge supporting cast get their time in the sun, but the best part is the silly ending.

If you like Stallone or the serial killing genre, it's worth watching.


Comeuppance Review by: Ty